February 2011 Archives


Feb201128
01:47 PM
shanghai kate.jpgWikipedia: "The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one's personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer Marcel Proust."

***
Vanity Fair does it. Inside the Actor's Studio does it. And now NeedlesandSins.com. The (modified) Proust Questionnaire for Tattoo Artists is a quick and dirty Q&A with the goal of offering a more intimate glimpse of the people behind the portfolios. We asked the inimitable Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand (shown above with her clients Howard Stern & Beth Ostrovsky) to start off the fun and here's what she had to say:

The Proust Questionnaire for Tattoo Artists

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
  Desire, envy, greed & jealous.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?  To do what one loves without harm to others.

Your most marked characteristic?
Curiosity & patience.

What is your principle defect? 
Despite all my patience, I act too quickly (probably from empathy). I'm impulsive, I guess. I often don't consider the big picture. I'm working on it.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
  Admiral Adama (Battlestar Galactica), Mal (Firefly)...Do you see a Sci-Fi theme? And possibly Jesus...I'll say no more~

Who are your favorite heroes in real life?
Buddha, Jose Silva, Dr. John Bradshaw, Nelson Mandela, Stephen Hawking. And possibly Jesus...I'll say no more~

Your favorite painters?
  I love 'em all but Van Gogh and Georgia O'Keefe are always at the top of my list. Very fond of Robert Williams & Joe Coleman too.

Your favorite musicians?
  Too many to count. Leonard Coen; Love all the Texas Troubadors like Dave Alvin, Guy Clark, Tom Russell, Billie Joe Shaver, Ryan Bingham, Dale Watson; Old Country like Merle Haggard and Vern Gosdin to name a few. Soul music from James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye; Folkies and 1960s Hippies like Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and the bands from SF during that era; World music like Dead Can Dance, Gipsy Kings. Music is food for my soul. Anything but angry rap.

Who are your favorite writers?
  Again, so many but...Dylan Thomas, TS Eliot, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, John Updike, Tom Robbins, Dorothy Allison.

The quality you most admire in a man?
  Kindness.

The quality you most admire in a woman?
  Fairness.

Your favorite virtue?
  Empathy & honesty.

Who would you have liked to be?
  I am living my dream and have no regrets. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world. If I want to be it, I become it. As a kid, I fantasized about chasing dinosaurs, soaring through space and being a cowgirl. I made the cowgirl part happen. Time wasn't really on my side for the other two.

Where would you like to live?
  I try to live everywhere. And I succeed.

What are your favorite names?
Jasper, Galina, Samartha, Kanin. If wanted to name any children, I'd have these names but I forgot to have kids!

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
  To sing like Streisand.

How would you like to die?
   Someway extremely abrupt. I keep trying. No long illness or torture for me, please. I've fallen off mountains, been run down by dogs and cars, kidnapped in Mexico City, drowned, tore my left foot off my leg, broken my back 5 times. It isn't the initial impact that hurts--it's the recovery! I fantasize now about being eaten by Kodiak bears, but that would violate my no-torture clause, so no go. But it would be natural and organic, right?

What is your present state of mind?
  Joyful and grateful.

What is your motto?
  This too shall pass & Karma is a bitch!

**
If you're a tattoo artist who would like to take a stab at this questionnaire, hit us up through the contact link. We'll try and get to as many as we can. 
Feb201125
01:01 PM
Homeward Bound_Sailor Jerry.jpg

This week I received a copy of Homeward Bound: The Life and Times of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry and devoured it instantly. This limited edition hardcover is 128 pages filled with rare photos of the tattoo legend and his work, as well as images of turn-of-the-century newspaper clippings, vintage flash sheets, circus sideshow promos, snapshots of WWII sailors on shore leave and "hula girls," and so much more. It is quite rightfully described as using "the life of Sailor Jerry as the conduit to deliver a visual ethnography of American tattooing."

