Renee Ya, a product manager who works in the video game industry in the SF Bay Area, is a huge fan of artist Celina de Guzman. She's so into her work, in fact, that she recently proved her fandom in ink. Renee's tattoo is of Twinism 4, a piece that de Guzman created for NeonMob's Pink and Blue collection.
I thought it was cool that Renee took this digital-only artwork and made it into a permanent, hand-inked display of her appreciation for Celina de Guzman's work. I reached out to Renee to ask her more questions about what inspired her to get the tattoo.
Were you familiar with Celina de Guzman's art before collecting her pieces on NeonMob? Did you contact Celina when you decided to get the tattoo? What was her reaction?
I became aware of Celina de Guzman's art through NeonMob actually! Pink and Blue was a starter pack and at that point when I had joined, NeonMob had about 10 collections. NeonMob's grown since then and Celina's contributed to the Holiday Pack and did another collection for Valentine's Day. I've collected them all. What made me want to get one of her pieces as a tattoo was the idea of getting those super rare pieces! There are only two pieces that I don't have -- the 2 chases from Pink and Blue.
When I had made my decision to get a tattoo of hers, I actually went into it wondering if she could draw me a custom piece. We're still working on it and you can see a work-in-progress version of it on her Instagram (1 and 2).
It was only after we had already been deep in discussion of the commission piece did I get the Twinism 4 (Variant) piece done. When I showed her the finished product, she loved it! She had said that many of her own friends had wanted custom tattoo pieces from her done, but still have yet to commit to getting the tattoo. So, to her knowledge, I'm the first person to get a Celina de Guzman tattoo!
What about this particular piece from Pink and Blue made you want to get it as ink on your arm? Where did you get the tattoo done?
I actually got it to go along with another piece on my arm. What I loved about this piece the most was that I wanted something that was feminine but creepy, and also was an animal. I felt that because they were two fish (Twins) it relates to my older daughter, who is a Gemini, while the arrows sort of are like cupid's arrow, which relates to my younger daughter, who was born on Valentine's Day. When I talked it over with my tattoo artist Kim Thomas of Mermaids Tattoo in San Francisco, she loved the way that Celina draws and felt that it really translates from pencil to digital to needle really well.
How many tattoos do you have? Do you think you'll get another Celina de Guzman piece as a tattoo or any other NeonMob artist's work on you?
This is actually my third piece. My first piece was earlier this year, a watercolor, low polygon styled apple on my lower back/upper butt. My second piece is the outer side (shoulder cap and upper arm) and is quite a bit more complicated to explain but involves a Hmong embroidery piece that means "tiger face," below that is a literal tiger's face, and below that are chrysanthemums. Right now, they are just the outlines but they will be filled in with more of the whimsical watercolor style soon enough!
As for going out and getting more Celina de Guzman pieces – I'm absolutely down for it! Once this commissioned piece is done, I'm planning on putting it on my back! And quite honestly, I've been toying around with getting more pieces from NeonMob done. I've really loved the Bestial Spirits collection by Mat Miller and would do it in a heartbeat if it weren't so hard to choose just one piece!
Tell us a little about the custom piece Celina is creating for you. How did that come about and what parameters did you give her to create the piece.
For the custom piece that Celina is creating for me, a lot of the creative direction came from wanting her to explore her current style and a couple of things that mean a lot to me. I gave her a lot of history of who I was, where my family comes from, I even sent her a playlist of music to get her inspired. She sent me a couple of pieces as far as quick sketch ideas and we combined the best of both and settled on a piece that was somewhat in between. There was some concern on her part that she felt some of her intricate line work (which is one of the best parts of her art) would get lost in translation, but upon asking my tattoo artist, she reassured me that Celina's beautiful line work would be retained so long as they had a big enough canvas to work with.
With that in mind, I told her I wanted it to be on my back and gave her some general sizes for her which works out because she prefers to work in a A5 paper size canvas so that even if I don't get the piece tattooed it'll be something I can print and hang on my walls.