Today a man requested of his family that his seventieth birthday gift was to come with his son and get his first tattoo. The simple elegance of the shamrock fills the claddagh ring to form a perfect Irish tattoo. And now both he and his son wear it with pride.
Today a Bostonian Irishman returned to add to his extensive collection. Three years ago we did a large partial sleeve of Celtic interlace, and today we added more matching knotwork to bring it down to the wrist. Hooray for the ethnic ambitious!
Today a man who began this sleeve last month came back promptly to achieve completion. The look of a full forearm sleeve is like no other Celtic pattern, in this case achieving the feel of the bracer an archer would wear to protect their arm.
The seven pointed star, sacred to the Cherokee Nation, the Babylonians and the Gods of the Game of Thrones universe, is here united with the heads of two wolves in a yin-yang balance and encircled with a Celtic ring. An ancient American Indian story tells of the two wolves that do battle within us, and the one that wins is the one we feed. A guidance to choose the path of righteousness.
Today, after three years in the making, I finally finished this coverup. An all-too-typical tribal sun from his youth was no longer an adequate expression of his aesthetics, so he opted to celebrate his Cape Breton roots with a Celtic knot half sleeve. Coming from Canada was hard for him to schedule, so getting to Santa Barbara for multiple sessions required much unfinished yearning for completion. Covering black tribal did require extra darkness in the center at the top, but overall he is transformed and improved.
Recently a man came in to get this pattern and confessed he'd been lurking on my website for years, and kept coming back to this one. Finally his wife told him to just go ahead and DO IT! And it gave me a chance to make a minor change that I believe improves the pattern just a bit over the way I'd done it before.
I always feel that people who ask to get a phoenix tattoo think they have earned the right to wear this symbol of rebirth and regeneration. This man asked for his tattoo to be rendered in tribal style, so I worked to make it balanced but not symmetrical, with both feathers and flames in the abstract shapes.
Today a pair of lovers came to get the root base chakra tattooed on their spines. Traditionally the lowest of the points on the spine, this chakra represents confidence, self-esteem, and is the place the sex instincts arise from.
Today a Viking athlete came in to cap this sleeve that has been a year in progress. We chose to install Hugin and Munin in an arc at the top, a pattern capable of adapting to the asymmetric musculature, and bold enough to form a finial for the whole.
Today saw the completion of my very first no-compromise complete Celtic wrap sleeve. All the others I have done had just a little bit of a work-around, acommodating a pre-existing tattoo or a cover-up. This man came for the top half, and by the time we were finishing it he was ready to move on and start the forearm. Now with perseverance and several long-distance trips to Santa Barbara the work is done!
Today I colored and finished this tangle of a Celtic lion and peacock, completing a wide band on the calf of this very pale man's leg. Since his skin almost translucent, the vibrant traditional colors used in illuminated manuscripts glow brightly and guide the eye to discern the shapes that form the two creatures.
Today saw the finishing touches with color that obliterated a corny cartoon tattoo done in the fever of youth. Back when this guy got the Taz he probably felt close affinity with that character, but now he's a mellower guy, and a wiser tattoo client. Seeing the finished result in the mirror, he said "This is what I always wanted, but back then I just didn't know how to get it."
This is the second coverup on this client; you can see the first here: http://www.luckyfish.com/blog/celtic-viking-shield-coverup-tattoo
This cross is a high cross adaptation of a square cross also available at LuckyFishArt:
Today saw the second and final session to finish up this gauntlet tattoo. There is nothing so challenging for me as these full wrap pieces, and my clients certainly wear them proudly.
Today a favorite brewmaster client returned to finish filling in the background on a tangle of hop vines. This sleeve has been evolving over several years, and began with just a tiny Scots lion he got in youth. Today marks the finish of two full sleeves ..... and ink ambition will bring him back for more !
Today a Navy medical corpsman came for a cuff of Celtic knot work which will form the end of a full sleeve. He traveled far, so we accomplished it in only one session, a bit ambitious and requiring stamina towards the end.
