I'm sitting here with the new tattoo book by the publishers of the UK's Skin Deep mag, written and edited by the fabulous Alex Guest. The Tattoo Bible is 164 pages of everything you always wanted to know about
Here's my problem with it:
We're in it, and they say nice stuff about us. And so even if I give The Tattoo Bible a fair shake, it'll still bring all the haters to the yard with statements like "Oh, well the book highlights Black Tattoo Art and Needles & Sins, so of course she has to say something nice in that big tattoo circle gerkin." Or something to that effect.
So, instead of the glowing review I just deleted, I'm going to offer the book basics, have you decide for yourselves, and hope that Alex Guest won't regret ever mentioning my cursed name in his first tattoo testament.
* First note, The Tattoo Bible is described as a "bookazine," that is, a book/magazine hybrid that is perfect bound on thick paper with a glossy softcover but with lower production costs than a traditional book, and so they are more affordable.
* The layout is also slick like a magazine so those of us with attention deficit disorder won't miss juicy quotes from tattoo legends like this one from Lyle Tuttle:
"Each of the six major religions of the world have some type of prohibition against tattooing--that just tells you that tattoos are really hot sh*t!"
* An extra bonus for the ADD set is that information--from Otzi the Iceman to needle configuration to fine art techniques--is clear and concise; thus, you learn a lot in a short time and can immediately impress your friends on facebook without a lot of study.
* The Tattoo Conventions chapter is the best money-saving primer on how to choose which shows to attend and which to avoid giving your entrance fee to.
* The Tattoo Removal chapter not only provides important practical info but also features some brilliant tattoo transformations.
* Oh, and the PainOmeter graphic rocks!
... Yup, this is spiraling into a review.
For a better idea from a neutral source, read TattoosdayUK's review and interview with Alex.
You can purchase The Tattoo Bible online for 9.99BP at Amazon UK or directly from Jazz Publishing.
For the past couple of weeks, I've been posting some previews of tattoos featured in my upcoming books because I'm so psyched (exclamation point) every time I get a new batch of photos and can't wait to share. While the focus has been on the tattoo art of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't give props to the wonderful photographers who are a part of these projects. So today, I'm doing both.
Check the tattoo work of Idexa Stern of Black & Blue Tattoo and photographer Aurora Meneghello who's captured Idexa's clients here (and in the book).
Idexa, who was also featured in my Black Tattoo Art book, specializes in abstract and blackwork tattoos drawn freehand on the body so that the art--whether it be geometric lines or soft flowing patterns--appears organic, just really natural, on the wearer. Idexa is about making the tattoo experience a personal and spiritual one in the belief of self-transformation through art. She says, "One could think of tattooing as a way of making the outside of the body look more the way it feels from the inside."
And so, with this philosophy, it seems such a natural fit to be working with photographer and filmmaker Aurora Meneghello whose mission it is to not only make her subjects look "beautiful in the photo but also feel beautiful inside."
In shooting tattooed beauties, Aurora keeps the art in focus but never loses the crux that it is on a living canvas. There's also a gentleness and serenity in her photos, which is far from the rock & roll candied pin-up imagery often seen today (which I dig, there's just so much more of it).
On her blog, Aurora discusses her collaboration with Idexa:
"Idexa loves what she does, and her enthusiasm is contagious. She told me she wanted to move away from the usual pictures of tattoos in the studio, in front of a black background, so we got creative, looking for a background that matched each tattoo, and shooting outside, using natural light. Luckily the weather cooperated."
The risk of doing this is that the environment can overwhelm the very point of the photo--to show the tattoo. Not so here. You can see more of the images from that shoot on Aurora's blog.
Ok, and it's also cool to see talented women combining super-powers. Idexa's women owned and gender inclusive shop has been around since 1996 and continues to thrive. Idexa won "Best Tattoo Artist" last year in the SF Bay Guardian's Best of The Bay poll.
Aurora has also won numerous awards and her work has been shown at Intersection for the Arts, the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and Galeria de la Raza. As a filmmaker, she's worked on fiction and non-fiction projects, including her role as Director of Photography to the multimedia piece Hey Sailor. She's also the co-writer and director of Default: the Student Loan Documentary.
And so for kicking butt--in a loving, gracious way--these are my "hot inked" women of the day!
Another fantastic blog I read is Jinxi Boo, which features the beautiful musings of Jinxi Caddel--heavily tattooed writer, mom, vegan, freethinker, cupcake guru, among so much more deliciousness.
Jinxi has a portion of her blog dedicated to tattoo history and advice called Tattoo Corner. One of the many helpful tips is her thoughts on sitting for long tattoo sessions.
Recently, she added to those tips with further advice from tattoo artist Timm McKenny.
Here are five of my favorites (with my own thoughts added) that I forget myself from time to time:
1. Stay hydrated. This does not mean drink whiskey. [You know who you are!]
2. Breathe. Sounds obvious but, on more than one occasion, I've seen people pass out because they didn't do so.
3. Communicate. Early. Clearly. Honestly. Those who've passed out failed to do this as well. It doesn't make you less worthy of the tattoo if you have to take a break here and there. Don't be afraid to speak up if something feels wrong to you in any way.
4. Don't psyche yourself out beforehand. I kinda did this last time when I got my foot tattooed. I kept saying to myself, damn, this is gonna hurt--and it did--but I should've went into it with a better attitude.
5. Believe that you are capable of great feats. In all things in life.
Read more here and here.
Photo of Jinxi by MichellexStar.