Beyond the images, what makes this book noteworthy are the essays on his Sailor Jerry's life and the historical information on tattooing in America that precedes it. Tons of fascinating facts and stats can be found right at the beginning, including bios on the first notable tattooers in the US, a glossary of sailor tattoos, and the general income of brothels that surrounded tattoo parlors in Hawaii where servicemen shipped off and returned home. ["Honolulu brothels took in $10 million during the war."] Then there are tattoo tidbits on the man himself, like the story behind the iconic Aloha Monkey design, and how Sailor Jerry got his name:

Although born Norman Keith Collins on January 14, 1911, his father nicknamed him him "Jerry" after the family's unruly mule. The nickname and the stubborness stuck.
As we noted in January, this year Sailor Jerry would've turned 100 years old. Perfect timing for this tribute. The book is a companion to the Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry film written and directed by Eric Weiss, who is also the creative director and a contributor to the book. Other contributors are Jason Buhrmester, David Farber, Beth Bailey, & Nick Schonberger.

Homeward Bound can be purchased for $75 on the SJ online store. For a better look inside the book, check the video below.

Feb201123
02:20 AM

Tim Hunt's Pacific Tattoo from livlin productions on Vimeo.


The Needles & Sins family sends wishes to our Kiwi friends affected by yesterday's earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Disasters like these remind us to be grateful for the love and beauty in our lives.

To focus on the positive, we're posting this video above of Tim Hunt of Pacific Tattoo in Paekakariki (a small beach town about half an hour's drive out of Wellington). Tim's client Jack Elder sent us the link after spending the day getting tattooed. Jack best sums it up:  "The video showcases some of Tim's work while discussing his attitude to tattooing -- a contemporary variant on traditional pacific designs, while remaining respectful of the living Polynesian tattoo traditions."

Indeed, Tim makes it clear in the video that he does not do traditional tattoos. "Proper Moko work should be done by a Moko artist," he explains. Viewing Tim's portfolio online, you'll see influences from different Polynesian tattooing, melded in a way that is unique and does not copy ancestral tattooing like Ta Moko.

The video, by Livlin Productions, not only shows Tim's tattooing but some beautiful shots of Paekakariki -- images that stand in sharp contrast to the devastating photos in the news now. Located on the North Island, the town was not hit by the quake; there are, however, plenty of those in the tattoo community in the South Island who have been affected.  

To help in the earthquake relief efforts, you can donate to New Zealand Red Cross.

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Feb201122
08:27 PM
paris tattoo1.jpgFor 25 years, Paris Pierides has been exploring tattoo art in its many genres, first in Cyprus and now in Charlotte, North Carolina. Beyond his extensive portfolio and numerous accolades throughout these years, what's a particularly interesting achievement is his award of an EB1 visa for "extraordinary outstanding artistic achievement," which provides artists a way of obtaining permanent residency in the US. This award is quite rare for tattoo artists.

Born in Choma, Zambia of Greek Cypriot heritage, Paris was sent to study in South Africa when the political situation in Zambia became unstable. There he attended art school and was awarded a scholarship to study at Parsons School Of Design in NYC. Upon graduating Parsons, with a major in Illustration, Paris moved to Cyprus in 1986 where he worked as an illustrator and then began amateur tattooing.

Paris credits veteran tattooist, Phil Bond, of Torquay, England for guiding him onto a professional career in tattooing. Paris opened his first studio, Paris Tattoos, in 1989. Over two decades later, in March 2010, Paris Tattoos made Charlotte its new home.

While Paris works in a variety of styles, I remember his blackwork in the nineties -- heavily influenced by henna designs -- as inspiring my very own tattoos. And so I guess I should give him credit for my life today as a freakshow.

See more of Paris's work here.

Paris Tattoos, LLC
1820 South Blvd. Unit 102
Charlotte, NC 28203
www.paristattoos.com

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Feb201121
02:50 PM
me tattooing.jpgI'm taking the day off for my birthday today in an effort to recover from yesterday's party -- a party that was supposed to be a simple Sunday afternoon gathering with bagels and bloody marys but morphed into a tattoo sweatshop where I worked tirelessly on dolphin tramps stamps, collar rockers, and knux [in between doing choreographed moves to Beyonce favorites].

I blame Brian Grosz for his gift of what he described as "an innocent party game":  Indeed, there is nothing innocent about the Tattoo Writer set and its vibrating pen shaft. But considering other well lubricated festivities where needles were wielded towards what seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, I'm just thankful I awoke today, a year older, without any permanent regret -- just a little markered smudge. I recommend it.

