September 2010 Archives

09:19 PM
joe capobianco.jpg
The October issue of Inked, which just dropped, has my interview with Joe Capobianco, the Prince of Pin-Up tattoos. In it, Joe talks about his signature style, quitting the convention circuit, hair pomade, and what makes a woman sexy. Here's a taste:

You have such a signature style that one can look at a pin-up tattoo and know that it's a "Capo Girl." What are the elements you put into your work that make it your own?

"There are certain ideas that go into my work: the shape of the figure, the attitude of the figure--in pinups it's important that the girl has the right attitude. I usually start with the face. In my opinion, if you blow the face on the pinup, it doesn't matter if she's naked with big boobs. If the face is shot, the pinup is shot. In everything I've done, I've looked to great artists like Gil Elvgren, Earl Moran, Alberto Vargas, Hajime Sorayama, and Olivia. Their work is in the back of my mind--it's subconscious--but I don't try to copy them. I think that's something some people lack: they try to make their work look like someone else's, but for me, it's more about letting things happen on its own, naturally."

joe capobianco tattoo2.jpgWhat do you think makes a good tattoo?

"In my opinion, a good tattoo is something that is readable and something that's going last. Outlines are important, shading is important, solid color is important. I even go a little bit crazy with the saturation of color, which some traditional guys say, "Why do you do that? It's too much." But I don't think too much is gonna hurt the tattoo. I want the tattoo to look like I just did it for as long as possible. It's not high art. It's not your vision on somebody. I know this will sound shitty--and I'm not making points with some people--but I don't think it's fine art. A tattoo is a tattoo. "

joe capobianco tattoo.jpgEspecially considering that you tattoo these tributes to women--what is sexy to you?

"It's not about any one thing. A girl can be drop dead gorgeous and have a killer body that men will drop their fucking drawers for, and I'll look at her and go, "eh." It's something about the way the woman carries herself. It's something you can't put your finger on--and you shouldn't be able to put your finger on. So many women try so hard to be what they consider the perfect woman, and they're missing the point. There is no perfect woman. The fact that you come in all shapes and sizes, that's the beauty of it."

Read the rest in Inked. Get it on newsstands or by digital issue download.
10:39 AM

Tonight is the UK premier of Jodie Marsh Tattoo Apprentice, which airs on DMAX at 9PM.

As a silly American not schooled in the ways of British reality TV tramps, my first question was Who the hell is Jodie Marsh?  And as I do with all things in life, I consult my blog bible Wikipedia. Its entry on Jodie claims she is a "glamour model" and "media personality."  Ok, so she's Tila Tequila or that Daisy of Love travesty -- all tattooed women whose only great achievement is furthering the tramp stamp stereotypes.

Even worse, Jodie is known for, let's just say, less than artful tattoos. She once lost a bet and had Bizarre magazine readers chose a tattoo for her (which you can see in this video). It was a sperm (or devil tail, can't tell) winding out of her butt crack. This press release also lists other gems in her "body art" collection:

Tattoos aren't the first thing you think of when Jodie Marsh's name comes up, but she has over 70 of them - from her first, the word 'cheekie' tattooed on her lower back, to an exact copy of the stilettos she wore as a lap dancer at Stringfellows - and the art of inking is her passion.  

Yup, her passion.

My next question was, Why Louis Molloy would ruin the rep he's built for twenty years to be a part of something that makes a mockery of his art?

An argument could be made that the show seeks to present how difficult it is to learn to tattoo and that apprenticeships can be grueling. As seen in the clip above, an apprentice must do a variety of tasks in the shop, like sweeping the floors, before she can even touch a tattoo machine. And as expected, Jodie doesn't want to sweep. Cue the reality TV drama.

According to the press release, however, the end goal of the show is to have Jodie do her first tattoo and hopefully open up her own shop. Like all tattoo TV shows, the art is edited down so that, magically, a sleeve can be achieved in an hour and a tattooist is made overnight. It'll be a sad night tonight when it airs.

For those in the UK, if you sully yourself watching this, please let us know in the comments what you think. 
07:54 PM
The London Tattoo Convention.jpg
... Aaaaaand they're up.

Check Brian's photos from the London Tattoo Convention on Flickr.
02:05 PM
Chad Koeplinger tattoo.jpg
Tattoo by Chad Koeplinger on Cian Wright of

When do you people leave?

