THERE WAS A TIME THAT THE INTERNET DID NOT EXIST
I know it is hard to believe but it is true. When I first started tattooing in 1976 my clients picked their designs from Flash Sheets. A Flash Sheet is (usually) and 11″ x 14″ Sheet of designs used for tattooing. The term “Flash Art” came from early Tattooists in New York City where tattooing was illegal. The New York Tattooist could not advertise to tattoo without fear of being arrested. However there was no law against showing tattoo designs.
The tattooist would usually have a spot near the docks where they did their work. They would take a book of tattoo designs to the dock as ships came in and “Flash” the designs to perspective customers. Without saying a word the tattooist could display his product and escort his customer to the shop where the tattoo was done secretly. Eventually tattooing became legal in NYC but the term “Flash Art” had been indelibility entered into the English Language.
At one time I had over 35,000 Flash Art Designs. The truth is I still do. The difference is they no longer dominate my studio; covering walls and filling shelves of notebooks. I now have the most popular ones within a few notebooks. The large sheets are stored away for prosperity. What was a normal part of tattooing has gone the way of the dinosaur. Google, Pinterest, Instagram and a host of others have become the new Flash Art Wall. I cannot tell you when the last time I used a piece of my Flash art to create a tattoo for a client but it has been a long, long time.
Now a client sends us via text message, instant messenger or email a design they found online. We talk to them about size and placement and then send them a quote. If the client is satisfied with the consultation then we schedule the appointment. At that point it is up to me to compose their design based on what they sent. In face consultations are almost a thing of the past.
Yet is is not only Tattoo Art that has been affected by the Internet it is also Fine Art. At one time a person might walk into an Art Gallery; Browse the Art Available and leave with an original piece of art or an art print. Though Art Galleries still exist carrying exclusive works by their signed artists more and more artists are independent of the restrictions of a gallery and now have their own online galleries where they sell their art without having to pay hefty commissions. This has made it possible for the artist to sell their art at a less expensive rate.
Technology has taken the art world to a whole new level never before imagined. The artist can easily sell originals, art prints and print on demand merchandise like t-shirts, greeting cards, cups, bags and more right from their website. One of the most exciting innovations for online galleries is AI. You are able to access an artists works from your cellphone and using an AI app place that piece of art on your wall. This technology allows you to pick the art that is right for your environment.
If you have never tried this before give it a try. On your cell phone visit our online store at www.ArtistAlleyStudio.com Pick a piece of art then pick any type of print from the menu you like. In the lower left corner of the print you will see an icon of a hand holding a cell phone, click that icon. You will then be able to visualize the print on any wall you choose. Also check out the 3D view of the different print on demand items while you are there. These technologies take buying art to a whole other level.
Yes tattoo art and fine art have come along way in the past 15 years and where it goes from here is anyone’s guess. I will grant you that things were simpler in the past but the future has opened doors that the artist and art buyer never dreamed of. I am excited to see where it goes from here.