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Feb201118
06:43 PM
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For my Columbus, Ohio homies: On March 5th, Cap City Tattoo will present Revolutionary Revelations by resident artist Andy Johnson. At the opening, Andy will be showing nine tattoo portraits of revolutionary figures in the flesh and in photos. Cap City offers more:

The name Revolutionary Revelations grew out of Andy's learning process while working on the portraits for his friends and family. They were literally revelations about these amazing people, many of them not featured in history books. On the gallery wall you will see a photograph of each piece and story of how each subject influenced the clients. The opening reception will give you a chance to talk to each client and see the work live and in person. You can learn why they picked their history maker, enjoy refreshments and meet the artist.
The portraits--chosen by the clients and not Andy himself--include Emma Goldman, Albert Einstein, Johannes Gutenberg, Ammon Hennacy, John Brown, Eddy Merckx, Ted Roosevelt, Rosalin Franklin, and Emiliano Zapata.

The show will run from March 5th to March 31st at Cap City Tattoo, 61 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH (Old Towne East).

For more on Andy's work, head to his portfolio on Facebook. Also check the work of Cap City Tattoo's owner and tattooist Alli Macgregor.

eddy-merckx-portrait.jpgPortrait tattoo of Eddy Merckx

Emiliano_Zapata_tattoo.jpgPortrait tattoo or Emiliano Zapata
Feb201117
12:55 PM
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Tattoo Anthropologist Dr. Lars Krutak is no stranger here on Needles & Sins. We've linked his articles numerous times, from research on ancient skin sewing rituals to his visiting the oldest tattoo studio in Greece. We've applauded his documentary series for Discovery, Tattoo Hunter, which explores indigenous body modification practices worldwide. And we've listed his latest book, Kalinga Tattoo: Ancient and Modern Expressions of the Tribal, as a holiday gift guide pick.

What we haven't done is look beyond his work and profile Lars himself. This past weekend, The Borneo Post beat us to it. The article discusses his 15+ years researching tribal tattoo traditions and rituals, a number of which he has experienced himself. It focuses particularly on Lars's work in Borneo, as he was recently in Kuching to give a presentation at the Gathering of the Tribes 2011, a cultural expo that brought together international tattooists and tribal performers from across Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo). It's a great read and includes a touching story on his visit to the last Iban tattoo artist, who was dying.

Inspired by the article, I just interviewed Lars myself for Skin & Ink. Of course his many adventures could not possibly fit in a limited word count, so I'm offering some bonus bits from our talk below.

Lars_Kayabi_tattoo.jpgAs a kid, was there any indication that you'd follow the path you're on today? Were you playing archeologist as a child or poured over National Geographics?

Living in Mexico 1979-81, we traveled all over the country and I visited every Maya/Aztec/Zapotec archaeological complex, so I thought I was going to be an archaeologist, especially after "Raiders of the Lost Ark" dropped. It didn't hurt that my parents had a Nat Geo collection with every issue dating back to the early 50s (which I still have), and I took that love of archaeology and anthropology to college. I double majored in anthropology and art history at the University of Colorado at Boulder (1989-1993) and never looked back.

Was your interest in tattoo sparked during your graduate work at Univeristy of Alaska Fairbanks or beforehand?


After undergrad, I chased my (then) girlfriend to San Francisco in 1995 where I landed my first salaried job at Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery that was operated by Paul L. Thiebaud, the son of Pop Artist Wayne Thiebaud. Right around the corner was Don Ed Hardy's Tattoo City in North Beach so I used to peek in the window on my lunch breaks. Also, my good ole buddy Tony Barton (Hell or High Water Tattoos, New Orleans) was starting to tattoo at that time, and this provided the initial awareness and interest in tattoos. I left San Fran in January 1996 to pursue graduate work in Fairbanks, Alaska, and as I was walking across campus during the second week, I met an Inuit woman with tattoos on her chin. I was hooked at that point, wanted to know more, and that's when I became obsessed with documenting tribal tattoos.

What continues to motivate your research after all this time?


The main thing that motivates me is that these traditions are vanishing around the world before being accurately recorded. Time has always been my enemy, and I wish I would have been born 100 years ago.