I was pulled aside and asked this, rather politely, by the night manager of the Ibis hotel where tattooists packed the bar and restaurant celebrating the end of a successful London Tattoo Convention. They'd all soon go back to their studios around the world, but as I looked at the mass of scary looking dudes beer swilling and back slapping, I knew that it wouldn't be soon enough for this frazzled hotel employee.

We weren't badly behaved. We were just intense. Three days in a place where thousands converged to feel and give pain, to preen and gawk--all surrounded by buzzing, blood and the blare of heavy metal--well, it demands a little steam letting.

The London convention is one of the world's largest. As I mentioned last week, over 20,000 people descended upon the historic Tobacco Dock in 2009; this year, however, it seemed a bit less although the organizers didn't give an official head count yet. Lines to get in still went down the block (and we won't even discuss the bathroom lines). But everywhere you looked, tattooists were working.

The artist roster was a Who's Who of Tattoo. Any type of tattoo could be had; the masters of all these styles were there and some even opted to take some appointments from the floor and not book up completely in advance. I wonder if those who managed to score time appreciated their luck.

sharon of classic ink and body mods.jpgTim Hendricks tattoo on Sharon of Classic Ink & Mods.

The last tattoo show we attended was the Traditional Tattoo & Wolrd Culture Fest in Ireland, which felt like a mini-Woodstock. In sharp contrast, the London show was an amped Warped Tour:  kilowatts of commotion, crowds to lose your friends in, packed pubs, freakshows and Fuel Girls. The energy was just bouncing off the vaulted brick halls.

Within this historic warehouse, artists worked in a maze of glass enclosures. It was like an art zoo, where tattooists were fed cash to perform artistic feats. This menagerie was easy to get lost in, but one you want to get lost in; where you could unintentionally find a tattooer whose work you've never known before that blows you away.

This year, however, I didn't have the luxury of getting lost and making these discoveries. I stayed in my own glass exhibition space with Edgar Hoill as we sold out our massive "Black & Grey Tattoo" box sets and displayed Edgar's photography on the gallery walls.

Also with us was Lars Krutak, our favorite tattoo anthropologist, whose latest book "Kalinga Tattoo" is a stunning--and also massive--hardcover featuring photos and stories of the ancient tattoo tribe in the Philippines. [More on that book coming up.]

indio signing.jpgIndio Reyes signing his artist pages in "Black & Grey Tattoo."

Because I spent most of my time shilling books, I didn't do my usual flitting about. Thankfully Brian did, taking plenty of photos and bringing back some good stories, which he'll post once he recovers from the hand-poked toe tattoo he got from Clare Goldilox.

[I also did a hand-poked tattoo, my first tattoo ever actually. And I did it on Clare's bum. It was not my finest moment. [Although she does have a fine bum.] When I'm feeling more shameless, I may just do a post on it. Or maybe not. Needless to say, I won't be tattooing ever again.]

In fact, lots of post-convention late night tattooing takes place, and sometimes it takes place after a bottle of Jack Daniels. You know the stories of people taking a sharpie marker to draw all over the guy who passes out at a party? Ok, now imagine that with a tattoo machine.

Those stories were traded during that final convention night revelry at the Ibis bar, but no machines were whipped out and skin scratched. We left with hugs and handshakes, and the hotel employees finally got their rest.
10:03 AM
london tattoo convention2.jpg
The London Tattoo Convention made the headlines again, although less so this year, but what's out there is pretty good. Here are a few of my faves:

For their In Pictures section, the BBC has a beautiful slideshow of the event including the photo above of Martin Poole, a tattooist in Cornwall who does hand tattooing. In fact, he has done most of his own facial work. I interviewed Martin and will try to have our talk up later this week.

Cheekier photos and captions can be found on Asylum UK's The London Tattoo Convention's Best & Weirdest gallery, which also has shots beyond tattooed butts like the one below.

london tattoo convention.jpg
And finally, this video by the Telegraph entitled "My dad's gonna kill me - getting your face tattooed" with some excellent footage and interviews on traditional tattooing among other scenes from the convention floor. Check it below.

My thoughts on the show are up soon as well as those from Brian, who took his own great shots.
05:53 AM
black & Grey tattoo.jpg
I'm thrilled to announce the release of the latest in the series of hardcover coffee table books (or rather coffee tables) for Edition Reuss Publishing, which I co-authored with the wonderful Edgar Hoill. Behold our three-volume monstrous box set:

The beautifully designed box contains three hardcovers, totaling 1,008 pages and weighing 22.6 pounds. They are monsters at about 15 x 12 inches (24.5 x 31.5 cm).  [Yes, like my Black Tattoo Art book, they double as a home defense device.]

