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At A Glance Author anonymous Artist self

My interest in tattooing began in 1980 when I got a tattoo while in the navy at Esquimalt, B.C. At this time my desire to be tattooed seemed purely physical -- an unconscious urge that over many years would reveal itself as being so important and full of meaning that it changed my outlook on life forever. I went to a really clean, high tech studio for its time: Universal Studios, where the owner, Zain, inked a seagull into my skin. Zain's studio really left an impression on me and definitely influenced my obsession with having a ultra-hygienic, state-of-the-art tattoo studio. During my tattoo, I asked Zain if he would be interested in taking on an apprentice but he replied that he would only consider teaching his infant son the ropes when he grew up. After all the problems I have had with faithless apprentices in the past, I deeply understand a tattoo artist's reluctance to share their hard-earned expertise. I taught myself, practicing on myself and more than willing friends but only tattooed sporadically for many years while I explored the various arts and built myself the foundation that I now build on. I "did my time" touching up and fixing old tattoos for free until I had the skill and confidence to venture further. Tattooing at this time more of an exploration into experience and artistic expression. I enrolled at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto where I studied the Experimental Arts to loosen up my creativity and stimulate my imagination and Fine Art to discipline myself and to learn how to paint and draw the human form, both in its natural state as well as in motion. It was here that I developed the idea of tattooing as Body Design. I was fascinated by the dynamics of the human body in motion and how these dynamics could be enhanced creatively by a skillfully placed and well executed design. I took human anatomy and dissected human cadavers to study these interrelationships from the inside. This might not seem so romantic, but it was necessary so that I could fully comprehend the dynamics of the human form. In my fourth year I did an independent study course looking at tattooing as art and design for the body. At the time, this was a radical concept for the gatekeepers of the art world, but my professors and the media loved it and and I graduated with honours. During the years that followed, I put many hours into tattooing and painting. While working on my clients I became much more aware of the process of transformation that the tattoo experience could evoke. These experiences ranged from a simple euphoric afterglow that lasted for a couple of weeks, to a full-blown cathartic release that shifted people into a more empowered conception of self. I started paying closer attention to the factors that lead to these experiences. My ritual and psychedelic explorations framed these factors as "set" and "setting". Set represents the mind-set of the client and the artist during the tattoo process (i.e. consultation, tattooing and aftercare). Setting represents the environment in which the tattoo process takes place. These two elements must be both present and in balance to allow a full ³tattoo experience² to take place. I encourage my clients who want a ritual experience to follow their intuition and customize their ritual as much as possible including framing the focus, playing appropriate music, burning incense, ringing Tibetan prayer bells, chanting invocations and prayers. In the years that followed, I devoted all my time to perfecting my skill as an artist and researching and exploring the most effective ways to facilitate an authentic spiritual/healing transformation. Raven and I envisioned Urban Primitive almost ten years ago. Our spiritual background is in Wicca and Hermeticism. Raven was my High Priestess before she became my lover and wife. In our tradition of Wicca we explore different paths that lead to the realization of the Self. Included in these different paths are bodily ordeals such as tattooing, scarification and body piercing that can facilitate catharsis and healing. We both put our creative energy into Urban Primitive -- me with my art and Raven with her knowledge of ritual and anthropology.
Daemonic Energy Wave is my most developed style. It emerged four years ago I started airbrushing the Jim Morrison painting but I only started pushing the envelope after my first European tour where I realized that other tattooists were copying my blackwork style and getting their photos plugged in tattoo magazines. Daemonic Energy Wave is a synthesis of many different styles: blackwork, gray shading and highly detailed patterning, combined in such a way to enhance the contours of the body and transform the living canvas. My patterns draw from Islamic mosque designs, Persian and medieval art influences and some of my psychedelic experiences to create a dizzying, yet visually coherent sense of chaos. It is my most spiritual work to date -- both in representation and in process. During the tattoo process, I try to empty my mind and allow the patterns and impressions that I get from the energy field of the client to emerge spontaneously from my unconscious. I refuse to tattoo anything that degrades or demeans the body or the spirit. I will not do any racist tattoos or hateful slogans and I will not tattoo any Tasmanian devils -- I have covered up too many of them. Fortunately, I do not often get such requests. When I have time, I like to work on my leg tattoos and Raven's body. I do most of my work on myself as a personal meditation and exploration of my art. But I have a beautiful Kundalini snake with an eye on the back of its head tattooed by Native artist Pete Commanda and a tribal shoulder piece by David Kotker. The inspiration for my art comes from my wife Raven and our life experiences together. I airbrushed the Jim Morrison painting "An American Primitive" (after the Jim Morrison photograph "An American Poet") over the course of two years until I finally finished it in 1995. The work reflects my fifteen years of spiritual-psychedelic exploration. It celebrates the idea of "primitive" Dionysian ritual in contemporary society and the inescapable influence that U.S. culture has had on my life. I also airbrushed the backdrop that I tour with. The image represents the synthesis of my life's work to this date. I named it Daemonology: The Art of Transformation. In ancient Minoan religion, daemons were elemental spirits that acted as messengers and mediators between humans and the Divine. The painting incorporates the idea that we are multi-dimemtional beings inhabiting parallel universes and that everything we do on the physical level impacts on the non-physical realities. The energy patterns and waves represents the energy dance of life and the transformative potential contained therein. Even though theis painting is only half-finished, it has made quite an impact on many people. I really need to paint more because my art opens other doorways of perception that influences the direction that I take with my tattooing and my life. There are difficult times ahead and Raven and I are committed to helping others make the transition into the new realities that will open up. Tattooing, as I understand it and practice it, will be an integral part of that process of transformation. That is what Daemonology is all about.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 28 Jan. 2000
in Tattoos

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