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CONTINUE READING....
Feb201116
05:31 PM
free-credit-card-reader.jpgNeedles & Sins is growing thanks to your wonderful support. We do it because we love it, but of course we're grateful to our advertisers who help with our costs, so we can bring you all the tattoo goodness, free and easy. 

Our newest advertiser is Square: a mobile form of accepting credit cards, processed right on your iphone, ipad or android device. We thought it was a perfect fit for tattoo artists and indie vendors who work conventions and find that their clients are low on cash. Also great for our musicians out there looking to sell merch at gigs. 

There's no commitment to use the service, just a flat rate of 2.75% for all credit cards including AMEX and .15 per transaction. Square is a free app and the hardware gets shipped to you for free as well.

We're also very happy that EarGauges.net has renewed their ad thanks to your orders. As we've mentioned before, the company is run by those in the body modification community and was started 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. [I'm particularly loving the new Saba wood pearl inlay plugs shown below.] Free shipping for all orders over $25. And Needles & Sins readers get 15% off if you use the coupon code: NAS15.

Thanks again to all of y'all.

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12:50 PM


For an inside look into Troy Denning's Invisible NYC tattoo studio & art gallery, check this video above directed by Kellen Dengler for the Singularities project. Singularities is an initiative by menswear line 3sixteen to highlight creative people in various industries (and subtly help promote their jeans). Featuring a long-time tattooist with a successful shop and strong crew does indeed make a good story. Beautifully shot, the video zooms in on the tattoo process between clips of the artists discussing their views on the craft--without one word on the brand.  

Co-owner of 3sixteen Andrew Chen, who has gotten most of his own tattoo work at Invisible, says of the project:

We're hoping that the videos serve as a way to inspire and push others to pursue their creative passions at a higher level, as these people have all influenced us as designers greatly. The most interesting part of the Singularities project is that we're going to take submissions from anyone who is working on a project of their own; and we'll choose one to film with for a day, free of charge. If they live outside of NYC, we'll fly over to them. The point is to help bring some well deserved recognition to an under-the-radar creative.
Details on how to submit your own story are here. And check more top tattoo work of Invisible's artists here
Feb201114
12:55 PM
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Because I love all of y'all, here's my tattoo Valentine (courtesy of Russia's Yota network).   Make your own love note here. [Thanks, Neil!]
Feb201111
05:10 PM
FreddieGibbs_Juncha.jpg

In honor of Black History Month (sadly, the shortest month of the year), we're featuring this backpiece of Huey P. Newton, founder of the Afro-American Association and co-founder the Black Panther Party, tattooed on hip hop artist Freddie Gibbs by LA's Jun Cha. Jun says of the work:

It's a reflection of youth and independent thought. It's a symbol for the freedom of ideas and expression. The Panthers were a group that thought for themselves. It goes hand-in-hand with the young hustlers' generation today. Most art culture--whether it's hip-hop, art and design, or tattooing--has had its struggle to be accepted into the larger context of society. And this tattoo is the liberation of that.
A great video by Clement & Co. documenting the work is shown below. In it, Freddie discusses why he chose to honor the activist with this tattoo. It's a welcome change from recent stories of rappers with ice cream cone facial ink and Facebook tributes.




For more on Jun Cha's work, particularly black & grey, see his online portfolio and follow him on Twitter. For more on Freddie Gibbs, check his last album, Str8 Killa, on iTunes.
11:18 AM
wp tattoo graphic.jpg
It's official. On Tuesday, The Washington Post declared tattoos "mainstream," thereby negating all the hard-earned street cred we've so desperately fought for.

Ok, it's not so bad.

Of course it starts out with the old wrong-side-of-the-tracks and sailor references that we read in almost every "mainstream" article on tattooing, but then it gets a bit meatier. The reporter had gone to the DC Tattoo Expo last month and talked with some tattoo veterans including Tramp Welker, Chuck Eldridge, Mary Skiver, and Jack Rudy, among others. I particularly love Mary's quote when discussing her clientele, the majority of which are 40- to 80-year-old women: "They've raised their kids and their kids' kids, and now they're ready to be themselves." And Jack weighed in on those trying to cash in on the art:

"I never would've believed that there would one day be these tattoo shop owners with no tattoos," said Jack Rudy of Los Angeles, one of the pioneers of a style called fine-line black and gray. "They just think of themselves as some sort of entrepreneur, and even though that's true, this business is so personal to us that are in it. That's like a vegan owning a steakhouse. It's not against the law, but why would you even want to own a steakhouse if you're only going to eat the steamed vegetables? But people don't think twice about owning a tattoo shop and not having any tattoos. They think of it as the same thing as a doughnut or dry cleaning franchise."
The article has just a few photos from the DC show but also includes some interesting info graphics like the one above. They're creative -- not 100% accurate -- but worth a peak.

