“If you will embrace change, the winds that you thought would defeat you will actually push you to your divine destiny.” Unknown


original inspiration…

Okay, I am going to flip the script once again and share with you an artist of another sort, Nancy Clarke, original jewelry maker, and story-teller extraordinaire.

Nancy told me that while she was crocheting a shawl one day she got a flash of inspiration, and she began to weave cherished baubles, tossed buttons, old jewels and gems into the shawl, in an intricate pattern and NMC, Martha’s Vineyard Jewelry was born.

I suspect many of us have ancient stones, beads, and old buttons we have no idea what to do with, but in Nancy’s authentic and artistic mind, they become innovative, unique, and wearable art.

Nancy has the ability to see an antique bead or a gem’s lost history or function and she restores the item to its previous splendor, displaying it to its best advantage, causing all who view it, to rediscover the wonders of a treasure we might well have overlooked ourselves.

Her jewelry feels good but looks even better and there is a sense of knowing that it wasn’t made by some soulless manufactured mold, but by the loving dedication and joyful spirit of Nancy. It is her trained and practised eye that allows her to know exactly how the jewelry should be displayed with simplicity and precision.

Each piece displays Nancy’s creativity and imagination, the narrative is told as a new story emerges regarding the discarded or forgotten jewel. It’s luster restored, repurposed and displayed for our pleasure, we delight in the resurrection of something old that has become new again.

Like an archeologist, Nancy clears away the dust to reveal the hidden treasures so many of us would have left by the wayside, unsure of how to create magic from something tarnished and imperfect.

It is the imperfection that draws Nancy to create her innovative and one of a kind art, and we are lucky to have found some jewelry that speaks to our hearts and our souls. Guided by Nancy’s intuition and creative vision, we are discovering art in a whole new way.

Martha’s Vineyard Tattoo….

Ok, so let’s delve a bit deeper into the art of tattooing and the creativity that allows Mark to visualize his art, first with his customer, then on paper and finally the difficult task of transferring that vision to someone’s skin, without error, permanently. If you are going to get a tattoo, it is imperative that you find a Tattoo Artist, who is innovative, skillful, and dedicated to mastering their craft.

At Martha’s Vineyard Tattoo, (see Facebook page), without an avalanche of words, Mark exudes creative confidence, determination and conviction. He is characteristically silent as he meticulously prepares the tools of his trade and his workspace is utilitarian and as spotless as an operating room. He is uber-focused and in his “artist’s zone,” he is purposefully and diligent while cleaning and preparing the skin for the final stage, the inking and emerging of the tattoo; the revelation of his artistry.

The room is as silent as a chapel except for the buzzing of the tattoo’s needle and the ink emerges as if by magic, and Mark’s art begins to take shape. Mark puts the customer at ease with nimble fingers and facile certainty, and as you watch, the Artist emerges, molding, adjusting and shaping the tattoo, his movements are smooth, fluid and effortless as he begins to coax his vision from his mind’s eye unto his customers skin.  And as with all creative and spiritual experiences, from nothing springs this astounding, one of a kind, breathtaking Art.

Mark is an artist in the true sense of the word. He is living his passions on his own terms, making his artistic dreams come true and making a business out of that passion. Stepping out and on to Main Street (or Circuit Ave, in Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard), he is knowledgable, educated and has enlightened many people, (me included), to re-think their positions about art and tattoos. There is a reason he is called a Tattoo Artist.

Mark is the epitome of a first-rate tattoo artist and is every bit as talented as other creative artists who work with paints, charcoals and easels, their tools and canvases may be entirely different, but the dedication and commitment to creating art, remains the same. When you are looking for a Tattoo Artist you are stepping out on faith; will the artist  listen, hear, conceive and deliver a work of art you are proud to live with for a lifetime? Will it be a true representation of what you envisioned?

You can’t have a testimony without a test, and Mark passes the Tattoo Artist’s test with flying colors. He demonstrates what artists know intuitively, art is an intrinsic part of each of our souls and if we bravely follow our passions, minds, indeed cultures can be changed. Without even trying, Mark has changed and broadened my mind,  though I am still not sure I would get a tattoo, (stay tuned), I know that should I wish to, I would look no further than the artistic genius of Mark of Martha’s Vineyard Tattoo, shouldn’t you?

Martha’s Vineyard Tattoo, 55 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, MA, Martha’s Vineyard

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.