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APC - Tool - Bill Hicks Tattoo by mach5 APC - Tool - Bill Hicks Tattoo by mach5
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.
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wellthatwasawful Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
My best friend and I always loved this. It was going to be our matching tattoos, celebrating ten years of friendship.
She passed away unexpectedly a little over a week ago (at 25).
I got this tattooed a few days ago with her ashes.
I took out the Bill Hicks, and added her name in her handwriting.
There's a picture of it on my profile if you're interested.

I just wanted to thank you for creating something so perfect & beautiful.
Words can't express how grateful I am, or how much comfort and pain it brings me.

Much love.
Tala-Vega Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013   General Artist
Alhoide Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Can I use this for a tattoo?
BluuLotus Featured By Owner May 23, 2011  Student General Artist
Simply Brilliant
sweetcheekslarry Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2011
Bill Hicks, Tool, and APC are three of my favorite things in the world. Thanks for sharing this.
Go-Ask-Malice Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2011
I saw this on photo back in late 2007 and decided I wanted a tattoo of it and then never found it again, and after much tedious searching of the internet I JUST found it again. I originally happened upon it on photobucket and had no idea it was your work. Needless to say I am thrilled to have found it again and hope to use it as a template for my own similar tattoo.
Philabus Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2011
..awsome! :)
sexyxbaby0202 Featured By Owner May 11, 2010
okay so i really like this. and ive been looking for a tatoo to get on my right foot and i really want to get this done. do you mind if i get it done? of course i will wait for your permission until i get it. but it would be so awsome.
aeonblue999 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2010
I updated the ICON I made of the eye
for my Windows 7 Theme.
Linked it to your page.

Here it is:
Lateralus Eye Icon - V2 UPDATE


Lateralus Eye Icon (Old)
soulz109 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2009
creepNEGATIVE Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2009
id love to see a photo of the actual tattoo
liquidxhuman Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2009
Very good! But what does "Its Just A Ride" mean?
KaneGulock Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2009
R.I.P Mr.Hicks Its just a ride
A-n-J-u-l Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2009
i would like this as a tatoo. realy cool :)
aeonblue999 Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2009
the eye is such a good fit!

so I hope you don't mind...
I made it an Icon!
FinkleStu Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2009  Student
Thats pretty fuckin brilliant I am almost envious that I didnt come up with it first. Kudos!
sparky55ie Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2009  Professional Artist
not to dance on ur party, bt he didnt design the alphabet. its one of the first forms of irish text. foun in the cave's of wexford
witchayzl Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2008
Love it
PuddlesOfBlood Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2008

i love it.
Johnofsteel Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2008
nice. Where did it end up going? shoulder?
Frosty-knickers Featured By Owner May 9, 2008
very good, id like to get a whole stand up tattooed on my body but there isnt enough space
Daizie24 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2008   Photographer
Love your ideas and concept!
I too am designing my own Tool tattoo!
MartinLjNielsen Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2008
excellent, just what a need to start painting the tool-eye on my wall. thank you for bringing this
chupavi Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2007
Man, i wan`t that on my skin! I LOVE Bill Hicks and his work (Tool and APC also, but not that much as i love Bill Hicks). It`s probably the best work i saw on Deviantart!
wanderronin Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2007
this is awesome!! beautifully done!
Agent-Neo Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2007
Maynard James Keenan + Bill Hicks = Fucking Awesome! I love it, man.
Nitroanarchygirl Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2007
awesome and symbolic, i love it :)
marquiswyld Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
interesting work - yup tool can have that effect on the listener...


see what I mean?
ailime Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2007
This is a superb homage to TOOL - excellent work :D

(hope you had a chance to see them this year touring - they were awesome !!)
disaster0piece Featured By Owner May 16, 2007
this is really badass. i'd like to have your permission to get that tattoo.. i'm seriously considering it but i wouldn't do it without an okay from you. and if i do i'd deff provide some cool pics :)
chamberfiend9905 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2007   Interface Designer
You've put a lot of thought and planning into this design, though why does that not surprise me? Every other in depth Tool fan that I've met, myself included, could always be described as an artist in their own way and a deep thinker. That DEFINATELY shows through in the level of thought you put into this beautiful design.

I'll start by commenting on the eye itself, a widely known expression of Tool and Alex Grey alike. You've taken the normal way it is composed and put your own feel to it, making it all the more meaningful to yourself (as I can imagine), but still keeping it in the same ballpark of Alex. I adore how it's realistic, yet still has a bit of a cartoonish feel with it.

The bit from the APC albumn fits so well with the design, and the runes are *really* eye catching. I had to read a bit to figure out where they came from, me not being the most avid APC fan despite my immense dedication to Tool, but once I did I can really see why you included them. This piece is the ultimate tribute, you should feel very proud of yourself. Truely amazing.
S3GA Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2006
Nice vector GFX, what app did you use?
hamie Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2006
nicely done
LaTeRaLuSgUrL Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2006
Soo do u know the translations to the symbols?? on the APC ALBUMS?? I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanna know!!
DurandalOgier Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2006  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man, that's an awesome tribute.
2ecneuqeS Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2006
Tool & Hicks Indeed got to love them and lateralus is the only album I bought in the last 5 years , I felt too bad listening to mp3 of this album
:) nice work
fuse05designs Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2005
is it forsale as a tattoo design ? im interested
splitsoul Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2005
That's fucking great. Now we just need to see a picture of the actual tattoo. :)
mach5 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2005
Dur. I gotta get around to that one of these days. heh
smellslikedeadbabies Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2005   Photographer
wow.. that is amazing! i love it :D
mach5 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2005
Thank you! That's what everyone says when they see it in person. heehee
Lintu777 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2005
That's so cool nice job
mach5 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2005
Thanks! And thanks for the fav!
missbritt321 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2005
thats kool
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Submitted on
July 27, 2005
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