Thanks, JD, for the link!
Feb201109
01:29 PM
Tattoo Flyer.jpgBased on the flood of emails we've been getting over this exhibit, it seems London's art circles are amped over the upcoming Pens and Needles show at the London Miles Gallery, opening Friday, February 25th. 

Pens and Needles will feature original paintings, stencils and photographs from over 20 highly respected tattoo artists, including Shawn Barber, Claudia Sabe, Nick Baxter, Nick Colella, Alex Binnie, Mike Davis, Xam, Daniel Albrigo, Holy Fox, Jeff Gogue, Shad, Jondix, Jee Sayalero, Lea Nahon, among many others.

More information on the show can be found here. I particularly like this part of the exhibit description: 

Attitudes towards tattoo art and tattooed individuals continue to evolve for the better. Nowadays, it's getting harder and harder to draw a distinction between fine art and the best of modern tattooing. Doesn't this then make tattooed individuals the new cultural ambassadors of a truly new and distinctive 'modern art'?

Much of today's contemporary and fine art isn't too disparate from that which tattoo artists are creating on skin. Much like their painterly peers, the most accomplished and skilled of tattoo artists assign the same exacting precision to composition, tone, perspective, and conceptual design when producing their own inimitable works of art.
Just call me Cultural Ambassador Kakoulas! 

The opening will also feature live music and live tattooing in their pop-up tattoo parlour. The party runs from from 7 to 11pm. And all are welcome to show off their own body of art. 
Feb201108
12:51 PM
TArtist_(1).jpg
I've found another must-have for my tattoo library: "Tattoo Artist, A Collection of Narratives" by tattoo and fine artist Jill "Horiyuki" Mandelbaum.

The 248-page softcover, released by State of Grace Publishing, is an interview book with thirteen different artists and includes hundreds of photos. Jill explains the impetus behind this three-year project and some highlights of the book:   

We chose to interview some of the most inspiring tattoo artists around, spanning several generations and a variety of genres and styles. The idea was to bring together a group of artists dedicated to celebrating tattooing as a tradition with respect and discipline. The book features Richard Stell, Oliver Peck, Jef Whitehead, Henning Jorgensen, Chris Trevino and Gary Cosmala to name a few.

Tattoo Artist also contains a chapter about Pinky Yun, the legendary Hong Kong tattoo artist who brought his craft right here to San Jose. Pinky really introduced the Western world to Oriental tattoo designs with the flash he created for Spaulding and Rogers. He was also a close friend of Ed Hardy's and is cited in Hardy's Sailor Jerry Collins; American Tattoo Master as inspiring Sailor Jerry's pin-ups through their correspondences. With Pinky's unfortunate passing this year it is an honor to have captured his legacy to share with the world.

Tattoo Artist is available online at State of Grace for $75 including shipping, and for $60 at their San Jose studio.

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Also check out Jill's stellar portfolio of Japanese tattooing here.

11:40 AM
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For my typography geeks, PC World magazine recently reviewed a new font by designer Daniel Gauthier called "Tattoo Lettering," which can be downloaded for free here (for personal use). Here's what they said:

Tattoo Lettering captures the inventive stylings of the legendary Sailor Jerry (aka Norman Collins), the father of modern tattoo culture and mentor of artists Ed Hardy and Mike Malone.[...]The line work is true to form with thicks and thins, but no in-betweens. The serifs are single weight flourishes, slightly nervous in appearance; the stems narrow at the foot giving the characters a swagger when they line up. The overall appearance is cartoon-like, matching vintage animations such as Steamboat Willie, Betty Boop, and Krazy Kat.
Yup, sexy talk!