To be filed under Oh no they didn't, the video for Detail's first single "Tattoo Girl (Foreva)" has just been released, and it is what you'd expect out of a rap with lyrics like "Tattoo girl, you are forever stuck on me." Not even T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Travis McCoy could stop this lyrical train wreck. Probably the worst part is that the tattoos on the video girls are CGI--and even the digital "art" is ridiculous. I think I spotted one actual (blown-out) tattoo on a background girl, maybe.
This is not the first rap ode to tattooed shorties. Who could forget "Tattoo" by Twista featuring Legit Ballaz? [Well, you can't forget something that you didn't know about in the first place.] I'm almost sorry to bring it to your attention, but there are just too many similarities between the videos. Again, the dancing CGI tattoos and WTF lyrics; oh, but there's just a bit more booty poppin. If you're going to exploit women, why not women with real tattoos just like our industry mags do?
In the London Evening Standard, there's a slide-show of World Cup players with tattoos like Raul Meireles above of Portugal.The compilation is mediocre at best but considering that everything has slowed down around me because of the games, I figured I'll throw it up here for ya. Notably absent from the tattoo soccer set: my Greek team. Go figure.
On September 9, 2009, Matty No Times (Three Kings Tattoo) noticed that his legs had become severely swollen. He went to an emergency room and three hours later, after multiple blood tests, was informed that he was in liver failure (see details below). Now, about 8 months later, Matty is on his way back but is in severe financial debt.
A group of all star artists have joined together for a remarkable show to help Matty pay off his medical expenses. The show will be at the YES Gallery located at 147 India Street and Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint (Brooklyn) The exhibition will run from July 17th to July 23rd with a special opening reception on Saturday, July 17th from 5 - 10PM at YES Gallery with special Guest DJ Jesse Jones (Yuppicide).
ALL ART IS $350 OR LESS, and raffle goodies from KCDC Skate Shop, Tattoo Elite International, Waverly Color Company and more. The goal of this exhibition is not only to support Matty No Times, but to also present a spectacular array of noted artists, allowing our friends and peers, art lovers and collectors to view and obtain works that are both affordable and of exceptional quality, and to do this while we help out our friend and colleague. This is going to be an amazing, HUGE art exhibition with some incredible artists donating art. Don't miss it!!
Photo by Gemma Cano Alvarez
As I mentioned last week week with my post on Kore Flatmo, I'm really excited by the tattoo work that is coming in for my next book, and I have to share some with y'all. For today's show-and-tell, I figured I'd honor my Hellenic homies and Greece's first ever win in the World Cup yesterday by presenting the work of an Athenian artist whose tattoo work--by hand and machine--is inspired by motifs and texts of the ancient Greeks and re-interpreted in a modern way.
Check the work of Hellenic Stixis.
Below, the artist offers more on the influences in his tattoos:
The ''journey'' starts from the Cycladic era, around 4.000 b.c. and continues into Minoic, Mycenaean, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic periods and reaches modern times. It explores the ways of expression that apply to all people, regardless of origin, belief or cultural background, since all people come from the same source. Our effort is to bring to light the things that unite us while at the same time preserving the beauty of diversity.
To date, all of my tattoos have been born and raised in the chair - and sometimes the table - of Mike Rubendall at King's Ave Tattoo in Massapequa, Long Island. So, as I prepare my pectorals for a touch-up session at the end of the month (which i wrote about here and here), I was happy to see that the Long Island Press has done a massive, five-page profile on The Man, himself.
The article covers a wide spectrum of information, from his apprentice days under Frank Romano at Da Vinci Tattoo, to getting chaffeured to Manhattan to tattoo rapper Damon Dash (and an interesting exchange with Naomi Campbell), to Rubendall's global travels to get his own body-suit completed by Filip Leu, Chris Trevino and Horitomo.
I would highly recommend checking the article, but if you're pinched for time or are simply entertained by blinking lights and buzzing machines, you can check out the video below.
In working on my upcoming Black & Grey Tattoo book, I came across rockin realism in the form of tattoo artist portraits, including Paul Booth, Bob Tyrrell, Jack Rudy, Tim Kern (above), and other greats. And so I had to learn more about the man who pays tribute to these artists with his own skin. Here's the story of Broken from the UK:
Please tell me about your tattoos and who did them.
I have some horror-inspired tattoos from different artists in the 80s/early 90s. But, about 10 years ago, thanks to the internet and increased number of tattoo magazines, my passion for tattoos was re-awakened. Paul Booth and Bob Tyrrell were top of the list, although I never thought for one moment I would ever be tattooed by them. Then in 2005, London started with a new tattoo convention and the following year, I decided to take a chance and email Bob Tyrrell. I knew I wanted a portrait tattoo and horror movie stars were the obvious choice for me, but having seen so many, I wanted something more unique. Then it hit me. Tattoo artists! These guys were creating masterpieces and yet tattooing was still seen as something only criminals, bikers and the lower end of society would get.
So, as Paul Booth was top of my list, I asked Bob to do a portrait of him [shown right]. Ten minutes later, I got a reply and it was all set for the London Convention. It was also very important to me to have Bob tattoo the Paul Booth portrait because they are close friends. With all my portrait tattoos, I have the same philosophy. I think that a close bond with the subject they are tattooing makes for a more personal and unique tattoo. [Also at that convention I met Tim Kern and got a severed wrist tattoo.]
The following month I had decided on getting a tattoo sleeve of tattoo artist portraits. I met Bob in New York and he was more than happy with the artists I had in mind. So, over the next few years, I got portraits of Filip Leu, Jack Rudy and Robert Hernandez, from Bob. Before the Hernandez portrait, I needed to find a suitable artist to tattoo a portrait of Bob. The obvious choice was Robert Hernandez. He was very happy to do it and he ended up doing it at the London Convention 2008, with Bob watching.
