Art contest and rules, Wreck-Free Sunday (CONTEST CLOSED)

I have been making this announcement for several days, that I would be having a contest for a tattoo to put on this.

Ugly, ain't it?

That is what I have had to deal with every day of my life for the last 11 years, reminding me that the LEO assigned to my case was of the opinion that the wreck was mostly my fault for not being in a car, not the nutcase that made the u-turn to get on my side of the road and come back to hit me.

What I’m looking for is a design that either covers the scar, or that integrates the scar into the design in such a way as to make the whole thing beautiful rather than an ugly reminder of death and destruction.

The rules: the submission must be on this image as a base layer. It is suggested that the submitted image be integrated into a single layer while saving a separate image of the design without the leg image for the tattoo artist to work from to apply the design to the leg. The canvas (me) will be the final arbiter of what looks good on my leg. The contest starts today, and runs through June 1, 2013. The wining entry will be posted in the Wreck-Free Sunday post the next day. The winner will either get Five Benjamins in his/her hot little fist if located local to DFW, in which case the option to get a picture posted of the transaction in the following weeks Sunday post may be exercised at the agreement of both the artist and the canvas (me), or a credit union check (guaranteed payment by my “bank”) will be sent to non-local or otherwise unable to get the $$ physically. There will be only the one prize, and all entries remain the property of the submitter until selected as the winner. Winner will retain the option of publishing the work on their web site first, with posting on my blog to happen either with the announcement of winning, or when the tattoo is completed at which point it becomes my artwork to publish (my leg, my artwork on the leg).

Judging criterion: Totally arbitrary. Since the scar is almost totally numb I’m not concerned about how much I’m going to get poked and stabbed during the tattoo process although I would like to minimize this. The design will be judged on how well it integrates the existing features of the scar into the design or on how well it obscures the scar from view. Your choice on what way you want to go, work with what’s already there to make it beautiful, or cover it up to make it beautiful. The operative phrase on this is “make it beautiful”. Make it something I will love to look at instead of something I hate.

HOW TO SUBMIT AN ENTRY Make a comment to this post that you have an entry to get an e-mail addy to send the image to. Sorry about forgetting to put this in with the original post…

PSA, Opus

59 responses to “Art contest and rules, Wreck-Free Sunday (CONTEST CLOSED)

  1. Opus the Poet

    I have the raw image file if you want to work in a larger format.

  2. Hey Opus –
    What’s your horiscopical sign? (looking for inspirations is all)

  3. Pingback: Metro supports your right to the road, PCH cyclist beaten in Malibu, $25k reward for hit-and-run driver | BikingInLA

  4. I would be interested in the raw image file : )

  5. A Jesus fish!

    • Opus the Poet

      How about a Darwin Fish instead? ;) I have been a Pagan too long to wear a Jesus fish (ichthys)

  6. Do you have other tattoos? I’m just curious and having trouble of thinking up something for someone I don’t know personally; you should give us a list of things of interest if possible. Leaving it to our imagination is of course limitless, but a tattoo should have significant value to the wearer.

    • Opus the Poet

      I have my SSN tattooed to the bottom of my left foot for aid in identifying my body in case of mishap at a job I used to have, but that’s the only one.

  7. Do you have a preference as to whether the shape of the scar is used as a frame for the design? Or would you prefer it to be completely covered so that you wouldn’t be able to tell it was there to begin with?

    • Opus the Poet

      Either way. I’m not sure if I want the scar completely covered, or if I want the scar integrated into the design so as to make the scar beautiful rather than ugly, but my instincts are going with integrating the scar into the design. I may change my mind if a design is submitted that covers the scar in a beautiful image.

      • VanTwinblade

        The easiest thing would be wings. Your favorite bird maybe (like an hawk or falcon)

  8. I’ll repeat there what I said over on AndyO! brilliant comic page: If you’re in the Bay Area you might want to check out Mark Bode (; He’s a wizard! (I was pretty close to his dad, Vaughn, who was … amazing.) Actually, I’ve noticed he travels some, so even if you aren’t there it might be worth getting in touch.

  9. This is a really cool idea! Definitely interested, would love to have a go.

  10. HazardousCargo

    That’s a wicked awesome battle-scar. I’d be proud to wear it.

    • Opus the Poet

      If I could give it to you, you could have it. All it does for me is remind me that the people I pay to enforce the laws decided the laws only apply to me when I break one, not when someone else breaks one against me.

