Posts Tagged ‘ tattoo ’

Inspiration & Necessity – Woodcuts & Tattoos

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Sometimes woodcuts come about due to the desire to make art from what you see in the world or a memory that’s floating around your head. Sometimes though they have a more specific purpose. For me they have long been intertwined with my love and obsession with tattoos. In fact many a woodcut I have created has been a way to get an image out of my head and keep it off my skin by making it into a print. Sometimes however then in fact just help clarify how much I want them as tattoos.

A few prints come to mind with this scenario. The print above exists on paper and exists on my left arm. A design created to cover-up laser treatment done on a decades old tattoo. That was the final design and below is the initial design that was almost used but didn’t end up fitting the space well enough…

 

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So from all this we ended up with the following result.

 

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One tattoo and two beautiful woodcut prints that I have printed up and are now also available for purchase.

Going back a bit, for years I had an illustration that I loved. The original was from medieval times and I had tossed up for a long time if I should get it as a tattoo. In the end back in 2014 I thought it best to make it into a woodcut and get it out of my system…

 

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But as it turns out that still didn’t stop me and in January 2016 I found myself under the needle again…

 

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…and so the tattoos influencing woodcuts influencing tattoos pendulum continues to swing. I love tattoo flash and I love the print related art I make. I don’t ever want to tattoo someone else but I do want to keep carving making the print related art I love. And hopefully turning more ideas into images – cause I only have so much skin to work with!

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/AlexGilliesWoodcuts

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It’s all just ink anyway…

I like tattoos. I have a couple of them now and have been slowly acquiring them over the last 17 years. One thing that making woodcuts has done has been to shift my impulse of making the transient image permanent, from tattoos to paper. I often see pretty images or have a strong emotional connection to something with a defining visual element and think “that would make a great tattoo here”. Sometime later, It might in fact make a great woodcut – a process I am now familiar with.

But recently I had a moment of life imitating art imitating life where my love of Mexican culture and their unique spiritual beliefs (as well as the brilliant artistic stylings of Mike Giant) morphed into a tattoo that I wanted to get. A few sessions later my friend Tim decorated my forearm with a sugar-skull, some roses in red and black and scroll in Spanish. This is the side of my arm with the sugar-skull…

I love the tattoo and after looking at it for a few weeks I got the idea of trying a woodcut of… well of my new tattoo. I made some adjustments seeing as I was working on flat rectangular surface and not my skinny old arm. I’m real happy with the print. Both colours are off the one block too.

I gave Tim a print today to say thank you for the the great work he did. I’ll now file this one away seeing as I already get to look at it everyday. Looks like my love affair with ink won’t dry up any time soon!