Results tagged “Yoni Zilber”
Starting 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.
And, 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!
This Friday, October 21st at 6:15, Yoni Zilber of New York Adorned will be part of the "Artists on Art" discussion series at the Rubin Museum of Art, where he'll talk about his study of Tibetan art and its relation to tattooing.
Tattooing since 1998, the Israeli-born tattooist artist in various styles including Thai, art nouveau, and ornamental art. Yoni says he is especially drawn to Tibetan art for its sensitive lines and rich compositions, which he says contour beautifully with the body. To excel at this style, however, requires not only technical skill, but also a keen sense of proportion, an appreciation for symbolism, and a respect for tradition.
For some time, Yoni studied Tibetan art on his own but sought out a mentor who could help him take his art to the next level. In 2007, while studying Tibetan paintings at the Rubin Museum, he met Pema Rinzin, an accomplished Tibetan tangka painter and contemporary artist whose work can be found in the Dalai Lama's temple in India. After several encounters, Rinzin agreed to take Yoni on as his apprentice. Committed to learning the intricacies of this ancient art, Yoni says he applies these lessons daily in his tattoo work.
To see more of Yoni's portfolio, check his website and blog.
When I decided to dedicate my right sleeve to the history of Israel and the Jewish people, I chose my artist based upon unusual criteria. Not only was Yoni Zilber a talented tattooist with a detailed style, capable of a variety of different looks, but, also, he was born in the Motherland. He was a Jew! And, an Israeli Jew at that!
I considered that my sittings would be a religious experience of sorts, but Yoni is quiet and reflective. He doesn't bustle with the energy of the Tel Aviv nightlife and, while he has the sarcasm and dry wit of most Israelis, he is far more serene and measured in his approach.
Sitting with Yoni was a contemplative experience, a meditation in mind-body connection more reminiscent of the Tibetan influences coloring Yoni's work than of any specific time or place.
At Brooklyn Adorned where he works, he attempts to describe the world of tattoo to my very narrow mind, specifically exploring the what life is like for a Jew who tattoos.
You are one of the more well known Israeli tattoo artists -- do you think that people seek you out for that reason sometimes?
I think so. I do get to work a lot when I'm going to Israel.
Do you ever get asked to do Jewish or Israeli themed tattoos?
Yes, I work in New York, and it happens more here than in Israel. [laughs]
Do you ever get asked to do racist or other stuff? How do you handle that?
If it is for racist reasons, I'll refuse. But, if you want a swastika on your Buddha cloth, I'll do it.
Is Israeli stuff your style or do you tattoo other themes?
Tibetan art is my main focus and the style I want to tattoo as well.
What is tattoo culture like in Israel?
Israel is a hot country and it's more of a beach culture so, mostly black & gray tattoos, but no specific style. Its influence comes from both from Europe and the States.
You have traveled the world. Where is the tattoo culture most prevalent? The weakest?
I think here in America it is strongest. There is no place in the world that you walk on the streets and, in some neighborhoods, there are more tattooed people walking on the streets than un-tattooed people. Not sure where it is the weakest, maybe Antarctica?
How do you increase your skill sets? What do you study? Who do you study with?
Traveling and working with different artists help. Tattoo conventions and just hanging out with other tattooers helps too. I'm studying Tibetan art now with master painter Pema Rinzing.
Is any of your own ink Jewish or Israeli?
I am not sure but my black ink turns white on Shabbat. [laughs]
I mean, do you have any Jewish related themes in your tattoos?
My right arm was done in Israel, but there is no Jewish meaning behind it.
Does your ink represent your tattoo style?
I do have lot of Tibetan art tattooed on me and some styles from the Far East.
If you weren't doing ink, what would you be doing?
A rabbi. Definitely a rabbi.
You can book an appointment with Yoni Zilber at Brooklyn Adorned.