For all its ups and downs, tattooing has been the only constant in my life. I started tattooing before I could legally drink. I had to borrow Mark Andrew state ID to get into the events of the Houston Convention in 1996. They were not only my formative years of tattooing, they were my formative years of adulthood.
I just had a conversation with Brennan O’Rouke. We have been tattooing the same length of time. Both of us have always had tattooing as the backbone of our lives. I got to thinking about how much I have gained and lost along this trip. Tattooing is still here for me. Brennan and I are from the same graduating class of this industry. We will be bonded forever because of this.
I can say that everything else that is not tattooing, I am at a loss. Relationships between family and friends are hard to navigate. I don’t like to investigate areas of my life that I have little control over. There is no discipline or structure or set of rules with relationships. There is no right or wrong choices I guess. I was told the other day to use my gut.
With tattooing it is comfortable. There is always the pursuit of better and more efficient design. Every thing I draw can be executed and examined. I can acknowledge faults and I even encourage my peers to point them out. I enjoy looking back at my years of learning and mistakes and compare them to how far I have come.
With everything else in life it is the complete opposite. I don’t enjoy looking at my mistakes. I don’t want anyone to look at my flaws. I cannot recognize how far I have come because I have a difficult time looking back.
When I look at people, I judge with the same standards as I was looking at my designs. I use a great magnified glass to find patterns and faults. What has made me a good artist has made be a critical human.
Time to cut myself and those around me some slack.