Very interesting experience.
He told me he was honored to be part of my project. The following year at the convention, Bob tattooed the portrait of Robert on, with Robert watching. Again, it was a surreal experience, but that made it even more special.
[In between the portraits, another artist who I was desperate to get a tattoo from, was Milosch. His black and grey is amongst the best in the world. In 2008, I planned to set up an appointment with him in the Czech Republic. After emailing him, he told me was doing a convention in the UK and a guest spot at a studio beforehand. When I found out the studio was 20 minutes from my house, I knew it was fate. He created an amazing demon on my calf and we have become good friends.]
Tim Kern and Benjamin Moss [shown left] were next on my list, but I felt that these artists would be better suited to doing a self portrait. I had already met them both and they are extremely friendly and gracious people. When I asked them, they were more than happy to do it. I wanted them to do a more horror inspired portrait and they both came up with something amazing.
What has been the reaction by the tattooists to your requests?
When I asked Bob Tyrrell to do the Paul Booth portrait, he told me that he would get Paul to pose for the photo reference. I've met Paul a couple of times since and he is genuinely honored by it. In fact, all the portraits I've had done, have been specifically photographed for each one. I haven't met Jack Rudy yet, but Filip thought his was really cool when I showed him and all the others say it's an honor to be a part of it too.
Why tributes to tattooists?
I chose tattooists because, since getting back into tattoos about 10 years ago (after 10 years when I didn't get anything), I realized just how far tattooers had come as artists. Nowadays, so many tattooers also work in fine art. People like Paul Booth, Robert Hernandez, Jeff Gogue and Carlos Torres etc...could easily have a career as fine artists. Yet, many people still don't see tattooing as an art. So this is just my small way of showing my appreciation for such an under appreciated art form.
Your portraits are largely in black & grey--what do you love about this style?
Black and grey, to me, is a timeless medium. Just like b&g photographs, they have an aura about them that just says class. I also think there is more focus on the subject with b&g. With color, there is the option of moving with each color. Black and grey needs more self awareness.
See more of Broken's tattooist portraits here.
Skin stitching by Colin Dale. Photo by Claire Artemyz.
There's been some buzz over the break-up between Skin & Ink magazine and its long-time editor Bob Baxter--who now has his own tattoo blog. Ignoring the gossip and focusing on the content, it seems Bob has rallied his old team of writers and photographers to contribute to his new site. Yesterday, he featured a profile of one of my favorite artists by one of my favorite writers:
Check out Lars Krutak's Colin Dale and the "Forbidden Tattoo."
The article discusses Colin's signature Neo-Nordic tattoo style and intricate dotwork, his hand-poked techniques and skin-stitching (as seen above), and his new studio Skin & Bone in Copenhagen, Denmark. [The article was written before the studio officially opened. Today it is thriving with art exhibits and guests artists as well as Colin's own stellar tattooing.]
The central focus of the article, however, is how Colin fulfilled the wish of Julia Machindano by giving her the facial tattoo worn by her Makonde ancestors called the dinembo. Lars offers more on the history behind these tattoos:
Traditionally, Makonde men and women received facial tattoos at puberty and before marriage. Often times these designs consisted of a series of stacked chevrons called lichumba or "deep angles." Incisions were made with a knife-like iron instrument called a chipopo and vegetable carbon from the castor bean plant was rubbed into the incisions, producing a dark blue color. When the extremely painful facial tattooing was executed, boys and girls were sometimes buried up to their necks in the earth so that they would not flinch as the tattooist cut open their living flesh. For the Makonde, facial tattoos were not only symbols of great courage; they were also the truest expressions of Makonde tribal identity itself.
Read more of this fascinating story here.
As a side note: Lars will soon be releasing his new book, Kalinga Tattoo, published by Edition Reuss--the publishers of my Black Tattoo Art book (in which Colin Dale's work is featured--it's all very incestuous).
Lars, Colin and I will be working at the London Tattoo Convention in September. Colin will be hand-tattooing. Lars will be presenting his book and exhibiting photos of the vanishing tattoos of this Filipino tribe. And I will be releasing my new Black & Grey Tattoo book with my co-author Edgar Hoill. And drinking cider.
But in a few weeks, July 10th and 11th, Brian and I will be meeting up with Colin for the Traditional Tattoo and World Festival, an intimate gathering of tattoo artists and collectors in Cork, Ireland. Join us for a fun tattoo vacation.
I've featured the wild and wonderful tattoos of Kristel Oreto of Crimson Anchor tattoo here before, but today I get to write about her greatest work of art: her daughter Angel who has created one of my new favorite blogs called Tattoo Sprout.
As Angel explains, Tattoo Sprout is about tattoo life, art, and the industry from a kid's perspective, with the ultimate goal of writing her first book about it all. She just recenty posted a profile on tattoo artist Jeremy Miller of Pigment Dermagraphics in Austin, TX. Here's a taste:
"Jeremy's style is a blend of New Skool and Realism. New Skool is a cartoonish style of tattooing and realism is photo realistic. His style is very popular among his clients. He likes things that can laugh at while he does the tattoo. He tattooed a chick-fil-a sandwich with fancy sauce on my mom's butt. I'm sure he had to get a few laughs out of that! Jeremy's style is very bold and colorful no matter what it is. His work is influenced a lot by Graffiti ( I <3 Graffiti ), cartoony art and from even flat imagery of traditional tattoo style. Most of his clients give him ideas then let him do his thing on the artwork. He has recently started working with textures and colored lines but is most importantly working on line weights. Jeremy WILL NOT do letters, he says he isn't good at them. He WILL NOT do tribal he doesn't like it."
