Inked Across Update

This week I posted the first few photos on Instagram from the Inked Across account. While this could have started a while ago, I needed to adjust my methodology for the broader Inked Across project.

Inked Across Italy re-posts top work from Italian artists and while I pass over some artists and pieces because I don’t feel they hit the mark, I am not overly critical.

That approach works fine when you’re following 90 artists. I’m already following nearly 200 artists on Inked Across and that number is growing every day. For that reason Inked Across will post the top work from artists all over the world and the bar by which all will be “judged” is going to be higher.

I hate using the word judged because the reality is that if I’m scrolling through hundreds of pieces I’m saving off the ones that really kick ass. That doesn’t mean the others aren’t incredible. In fact, I follow artists based on their entire portfolio. If I see consistent killer work, then I follow. At that point, Inked Across is already a fan. It just now means I have to pick the best work for a given time period of all the artists I follow.

Anyway, that’s just the Instagram piece. The website is under development and in its first rollout will provide pre-registration for artists, shops, models, and vendors. The full website will provide artist profiles and portfolios, model profiles, shop directory and profile pages, as well as vendors.

The good news is that the past challenges with Instagram’s feed changes have seemed to settle down and likes/followers are starting to pick up pace again with Inked Across Italy. For that matter, Inked Across has been doing well with nearly 50 followers and an average of 35 likes per post. This in the first week or so.

So, hopefully I can get my ass in gear and finish the code for the website. Check back here for updates.



Big Picture

I have mentioned in the past that I was building a brand with Inked Across Italy and that there was something bigger I was moving to. If you follow the Instagram account, you  might have noticed that all posts include the #inkedacross tag. This was something I started adding in last year as the ‘bigger picture’ started coming into view.

In addition to the @inkedacrossitaly user, I also have the @inkedacross Instagram user which follows a bunch of artists but hasn’t posted anything – yet.

As the inkedacrossitaly profile starts off with “There are great tattoo artists all over the world…” I’ve always planned on opening the project up to a much bigger scope, but was waiting until all the pieces dropped into place and most importantly, I was ready to pull the trigger. I stumbled a bit over the past six months, mainly due to a lapse in confidence in the trails I was blazing. Sometimes you just have to make the leap of faith even if it’s not a traditional path.

I’m not quite ready to pull the metaphorical curtain away, but I will let you peak. @inkedacross on Instagram will do just what @inkedacrossitaly has been doing, but on a global scale. There are some amazing artists in the U.S., Russia, Denmark, Sweden, U.K., etc. and more coming into their own every day. Inkedacross will post the latest and greatest daily. And @inkedacrossitaly will keep doing what it’s been doing, although there will be some cross-marketing between the two from time to time.

Your interest might have been piqued by the t-shirt image at the start of this post. I really dig all the tattoo-inspired apparel and believe it would be a good area to venture in with Inked Across. The design is done and I’m going to start with a short run of t-shirts. I’ve added a poll in the right column to try to gauge interest. I will be ordering t-shirts regardless, but participation in the poll will give me an idea on quantities based on interest.

Thanks and stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks

Back from Hiatus

I got back from Italy a few weeks ago – a well needed vacation and the beginning of a new period in my life.

I left a job that I had been at for eight years. I was really feeling confined by it and looking for a more creative direction. I didn’t leave the job for another – I’m still figuring out what I will end up doing. At one point not too long ago I envisioned the InkedAcross project would figure into this new career, but honestly I almost abandoned the whole thing.

The changes to Instagram over the past six months have really disrupted what I’ve been trying to build here. I was starting to really gather momentum, with about 100 new followers every month or so. And then Instagram changed their algorithm and I went for about 2 1/2 months gaining, then losing, then gaining 10 followers. I was stuck at about the same number for months.

I understand that Instagram doesn’t really want anyone profiting from this platform other than Instagram. I’m not trying to sell anything – I’m attempting to build a brand. When that brand is making money, then yes, I will start spending money for advertising.

The change in sorting by Instagram slowed new followers and likes dramatically. Whereas I was approaching a couple hundred likes for the standout tattoos before the change, now I’m lucky to get 50 likes. I understand that since I am not a producer and just repost, there is a fair amount of attrition. If I get followers because they see something new from me they like and then subsequently start following the artists that I’m reposting, there will come a point where I don’t bring anything new to the table. That is the way this works and I keep growing if I gain followers quicker than I lose.

Anyway, for several months I was gaining, sliding, gaining, sliding. When I left for vacation I considered dropping the project, but at the very least decided a vacation from it as well was in order.

When I returned from vacation I still did not jump back into InkedAcross. An interesting thing was happening: the gain, slide, gain still continued. The likes still continued, comments still were made, and artists still sent me images they would like me to post. While I didn’t gain, I didn’t lose either. What’s this mean?

I have no fucking clue.

Actually I do. I know attrition is a fact of life and that will always work against me, but it’s less likely to happen when I’m not posting anything. All of the tags and comments and mentions by others artists and IGers always work in my favor whether I’m active or not.

I know the artists appreciate it when I promote their work. I know tattoo enthusiasts appreciate seeing cool art they otherwise would not see. I think what I’m doing has value and although Instagram did me no favors in their changes, I can still work with it. It will be more difficult but still doable.

I have a bigger vision I’m working towards and while I had hoped to be further along with that plan by now, I can be patient. I’m grateful for the support from everyone and will just keep hammering away at it.