If you want to take a look inside, check the Flickr photoset.

Ok, now for the promo blah blah ...

photo by edgar hoill.jpg
"Black & Grey Tattoo" is a mammoth work. Comprising over a thousand pages, it is one of the largest - if not the largest - tattoo book ever published! Its three large-format volumes are contained inside a lavish and sturdy hardcover box. The set explores a monochrome art form through a kaleidoscope of the most widely diverse interpretations and craftsmanly techniques, performed by tattoo artists from all parts of the world. This tattoo tome explores the origins of black & grey tattooing - from the prisons and streets of LA to its contemporary resonance on Hollywood's red carpets, at heavy metal music festivals, and in private ateliers from Budapest to Beijing. While rendered in just shades of grade, the spectrum of design is vast: Aztec warriors, fierce harpies, family portraits, religious icons and permanent shrines to celebrities adorn these pages. The common thread among them all is their inventive exposition and mastery of execution. It is divided into three volumes: "Traditional Black & Grey", "Dark/Horror" and "Photorealism". Indeed, there is cross-pollination among the different styles, but the breakdown is not just for easier lifting of this monster collection. It is to show how tattoos with similar stylistic elements are interpreted differently by stellar artists around the world. The books also present the fine art - including paintings and charcoals - of many of those featured, although the tattoos themselves should be considered fine art.
05:24 AM
beautiful alice .jpg
Today, the London Tattoo Convention kicks off and I promise to lay off the cider to bring y'all a coherent account of the events here. [*crossing fingers behind my back*]

Check out my usual bad photos from last year's show, including the one of above of the beautiful Alice of the Dead (who has a great deal of work from dotwork guru Xed le Head.

Artists have arrived from every corner of the earth, from Borneo to Brooklyn, to swap stories, check out the art in the galleries, buy baby clothes with ACDC logos on them from vendors, and hell, maybe they'll do a few tattoos. With 20,000 people expected over these next three days, there is plenty of skin to be decorated. Last year, the convention made The Guinness World Record For "The Most People Being Tattooed Simultaneously." No joke. It's an actual record.

The convention is already getting some press, but I anticipate news coverage and slide-shows will start popping up online as early as this evening so I'll be posting those links as well as my own redux.

I should also mention that, in addition to my bloggedy blog posts, I'm here to promote my latest book. More on that (shamelessly) coming up.

01:37 PM
chris rainer borneo photo.jpg
This month's Smithsonian Magazine features an article by Abigail Tucker on photojournalist Chris Rainer entitled "Looking at the World's Tattoos."  

[I became an instant fan of Rainer in 2006 when I bought his gorgeous photography book Ancient Marks: The Sacred Art of Tattooing & Body Marking.]

The article looks at Rainer's experience, from his time spent as Ansel Adams' last assistant in the 80s to his first introduction to traditional tattooing and how that informed a body of work that explores the art across the globe from Borneo to Burning Man. Here's what Tucker says of the photographer's start:

"Like his mentor, Rainier is primarily a black-and-white photographer. Unlike Adams, however, he is less captivated by landscapes than by the topography of the body, and he specialized in portraits. In the 1990s, while traveling the world to chronicle waning indigenous cultures, he got interested in traditional tattooing--which has cropped up from Greenland to Thailand at one time or another--and its sister art, scarification, a cutting practice more common in West Africa and elsewhere. Some of those customs, Rainier says, are dying out as modernization penetrates even remote areas."

A slideshow of select images from Rainer's tattoo-focused work accompanies the article. 

chris rainer modern primitives photo.jpg
The article also discusses the upcoming film Tattoo Odyssey, which will air on the Smithsonian channel on September 26th. In it, Rainer visits the Mentawai people in a remote village on the Indonesian island of Siberut. There he sets out to document their ancient tattoo ritual as it rapidly disappears.

Thanks to Father Panik for the link.
05:10 PM

Last year, we wrote about the release of the Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World documentary, which looks at one of tattoo's most influential artists before the association with trucker hats, energy drinks and bowling alleys(!).

