Hello again dear reader it’s your ever present, effervescent and resident Karma.Punk viewing the world – as ever – from the naughty step…

As you’ll be well aware I consider myself a modern day tattooist (in fact I consider myself a postmodern tattoos but that is another story) in that I use all the modern tools and techniques available to me to make tattoos from the 21st century.

I don’t use a ‘victorian doorbell’ to tattoo I use a rotary machine. No soldering needles onto bars I just use pre-made cartridges, no mixing inks – mine are pre-dispersed and I don’t draw with pencils on paper I use an iPad Pro. I never hand stencil, use a thermal printer to make hi-res accurate first generation stencils directly from the artwork that I create using photoshop on a computer. Yes, a computer!
Now, none of that is (imo) particularly advanced but – in some quarters – it signals the end of days and the death of tattooing. I prefer to realise that all crafts move forward inline with advances in technology and holding onto ‘the old ways’ for no reason other than nostalgia is no different (at least to me) to driving a horse and cart. When it comes to technology and it’s place in my artwork and my life I could – in no way – be considered a luddite in my attitude. And neither should you be.

You see, tattooing doesn’t die if we move forward. It dies if we stand still. The outdated traditions that some cling to were created (in part) be a group of extremely forward thinking artists who – unhappy with the tools of the day – created entirely new ones do the job quicker and more efficiently based on the technology available to them at the time. Modern Electric tattooing wasn’t created by a bunch of technology hating Amish type characters, it was invented by a bunch of passionate, inspired and driven artists looking to make better and better tattoos and if we – the modern age of tattooists – refuse to move forward and cling desperately to these old ‘traditions’ and ideas we are insulting their memory and totally missing the point.

Every creative field has long accepted that the computer is perfect for making artwork quickly. You can’t make better artwork with one but you can get your ideas from your head to the ‘page’ much faster and you can revise and refine them without any headaches. Take this from someone who remembers manually laying out pages and taking them to the darkroom to create a Bromide. Compare this process to the current means of page layout using a program like Quark Xpress and you’ll see the massive benefits that technology can bring.

So if everyone else is doing it why do I still hear tattoo ‘artists’ calling ‘cheat’ every time they see a laptop? Honestly I dunno. I imagine explaining the modern world to them would be akin to explaining my motorbike to the Amish and honestly I can’t be arsed to try and convert close-minded people, preferring just to leave them in their nostalgia bubble and get on with reinventing tattooing for the here and now.

Are you reading this thinking hell yeah! how do I start? Well, here’s a great starting point for information, resources, tutorials and more. It’s one of my favourite website and it’s totally forward thinking. www.tattoosmart.com



Have fun and move forward.

See you next month