  11. What about setting up an interview sometime for your interests and personality? Over email or Skype?

    • Opus the Poet

      I would hope my interests and personality are coming through in my blog, but if you want some more information I will send you an e-mail at the addy you listed to post your comment.

  12. I have a quick concept sketch of what I think you might like, let me know if it interests you I can send you the file Via email.

  13. Ooh, I think I actually have an idea… It has nothing to do with the usual stuff that i make comics about (trans scars) but I actually am quite a cyclist myself so… my brain is already twisting and turning. Will work on it soon! You can pay me in euros :D

    • Opus the Poet

      Yay! My favorite transgendered artist wants to participate!

      • Oh I just saw someone else posted my idea as a reply, booooo! Although my design is slightly different, but it’s definately steampunk.
        And hey, could you send me the file? To thebosoms[a]

      • Opus the Poet

        Certainly, since you have already seen the worst of it you might as well see it in close up G(l)ory.

      • Opus the Poet

        Hey, go for it. I mean it’s not like there aren’t 10000 copies/parodies of “The Thinker” or that panel of the Sistine chapel where G*d reaches out a finger to give life to Adam, or to a little more mundane millions of non-Disney generated pictures of a Certain Mouse… Follow your muse on this one, even if the path has been blazed before that doesn’t mean you won’t discover something new on it. And I have not just mixed but pureed my metaphors in this comment… :)

  14. I don’t want to rain on your parade, Opus, but I’m not really sure if it’s a good idea. According to both my medical knowledge (as an ex medicine student and a pro bodypiercer) and opinions from some of the people I know (who either are tattooed or work in that field), scars don’t make a good canvas for a tattoo. The ink will most likely spread through the scar tissue without control. This is due to the fact that scars are in fact connective tissue, much like normal skin, only chaotically structured. Solid scar tissue (which is what your scar looks like) is not as rigidly layered as healthy skin and actually provides a lot of leeway for the ink to spill through.
    I actually knew a tattoo artist who tried to build his tattoo around a scar and miscalculated, putting some ink into its edge. The spill had an at least 3 mm diameter and ruined the effect (the scar was supposed to fit inside a blank scroll, the ink came from the scroll’s edge).
    It’s also the reason why I can never get a tattoo on my left arm, as much as I’d love it – I have a lot of small scars on it which would prevent the ink from settling in the way it should.
    To be honest, you would be better off with elaborating the scar’s edges by artistic scarification. It won’t take away the shape (unless you skin your shin a little more), but at least it will make it more interesting. On the other hand, these new scars may heal differently from the old one, so it’s just as risky.
    To be completely honest – as much as I love body modifications, if I were in your place, I would let the scar be. Then again, I’m a bit weird – reminders of other people’s f**kups are beneficial to me, they make me angry, and I draw on that anger whenever I want to make the world around me a better place. Sorta-kinda like the Hulk, only with less smashing and more vitriol ;)

    • I disagree I got a cover up of scars where I was cut repeadtly and the tattoo is not perfect but it looks good.

  15. Looking at the shape reminds me of a canoe or row boat. How about using that in the design? I’m no artist, but I bet something using one of those vehicles might look good. Maybe even put some bikes in the boat.

