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 2015. 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 2015 a success!
The Pictish Tattoo Award
When I began tattooing I made it my goal to bring alive the ancient Celtic designs in skin, and for three decades I have made that a focus for my art.
In recent years I felt the pull of my own Scottish heritage, and began to work to raise the profile of Pictish Art in tattooing and encourage more clients to embrace this enigmatic and historical style. 2015 saw quite a few clients choosing Pictish designs, and this one in particular stood out. Click the image to view its original blog post and read more about it.
The Romantic Tattoo Award
This Husband and Wife wanted matching tattoos to commemorate their 25th wedding anniversary and chose portraits of their mules to represent their love for each other. I share their enthusiasm for long ears! Click the photo to read more.
The Matched Set Tattoo Award
The deer on the left is modeled after ancient Pazyryk Scythian tattoos found on a 5th century BCE mummy from frozen Siberia. When this client requested a complementary design for his other calf to balance it, I designed the dire wolf. Click the photos to read about this set of unusual animals.
The Tattoo Ambition Award
The award for most ambitious client goes to this splendid fellow who journeys from the East Coast for periodic additions to his collection. The angular sleeve on his right arm is adapted from the Pictish Maiden Stone in Scotland, and the spirals on his left arm are a balancing complementary conceptually challenging free-form pattern. His chest is only lines at present, and work to fill it in will be the next phase. Click the image to read more about his sleeves.
Pat’s Choice Award
This Celtic high cross done all in knot work is the pattern I found most personally satisfying this year. The flow of the weaves and the way the ring, the inner diamond shape, and the plaits in the body all interweave took MANY hours of designing time. There is a strict rule to the Celtic patterns, they must obey the logic of weaving over and under just as the plaits in weaving, crochet, or rawhide braiding always follow it. After many years drawing such patterns I continue to take real pleasure when they take shape, and the process of creating original custom designs for clients keeps my career challenging. Click on the photo for the original blog post about this cross.
ColinFraser’s Choice Award
Hey Guys, ColinFraser here. Filling an entire arm or leg with continuous seamless Celtic knotwork is the most challenging and rewarding work on which Pat and I collaborate. There were several great pieces this year, but this one in particular stood out for its inclusion of a zoomorphic figure - a first.
This kind of tattoo really highlights the amount of behind the scenes work and “analog to digital“ back-and-forth that we employ when creating custom Celtic patterns. In this case, the client chose a knot that Pat drew from a grave rubbing she made in Ireland years ago. I then created a tessellated repeating pattern of the knot in Photoshop and gave it back to Pat. She connected the individual knots into a seamless pattern that then went back into Photoshop so that I could “morph” it in 2D to fit the proportions of the client’s leg in 3D. Once the fit was close, Pat completely redrew the pattern using the morphed version as a template and then added a head and tail to create a dragon serpent from an individual lace of the knot. Finally, the improved pattern was test fit and fine tuned so that we could create a stencil. After all that was done, Pat still had to “lace up” the pattern where the stencil’s seams met on the leg before the tattooing could begin! A lot of work, but I think you’ll agree that the impressive result is well worth it.