Sunday, October 30, 2011



Long time no post!

The reason for this posting delinquency is that I just spent this past year exploring people's tattoos and the stories behind them as a side project at work, with an end goal of displaying this work in the 9th floor gallery space. I wanted this to be very story telling, and to communicate my findings through a mix of photography, design, illustration, and lettering.

First up, getting the stories. I had everyone e-mail me their tattoo's meaning with no set guidelines. I wanted this to be real; any length, no editing. The smallest tattoo ended up being the longest story in the end, which made for a fun display solution.

Next up, getting everyone photographed. I had the great pleasure of working with photographer Jane Kortright on numerous studio and location shoots that fit the concept of the story, then took the raw photos and integrated design and illustration to further push the concept. Lettering all of the stories became an overwhelming task at first, but when they seemed to take on a look and feel over time, the process started flowing nicely. I felt the stories were equally as important as the photos, so I wanted them to visually carry as much weight as well.

There are 6 display windows around the outside of the gallery, and I decided to use them as a way to integrate the inside with the outside. My final solution was to paint tattoos morphing out of spilled ink on mannequin limbs, and have pulled quotes from different stories that had impact in one way or another floating in front of them on the glass. I then experimented with printing on low tack vinyl, making it appear that ink had spilled from the body parts to the ground, out of the windows.

Making everything work in a set space to hopefully transcend people passing through the gallery into their world for a moment was my last challenge. I wanted this to be multi-sensory.. I had an oil fragrance made to give off the scent of a sterile tat shop using a mix of patchouli, clover honey, and amber.. I wanted the reception food to communicate ink and pain, so I served chili pepper infused chocolate, cracked pepper crackers with blueberry jalapeno jam for a subtle sting, and the clear cups with chilled water were partnered with a variety of 'Mio' flavorings, which when squirted in, produced a flowing ink visual. I also had plead the case for music being an important emotional layer to the overall experience, and very graciously I had surround sound installed. I fussed over the music for a bit, but in the end put together an ambient mix that had texture, imperfection, a slow pace to it.. collectively the sound just felt right when viewing the imagery and reading the stories. And a last minute decision to loop behind the scenes video footage of some of the shoots turned out to be the center piece of the interior.

I sent a call out to the Hallmark community in October 2010, asking if anyone was interested in being photographed and sharing the meanings behind their ink. 26 participants and one year later, STAINED has finally seen the light of day. I put together a little slideshow sampling of set up/reception pics. Thanks again to everyone involved! -C

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Automatic Tattoo Machine

A co-worker forwarded me this link today about an automatic tattoo machine called Auto Ink. Why this seems to only randomly assign religious symbols is a little strange and limiting, as is the forearm only placement.. but with further development, imagine the possibilities. For better or worse, this has left me intrigued. The precision factor is kind of appealing (assuming the machine doesn't get bumped!). And If you could upload and program the needle to move with your own artwork, the possibilities are endless. But missing out on the hunt for a good shop, the smells, the music, working with an artist.. that would be a shame. These are the things that create an experience. What ever happened to human interaction? Human inter-huh?? Anyway, as a standalone object, the machine has a nice shape to it. Customizing it to your liking could plus it even further.

I have mixed feelings about this 'Auto Ink', but lean towards supporting those tattoo artists sticking themselves out there making a living doing what they enjoy. -C

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Missouri Western State University: Working Artists Discussion

Our good friend Misha Kligman teaches foundation drawing at Missouri Western State University, and asked if we'd come talk to both of his classes about life as working artists. We were happy to do it, and put together a little power point presentation featuring work that showcased our process. More exciting though was getting to participate in two critiques. The assignment was to do an autobiographical illustration either in a series or a single image. The results were varied, and dishing out constructive criticism to a bunch of new-to-us students was kind of a thrill. Between Misha, Mirna and myself, a good range of comments were offered up.. I kept touching on composition, concept, and paying attention to details.. Mirna had drawing technique advise and related well to illustration concerns.. and Misha didn't sugar coat anything. Very tough, very sincere, very effective. To stay engaged and give everyone your full attention for hours (with little nourishment) was exhausting. I left having a new respect for teachers.. and Misha. Great experience! -C

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Paper Mache Head

I forgot how much fun paper mache can be. -m

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gallery Opening at Leedy Voulkos

This was a juried show which was first showing at the Hallmark Creative Gallery, and has now moved to the Leedy Voulkos (2012 Baltimore Kansas City, Missouri 64108). I have two pieces in it- Enchanted Forest and Happy Home. Hope you enjoyed the show. -m

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pistachio Portraiture

These are little portraits on pistachio shells. A result of a very energizing and at the same time exhausting brainstorm. -m

Monday, January 3, 2011

Two Headed Cousins

In keeping fresh posts during this holiday lull of personal work, thought we'd share what came up while searching the related images of a 'two headed beast' search. COUSINS!