  16. Not to be a wet blanket but, as a tattoo artist (from New England, living in Austin. Not that that is indicative of anything in particular, just tossing it in for accuracy purposes), I have to mention that there is a lot about this contest that doesn’t work.
    First off is the reason behind getting the tattoo in the first place. If you want to hide a scar or something about your person that you don’t want attention brought to, you generally shouldn’t adorn it with a focal point. Pretty much painting a huge target for people to shot a glance at. I’ve dealt with this before and it’s usually a 50/50 turn out after I mention that. Because, ultimately it’s about shaping your body and aesthetic into who you know you are and how you perceive yourself.
    The second little bit of a misstep is that it’s infinitely difficult to conceive and plot a piece that will ultimately wrap to the subtle contours of the body, wherever that may be, by sketching while using a photo of the canvas as an accurate measure of the canvas. The piece will almost always be too small and flow in misalignment to the natural flow of the body. To correct that you’d need to be familiar with how the body’s curvature alters the two dimensional image. And it certainly helps to have a tracing that you personally took of the space.
    The third issue is that, likely, most of the people who are entering the contest don’t know you or most anything about you. When I have a consultation for a tattoo, I discuss with the client, at length, about what it is they’re looking for in their tattoo, from style to content to meaning to colors. We search for reference together (wether it be pre-existing tattoo related subject matter or general imagery) so that I can start to get some concrete first hand account of the feel and look they’re going for. Blindly drawing a concept for a stranger is near impossible if you want the final product to be meaningful over the years to the wearer.
    Fourthly, most, if not all of the people who are competing or intending to compete, are not tattoo artists. A tattoo artist, if worth his salt, knows that some things that work in a drawing absolutely do not work in a tattoo. That is not a commentary of skill but an unwavering truth. As time goes by, the layer of skin that the pigment is injected into shifts; and lines that were once close together become joined and read more as a blob or in best case scenarios, blurry. Non-tattoo artists almost never have a concept of plotting a tattoo as, not only a fantastic illustration but as something that will continue to be fantastic for the remainder of the wearer’s years. As the artist, you can picture an infinite number of things in your mind’s eye but to keep in mind that someone has to replicate that by pushing little metal needles covered in ink into someone’s skin. That isn’t to say tattooing will always fall short of illustrations, just that not everything works.
    The fifth and maybe largest problem is either: finding an artist who would be okay with this set up of blindly using an image, or, if he’s agreeable to the scenario, trusting in his abilities as a tattoo artist. Seeing as you aren’t adorned in tattoos, I imagine that you don’t have a close artist relationship with the artist. Most tattoo artists, at least I hope, aren’t gonna be too keen to use a pre-drawn piece of artwork form in such a way. And the ones who are quickly accepting of the situation, and I can say this with no doubt, are into it strictly for the money and that, certainly, isn’t a position you want to be a part of.
    And lastly the absolute biggest issue (if not in contention with No. 5 as actually a problem) is that you are uncomfortable with a part of your body and you wanna hide it under something. It’s essentially the often talked about issue of self-acceptance. That scar is always going to be there, tattoo or not. The details of the incident won’t get any better. Even with the scar covered, you’ll still be sore at that bit about the wrongly placed responsibility for the accident and still victim to whatever remaining feelings of ill will you may have for the experience. The tattoo won’t change those things.
    To wrap up this unintentionally lengthy post, I hope you get from this contest, a tattoo that you enjoy and can continue to enjoy for years to come. I should also mention that the scar is RAD. Super cool to see the muscle definition and totally gives you character. If I saw that out and about, I would think, “Damn! That guy must have a story and a half attached to that thing.” At the very least it’s physical proof that something interesting has happened to you. Anything that makes you you is awesome, so long as you can find a way to be satisfied with whatever that thing may be.

    • I am a tattoo artist as well and Laguna Alexander posted pretty much everything I was coming here to post. I think contests are fun and they’re a great way to connect with your readership and get them excited, but in my honest opinion, this is not the way to do it.

      A tattoo drawn for you by non-professionals who don’t understand what makes a good tattoo is already an idea that isn’t great – but especially for scar tissue, this isn’t going to work out well for you. Perhaps you could think about keeping the contest for some other purpose, and for this tattoo research an excellent artist and let them design the tattoo that will best suit your needs? This is, after all, our job. There’s no sense wasting your readers’ time and your own money just to end up with a design in your hands that a good professional tattooer is going to tell you won’t work.

      • I’d suggest thinking of this contest more as a brainstorming session than as specific design — to be sanity-checked by an expert before being accepted.

        Good questions to consider.

        Hey, how about inverting the question: Rather than tattoo the scar, do something elsewhere that draws attention away from it? (I’m not going to suggest using the scar as a design and matching it on the other calf…)

        Remember, the scar as it stands is _already_ a badge of honor. You survived. And it really isn’t ugly, or even especially eye-catching from a distance (step back from the photo, or squint at it, and it just becomes a colored area, outside of any shadow lines)… so if you can deal with people asking for the story, leaving it as it stands *is* a legitimate option.

        Or … I seem to remember that there are now tattoo inks which are transparent under normal light but glow under UV. If I was going to get a tat, that’s definitely something I’d want to investigate — a bit of body magic, unseen until I want to surprise someone.

  17. Hey, interested in trying to make something for you. Can I have a high quality raw file of your leg/scar picture, and some basic idea of a preferred visual aesthetic? In terms of tattoo design- Tribal, celtic, medieval, sailor jerry/old school, etc.

