Villain Arts Chicago Tattoo Con 2017

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Kelly Doty BarretteThis weekend Frank and I attended the Villain Arts Chicago Tattoo Convention. Not only was it a great networking event for artists but we were able to get some work done and I was able to meet the extremely talented Kelly Doty.

For those of you that don’t know her, Kelly Doty is an extremely talented tattoo artist who recently was a finalist on Ink Masters. As a tattoo enthusiast and “collector” I have watched Ink Masters since the very first episode. But it wasn’t until Kelly was on the show that I was so awed by someone’s work that I anticipated every week so I could root for her. I won’t even lie.. when she didn’t win I was bitter. I just really thought she deserved the title and find her work to be incredible. So when I found out she was going to be at the con I decided to make her one of my Dead Girl Skullerfly Decay Barrettes… completely inspired by her.

When I met her I told her I made her something and when I told her it was a barrette she said “Girl you are speaking my language” and dug into the gift bag. She loved it and ripped the rose out of her hair.. threw it to the side and said “stupid rose” and immediately put my barrette in it’s place ha ha. She was an absolute delight to talk to and when I told her I loved her work she pointed at her new barrette and said “I love your work”. When I said goodbye and thanked her for rocking my barrette right away she said “try to stop me from wearing it” ha ha ha. Here is the photo a friend at her booth took of us during our meeting..

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And the day just got better because our tattoo artist, Dave Togtman (of Black Devil Tattoo) was working the event and reserved time for both Frank and I to get more work done.

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Frank got the netherworld priest added to his wrist as a part of his Beetlejuice sleeve and I got my Neo Traditional style Captain Spaulding skull on my calf next to my Baby Firefly pinup. These pics were taken right after each piece was finished. He did an amazing job on both of them and we couldn’t be happier with them.

 

On top of it Dave also gave us this amazing art piece he had on display at the show. It will definitely be getting framed and hung up in our tomb sweet tomb!

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Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole

 

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Baby Gets A Makeover!

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So in 2006 I was probably one of the first people to get a Baby Firefly tattoo. I remember sharing it with Sheri Moon Zombie on Myspace and she was in awe that someone would get her movie character as a tattoo and she featured it on her page. She even eventually featured it on the Total Skull website when it launched as well. Then before you knew it House of 1000 Corpses and Devil’s Rejects tattoos were everywhere.

The thing about my tattoo was it wasn’t suppose to be a portrait version of her. It was suppose to be an representation of the character but in a traditional pin up girl style and pose. My tattoo artist at the time came up with the drawing and so it began. It didn’t really turn out as traditional as I had wanted it to but it worked. The downfall is that over the years the tattoo didn’t stick well and some of the features even bled out. I take overly good care of my ink with sunblock and such so it was just time and possibly just the way the ink was originally done.

So it’s 10 years later and I have been putting off getting something done with this tattoo. I went to Dave Togtman at Black Devil Tattoo who happens to be a long time friend of my husband and opened his own shop last year (we actually had Frankenhearse on display at their opening party). My goal was to see if we could transform what I had into a neo traditional style tattoo and hopefully magically bring it back to life some how. The reason I thought neo traditional would work is because it can incorporate the traditional old school colors and pin up style my tattoo already had but could also have cartoonish like qualities if needed and thick lines that could hopefully fix the bleed out.

I have to say I am really happy with what he has done so far! He started working on it yesterday. His goal being lets get her cleaned up first and then go from there to add to it etc. As you will see from the collage below (and mind you this is a large tattoo on my leg so perspective is a little off on each photo) it goes from 2006 when the tattoo was first done, to the 2016 photo I sent to Dave of it sadly needing to be fixed and then the new neo traditional style work he did last night.

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Living Dead Girl Nicole’s Baby Firefly Tattoo Transformation Part 1

He wants to see how it heals and then we are going to do another session  that will incorporate background that will make it look even more neo traditional and other elements I want to add to it. One of them he actually already designed for me and showed me last night. Needless to say I am stoked to get it added! I will wait until he does it to share what it is. Now to take care of this swollen leg and prepare for the kankle that comes with it ha ha.

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole

Artist Shout Out: Ryan Gutekunst and Simona Candini

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This is a story of how an artist in Italy and a tattoo artist in Chicago made my arm beautiful again 🙂

I had a tattoo done on the top of left arm that meant a lot to me. It represented who I was as an artist. How growing up art has always been my release and escape from the troubles I was facing in my life. For those who follow my blog or know me I am talking about my Art Heals Crayon Tattoo. I got it 3 years ago and at first it was great but after it healed a pit of regret started to eat at me. Everyday I would look at it on the top of my arm and wish the artist would’ve thought a few things through. Meaning that once it healed it would look a bit different. What happened was the lettering was done so closely to the edges of the banner that when it healed and the ink set to the skin the word HEALS was no longer legible and parts of the banner and crayons just didn’t come out as I expected either. The backgound was so dark it lost some of the focus of the tattoo as well. I hate to admit it but the tattoo was a bit rushed by the aritst leaving me with a tattoo that just didn’t heal the way it could/should have. Having many tattoos I take care of them and they always heal perfectly. I took care of this one just the same.. including sunblock on sunny days like I do my sleeve.. back and arm tattoos. However no matter how well you take care of something a rushed tattoo is never going to be what it could have been. Sad seeing it was one I thought so long and hard about before I got it done.