Director Emiko Omori takes a look at the artist, not the brand. [Omori is also co-director of the 2003 documentary Skin Stories on Polynesian tattooing.] The film chronicles Hardy's life since childhood, where as early as 10 years old, he began to "tattoo" his friends with eyeliner and colored pencils.

You can see a number of great clips from film online here in addition to the one above.

If you're in Los Angeles tonight, you can check it on the big screen at UCLA's Hammer Museum at 7pm. Tickets are available at the Billy Wilder Theater Box Office one hour prior to start time.
12:22 PM
chris con askew.jpg

Celebrating its sixth successful year, A Convention of the Tattoo Arts will take place October 22-24, this year in SF at The San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency. Organized by State of Grace Productions, the show is run by tattooists for tattooists and collectors, and not by a convention corp trying to squeeze a buck out of the "tattoo fad." In addition to the hand-picked roster of artists, there are a number of exciting events that weekend.

For one, there's the groundbreaking seminar by Chris Conn Askew: "Drawing Women for Tattoo, the Chris Conn Way." The class, which costs $200 a person, entails a slide-show presentation and lecture, live sketching, and Q&A with the artist (who retired from tattooing in 2006). Program details can be found on Chris's Tumblr blog. Each attendee will also receive an instructional sketchbook, signed and numbered, exclusive to this convention. The seminar is a limited-enrollment event and is already 90% booked, so if you're interested, it's best to get in touch with Chris at right away (no drop-ins will be accepted). You can view more of Chris' fine art, like the one above, on his gallery page.

A number of book releases and signings are taking place as well:  Grime's much anticipated book covering his last ten years, and Jill "Horiyuki" Mandelbaum's Tattoo Artist: A Collection of Narratives. Also for sale will be the Bob Roberts: In a World of Compromise I Don't and These Old Blue Arms: The Life & Work of Amund Dietzel, among other books.

The show kicks off Thursday evening, October 21st, with an opening party hosted by Black Heart Tattoo. For more info, check the convention site.
11:11 AM
In the words of Notorious B.I.G.: "If you don't know, now you know."

Tattoo machine graphic by Myra Phan via Gizmodo.
04:37 PM
Interactive Lower Back Tattoos from Kat Von D

"Changing people's lives one back tat at a time."

Ok, Kat, this was hysterical. Bravo.
03:07 PM
margaret cho dwts.jpg

Comedian, activist, and hottie Margaret Cho, will be showing off her moves and tattoos in the latest season of Dancing With The Stars, which premiers this Monday the 20th. Represent, Cho!

I've never seen the show so I read this thingie that says, "We, the viewers, call the shots. We determine who stays and who goes each week." So how do we do that? Well, I read this thingie, which explains it all. In a nutshell, you can call or text to vote at the top of each performance until 30 minutes after the end of the show; for online voting, you have until 11am (Eastern Time) the next day.

So, vote for our own version of "hot inked chick" and keep her dancing, or have people like The Situation of Jersey Shore and Bristol Palin (Sarah's daughter -- yeah, I don't know why she's on either) taking away her air time. [Ok, The Situation should be amusing as well.]

Curious about Margaret's tattoos?

Artists who have worked on her include Ed Hardy, Chris O'Donnell, Mike Davis, Kat Von DNathan Kostechko, Andrew Moore, and Barnaby of Mom's Body Shop. She's blogged about these experiences here.

The fabulous Shawn Barber has also painted Margaret -- a portrait of her while getting tattooed by Mike Davis -- and that painting is the cover of her ChoDependent album, which includes soon to be classics like "Eat Shit & Die." The ChoDependent tour starts today in Vegas and will hit tons of cities across the US and Canada. Check the list of dates here.

margaret-cho_m.jpgKick some ass, Margaret!
10:13 AM
Thanks to our esteemed colleague Jay Fingers, it was brought to my attention last night that rapper Lil Wayne has a new video out for a song called, "I Am Not A Human Being." Admittedly, I have no love for the syrup-slurping, Rikers Resident, but Jay was quick to point out that the video features Wayne's latest ink acquisition: a collection of stars and a set of kissy-lips done up in UV (blacklight) ink.

We've discussed black-light tattoos before with our coverage of the Lost/Dharma Initiative tattoo and the difficulties associated tattooing with UV ink (the artist needs to work under a black-light while creating the piece) - but I think we should go to Wayne himself for his insight on the process:

So... what have we learned, children?  Well, apparently tattoos hurt and letting someone paint on you makes you a "bitch."  

