Understanding the SubtletiesPosted By Hanumantra Lamar on 22nd April 2016
A building made of bricks no matter how beautifully configured is still held together by the mortar, the same way a suit regardless of what it’s made from is stitched together at the seams. Once we understand and accept this we are free to build and create as we wish. The same can be said of a tattoo. Now I cannot profess to have an in depth working knowledge of all style/genres of tattooing but I believe that a lot of what I have learned through Blackwork is mutually intelligible in these areas. I have spent years studying tattoos, from the Polynesian Islands to the ancient Celts of Great Britain, it’s story is a long one that likely goes back as far as human kind and is written in to our blood. Beyond this I have also looked at architecture, clothing, jewellery, painting, motor vehicles, iron work and the list goes on. All of them have the same basic principals and that is that they understand their rules for design. Look at any great building and you’ll see how the front door regardless of it’s shape, size or style fits perfects in to its frame, as do the windows. The ability to do this has come from thousands of years of evolution where man went from being nomadic to settler. We’ve gone from living in crude mud huts to elaborate brick buildings as our understanding and capabilities increase.
So how does this relate to our trade? Well like the other crafts mentioned above a tattooer that has developed a set of parameters for which they construct a tattoo will have a clear vision for how they want it to look. An overview of their body of work will have a consistent theme running through it or what is often referred to as a “style”. So as an outsider looking in we can likely tell when someone has developed a style for their work, we may not understand what their exact parameters/philosophy/rules etc are but it’s clear that they understand what they are doing and that is the important thing.
It’s a lot like sitting in a restaurant chatting to a friend and on the table next to you are 2 people speaking Japanese. You may not comprehend a single word they utter but you know that they understand each other. Then there could be one guy sat in the corner mumbling to himself, fingers in ears rocking backwards and forwards. It’s unlikely he understands what he’s saying let alone anybody else.
By figuring out what you believe a tattoo is and how it should look you will begin to develop an understanding for your work, communicating it to others and attracting those with similar beliefs.
So for tattooing as with anything it’s important to understand and be able to implement the basics, from there the changes you develop are subtle but the impact will become definitive. Below I’ve attached pictures of some recent works that illustrates how I approach certain body parts.
Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say.