March 2013 Archives

04:30 PM


Last night, the much-anticipated "Tattoo Nation," a documentary on the history and evolution of black & grey tattooing, premiered in Los Angeles, complete with a red carpet laid out for tattooing's own A List, including Don Ed Hardy, Jack Rudy, Freddy Negrete, Good Time Charlie Cartwright, Tim Hendricks, and Cory Miller (who narrated the film), among many others. 

Danny Trejo was also in attendance, as his own experience getting needled in prison plays heavily into the narrative of the film. There's even footage of him taking his daughter to get tattooed (in a studio, not a cell). 

Check the Tattoo Nation Facebook page for photos from last night.

As noted in my last post on the film, the nationwide release is next Thursday, April 4th.  In some cities, like LA and Modesto, the film will play for a week, but in most others, it is an initial two-day limited engagement. There are over a hundred cities and locations for the screening, which are largely listed on

** For those in NYC, I'll be hosting one of the Manhattan premiers: The April 4th showing at AMC Empire 25 at 234 West 42nd St. in Times Square at 8pm. I'll be handing out N+S stickers and buttons and also selling copies of my Black & Grey Tattoo box set in the lobby. The screening may sell out, so it's best to buy your tickets in advance. ** 

I've given this film a thumbs up already, but it's also been given shout-outs from outlets like the Hollywood Reporter, LA Weekly and a mention in Variety. And as a number of reviews have noted, this isn't just a movie for tattoo collectors, but anyone interested in art, culture, or just a shirtless Trejo. Director Eric Schwartz may not have any tattoos, but he really does our community justice, reflecting the true reality of tattoo culture.  

While black & grey is the central theme, the film examines tattooing in contemporary US history overall.  It's strength lies in the oral histories of those who created history, like Hardy, Rudy, Cartwright, Negrete, Mark Mahoney, Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand and the other greats featured. Check the preview below to get a taste, but I highly recommend you going out to see it.

And for those in New York, I hope you'll see it with me on Thursday.      

07:21 PM
Jamie Wright tattoo2.jpgJamie Wright tattoo1.jpgWhile we rarely highlight an artist with less then five years experience, I'm happy to make an exception and share the work and words of Jasmine Wright, 26-year-old rising tattoo star, who has been tattooing 4 1/2 years (yeah, ok, it's close to 5 years) and is based out of Buju Tattoo in Mission Hills, San Diego. Jasmine has been on an intense 4-month travel streak, which concludes with her guest spot at New York Adorned from April 1st through April 5th.

I chatted via email with Jasmine about her work and also her thoughts on being a woman tattooist today. Here's how it went: 

What type of tattoos do you love to do?

My favorite types of tattoos to do change all the time! More often than not, I'll prepare for a piece that I think I'll be super stoked on, and it ends up being a nightmare, and vice versa. I'll be dreading an upcoming tattoo, and then it ends up being a favorite. It's weird. But speaking in generalities, I always enjoy color pieces, things with lots of smooth, organic shapes. And as much as I like "feminine" tattoos, I also love a good "mean, manly" tattoo as often as possible.

I particularly love your renderings of female characters because they have a lot of soul to them. What goes into creating these types of works to give it the personality they have?

When I draw out women, I've recently tried to add as much expression as possible, usually based on the client who's getting the tattoo. Most of the female images I've tattooed are on male clients, so sometimes I'll try to envision what kind of chick they'd be into in the real world. The ones that are on female clients, I try to keep more whimsical and soft, to really draw an ultimate feminine vibe. I try to reference old Playboy models, vintage fashion magazines, makeup models, things like that. Especially the high-end fashion models who always have those intense expressions, which make for awesome reference material. Dramatic features n' whatnot.

What other references do you look to?

My reference material is all over the place. I have a ton of books, old magazines, botany, and animal anatomy illustration books.  I also keep an eye on a handful of other tattooers and try to pull bits and pieces of stuff from everyone. I'm afraid of being categorized into tattooing too closely like another artist, so when I reference other tattoos I've seen, I always try to just use a small bit I've seen, or just the color palette, and not too much of the entire tattoo. It's hard to stay original, so it's a definite challenge.

Jasmine Wright tattoo.jpg Have you ever been met with any difficulty -- or any benefit -- being a woman tattooist?

