Smudge Tattoo!

•November 19, 2019 • 3 Comments

I am going to go out on a limb and say that you have probably seen this meme somewhere.


Probably it was filled in with captions. Usually clever. Sometimes not…. but I am gathering that anyone who lurks on the internet has come across it somewhere.

I really wanted to tattoo this cat on someone. I’m not sure why. I don’t recall ever having a burning desire to tattoo something that was popular at the time (maybe I have and I am not remembering).

Can’t get enough of this cat.

I know a lot of people are sick of him and this meme, but I honestly don’t care. He is adorable and portrayed as snarky and clever. He is the hero that I need. His name in real life is Smudge. He is on Instagram as @smudge_lord I am pretty sure he lives in the same town as my Sister (both of them are Canadian).

Internet fame.

Anyhow. Really wanted to tattoo him on someone. As I do when I am looking for a willing participant, I head to Facebook. I asked if someone would be willing to get a Smudge tattoo. First respondent was actually someone that helps out at the Greece shop. Kaitlin is our Counter Squirrel and she is also a big fan of Smudge. This had to happen.

The biggest problem before the tattoo was that the meme photo of Smudge is actually quite blurry. Trying to render him ahead of time was tricky as I wanted to be true to Smudge’s authentic self (like the little dots on his nose) but not lose the expression that you see in the blurry photo.

I re-drew Smudge from reference photos on the Instagram page and used that for reference for the tattoo.

Here is the result.


(Photo with the screaming lady is on my iPad next to the actual tattoo).


Less than 24 hours later people are voicing their opinions on the internet. (like they do). By and large lots and lots of Smudge fans loving the idea and the tattoo.

Couple of people being jerks and asking why someone would get that tattooed on them. (If you think people don’t get weird tattoos on them, go check out @snake__pit on Instagram).

Someone was nice enough to make that into another meme for us.


Works for me. Works for Kaitlin.

Honestly I don’t see a down side to this. He’s an adorable kitty. Both Kaitlin and I are cat ladies. Even if  “no one knows who he is” in a few years… she has a good memory and a great tattoo of a cat.

Because lots of people have asked. The tattoo below Smudge was made by Emma at the Greece location of White Tiger Tattoo. She is on Instagram as @catacomb.kid the tattoo says “Bowties are cool” according to Kaitlin.

Figure Drawing November 18th, 2019

•November 19, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Went to Figure Drawing last night like I do most Mondays. I really enjoy it. I mean, not the actual drawing part (as much as you might think… the drawing part can be frustrating and it can be easy to get up in my own head and get judgy about myself and my work) but the community at Steve’s place. There is a group of artists that show up (some regularly and some frequently) and they all appear to be amazing human beings.

There are so few places where you can count on the people there to be warm and inviting and just, well, nice. There isn’t enough of that in the world. Maybe it is more common in art communities. Maybe being outcasts art people tend to be protective of one another.

Maybe it is that any group if it is small enough and well tended will take care of each other.

I don’t know. I do know that I appreciate it immensely. It’s not just about the space. It’s not just about the practice. It’s not just about Steve (no matter how amazing he may be). It is more about the group that Steve has surrounded himself with.

I am glad that I get to be a part of that group at least once a week. I am glad that we have the opportunity for drop in Figure Drawing in Rochester. I am glad that Steve decided to call Rochester home and set up his studio here.

Also a shout out to Michelle who was getting over a week of being sick and still came and sat for us. Our models are amazing.


Time Lapse:

Remember to appreciate the things in your life that you love. Don’t take for granted the times that are special or the people that matter to you.

and still more tattoos (always)

•November 18, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Healed photos of two tattoos that I love a lot on a really wonderful client that I am super glad I got to meet.

I love my job.



Made a memorial portrait of little Dede for her Dog Dad.


Got a healed shot of this Harley Quinn that I made (a year ago?).


Finished up this 3/4 sleeve. Hope to get better photos when it isn’t so red and angry.


Tiger Eyes based on the colors of her son’s eyes:


Poison Ivy:


Memoral Tattoo of an old friend on her daughter. Absolutely do not bring this one up with me if you can’t deal with me crying.


Kitsune based on one of my drawings:


Bad Kitty:

Love this idea and am hoping that I can get photos once it is healed and all of that stencil is washed off of there.


Healed American Flag:


Added a peony to my friend Michelle’s leg to go along with the one that we made last July. There will be more to come on this later (and I made the skeleton also some time ago).


