Oh My Gawd Tiffany!
Idea Development, Research and Obstacles
So apparently someone, somewhere, on the internet had the audacity to steal the idea I stole. What had the world come to? Suddenly the very personal and creative idea (which I stole) was trending. It seemed unfair to me, I felt like a spoiled brat who spilled his ice cream and suddenly my belly button wasn't the center of the universe. And let me just tell you, for me, that is a rare and unpleasant feeling. But I wasn't going to be some "Larry late" or "so-2010-Thomas! Neither was I going to get a tattoo that would make me feel like I just got butt fucked by a used car salesman called Big Bob. And luckily I didn't have to! The core of the idea was still good. And one thing is the idea, quite another is the execution of that idea, and luckily for me, the "executioner" on the project was going to be no other than the young and brilliant artist Jack Ede. The very epitome of time well spent and the definitive proof that God is in the detail. So, as you might have guessed, I felt extremely lucky to be at the business end of the needle with Jack Ede on the other.
Tattoos aren't just for sailors and Russian mobsters anymore. Even my mom has 2 now and I really don't think she ever dreamed of getting one until just some years ago (when I got her a gift certificate). So the market has obviously changed, and with it the sweaty nicotine brown tattoo parlors are getting rare. But luckily that means that instead we are getting descent tattoo studios with guest artists and a welcoming atmosphere. So don't panic, do your research and find one of those places that makes it their business to direct their customers in the right direction (Some of these places even have free coffee!).
But I had a problem, how was I going to avoid the whole “Oh my gawd! My BFF Tiffany tots has dat tat on her ankle” that sometimes comes when a certain tattoo idea goes viral?
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really do anything more than a little research, that was almost all it took. That and a talented artist. And just FYI, google search the crap out of your tattoo idea. Follow the paths down that rabbit hole, because it pays off!
When I started this article series, I had one picture, the one with Mr. Sparrow the busy business bird. But a quick google search for “birds with arms” (yes, just dumb it way down and start there) brought me many hits that I found useful and inspiring. I really liked this picture of a stork with a sword, I named Sir Galahad the stork.
In this picture, both wings and arms are present, making the wings appear as a cape. Just add a small helmet, maybe a shield or coat of arms and your stork knight is good to go. I really had a hard time choosing between Sir Galahad and Mr. Sparrow. I had yet to see Sir Galahad in a tattoo, and the motive really had some potential. But I just didn’t feel the same familiarity with him. I’m no knight! If I hold the door for someone, it's probably because I'm leaning on it, trying hard not to fall over in drunken idiocy. I wasn’t trying to elevate myself to knighthood, even though it is a quite silly knight at that. Feel free to do so if you want, but I felt too connected to that fat bird (I wonder why?)
In a sense, I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to achieve it. But as I mentioned, google helped me out. Another picture I found was of what I called The worried momma-bird seemingly thinking to herself: “Where can that boy be? that boy is just like his father”, again showing what I talked about in chapter I about applying the human condition onto nature.
What I finally saw, that convinced me about what to do, was another quite busy bird.
But this one actually felt too busy. So what to do? I asked Jack to make Mr. Sparrow look at his wristwatch, as to say “well, well, seems like the break is almost over". And Jack, being an artist and a creator, gave Mr. Sparrow a new arm (And you should ask your artist too, if you got any such ideas or concerns).
This was the result.
I’ve always had a fondness for anything nostalgic (well surprise surprise), so I talked to Jack about getting that 60-70-80’s biology schoolbook feeling into the tattoo. You know, like something from the background of a Wes Anderson movie.
I wanted that feeling of limited realism that makes you aware it’s still a drawing while still retaining the sense of realistic portrayal. Again my fascination with the idea of nature, and man’s constant trial to control it, was a key point, and this time, it was in the underlying message of the tattoo. And in reality, for me, that's the whole point! The research and development of the idea. For me, a tattoo is never only idea and never only material. It's a modern day show & tell.