DIKE

This university professor had very clear ideas about what he wanted for his first tattoo.
He sent me a PowerPoint presentation with a detailed description together with a number of images of classical paintings and sculptures to use as inspiration.
What can I say, he had definitely done his homework and he had done it well 😛

In short, he wanted to represent four virtues: Fortitude, Temperance, Justice and Prudence.
The work had to include a woman with reins wrapped around her shoulders, an armour, a helmet, a sword in one hand, scales in the other and she had to hold a mirror in her hand…
I know it sounds strange but during the first meeting this woman, at one point, had three hands 😀
Joking aside, the piece had to include all these elements and in his mind everything had to be done in approximately 15-16 cm!

I stopped him immediately, creating an image like that in such a small area hoping to get something good out of it was simply unthinkable!
People who are about to get their fist tattoo often don’t have the faintest idea of the limitations posed by this art form and think it’s not that different from a printout (could it be an association with the dot matrix printer perhaps? :P). Needless to say, that is NOT the case.
Luckily I had before me an intelligent person, who was open to my advice and was willing to rethink his decision appropriately.

In my opinion the images he suggested were too classical, I would even say old, so I suggested we take inspiration from the work of Alfons Mucha. I was confident that he would agree with me once I had shown him the drawings of the great Czech artist, and so it was.

After this stylistic choice and the first evaluations on how to convey the various meanings, I revisited his project in a functional way and almost completely without, however, altering his original idea.
The woman, who for us became the Warrior Muse, is holding a pair of scales and a sword, symbols of Justice, while the mirror behind her represents Prudence. The initial idea of representing Fortitude with a helmet was abandoned, after all the sword is a multivalent symbol that also includes Fortitude. Since he wanted the woman to maintain a certain lightness and sensuality, the armour too was discarded. Finally, the reins wrapped around her shoulders as a symbol of Temperance were replaced by Azaleas (which, in turn, are a symbol of Temperance) both at the base of the design and stylized in the mirror frame, which served the purpose of ​​creating a “Mucha inspired” piece perfectly 🙂

DIKEHe immediately liked my first draft so all I had to do was finish the design in view of the first session dedicated to the outline. It turned out to be more challenging than expected but it was totally worth it.
Those who know Mucha’s work know how important lines are in his work and I wanted to do my best to emulate the great master.

The second sitting was dedicated to the flowers.
In the third sitting I thought I wouldn’t be able to go beyond the dress, however I managed to complete both the dress and most of the mirror, scales and background. The background had been an issue right from the very start. I didn’t know what to do at first but I came up with a solution almost by chance looking at the Celtic decorations on the cover of a book, so I eventually decided to do something similar, very simplified, in grey.

The last session was dedicated to the woman’s skin and a few small touch-ups here and there.
The end result, also thanks to the type of skin and attentive aftercare, is truly remarkable and, as it often happens, he’s already thinking about a new project, but we’ll have time to talk about that later 🙂

 
See pictures of the working process below.
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