Thursday, 9 August 2012

Images: Realistic V Unrealistic

Working as a tattoo artist my job it to create images on skin. You can see some of my and my husband's work on our website.

Often clients email me their ideas and pictures they like an I have to find a way to transfer it into tattoo. It is amazing to see my clients happy as they get a new tattoo, or get the old one covered. The images that I create for them are unique and permanent, and that is what makes it special. Customizing human bodies is great fun. 

If you have a tattoo you know how important it is to get it right from the start. It is too easy to get a tattoo that is not well done, distorted and looks like a kid's drawing rather than a piece of art. It is much more difficult to get it fixed later then to do a research and find somebody who can deliver from the first time.

What amazes me greatly is how some people have ideas completely mixed up, so far away from what can be done and how the images in the mind are completely unrealistic. My job is to help to translate an idea into a workable image. Sometimes that means breaking illusions and getting the client to think from scratch. What is imagined does not necessarily reflect what is possible to do or what is right to do. And it is not just young people, that get all mixed up in a head.

For example, a client sends a picture of some back piece tattoo that they like, a large piece on the ribs or a whole sleeve and ask me to do a tattoo just like that on their wrist. This puzzles me, how come there is such obvious difference in size, and they still see it as the same? A girl once brought me a photo of apple blossoms and a bird and asked me to do a tattoo of an apple tree on her wrist with roots coming down the hand, with that bird sitting in the tree... To me that is very strange, as she sees one and imagines another, as if that was the same image. 

Often I get asked to tattoo something on the wrist that would go up side down, as the person wants to see it right way up, without realizing that for everyone else this tattoo would look wrong way up. Let's say it's a cross and I did it, she is happy, but confused, why everyone around are looking at her in a strange way as if she is a satanist. :) 

But the funniest thing for me is when somebody has a very bad and old tattoo and they ask me to do the background for it. I suggest that old tattoo needs to be covered, there is no way that it can be made looking good, but they insist that they like it. That just shows that they do not see it as it is, but as they believe that it is- beautiful. Often it's because friends would nod heads and say how great it looks. Sometimes it is hard to admit that mistake was made and now they are stuck with something far from beautiful, so it is easier to pretend that it's all good, then find a way to sort it. They rather hold on to unrealistic image then open the eyes to what is. 

Here is my favorite website of bad tattoos, I can laugh for hours looking at permanent markings on real bodies that went completely wrong I know it is not so funny for them people who's skin has been ruined. But a choice has been made and ink is in the skin. We don't learn from other people's mistakes as quickly as from our own. So having a bad tattoo is often a good lesson. It is better no tattoo then a crap tattoo, that is for sure. 

So images that we have in our mind are often far away from what is realistic and doable. And that is not just about tattoos. What we want and what can be done are sometimes far far away from each other. That is when the suffering comes in. There is nothing wrong with imagination, but when the distance from imagined to realistic is too great, there is tension, depression, broken hopes and it feels not so nice. :(

There is a difference between realistic and unrealistic images. The more you invest in unrealistic image, the more it hurts when it is met by reality. So if you ask me to do a back piece tattoo on a wrist and I say no to that, my answer does not meet your expectation and the image crashes down bringing your mood down as well and you get disappointed. Then you have to spend time getting over it.

What would your life be if you stopped imagining how the future should turn out and simply live in the now, without trying to manage life to fit your imagined outcome? What if you dropped the unrealistic, distorted fantasies and stopped trying to change what is? How do you know that what you want is what you need? I don't know. I can only see one step that I have to do now and one step ahead.  I can no longer imagine future and take it seriously. I don't create images in my mind a see them crash over and over again when they meet with reality, as I used to. That gives a lot of freedom to simply be and enjoy what is. The imagined can be enjoyed too, but I know it's a daydream...

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