Creating Art? / by Justin Nordine


Being in the tattoo industry for almost 11 years now, a lot has changed. In the beginning of my career no iPads existed, no apple pencils. Literally it was paper, drawing materials and tracing paper.  Google was your main source of references.   So with the advances of technology has also advanced what can be achieved in the skin. 

I have found some artists literally draw everything. Using references to make sure things are accurate but literally drawing out everything. I’ve also seen other artists trace a found image online. I’m not talking about the tools that rip off other tattoos, but photographs or other type of references.  My question would be, are these artists less creative then the other artists that design from scratch?  I can only speak for myself, but I often merge various images together, then the artistry comes out on the skin. I’ll draw up a full design with color but often it’s just a map to guide me through the tattoo. On the skin is where I literally “paint”. I do the exact same thing when I paint. I find an image, I manipulate it, adjust colors or whatever and then begin to paint it on the canvas. Am I less an “artist” because I don’t draw from scratch?  I don’t think so. In my opinion, it’s just a different approach to creation.  I have often said creation is nothing more then looking at the world around you and seeing it in a different way.   What do you think?


much love