Getting green, day-glo stars around your eye, however, is 100% Gangsta.

(In my opinion, the song itself leaves much to be desired - I don't know what producer in his right mind allowed Wayne to wait 90 seconds at a stretch to hit such a poor excuse for a "hook" - but if you're interested, the music video is embedded after the jump)
10:28 PM
boston tattoo.jpg
First off, let me just thank y'all for your comments and suggestions--publicly and private--because it really helps in our efforts to make this site better and give you what you want. And I want what you want. Because I love you.

So, in the comments on the Baltimore Tattoo Convention media reviews post, LC made note of the Boston convention flying under the radar. When I looked into it, I found that there was plenty of media coverage -- it's just we didn't cover that coverage. My bad. [That was the weekend we switched servers and launched the redesign. Excuses, Excuses.] Even though the convention was 12 days ago (five years in Internet time), I still think the photos and stories are interesting. Here we go: did something cool: they had their photographer Erik Jacobs set up a portable photobooth to take shots of artists and collectors but also get some quotes on the tattoos. For example, I really dig the photo above of Josh Kanter whose head tattoo is done by Derek Noble in Seattle [you gotta see Derek's portfolio]. When asked "Any regrets?", Josh said, "You get, you own." I like that.

There's also a separate set by Essdras M. Suarez, including the cute pic below of Laura Rost & her T-Rex.

boston tattoo convention.jpg And the Boston Phoenix has photos that are meh but still worth a quick click.
06:05 PM
Fred Laverne tattoo.jpg
I managed to catch a nasty cold, but what's helping me get better is the arrival of more fun tattoo work for my next project in my monster tattoo book series. Here's the latest:

Check the work of Fred Laverne of Voodoo Lab in Menton, France.

Fred will be working at the Tattoo Art Fest in Paris this weekend along with a great line-up of international artists. [You can see my photos on Flickr from the last time I was at that convention a few years ago.]

So enjoy the tattoo eye-candy while I stick my head in a box of Kleenex.

fred laverne tattoo3.jpg
fred laverne tattoo2.jpg

06:15 PM
dan henk tattoo.jpg Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna

The Baltimore Sun had some good coverage of the weekend's Baltimore Tattoo Arts convention, including a slideshow featuring this photo of Dan Henk working [where you can just make out his head tattoo that Nick Baxter did in June]. They also shot footage and interviews from the convention floor, shown below.

Just before the convention, the newspaper interviewed organizer Troy Timpel, offering a preview of the event, and published a "Tattoos at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum" photo gallery. In his interview, Troy said:

"I liked getting the dirty looks from the old ladies back in the early '90s and late '80s...It's no longer the lowbrow biker, sailor, convict kind of thing that it was 20 years ago. Sadly, I think it's become socially reputable."

Sarcasm aside, the show drew in over 5,000 convention goers, and from the Twitter feeds of some artists in attendance, it sounds like it was successful for many working it as well.

05:07 PM
kowhey new school tattoo.jpg
My next large-scale coffee table book project for Edition Reuss will be a massive collection of top New School work from around the globe. Of course, the term New School itself is pretty fluid and not universally defined, but my approach is to highlight cartoony/animated tattoos that follow the Americana traditions of strong linework and readability but color bombed with vibrant hues, morphed into fantastical characters and imbued with a lot of sexy fun and humor. Think Joe Capobianco, Tony Ciavarro, Jime Litwalk and Kristel Oreto. [*And Joe just reminded me of Dave Fox's work, of course!]

In researching, I've come across many artists beyond the US who have really exciting portfolios that I have to share with y'all. Here's the first artist in this series:

Check Kowhey of  Balance Tattoo in Miyazaki City in Japan.

Of course a trip to the Japanese island of Kyushu would be a sweet tattoo vacation, but Kowhey is also traveling to conventions worldwide to work his psychedelic interpretations of ancient Japanese myths as well as tricked-out Americana motifs like pin-ups, pirates and pirate pin-ups.

You can find more of his work here.

kowhey 4.jpg
11:29 AM
9-11 tattoo.jpg
I couldn't let the day pass without a 9-11 memorial post. To view how some New Yorkers chose to commemorate lost loved ones on that day, see the Indelible Memories Project by Vinnie Amesse, which includes the photo above. In 2003, over a 100 of Amesse's photos were shown at the Historic Museum at Historic Richmond Town in Staten Island, NYC.