As for lettering options on skin, I'd recommend sketchbooks like BJ Bett's Lettering guides. There's also Ina Saltz's collection of typographic tattoos in her Body Type books.
Feb201107
01:36 PM
jess yen my tattoo.jpgIt seemed like all of Philadelphia was at the Sheraton City Center Hotel for the annual tattoo convention this past weekend. Driving over, we saw massive billboards on the highway as we entered the city as well as bus stop ads on numerous street corners; we even heard promos on repeat over the car radio. I turned to Brian and said, "That's the way to pack a show."

We didn't anticipate, however, just how packed it would be. Like most major shows, there was a line to get in but this seemed to bottleneck, leading some to elbow their way to the front of the line. Throngs of people pushed up the escalators to the reach two floors of booths where over 200 artists and vendors were waiting for them. And there was more pushing through the aisles to get to tattoo appointments or just watch others get work. There was plenty to watch. It seemed that most artists, at least Saturday, were candidates for carpal tunnel syndrome with their non-stop needling. Money was made.

Artists ranged from legends to a few newbies. You couldn't miss Philadelphia Eddie when you walked into the main tattoo room -- always with a sharp suit and sharper tongue. He was signing his book "Tattooing: The Life and Times of Crazy Philadelphia Eddie," which is filled with wild stories as expected. [You can buy it online here.] Next to him was another old school bad boy, Stan Moskowitz, who tattooed excited fans looking for a piece of history. Further down the aisle was Annette LaRue of Electric Ladyland Tattoo in New Orleans who promised me some good stories from her decades of tattooing for an upcoming interview. And there were countless others I had a blast hanging out with in scarce quiet moments.

PhiladelphiaEddie.jpgActually, "quiet" should never be used in the context of the Philly show. It was raucous, complete with hardcore from Murphy's Law and bikini bull-riding. A guy in a zombie Gumby costume paraded around taking pictures with aspiring "tattoo models." Plenty of preening throughout the hotel. Sailor Jerry Rum specials swilled in plastic cups. As is the case at most shows, booze is boss. But what you didn't see were biker fights of two years ago with a strict "No Colors" policy in effect. It's great when not all tattoo stereotypes are represented.

If any of this post sounds snotty, well, I quite literally caught a cold at the show and had to bail earlier than expected. But these dysfunctional family reunions make me happy nonetheless and it was worth the trip.

We only took a few photos of the show, posted here on Flickr, but Snakegirl Productions's Flickr pages have plenty of great shots. Some pics are also being posted on the convention's Facebook wall. If you have images of your own you'd like to share, hit us up.

UPDATE:  See photos from the show on Driven By Boredom -- many not safe for work.

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Feb201104
03:00 PM
We're off to the Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention, which starts today and runs through Sunday. We'll also be at Dave Fox's art show and book release party tonight at the JINXED/The Toothless Cat. Will come back with photos and hopefully some good stories that don't involve biker brawls. Hope to see y'all there!
Feb201103
04:59 PM
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For the latest issue of Skin & Ink, I interviewed Elson Yeo of thINK Tattoo in Singapore, and we discussed his particular talent of working with scar tissue--a somewhat controversial topic in the industry as many artists won't work with significantly damaged skin. In our talk, Elson explains how he approaches scars artistically and technically:

Scar tissue is always unpredictable. I work the tattoo towards the scar. As I approach the tissue, I turn down the voltage for a softer stroke. I test the market. If it's supple skin, I use a normal stroke. If it's tender, I'll use the scar as an illusion of whiplash. Or a whole scar tissue could be designed as a trickle of blood--you just color it a little red and it will always look 3D.
What's just as interesting is how his reputation for this type of work as attracted clients with undamaged skin: "Now I also do tattoos of scars, not just using scars. People will give me design ideas and say, 'And then cut it from ear to ear'." Designs that mix both real and fake flaws make up much of clients' requests today.

elson tattooing low.jpgA Chinese Buddhist with a laidback demeanor, Elson's dark portfolio of work, which includes many disfigured young women, may seem to sharply contrast with his sunny personality but Elson says that beauty, not demons, drive his art--just an unconventional notion of it.

I like the juxtaposition of beauty and blood. I find it hypocritical of human beings to always adore a pretty girl's face but be scared of blood, which gives her life. If beauty is too polished, it's just a boring Barbie Doll.
Read more about Elson's 13+ years in tattooing and how he came to his signature style in Skin & Ink on newsstands now. See more of his tattoos on his Facebook photo galleries.
 
