07:10 PM

I came across this wonderful "Tattoo Soldiers" video, via Lal Hardy, in which three heavily tattooed Australian soldiers discuss some of the stories behind their tattoos ... or as the voiceover says, it's a "talk on titivating the torso."  The video title reflects that the film was taken in 1942, and it's interesting how the discussions of one's tattoos -- and the excitement so often behind such talks -- hasn't really changed much.  
09:15 AM
sin in linen henna.jpg
Last week, we began our contest, courtesy of Sin in Linen, in which one lucky reader wins a suite of 100% cotton kitchen linens (apron, oven mitt/pot holder set, dish towel) -- shown above -- and also a set of Valances from their Henna Tattoo product line.

The contest winner was chosen, via, from those who commented on the post in the Needles & Sins Syndicate FB Group, in my Instagram or hit me up @NeedlesandSins on Twitter.

And the winner is ... Nicole Stewart!  Congrats!

For those still hot for those oven mitts and all,
Sin in Linen offers the Henna Tattoo Kitchen Linen Set for just $37 (US).  Also check their variety of patterns -- including other tattoo-inspired decor -- for cool home products.

In addition to
Sin in Linen's online store, you can find them on Facebook & Instagram.

Thanks to all for playing along. More contests to come!

08:00 AM
Rose Hardy

claudia-de-sabe-big-1.jpgClaudia De Sabe

UPDATE:  In just a little more that a month, the fine art exhibit "Time: Tattoo Art Today," on view at Somerset House in London, will close on October 5. Our friend Serinde recently visited the show and sent photos, which we've posted to our Flickr stream. Serinde described the show as "surprising, striking, and above all extremely well executed." If you plan on attending the wonderful London Tattoo Convention, make sure to put this exhibit on your must see list while you're there.

Garnering rave reviews in London, "Time: Tattoo Art Today" presents the fine art of 70 some of our finest tattooers around the globe, including Filip Leu, Ed Hardy, Horiyoshi III, Paul Booth, Guy Aitchison, Kore Flatmo, Rose Hardy, Mister Cartoon, Chuey Quintanar, Volker Merschky and Simone Pfaff, among other artists. "Time" opened at Somerset House in London last week, and drew a great deal of media attention, highlighting just how skilled the artists in our community can be in mediums beyond skin. For a glimpse into the exhibit, the BBC offers this video.

Curated by tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe and publisher Miki Vialetto, the tattooers were asked to create a new work for the exhibition on the theme of time. Here's more from Somerset:

The resulting collection ranges from oil painting, watercolours and traditional Japanese silk painting to paint layering on real skulls, airbrush and bronze sculpture. Time and all it infers (such as life and death) is a classic, common motif in tattoo art, expressed through a vast variety of iconographic combinations. For example, the popular inkings of butterflies, blossoms and the handled cross signify life, while memento moris such as skulls or the goddess Kali denote death. Many of these symbols are also present in the original pieces displayed.
See more works from the exhibit on the museum's site and on Miki's Tattoo Life site.

"Time: Tattoo Art Today" will be on view at Somerset House until October 5, 2014. All artworks on display, as well as the show's catalog, prints and other memorabilia, are available to purchase at the Rizzoli Bookshop.

Horiyoshi-III.jpgHoriyoshi III
filip-leu-big.jpgFilip Leu
03:46 PM
yann black.jpgTattoo above by Yann Black.

mel tattoo.jpgTattoo above by Mel of Sin City studio.

Anam Kustom Kulture studio.jpgTattoo above by Anam of Kustom Kulture studio.

The MTL blogs' "Best Montreal Tattoo Artists" is an extensive list of top tattoo talent, which also shows the breadth of unique styles, expertly rendered in that one fabulous city. It seems that the MTL blog culled Instagram for their choices, and did a good job of doing so; although, as one commenter of the post noted, some of the choices of tattoos picked to represent the artists did not reflect their most dynamic work. Nevertheless, I highly recommend scrolling through the 47 picks, a number of which I've posted here.