The biggest kicker was that so many times people complimented the tattoo but always followed it up with one question……… “Art …. what?”

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Seeing that was the whole vision and message behind the tattoo, it killed me to be asked that so many times. A tattoo with that much meaning should not hold that much regret. It was eating at me so much that I finally decided to do something about it.

At first I asked some artists if they could fix it. Most of them told me they could but that as it healed and time went on it would most likely do the same thing. They could brighten the banner and other parts of it up again but there wasn’t much more that could be done. Seeing this was on the top of my arm I wanted to really think this through. I decided to make my appointment for fixing it for now. Even if it was temporary it was better then nothing. I told myself if I found something with just as much meaning that would cover it up then I would go that route with my appointment instead. Ryan Gutekunst was willing to work with me either way and couldn’t get me in until June. That gave me 4 months to figure out what route I would choose. I knew he would be the man for the job because his work is amazing and I had seen cover ups and other work he had done my friends in the past.

One day by chance as if it were meant to be I was on Etsy searching for Big Eye Art (because I just love it) and my jaw dropped when I came across a watercolor painting done by an extremely talented artist from Italy….Simona Candini. It just reminded me so much of myself and myself as an artist. Creepy meets cute. Macabre meets Feminine. You know my whole Jem and Elvira ulter ego personas that make up who I am :). Then I read the title of the piece “Little Demons of Inspiration” and then it hit me… THIS was my cover up!

I knew some altering would need to be done to cover up the old tattoo (such as darkening the colors or even possibly changing them) plus out of respect as an artist myself I contacted Simona and asked for her permission to get her work done as a tattoo. She was nothing but supportive and very happy that I wanted to use her piece. She asked me to send her photos. It was set! I let Ryan know and he said it could be done. I could not be happier.

In June I had my first session. I got the whole outline done.

Stencil placed over old tattoo…

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Let the pain begin…

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We added a few things. Some bats in the mix of the butterflies coming off her paintbrush to sortof represent me a little more but also to blend with the bats on my Count Von Count wrist tattoo that would be below the new tattoo. Ryan also surprised me with a little skull added ot the center of her bow! So me!

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Simona was thrilled with the addtions and even shared the work on her Facebook page.

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Well I had to wait 5 months to get my next session scheduled because Ryan is so good he is a hot commodity. The good thing is that gave the outline a good time to heal so that when he did fill it in he had a nice canvas to work with. Especially with it being a cover up.

Well folks my appointment was yesterday and I could not be happier.

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I may have to go back in for one final touch up once it heals to make sure the old tattoo doesn’t come through. Ryan is smart about cover ups. He starts off light. Waits for them to heal and then adds to them. Some artists like to just go in there super dark and then there is nothing you can do about it later. Glad he knows what he is doing because I could not be happier. My arm hates me and Ryan right now after all the hours of drilling the ink in ha ha (he isn’t heavy handed at all.. just good work takes time and should never be rushed which I learned the hard way with the original tattoo I was getting covered ha ha). I am sure once it’s no longer red, swollen and painful it will be alot happier ha ha.

If you are in the Chicagoland area and looking to get work done I highly recommend Ryan. He can be found at Insight Studios! Hit him up! Don’t forget to also check out Simona Candini’s insanely beautiful work as well!

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole

Loves: Happy Birthday Elvira!

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#tbt to the times we met my idol…..

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The woman I have wanted to be ever since I was a young batling. Other girls wanted to look like Barbie and when I saw my Dad’s cardboard cut out of Elvira I knew Barbie had it all wrong. I even attempted it for Halloween when I was about 8/9 years old….

The best part was telling Cassandra about this in person. How my Mom wouldn’t let me cut the top or bottom of the dress. Even back then I was obsessed with making sure my Halloween costumes were on point ha ha.

Happy Birthday Cassandra Peterson! Thank you for making these memorable moments a reality. Especially the day I gave you my Sinderella portrait. I will forever be grateful for your reaction that day when I gave it to you!

I am honored to have you tattoo’d on my arm as a part of my Pretty Scary sleeve! So many people see it and reminisce about how much they adore you. They tell me stories and talk about how stunning you are and how you always have been.

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Thank you for inspiring woman that it’s sexy to be different!

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole

I may do creepy but I also do cute!

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Don’t know what to gift that special little girl or woman in your life? Why not a custom accessory made by yours truly! I might specialize in the dark and spooky but I also do cute and glittery! 😉 So why not take their favorite colors, characters, princesses, animals etc. and let it inspire me to make them a one of a kind wearable piece of art.

Here are a few examples of pieces I have done in the past for people that are more on the cutesy and pretty side!

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VLUU L210  / Samsung L210
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VLUU L210  / Samsung L210
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Want to place a custom order? Just contact me and we can discuss. Remember if you want this for a birthday or for the holidays to make sure you order far enough in advance because custom orders require time for ordering supplies and making them!

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole