Tattoo News Review
02:19 PM
rihanna tattoo.jpg
The tattoo news this week has no love for the hippies. Guns, gangstas, ghouls topped the headlines with some juicy body art bits so let's get right to it:

The biggest headline: Rihanna get's a new tattoo -- guns on each side of her rib cage by East Side Ink's Bang Bang. And it turns out it was the tattooist's idea:

"I'm a big advocate of guns. So I said, 'How about a gun?' I printed out a picture of a gun that I thought would look good, and she loved it. We were thinking of putting it on her finger next to her wrist, or on her shoulders. She loved that, but it took away from her face, and you know, she's a CoverGirl, so we couldn't do that! So we put it under her ribs and she loved it. It took about 15 minutes. She didn't complain while I did the tattoo."

C'mon, this has nothing to do with wanting to bust a cap in Chris Brown's ass? Bang Bang says the singer stayed quiet:

"We didn't talk about why she specifically got it. She's a rock. She's just thinking about having a great time now." [Thanks to Jenni for the links!]

In the best tattoo story written by a business mag: 
  Forbes profiles Paul Booth. And it's not bad. I'm not a fan of "The King of Creepy" headline but the article itself was fairly devoid of the usual cliches, and discussed Booth's other projects including plans for a "dark arts" bed and breakfast, preferably at an old Victorian in the woods. Another cool aspect to the article -- albeit very Forbes-ish -- is the photo gallery of Paul's work, which lists the occupation of the wearer and how much he or she paid for the tattoo.

Ed Hardy is also featured in a article and podcast centering around his solo exhibition of his original paintings, prints and drawings at the Sylvia White Gallery in Ventura, CA. Hardy's famed "Dragon Scroll" is the show's centerpiece:  a 500-foot-long scroll painting of 2000 dragons in honor of the millennium and Chinese Year of the Dragon. Interestingly, the article says Hardy "distanced himself" from the clothing brand that bears his name [good thing to stay quiet in light of the law suit] but did say "For me not to have to tattoo and to focus the majority of my time on my personal art -- that to me is like my golden retirement." And well deserved.

Going from the masters to the messes ...

The biggest tattoo "FAILS": The six pack fail and the spelling fail. [Thanks, Brayden.]

In fact, there were a number of spelling fails in the news this week, some with nasty consequences like this one: a Connecticut man pulled a gun on his tattoo artist who misspelled a tattoo then refused to fix it.

Meanwhile, another tattooist who misspelled the name of a couple's son is refusing to fix the mistake, claiming they signed a release. While the release may protect the studio legally, maybe it should take head of the previous story.

[I just wanna know why the tattooers aren't willing to fix their mistakes, guns and law suit threats aside. What happened to responsibility and just not being an asshole?]

In the dumbest thing to tell you can tell your kids about tattoos:  A new book has come out in New Zealand called Adolescent Reputations and Risk that proclaims teenagers who get tattoos and piercings are "trouble-makers -- and that means parents are perfectly justified in panicking." It advises parents to tell their kids that they'll be considered "slags," criminals, and won't get a job. *sigh* If, indeed, they want to be considered "nonconformers," as the author says of tattooed teens, then such arguments won't work. In reality, the best way to address tattoos is via pay offs and vanity. Good tattoos are expensive and bad tattoos are ugly. Why not bribe your kid by asking to hold off on getting that tattoo until the age of 21 (or whatever age over 18 you prefer) and then offer to pay for a stellar artist -- that is, if they still want it by then.

Or you can pull out a knife and threaten to cut the tattoos off like this principal did.

But I'm not a mom, so what do I know? I do know the law, so let's get to those headlines:

One town in NJ tried to impose a $1,000 licensing fee on tattooists but that's been dropped especially after one artist threatened to sue. The new Council ordinance also lumped tattoo studios with sexually oriented businesses. While this is not uncommon, I don't know how local legislatures can even get away with this argument. They are begging for a law suit and wasting tax payers money.

In Mesa, Arizona, a tattoo studio's application to open up shop was denied as that city council debated "whether such businesses tend to follow or create a declining neighborhood." That question alone automatically assumes tattoos=undesirables. How do you argue against an idiot premise?

In Illinois, our buddy Larry Brogan is quoted in the Chicago Tribune about the changes in city ordinances, which will make it easier for other tattoo and piercing studios to open up.

Here's a controversial case...

Did Middlefield go too far in shutting down a studio for tattooing a 16-year old (an aspiring model no less!)? The tattooer's argument isn't very strong saying that "Liquor stores sell to minors and they're still open." A hangover isn't for life, buddy. Still, I think a hefty fine would've sufficed.

And in Singapore, a tattooer is sentenced for 2 years and 10 months for helping his friend "brand his wife's breasts, abdomen and forearms for alleged infidelity. His sentence for outraging the woman's modesty is just two months less than the husband's jail term." And like the husband, he'll get "six strokes of the cane." I'd prefer permanent markings of their own. Have the punishment fit the crime.

Now for some quick and dirty link time:


Nice one.
re: celebrity tattoos.. it must be a strange line those celebs walk, trying to get the tattoos they want, but having to hold back for career-related reasons like photo shoots, etc.. It's about the only sympathy I have for them. For some reason I never really thought about this until today. Same reasons why, say, a lawyer might refrain from hand tattoos.. I have nothing of value to add, just something I've never thought on.

You can extend that thought to cover most of the people in acting and other performing arts fields. They don't want to do anything that might prevent them from being cast for a role. Their tattoos, if they have any, are often small and easily hidden.

