For almost 16 years in San Antonio, Jason Casas has tattooed nearly all the pieces, from roses and mandalas on legs and arms to the Virgin Mary on a bald head and Darth Vader dueling Luke Skywalker on a man’s ribs.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic holstered tattoo weapons throughout the nation.
Now Casas finds himself firing off totally different colourful works to assist pay the payments — particularly woodcut magnets and watercolor work, which he markets on his Instagram account, @tattoosbyjaecasas.
“It’s simply one thing to type of get slightly little bit of change,” mentioned Casas, who owns Iron Eagle Tattoos on town’s far West Facet.
Today, such change has been financial in addition to aesthetic.
With out the standard heat our bodies strolling in to the tattoo parlor, Casas and different tattoo artists have turned to different canvases to make ends meet, skipping the pores and skin for epoxy-glazed woodcuts, acrylic work and different media.
A have a look at different San Antonio tattooists on Instagram exhibits Casas has fairly the inventive firm.
Tattoo artist Trenton Helms (@trentbottx) now crafts his lavish tattoo designs of girls with liquid acrylics on parchment-like paper, whereas Nick Carreon (@nixmyth87) conjures snake-draped skulls and horned Japanese demon masks as vibrant digital prints. In the meantime, David De La O (@butterkills) makes woodcuts and ink-jet giclée prints.
They actually don’t have a lot of a alternative. The Texas Division of State Well being Providers doesn’t enable tattooing at house. And Gov. Greg Abbott has but to problem a date for tattoo outlets to reopen in Texas as a part of his statewide reopening plan.
In late March, Mayor Ron Nirenberg ordered nonessential San Antonio companies to shut to scale back the unfold of the coronavirus.
On ExpressNews.com: San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg offered a rare glimpse at his forearm tattoo
Texas hair and nail salons acquired the go-ahead to reopen final week, whereas Texas gyms and workplace buildings can reopen beginning Monday.
That has loads of inkers irked throughout the state. On Tuesday, tattoo artists demonstrated outdoors the Capitol in Austin, and a few Texas tattoo outlets reportedly reopened in defiance of presidency restrictions, which prohibit folks from visiting tattoo and piercing studios.
“It’s a giant loss (for tattoo outlets), particularly to the house owners,” Casas mentioned. “We’re self-employed. Both we tattoo or we don’t receives a commission, except you may have your work or stuff to promote.”
For Casas, that began about two months in the past with some medium-density fiberboard and acrylic paints, which he used to create a life-size woodcut magnet of an armadillo.
Proud of the outcomes, Casas went on to craft a woodcut magnet referred to as “Covid Rick,” a masked homage to the mad scientist from the hit cartoon collection “Rick and Morty.” Casas posted the Rick magnet on Instagram and bought it quicker than you could possibly say “wubba lubba dub dub.”
He has since whipped up woodcut magnets that embody Vader’s lightsaber and a piece he calls “Sacred Ojo,” a coronary heart with a weeping eye at its middle. Casas additionally completed a few framed watercolors: one in every of a traditional Polaroid prompt digicam and one other of a pair of praying arms.
“They’re simply stuff that I needed to color,” Casas mentioned. “Simply little concepts that I get.”
One other San Antonio tattoo artist has gotten actually inventive with what she works with.
Annika Case focuses on stick-and-poke tattooing, a machine-free technique that brings a picture to life dot by dot. When the coronavirus closed her down, Case turned to engaged on orange peels.
“It’s been actually enjoyable,” mentioned Case, who mentioned the orange peels make a great apply floor for tackling greater and extra sophisticated stick-and-poke designs. “I’m taking dangers that I wouldn’t have taken.”
Highlights embody cartoon characters Velma from the “Scooby-Doo” franchise and Rosie the Robotic from “The Jetsons.”
Case doesn’t promote her orange-peel works, however she does think about the peel periods a great advertising instrument on her Instagram account @pin_and_pencil, which she mentioned virtually doubles as her portfolio.
She mentioned it’s a tough time for tattooists, however she’s fortunate as a result of her companion is a list manger for a Texas-based auto dealership. And as a lot as she misses the cash from tattooing, she particularly misses the interplay with purchasers.
“It’s actually enjoyable to make one thing for any person and get to share in that collaborative course of,” she mentioned. “That emotional human connection … for me makes it actually particular.”
Casas mentioned he additionally feels the lack of the emotional payoff to tattooing, however he largely misses the payday. He’s solely bought a handful of his woodcut magnets, and he makes much less cash on these than he does tattoos, which begin at $60 at his store.
Each additionally expressed a typical grievance of tattoo artists unable to work through the pandemic: that they work in one of many cleanest and most hygienic industries within the nation and have lengthy adhered to strict security tips.
“We’re at all times disinfecting and cleansing,” Casas mentioned, noting that tattooists additionally put on single-use disposable gloves and by no means use the identical sanitized needles twice. “I don’t see what extra we might do.”
Other than creating different inventive technique of earnings, about the one factor Casas and different tattooists can do is wait.
Which can be why his newest woodcut couldn’t be extra becoming, even whether it is too huge to suit on the fridge. It’s a colourful chicken over a flower-framed banner with the phrase “HOPE.”
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