I know! It's awesome, right?!
Bookmark Tattoo Sprout to read more great posts from a tattoo blog prodigy.
It was only a matter of time...The Human Centipede Tattoo.
Dakota Milam, projectionist at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Austin, has honored his favorite film with its mouth-to-anus logo.
And I really don't have much more to say about that.
I may go see the film this week. If you've seen it, feel free to drop a review in the comments.
New work coming in for my next tattoo book is making me giddy, so I figured I'd share some of the exciting art with y'all as a preview.
Here are a couple of images from the wonderful Kore Flatmo of Plurabella Tattoo in Cincinnati, Ohio. In this rare moment, I will refrain from comment and let the tattoo work speak for itself. Check out Kore's fine art as well.
It's not hard to mistake Top Chef with LA Ink, considering both shows are heavy on the tattoos and cheese. It almost seems like high-end NY eateries require full sleeves for a souffle.
Taking a look at the art of chef tattoos is Zagat's Tattoo Tell-All series.
Aside from the use of "tats" and my usual pet peeve of not naming the tattoo artists behind the work, it's a good read--particularly the "Ink Insight" section addressing the why question.
Here are some quotes to give you a taste:
"There are a lot of tattooed punk-rock kids in the kitchen because it has punk-rock energy. If you're a banker giving out million-dollar loans, you can't have a tattoo on your hand, but it's funny that someone tattooed, like Nate Appleman, might have a great career, but some people wouldn't want to sit next to him on the subway."
-- Jamie Bissonnette, Coppa and Toro
"Maybe chefs like tats because we are always burning our arms? I've never gotten one to cover a burn but I've gotten burned on top of my tattoos. Gives it a three-dimensional look."
-- Seamus Mullen, Boqueria [shown right]
"I consider tattoos [to be] art like cooking is an art. My tattoos don't scream, 'look at me, I'm a chef!' I just like to create little things that send little messages about who I am as a person. I do the same thing when I cook."
-- Michael Voltaggio, Langham Huntington Dining Room
Read more on the Zagat Blog.
UPDATE: LA Weekly also has an extensive article on chef tattoos with a juicy slideshow, including the one below by Amy Scattergood of Carolynn Spence, Chateau Marmont.
Thanks, Kir Bostic, for the link!
**Also, if you have food-related tattoos, feel free to upload them on Flickr to our brand new NeedlesandSins.com Reader Photo Group. **
I've been a long time fan of Sang Bleu, my first appearance in any sort of publication was in Sang Bleu #0 back in 2006. I recently had the pleasure of finally meeting & being tattooed by Maxime Buechi (Sang Bleu creator) last week.
'Sang Bleu is happy and proud to announce its first official event in NYC! Hosted by Envoy Enterprises, the show will present a selection of works by Thomas Hooper, renowned tattoo artist and editor of Sang Bleu. Thomas' pictorial work although directly complementary to his skin-based work, sails far from the world of tattooing to explore a very medium-orientated abstraction. Mixing with ease orthodox and unorthodox painting techniques, organic textures with computer-enhanced patterns, accidental stains with geometrical entities, witnessing an undeniable although alienated legacy from Abstract Expressionism. In addition to the paintings, a projected composition based of found 8mm footages turn decay and memory into an abstract artistic language.
The second part of the launch will feature performances curated by performance artist Jack Ferver whose work combines confession, explicit choreography, and a darkly knowing gaze to elicit contradictory intellectual and visceral responses from the audience.'
The reception is tomorrow, June 11th 2010, at Envoy Enterprises at 131 Chrystie Street NYC. Get there early, this event will be packed!
In April, we posted on the documentary on female tattooists and collectors called Covered.
Now the filmmaker, Dr. Beverly Yuen Thompson, of Snakegirl Productions has released even more clips from the film, including interviews that didn't make final cut like the video above (found here on YouTube).
As a daughter of an immigrant from a country that is not yet accepting of tattoos (but not paying taxes is ok), I completely relate to this clip of tattooed women who have to deal with the extreme cultural differences between their lives as first generation Americans and their immigrant parents. In one scene, the heavily tattooed Korean woman says that she has not seen her father in three years after revealing that she is tattooed--in my case it was only three months--but the grief of having that separation from one's family simply because we've decorated our skin is not limited to rare cases. I only wish these clips were not on the cutting room floor because the interviews are so powerful, but I'm glad they are available on YouTube.
Check other clips like this one on Jennifer Wilder and her apprenticeship under Johnny Williams of Abstract Art in Webster, TX.
I think I've only done one Needles and Sins Public Service Announcement, probably around this time last year, so I guess we're due for one. Let's call it an anniversary PSA.
I should first define what a PSA is, I guess. According to Wikipedia, knower of all things, "a typical PSA is part of a public awareness campaign to inform or educate the public about an issue such as smoking or compulsive gambling."
We'd like to address these very issues here. Our message is this:
Smoking, compulsive gambling as well as excessive drinking can be very expensive.
Server fees, travel expenses to conventions, and the cost of our events and swag aside, the real cost of bringing you this content for free is our bar tabs, bookies and a love story that takes place inside a pack of Camels.
Our advertisers are our enablers.
We are selective, however, as to who gets the job of making our lives a cautionary tale. Our latest advertiser is Eikon Device Tattoo Equipment & Supply. They paid for the post below. Now, we've been approached by a number of tattoo supply companies who've wanted to advertise, and we turned them down because we couldn't vouch for their stuff--and thus, risk steering you the wrong way so that you never return here. [We also have abandonment issues.] But Eikon has been around for over 13 years. I watched Dan DiMattia make his needles using only Eikon (later switching to their pre-made) and so I knew that top tattooers trusted them. And if Eikon takes money from top tattooists, we'll take Eikon's money and promote top tattooists. The circle is complete.
Yes, all this text above is simply to say: Please support our advertisers.
I know, WTF. We could've just asked at the start and avoided the verbal foreplay.
One more thing: If you'd like to support N+S beyond advertising, you can throw something in our virtual tip jar. If 180 of you gave just a dollar, that would pay for our switch over to a new and reliable server, for example. You can donate by clicking the button below.
The following is a post sponsored by Eikon Device, providers of Tattoo Supplies.
Eikon Device is a leading manufacturer and online distributor of tattoo supplies and equipment. Initially formed in 1994 to research and develop tattoo needles, Eikon Device expanded its scope in 1997 to focus on the technical aspects of tattooing. This change marked the beginning of many published papers as well as two tattoo inventions: the Eikon Meter and Tru-Spring armature bars.
The success of Eikon Device is largely due to its foundation in science and research. Their continuous focus on tattooing techniques, safety issues and product quality helps tattoo artists make better choices about products and practices. Eikon Device offers a full catalog of tattoo supplies and equipment:
* Tattoo machines, from FK Irons to Neuma machines and supplies;
* Tattoo ink in five great choices for color: Eternal Ink, Silverback Ink and Fantasia from the USA; Classic Color from Australia; and Dermaglo from the U.K.;
* Tattoo power supplies and equipment including tips, grips and tubes (incl. disposable);
* Needles are offered pre-made or you can choose supplies to solder your own;
* Disposable medical supplies, from dental bibs and ink caps to tape and bandages;
* Art supplies like tracing paper and drawing ink--and at a better price than most art stores
Additionally, it has a sizable library of research and educational information as well as art books including the recently released Tattoo Prodigies.
Eikon Device will soon be re-launching their website making online purchasing even easier.
Today, on the wonderful Citizen Radio with Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny, the featured interview is with Guy Aitchison, "tattoo artist and philosopher" as they call him.
You can hear that interview streamed through Breakthruradio.com.
The "tattoo artist and philosopher" tag is fitting as the podcast touches upon everything from why Guy became a tattoo artist to tattoo myths to fighting greed and commercialism to scientific studies on human behavior to ... it gets deep, man. And that's good because it allows the personality of an iconic tattoo artist to show through beyond the usual questions on tattoos and technique. You feel like you're really getting to know the artist, and that's a credit to Allison and Jamie for their light but smart interview style--and all while Jamie is getting his half-sleeve by Guy.
It's an enjoyable listen even when the conversation gets most serious, and I learned a few things (and will be buying a subscription to New Scientist magazine, which Guy quotes at length).
For more on Guy, hit Hyperspace Studios.
Ink-n-Iron Fest photo by Nicole Reed
Tattoo events are taking place every thirty seconds throughout the summer, from New Jersey to Taiwan. Here's our pick list for the next few months to get you planning your own tattoo tour.
This weekend, June 11-13th, at the Ink-n-Iron show, custom cars, pin-up girls, Rockabilly bands, and top tattooists converge around and aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. I've been following the road trips of artists and vendors on Twitter as they make their way over for the seventh year of this sleep-less event. Too much to do there: live shows, the International Pole Performer Showcase, the Pin-Up Pageant, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, hot rod and kustom car contests, and of course, you could get tattooed by these excellent artists. Check the photos from previous shows, like the one above, on this page.
I noticed a few of my faves weren't going to be at Ink-n-Iron this weekend but instead are working the Krakow Tattoo Fest in Poland--artists like Robert Hernandez, Victor Portugal, Zsolt Sarkozi and even Jeremiah Barba will be there (and not in his Long Beach homebase--I also think Slayer has something to do with this).
Next weekend, June 18-20, artists will also be divided among two popular shows, Northern Ink Xposure (NIX) in Toronto, Canada and the Evian Tattoo Show in France. The longstanding NIX show will host seminars, Art Fusion and a fine art gallery, among the mix of tattoo goodness. On Thursday before the convention kicks off, there will be a silent auction benefit for Skate4Cancer where tattoo artists donated custom painted skate decks for the charity.
I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to make it to the Evian Fest as it's the last show in this beautiful city. Gene Coffey of Tattoo Culture offered his thoughts on last year's show here (from friendly crowds to dapper mustaches.) He also took some photos, including this one below of a tattoo he did there. The client wanted Gene to tattoo the words "Bonjour Mademoiselle" but in the way he thought it would be spelled. Gene has never taken a French lesson. Obviously.
So, remember the Pint Size Paintings exhibit I've been talking about, which launched at Hell City Killumbus? Well, the show is coming to NYC's Sacred Gallery but for one night only, July 9th. Don't miss it!
Alas, I will miss it myself because Brian and I will be in County Cork, Ireland, July 10 & 11, for The Traditional Tattoo and World Culture Festival. I am so excited for this! It's going to be a small gathering, in Cobh, of artists and collectors who love traditional tattoo--not in the Americana sense, but the tribal. For me, it's really a family reunion with Colin Dale and Xed Le head, who were featured in my Black Tattoo Art book, and a chance to hang out once again with the audacious Pat Fish, Queen of Celt. If you're looking for a tattoo vacation in a sea-side town with a bunch of beautiful freaks, please join us.
July 30 through August 1st, Asbury Park, New Jersey will be home to the Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival. I usually don't list first conventions because most have a rough start but when I saw the artist roster, I had to include it. It's another beachfront party--albeit a bigger one--with live painting, music and sideshow performances. We'll be there handing out Needles and Sins swag so look down. I'm short.
That weekend is also the Taiwan Tattoo Convention. Paul Booth, Shige, and Jason Stewart will be the main attractions but the tattoo art that's coming out of Taiwan itself demands attention, like the work of Andy Shou shown below. For more info on the show, hit the Tattoos.com page.
August 6-8, over 300 tattooists will descend upon Doncaster, England for Skin Deep's Tattoo Jam, one of the biggest conventions in the UK. When I went to the Tattoo Jam in 2008 (held in Wales), I had such a blast and got a hand-poked Thai tattoo as well. [See the photos here.] The diversity of artistic styles is vast so there's something for everyone at this show.
Also, Tattoo Jam has teamed up with the best named tequila brand ever for the Hornitos Design Competition where you get a chance to design a limited-edition Hornitos bottle, and if you win, oh, prizes abound.
August 27-29 is Hell City Phoenix's "Let It Burn" fest. What more can I say? If it's as good as last month's Killumbus show, then it's worth braving Arizona, even if you look like "an illegal."
For some advance planning, here are our favorite shows in September and October:
And with that, I'll leave y'all to update your calendars.
Just saw that Paul Booth's Last Rites has added another excellent tattoo artist and painter to their ranks: Timothy Boor, who does exceptional realism, is the new golden child (sorry, couldn't resist) of the tattoo atelier, leaving Indiana for NYC. Read more about Timothy and his artistic influences on his Last Rites' page. He's currently taking appointments.
If you're interested in the process of tattooing as well as the end result, check Myke Chambers tattooing as a guest artist at House of Pain Tattoo in El Paso, Texas, right now. You can watch Myke tattoo live, and as an added bonus, overhear shop banter.
I've seen other Ustream videos by tattooists like Durb Morrison but Myke has been doing these videos pretty regularly lately in his non-stop tattoo tour. [His travel schedule is just exhausting to look at.]
For a 2-D look at Myke's work, check his online tattoo portfolio.
I completely geek out over body suits-in-progress blogs, especially when the work is done by tattoo phenomena. [And it seems many of you do too considering the popularity of John Mack's series on getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III.]
One such blog is Munewari Minutes where Brooklyn's own Mike Crash posts on the progress of his Japanese backpiece and munewari. As Mike explains in one of his first blog posts,
"Munewari (literally 'chest dividing') is a tattoo style which covers the front of the torso while leaving the center of the chest untouched...The shape is meant to conceal the tattoo when traditional clothing such as a kimono is worn. As a matter of practicality, I confess the shape has become an anachronism. You're not likely to see many folks in kimono outside of the rare formal occasion. But the style is unique to Japanese tattoo and I think quite stunning visually, which no doubt has contributed to it's longevity--it is still a commonly tattooed style."
It's this information on Japanese tattoo, combined with Mike's own personal experience, that makes Munewari Minutes such an interesting read.
The artist creating the work is the renowned Horizakura, aka Shinji, of the Horitoshi Family. Horizakura has been tattooing Mike--by machine and tebori--for six years at NY Adorned.
The artists of NY Adorned have inspired other tattoo bloggers whom I love like my friend Sarah whose site Evolution of a Backpiece (which we posted here) relays her experience getting tattooed by Stefanie Tamez. Sarah was inspired by the blog (one of the first tattoo-in-progress blogs) of another dear friend, Keith Alexander, who died in July 2005. While his site is no longer online, you can see here on BME his backpiece, which was tattooed by Chris O'Donnell, also of Adorned.
Horizakura will not be at NY Adorned for long, however. As Mike noted in his most recent post, the artist will soon be opening up his own studio on the Lower East Side.
Other big changes are taking place at NYA: Owner Lori Leven writes that artists Chad Koeplinger and Timothy Hoyer have gone on their own, and Bryan Randolph has moved back to California and is now working at Spider Murphy's.
The bigger news is that Lori will be opening up a new space on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan and bring all Adorned tattooists and piercers together in one location. Their original East Village shop will be turned into a jewelry store. And what about Brooklyn Adorned? Lori says:
"I want to close it. But, I want to sell it (of course, not to another tattoo shop ). Or become partners with someone I respect, in a new business that could well utilize the space. So, if you want to call me and talk about a business venture, please do so. Even if none of those things work out, we will still be leaving the Bedford shop. I'm a city girl and Manhattan is where I flourish. And when I flourish, my peeps are happy. And happy people working together is a blast!"
Best of luck to NY Adorned, Horizakura, Chad, Timothy, and Bryan in their new adventures. Will keep checking in on Munewari Minutes to see Mike's body evolve beautifully.
The Wellcome Collection in London describes itself as "a free visitor destination for the incurably curious," which of course made me curious, incurably so.
Founder Sir Henry Wellcome was a pretty curious dude himself, fascinated by the intersection of medicine and health, business and marketing, philanthropy, culture and art. Wellcome collected over a million objects, including manuscripts, carvings, posters, images and a number of body art artifacts like the preserved tattooed skin above, taken off an executed criminal around 1850-1900.
From June 10th to September 26th, The Wellcome Collection presents an exhibition devoted entirely to the largest human organ. Simply entitled Skin, the exhibition delves into "the changing importance of skin, from anatomical thought in the 16th century through to contemporary artistic exploration."
The show includes image galleries, video, a Skin Lab that looks at developments in skin science (including bio-jewelry and clothing), and essays by Javier Moscoso, and by Katie Kitamura--sister to Horitaka of State of Grace and author of The Longshot: A Novel.
The tattoo portion involves a design competition where the winning artwork will be tattooed live onto Caisa Ederyd (pictured below) at the "Tattoos: Marks of meaning" event on July 22nd.
