Into the new frontier!!!!
How about 2020 eh? Haha...shit. It sure has been a wild ride! But aside from all of the chaos brought about by pandemics and social injustice and the elections, 2020 has also provided us all a much needed reset button if we were fortunate enough to see it. I feel like a lot of people have done a lot of serious self-reflecting (maybe some more than others) and I am no exception. When the world came to a halt in March we all had a lot of time to think. My train of thought was tied to four main basic things:
1) Where have I come from?
2) Where am I now?
3) What are the things that are actually important to me?
4) Where do I go from here?
Well those four questions created one hell of a rabbit hole. Haha!
Now, at this point I've been tattooing professionally longer than I've done anything else professionally. Prior to tattooing though, I was an animator/video producer/graphic designer/web designer for ten years. That sounds like a lot...my primary job was animation, effects and compositing, but it was a small company that I worked for, so I did what was needed. Some days I built websites, other days I was running field audio for GMA or whatever, but my primary role in the company, and at the time my passion, was animation and compositing.
I really got into it because I was fascinated by it ever since I was a kid and played my first game on an old IBM PC 2. The idea that you could create something that could move on a screen fascinated me as a kid. Of course that fascination grew as console gaming came on the scene and graphics just kept getting better and better. I can still remember the exact moment I knew for sure that I wanted to be an animator. It was the first time I played "Diablo II". When that first cinematic scene came on I was hooked. My only goal in the game was just to get to the next cinematic. They were amazing. And I knew I wanted to be an animator. I didn't want to make video games, I just wanted to make the cinematics.
Then of course "Toy Story" came out and my whole world changed. I didn't have to make video games, I could make a whole movie! So I put Pixar in my sights and set to it. Now, still being a 15 year old little punk ass at the time, I wasn't the most future focus driven kid (as most 15 year olds aren't), but amongst all the skating,and teenage shenanigans I still had a goal.
I never made it into Pixar. Instead I had a pretty fun opportunity come my way shooting and editing extreme sports videos. That was a really fun year or so, but it didn't last unfortunately. The guy in charge was just one of those guys who's got the money and he's got the ideas, but he has no damn clue about any of it, so ultimately the whole thing just petered out. But that bit of time kept me around long enough to land my next job, which became my first real career role and the job that I held for the next eight years until I switched to tattooing. It was with a small media production company that needed an animator. It was great. Of course they then lost their web and graphic design guy so I took over that role as well, but it was still pretty great.
When the transition to tattooing took place, I more or less dropped all the technology. I still did a little bit of it on the side, but my main focus was making art with my hands. There was something about that that I needed at the time and because I came up in a pretty traditional apprenticeship, everything was done on paper, including the schedule. And while I had always had thoughts about using my background in 3D modeling for creating tattoos, I still stuck to good old pencil and paper for a long time. I didn't even like drawing on the iPad after I had one, but eventually I succumbed and now I really do like it for the tool it is.
And tattooing has been amazing to me. It's been hard sometimes and a whole lot of work over the last 13 years, but the rewards have been so worth it. It's let me travel and meet new amazing artists, experience new cultures and provide what I think is a great way of life for my family and it's allowed me to do what I love to do, which is create art every day.
When everything shut down in March it was quickly and painfully apparent how fleeting our ways of life are. It also became apparent that some of the things we think are so important really don't mean as much after all. With these realizations also came a great opportunity. For a brief moment, the fast lanes of life stopped and if you looked past the bullshit of all the rest of the traffic out there, you got this rare chance to carefully choose your next off-ramp or on-ramp instead of just getting tossed onto another exit before you get a chance to think.
It was in that moment that the question of what's really important came into play. It was easy to see all the parts when we weren't all going a million miles an hour, so breaking it down wasn't really all that difficult. We were already without a lot of our first world societal comforts, so it was easy to decide what of that stuff was easily expendable. What it boiled down to was that the people closest to me, my family and my time with them is the utmost important thing to me and beyond that there's art and tattoos. All of the reflection over the last few months has made me love those three things more than ever as well as rekindled my love of animating.
So this puts me at where I am today with the question of 'Where do I go from here?'
I love tattooing more than ever, so that isn't going anywhere. I only plan to push that further. But my rekindled interest in animation and digital arts has sent me down a rabbit hole only to discover a new mindset and a new direction for my artwork.
What did I find down that rabbit hole? CRYPTO ART. More specifically, in the form of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. What the hell is an NFT, you ask? Well, I'll let you Google the idea of fungibility, but what it means is that now you can have digital artwork that can be bought, sold and traded on the blockchain and which has immutable, verifiable proof of authenticity and rarity. That means that I could make an edition of 100 or I can make an edition of 1 and there will only be that many verifiably authentic copies. This ability to create rarity and the ability to authenticate the work as original is what has finally made it possible to have value to a digital work. The world of crypto art is an exciting new space and I'm really looking forward to exploring its depths and making some newly inspired creative works to offer as NFTs.
This is something I've become super excited about and I've been preparing a series of works that I'll be dropping on the blockchain soon, so keep your eyes peeled for more info and the link to the NFT marketplace when they go live.