Since 2005 (from my days), I have posted on 9-11 memorial tattoos and not all responses to these posts have been positive. I have been accused of ignoring the deaths of those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of blind flag-waving patriotism. I still do not know how a day of remembrance negates other tragedies. I'm a New Yorker who lost neighbors and family friends on that day and these posts are a tribute to their memory, not a political statement. If anything, it's a reminder to be grateful for spending time with loved ones who are with me now,
01:41 PM
I hope y'all are digging the new redesign of Needles & Sins that our Brian Grosz spent a lot of time on, as well as handling the server migrations, etc.

Our advertisers help with the costs to keep everything humming so we can give all the tattoo goodness away for free without a cover price or subscription.  

ear_gauges_horn_plugs.jpgOur newest advertiser is EarGauges.Net.

The California-based company, run by those in the body modification community, was started in 2009 to help people stretch their ears safely and beautifully. They sell plugs, tunnels and tapers in a variety of materials including organic wood, glass, bone, stainless steel, silicone and stone. Prices are affordable and orders ship quickly. Free shipping for all orders over $25.

They also have online forums that address ear stretching healing and after-care, and encourage people to share their experiences.

Special to Needles & Sins readers: all orders will receive 15% off if you use our coupon code:  NAS15.

We hope you'll support and all our advertisers.
04:12 PM
cape fear tattoo.jpg

Wonderful news on the tattoo law front! The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled, in Johnny Anderson v. City of Hermosa Beach, that "tattooing is purely expressive activity fully protected by the First Amendment, and that a total ban on such activity is not a reasonable 'time, place, or manner' restriction."

This is huge and it's implications may go beyond zoning restrictions and even affect cases related to employment discrimination, for example. I just read the full decision and will give y'all the highlights but first some background to the case:

Last May, in our First Amendment & Tattoos post, we first mentioned the Appellate Court agreeing to review the case of Johnny Andersen of Yer Cheat'n Heart Tattoo against Hermosa Beach, CA. Johnny wanted to relocate to Hermosa Beach but was denied because zoning laws prohibited tattooing in the city. He sued in 2006 and lost because the lower court found that tattooing was a service and "'not sufficiently imbued with elements of communication" to be protected as speech.

Wrong! according to today's published decision by the Appellate Court, and they really rip it apart.

So, I'll actually use my law license for some good today and break it all down for you. I'm picking out some key elements that may help other tattoo artists facing similar restrictions on doing business and hopefully we'll see more wins as well.
03:45 PM
star wars ear tattoo.jpg

The Official Star Wars Blog has a quick Q&A with tattoo artist Jacob Walsh on his most awesome Death Star ear, tattooed by Ben Stubbs. They both work at Ink Addiction in Valdosta, GA.

When asked Why did you decide to get a Star Wars tattoo...on your ear?, Jacob simply replied: "I am a tattoo artist and was sitting at work on May 4th thinking, 'I have to get a Star Wars tattoo today.'" And he did. This is what happens when geeks work in tattoo shops.

Check more Star Wars tattoos here.

[Via BoingBoing]
02:04 PM
Manny, Astarte at Irish Tattoo Festival.jpg
As I mentioned in July's redux of the Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Fest in Ireland, I had the pleasure of interviewing ManWoman, an artist who's mission it has been since the 1960s to reclaim the swastika from its Nazi taint back to its ancient, peaceful roots.

ManWoman, or Manny as his friends call him, used tattoos as a way to spread his message, and in doing so, found a loyal fan base in the tattoo community. In fact, many of those in attendance specifically came to hear ManWoman's presentation on his journey. Today, ManWoman is no longer adding to his tattoo collection but continues to inspire through other mediums like painting, writing and mixed media arts.

In our interview, ManWoman discusses everything from his spiritual awakening to the swatika's origins to meeting Holocaust survivors. You can read the full article in the October issue of Total Tattoo, now on newsstands and online. Here's a taste:

There are Holocaust survivors living today for whom the swastika could mean nothing else. Have you ever met anyone who was directly impacted by the Holocaust?

