Thank you for taking a moment to visit my web site. My tattoo schedule can be found under the Travel tab. Please take a look and see where our paths may cross. You will find me working in multiple places around the country, always including Colorado, New Jersey and my current state of Arizona. I participate at a few select conventions, nationally and internationally. Please feel free to consult with me through the Contact tab.
Travel Tips: DIY Wet Panel Box
For those of us who may have the chance of painting away from our home studio’s, you may find this box to be handy for carrying wet panels. The summer of 2011, I attended a week-long landscape painting workshop in the wet lands of New Jersey and built a more simple wet panel box for my everyday travel. I kept the box in my truck and was able to transport wet panels from the days location to my accommodations, where I continued working on each piece. Instead of the jenga like game of panel stacking while on the road, and the stress of limiting the fix ups that may need tending to due to all the movement, or worse ruining a piece all together; here’s an inexpensive, custom, and rewarding project that can be used for multiple trips. I just returned from the Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico, and this box really came in handy for all the art work that was created during the week. Other artists liked it so I thought to share how to make one yourself!!
All items can be found at your local art supplier and depending on size, less the $25 dollars. Making a wet panel box yourself allows you to be able to customize it to the size of the panels you wish to use and how many you wish to bring. This box is not limited to panel use, you can surely build one for 1/4-1/2 inch stretched canvas, just depends on your preference. Obviously the size of the box is customized for your use. I will show you step by step how to build one for yourself, and what supplies are needed. It will take you a few hours if you don’t super glue your fingers together!
My dimensions for this box is going to be sized to fit linen panels 14 x 18″ and 11 x 14″ panels, with one canvas board in the back. Notice that in my size choices I picked 2 different sizes, allowing me to use one side at 14″ stacking the panels portrait and landscape without compromising the fit. Before you head to the art supply store, make sure you know your dimensions of your panels/canvas’s in order to know how much supplies you are going to need.
1/2 inch foam board.
1/4″ 3 foot SQUARE wooden dowel sticks,
Duck Tape (get fancy with it),
fresh razor blade/box cutter,
super glue large bottle,
and your panels you wish to fill the box with for size reasons.
First off this is really important, BEFORE YOU CUT YOUR FOAM BOARD make sure you measure the foam board front and back to fit your panels adding 1/4″ extra width for wiggle room (the 1/4 rods you’re going to put on either side will hold in the panels). MAKE the box taller by an inch, allowing room for the lid and wiggle room, but obviously not wider or else your panels wouldn’t stay behind the dowels. The foam board bottom, and sides must sit on the outside for better support and strength. In this photo you will see how I stacked all the goods so that I could measure how deep the sides and how long the bottom should be. I also added an extra inch or so for wiggle room on the sides, this allowed 2 panels to sit back to back comfortably if needed… (dang it, that’s smart!!) I would NOT have them fit tightly.
Now that you have cut all your foam board, front and back should be the same, sides should also be the same, and the bottom just a hair longer to cover the side walls. Next, measure where the front and back are going to come into contact with each side wall, (1/2 inch on either side) I was able to cut my dowel rods exactly in half (they are soft so a razor cuts them smoothly) and I laid them out on the side wall, with how many I needed and adjusted them for wiggle room. My dowel rods ended up being 3/4″ apart from each other. This allowed One panel to sit really comfortably, but also 2 panels could go back to back if needed. Measure your Marks, draw your lines, center the dowel rods with super glue. The sides should mirror image themselves (remember to leave an inch space up top for the trap door)****
Now that all the dowels are super glues onto the side walls, (and not your fingers) its time to get some scissors and the fancy duck tape, and put everything together. Start one side at a time,(remember the sides go on the outside of the box) they should fit the front and back just perfectly!! Don’t go crazy with the duck tape just one strip on each joint to hold it together as you work all 4 corners.
