A month and a half ago I took a friend to one of the local tattoo parlors to get her some ink. While there, I saw a design of an eye, with a somewhat tribal/egyptian-influenced design, and I decided to try and create something like it when I got home.
That went nowhere. After a few futile sketches, I had failed to capture its coolness without having access to the original. But I did stumble on something, an eye encapsulated by the A Perfect Circle logo. I began to think about what I wanted in my first tattoo.
It had to be something for the ages. Something symbolic of things which wouldn't change as time wore on and the fresh ink began to fade.
I love Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Bill Hicks with a fervor that will surely transcend time. There's no counting the number of times I've listened to "Lateralus," "Mers de Noms," or "Revelations." If I could just integrate tributes to the 3 entities, and make it unique, something of my own work, I could surely live with it permanently etched upon the fabric of my being.
I realized then that the Lateralus artwork, done by one incredible artist named Alex Gray, features a flaming eye. I could take the eye, give it a similar design, and there's my Tool tribute. The APC tribute would be pretty well covered by their logo. But what to do of Bill Hicks?
"It's just a ride," his mantra at the close of many of his routines, flashed into my brain. But it would look too plain sitting there in plain english along the side of the logo. How would I spice it up, obfuscate it so that it would not be immidiately recognizable, and would enhance the design?
The runes from the first APC album were the key. Billy Howerdel, an incredible songwriter and excellent artist in his own right, had designed an alphabet of runes for the first album. Within months of the album's release, people had designed font sets of these runes. I located one, transcribe them into "It's just a ride," and positioned them carefully casecading along the right crescent.
It was beginning to coelesce, but still looked off. I had done a generic, almond-shaped eye in the center, and it just wasn't visually striking enough. I had to remedy that. So I looked at some eye photos, and it struck me looking at one of my own pieces. I would use the outline of the eye from my Angelina Jolie portrait
. I remade it in vector form, tweaked the flames to encompass it properly, and sure enough, the design was complete.
Start to finish, it took 3 week's worth of work, on and off in my spare time. It's 99% Illustrator, with a touch of Photoshop.
The tattoo didn't turn out as brilliant as the design, but I imagine the palette of colors available to a tattoo artist is quite a bit less than that of a RGB monitor. Nonetheless, here is how it would look in a perfect world.