Don't Panic offers full detail on the competition and the sweet prizes for the winner. Here's just a taste to give you an idea:
"One of the aspects we are interested in is looking at peeling back the layers of skin to discover what's beneath--let your imagination run wild with the anatomical workings of your body. Organs, dissections, skeletons, guts, nerves bundles, veins--get your thinking caps on to illustrate what's beneath our skin and display the internal on the external.
They have an "Inspiration Image Gallery," which includes an exploded thorax. Cool.
As for those sweet prizes, they include £100 cash, a free tattoo by a tattooist from London's Good Times, their artwork on 60K posters, and a year's free membership of the Wellcome Collection Club.
Check out some of the entries already submitted. Good stuff. The competition closes on Friday, June 25th.
PS: Beyond the physical exhibit and competition, I suggest you check out the online library, which offers so many interesting images and info that will satisfy your curiosity of the body. I mean, bodies in general.
Back in February, we talked about performance artists Wafaa Bilal, who was embarking on a tattoo-based performance-art piece entitled "...And Couting," in which he would be receiving a tattooed dot - in both black and UV ink - to commemorate the military and civilian casualties in Iraq.
So, seeing as how I'm a "white-noise" freak who keeps WBGO blasting in the living room 24 hours a day and NPR equally cranked in my office here at the Needles and Sins Compound, I was pleased to find out that the latter had done a piece on Bilal.
Click here to read the transcript, see some cool pictures or stream the audio of the segment.
[above photo by Brad Farwell]
On Saturday, June 26th tattooer Todd Noble will be celebrating the grand opening of his new shop, Right Coast Tattoo. Big news for the folks of Fenwick Island, DE, but even better, Noble will play host to guest artists Grime, Bert Krak, Civ, Steve Boltz, Eli Quinters and Mike Shea.
There will also be $10 tickets available for the greatest raffle of the decade (next to that Chris Conn raffle) a 4-hour tattoo from Grime. There is also the promise of a pig roast and crab fest, and the festivities are set to go "all day til the wee hours."
I am well aware that this shindig doesn't kick off for a few weeks, but we're giving you ample time to plan here!
Right Coast Tattoo
205 Coastal Highway
Fenwick Island, DE.
Brookyln's Galaxy of Tar - who have created a powerful amalgam of 70s-era Santana psychedelia with the prog-rock/metal components of contemporary acts Tool and Mars Volta - recently released a pair of tracks for free download at Lapdance Academy. I was fortunate enough to get a few minutes to sit down with songwriter/drummer Elias Diaz and singer Naima Mora (yes, the winner of America's Next Top Model - Cycle 4) to talk tattoos...
Please describe to our readers your tattoos and let us know what artists/shops did the work.
ELIAS DIAZ: Well, i have one of toxic waste that takes me back to a weird period of my life and three chinese symbols that sum up the meaning of existence. A tattoo of a totem pole that's an incarnation of black magic and dark masks. That one was done by an artist who's first name only i can remember as Patrick. I remember the tattoo shop was somewhere on MacDougal street. I've been looking for him here in NY to no avail.
We'll have to put Patrick's face on a milk carton, I guess. What's the ethongraphic origin of this imagery - the totem pole, black magic and dark masks?
ELIAS: The masks are definitely Latin. In DR [Dominican Republic] - where I'm from - the people celebrate magic goblins in the carnival festivals every year for the entire month of february. My tattoo has a lot of influence from that, and of course a collaborative creative effort of the artist.
NAIMA MORA: My first tattoo was a little star on my ankle, that was randomly done one night out drinking with friends. We all decided to get a tattoo just for the experience. Some place in the the East Village in NYC. I have four other pieces, another star on my head, because I had a big tendency for randomly shaving it at the time. That was done at MacDougal Tattoo by an artist I can't remember, either... I don't think the shop is there any more [ed note: MacDougal Tattoo closed in 2007 and most of their artists moved to a new location at East Side Ink]. I thought it would be "gangster" to get one of "Detroit" on my forearm done by some crazy brazilian guy in the East Village and followed that with another tattoo of the name of my best friend... And i also have a magical spell on my forearm of Mayan hieroglyphics done by Becca Roach.
Where is the star on your head?
NAIMA: The tattoo on my head is above my left ear. Its pretty small. I wish i had gotten something bigger now that i think about it... But if were to do that I would mean I'd have to shave it all off again!
Can you describe the spell? Also, why did you choose Mayan glyphs?
NAIMA: Well I am Mexican and my family is of the Purepecha Indians in Michoacan which derive from the Maya. They still speak Nahuatl in Mexico, which is the same language as the Maya spoke centuries ago. The spell reads the secret words spoken by the Mayan god Quetzalcuatl that a shaman gave to me one trip visiting home and that I can not disclose.
At what point in your life did you both decide to start modifying your body and why?
ELIAS: The age of 14 was my first experience of being ripped open by a needle. I don't why.
That's pretty young - did you have a good fake ID or did you and your pals build a machine or hand-poke?
ELIAS: At that time in Brooklyn, you didn't need an ID out on Avenue U. The Chinese characters were my first someplace on Avenue U.
NAIMA: I was 19, I think, and it was more of a spontaneous thing to try something new. I always thought tattoos were really cool, but I wanted to get a small one first to understand the feeling, the pain and the symbolism of marking my body.
Does your ink have a "deeper meaning" or do you believe in adornment for beauty's sake?
ELIAS: It marks a timeline for me of what i've gone through. The Chinese characters are my own personal version of a latin Bar Mitzvah - my claiming of rights to manhood. My second piece - [the] toxic waste [symbol] - represents a weird transition in my life where I was really disgusted by humanity. And the totem pole reminds of the beauty in cultural history that people share in common versus the negativity that we can be so prone to.