Custom piece made for a fun returning client. Lady is based on photos of a friend including the Plague Doctor mask.

steampunk lady and lion tattoo

“Starter tattoo” for a young man. Hoping he decides to let me add on to this at some point in the future. Stencil is still very visible in these photos.

octopus tattoo

and I realized I have been slacking horribly on updating this… so here are some other random tattoos that I have made lately that I am happy with in no particular order.


dog portrait tattoo by TeeJay tentacle skull tattoo by TeeJay

First session on this one. More to come. fox tattoo in progress by TeeJaywatercolor poppies tattoo by TeeJay

Really the best way to keep current on what I am up to is my Instagram feed @justteejay I post here eventually but I post there more frequently.

I appreciate you checking up on what I am creating wherever you choose to do so.

Clara Life Painting Sept 6th, 2019

•November 16, 2019 • Leave a Comment

Back to the Hungerford Art Group without a name.



I hadn’t posted this as I was waiting for the second session. I think it got cancelled and now I am not sure if I missed the second session while I was prepping for the show or if it got indefinitely postponed. Either way, here is the first of what had originally been two sessions (above). I keep looking at this piece in my studio and may do something fun with it since it is unlikely to get finished…. or I may just think about it and never actually do it.

Figure Drawing November 11th, 2019

•November 15, 2019 • Leave a Comment


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Advice from the past….

•November 14, 2019 • Leave a Comment


Once upon a time (and I really couldn’t tell you how long ago) someone had said to me “If you do anything wrong long enough, it becomes a style.”. They were talking specifically about illustration. It makes sense. It is a bit of advice that has helped me many times over the years and I have continued to pass it on along.

The things that you consider your defects could very well wind up contributing to your strengths in time.

It never occurred to me to apply this piece of advice to anything beyond art.

That is until this week. It’s not the first time someone has said something about it, but two people that I respect mentioned it this week. They told me that my refusal to conform is inspiring (in different contexts).

In all honesty I have always considered it to be a deficit. I joke about the definition of Self Employed being: Unemployable. A lot of us “couldn’t make it” in conventional work environments. Personally I had a few major issues with real jobs in the Corporate World. The biggest problem being that I was never very good at keeping my mouth shut when I needed to. I questioned directives. I gave my opinion. Very often when it was far from appreciated. I was not satisfied with “because I said so” as an answer. Many supervisors do not want to be questioned. Especially in a group setting .

Anyhooo…. I wasn’t good at it.

I didn’t like being told what to do. This wasn’t limited to work. In my personal life it was referred to as being “contrary”. If you told me not to do something it made me want to try it.
(Who am I kidding? I still don’t like being told what to do.)

I wanted to know why. I wanted to know lots of things. I wanted to try lots of things and if someone couldn’t give me a good reason why not… I would give it a try.

“I’ll try anything once, if it kills me I won’t try it again.”

It led to a lot of stupid decisions with varying degrees of consequences. I got clean and sober. My decision making process got better, but I remained contrary. Eventually I found myself here. Owning my own business. Building my own Tribe. Surrounding myself with other “misfits” – loving them all for their individuality, their creativity and their beautiful hearts. Making a living from the “stupid” and “worthless” pastime that kept me from being the “right” kind of productive. I am happy in almost every area of my life and am inordinately grateful for the loving supportive bubble that I get to exist in.

In all of this time it never occurred to me that this all came from my inability to fit in. If I would have even been able to fake going along with the crowd and following through on what people told me that I should do – I wouldn’t have landed here. I wouldn’t have all the opportunities in front of me that I do. If I had listened to all the people that told me that it was impossible…. I would be miserable. I would be unfulfilled. I would be lonely. I would be pretending to be someone that I am not in order to get by.

Some times I can be a little slow coming around. I still battle depression and imposter syndrome. Life is not perfect.

But damn, it is GOOD!

I am so grateful for where I am today. I am grateful for my Tribe that carries me when I falter. I am grateful for all of the humans (both live and internet) that reach out to me to tell me that my art has touched them in some way. I am honored & humbled that people continue to ask me to decorate their bodies. I love that my art enriches other people’s lives.

It begs the question…. what else am I beating myself up about needlessly?

What are your “deficits” that have blessed your life?

How can we all learn to be nicer to ourselves and embrace our “failures”?

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Thank you for sharing you with me in whatever capacity that you have. Thank you for being here.

Go forth and LOVE.


And if you do it wrong long enough…. it’s a style.


Figure Drawing October 28th, 2019

•November 14, 2019 • Leave a Comment


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