Article | December 19, 2011 - 12:42am | By Isaac Aguila In this industry, you have to be a jack of all trades. You have to know how to draw, paint, do script, airbrush, work with clay and moldings, welding and Photoshop. Of course there are some who just focus on one part of this list, but what happens when a client wants a painting from you and you're stuck, like "Uh-oh." That's why I think it's better to dive into at least a couple of different mediums, if not all. That way you can be proud if your work was to be displayed in an art show.
In the years I have been doing this, I have found it's not just you who walks this creative path. It's you, your family, your clients, your friends and lastly, your enemies. When you make choices it's not just affecting yourself. It's affecting everybody who's walking this path with you. I've encounted a lot of different people and a lot of different sterotypes as well. I've tattooed on people who seemed like they would hate me because of my race while they're asking me to tattoo some sort of emblem to their liking. I was sure they thought I was below them. Looks fooled me! The guy who I thought was racist has become one of my best clients. I have heard stories that make you laugh and I've heard stories of such heart break I had to put down my tattoo machine and wipe tears from my face. In my journey, I have found out I'm not just a tattoo artist. In their eyes, in some ways, I'm their release from pain. They give me the honor to help memorialize what event had changed their lives. One of the stories that stuck in my mind was that of the loss of a child and the heartbreak the parents felt while asking me to tattoo their child's portrait on them; to always have a piece of her, even though she was gone. I have done portraits of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and children. Each and every one is a different story; while they are getting their artwork permently etched on their skin, they share their stories of heartbreak, of loss, of a time when their whole world turned black. They gave me the chance to bring some light back into the memory so they can start to heal.
I have tattooed a lot of different things to celebrate important times in peoples' life. I have tattooed my own face on my wife on our wedding anniversary to celebrate our love for almost 9 years now. I have tattooed a lot of pink breast cancer ribbons for women who were lucky enough to win their battles. I have tattooed dates on the ribbons where women weren't so lucky and they lost their battles with the disease. I have done foot prints to celebrate life and I have done hand prints to show death and greif. i have tattooed over scars from surgeries, from soldiers fighting for our country and from self inflicted pain. While tattooing sadness, it's obviously not my favorite but I think it's the most important thing that I can do. In a way they're giving their pain and sorrows to me, to try to transform and turn it from gray into a little light. While getting their tattoos, most talk and share why they are getting it. As I have had moments when I picture my own daughters and my wife in their situations and I have to pause and thank God that he has blessed me with another day in the life I am living.
Ive found that I'm not only an artist, I'm a therapist in a sense as well. Getting a tattoo is such a personal experience. It's between you and I. Nobody else in that world is going through the emotions stronger than us at that very moment of what we are trying to accomplish with getting your artwork. As an artist I do my best to portray your vision from my mind onto your canvas. Every little detail is important to me because it is to you. Every eye has to have a sparkle, every finger has to be shaped just as it is in the picture, and every expression has to be perfect.
No greater honor has ever been given to me as that of tattooing your memories. As an artist I take you very seriously and hope you do the same. We're all not bad guys and we're all not out here trying to be rockstars, even though that's what the media wants this industry to look like. Having well known friends in this industry they are not known personaly as they are publically and I think that's humbling. Most of us will never get to know each other completely, but that's why tattooing is so amazing. You express who you really are and what you really think with your tattoo. It's an honor to think that my ink is what can accomplish that.
About the Author Isaac Aguila Tattoo Artist