EAST & WEST


This tattoo was supposed to be just a cover-up initially. The client had recently gotten a marquis on the shoulder but he wasn’t happy with it and he wasn’t willing to go back to the tattoo artist who did it to readjust it or see how to sort things out.
I therefore tried to consider all the possibilities to cover the tattoo without, given the client’s request, overly exceeding the size of the current tattoo. Among various options, I considered a biomechanical to be the most suitable one. The client had already seen some of my works and after a few clarifications he agreed with me, so we scheduled an appointment.

EST & OVEST 1I don’t exactly remember how the first sitting went but I remember that there was a little tension. Nothing negative, but you can easily imagine the mood of someone who has recently relied on someone and ended up with something that doesn’t satisfy him at all. Now he had to trust another person (me) without obviously being sure of what he was going to end up with. Now put yourself in my shoes in front of a client with these precedents. I was obviously feeling the pressure of being monitored and almost under exam. But besides this, the work went exactly as we had in mind. The cover-up required two sittings and up until then everything seemed finished.
In autumn, however, my client returned and asked me to extend the biomechanical up to his chest. Well, considering what had happened before, it was a great satisfaction. As with the previous work, I did the drawing freehand. Altogether it required a couple of sittings. Another work finished but…

The following season, in spring 2011, he returned once again and this time he wanted to extend the tattoo to his middle forearm. This slightly bigger work took three sittings. Same procedure as the previous ones and to make things short, from the first step up to that moment this work took a total of approximately 36 hours, but it wasn’t over yet. At the beginning of 2012 he decided to extend the work to the wrist.
So 3 more sittings were needed. Finally, in two years we had completed the sleeve in about 10/11 sittings for a total of approximately 45 hours.

Once finished I was looking for an original way to show all the work and I think I succeeded 🙂
 
BIOMECH IIIt wasn’t long before this customer came back for a new job.
In December 2012 he asked me to tattoo his other arm taking up the same space of the first one. No biomechanicals this time, just shading and cherry blossoms, a sort of Japanese sleeve in my own style.
Initially it seemed out of place next to the biomechanical, but I was proved wrong.

I think that getting a Japanese style sleeve with no subject, such as dragons, samurais etc. is quite unusual. Apart from a few cherry blossoms, the whole sleeve is based on shades of black and grey.
Unusual idea and unusual work considering I’ve never done a tattoo in true Japanese style, however, I believe that even this can’t be considered as such.
Having virtually no experience with this style I decided to take a look at a few books on the subject before proceeding freehand.
With a a couple of sittings the lines were completed.

The creation of this sleeve turned out to be pretty fast. The work was definitely less intricate than the biomechanical but working on a specific project, without having to consider additions each time, made ​​everything easier, greatly reducing the hours of work compared to the other sleeve.

These two pieces were included in my portfolio as separate elements (Biomech II and Simil Japan).
I still had no idea that they would become part of a single piece.

A year later this guy came to see me, this time he wanted to get a tattoo across the back.
Fantastic news if it weren’t for what he asked me to accomplish.
He showed up with an image downloaded from the internet, a back piece that would make Giger turn in his grave if it were considered biomechanical. To me it was a shock, after spending precious time with my clients I always expect our conversations to clarify their thoughts about the tattoo world, about the way I work and enhance their aesthetic sense, but maybe I shouldn’t take many things for granted.
After doing two sleeves of which I was proud, I couldn’t understand how he could think I would be willing to copy someone else’s (horrible) tattoo, and even less how he could even want to tattoo an important part of his body such as the back with that stuff, that besides not having anything to do with the other tattoos he was “wearing” was definitely of poor quality.
We discussed the piece for a couple of meetings and luckily he understood my point of view and gave me carte blanche to execute this work.
My intention could only be that of giving continuity to the two sleeves​​, trying to fuse the biomechanicals of the left sleeve with the right sleeve clearly inspired by Japanese tattoos.
I spent all the time necessary to obtain a design that would totally satisfy me and when I showed it to him he couldn’t help but agree with me.

As always, for this project, his determination and strength have been spectacular. The work took only 5 sittings. I find black and grey to be much faster than colour, but being a back piece it’s still a great time.

I wish to have given more prominence to the waves on the upper back enhancing the shading behind them, but he asked me to stay below the neck line of the shirt so I willingly respected his choice.

A few months later he told me that he was thinking of extending the project further.
He didn’t know whether to extend it on his belly or start something new on the legs.

A couple of years later the choice was made: Belly.

So, using the work already done on the back as a starting point, I thought of a way to continue using the same style.
My initial idea was to repeat the theme on the back inverting it, that is, blending the waves at the bottom with the biomech at the top and vice versa. To my proposal he replied saying that he preferred to maintain a dividing strip running down the center just like in the traditional Japanese tattoos.
In my opinion this work can hardly be described as a traditional Japanese tattoo, but he seemed very determined in his choice so I didn’t insist further.
Too bad that after a couple of sessions, when I expressed my frustration for not being able to perform the work in my own way he replied: “Why didn’t you insist?”
I hate these situations, as well as being told: “You were right” 🙁

A tattoo is not something that can be modified and, as much as my vision is clear, I certainly can not force a customer to wear something of which he is not fully convinced.
Anyhow, the work turned out to be a success and he is happy with the end result which required 10 additional sessions for an average of approx. 2 hours each.
The belly is definitely one of the most painful areas and when it is clear that gritting one’s teeth is not enough to make it to the end, it is understandable if one wants to take things slow and, why not, use a little outside help such as an anesthetic cream. Unfortunately, like I always say, creams help, but once the effect vanishes it is almost impossible to carry on, the pain becomes unbearable because the body hasn’t had a chance to adapt. This obviously makes the process longer, although less painful.

Now all we have to do is wait, because I’m almost certain that this project has not yet come to an end.

Maybe I should change the title of this piece to “Work in Progress” 😀 😀 😀

Look at the images of the working process below.
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