|When I arrived on the island yesterday I spent some time with my tattooist Uffe Berenth, going over the themes which would shape my tattoo. This is the first time I’m having work done where artist and executor are one and the same, and for such a large canvas it’s really necessary for the topology to be taken into account. So, for the first few hours, I stand shirtless and arm-shaven as Uffe sketches over the natural lines of muscle and joint on my left arm, the natural contours eventually morphing into the major figures you see above and below. |
The chief design inspiration is the Oseberg ship, a Viking ship found preserved in a Norwegian burial mound about a hundred years ago. and in particular, the set of “gripping beasts” which characterise the elaborate wood carvings on the ship. This Oseberg style is earlier than the Ringerike and Urnes styles used to create the “dog in surf” tattoo I had done early last year.
Uffe is working around that tattoo and the one below it – my armband done in Paris in 2006. Since I’m a big guy, the initial three day project is likely to spill into four, so I have a lot of “ouch” to get through to earn this sleeve.
At the end of the first full day, all of the outlining, from wrist to shoulder had been done. It’s the end of this second day that the real genius of Uffe’s design and execution reveal themselves with the combination of Nordic dotwork and the elaborate texturing that fills in the bodies of these two beasts. The original Oseberg beasts are wolfish-to-ambiguous at best, but Uffe has gone over various malamute pictures to steer the profiles into a broader set.
…and speaking of malamutes, I’ve started imagining that Munson is lying on the floor by the table, spine pressed against the wall with legs extended. My phantom Munson occasionally turns his head to me, assesses the likelihood of a walk, and then resumes the slumbering position with a sigh.
|Midway through the second day I take advantage of some pain-killers and a book to drag my mind way from the pain. I’ve read through most of my other tattoos, but I need this external focus more than ever for such a long project. By the end of the day, the fore-arm is basically done, give or take some texturing around the inner elbow which is one of the more painful sites. |
In the evening I’m taken to dinner with Uffe and family at a town a little way up the coast – it reminds me of a Cornish fishing village like Mevagissey, even down to the odour of fish and chips wafting across the harbour.
Friday, July 31, 2015
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
|On May 27 2005, I made my first blog post, having two days earlier taken off from Sydney for “a year or so” of European travel. Nothing special in that, other than my principal companion being a 75kg Alaskan Malamute by the name of Bondi, who I had adopted at eight weeks in Seattle just before Xmas 1998. |
The blog took off slowly – I didn’t take or post many pictures, partly because it didn’t occur to me that I might get a following, or as it turned out, to inspire others to bring a malamute into their lives.
This will be post #1765 which is a pretty good output over that ten years, not counting extra material published on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube. YouTube itself is only three months only than this blog, with Google Maps appearing at the same time, albeit in a pretty sketchy form. When I was travelling around Europe there wasn’t all the amenity of street-views and route maps, nor the luxury of using a smart phone to summon up that detail. I found my way around by following a leash attached to a large creature with a powerful wet nose.
Posting peaked during years of intense travel 2006-2007 and the years in France 2010-2012. Bondi’s premature death in 2009 and Munson’s cancer scare in 2013 put some brakes on. Our first year back in Australia was quite hard for all us (Michael, Gustav and Munson) as we looked for work and dealt with Munson’s illness.
Since the middle of last year however, things have really picked up. Each of us has moved on from very temporary work situations to more secure and rewarding positions; Munson’s health has been great and he has become the king of the local dog park. Never has the role of ruler and jester been so well combined in a single fluffy suit.
Until post #1766: a bientôt, hasta luego and see ya later alligator.
PS I’ve filled in the missing gap from late Feb – early March 2013 when we left the farm, spent a few days in Paris and went on to the UK. Start here.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
I discovered the work of Joel Moore aka “Mulga” via Tumblr last year. His presence across Sydney is becoming more widely known thanks to murals like this one in Surry Hills.
This mural is known as Rainbow Ronnie.