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Feb201102
04:05 PM
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This Saturday, February 5th, Lowrider Arte editor and photographer Edgar Hoill will be showing his notorious street portraits and celebrating the launch of his new clothing line One Shot One Kill [OSOK] at the Smoking Mirrors Gallery in Pomona, California. And of course there will be a car show as expected of a member of the Lowrider family.

I introduced myself to Edgar two years ago at the London Tattoo Convention after seeing his series of work that focused on tattoo culture, including the photo above of Parisian tattooist Laura Satana and LA's black & grey prodigy Jesus "Chuey" Quintanar (shown below with two clients). After a couple of tequilas, we decided to collaborate on a book project, but unlike many alcohol-fueled plans, this one actually came to fruition. A year later, the Black & Grey Tattoo box set was born. [Edgar is selling his signed copies of Black & Grey Tattoo as well as prints at the event.]

See more of Edgar's photography here and visit the OSOK clothing store online here.

Smoking Mirrors Gallery
565 W. 2nd St. #5
Pomona, CA 91766
Opening from 6-11PM

chuey quintanar tattoo.jpgI still have a limited number of my own author copies of Black & Grey Tattoo for $350. Email me at marisa [at] needlesandsins.com for more details.
01:02 PM
oleg turyanksi tattoo.jpgWhen Moscow tattoo artist Oleg Turyanskiy comes to the States as a visiting artist, collectors rush to schedule sessions for his color and black & grey realism work -- tattoos that not only capture a likeness but the energy of the subject.

The thirty-three-year-old describes himself as a "traveling tattoo artist" as he spends most his time on the road, although he does keep a home base in his native Moscow. Oleg says that he needs to travel to charge his creativity. In addition to guest spots at top shops around the world, you can find Oleg at a number of international tattoo conventions throughout the year. He says:

I adore attending tattoo conventions. I really love the atmosphere and spirit of such kind of events. I don't like working at the same place with the same people around for months in a row. I need to change my surroundings from time to time.

oleg turyanski tattoo2.jpgAn art school graduate, Oleg has been tattooing since 2001, preferring realism, although he says his fine art work is largely fantasy driven. His trippy illustrations are like the Brothers Grimm on acid but he's quick to say that his work is not a product of drugs or alcohol--a question he gets a lot when people view his art. He's currently working on fairy tales himself in the form of a sketchbook, which will be available for purchase. [We'll update you on its release.]

Oleg's travel schedule is updated online here. His next US guest spot will be at Off The Map Tattoo in Easthampton, MA in August and September. During those months, he'll also be attending the Hell City Tattoo Fest and the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. Appointments with Oleg are made in advance. You can reach him via his contact page.

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Feb201101
01:47 PM
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I've got a little something up my sleeve for all of you indie-pop/synth-rock geeks out there: the 10 butter-slathered tracks of Sex Griddle from NYC's Lucky Ghost (AKA, the quirky mind of multi-instrumentalist, Seth Berkowitz).  This album is definitely a must-have for any New Pornographers fans out there - or anyone who wishes that Weezer was still stuck in the 90s and, as a result, still writing great pop tunes.

Playing and recording 99% of the album's instruments himself at his home studio in Queens, Berkowitz continues along the path of his 2008 release (Network Stars), melding 70s prog, 80s pop and the chunky guitars of the 90s.  Or, as we've simply come to describe his sound: "like eating sugar cereal and watching Saturday morning cartoons during nuclear winter."

The album is available as a free download at Lapdance Academy and, for those of you who'd like to get a sample, we encourage you to check out the video for "Made In America," pieced together with public-domain footage from my favorite place on the internet, The Prelinger Archives.


12:03 PM
norm tattoo.jpg
Custom machines by tattoo & graffiti artist NORM of Will Rise Studio in LA are featured on Designboom today. The post includes a video of Norm discussing how he came to tattoo and his interest in building machines, from a "hunk of shit metal, ugly thing" to a tool that makes art. And you'll find more photos including those of  his tattoo work and shop.

Thanks to Nick Schonberger for the link.

norm machine.jpg
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