DOOMSDAY CLOCK Sketch 2If my memory serves me correctly, when this guy came to me and told me what he wanted I wasn’t paying too much attention, I was listening to what he was saying but for some reason, in my opinion positive, my mind was wandering in gothic and dark worlds. While he talked I was already visualizing images that were coming together between the synapses of my neurons and that eventually led to this work, the meaning of which is way more positive than one might think.

A memento mori where the references to death are so redundant that they almost make a monument to it, a kind of mass memento mori to remember that: yes, you have to die, but you won’t be the only one, it’s a common destiny. A macabre reflection which includes a positive spin to live life to the fullest, for yourself, for the people around you and those you love.

The clock replacing the moon marks five minutes to midnight, the exact time on the Doomsday Clock when we started working on this piece; the perfect symbol to represent the crazy self-destructive nature of humankind.

The tree, the undisputed protagonist of the work, together with the clock and clouds in the background symbolizes the cycle of life, rebirth and in a certain way the immortality of life itself. We initially thought about adding some green leaves on the tree to make the concept of rebirth stand out, but it was immediately clear that would have ruined the entire composition and only now I realize, with a bit of regret, that butterflies, one of the many symbols of resurrection, would have been perfect to convey that message.
But I’m pretty sure that those who can go beyond appearances are able to grasp the almost cried out concept of this work anyway.

I don’t know exactly how many hours I spent creating the design, but I’m sure they were more than those required for the tattoo. Replicating is definitely easier than creating.

After many hours on paper I couldn’t wait to start tattooing the first lines on the arm of this client.
In the first session, as I often do, I dedicated myself to the most challenging part for me: drawing the basic lines in grey, so that I could then fully dedicate myself to shading.

In the following session I dedicated myself to the skulls. Often, especially when working on projects that particularly intrigue me, I tend to be overly optimistic, I was in fact hoping to finish all the skulls in the first session, but after five hours of work I realized that all the enthusiasm in the world wouldn’t have reduced that ocean of skulls, nor would it have made me faster if I wanted them done with the necessary care.

Another session were needed to complete the sea of ​​craniums and start working on the tree and cemetery in the background. This last part, located between the elbow and inner elbow was quite tricky and looking back I think I should have left it to the following session to be able to work a little slower, finishing it in one session rather than splitting it into two, but the enthusiasm and frenzy to see the finished piece is sometimes irresistible, both for the artist and client.

The following session was meant to be particularly long, but various commitments and priorities left us with a mere 3 hours, too little to complete that majestic olive tree.
When working on projects that require many sessions one has to deal with work commitments, unexpected events and various priorities that can slow the project down, leaving the client and artist feeling slightly frustrated.
Luckily there is always time to catch up and considering the theme of this piece, there is nothing more appropriate than the proverb: “There is a remedy for everything except death” 😛


The fifth session was also relatively short, and I dedicated to the clock/moon and tree.

We set out to do a long sixth session that would allow us to complete the work and a potential last session for any needed touch-ups. But my client’s various commitments forced us to reschedule the appointment once again, forcing me to juggle between appointments to find a few hours to dedicate to this project I really cared about, hoping to finish it without extending too far beyond the allotted time frame.

We had to wait almost two months to finally complete this greyscale work that can undoubtedly be considered one of my best ones.

Despite some delays I can only thank this guy for having stimulated my imagination in the creation of this work and for the tenacity with which he sat through the sessions.

Look at the images of the working process below.
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