Exploring and Expressing the Pain and Ecstasy of Life through Art.

They keep saying that parenthood will be one of the hardest and most rewarding things I will ever do.

I’m starting to get the flavor of that - experiencing the combination of sleepless nights, tiredness, overwhelm with moments of complete heart melting, beauty and deep love.
😣😍😵‍💫🥰😬😁🥲

It’s been almost two months since my cutie pie 🐣 was born.

Slowly slowly, my body recovers, I come out of the nest and reconnect with myself and the possibility of work. 😌

I’m not yet sure when I’ll get back to tattooing but I can feel it close!

Sign up to my newsletter to be updated on when I open my bookings again. (Link in my bio)

My beautiful palm tattoo was done by @brody_polinsky
The inner project I’ve been working on for the past 7,5 months! 😊 

A moving, growing, ever evolving project - a new life growing inside me - my opportunity to learn about human nature on a totally new level.

So beautiful to have shared my pregnancy with some of you as my tattoo clients!

As for now, I will be taking a longer break from tattooing to fully focus on the last stage of pregnancy, on birth and the first months with a newborn.

And I hope to re-emerge with new perspectives and insights.

I will continue sharing tattoos that I’ve done in the past months.
And make sure you are on my email list if you want to be updated when I open up my bookings again (find it in the link in my bio).

Description: It’s a photo of my belly from a month ago and I made a drawing over it using Procreate and iPad Pro.
You know I like to share some of my deep thoughts from time to time:

Today I’m reflecting on this experience that I believe every artist and creator goes through at some point which is suddenly not liking anything that they do…
Feeling insecure, uncertain about the direction they are going and having the imposter syndrome, thinking that they are a fake and somebody will notice sooner or later.

Yesterday a very close and beloved person told me they don’t like my style so much. That they preferred my earlier work. 🥺😖😫

They haven’t been following me for very long, they are not an artist and don’t have any tattoos. Yet somehow it really affected me.

I can receive dozens of positive comments from clients and people all over the World and then one person shares something negative and I suddenly feel insecure, worried and completely lost.

Once I overcame the initial shock and sadness, I faced some truths that I’ve been avoiding looking at, like the fact that I’ve been feeling a strong craving to explore other styles, to make things more abstract, to get back into sketching freehand, to create designs that spread along the body more and I haven’t given any of that time.
I’m in a comfortable place right now, I have a clear style, it’s easy for me, the audience loves it, so why should I push myself?

So in some way, it’s very helpful to receive a negative feedback, because I’m confronted with my own feelings about my work and I’m forced to reflect on it.
Meanwhile, I also had to take some time to reassure myself of how much I’ve grown as an artist and tattooist, how beautiful and unique my work is, how far I’ve come in my business and that just because this person is very close to me, it doesn’t mean their opinion is ‘the truth’, it’s just one perspective, one preference.

So I learned not to take things so personally but also stay open for challenging feedback. Using it as an opportunity for growth. 🤓
I now feel inspired to dive into those artistic explorations I’ve been avoiding! 😊

+ I really f🌶🌶🌶ing love my style!! 

I just wanted to share this. I imagine many of you can relate.

Thank you Simon for this awesome photo!
Fresh vs. one year Healed.
#nofilter

In this case, my client’s skin was super easy to tattoo and healed perfectly.
This is not always the case and it’s hard to really know how your tattoo will heal.

Some people, including myself, don’t mind little imperfections and blurred lines on their healed tattoos. It’s a body after all, not paper. 🤓

However, sometimes the ink comes out in some of the harder or most sensitive areas, and it’s absolutely perfect if you want a touch up, to sharpen up some things.

I recommend getting the touch up after it fully settles, around 3-6 months after you got it. Best within the first year and not later than 2 years.

Just some info for you 😊

You can see that here another tattoo was added by another artist some months later to create more of a sleeve look.
The truth? I haven’t been drawing and I haven’t been tattooing at all for three months.
I’m not tattooing because of COVID, but then, shouldn’t I enjoy this time to draw and express myself creatively?

All these voices in my head: 
“Why don’t I draw?, 
“I should be creative”, 
“If I don’t post anything I’ll lose followers”, 
“If I lose followers it means my career will be lost as well”, 
“Everybody else is drawing on Instagram, maybe I’m just not a real artist... If I was a real artist I would be doing it all the time and with full passion.”

But actually, right now, I simply don’t feel like drawing. And sometimes it’s only after I admit that, that inspiration comes.
Because it’s not such a fun process to do something because you think you SHOULD.
And unfortunately, drawing often becomes a should for me.

So that’s when I know it’s time for a break, for some self-care - something that I stand for so strongly in my art.

And looking back, my artistic path has been like this all along, I draw with full passion and presence and then I don’t draw for weeks, months, years.
And it’s ok.

I believe it’s important to learn to trust the process and listen to our intuition rather than the “should’s”.

We all have different ways of expressing ourselves, of finding inspiration and taking care of our needs.

Otherwise what we first loved, becomes a burden.

It’s ok to take a break, it’s ok to not have inspiration, it’s ok to do other things that maybe society or your parents don’t see as important or relevant, it’s ok to lose followers, it’s ok to feel lost and confused.
It’s ok 😌
Love 
@jiomaia
Visionary hand.

Thank you Joost for coming from the Netherlands for this piece! 😊
In the tattoo industry, there is a habit of making photos look contrast’y and monochromatic, so something many tattoo artists (including myself) do is reduce the saturation in photos, because it makes the redness of the fresh tattoo less noticeable, the artist’s Instagram page looks more monotone and the tattoo is accentuated.

Unfortunately, what this also does is it creates an illusion that all of our clients are snow white. It creates little diversity in colour and sends out a message that tattoos are only for white people, the whiter the better.

I myself have fallen into this trap, until a day where a client of mine with a darker complexion noticed his skin looked too white in the photo that I posted and, in a loving and gentle way, called me out.

I feel very grateful that he did because it made me quickly understand that the look of my Instagram should not be so important that it turns a black person into a white person, without their consent.

If you scroll through my feed, you will notice that my older work is presented with very little saturation and everything looks white and pale. 
However, more recently I began to show my tattoos with the natural colour of my clients, which in turn began to attract more people of colour to get tattooed by me.

I feel that there is not enough information available in relation to what works on darker skin and what doesn’t. From my experience, the designs have to be made differently, some colours just don’t work on darker skin, some details might not be so visible and even the tattooing technique has to be different as the skin is often more delicate.

Yes, white skin and a black or colourful tattoo looks good on Instagram, it catches attention and receives a lot of likes. But everyone should be enjoying tattoos if that is something they desire.

I am making mistakes, I am learning, I am listening and doing my best. I’m sorry. And thank you!
I vote for more authenticity, more diversity, both in colour, gender and body types!

Left photo is unedited, right photo is edited in the way I used to edit.

Thank you @sergio_canete for inspiring this conversation with your post.