Yoso Tattoo Philosophy

Yamata no Orochi (八岐の大蛇 lit. "8-branched giant snake") I'll have to elaborate on this at a later stage, as I am in the middle of a drawing. I have spent around a week now preparing for a koi back piece over around a 4 weeks period.

How many tattoo artists spend so much time on a drawing for their clients?

Should tattoo artists, really make the most of their flashes? And templates? In which context? When tattoo becomes a business, really; doesn't it loose it's sacred purpose?

The further I advance on the path of Reiki and tattoo studies! The further I advance on the spiritual path, or what ever I should call it. I realise that I never want to make any of these disciplines a business!

Yes it is fair to be well paid for a 'job', even if it is also a passion. No, I will never prioritise time and cost over quality and research.

I have still a long way to go in the tattoo world. Even tho I have proved myself in visual disciplines. I realise that as my life is changing, my philosophy about tattoo too.

Why does it take me so long to master a skill such as tattoing? It does not matter.

Love is what brought me here. I know the people I tattoo are happy. A conscious practice, The soul guides the needles. I guess I feel lucky, that even tho I consider myself a beginner. The people grasp my eye for detail and personal style. My main strength right now, is definitely to capture the person's soul, To translate it into their tattoos.

I still see Japanese style as the most complete tattoo form that exists,

(I do have a lot of respect for other traditions, but that will be the subject of another discussion). I guess what I am learning at the moment, is that I am not about copying traditional work but rather, about studying its essence and inherent qualities. There is alot of creative freedom to enjoy. I have worked too many years in experimental fields.

I only see the sketch and preparation work, even if completed on paper; as a inspiration board for the tattoo that will be carved in the skin. And even tho, I still use traditional designs as a starting point. It is only to make it 'better', or should I say. To allow my soul to become what it is. So that I become the drawing. So that I become the feeling and the symbol. So that I allow for the person's soul to manifest in the drawing.

Traditions evolve, and even tho, I have a real respect for the collective, Art is also about allowing for the artist to be their art. As Horiyoshi 3 said in a interview.

There is three type of tattoo artists,

1- Artists who keep traditions alive 2- Artists who do not think that Traditional has to be 'traditional'. 3- Artists who explore beyond traditions

It is when the three type of artists meet that the art flourishes.

Sometimes, I feel I belong to the three groups. Or maybe to the second one. What is the most traditional about the way I tattoo is in the spiritual practice. Not as much about the use of style or colours. Or what ever convention would have been established.

Tattoo for me is not about duplicating a drawing that has been made on paper, or on skin, Even if I stencil and transfer it to the skin. Even if the drawing looks perfect and completed on paper. I am a not 'machine', There is so much to feel and to enjoy while tattoing, that one should allow for spontaneity and magic while carving the skin.

Each soul, skin, moment is unique. Those are the qualities that make the tattoo really alive and unique.

At each moment, I want to celebrate that sacred space, and the creative freedom to let the tattoo evolve. It will only be complete, if ever complete... I guess in some ways, the tattoo will only be as 'complete' as the person's who wears it.

Some friends recently commented on someone else's tattoos. Saying 'they were so bad', the tattoo artists was so bad. I kind of said, it does not matter. It is up to the person who wears it, maybe actually, the image that came was a true reflection of the person's soul at the moment the tattoo had been done. That's when he made comments about the person's himself. He then realised that the tattoo was actualy a good reflection of what he knew about that person.

I also feel that is so many people get covers up at a later stage. In many cases people comment on cover up, or on tattoo itself, as "What if your regret later?", "That is why I will never get a tattoo", and so on...

I am tempted to say, if you regret it, it might be that you have changed. In many cases, the longer you wear your tattoo, the more it becomes a part of you.

Why would you regret changing anyway? If this is bringing you closer to you true self? Does covering up, to make a better tattoo means tattoos are bad? or your decision was wrong?

I am tempted to say no. It is just natural evolution. I see alot of good in cover ups.

If one decides to mark himself at a point in his life, commit to that sign, and eventually later, change it, either because of a lack of commitment, or due to a realisation that their own life was about celebrating something else. It is actually a really positive action.

As for, " What if I regret it later?", "what when I get old?:, My simple answer would be, be who you are today, this is the key to who you will become tomorrow. We can not plan everything.

As a master said trying to explain life to a surfer. You can not fight with the sea. You have to feel the wave, and go with it!

Let's surf life, let's be our own essence at every moment, that is the only reality maybe... we might have to focus on and be in accord with. Every moment is a learning experience.

Don't get me wrong, I see tattooing as a healing art form; In this respect, I believe the artist's soul has the power to help the people who get the tattoos. Or at least to guide them. But there is so many people and tattoo artists out there. All with different walks of life. It is my personal believe that if someone get what might appear as a bad tattoo from a bad tattoo artist. It is more destiny than a bad choice. And after all, maybe it is not that bad. There is a lot of beauty in imperfection, that is also a very personal point of view. We all have different tastes.

It is also true however, that people tempt to agree, when something appears as truely beautiful, strong or energetic. There must be something about this that somehow belongs to our collective consciousness.

That is probably why I had to move to Japan very early to pursue my tattoo studies. Traditional has proved itself beyond time. Its origin's and the images it represents are a combination of nature and mythology. That is my view very close to human nature and its environment (that is also why I have so much respect for old tribal traditions). Tattoo, as for life in my view, is a celebration of life, the Human spirit. For its own truth, strength, beauty and imagination.

But even then, it is not a matter of copying a style or symbol, to suddenly have the same tattoo and inherit of its qualities. A symbol only has the power for the initiated. (With maybe the exceptions of a few symbols). If one chooses to mark himself with something 'sacred', or 'beautiful', it is my view that that person should commit to it from the depth of their soul. In this respect, I also believe it is the role of the tattoo artist, to study, and practice those symbols as a way of life. This is the only way, he can truely show its respect to the people and the tattoos he chooses to commit to.

There is a saying, that masters teaches students, but also students teaches masters.

We all switch roles on a daily basis, that we notice it or not. The truth is in each one of us.

I guess we only perceive the world through our own eyes and philosophy. This is probably part of the magic I enjoy on my tattoo journey.

I feel lucky, so far every customer, and I really mean every customer. Had a message to deliver me.

Their requests did not only belong to their very personal journeys. But also to mine.

Each time they had a request, I realised that this was about something I had to study to evolve on my own path.

As for the back piece I am working on now. The guy asked me how much he should pay me.

I simply had to tell him. Pay what you want. If he really had to pay for the time I spend on this, He could probably not afford it.

If he was rich! I would ask him full price. If that can ever be defined. I know we have something sacred to share, that is priceless.

Yoso is looking for people who understand that getting a tattoo can take time. People who respect the love and hard work it takes to make a truely personal tattoo.

People who think of the tattoo they are going to get, as a commitment to their lives and personal journeys. Something beautiful yes, but maybe even more importantly.

A celebration of life, of the path...

Enough of same same tattoo work and tattoo studios.

Stop counting how long it takes you shop owners! Draw with your soul! Study with your heart!

Yoso celebrates the sacred art form!

One by one! Yoso Philosophy! Everyone is unique! Each tattoo is a life journey!

Let's enjoy life's magic.



:: Read about 守破離 shuhari , to understand more about Yoso's Philosophy

by Yoso