Look at that, all the walls are together, time to put on the bottom. this step will make it extra secure. After you wrap 4 pieces of tape around all 4 joints of the base, NOOWWW you can add more duck tape, get crafty with it. Slice the corners like a stencil. Wrap one piece of duck tape all the way around each joint from top front to top back, etc. DON’T finish all the duck tape
Finally time to put a lid on it. Measure the opening at the top, cut it out. Duck tape the edges nicely. Tape it to the box on the inside and the outside like a hinge. fold over a piece of duck tap on the lip of the lid, and add your Velcro!!!!! almost done!!!…….I put stickers on the front and the top to decipher the ends. And there ya go! Now you are ready to travel with as much wet paintings as you planned for, and don’t have to worry too much for their safety.
This box really is sturdy, light and should last a few trips. Obviously it is foam board, but the 1/2 inch foam board is pretty tough… though if not too careful it will get dinged or puncture if it falls over. Until then, have fun!!! Hope this comes in handy for all of the traveling painters out there. Feel free to share your wet panel box if you get around to building one!! I would love to see it!! Pull this blog and save it for your future use! You wont regret it
The Hell City Tattoo Festival returns to the Hyatt Regency Downtown Columbus, Ohio in the Arts District this April 19th – 21st, 2013 and then travels back to Phoenix, Arizona August 23rd – 25th, 2013 for another exciting year of good times and great body art! Hell City is not only a great time because of the amazing tattooing and it’s friendly atmosphere, Hell City also has new, live acts everyday of the fest. The Hell City Tattoo Fest is a fun and unique glimpse into the world of tattoos and art for everyone! It’s one of a kind because there are many other activities that you won’t see at any other tattoo convention. All weekend long, attendees get tattooed and experience everything that is Hell City! In addition to the talented artists, there are also exciting Tattoo Competitions for the crowd, Live Freakshows, Educational Seminars, Heck City Kids Zone, Live Bands, Fine Art Gallery, The Art Fusion Experiment, The Wet Paint Project, Suicide Girls, Burnie the Mascot and much, much more!
The Hell City Tattoo Festival is a tattoo convention put on by tattoo artist and True Tube inventor, Durb Morrison. It features world class tattoo artists and collectors from around the world, as well as having unique entertainment all weekend long! It is much more than your typical tattoo convention though! If you have ever been to Hell City before, you have seen the massive crowds of artists, collectors and enthusiasts waiting to step into Hell City to experience tattooing on a whole new level, all while have an unforgettable experience. Once inside the gates, Hell City will amaze your eyes, ears and skin, you’ll will want to stay the entire weekend! Grab your PreSale Tickets Today!
The single best tool that artists have to work with is their own hands. Often I hear clients tell me that my hands must hurt from tattooing hours-on-end. In my experience my hands are the last to feel fatigue and if so, the first to recuperate. The hands are an amazing and complex tool that can withstand hours of repetitive work, their strength, stamina, flexibility and movement is incomparable and cannot be replicated…
Looking at the whole arm, from the shoulder down to the hand during activity, the energy that the hand receives comes from the base of the hinge, known as the shoulder complex. Our shoulders and upper back muscles deliver the strength and control of our daily motions to resist our clients with both of our arm’s. Through our barriers, the palms and finger tips are the only thing that leans onto our clients. However, the energy for our creative deliverance is traveling all the way from the balls of our feet.
For most artists, this maybe their working posture… The front of the calves are actively holding the forward lean position controlling a foot pedal. The thigh muscles are actively helping hold our pelvis’ forward to engage a forward lean. Actively leaning into our opposite sitting bone to gaze under our machines in order to see the connection of needle to skin. The lower vertebrae is curved, actively holding this position, while the upper back is leaning over to allow our hands to meet the client comfortably. For hours-on-end… Our bodies are machines, though they are not designed to sit for long hours in this active position. The human body will obtain an injury eventually due to this repetitive posture, especially for long durations. It is not only the body itself that will suffer, but also the eyes due to strain and dryness from the lack of blinking. In the end, the outcome of an artist’s work will suffer.
