‘Etching Tattoos’ The Art of Ink (Season 2) Digital Exclusive | Paramount Network

– [Brucius] It’s very romantic. It’s looking at the
past and celebrating it and remembering it. – [Baud] It’s the closest
look you’ll ever have to help people solve the world, five hundred or six
hundred years ago. – [Rachel ] It’s a lot of
lines, it’s a lot of black, it’s a lot of repetitions, a
little bit of organized chaos. There’s an obsession to it. – [Rob] I definitely think
the style works a lot better for me because of
the craftsmanship. It’s a little more simple
things are the most beautiful. (upbeat music) – I’ve been drawing and
producing art for over 30 years. I was a little bit scared
that my choice in becoming a tattoo artist wasn’t the
right one, but a few clients came to me looking at
my portfolio then said, “You are really good with lines. Can you do this etching?” I’m like, “Sure”, so I focused
on that specific style. – I’ve always been interested
by any type of arts that’s very intricate in a very simple
way by using just one tone. And since like I’m from a
small village inside of France, I was never really exposed
to what tattooing really is. I started seeing all these
Renaissance, Victorian, Baroque arts, and the
etching was so intense. I just started
trying to copy that. And I was just drawing
this all the time. That was just my way. – I went to school
for printmaking and graduated in
December of 2008, which is right when
the economy crashed. I always had a
passion for tattooing, so now that I was unemployed,
living in my parents house and with no hope of
a job, I figured, “Why not take the
time to do something that I want to do for myself?” Early on, I was very
fortunate to have someone say, “Hey, instead of
trying to do, you know, all this other stuff, why
don’t you just make tattoos that look like your drawings?” Etching was really my first
true style in tattooing. – I had like a uncle in
the military, grandfather, and they had like
the classical tattoos and I always thought it
was the coolest thing. And then it just evolved and
evolved more, kinda developed my own etching style
and here I am, you know. – Etchings are made from a tool
carven into copper or metal. Typically that line starts
thick and it ends really thin, so I try to reproduce that
with a needle, which is tricky. I sculpt a lot, each
line has a shape. – If someone were to say,
“How would you explain your tattoos when they didn’t
know etchings?”, I would say, “Think of it as a contour line. Think of it as a line
that defines a shape. More of those lines
mean that it’s darker and less of those lines
mean that it’s lighter.” – [Baud] The peak of
etching was really in the 15th-16th century, in the beginning of
the printing age. It’s back then prints would
only be made in a single tone, because you had to
use a wood block and just stamp an
image on a paper. They had to find a way
to really create shape and create detailed
shading to create almost for the realistic images. There were anatomical and
botanical inspirations, religious images, whatever
it was that they wanted to share in large numbers. – Etching and
engraving wasn’t seen as an art form on its own. It was like a stand in. It wasn’t until people, like
Rembrandt and Goya, who started to create etchings purely
as a artwork it is today. – [Baud] The major challenges
for me with etching tattoos are really that, first of all, I want to make it look vintage. I want it to have a
feel like it was drawn in the 15th-16th century and
there are some images that are really hard to reproduce
like that, say like a whale. People didn’t draw
whales back then. They drew their thoughts
that they had of a whale. But today, like I know
what a whale looks like. I have a lot of reference
images I can use, and I have to translate
it into something that really looks vintage. Often, I’ll spend
hours on a design, just trying to give
it that vintage feel. – I’m always gonna
be in love with just classic tattoo imagery, you
know, roses, daggers, eagles, and switching that into
an etching style tattoo is a challenge sometimes,
but I like a challenge. – [Rachel] You have
to be very comfortable and confident in your own mind. If you are gonna be
shaky, it will show. If you want lines consistently
next to each other, you have to know
that you can put one after the other
after the other. I have always been an
obsessive line-maker, that’s been a problem
of mine in college. You know, people
would always say that you can’t do that,
you have to loosen up, so that’s my biggest
problem to get over is I gotta loosen up. But in that, it’s created
some good etching tattoos. – [Rob] I’ll try to do
different line weight. The longer ones will
be a little bit bolder, it’s more of like
the frame of it. And then the smaller little
lines work as you’re shading. – [Baud] Each little line
comes and they have to really follow each other
the right direction. It’s about being able to add
more and more and more lines within a drawing to make
it more and more intricate without ever making a mistake. – I like to share with
others the art form and I’ve noticed that
my pieces are accepted. People understand them now. They’re looking at
my piece and say, “Oh, this is art! Okay.” – [Rachel] Art is very hard
to pin down a reason of why we make it other than that
we just have to as humans. There’s such a magic
language that’s created when using strictly black line. How can you get all that detail? How can you get all that
tone and that shade? It’s kind of like a magic trick. I’m very lucky where I am
now and if it just keeps up like this, then I’ll be happy. – [Rob] For me, it’s
way more powerful than any canvas could be. You’re decorating a
living person and that art can travel the whole world. That’s one of the greatest
things about it to me. – [Baud] I think this style is
definitely gonna be evolving. There’s really a lot of
great artists out there. I have a lot to learn,
trying to develop a subject, really develop my
knowledge of it, continue looking at etching,
just trying to understand how they created
those crazy images to try to apply to tattooing. I feel like we’re really
entering kind of a new age of etching tattooing and
I hope it’s something that doesn’t get
lost in the future.

Dereck Turner

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