I'm never the type of person to post on forums or take a person's opinion on a forum seriously. I'm the type of person who would rather do extensive research on an artist before committing to a tattoo. I didn't even end up doing that either when I decided on David Engbaek to do my teacup tattoo. In fact it was twitter that connected me to him.
I'm a blogger with about 4,000 subscribers worldwide and I found one follower particular. Back then his moniker was "ottotattoo" and one day out of sheer curiosity, i decided to peep his online portfolio. I was quite blown away by his skill and cover up ability and I started messaging him about the possibility of a tattoo consultation.
Well that consultation happened and I decided to let him do my tea cup tattoo. As the first and only artist to use the German Hawk machine, I thought he would be a lot more well-known. It was upon the first encounter, I saw him as a humble -- even shy -- type of guy. With friendships with Paul Booth and other well known LA artists, he seemed like he would have much to brag about, but didn't. It was a refreshing attitude.
Most of the more well known tattoo artists that I have researched seemed like they would scoff at the idea of being a humble artist. I know I get that impression when I visited other artists in the city for a consultation. There was definitely nothing wrong with their art. They were all very talented, but I didn't really develop a rapport with any of the artists. They were more interested in having me commit to a minimum amount of hours for any tattoo that I wanted, but I simply wanted a tea cup tattoo. I've had a few artists draw up a couple tea cups for me, but it was never exactly what I had in mind.
Some were too extravagant in style, some were a lot larger than the limited space that I had on my arm for such a tattoo. I was looking for something that would fit just below my elbow as I had the other side of my arm already tattooed. I wanted something that would flow into the previous works that I had. No one seemed to like that idea except David. He had the "it could be done" attitude instead of "that's such a small area to work with, I can't possibly make money off that" attitude.
I do agree to a point that the client must get the tattoo artist involved in collaborating ideas, but some of the artists I have spoken to seemed like they wanted full reign over something that was something that was going to be on MY body for the rest of my life. I didn't want extravagant, I wanted something simple and dainty with minimal fillers, but at times, it seemed like it was a lot to ask as some ego-centered artists don't take "no, that's not what I want" or any type of rejection too well and I end up feeling like I was the one who did something wrong. I don't understand where all this attitude comes from in the industry. Isn't it enough just to be proud of your own skills and not be offended when someone would rather have a different style?
Does money talk that loudly to them? As an artist, wouldn't you be able to respect and credit other artists, instead of letting your arrogance affect others and the ability to develop an important rapport with clients? After all, they will be your potential canvas, so wouldn't it make sense to hash out a plan where clients don't always have to walk out feeling like an idiot for voicing their opinion on what they prefer? I understand that there are a lot of fair weather clients that never know what they want, but is that enough to treat people who do know what they want in the same condescending way? I guess that's all a part of the reality of how cut throat the industry reality is.
I'm just looking for an environment that's not awkward and David gives me that feeling. He has never trash talked other artists or belittle my ideas. Everything is discussed. Even his techniques. David has a great tattooing technique that hinders the flow of blood from appearing. I've been known to be a bleeder, but for some odd reason, not a single drop made an appearance under the needle. When I saw the sketch, I was more than satisfied, but when he finished tattooing, my expectations were blown away! The colors and blending were phenomenal and assured me that he will be doing future tattoos I may want.
David needs more exposure! He's been offered jobs in Tennessee, but would rather stay in Winnipeg. We have very few great artists in Winnipeg and if anyone needs the shine, it is David. Not only is his work amazing, his humbling personality makes you feel comfortable under the needle. I never thought I would say it, but twitter proved to be very convenient and rewarding for me.
Why a tea cup? I'm a personal trainer and ever since I got into this career I've been bouncing around with diets. I like water and juice, but it was tea that helped my kicked the habit of sugary drinks. I had tea religiously and it gave me the caffeine to kick start my day and the water to hydrate my body. After a while I lost a lot of "baby fat" and am now in the best shape of my life. What better way to commemorate my gains than getting a tattoo of it?
I can honestly say this is my new favorite tattoo. I don't think any other artist would put this much care into something that was not a custom piece especially because of it's size. I'm glad David was meticulous enough to make sure my tattoo came out better than perfect. The healing process is a bit complicating as I can't really hit the gym until it scabs up properly. Not complaining though, I'm going to make sure this tattoo stays as vibrant as the day I got it.
If you're reading this, Thanks so much, David!
Follow David on twitter at: @davidengbaek and check out his work at www.CanadianInk.net Follow me: @keonecra
Don't take my word for it, take a look at my tattoo!
submitted by: KEONECRA
on: 14 June 2011
in Food Tattoos
Artist: David EngBaek
Studio: Otto Tattoos