As an active person, sitting for long periods of time did not become bothersome until early last summer. Let me share with you a short version of what I experienced over the last nine months. I was working through long tattoo sessions, taking a lot of long flights, driving long hours, repeatedly and eventually all that sitting started to cause some tightness in my hip, turning my left foot out. I did some more stretching then usual, but the pain radiated more and more intensely. I had a deep pain in my left buttock, sometimes alternating to my lower back.
This pain interrupted everything, including my sleep. In my history I have had my share of aches and pains that I could work out myself, this ended up being a bit more complicated then that. I looked towards a professional for assistance. First I started with getting massages more often. Then to a chiropractor to see if my spine was out of line. Though my spine was straight, my right hip was a little higher than my left, most likely due from tattooing and the slight lean into my left hip while working. My lower back was a little too arched from over correcting my posture
I had a MRI done and it showed a good amount of inflammation around my lower sacrum, and two discs starting to degenerate most likely from years of my active lifestyle. Though the deep pain in my left inner buttock was responsible for my current condition, known as piriformis syndrome. I sought out for an acupuncturist who was familiar with this condition, after the first few sessions, I noticed a great deal of improvement. I was in need of something more intense to help loosen this muscle and acupuncture seemed to work for me, as well as adding in cupping massage. I also started to really concentrate more on strengthening my hip abductor muscles and gluteus maximus muscle with specific exercises. The use of resistance bands aided in strengthening exercises…
Click the link to see more:http://www.livestrong.com/article/497017-resistance-band-exercises-for-piriformis-syndrome/. Piriformis Syndrome is more common than you may know so let me tell you what that is….
What is Piriformis Syndrome?
The piriformis muscle is one of the small muscles deep in the buttocks that rotates the leg outwards. It runs from the base of the spine (the sacrum) and attaches to the thigh bone (femur) roughly where the outside crease in your bum is. The sciatic nerve runs very close to this muscle and in some people (around 10 percent of the population) it passes straight through the muscle’s fibres! If the piriformis muscle becomes tight it can put pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause pain, which can radiate down the leg, commonly known as sciatic pain.
A common cause of Piriformis Syndrome is having tight adductor muscles (inside your thigh). This means the abductors on the outside cannot work properly and so put more strain on the piriformis. This is caused by prolonged sitting, sleeping in the fetal position for long hours, even intense biking can irritate this muscle
Most artist will complain of low back pain, though that low back pain maybe stemming from a tight piriformis. When the hip flexers and glutes become weak from sitting, this small piriformis muscle picks up all the slack to hold the joint together… Becoming bigger and stronger than it needs to be, pressing on the sciatic nerve. There are a number of stretches and strengthening exercises to help with this area as well as the lower back.
If you are not having any issues yet and are curious, do some research and find what works best for you. You maybe pleasantly surprised when you get to stretching, and notice how tight those muscles are. If you do deal with pain on a daily basis, please understand that pain is not something that you should have to live with. Do take the initiative, and extra cash to seek professional guidance with any injury. You owe it to yourself, your passion for tattooing, your art and your clients to make your health a top priority
I felt the need to share my experience, because I feel I am an active person, I try to be active at least four days a week. I stretch throughout the day, I eat a healthy well-balanced gluten-free, meat-free diet. I tend to tense muscles with stretches and hot/cold therapy. Inversion tables work really well too and can be a great addition to releasing a tight spine. I arrange my work area to best suit my body allowing to work as effectively as possible, as well as sitting with good posture… A daily practice
Do not hesitate to take responsibility for yourself. I only let about 2-3 months go by while this pain started to radiate out of my control and interrupted every aspect of my life. It has been nine months now and I feel about 80 percent better. I have committed myself to visiting my acupuncturist every other week if my schedule allows, and during more intense work weeks, I see her once a week. Deep tissue massage only irritated the area, so I found light massage worked best for me.
