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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bills Memorial Day - Reflection Time.

My past has been filled with creative ways. I would like to thank my Mother and Father for raising me with a well rounded art background. Since I was little, I have been drawing and painting. Beginning with the basics, I was then led to making jewelry, painting furniture. shoes, and mural's, and then I started getting into photography. Growing up I always wanted to have a career where I could be called an Artist. Although, I wanted this title, I looked at my friends who were currently enrolled in art school and saw how unbecoming they were. I started to realize  that I didn't want to take the chance of  being a starving artist.

(My Moms and I at the Milwaukee Tattoo Convention)
I wanted to do art for the love of it and not because I was forced to. When my high school days came to an end, I made the decision that I was not going to go on in college for Art. Instead, I went to school to study Spanish and Human Services. Four years of studies and I had only taken one art class. Pathetic. That is something I truly regret. Although I had taken only one art class, I kept up with my painting to earn some extra cash on the side. That being said, I am going to rewind and take you back to the days where it all started.

It was my 18th birthday, the day I was considered a legal adult (lol) and my parents had surprised me with my first tattoo appointment. They dropped me off at Black Dragon Tattoo.  I walked though the door feeling a little hyperactive and nervous. I received my first tattoo from Barry, who made me feel comfortable by talking to me the whole time. It was a small four leaf clover. I was so excited and filled with adrenaline that when he told me to go look in the mirror, I couldn't believe that it was already done.
My first year of college had ended and during my summer break I went back to Black Dragon Tattoo. My purpose of this return was  to scope the flash for ideas of what I wanted next. I was greeted by Bill Hanson, owner of the shop. Bill and I got to talking and he told me to bring in some of my drawings. So.... time passed and there I found myself sitting with Bill coming up with ideas for my additional body art. In flowing form my tattoo starts with a design before the clover, followed by peacock feathers and a tiger lily preceding with an abundance of flowers and vines creating the illusion of a skull. Its beautiful.

(Bill making a stencil)
I sat for many hours while Bill tattooed me. Through conversation  he had gathered that I was creative and a hard worker.  The day of my final appointment Bill had asked if I wanted to apprentice for Black Dragon Tattoo. This was amazing I thought to myself.  I said yes right away but because I was a Junior in college, Bill told me that I must graduate first. He had told me that tattooing isn't for everyone and it is a lot of work. With Bills offer, I continued to go to school  but came home on my breaks to start to learn the fundamentals of tattooing. May 2008 I graduated from the University with a Major in Human Services and Spanish and was ready to move on to my next challenge.

(George letting me practice)
 Learning how to draw tattoo style was not easy. I considered myself an out of the box thinker and artist. I though anything can go, use your imagination and it will work. This is not true for tattooing. Things had to make sense,your lines have to meet up and be straight and your shading has to be smooth and solid.

(Finishing the color in Willis. My first tattoo I did on Skully)
This was a huge challenge for me. I would come in at night after work and Bill would give me assignments. Sometimes when I came back with my product, he must of thought he was crazy for getting into this with me. Despite that, he then would sit down with me and show me how to draw. There were many people wondering why Bill was taking me on. Many people thought it was pointless but for some reason Bill had faith in me. He was my motivation. He believed that I could be a great tattoo artist. He was confident with my hard work and told me If I keep up, someday, I will get there... I will be called a tattoo artist.

(Tattooing my Pops)
While in my apprenticeship, Bill had passed away. The one man that was training me. The one that had so much confidence and faith in me was now gone. A year has passed without Bill and I am proud to say that because of him my motivation and inspiration still drives. I know he watches down on me and my work. The months after were very rocky roads and I thank everyone that has put their two cents in my apprenticeship that Bill had started. I am tattooing now, and for Bills kind heart, words of wisdom, and faith I am forever thankful.

(Barry, Me, Nancy, Rich)
Today, I will be celebrating his life with my fellow co-workers, my second family, the Black Dragon crew. Rest is Peace Bill and stay with me as I travel through the rest of this jouney as a tattoo artist.

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