Custom Tattoo Blog

Hawaiian Style Cover Up

timshelTimshel came to me with an old tattoo that she wanted covered up. She was very articulate, had done her research and knew exactly what she wanted, bringing in several images of Hawaiian flowers and tribal style designs. She also wanted to have her parents represented, so she brought their signatures in for me to use. She gave me artistic license to create something along the lines of what she was thinking of, and all I needed to do was make sure we used the Cover Up/ Camouflage formula. (The formula stipulates that the new image be: bigger, darker, use more line work, colors of dark value and the position of both new and old tats to move and fool the eye.) Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, the before picture and the result of our first two sessions--outline and gray shading.

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Orchids for a Scar

allyAlly had a large scar on her right forearm from an old tattoo that she had had lasered; she emailed me a photo of it and was wondering if there was any way to cover it up. Getting a tattoo can be an excellent way to cover over a scar. I told her that with scars, I really need to see and feel them in person before committing to tattoo them. If the scar is flat and solid enough, many times I can tattoo over it successfully-- but some scars, especially ones that have been lasered, are not good candidates for holding ink. When she came in, she had done all of her research and brought some great images of orchids, a butterfly and a hummingbird that she was hoping to use for imagery. I ran my fingers over her scar and thought that I could tattoo over it, but because of the varying textures of it, was curious to see how it would take ink. We started in on the outlline and the scar was fine. She says,"After years of hiding the scar on my arm, I found the courage to reach out for help. That's where Victoria comes in. With a handful of photos she brought my vision to life. Not too long ago I would look down at my arm and see ugliness and shame. Now I look down and see beauty and freedom. No more hiding!" Click on the Read more link to see the drawing, the before picture and the result of our first two sessions (outline and gray shading.)

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A Rose By Any Name

eddyEddy came to see me about adding to an existing tattoo on his left arm. He says, "The rose we're 'upgrading' is my first tattoo. When I got it, I had just come out of the closet and was inspired by the lyrics of a song, which itself was inspired by Shakespeare. 'A rose by any other name would smell as sweet' is a commonly quoted part of a dialogue in Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things 'are'. 'A rose by any other name is just as sweet'. The song expands on that and talks about how it doesn't matter what the world thinks of you and what names you might get called in your life. Now that I'm older I wanted to enhance that first belief to express the diversity of the community. Roses come in many different shapes, colors and forms and they're all roses. Even then, it doesn't matter what you call them. They're still beautiful. So with Victoria's help, we're turning my single sweet rose into a garden of delights. I can't wait to see how my rose garden turns out."  Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and the result of our first session. You can see where the original tattoo is and the stenciled area (upper arm) that we will tattoo during our next session.

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Feather and Floral Coverup

nicoleI tattooed a peacock feather on Nicole's right upper back and shoulder/collarbone area a little while ago; now we are working on covering up an old butterfly tattoo on her upper back/neck. We're using calla lilies for that piece. (See the first drawing by clicking the Read more link below.) She decided that she wanted to continue the peacock feather theme for a half sleeve but also add several flowers/plants that had significance for her. We added poppies, a thistle, some ferns and a fiddle head fern growing up and around her arm to her back. (See the second drawing below.) Nicole is married to Matt, (my June feature) and they are both working with me concurrently, tattooing their left arms. I wonder if they planned it that way. :-) Click on the Read more link to see the drawings, before picture and gray shading photos.

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Underwater Sea Creatures

matt2Matt has several existing tattoos on his left arm but he wanted to tie them all together with a sleeve based on his love for diving. Also, he and his wife Nicole found an amazing illustration of several fantastical sea creatures that he wanted to use throughout the tattoo. When he came in for his consultation we got into a conversation about kelp and how cool it is; I was thinking how great it would be to use kelp as a unifying motif; I had visions of it swirling around his arm, with a couple of starfish embracing his existing tats. He says, "For years I have been thinking of a way to communicate my love for free diving. To train, I would dive down to the anchors of the kelp and sit Indian style around them. As I sat there I would become one with the kelp, moving along with it and really becoming one with the environment. When you become one, sea creatures that you didn’t even know to exist start to make themselves visible. I chose Victoria because of a tattoo she did for my wife. The peacock feather was such a beautiful piece of art, I knew she could bring the flow I would witness on the sea floor to life in a way that would blend with my vision. It was also important to me to incorporate my other tat pieces, because they are all the story of my life. I couldn’t be happier and am very anxious for the next session." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and outline photos.