Many of these artists, as well as renowned tattooers from around the world, will be working the Montreal Tattoo Convention coming up September 5-7. It's one of my favorite shows and I'm bummed that I can't be there this year, but I welcome pics and stories from the show from anyone who attends.
Pierre Chapelan tattoo.jpg
Tattoo above by Pierre Chapelan, owner of Studio TattooMania.

Vero tattoo mania.jpgTattoo above by Vero of Studio TattooMania.

Simon Golygowski tattoo.jpgTattoo above by Simon Golygowski of POL Tattoo studio.

07:07 PM
henna sheets.jpgI've found a[nother] way to have fun in bed:  have your sheets match your tattoos and then play hard to get (or even hard to find).

The aptly named Sin in Linen, a badass women-owned and run business, has been making homemaking sexy with signature bedding, bath items, kitchen linens, curtains, and tons more.

Naturally, I'm partial to the tattoo decor -- particularly, the  Henna Tattoo prints that complement my own Mehndi-inspired tattoos. It is a rare occasion that one will see an oven mitt on my hand. You better believe that it will match my body.  Sin in Linen founder Sandy Glaze told me that she has been traveling to India for ten years and found a love for sacred geometry imagery, and so this henna tattoo print seeks to evoke that art.

To celebrate the Henna Tattoo product line, Sin in Linen is sharing some love with one Needles & Sins winner, who will receive a full suite of 100% cotton kitchen linens (apron, oven mitt/pot holder set, dish towel) -- shown below -- and also a set of Valances from the Henna line.

Here's how to play:

One winner will be selected randomly from those who comment on this post in our Needles & Sins Syndicate Group on Facebook or by hitting me up @NeedlesandSins on Twitter or commenting on the Sin in Linen pic on my Instagram.  Any comment will do.  Then, one week from now, on September 2nd, around 9am EST, I'll put all the names of the commenters into to pick the winner. Easy breezy!

Meanwhile, browse through
Sin in Linen's online store, and check their variety of patterns for cool home products. Also find them on Facebook & Instagram.

Good luck! 

sin in linen henna.jpg

02:46 PM
king kong  jpg.jpgZeuss.jpg Creating a personal challenge, with the end goal of highlighting the possibilities of tattooing for a wide audience, Jeromey "Tilt" Mcculloch recently completed a 5-year-long project to create 100 backpiece paintings, largely rooted in traditional tattooing.

Tilt, who owns New Life Tattoos in Champaign, IL, would hang each painting on the wall of his shop as each piece was finished, which inspired clients to think about large scale tattoo art on their own bodies (such as one client who has begun his Kraken backpiece painting tattoo), or to incorporate elements of the larger pieces into other works.

In its entirety, Tilt's project is over 6 &1/2 feet tall by 32 feet wide when displayed together, an amalgam of the 100 15x20 back piece paintings. He's currently traveling to tattoo conventions to display the project as a whole, and is in the process of self-publishing a book on the paintings. [Tilt is also the author of Classic Flash Vols. 1 and 2.]

Jeromey Mcculloch backpiece Paintings.jpg I asked Tilt about how he has drawn ideas for such an extensive project. Here's what he said:

I think that, within a project that takes as long as something like this (5 years), it is inevitable that one will struggle with new ideas. One of the highlights of the project has been watching it go in waves. I enjoyed the process of starting and going in one direction and then trying something different. As I did that more, it freed my mind up to other compositional ideas. Another highlight for me was the growth in understanding the Japanese motif. I have always enjoyed the Japanese aesthetic and this project was perfect for exploring it deeper.
Tilt also said that he would keep a sketchbook in which he made 2-inch thumbnail sketches any time he saw anything that he thought had compositional value, and many of those ideas were then incorporated into the backpiece project.
When asked about what motivated him to embark on this 5-year endeavor, he said: "The main idea of this project was to get people to look at the collection and realize the endless potential of the back as a canvas. It seems we are limited in thought until we see possibility, only then can the creative juices can begin to flow."

See more of Tilt's paintings and tattoo work on Instagram, Facebook, and the New Life Tattoo site.
Jeromey Mcculloch tattoo.jpg
rock of ages tattoo.JPG
01:23 AM
army tattoo.jpgPhoto credit: Staff Sgt. Xaime Hernandez/Army via Army Times.

