This was a commissioned custom tattoo design for a fine gentleman named Nathan.
This commission is a big deal -- literally. At approximately 18x20 inches it's the biggest piece I've ever drawn, it took me longer than any of my previous art projects, and basically paid for my car insurance. (thanks, Nathan!)
After months I finally completed it early this summer. Despite its age I still think it deserves to be documented on this blog since it's practically a milestone for me.
Almost everywhere I went, I took this guy with me. I took up entire tables at Starbucks, commandeered my mom's living room, and made my apartment floor unusable due to my being sprawled across it (it's a really small floor, so that's not an entirely new event, but still).
I worked very hard for very long and I did very well, but this project still terrified me. I was drawing subjects I've never tackled on a scale I've never attempted. And it's no secret that I'm not the kind of person that practices much before taking on a project -- it just feels too redundant that way and I lose interest and inspiration very quickly.
For the first time I was nervous about my work being on someone's skin. It's never been a big deal to me because I kind of see it as if someone were to put my artwork on their wall. It's something they'll see everyday and it's essentially permanent if chosen to be. Both are equally honorable. But the size and detail of this piece made me all the more committed to this man's skin.
The middle of the design, the woman, was placed on his bicep, with St. Michael laying protection over his chest and the gargoyle watching his back. So it basically takes up half of his upper body. Imagine your work being blown up and displayed over a highway or in a hotel lobby. That's about how I felt. I really pushed myself with that in mind.
The meaning is a fairly simple one. It represents being conflicted between good and evil. Notice how it's a bit hard to decipher between the two. Sure, each side has a classic image representing its position, but the opposing sides are drawn in a style that is equally dark. Which says something about how difficult it can be discerning right from wrong. Evil can be disguised as good and good can be take forms that we may not expect.
Nathan chose the darker side to be on his back to represent what is behind him -- what is in his past. And the "lighter" side in front of him as is his future. I draw much better knowing why I'm doing it, so discussing the exposition really helped me in my process.