February is upon us already and I still feel like I’m scrabbling to catch up with the second half of 2014. Moving home can do that to you, apparently. I have moved between countries and continents in the past but this last move – just to a new city, and not even that far away, in the same country – really seemed to take its toll (go figure?!?). Anyway, while I scrabble, I’ll focus my next couple of posts on some fun projects from the latter half of last year that I’m not quite ready to assign to the trash heap of history (i.e. the dark and dusty, forgotten crevices and black holes of my computer’s hard drive ;)

ink your skin, amsterdam

ink your skin, amsterdam

First up, a tattoo design requested by a friend: he wanted a design inspired by cherry (sakura) blossoms and, as a ‘design brief’, wrote a brief ‘personal history’ describing the meaningful and important life experiences each blossom in the design would signify. It was a pleasure to work with someone who knew what they wanted (and, perhaps more importantly, why they wanted it) on this very permanent design.

Here are some work-in-progress pictures of the design, ranging from the very stylised to somewhat more naturalistic…

sakura tattoo design

sakura tattoo design work-in-progress

He chose for a smoother, more stylised version of the gnarled and knobbly qualities of ancient cherry trees – which gave me lots of opportunity, while finalising the design, to draw the fluid, serpentine lines I so enjoy drawing!

sakura tattoo design

sakura tattoo design

We opted for a deeper, redder colour than the soft pinks and whites usually associated with cherry blossoms, and the ‘branch’ has been designed to ‘grow’ over time, i.e. to seamlessly continue up the arm so more buds or blossoms can be added in the future (as those important life experiences stack up… as they are wont to do :)

During the design process we checked in with the tattoo artist who would be doing the actual ‘needlework’ (Mick at Ink Your Skin) to ensure the design could be feasibly translated into ink on skin.

And then it was time for my friend to take the plunge! I tagged along for moral support and, as it wasn’t my skin being pierced between 50 and 3,000 times per minute by a super-sharp needle, I really enjoyed observing the tattooist at work (steady hands and steady eyes a must!) and learning more about the skin-inking process.

getting inked

remarkably relaxed under pressure!

sakura tattoo

freshly pressed

ink your skin, amsterdam

customised vinyl critter and airbrushed mandala painting
in ink your skin’s window gallery

You can find Ink Your Skin here or at Kerkstraat 115, Amsterdam… if you’re looking to get your skin inked!