Here are key points to focus on:
*Get active, strengthen and stretch
*Eat a healthy diet
*Take breaks often
*Exercise your eyes, and keep them moist
*Arrange your workspace for your convenience, a rolling tray is a great addition to getting you off a counter workstation
*If you can, get rid of a foot pedal
*Use the lightest machines possible
*Sit with good posture and move your clients to best suit your posture (Don’t worry about their comfort too much, as long as they can sit well for you.)
These adjustments will aid in the longevity of your tattoo career. If you are currently healthy with no issues, but do not have a daily regimen then I suggest you start before you find yourself needing damage repair. If you are dealing with pain, and it comes and goes or is consistent, I suggest you get a head start on a professional opinion because dealing with pain should not be something you have to live with. I refuse to believe that. It is hard when pain seeps in and starts to interrupt your creative flow during a tattoo session, let alone the hours of having to sit and draw for each session. As artist we sit a lot, and that sitting needs to be balanced with activity and a healthy diet, as well as enough rest to allow the body to heal and prepare itself for the upcoming day. If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to e-mail me, I would love to give some helpful information and guidance. Until then, live purposefully and take care.
My first contribution to the TamBlog I thought to share…. www.tattooartistmagazineblog.com http://ow.ly/gWxul
“Welcome Artists, Collectors, and spectators! I would like to first say thank you to Tattoo Artist Magazine for inviting me to do a monthly contribution to their new TAM Blog. I am honored to be apart of this project and hope to help shed some new light on this dynamic industry from my perspective. I am writing to you in-flight from Denver Colorado, where I was visiting one of my resident studio’s, Godspeed Ink Tattoo located in Breckenridge Colorado.
Breckenridge is a skiing/snowboarding resort located in the heart of the Rockies. This town is full of rich mining history since gold was discovered there in 1859. The gold rush brought in all sorts of transient people, digging to be rich by day, too drinking, gambling, and brothal hopping by night. To me now a days, not much has changed. Digging for gold in the form of snow, Breckenridge now in its 51st year of ski resort opporation. Snoboarding is my primary reason for being in Colorado, as well as my fellow artists at Godspeed.
This winter of 2013 will be my 20th year on a snowboard and my 10th anniversary tattooing. I have worked in a few different studios in a few different states, and I have to say that I have never worked in a studio like Godspeed. I first visited there as a guest artist in February 2009 and moved the following June. Though I have deep roots in Colorado since I went to college outside of Crested Butte starting in 1995… my love for the Rockies goes further then anything else in my life and those that know me are use to seeing me come and go. The best thing in the world is to be able to share that love with others.
It is important to share other life experiences and hang out with your shop mates outside of just a work schedule. I have worked in studios where artists never hang out and don’t find a common bond. I have worked at some studios that the only hang out time is a drink after work, which is better then nothing, however, getting outside, exploring nature, going to a show or museum, having meals together and loving life is so important for any relationship especially in a creative environment. In turn when a shop mate is dealing with an unfortunate life experience it is easier for us to give a helping hand, companionship and understanding. Every artist at the shop snowboards, and it is one of the top priorities in our lives. The Shred & The Art! That is normally the order of our daily routine. Being that much closer to your shop mates is such a unique feeling, enevitablily spiraling into the shared creative atmosphere.
Every environment has its ups and downs, that is the dynamics with multiple humans consistently sharing space. The least amount of troubles the better creative environment for everyone. Step aside and bring in awareness, down to the core level of why you are where you are. Ask yourself, how does your environment help fulfill your life, and does that reflect positively in your work? If a change is needed, take the leap, if not, then take the initiative and ask your mates to share a meal, go to a museum exhibit, a live show, a hike or whatever you think could help create a more positive, creative, open environment so that you can transcend as an artist. Respect needs to exist no matter what level it can be given and or received. Being mindful is nessacary.
Tattooing is greater then itself, as a tattooer we are actively participating in a craft greater then ourselves. As allies and spectators of tattooing, we are connected with the art, act, and end result; that is greater then ourselves.