This offends my sensitive sensibilities greatly. Why hide yourself? This is why I champion actors that do not change their names, that do not get plastic surgery and otherwise declare that their talent suffices.

Having worked for so long in Corp. America, fearful of rolling up my sleeves on a hot day because I had other sleeves I couldn't roll up, I understand the fear and trepidation. And, I know I too am to blame for what I am about to say.

But, a desire to conform to some societal paradigm, only reinforces that paradigm.

Hands down, Tyrese is my favorite actor now.

Hahaaha I'm in full support of Bobby FIsher ("where is he, I don't know, I don't know")!

Before I was, uh, laid off, I was lucky enough to work in a professional environment where I COULD roll up my sleeves and my boss was actually in to my tattoos.. so I kept adding. The question is, if more celebs go all-out (like Tyrese or Angelina), will others who are already heavily tattooed, hold some resentment -- since the huddled masses will be even quicker to follow.

All of this is to say, maybe Bobby "Where is He?" Fisher was on to something with the re-criminalization of tattoos....


Bobby is now infecting my beloved Pat.

Huddled masses following a "trend" will decline once that trend is no longer fashionable. What makes tattooing less likely to ever be a full blown 80s shoulder pad craze (which Vogues says is coming back this season, btw) is that it hurts. And it's permanent or at least very hard to remove.

Two: social paradigm's change but I believe that they do so best when changing them from the inside instead of doing what you want and then whining about not being accepted after the fact. My law firm found out that I was tattooed and that led to a lot of changed perceptions, but only after I had been there a while, covered up, and made them a lot of money.

And finally, heavily tattooed people should not mock those with plastic surgery. It's all a slippery slope of vanity and aesthetics.

In fact. if I had the cash, I probably would lift, nip and tuck somethings myself. There I said it. :p

Interesting point initially raised by Sully (and commented upon by my predecessors) and as a man who makes the bulk of his income from the "performing arts," i feel i would be remiss if i didn't weigh in.

Close to a decade ago, I remember saying to another actor buddy of mine that I had always wanted to be heavily tattooed, but I was worried about how it would affect my career. I might be paraphrasing his reply, but he was a blunt Italian from Bay Ridge who's dad was often seen alongside Gandolfini on HBO: "get ink if you want it - its not gonna stop you from succeeding."

Admittedly, my face and body have very little to do with my career; all producers seem to care about it my voice (and, 9 times out of 10, it almost appears that they WANT me hungover for that Sam Elliot growl). So inking up was not all that detrimental of a decision. In fact, most of you would be astounded as to what the bodies of us dulcet-voiced commercial reps actually look like.

But the underlying point remains: for the "faces" and the "bodies," these are definitive decisions. Being a great actor is one thing, but ultimately, its the sex that sells and, despite the adoption of tattooing into mainstream media, Angelina is still spending another 5 hours in the make-up chair every day on set.

In the heyday of Steven Segal, if you had ink and a beard, you were guaranteed work from central casting every three weeks (as long as you didn't mind getting your face caved in with a cue ball in a bar-towel). And while US Weekly might be fond of doing a pictorial on celebrity ink, most of these cats got inked AFTER their celebrity parked in the driveway.


You can call me Bobby. Indoctrination class starts at 7 pm. Bring a cattle-prod and 6 feet of bubble wrap. Tell no one where you are going.

i was given sage advise (in a bar of course)
"Dress for the job you want not the job you have."
but then again i don't have a job so what do i know?

HEYHEYHEY, I just posed a question... oh wait, that's not entirely true.

Marisa, well said. Rarely can I form a solid opinion because I can always see two sides to just about every issue. I can't foresee how the big spike in ink will play out.. so. The end. I mean: the end??

I agree with Marisa. There was a time where I thought that social paradigms would shift when I confronted them full on with an enormous construction barrel orange mohawk, doing my best to look and act like Wattie from The Exploited. In people's faces all the time. About everything. An approach I describe as a mosquito attacking from outside a well sealed car... no real progress made.

However as I get a bit older, I realize that change comes easier when you are the mosquito inside that well sealed car. Sure you might get squashed, but not before affecting some change. Lots of folks who would have remained phobic of tattoos and the tattooed at my straight job have changed their minds. They have come to understand that not all tattooed Mohican's are scum. Hell I am even slated to tattoo some of them.

Don't get it twisted... I have neither denied nor abandoned my punk roots and I am still all about direct confrontation. I just think that there is a time and a place for it now. Creative crime and well planned acts of subversion are more effective and, in many cases, more fun.

While I hate seeing Ed Hardy bedazzling (props to P. Sully), despise most tattoo television programs and loathe tattoo flash being put on everything from Target t-shirts to Barbie dolls, there is some good that comes from it... namely I haven't been verbally/physically accosted nearly as often here in my small conservative city of Dayton since increased popularity of all of these things.

I applaud the analogy from the Paul Booth article likening tattoo work to plastic surgery. You are modifying your body forever, why not pay good money to have it done well? I think I am going to start using this at the shop when people start bitching about cost.

Just putting my verbose two cents in.


jdL - how exactly does a photographer for playboy dress?

bobby - not sure but i always seem to picture them with wide lapeled polyester shirts unbuttoned to their navel with no less than 2 gold medallions embedded into some incredible mass of chest hairs.
and very, very, very tight trousers.
always very, very, very tight trousers.

Tight enough that you can see whether or not they like your pose.

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