Custom Tattoo Blog

Feathers for Grandma

amiraAn artist, Amira came into my shop with the design for her next tattoo all drawn out. It was very delicate and ethereal and eminently tattooable. All I had to do was add some text and a few gray lines to tattoo it. She says, "This tattoo is super symbolic to the memory of my Gramma [who died recently]. I felt that it was important to get it on her birthday because it's like a gift for the both of us. She and I have always had connection that goes far beyond into many past lives. She always gave me guidance throughout her life and now she can be a spirit guide in this life. She visits me often in dreams, and sometimes I even get a random glimpse of her scent. I put a lot of intention into the drawing; the two feathers represent her life and herĀ  passing into the spirit life. I chose a bluebird feather because they were her favorite. I learned in an animal totem book that feathers represent spiritual freedom and accomplishment of rising from the terrestrial world. Many faeries and spirits come to us in the form of birds and other winged creatures. Feathers are healing tools, and I feel that will be beneficial to both my Gramma and I. " Click on the Read more link to see her drawing, outline and final photos.

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Larkspur Life

francois2Francois likes to hike through Oregon's gorgeous mountain country and for his second tattoo, wanted something that would reflect its beauty and what it means to him. The design is a compilation of images that I took from select photos Francois shot on his treks, plus a view of Mt. Hood from Lost Lake (in the background.) Francois says, "After having suffered some important losses in my life, I found myself doing volunteer work and gravitated toward projects involved in the restoration of the Larkspur habitat. As I worked to save the Larkspur, the Larkspur breathed life into me. With the losses also came uncertainty about where home was. This tattoo acknowledges the role the Larkspur has played in my life, as well as my calling Oregon home." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, outline and final photos.

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Tribal Style Arms

edwardLike a lot of people I tattoo, Edward has gotten various ink over the years, some of it as a result of a cover up attempt and others at different times in his life. Most of it is loosely tribal in style but not all of it matched very well and he was hoping to have it all pulled together somehow. I suggested that we use some of the forms that he already had in the old tattoos when adding in the new work, to connect everything all up. Also, we decided that he should have half sleeves created so that both arms matched better in coverage. As we fill in the new shapes, I will touch up the old tattoos to make all of the ink on his arms the same value (black, not gray.) Click on the Read more link to get a closer look at the results of our first sessions (outlines.)

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Musical Connection

jameshFor his first tattoo, James wanted something that reflected his life long love of music. He was thinking that it should be guitar based (he has five guitars) and feature Jimmy Hendrix's Voodoo Chile score but he wasn't sure how that would all go together. I also thought it would be cool to get the musical staff and possibly some clef symbols in, as well. We decided that it should be a half sleeve that would wrap around his arm and cross his shoulder to his upper back. He says, "Thanks to friend and co-worker Paul for sending me to Victoria. This image of a tat was swirling in my head for many months, but the courage didn't come until after an outdoor rock concert (ZZ Top) I had attended, presented a wondrous array of images, outwardly and proudly displayed. I told Paul about all this - and my apprehension. He scolded,"YA HAVE TO TALK TO VICTORIA!" (gulp) OK... My consultation with Victoria was pure relief. Her experience and comprehension caused my image to begin to solidify. Once I armed Victoria with pictures that described concept and aspect, her imagination influenced a final drawing that captured the detail of an iconic shape along with the imaginative twist on a piece of my favorite music. She was concerned about placement - something I couldn't imagine on my own, and I couldn't be happier." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and the results of our first session (outline.) You can still see some of the purple stencil underneath it.

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Buddhist Back Piece Cover up

dianeAfter taking the Precepts, Diane was looking for a way to make her Buddhist vows more real, more concrete. She came to me with several ideas for how to accomplish this goal with tattoos; she was thinking of using images of the Buddha, Kuan Yin and lotuses to create the base of a back piece cover up. She wasn't sure how each image should look or how everything would go together but I told her that was no problem-- I could totally help her with that. We started with a traditional Thai Sak Yant tattoo (the Gao Yord, for protection) on the back of her neck and went from there, tattooing the Buddha and lotuses in first and then adding a Sak Yant Ganesha on her right ribs and Kuan Yin on her left ribs. We put Prajnaparamita with her mantra in script overhead, just below the central Buddha. Then we added cherry blossoms and tied it all together with swirling Tibetan clouds. Click on the Read more link to see a couple of the drawings and the before and after photos.

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African Heritage-- Lioness

lyndellLyndell and I have been working together on his tattoo ideas for several years now; he is concentrating on his heritage, which is mostly African and Native American. He has decided that he wants the imagery on his right side to be reflective of his African ancestry and the tattoos on his left side to be Native American. We did two coverup pieces, one on his back and the other on his right arm, that involve African imagery. We've also completed a cheetah on his right thigh and are now working on a lioness for his right calf. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and photos of our outlining and grayshading sessions.

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Hummingbird Home

nikkiNicole came in with an incomplete hummingbird tattoo floating on her left ribs; she was wanting to have it finished but also possibly add something to it so that the bird wasn't just hovering by itself somewhere. She was thinking maybe fushias would be good to add, as she thinks they're beautiful flowers. I suggested that we anchor the bird with a fushia plant growing up and out of her hip and make it look like the bird was getting ready to sip from a blossom-- giving it a place to be, a home. Adding gray shading and color will also create more dimensionality and make the hummingbird look more real, like it belongs there. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and photos of the tattoo before we added the fushias and the results of our grayshading session.

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Fallen Soldier Battle Cross

scottScott did two tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait when he was in the US Marine Corps. Now that he's home he's decided on two rib tattoos to commemorate his time overseas. On his right side he wanted a Fallen soldier memorial tat and on his left a list of comrades that are important to him. We started with the right side and finished that tattoo today; we will ink the left side later on in the summer. Click on the Read more link to see the drawing for the right side and photo of the grayshading session.

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Crow Cover up

paulI first met Paul and his lovely wife Amy a couple of years ago when they came in to have some quote tattoos added to his forearms. They are artists and brought in the quotes in a particular font that they liked, so it was super easy for me. This year, Paul was ready for some more quotes and had them printed out but hadn't decided yet where on his forearms he wanted them tattooed. We started talking about it and I said, "You know, you're getting to the point where your forearms are going to be pretty full. What do you want to do with your upper arms--- in other words, we should start thinking about what each arm should look like as a whole." We then started brainstorming concepts for the sleeves, what themes would be good to unify each arm. Paul said he'd always wanted to cover up the tattoos he had on the middle of his upper arms and that he liked crows--- they are such smart and amazingly adaptable birds. Yeah! I had this vision of crows flying around his upper arm to cover up/camouflage the old tattoos; we could fill in the open areas of his lower arm with feathers and quotes to connect everything. Here's what he has to say about it, "I find it important to use tattoos as markers for my journey down the path. And what started as a few simple quotes magically turned into a collage of crows in flight. The amazing symbolism of the crows and the departure, for me, from one-off tattoos helped solidify this marker for great changes to come. I am honored and truly excited to be sharing this with such a deeply spiritual person who is helping me to define this marker and many more to come." Click on the Read more link to see the drawings for the right arm (outside, inside and feathers) and photos of the graylining and outlining sessions.

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Steampunk Laces

marieMarie is a big time gamer and fan of all things Steampunk. She came in to see me about some calf pieces based on spats and Victorian corsets; the idea being that the spats lace up from the bottom, showing intricate gears, pistons, watches and cool Steampunky stuff underneath, peeking through the laces. Click on the Read more link to see the drawings for the left leg (outline, gray shading and color) and the photo of the left calf outline (bottom) and gray line (top).

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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,