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Tattoos » Conan Lea » Page 1 » Van Gogh Starry Night Reproduction Tattoo
By Conan Lea

Voluta Tattoo
212 West 10th Street
Indianapolis IN, 46202

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I had only been tattooing for about three years in 2002, when this client asked for this reproduction. In those days, there wasn't much guidance in Cincinnati for high-art tattoo at that time, so I had to simply do my best and reach for the stars.

The size of this piece is over one square foot. Looking back, I know that I should have photographed the wearer's entire legs to show scale, but photography with a newfangled digital camera and Photoshop was a crazy idea back then. To be honest, I made whole thing up on the fly. Now, I know to photograph the entire body part to show context in the portfolio.

Patterning this piece onto skin was challenging, because I wanted to capture as many of Van Gogh's original strokes as possible in the final tattoo. I also had to struggle to find the perfect palette, because finding accurate, well-lit photographs of fine art at that time wasn't easy.  

I put about 40 hours into this piece.  Now, 13 years into my career, I could do it in half the time. It was insanely fun to give this piece a go at such an early stage in my career, and I'm grateful to have translated one of the greats into tattoo.

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