Finding Zazzle artists one tattoo at a time…

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When I decided to get a tattoo on my arm (to cover an older, smaller, less cool one I already had) I wanted it to be meaningful to me, and much more elaborate and colorful than my original one. Being a guitar player, I decided I wanted it to be a guitar-themed design…specifically a Paul Reed Smith guitar, which is a brand I love for its feel, looks, and unique sound. My idea was that I wanted the guitar to somehow be coming out of my arm, signifying that the music is in me. Yeah, ok, a little corny, but hey, that’s what I want!

Finding an artist to design my concept was going to be a challenge. My wife, also looking to get a tattoo, was referred to a shop in San Jose called LuckyStars Tattoo Studio by a fellow Zazzle employee (thanks Mark!). Luckily, it was just a few miles away from our house, so we scheduled our first meeting.

We instantly felt comfortable there, and judging from their amazing portfolios, we knew we made the right decision. I explained my concept to the artists, and showed them a picture of my guitar. Martin, the owner, instantly said Jesse was the man to do it. Handing over the picture, I went home to wait for the call for when his designs would be ready to review.

About a week later, I heard from Jesse. He showed me two different designs, and I immediately chose the one I felt came closest to my vision. Both designs were amazing, but I wanted the guitar to take center stage, and I chose the one where it clearly stood out. I scheduled my first sitting and couldn’t wait to get started!

The day came and Jesse got to work. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous since my last tattoo was so small and plain that it hardly counted as me having been inked. The first session took a few hours and we got the outline done. It looked awesome!

Tattoo outline

Notice the little alien head outline? That’s my old tattoo. This one will be covering that up. So the outline is cool, but the real work had yet to be done.

I had full confidence in Jesse to make this look amazing. I couldn’t wait for my next session and get some color going! These sessions took time, so Jesse and I would talk a lot. I told him all about Zazzle and what we do, and he was instantly interested in joining.

Session #2 came up and the results were just amazing. He added the muscle tissue under the ripped skin in the design.

tattoo_2

Again, we talked more about Zazzle and how he might get his artwork online. My third session was scheduled for Halloween at the San Jose Tattoo Convention. For this session, we set up a trade deal…a few hours of tattoo work in exchange for me setting up his Zazzle store. Win-win! He sent me some of his artwork in digital format and I created a store for him, complete with a custom look and a selection of products with his artwork.

Here’s Jesse working on my arm at the convention.

Jesse at the San Jose Tattoo Convention

And here’s what was accomplished in that session:

tattoo_3

It’s still a work in progress, but it’s already looking great! I of course showed it off at work, and the reaction has been great. That, coupled with the artwork I put up in his store got the attention of our Artsprojekt folks. Artsprojekt, for those who are unaware, is a curated platform that empowers emerging and established artists to connect, collaborate, and showcase their original art with fans and consumers. Artists get invited to join Artsprojekt, and based on Jesse’s portfolio of work, he fit the mold perfectly.

So Jesse’s store was migrated to the Artsprojekt platform, and he’s now one of the newest artists being showcased on the site! All it took was three long tattoo sessions to find our latest superstar artist. Easy! :-)

Check out Jesse’s store at http://www.zazzle.com/JesseDeering

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