By Jamie Macpherson
I’ve been creating some new works using multiple processes. For years, I despised the digital medium, attributing it to taking jobs from all the real organic artists and classical animators. As a tattoo artist I value the hand-made aspect of creation as something more intimate or personal. Then I got into the world of fractals and sacred geometry and I knew I had to use computers to my advantage. The computer became a way of generating beautiful mathematical patterns that I could use in sculpting a complex new art style that combines hand drawn and hand painted elements. I taught myself how to customize settings and brush tools and as a result, I have created a new medium to work in that is so much more than just clicking a button...
It can take months to complete some of my newest digital works, but I am happy with the results. I have been printing my designs on canvas and painting every square inch in oil paint to take the digital medium back to organic, and the end result is a physical original piece of art, or I can turn some of these designs into tattoos.
I have been inspired by the visionary art movement and its themes. I feel it gives more purpose and identity to artists, rather than just creating something that just looks nice (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and I was drawn to the revolutionary nature of this movement. Its goal as a whole is to change the hearts of the segregated and see that we are all telling the same stories with our folklore, religious parables and cultural images.
It’s easy to see when laid out side-by-side that the masks, the faces, the deities, the themes are all so similar. In the end, the differences between religions comes down to arguing over terms, names and how a story is retold, and it seems that if we can just accept that every chapter in our human story is equally relevant, maybe one day we can all just get along...
I have been tattooing since 1999. In that time I have been influenced by so many artists, and traveled the world tattooing trying to come up with something new to bring to the table. It wasn’t until recently that I found my own unique voice and way of expressing myself.
Obviously as artists, we can’t help but imitate or be influenced by things we see and like, but it really can take a long time to find something that is your own signature. It’s true that you will always have your signature show through even if all you do is traditional, or Japanese or whatever, but I think as artists we all wish we could be truly innovative. Even if it gets imitated and someone else takes all the credit, the innovator will continue to create new ideas in ways that are their own art path. They’re not in it for the sake of celebrity or solely as a way to make a buck, and this is important to stay fresh.
I try to live everyday artistically in what I do, wear, how I communicate... I think the world is a blank canvas and I want to share my art in as many ways as possible. I have been creating t-shirts for companies all over the world in the psy [psychedelic] community to try to get my art out there beyond my tattooing. It’s really exciting for me that someone in India or Japan is walking around wearing my art, really that’s why I got into tattooing too. Just knowing that people will wear your art with pride and share that with other people is the greatest honor as an artist.
It’s easy to lose sight of that when we’re pumping out tattoos all day, five days a week, but I think it’s so important to keep reminding ourselves that what we’re doing is so much more than just feeding a trend or something. Tattooing is here to stay so it’s important to give people something timeless and from the heart. We have to stay inspired by the world around us, and the people we love.
I’ve been painting with my two-year-old since she was only six months old and I’m re-learning so much about letting go of ego and just going for it! Also doing collaborations with artist friends is such soul-food for staying inspired! I paint at home with my wife also and she’s always supported and inspired me. I think it helps that she is an artist (painter, photographer, seamstress) too, she understands this difficult path, but we choose to live the artistic life because it’s in our blood and souls. We have lots of tattooist friends all over the world who we can stay with and who regularly stay with us. Lots of late night collaborations and art jams. You can absorb so much so quickly like that.
As for the future, I hope to keep on trucking with innovation. I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve that I’ve never seen anyone do before in the tattoo world so I’m excited to try these things out. I’m working a book project of my sketches and completed visions, just waiting on the right company to pick it up, but it’s ready to go! I’m getting large-scale canvas prints distributed internationally, and more clothing designs on the horizon too. This April I will be tattooing in France and Switzerland, where I will be studying very hard to get my tattooing to the next level. Other than that, I’m just trying to spend as much quality time (and artistic time) as possible with my family and loved ones.
Stay true to yourself and stay inspired!
Jamie Macpherson can be found at: www.digitaldemigods.com.