Yes, I have. About a year ago I was at a health spa in Glen Ivy, California where my men's group was having our big annual meeting. We were sitting in the hot springs with the water bubbling all around and all of a sudden this little bony hand comes over the railing, and this old, old lady who must've been close to ninety pointed at my arms and said, "They told us children we were going to a party when they put us in Auschwitz." And I thought, "Oh my god, how am I going to explain to this lady that what I'm doing has no connection at all?" She just went into this really sad place and I felt bad. What do you say to someone like her? I just told her that it didn't have anything to do with that. How do you tell someone in 25 words or less, in a two-minute encounter, about the incredible beauty and sacredness of this symbol? A symbol that is has been used by Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans and ancient cultures as the most sacred symbol of blessing and auspiciousness. I was in India last year, and you can't go anywhere there without seeing it. It's everywhere.

The symbol appears in many cultures throughout history. Why do you think it keeps appearing in so many different times and places?

It's because it's a part of the archetypes of the inner foundations of the mind. There are universal symbols; like Karl Yung said, "If you slice through every religion there are universal archetypes: death, rebirth, the sacred mother giving birth to the divine child. And guess what pours through my dreams night after night? It's the archetypes but totally free from any organized religion. I see my duty as an artist and poet to refresh these archetypes. They're not going to change but they need to come out in a new form that we can relate to differently. When I see all these young people taking the swastika and playing with it, dancing with it, and making it into what it really is, it's just amazing. I feel like crying because I'm so excited. I come here and there are all these guys with their heads shaved and swastika tattoos on their faces, and it's like my dream is coming true. I better be careful what I dream of!

You can purchase the Total Tattoo issue here. It also includes a great profile on tattoo artist Daniel DiMattia.
09:08 PM
Despite a long weekend dedicated to a deluge of social-obligations and a horrible bout of food poisoning yesterday, it appears that I've managed to get the new redesign launched.  I still have a fair amount of fiddling to do (and it appears that some of our contributors have been a little sloppy in their blogging), but I would highly encourage you to leave a comment on this entry, should you find anything screamingly wrong.

Please include:
- OS version number
- Browser and version number
- A direct link to the error page
- Link to a screen-grab (when possible - but those really help)

Browse on, gentle readers - hopefully this new design will be a little easier on your eyes.

12:27 PM
I wish to warn you, Gentle Reader, that we'll be doing some server maintenance this afternoon and over the holiday weekend.  I would hate to think that any of you might be driven to acts of violence or self-mutilation because Needles and Sins appears to have disappeared, but never fear... it's only temporary and we shall soon return to delivering the snarky and snooty tattoo-related news you've come to expect from us.

(And, heck, if I get ambitious, I might even implement the new site design... No promises on that one, though)
11:09 AM
shepard fairey show.jpg
Tomorrow, at Sacred Gallery in NYC, the opening for a truly exciting show kicks off at 7PM:


On view will be works from Shepard Fairey/OBEY GIANT (known for his iconic Obama "HOPE" poster), Aidan Hughes (known most for creating artwork for the band KMFDM), Max Grundy, Adam Hays, Nik Moore, Wendy Cross, and Dan Alvarado.

Gallery director, Kevin Wilson, says: "The show is based on the responses to contemporary political happenings that have impacted us all."

The exhibition runs till Sept. 24th. Brian and I are looking forward to it, and hope to see y'all there.

Sacred Gallery NYC
424 Broadway, 3nd Floor Rear
New York, NY 10013
03:40 PM
hell city tattoo.jpg
ABC News just posted a few photos from the Hell City convention in Phoenix. Cheers to them for some thoughtful captions and not the usual point-and-laugh at the freaks.

I heard the show was once again a success. Cheers to Durb and the crew for another great event. I'm sure their own photos will go up soon, so check back on their media page or head there now to see images from past shows.
02:06 PM
brian cummings bodies of work.jpgAdding to our features on gorgeous photography with tattoo themes, here's a taste of Brian Cummings' Bodies of Work. Brian debuted this work in April, so I'm late to the game, but the photos can be appreciated at any time. Here's what he says of the series: 
As a visual artist, I am drawn to contrast. Contrast of light and dark, b&w, drama and comedy, etc. I like the push and pull of two extremes. I'm intrigued by the wide gap between two points. As an art form, tattooing does that for me. On one hand, you have something that for some is rebellious and taboo. On the other, it is an art form with a long tradition with great beauty and personal meaning. I wanted to explore the idea that tattooing is a form of fine art and the body is just another canvas. Pulling lighting influence from the Baroque masters, I attempted to treat each subject as a canvas painting. What would a Reuben's painting look like if his models for tattooed?

See more images here and here.

Thanks to the wonderful Clare Goldilox for the links.

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.