Results tagged “Claire Reed”

10:44 AM
tim kern tattoo on craig.jpgStarting off your week with this personal essay from our Craig Dershowitz on scoring a tattoo appointment with a booked artist, and the disappointment of having to cancel.

My mom is sick. I am in a bitter court battle. My new apartment requires two months security plus first month rent. They say that when someone gives multiple excuses, they are probably all lies. Believe me, I wouldn't believe this if I wasn't living through it. It is not believable. I cope with tattoos, through tattoos. Tattoos are cathartic and liberating. They remind me that I have control and power over myself, regardless of how many things are conspiring against me. They bring physical pain that, when there is so much mental pain, is a welcome respite. You know when the pain of a tattoo will end and you know how it will end.

For the initiated, tattooing seems like a never-ending process. We are constantly picking our next piece, considering our next artist and, usually, in the midst of a large project. But, there is a finite amount of skin and as each session closes, so too, eventually, does the body. It was my goal to have my body complete by the end of 2012. Tim Kern is in the middle of my back piece (above). Claire Reid is in the middle of my thigh (below right), and I had an appointment with Yoni Zilber for portions of my chest. 

claire reed The Magician Tattoo.jpgAnd, I had to cancel them all. Not only was it personally upsetting, it was professionally problematic. I know these guys. Their schedules are beyond packed. I wonder how many seconds it took for any of them to fill my spot with someone off of a waiting list. Getting another appointment can be difficult. Getting a reputation for being a flake is worse. Getting them to believe an excuse or three that you yourself wouldn't believe is the worst.

In a small shop in the Village, a tattoo artist told me that he wished he could get work from Yoni and asked if I could get him an appointment. Tim is enigmatic and booked--constantly. Claire travels the world and is only in the States about once a year. All three are legends in the community. All three are incredibly talented. All three have spots on my body reserved for them that, until complete, feel even more empty and naked than if they had nothing on them at all.

I was whining to Marisa about this situation and she told me what a controversial problem it is. Some artists are so booked and full of willing subjects to take any open spot so it's not that big an issue. Others take great offense as if it was a personal slight. The reasons, true reasons, for cancelling are equally across the board. Whether it is financial constraints, laziness, forgetfulness or some serious, life-altering change, the reasons for cancelling an appointment range from meaningful and necessary to insulting and rude.

How each artist copes is probably based on their own personality mixed the experiences they have had in the past both with that particular collector and with random others. I am lucky to consider Yoni a friend and know him to be a genuine, caring and family-oriented man. When I told him about my mother, he knew I was telling the truth and had immediate concern. He returned the money I had Pay-pal'd him and gave good wishes. Tim said not to worry and was extraordinarily flexible and kind. Claire was still in Australia but promised to ask the earth for healing. If you know Claire, you know this is completely in line with her beliefs and personality.

Their generosity was, mostly, their general nature. But, it was also coupled with what they know about me. I had never blown off an appointment with them before. I had sat through long sessions and I have recommended them and promoted them as much as possible. Each one deserves it too. Such a familiarity between artist and subject is, however, not the norm. And, in the interest of preserving an important relationship, there are standards everyone should abide. I am going to get deep now!

For Collectors:
  • Don't cancel. Yeah, that sounds definitive. And, it is. Don't cancel. And, I am not even talking about for the sake of the artist but for your own. You made a commitment, you chose something important to you. Do it. Anything else is a weak-willed cop-out. Of course, nothing is without exception and, for the proper reasons, you can make exception but you should consider an appointment as something that should only be missed if the reason to miss it is absolutely urgent and important.
For Artists:
  • Don't mind cancellations. Yes, it is your time and your money and your livelihood. But, you customer is also putting their time, money, livelihood (potentially) and body (definitely) on the line. Shit happens. Respect that.
That was brilliant, was it not? So many questions could be answered if we just returned to a state of chilling the heck out. There are down payments for a reason -- it addresses this problem. Anything else is a bunch of personal, petty, childishness on both sides of the gun. Our culture deals with enough harassment and misinformation as it is. Stay honest and respectful and we are all good.

01:35 AM
tarot tattoo.jpg
Claire Reid is a nomad. She travels across continents painting and tattooing eager collectors. Her style speaks of a quixotic existence, a jumbling of colors and shapes that betray stylistic definition. Her forms are fluid and organic. Personally, her look is bohemian, hippie, drum circle chic with the most elaborate body markings. She is her own chief.

I met her quite by accident or at least by the divine design of one who wants us to believe in accidents. Researching another article for this site, I was looking at pictures of full chest pieces. Twice, on different days, I came across Claire's work. It is unusual that I would notice a name or any text while staring at a beautiful piece of art. But I did. Then I looked further, reviewing her online portfolio, and found images of tattoos given around the world. I wanted a piece. More so, I wanted to be part of this motion around and forward. I wanted to be on that globe. I forgot the other article. I wrote to Claire.

This was the first time that I was searching for work simply for the sake of having the artist do it. If there are rites of passage in tattooing, this was one.

claire reed tattooing.jpg 
She wrote back. It was more than a month later. She was in New York, somewhat secretly, and would have time to work on a piece. The timing was terrible. I have no money. Nomads don't need to pay rent, but I do. Nevertheless, I found a way. I made the choice of spiritual and artistic creation over immediate, more corporal needs. So, I stepped deeply into the murk.

I meet Claire at Tribulation Tattoo in the East Village, NYC. The warlocks and gremlins that hang the upside down crucifix in its window (right across from a church, no less) mock her hippie style.

The tattoo we chose (and I say we because Claire was an active and helpful partner in the design and conception process) was of two tarot cards: The Magician and The Fool.

The Fool, always pictured walking off a cliff, is the risk-taker--his next step always across some great divide. Alone, he is nothing more than his namesake. But when paired with the powerful and potent Magician--the giver of spells, sorcery and sanctity--The Fool is transformed. His risks are rewarded, his dares desirable. 

claire reed The Magician Tattoo.jpgThat is the point where I find myself. I am leaping and believe that there is a force to plant a field beneath my feet when I return to ground. We begin an 8-hour-plus session on my leg. She tattoos and listens. She understands The Fool.

After The Fool, she starts working on The Magician, but after these past eight hours, she must leave soon. We've gotten the face of The Magician down, transformed by her alchemy into a Rembrandt painting and The Fool card, altered so that he is walking out of the card, constantly in motion.

We start making plans for its completion and further expansion. When I see Claire next year, we will add a stained glass window on the back of the leg and then begin working below the knee. The design will go down to the feet--down to the apex of movement, down where The Fool--and this tattoo nomad--push the globe forward again.


Claire still has available appointments during her guest stay at Tribulation Tattoo until this Saturday, April 24th. You can contact the studio at 212-539-1953.
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Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
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Patrick Sullivan
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