Tattoo News Review
01:11 PM
grilled cheese tattoo.jpgThe answers to our survey are flooding in -- I hear you Internet! -- and in crafting this week's tattoo news review, I kept in mind much of your advice and fought everything in me to link Miley Cyrus's tattoo advice [see, no link!]. Instead, I distilled it to the more meaty headlines like tattoo culture in Egypt and India, Maori Moko in fine art, tattoo art designs for vets with prosthetic limbs, and the "Why" question behind our tattoos. I've left most of the fun fluff to the quick and dirty links at the end, but please indulge me in this first item:

The Grilled Cheese Tattoo Promo -- one of the biggest headlines this week, from Cleveland to New Zealand. In essence, a restaurant in Ohio that specializes in variations of grilled cheese meals is offering a 25% lifetime discount to those willing to tattoo their love for the classic sandwich. My gut reaction was mockery, of course, but then I saw the gallery of grilled cheese tattoos -- most tattooed by Eric of Voodoo Monkey Tattoo like the one above. There are so many crazy creative renditions of the meal that I lost all snark in me. My faves: the R2D2 grilled cheese tattoo, the Sacred Heart sandwich, the Hello Kitty version, and the tough and manly Melt Army tattoo. Check the gallery, which also includes the artist credits (a rarity).

Ok, now for more serious news ...  

After reading about some market for human tattooed skin, a 28-year-old man in China got a backpiece and then posted an ad to sell his skin for 150,000 yuan ($21,965) to get out of debt. He'll also use part of the money for the skinning and then for new skin grafts. Other than a sad state of mind, his biggest problem is the law: it's illegal in China to buy and sell human organs, and guess what our largest organ is.

In Egypt, tattoos largely mark Coptic Christians even if their national identity cards do not. Tattoos have been a long tradition in their community to ensure Christian burials and, as one tattooist says, " identify Christian orphans whose parents had been killed in war...So they wouldn't be brought up as Muslims." I often use Coptic tattoos as an example of how companies can get in trouble when they ban religious tattoos. For Coptic Christians, tattoos play a big role. In one US case, Red Robin Restaurants fired an employee when he would not cover up his small Coptic wrist tattoos. The Equal Employment Commission took up his suit and it settled for a nice sum. Read more about it here. It's a rare case but one employers must be sensitive to.

On the issue of cultural sensitivity, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth with a Maori tattoo on her chin has sparked the ire of Kiwi monarchists and at least one Maori. The artist, Barry Ross Smith, has said "it was meant to be a sensitive depiction of two cultures coming together."  I understand how Maori could be offended, especially after the sacred Moko has been appropriated so many times by companies; the best example is Sanro's Hello Kitty Maori. However, in this case, I can see the artist's intention.

Please feel free to weigh in on this issue or any raised here in the comments section.  

In India, Mumbai's tattooed Goths lay low as many feel that, even in a more permissive city like Mumbai, they will be discriminated against.

Back in the US ...

The Department of Veteran's Affairs has contracted with the company Global Tattoo Orthotic Prosthetic Innovations to offer custom tattoos on prosthetics and orthopedic braces for vets at VA hospitals and clinics across the US. See a gallery of the artwork here.

This profile on a new tattoo studio/art gallery in Cary, NC has interesting stats on tattooing throughout the state; for example, the number of tattoo businesses in North Carolina spiked 45% in 2009. Also, in NC, every tattoo artist must apply for a permit through their county health department, which each have their own rules and with different permit fees and rules; thus, you'll find some counties with many shops and some with none. Another example of how local laws impact tattoo culture and business.

The SF Examiner talks to Ed Hardy about his art and, yes, trucker hats. I did like this question and his answer:

How do you see your role in the world?
As an artist and somebody that can hopefully light up people's lives with the work that I make and influence people with my art. If it makes you think -- takes you outside yourself and opens yourself to the mystery of life -- that's great.
The interview is inspired by Ed's art show at San Francisco's Beat Museum, which runs through January 20th. Read his artist statement here.

The San Francisco Chronicle goes to Mom's Body Shop on Haight Street to talk to customers about "the allure of body art." And what is that allure? Well, we don't know because they never really ask the question. Just the standard ones about the pain and how many they have. I'd love for reporters to delve into the "Why" question. Not simply accept answers like, "I got it for my dead grandmother" but the real why we chose to mark these moments or simply beautify ourselves permanently. I always say, "I got it because I like it" but why I like it changes as I get older (as if I'm growing into my tattoos). I'd love to see an in-depth, modern study on it.

Let's leave the philosophy & psych, and shamelessly enjoy some quick-n-dirty links:

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