Growing up I always found tattoos fascinating, an artform that has been present in almost every culture through human history and can carry so much depth or be purely cosmetic. Of course, I’ve always wanted one, but the combination of my overactive imagination and heavy indecisiveness has made this quite the challenge. There are an unending number of ideas, styles and placements that would make beautiful tattoos, filled with as much meaning as you’d like them to have, how are you ever going to find the perfect fit? This has been my problem to solve in recent years and until recently, I was in a never-ending hunt for that perfect something.
That was, however, until I stumbled on a term utilized in Japanese Gardening, Wabi-Sabi 侘寂. Though it has no real direct translation to English, the concept has been something I have found myself obsessed with. Boiled down, the term represents embracing the imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. These are all qualities abundant in the natural world and are key to why we as humans are drawn in by it.
Woodblock prints were something that, to me, captured this concept extremely well. Showcasing the beauty in the natural world, specifically in the ordinary. The movement of flowing water, ripples and reflections in a storm, the vibrant greens found through the forest. After taking a step back, I gathered art that I found beautiful, that I for some reason or another had an innate draw to. After that it was like putting together a puzzle, taking what I liked most from each of these prints and combining them into something new. It may not be perfect, but I have finally made it my own.
Matthew Spencer, Sales & Design