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Blue Lotus Truth

beckyBecky and her husband Rob came in to see me for Becky's first tattoo. She says, "Getting this (first) tattoo was a big step for me. When I was younger, I made the decision that I was never going to get a tattoo, ever. I wanted to preserve the natural beauty of my body and I thought a tattoo (obviously something that scars the body) would somehow take away the naturalness and perfection of the human body that I thought so highly of. After living in Portland for just a couple years (I come from a small town on the East Coast) I began to see how beautifully sacred tattoos are. I began reading about the history and ancient rituals of our ancestors and how they used tattoos as a way to document their lives and signify milestones of triumph, joy, honor, loyalty, adventure, pain, heartache and love. I see tattoos as a visual story of the soul, and since this was my very first tattoo, I wanted it to tell the story of my path. As a yoga instructor, I have always been drawn to the Sanskrit teachings of Satya (Truth). My own Truth always seemed to elude me and growing up in a Christian household I felt lost in many ways, unable to truly express my deepest desires and passions freely. The tattoo I chose for myself (a turquoise lotus flower with the fifth chakra Sanskrit word meaning "reflection" at my throat center and the Sanskrit word for Satya or "Truth" at the base - heart center - of the tattoo) is complimented and surrounded by the outward flow of henna art to signify freedom of self-expression. It's a symbol of transformation, healing and connection with the very essence of myself. On my 33rd birthday, the day I got my tattoo, I feel closer to my truth as I reflect on my past, present and future. This tattoo serves as a milestone and a reminder for me to always live the highest vibration of myself which is truth in sensitivity, connection, equality, and love. And I already have plans for my next tattoo." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and outline photo.

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Tropical Flowers Cover Up

leannGetting a tattoo can be a great way to cover up a scar. LeAnn had some mastectomy scars on her chest and was wondering if she might be able to camouflage them with tattoos. She wasn't concerned so much with total coverage but the idea was to make the area "more colorful, more beautiful." I have a lot of experience tattooing over different types of scars and after looking at her scars and seeing how flat they were, I told her that she was a great candidate for receiving tattoos across her chest. And that the skin was in such great shape, we could really do anything she wanted, image wise. She decided on tropical flowers and butterflies. She says, "It's interesting to me that the significant events of our lives can be fully captured in one or two words-- daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother. I recently earned another label-- cancer survivor. Back in July 2011 I had a double mastectomy resulting from a diagnosis of stage one breast cancer. Opting for reconstruction, it took three surgeries before I was successful with my prosthetic implants. I affectionately call them my "foobs" (fake boobs.) Wanting to celebrate the new me and rejoice in the metamorphosis that had taken place during the long journey to cure and reconstruction, I selected butterflies as the image to signify the change and successful transition. I am really happy with the new me and the images that Victoria helped me create to celebrate my new beginnings!" Click on the Read more link to see the drawings and right side outline photos.

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Ravens, Roses and Skulls

christian2Christian is from the New Orleans area and grew up near the great polyglot city that has a laid back, multi-cultural attitude. His aunt is a tattoo artist; when he was younger he spent some time in her shop hanging out and she's the one who gave him his first tattoo. Also, ever since he'd been a kid he'd wanted to join the military and when he got older spent some time in the US Marines Corp. So his tattoos are about those cultures; I describe them as Traditional American, Old School, or Sailor Jerry style tats and ever since he came into my shop two years ago, we have been working on filling in his sleeves with that type of imagery. He says that this current piece is informed by his admiration of Edgar Allan Poe's writings and that he wanted "something dark with the contrast of bright red roses (life) against the skull (death). And ravens are just incredibly cool." Click on the Read more link to see the drawing and outline photos.

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

833 SE Main #104
Portland OR 97214

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