How much creative control do you have on client projects?
A lot of the corporate stuff I do is really muted and I don’t have the design creativity or flexibility that I’d want. Someone else is dictating what you’re doing and it makes it less enjoyable. This wall, for example [refers to a wall in his new studio/gallery space]. I think it looks great, gray on gray. It serves a purpose, it’s subtle but it’s there. I’ve never painted anything like that for anybody. They want something ornate, intricate, whatever.
So you get a little bit of everything when you work with other people and you get to learn. I remember the first job I had where I had to do a Ford logo. It was tough because it had to be crisp lines which was totally contrasting to me painting a portrait where all the lines are blended and you can’t even see them. I had done that for so long that I was like, Man, I can’t even paint a crisp line. But once I did those logos it made me paint differently. It made me better, I think.
Lindz: I will tell clients sometimes that the more you are willing to pay, the more you’ll get a say in the design, in what I paint. So that kind of helps because then they say, Okay, I see, if I give you more freedom, then I won’t be at the top end of my budget. That way they’re not telling me to paint the C in the Colorado flag or a mountain range or skis, they’re hiring me for my talent and for me to paint what I want to paint.
For commercial projects, sometimes we do have full creative rein and get to come up with the idea and execute it. But a lot of times when we’re doing bigger projects we’re presented with a concept in a storyboard and we’re then working to put those pieces together. Which is fun and it’s cool to do that as well, but I think ultimately doing your own stuff’s a lot more fun.
They’re driving it initially and then my favorite process is where I have a consult with somebody, I draw an hour sketch, send that to them and then they usually have an edit, either taking away or adding things.
I think that kind of interaction with the [tattoo] customer is pretty crucial. They feel like they are part of the design process and I feel like they have a more personal attachment that way. I really enjoy having that interaction and giving them an opportunity to be a part of the design process.
When it’s a customer I’ve known for a long time and they know and trust me, I may show up to their appointment with a design and a lot of the time they’re like, Yeah, sweet, that’s awesome.