Another year has come and gone, and another cohort of clients has passed through our doors with their ideas, ambitions, and eccentric requests. Herewith, a look back at a few of the notable tattoos from 2016. Just like last year, we present them in the form of “awards" - no prizes, but the honor is bragging rights for life! Enjoy, and congratulations to the chosen.
If you were a studio client this year and don’t see your tattoo featured here, please know that we are still deeply grateful for your patronage. Thanks to all of the clients who helped to make 2016 a success!
The Celtic Fusion Tattoo Award
A woman leaving California to study in Scotland wanted a tattoo fusing multiple styles, the golden poppy of her native state with a crescent of Pictish knotwork for her ethnic heritage and the new adventure ahead.
The Dedication Tattoo Award
This man chose to honor his children by adding their names to the four arms of this large Celtic Cross - a powerful symbol of paternal devotion.
The Unusual Tattoo Award
Everyone has seen the traditional Irish claddagh, hands holding a crowned heart, but has there ever been one before with skeletal hands?
The ColinFraser's Choice Award
Hey guys, ColinFraser here. When Pat and I were discussing tattoos to feature in the 2016 wrap-up, this one immediately sprung to mind. You see, I took a B.S. in Zoology at UCSB, and Herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians) has always been a particular passion of mine. This woman shared my enthusiasm for the reptiles of the Mojave Desert, and chose to express that with this tattoo of a Callisaurus draconoides, the Zebra-tailed Lizard.
The Pat's Choice Award
This flying fish pattern dates back to the year 1250, when a monk doodled it on the edge of a French bible page. Once it flew on calf skin vellum, now it comes to life again on the calf of a leg!
The Heritage Tattoo Awards
Some of the most compelling tattoos reflect history and heritage, and that isn't limited to Celtic people. These two clients have chosen to celebrate their heritage, one Scandinavian and one Hungarian, in tattoo form.
Three separate Nordic patterns are joined here to create a Viking half-sleeve. The Vegvisir compass on top guides a traveler home, a serpent dragon from a standing stone adds a motive element in the middle, and a band of chain link from an ancient memorial stone form a band around the bottom.
A fiddle decorated with traditional Hungarian embroidery patterns connects this client to his father's family.
The Celtic Sleeve Tattoo Awards
This year we decided to feature both male and female clients in the sleeve category:
Continuous Celtic knotwork that achieves the look of chain mail armor was first placed on the top of the arm, then later extended all the way to the wrist. An unusual look, worthy of a warrior.
Two complementary elemental half-sleeves represent a balance of both fire and water for this woman. The knotwork is traditional Celtic, the flames are Tibetan, and the water a Celtic triskele. Together they are a union of opposites.
Today a very pale lady came in for this Celtic luna moth done in shimmering pastel colors. The aerial queen of night, the gossamer beauty of the bug is translated to a graphic knotwork pattern. To fill out the design we placed a crescent moon filled with Pictish spirals and simple 5 pointed stars.
Today a man came in whose previous tattoos, done by others, seemed to him to need a tie-in. He wanted them to look cohesive, so I drew up this swooping pattern that curved and wrapped around each and made them into one dynamic whole.
Today a tattoo expression of ethnic enthusiasm gives this man whose Hungarian last name means fiddler a permanent tribute to his heritage. He brought in examples of folk art embroidery from Hungary to act as examples for the embellishment, and now he wears a uniquely decorated musical instrument to tie him to his father's family history.
"The love for embroidery of the Hungarian people goes far back in history. In Arabian and other foreign chronicles - from times before the Magyars came to the Carpathian Basin - it has been written, that the Hungarians liked to dress in richly decorated and embroidered clothing and their surroundings were pompous." - Hungaria.org
Today was the first time I have been asked to do this Viking link band in color, one that I have long admired on ancient standing stones. A bold older woman came in, quite sure that she wanted this tattoo where she could see it, so onto her forearm it goes. I thoroughly approve of being able to get full benefit from tattoos by putting them in an easily enjoyed place.