Slow Dance Alone

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2015 by xjamestravisx


Why Put a New Address on the Same Old Loneliness?

Posted in Uncategorized on August 22, 2015 by xjamestravisx

It’s been a long time since I’ve really done or said anything on here that isn’t just a photo of a tattoo or a painting, and a lyric from whatever song I happen to be to listening to.  A lot has changed.  I’ve been assessing and reassessing what is important to me lately, and I’ve been considering the direction that my life may or may not be headed in.  Maybe you’re not interested in these things.  Maybe you are.

For the first time in nearly a decade, I’m living alone.  Without spending a lot of time on that, I’ll say that the time for change came and a decision had to be made; for better or worse.  So, here I am.  After so long of having roommates, and living with a partner and a pet, I’m on my own with a lot of time to think, to read, to draw, and to really get to know myself.  Before, the only time for introspection was while I was in my car alone, traveling between Chicago and wherever I happened to be working at that time.  Maybe all this time to myself isn’t so good, but it’s proving to be useful and after a time of adjustment I am finally starting to be productive again.  I’m healthier.  I eat better.  I get some exercise.  I enjoy riding my bike around Chicago, even though it is also one of the more stressful things I’ve done.  After nearly 4 years of living here, I’m seeing the city through a different lens and I seem to be enjoying it a lot more than I had previously.  Change is rarely bad.  Stagnation is a killer, and routine can be troublesome to me.  I get anxious.  I don’t know who is in the mirror when my life becomes too routine; too predictable.  It’s so easy to fall into it, though.  it’s so easy to wake up, eat garbage, begrudgingly go to work, eat more garbage, go home, sleep, and repeat. The light in your eyes dims, and maybe you get more wrinkles in your face and you can only think about how badly your back hurts, or how much you hate someone that you work with or who you see on the train regularly. Truthfully, living in the city weighs heavily on me.  Where to go, though? I work in my favorite tattoo shop.  I’m meeting people who i enjoy being around.  I can’t go home for more than a few days before the boredom starts to kill me and my feet start to feel restless. The idea of moving to a place with less tattoo business is scary.  That’s not bad, though; just a concern.  For the time being, I’m staying in Chicago.  Maybe eventually I’ll go to Maine or Rhode Island; two places that I love.  Maybe I’ll go out west because I never have.

I feel like there has been an obvious change in my work. A lyric repeats while I draw: “Try and try and try to be simple again.” That carries over to my daily life, but it’s apparent in my work. Say more with less. While my words are a little flowery, my drawings have been becoming more straight forward.  I like the work I’m doing, and judging by the amount of custom tattooing I’ve been doing lately, others are seeing something in it.  Many thanks go out to any client that has sought me out and requested that I draw them a monument to a moment they feel is important in the way that it appears in my mind.  I told an artist that I respect that I strive to be part of the Coleman School of tattooing.  He told me I “draw too pretty.” That stuck with me.  My drawing is not loose, or free.  Coleman did truly beautiful tattoos and flash, and I believe he drew very “pretty” ladies, and very elegant motifs. They are simple, though. I suppose that this is the direction I am taking my drawing.  it seems hypocritical to say “say more with less” while I type out this longwinded piece, but this is what I strive to do.  This is certainly self serving, but it also insures that my clients end up with the best tattoo that I can do for them.  I have a strong distaste for the game that we, as tattooers, seem to have to play.  I’m no salesman, and I’m no cut-throat.  I can’t find it in my heart to care what others in my area are doing, and I can’t convince you to buy my product in good conscience.  I want to be good at my job.  I want my clients to be happy with their work, and I want them to come back because they can trust in my ability. I want to serve my community with respect and gratitude.  Daily, I’m amazed that I can make a living doing what I do, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do something that I love.

More travel is coming.  I should see while I have the chance.  So, I suspect that there will be a change in content on this site.  A friend suggested I start a travel blog, but since I already have this page, I believe I’ll use it to document travels when I can.  We’ll see how well I do that.  It’s so easy to only post photos of tattoos from my phone, but I recently acquired a computer for the first time in some years, so I intend to use it to actually write about where I’ve been, where I’m going, how I felt when I was there, and how these places filled with things and people inspired me.  Hopefully it doesn’t suck.

This has gone long enough.  Sorry to bore you.  I assure you that there will still be tattoo work in the mix.  This is just an effort to make this a bit more personal than Instagram.  If all you want are tattoos, then you can find me there.  Goodnight. Read Lovecraft. Listen to Jason Molina. Use more black.

Thankful for the Blues

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2015 by xjamestravisx


Chicago’s Oldest and Finest

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2015 by xjamestravisx

A tribute to the work of Chicago Tattoo Company’s longtime owner, and staple of Chicago tattooing, Dale Grande. Ourselves, and some friends of the shop, are coming together for a show to pay tribute to Dale and the designs that he painted to be tattooed in the 70’s and 80’s. While he has since retired from tattooing, he keeps the shop running smoothly so those of us that tattoo can focus on just that. Many tributes have been paid to those who came before. Consider this our show thanks to the man that thought we were good enough to represent the legacy of Chicago Tattoo Company and gave us jobs at a shop that we’ve long admired, and currently cherish. Join us in celebration.  

Friday July 17, 2015 at the Japanese Cultural Center. 1016 W Belmont, directly across the street from the Chicago Tattoo Company. Booze is provided, be there at 7. 


If Heaven’s Really Coming Back, I Hope It Has a Heart Attack

Posted in Uncategorized on July 8, 2015 by xjamestravisx


Let it read like a holy scripture

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2015 by xjamestravisx


Below the stars; Above the sea

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2015 by xjamestravisx



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