By Jacob Hanks
I’m not usually into whatever new gimmick surfaces in the industry. It takes me a long time to even try it to confirm how bad it is, how cheaply made, or how much more difficult it is than what I was using before some random business man bestowed it to the masses. This is absolutely not the case with A Pound of Flesh; an innovation that is the hottest thing trending on internet social groups like Instagram and Facebook right now. It almost seems that from out of nowhere, these lifelike tattooable appendages have dominated tattoo conventions as well as art circles as the ‘It’ product to showcase your art in a very different and unusual way that surely will catch the public eye.
Co-Owner Shaun Miller explains, “It is our mission to create an experience closest to tattooing real skin. Its main purpose is to help apprentices and beginning tattoo artist to learn the techniques of tattooing without having to actually practice on real people. This will hopefully cut down on the amount of poorly executed tattoos done by beginners. Other applications are that even more experienced artists can practice new techniques and/or new equipment. It also serves as a 3D portfolio. Potential clients will be able to get a better idea how well an artist can tattoo by physically seeing an example versus just a picture on paper or computer screen.”
When asked how this all came about APOF states, “We started A Pound of Flesh as a way to help supplement income during the slow season of tattooing. I have tried to come up with something to achieve this over the past 6 years or so. Our original idea was skull piggy banks. I got one at a garage sale once and I thought maybe the rest of the world would want one too. Luckily we quickly realized that it wouldn’t be the most lucrative thing ever. Co-Owner Abraham Cobaxin recently delved into learning special effects. He started molding his hand to zombify it. One day he decided to try tattooing “DEAD” on the knuckles. It didn’t turn out very well but the light bulb was lit. “We tweeked the formula til they were extremely close to the real tattoo experience. The rest is a graverobber’s secret.”
My first time seeing an APOF hand was on a posting from acclaimed script tattooer “Boog”. After my initial what the f&%$ moment trying to figure out what this was and why I should even care, I was just blown away at the quality of piece that you can tattoo on these things. I quickly did my research and ordered two right away, a lefty and a righty, only to order two more after I started my hand. (Yes, I have to pay for them. I’m not getting anything out of this interview).
I was nervous and didn’t want to mess up the product that I just spent money on but after the first line I tattooed, it was like butter. I’d say that this is as close as it gets to tattoing a real person except it doesn’t squirm and complain from the pain. You can make lines until the ink runs out and pound it in there and you don’t even have to yell at it to hold still. It’s a pretty serene experience when the canvas isn’t trying to hold a conversation and ask questions like what size needle I’m using.
I took my “In progress” hand to the Oregon Ink Show and set it on the table at the booth with some business cards in the fingers and it was an hit. Dozens of people picked it up and inspected the quality of the tattoo. They were intrigued at this new and cool conversation starter. Plus they took my cards and many wanted to get tattooed. One guy even offered to buy it as an art piece but I told him that it wasn’t finished yet. As of now I am planning on creating an art gallery type display of A Pound of Flesh hands and the newly released arm, to display different styles of art to my clients. It has contagiously spread to many of my tattooer friends and there are major artists pushing the limits of creativity on these things.
This is the perfect way to showcase a portfolio piece without having to find an actual person to wear it. The only negative thing is that it takes a little longer to tattoo a piece than on real skin but who’s complaining? This is an apprentice’s dream item to practice things that he’s learning without really messing someone up. It’s perfect for artists like myself to tattoo whatever I want to and try out methods to later use on clients. I’m hooked and the future is very bright for these guys. I can’t wait to see what’s next for A Pound of Flesh. Aloha and thank you everyone.
To purchase: http://www.apoundofflesh.bigcartel.com/