The Art of the Tattooer…

I am going to change creative direction for today and discuss the topic of tattoos. Let me admit from the start, I am a tattoo snob, I simply don’t get the appeal of “marking” your body for decoration. I am being hypocritical, of course, I indulge in body decoration; shoes, earrings, bracelets, clothes, etc. so I get adorning your body as a form of self-expression, I just didn’t think of tattoos as “art.”

Like everyone else, I have seen beautiful and interesting tattoos, but I have also seen many tattoos of  Tweety Bird, (no offense, love Tweety), roses, anchors, crosses, and of course the tattoo claiming your devotion to your mom, your woman/man, your children (now that I am a mother, my opinion has wavered on this one), but how is it artistic?

Then I met, Mark “Kito” Fuentes of Martha’s Vineyard Tattoo, (check him out on Facebook), and asked him what kind of creativity went into duplicating an image on someone’s skin? I mean, don’t you just point at the multitude of photos supplied by the tattoo artist, you know the pictures I mean, the ones hanging from the wall that you choose from, and the tattoo artist simply traces it onto  your skin? Clearly I needed a tattoo education and a mind adjustment, quickly.

Mark is soft-spoken, observant and dedicated to his craft, working tirelessly, patiently, and with intense precision to create a tattoo that is indeed a one of a kind, work of art. Mark explains, “it’s not just a matter of duplicating an image, a one size fits all approach, but about finding out what the customer envisions and then working on different sketches to create the image that is in their mind, we work together as a team, it’s a creative collaboration.”

Mark pulled out sketch after to sketch allowing me to see his creative process at work and I was stunned at his ability to draw so elegantly and with such accuracy, flushing out the image and bringing it to life.  The evolution and devotion Mark applied to each sketch, erasing and perfecting the tattoo was inspiring and all this before he even begins the process of tattooing the image onto skin. Once the image is created and approved then Mark , meticulously and with surgical precision, begins the process of transferring the image on to the body, drawing free hand with zen like concentration.

Watching Mark work I was privy to art in motion, creativity and innovation in action, and I was so impressed I thought I would share his work  with all of you, and maybe expand a few minds about the Art of the Tattoo Artist.

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