NAIMA: All my ink i got done for different reasons and they remind me of the reasons i got them for. Detroit, murder capitol... A star on my head at the suggestion of a dear friend of mine, my best friend... And magical spells to remind me where i am from. But with that said, I also think tattoos are very beautiful and I love the way script looks.
Naima, how has getting tattooed affected your modeling career, if at all? Do you find it easier to be accepted as a "tattooed rocker" rather than a "tattooed model?"
NAIMA: Thats a good question. As far as a modeling, i've never really cared whether it affected the career or not... I always knew that I wanted to do more than just model, so i was never reluctant to getting ink or worry about how it would affect my job as a model. But I think in the modeling world, I was always that "edgy girl" as the fashionistas liked to call me. So I don't think it affected it that much.
I spent a short stint in Miami where clients hated my tattoos. My agent encouraged me to cover them with make-up, so i left Miami! But I definitely think that being a rocker a person is accepted more for who they are.
Do you both have plans to get more tattoos? If so, what are you looking to get and what artists would you like to be tattooed by?
ELIAS: I'm definitely considering more work. Don't know what i want yet... but it all depends on if I can find Patrick. That's the only man that can touch my body that way.
That sounds dirty, bro...
NAIMA: I really want another tattoo! Soon! But i don't know what i want to get tattooed yet either. I should start looking for an artist soon though.
How do you look for an artist? Is it by artistic style, personal recommendation, or do you just go to the nearest place when you have some free time and money?
NAIMA: Most of my tattoos have been walk ins, thats why i don't remember the artists very well by name. But i've been asking around for suggestions from friends. Ultimately, this time i think i'll really research the work an artist has done, check out their portfolio and get some really great work done! I think thats a mature decision and part of growing up.
The two-song release with PDF digibooklet - "Volatile Glass" - is available for free download at lapdanceacademy.com/galaxy. Download your copy today!
Top photo by Cathrine Westergaard.
[Ed. Note: We have located the elusive Patrick - he is the one and only Patrick Conlon who works aside my old friend Sweety at East Side Ink here in New York City]
I was gonna save this for a monster news review but y'all keep sending me links to the articles, so hell, I might as well put it up now:
Meet the Guinness World Record-holder for the Most Tattooed Woman: Julia Gnuse.
The press has been loving her the past few days because she was in NYC for Book Expo America promoting the Guinness World Records 2011 annual and Gamer's editions -- and she was clearly a colorful attraction. But she also has a particularly interesting story.
As Julia says in this video interview with the BBC, she found tattooing as a way to cope with a skin disorder called Porphyria, which can cause blisters or scarring. Twenty years later, and with 95% of her body covered in various motifs including cartoons and celebrity portraits, the 55-year-old has won her place among Lucky Diamond Rich (Most Tattooed Person) and Isobel Varley (Most Senior Tattooed Woman) in Guinness's Body Beautiful category.
Julia's tattoos are mostly done by Art Godoy of Fun House Tattooing, and have cost her about $70,000, according to AOL News.
To see more of her art, check the photo set on Mirror News and in this Reuters video below.
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, this Friday from 7-10 PM, Hope Gallery Presents "Distubance in the Force: A Tribute to the greatest movie series in history: STAR WARS."
The show will feature original works by over 30 renowned artists from all backgrounds including Joe Capobianco, Tim Harris, Phil Young, Eric Merrill, Julio Rodriguez, The Beast Brothers, Sket-One, Jime Litwalk, Tony Ciavarro, BEZ KYNST, Bezerc, Lawrence DiGusto, Jr., Tom Strom, Jackee Strom, Amber Carr, Dan Dos Santos, Craig Driscoll, Keith Ciaramello, Nikko, Christopher Uminga, Chuckboy, Silas Finch, Durb Morrison, Matthew Ryan Sharp, Project Detonate, OsiRisORion, Toby Stranger, Ernesto Nave, Dimitri HK, Christian Perez, Martin Silva, Kelly Doty, Steph D, Lawrence Woods, Augie Pagan, Travis Franklin, Jason Allen, Polly Hatter, and more.
There will be also be food, booze, Storm Troopers, and giveaways provided by Gentle Giant.
Then on Saturday, June 5th, you'll be able to view all of the works for sale on the Hope Gallery Shop and purchase the paintings and prints online through July 5th.
Bonus video: The Family Guy video below has nothing to do with the Hope Gallery Show or tattoos in general. I watched it on Hulu.com last night & wanted to share it because it's the best Star Wars parody I've seen. Seriously, you'll hurt yourself laughing.
A couple of weeks ago, I listed the Masterworks of Body Art exhibit at the Oceanside Museum of Art in North San Diego in a must-see events post. James Tran, shop manager and apprentice under Bill Canales of Full Circle Tattoo, was there with Bill and clients of the studio, and sent along photos and a quick review of the show.
Check the photos, including the tattoo above by Rob Benavides of Flying Panther Tattoo, on our Flickr set.
Here's what James had to say about the exhibit:
"There was a gathering of some prominent Southern California tattoo artists at the Oceanside Museum of Art on May 15th for the 2nd Annual Masterworks of Body Art exhibition curated by tattoo artist Chris Winn and hosted by his lovely wife, Jade Winn. With artists such as living legend Fip Buchanan of Avalon Tattoo, Bill Canales of Full Circle Tattoo, Rob Benavides of Flying Panther, Opie Ortiz of World Famous Tattoo and several others, it was sure to be an interesting display of high caliber tattoo works for the mostly untattooed and older crowd--the majority being members of the Oceanside Museum of Art.