The natural light in Anonymous Tattoo’s space is a New Yorker’s envy. High ceilings, a skylight, white walls with framed flash floor to ceiling, the space is incredibly easy on the eyes. It’s an open floor plan that lets you see everyone working, and rounding the corner behind the front desk, you’ll find a small wooden lightboard and Clay McCay hunched over it. Today, the light-up top isn’t turned on, as McCay is working diligently on a Wacom Cintiq.
There’s something freeing about being able to go back and edit your own art, and while this revisionist approach is possible without a computer, our current digital age does make it an easier process to visualize and edit. Rather than stacks of tracing paper and a print-out photo of his client, McCay uses some Photoshop layers and an iPhone picture.
“I did something the other day where I beat my head against the wall trying to draw this anatomical alligator for this girl, and it wasn’t working,” McCay continues. “I spent a lot of time on it. And finally, I just put away all my references, put away all the drawings I had already done, and just drew without looking at anything. And it came out way better than the other ones, where I tried to force it into looking too anatomically correct. That stuff can really strip the soul out of a tattoo if you’re not careful how you draw it.”