* Check your ego, dont allow it to expand ahead of your capabilities or contribution. We all have an ego, it is necessary, be sure to keep it parallel.
*Reach out to others, especially those near you in your creative environment.
*Build a foundation to grow from to keep your environment motivating, and free of negative energy.
*Watch out for emotional vampires, they tend to suck you of your energy. You can not alter their perspective and may need to keep them respectfully at a distance.
*Encourage a common bond.
I would like to conclude with mentioning the Paradise Tattoo Gathering that was held in Keystone Colorado just around the corner, it was so amazing to have so many creative, talented, friendly artists and spectators share in the experience and the energy that the mountains had to offer. Everyone was so stoked on the environment, and I am so happy that the Paradise Gathering will be returning to Keystone in 2013. Don’t miss it! Bring your mates too! lots of love and positive vibes! Melis
Hey everyone! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I was up in Colorado, as usual… I am sure you noticed that I travel there often if I am not residing in Colorado. Which will change by the way come June 2013!! I will be moving back… closer to Denver so stay tuned to that future news! It was an awesome trip! Reconnecting with friends on the slopes and doing some great tattooing, as well as healing my body from prolonged sitting abuse… getting out and getting moving is what my body needs to feel balanced and strong. Tattooing may look effortless, however it does have its side effects as an artist. More to come talking about that in the future. Tattoo Artist Magazine invited me to be a monthly contributor to their new TAM Blog. It is a honor to be asked for my voice to be heard, and I hope that you have a read from time to time as I post thoughts, trial and error stories, cause and consequence etc. I am just finishing up my first contribution and wanted to share a few words for my up coming post:
Tattooing is greater then itself, as a tattooer we are actively participating in a craft greater then ourselves. As allies and spectators of tattooing, we are connected with the art, act, and end result; that is greater then ourselves. Check your ego, dont allow it to expand ahead of your capabilities or contribution. We all have an ego, it is necessary, be sure to keep it parellel. Reach out to others, especially those near you in your creative environment. Build a foundation to grow from to keep your environment motivating, and free of negative energy. Watch out for emotional vampires, they tend to suck you of your energy. You can not alter their perspective and may need to keep them respectfully at a distance.
Encourage a common bond.
I will be posting my whole article soon, and as always thank you for all your support!! I am booking appointments for 2013, be sure to fill out the contact form!! Be well!
Paradise Tattoo Gathering is coming to Keystone Colorado this September 13-16 2012! I am so excited to have this event in one of my home towns, my favorite Summit County will be shared with so many of my artist friends most of which have never been to this area of the country before. It is going to be a weekend full of tattooing, education, and meeting of minds. It is also great from a spectator perspective so even if you are not getting tattooed it is worth a day or whole weekend trip. I am booked for this event but still do stop by and say hello if you catch me at my booth with Jake and Brian from Breckenridge’s, Godspeed Tattoo. My next trip to Colorado will be in November for opening weekend of Breckenridge…. consults are always welcome for future bookings. see you soon! x
I am super excited to announce the opening of my new studio space in Tempe, AZ. After leaving my long term relationship with Club Tattoo in order to have better balance in my life (while residing in Arizona), I was humbly offered a few opportunities and knew that just being on my own would be the best decision. It is a private studio, appointment only. All inquiries please continue to fill out the contact sheet.
Balance. I am always striving for the most perfect balance within my life for the things and places I love. Most times, I find I just dont have enough time for everything… with a demanding tattoo schedule, I didn’t have time for much else. So in the last 2 months, I have made time. First thing I had to leave a demanding shop atmosphere, signed up for a few art classes, and did some traveling to Colorado in June, New Jersey to see my family and do some tattooing at Timeless in July, followed by going down to Florida’s Key West to spend some time with my best friend. My first vacation in years, without my tattoo equipment! It was a fun few weeks… I love banyan trees, and they are all over Florida… here’s a photo I took across from Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West.