Custom Tattoo Blog

Lotus Shoulders

KhamLast year in the fall, Kham came in to see me about some keloid scars she had on her shoulders. She didn't have any ink, but was hoping that we could tattoo some lotuses over the scars, after she read my Cover Up Tattoos article (see main menu.) I told her that keloid scars may or may not take ink and it's always a bit of a risk tattooing them. But if she was willing to take the leap, we might do something lovely over them. We started on her right shoulder, which had fewer scars, and now just finished up her left shoulder. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, before, outline, and final color photos.

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Quetzalcoatl Connection

BenitoReferred to me by another long time client, Benito first came in to see me last year. He asked me to render his beloved dog Kimi into a tattoo for his upper left shoulder; that project turned out nicely. Now we are working on connecting all of the disparate ink he already had on his left arm. At my suggestion, he chose to commemorate his heredity and family, who are from the capital city of Mexico. We are uniting his arm with Quetzalcoatl, the famed Aztec Plumed Serpent God, wrapping him around Benito's arm. When I was in Teotihuacan, Mexico (the famous City of the Dead, which as well as the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon, has many statues of Quetzalcoatl) I took tons of photos, which I used to create the drawings. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline, and gray photos.

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Peacock Cover up

Jennifer MJennifer survived breast cancer, a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery; she came in to see me about covering up her scars. She says, "Victoria created a tattoo for me that transformed the hideous reminder of a life-threatening illness into a work of art. I no longer look in the mirror and see violence; rather, I see beauty, strength, and transcendence. Victoria worked with me to design an image that would accomplish such a feat. She reviewed the hundreds of exemplars that I had collected and did some research of her own. The process produced something more stunning than I ever could have imagined. The words do not exist for expressing my gratitude." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, before, outline, gray and final photos.

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Breath of Shiva

NeerajOriginally from the Kerala region of India, Neeraj is now living in Hyderabad with his wife and daughter. His wife Janhvi is a tattoo artist and has performed all of Neeraj's tattoos. (He showed me some photos of the murals she has painted on the walls of their house and she is a truly talented, amazing artist!) His tats are nicely done and solid but he wanted to get some ink while he was in Portland on business; he asked my client Paul Thomas who to go to and contacted me. While he was in the company office, he looked up and noticed my other client Nick, whom he had not met yet. (Nick was my November feature on this blog.) "I have to talk to that guy!," he thought to himself. I'm glad he did. After Neeraj came in to my shop, we talked a bit about the ink he wanted; he thought maybe I could add something to the tiger eyes on his forearm. I said that instead of altering Janhvi's work, we should unite the whole arm and finish out the sleeve. I thought it would be an excellent unifier to add swirls representing the breath of Shiva (the Hindu God of Destruction, Meditation and Ganja, among other things, etc.) flowing out of his mouth, connecting the lower and upper arms. Hopefully Janhvi will agree. Click on the Read more link to see the final photos.

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Asian Dragon Cover Up

NickA martial arts practitioner, Nick wanted to cover an old tattoo he had on his right upper arm. He says, "In the Chinese zodiac I was born in the year of the dragon. As a kid I started reading a lot of swords and sorcery type fantasy books, and there are lots of dragons in those. As an adult I practice Shaolin Kempo, a martial art based around five animal styles, one of which is the dragon. I don't quite fight like a dragon, but I'd like to.  Really, it only makes sense that I should have a tattoo of one. Besides, dragons are badass! " Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, before, outline and gray shading photos.

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Peony Cover Up

KendraKendra came in to see me about some scars she had on her upper right thigh. She says, "I have self-inflicted scars that I have thought about covering up for years. During my adolescent years, I struggled with depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia. Even though that time in my life was over ten years ago, the scars were still always a reminder. I wanted to cover them with a peony; it's my mom's favorite flower because her mom loved to grow peonies. So now instead of seeing scars that remind me of a painful past, I will see a beautiful peony that reminds me of the strong women that I come from. I am excited for Victoria to add color to it in four weeks! " Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, before, outline, gray shading and color photos.

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Power Animal

Ben RBen is one of my favorite clients and always brings me great projects to collaborate with him on; he knows what he wants, is articulate, and has done his research. For his first thigh piece he was thinking about a full color bear piece. Ben's a power lifter and he liked the power and strength the Grizzly (or North American Brown) bears represent. They are solitary animals that are "awesome" in the true meaning of the word--- "inspiring of awe." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline and gray shading photos.

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"I Will Rise Up"

Amy KAmy came in to see me about a chest tattoo. She says, "Early 2017 for me was painfully challenging; I repeatedly found myself on my bathroom floor, in too much pain to cry, wondering how I would get through. It was repeatedly the image of a butterfly that kept me going. Before my dear friend's cancer diagnosis, she was one day lamenting the messy feels of parenting and the judgement of doing it wrong. I had laughed and said I wasn't above sobbing on the bathroom floor, covered in my own snot. I was a motherfucking butterfly. I'd live to spread my wings and rise up. Little did we know, that image of a butterfly would support her through a year of difficult treatment, at the end of which, she would be free of cancer and thriving. And little did I know, I would use the same image to get me through a health crisis that challenged me on every level. Today, I had a butterfly tattooed on my chest, so on hard days or if/when I end up back on my bathroom floor, covered in snot, I can remind myself I will get through this. I will rise up." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline and final color photos.

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Buddhist Completion

WilliamPLiving and tattooing in Portland, many times I'm working with clients who already have ink in the area they want to be tattooed. William had a half sleeve tattoo on his right arm and some ink already on his left. He came in to see me about completing a sleeve on his left arm. He says, "All my tattoos have deep meaning and reflect my life experience. The half sleeve on my left arm is a reflection of my religious inquiry with both Buddhism and western Esotericism. For this tattoo I opted for an open water scene with the Om symbol to represent Avalokiteshvara, as she is commonly represented floating on a lotus pouring a jar of tears into the ocean. I wanted this to represent my empathy and shared sadness with the world. My western astrological sign is Cancer so it was also nice to incorporate a crab into the scene." I also added some kelp, to tie the upper and middle parts of his arm together. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, gray shading and color photos.

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Take Two Addition

LisaTSometimes a new client contacts me wanting some help with a tattoo that didn't quite turn out how they thought it would. Lisa had a tummy tuck scar that she wanted covered up and went to an artist who hadn't had the benefit of knowing the "cover up formula." (See my Cover Up Tattoos article for more info on that.) Lisa asked for dragonflies and some flowers to camouflage her scar. Her artist tried to cover the scar with that imagery but the design didn't work; you could still see the scar afterwards. Years later, when she came in to see me, Lisa still wanted the same thing but now her lower abdomen had unsuccessful ink all across it. I suggested we deploy the formula using Clematis flowers behind the old ink to cover the scar and include a larger, more detailed dragonfly. Already, with just the outline and gray shading in, that scar is stepping back. Once the color is in, the scar will totally go down and the new ink will dominate the old. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline and gray shading photos.

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Contact me for an appointment at 503 807-7863 or email me at

833 SE Main #104
Portland OR 97214

HOURS: Tuesday--Sunday,