In my May post, "Military Tattoo Battles," I wrote about a lawsuit filed challenging the newest revision to the US Army's regulation on grooming and appearance standards, AR 670-1, which took effect in late April. The rules ban tattoos below the knee or elbow, although soldiers who already have such tattoos are "grandfathered" in. As I noted in the post, a big issue, however, is that the new regulations bar any soldier with tattoos from seeking a promotion to warrant officer or commissioning as an officer. The $100 million lawsuit was brought by Staff Sgt. Adam Thorogood, a guardsman who served 10 years on active duty, and it claims that the ban has stopped him from "fulfilling a dream of joining 'The Nightstalkers,' the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky." More on that suit can be found in this Army Times article.

This week, the Army Times wrote that policy changes to
Army Regulation 670-1 are coming soon, and "will likely relax the rules for soldiers looking to earn a commission or make warrant."  The article further states, "Army officials are remaining tight-lipped about specific rule changes until the revisions can be published. But it's likely to be good news for soldiers, many of whom have lambasted the service for not grandfathering enlisted soldiers who want to go officer." It will be interesting to see just how these policy changes play out. Read more of the article for discussion on how the rules have affected individual soldiers. 

New rules on tattoo & piercing standards in Ohio are being redrawn and go into effect September 1st, and according to the Valdosta Daily Times, "Body art pros applaud Ohio's health-minded industry regulations." I've hit up some tattoo artist friends in Ohio to get their own opinions, and will share them once I do, but it appears that Ohio regulators worked with the tattoo community to create rules based more in reality -- as opposed to Washington, DC's latest round of ridiculousness. For one, the Ohio rules were revised to allow the use of one-time-use pre-sterilized items, like tubes, whereas before, the rules required tattooers to sterilize all items.The new rules also require all body art businesses to have an infection and disease control plan, which most reputable shops have already. Will follow-up to get more on the rules before they go into effect.

I know, I'm writing about a lot of rules and regs this week (law is my day job after all), so allow me just one more link

I'm pretty fascinated by this article about how one court is dealing with a criminal defendant's body modifications in order to ensure a fair trial. According to the Berkshire Eagle, Caius Veiovis, who is accused of murder, has facial implants and a tattoo featuring Norse Runes across his right cheek and the numbers 666 in the center of his forehead. The concern is that such modifications could play to juror prejudices. His attorney discussed the issue with the court and they determined that the judge "would ask potential jurors if there was anything about the defendant's appearance that could keep them from being fair and he would let them look at Veiovis' photo at the time they are to be individually interviewed." Better than picking a jury and then finding out later that their decision could be compromised by preconceived ideas. More on the case can be found here.

In yet another instance in which someone is denied entry into a country because of appearance, our friend Rolf Buchholz -- who has a record 453 piercings, implants, tattoos and other modifications -- was ordered to leave Dubai before he was even able to exit customs. According to the Associated Press, Rolf was supposed to make an appearance at a circus-themed club there but he said that "airport workers told him officials were concerned he could be a practitioner of black magic, though authorities did not say so directly." On Twitter, Rolf wrote, "I have two horns. I think that was also a problem for me in Dubai." 

In pop culture tattoo news:

I wish I could say that I took Patrick Stewart with me to Shamrock Social Club to get tattooed.

There are a lot of Robin Williams tattoo tributes, but this one so far is my fave.

And I'm saddened that fitness fans will tattoo their bodies just for some limited sponsorship from Reebok. Self respect, people!
08:38 PM

Yantra: The Sacred Ink from Cedric Arnold on Vimeo.

Two weeks ago, I put up this post on Cedric Arnold's "Yantra: The Sacred Ink,"  which is, as I previously wrote, an exceptionally beautiful series of portraits and documentary photography -- a product of four and a half years of travel throughout Thailand to fully explore Yantra, or Sak Yant. Yantra are sacred marks performed by monks in Thailand in which the wearers believe that the tattoos are imbued with magic, offering protection and even bestowing certain powers.

