Saturday, March 17, 2018

Color vs. black and grey tattoos


Here is all color- Lot's of mixing here- Black, blue, white, yellow and water to blend this the way it is. 
It occurred to me that I haven't written more about the differences between color tattoos and just black and grey tattoos- there is actually a big difference between the two, from the technique/application and healing process.
Some people know right away if they are a color person or black only-
I will get right to it.
Black ink on skin is way easier to work in and heal. The black ink is very watery and goes into the skin easily. Healing it is usually very easy going too. The skin processes it  within a few days to a couple of weeks and generally has a thinner 'scab' then color. Although the dry semi-crust on your tattoo during the healing is dead skin that falls off to reveal fresh rejuvenated skin. Black pigment is like tattooing water in the skin compared to color, which I refer to being like honey. When you put color pigment in the skin- the pigment is so full-bodied that it's like pushing honey into the skin, the skin has way more to take in, and process/heal which takes longer- a fully saturated colored tattoo can easily take two weeks to two months to heal and cure- as I call it.
Here is a client photo- I love these. This is a black and grey piece that is actually an opaque grey- adding white ink to the black thickens the pigment, thus this technique would be considered to be more on the color side. I also used mild white high lights in it for another dimension. 

This piece is done in all black ink with water.

 The colored ink needs to get adjusted and settled in the skin, which can take some time. Ink is pretty foreign to the skin but our bodies are used to a certain amount of toxins these days from pesticides to hair dyes (chemicals) to free radicals and pollution. So a healthy person with healthy skin can heal ink no problem. A lot of the times just straight water rinsing once or twice a day will ensure a good heal- moisturizing it when it dry once a day is a nice move too.
Anyway, lately these days there is a big call for just black tattoos, like line work only. That's a nice look and maintaining it, re-doing it, or touching up, is really straight forward and when they grey out in the future it looks kinda primitive and natural. Some people don't like how color tattoos 'fade'. But really over time they all do. However, if you have color and you have to get it re-done for normal preservation some don't want to go thru the process again.
At the end of the day it is all about personal preference and you should just choose to do whatever you'd like. If you have super sensitive skin, it may be easiest to go with black and grey...
Some black only pine needles. Very simple. Less is more often times.






Saturday, January 13, 2018

New stuff

Well, I have thought about my blog the past year and a while back, I kinda thought I gave up on it and since I post on Instagram from time to time, and I have no idea who really reads this anyway, I was like, fuck it. But then an old friend came in recently and said I read your blog, and I thought to myself, I shouldn't give up on.
It has been 11 months since I have written on here, and quiet a lot has changed really...Some really wonderful things goin' down 'round the shop.
I am really lucky to work with such rad, fellow artists here at the shop- my brother Harry, has been with me from the start of Valkyrie- the past almost 10 years. He is such a incredible, energetic, strong person and now I am lucky again to work with John Kulikoff. He worked at the shop the first year  I opened Valkyrie and now that he moved back to Sonoma County, he is back at Valkyrie- what a cool, full circle happening! Also, I can not forget to mention my sweet, loyal assistant Toni Stirling, who is always up for whatever weird creative-project- ideas- I get on whims-
I just feel so honored to work with such wonderful artists at this shop. It has been a wild and fulfilling ride! I just want to have this armada rolling--- still!!!
My mind set is completely different than what it was from the start- In the beginning when I created Valkyrie it was from this vision I had- I wanted a place that was solid and grounded where I can practice my craft and be hospitable to my clients and be a viking! Can't forget that.
But back then, I put in so many hours and worked really really hard, like every day to keep the doors open, to make my dream happen, but it all changed when my daughter came along. Being a mum required more energy and strength and marrying that with tattooing and running the shop was a juggling act. I realized the conservation of energy and body was priority. I have re configured things a bit and my mind set is this now- with great focus and a steady mind- steady streams of thought that my vision will continue no matter what and if I just stay calm then it all will flow to me as it should and I do not have to try so hard or work so hard- I am in the seat of allowing and if I am here, then the clients will flow here and I do not need to 'effort' in getting them here.
This mind set has freed up many things for me, I am in a state of- I am here to relax and see what the tide brings in and I am willing to be of service to those that want to work with me...After all this time, I still love doing what I do and almost 20 years in this trade, It is a relief to finally know that it is easier not hard, if this is what I allow...
I think getting your ass kicked in this trade is a rite of passage, comes with the territory kinda thing, but Fuck, I am so grateful that my vision of Valkyrie has came through for me in this way...

TATTOO BY JOHN, MY AWESOME CO WORKER

IN PROGRESS BY JEN

MY SPAWN-SONJA

DOWN AF FOR THIS PLACE

Thursday, February 23, 2017




Me and my crazy companions, Sonja and Odin
As this winter is actually a real winter here in California for once in a decade, it's created for some interesting energy and mind sets to say the least. Maybe it's me or perhaps not but as it's been cold with weather that is dampening the earth, it seems as though the spirit has been dampened as well. Many of my clients have been needing tattooing in a different, transformative, loving way in which your damn right, I can deliver. I told my Oracle today who I see every Thursday (I gotta stay on my toes too) that if I have too much unnecessary bullshit in my life then I am not as present for my clients or my daughter and that is the main indicator that something has to change. I take pride in my care for my clients and they need me more then ever. And I need them too! I am  noticing when I am spending time with these amazing people that I tattoo, if we open and allow we talk about humanity and for me to hear many different types of people throughout the days- teachers, nurses, linemen, mechanics, paper pushers, hair dressers, coast guards, college students, stay-at-home moms, disabled people, cops, you name it. It often comes back to humans and how we feel and what we think. In a nutshell I will summarize that we all need and want to love and be loved. We are all just trying to be ourselves. We need to accept ourselves as we are and be comfortable with the way we choose to live. Everyone just wants to be happy but with so many outside compounding influences, people are feeling the weight. Not to mention if one is a bit off their center or never found it in the first place your like a fish out of water...what does all this have to do with tattooing, you might ask. Well, I have to pinch myself ever day that I get to sit with these people that share with me something that they are going though in the inside, and they want it portrayed on the outside of their body. A tattoo on the outside of the body can convey so much as to how one might feel in the inside and if you take a moment to calm your mind- you look at something, it can reveal so much to you if your not going a mile a minute in your cranium.

I am so honored and flattered that people find me trust worthy and they invite me into their lives. It's not even about the tattoo sometimes. The fact that there are so much humans out there that are whole hearted, trusting, appreciative, genuine and loving- and they are so different from me. That is what keeps me feeling so proud to be a human here. Despite all the negativity and hate that goes sadly around, there are people from so many different walks of life that are all communing in my presence, in my world. In our world. That alone is worth everything.
My other crazy comrades, two birds one stone kinda thing. 

Another painful initiation for this rad chef. Father to a sweet daughter. 

A first timer here choosing the lion as an emblem to honor his up bringing. 

Hopefully I can finish this soon. She was a sweet mama.


I leave this right here. I hope this sentiment consoles any uncertainty.