  18. What is some of your favorite animals? I tend to excell at aquatic life and anime :) since you’d be living with it, I can incorporate whatever you like ^.^

    • Opus the Poet

      I am a huge anime fan, and former vendor at A-Kon. I still have the first 60 episodes of Urusei Yatsura (Lum) on VHS tapes. Sorry I didn’t reply to this sooner.

  19. i would honestly recommend that you find a tattoo artist who is interested in / has experience working with scar tissue, and have that artist design a piece for you (once you can definitely determine that the scar tissue will even take a tattoo).
    but that being said, i think it’s great to ask for input! :)
    honestly it’s a gorgeous scar, so i think if you do anything with it you should use it like a picture frame. i know it’s kind of cliched now, but have you seen the tattoos that are made to look like the skin has been peeled back? i’ve seen all sorts of variations, from realistic to robotic to fantastical, showing what’s ‘under the skin’. something like that would be very beautiful and / or very awesome, and should be easy to do if it’s designed to work with the lines and colors of the scar.
    or if the scar tissue is close enough to real skin to accept detail, maybe you could come up with a favorite scene or scenery — from a book, or a movie, or your own head — and have the artist design something within an oval picture frame along the rim of the scar.

    • My first reaction was similar to the robotic one, since I actually sorta like the “functional” shapes — but I don’t know enough about tattoo to know whether the colors (and inevitable blurring) could make that work.

      Also playing off the shapes… Columns of a temple, converging toward the top as forced perspective?

      And I’d second the recommendation to find a tattoo artist who’s used to working with scars, and a doctor who isn’t squicked by tats, and ask them both about the constraints — in terms of what’s now closer to the surface, how thick or thin the layer is that will be inked, how the inks will interact with it, and (though I hate to raise the point) in terms of whether the tat might interfere with any longer-term need to monitor the area. Just a bit of applied paranoia; better to be sure before you start.

      If it turns out you _can’t_ do a permanent tattoo … There might still be something interesting that could be done with less-permanent media, that you could learn to apply/maintain yourself (though it’s in an awkward place for that).

  20. Howdy! I’ll be sending in a batch in due course. Got til June, and I’m going to use some of it.

  21. Patti Erickson

    Hi Opus,
    I’ve got some ideas. i don’t know if you will like any of them but they should, at the very least, give you some ideas. Perhaps one will spark your interest. Please send the file to me.

  22. Monica Sanchez

    i Have an entry!

    • Opus the Poet

      Did you send it to my e-mail? I’m trying to connect the entries to the people making the comments here so I can give proper credit in the announcement.

  23. Hey! I’m going to be a wet blanket here and echo what a few others have said, you probably want to take this to a tattoo artist.

    My one suggestion for design though, is to forgo what you might think of as a traditional tattoo and instead go for something more abstract, with less black or sharply defined thin lines, where blurring is part of the intention, which can be more easily fixed if the ink starts to spread because of the scar tissue. My idea would be a scene of hills with a tall sky behind it, with a clouds and a sunset. That way if ink from the hills spills into the sky you can just tattoo the hills up higher, or change their contours, and if ink spills into the clouds you can reshape them. You’d really have to talk to a tattoo artist with scar experience though to see if that would work.

  24. StoneyMahoney

    A guy I know, bike racer, had some really bad scars across his face and over his head from a accident on the track. He had tattoos of robot parts, Terminator style, put over the scar tissue. Looks the ****ing mutts nuts, and serious kudos to him for doing it!

  25. Bubba Cornflakes

    Just put in text: “Next time I hire [insert name of local personal injury lawyer here]!” Make sure to get that lawyer to pay you to advertise him and to make him pay royalties every time the picture of your leg is reproduced.

  26. Has a good artist even told you if that can be tattooed? Cuz that looks really thin. I can’t draw, but I just wanted to chime in that with those edges and how you can practically see through it, that is seriously the most beautiful scar I’ve ever seen.

  27. I would either do the “Torn skin into superhero outfit of choice” bit, or, the way things blend make it look like you could shape it into a flame or lightbulb very easily, depending on your ideas. Could serve as a fitting tribute to the father of modern electricity, Nikola Tesla, or to the energy that burns within us all.

  28. I would actually love to try and work on something!!

  29. Can I get a raw image file, I have a sketch of what you may like and well, I’d like to do the overlay on your leg so you can judge it better…

  30. Pingback: This is the last month! | Witch on a Bicycle

  31. How can I find a picture of the winning design?

    • Opus the Poet

      I’m going to send a message to the artist and ask if I can display the picture in a separate post shortly.

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