Showing the tattooing process and ceremonies attached to the tradition, Cedric Arnold recently posted this 4:34 minute documentary short (embedded above), which uses footage shot between 2008 and 2014, and includes incredibly powerful scenes of "Khong Khuen," states of trance that tattooed devotees enter when "possessed" by the spirit of their tattoos, as Arnold writes.

The full version of the film will be released online at a later date, and is currently being screened at the "Tatoueurs, tatoues" exhibit at the Museum du quai Branly in Paris until Oct 2015.

For more info, visit "Yantra: The Sacred Ink."

03:57 PM
tattoo inks.jpgPhoto by Edgar Hoill.

Washington D.C.'s Health Department is at it again with ludicrous proposals to regulate tattooing.

As we wrote about last September, the DC Health Department first proposed a 24-Hour waiting period to get tattooed. Thankfully, that proposal was abandoned for common sense. However, their second proposed rule making -- which can be downloaded here -- is also littered
inconsistencies and even issues that aren't even based in reality.

For example, Section
301.2 of the proposal states, "All body artists shall use hollow needles, and equipment that is specifically manufactured for performing body art procedures in accordance with manufacturer's instructions."

Hollow tattoo needles? 

Matt Jessup, aka Fatty of Fatty's Tattoos & Piercings, pointed out the ridiculousness of the proposed regs to The Washington Post:

They're requiring us to do things that don't exist," said Fatty, nee Matt Jessup, who pointed to a requirement that "[a]ll body artists shall use hollow needles." Hollow needles are used for piercings, he said, but there is no such thing in the tattoo world.

The new rules also require businesses to use city-licensed equipment suppliers when there are, in fact, no such suppliers in the city. Another touchy proposal involves requiring the posting of three signs publicizing various health risks purportedly associated with body art, including potential allergic reactions, skin infections and the transmission of blood-borne diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Some of the particular risks listed, Fatty said, are not supported by research.

A petition has been posted to in which Tim Corun of Jinx Proof Tattoos offers the following sample language to send in support of abandoning the second proposal:

To: The DC Department of health and the Mayor of Washington DC, Vincent Gray

Demand that Mayor Gray and DC Department of Health abandon the 2nd draft of proposed body art regulations and seek further education on body art practices before proposing further regulations.

[Your name]

You can also share the petition on Facebook.

It seems like the DC Health Department is not going to give up its fight to put tight restraints on tattooing, which are not only detrimental to the industry but to tattoo collectors. Especially in a town like DC, it could be wise for the DC Coalition of Professional Body Artists to bring in a lobbyist or some outside help in this battle. 
03:34 PM
Mike Skiver tattoo by Darren White.jpg
Tattoo above by Darren White on Mike Skiver.

pinup contest.jpg
Pin-up contestants above.
Folk City Tattoo booth.jpg
Folk City Tattoo booth.

There were about one billion tattoo conventions that took place this past weekend, so I snuck out of NYC to check out one I'd never been to before for some fun and sun:  the Virginia Beach Tattoo Fest organized by Folk City Tattoo and Twisted Ink.

While located in the modern cruise ship-looking Virginia Beach Convention Center, the show had a downhome community feel, which I loved. Organizers skateboarded around the booths making sure artists and vendors were taken care of. The convention goers, many of whom were military, had a diverse range of artists to choose from, working in all styles. And there were, of course, the pin-ups, sideshow performers, and bands to entertain the crowd. After the show, the party continued on the Virginia Beach boardwalk. Definitely more of a vacation than work for me.

I posted my usual bad camera phone pics to Flickr, including some here. You can also find more photos on the VB Fest Facebook page, and check #vbtattoofest on Instagram.

Mick Metal tattoo.jpgMick Metal's Game of Chance Tattoos -- a few quarters in the machine will yield the pre-drawn tattoo for you.

tom tapit tattoo.jpgTom Tapit tattoo above.

Shawn Patton Tattoo.jpgShawn Patton tattoo above.

Joel Brewer tattoo.jpgJoel Brewer tattoo above.
connect with us

Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
Needles and Sins powered by Moveable Type.

Site designed and programmed by Striplab.

NS logo designed by Viktor Koen.