If it were my choice (or even remotely realistic) I would love to tattoo anonymously without a name. Only because I want to be respected as a tattooer, not a FEMALE tattooer. There are a lot of instances that prove women tattooers get many things with less effort, or lower skill, or are just less deserving in general than their male counterparts, and I really hate that...There's a huge population of chicks that have come up recently, who only got to where they are by putting out half-ass tattoos and showing way too much skin to gain clients & popularity--simply by being a cute chick...I never want to ride off of being a girl to get anywhere in this community. I've really been working my ass off to just do good work that I can be proud of and gain respect of tattooers that I look up to from the work I do, not because I flirt. In that sense, I suppose it's an easy thing to fall into, and it's a difficult thing to work to avoid.

Also, I've met other tattooers who basically have spit in my face for being a girl; they told me I'll never make it, and that there's nothing I can do to ever be worthy. I think those people can kiss my butt, but I also agree in a small sense for those half-ass female tattooers I mentioned previously. There's a fine line that separates the legit women *artists*, versus the ever-increasing number of trendy "chick tattooers." Personally, I've had both benefits and hang ups by being a girl. I wish it wasn't the case in either direction.

Are you all booked up at NY Adorned (NYA) yet? If not, what's the best way to make an appointment?

I actually have no clue how my schedule at Adorned is looking yet, but I know I've got a handful booked. I'm sure I still have time left. Clients can email me through my website to discuss ideas and time frames, and follow up by calling NYA to pick a date and leave a deposit.

What other future guest spots and conventions are coming up?

I have a tattoo road trip in the works, most likely July/August, which will probably include multiple cities across the country (definitely Portland OR, Austin TX, Tempe AZ, and a handful of East Coast cities for sure). Those plans will be locked down by the end of April. I also guest spot in San Francisco at Seventh Son Tattoo almost every other month, and Unbreakable Tattoo in Los Angeles pretty often as well.

Anything else you want people to know about you?

I love my Aussie shepherd puppy, Albee, and I also love eating big awesome steaks! Haha! Otherwise, I'm a total old lady. I travel and tattoo, and sleep.

Jamie Wright tattoo3.jpg
09:20 AM
margaret cho jezebel.jpg
Comedian, actress, activist and tattooed badass Margaret Cho just wanted "a soak, scrub and sauna" when she went to the Aroma Spa & Sports in LA yesterday morning. She just wanted to relax and be naked. As many of tattooed people know, being naked and trying to relax in public is not necessarily an easy thing. The glares. The whispered insults. The insults not whispered.

But what happened to Margaret went even further -- she was actually asked to cover up because she was "making the women there upset with [her] heavily tattooed body." She noted that the manager and the clerks were apologetic and embarrassed to have asked her to do so; the manager was responding to the complaints of spa-goers who were largely Korean, like Margaret, and found her tattoos offensive as they remain "taboo" in Korean culture. [I've experienced similar reactions in my own Greek culture.]

What Margaret did in response was to bring light to this form of discrimination and wrote about her experience on the wonderful Jezebel blog. Here's a bit from it.

I told them that Korean culture is one thing, but this place is in Los Angeles. We are not in Korea right now. This is America. And it's not like I enjoyed looking at their bodies that much. These were all women of various sizes and shapes and some, like me, bore the marks of a difficult life. My tattoos represent much of the pain and suffering I have endured. They are part of me, just like my scars, my fat, my eternal struggle with gravity. None of our bodies are 'perfect'. We live in them. They aren't supposed to be 'perfect'. We are just us, perceived flaws and all. I am just only myself. I like a good scrub and a sauna, especially when you can watch Tiger Woods while it's all going down.

Their intolerance viewing my nakedness -- as if it was some kind of an assault on their senses, like my ass was a weapon - made me furious in a way I can't really even express with words -- and that for me is quite impressive. This bitch always has some shit to say.

Read more of what she has to say here.

08:44 AM
louboutin tattoo1.jpg
louboutin tattoo shoes.jpg
Luxury designer, Christian Louboutin, known for his trademark red sole shoes, is bringing the tattoo couture by translating your own tattoo artwork onto his fancy footwear.

Louboutin explains the idea behind the tattooed shoes, as quoted by Forbes:

It started as an idea of a present for a friend, I made a pair of shoes for him embroidered with his tattoo. A lot of my friends have tattoos, I realized that it's not only just a part of pop culture but a bit of a map on someone's body which says something about people. A part of their life, like an armor or a crest. Instead of carrying someone else's crest on a loafer, I thought it would be modern armories, your own crest on your own shoe. Instead of a classical made to measure bespoke shoe, which other men's shoe brands do very well, this is my modern approach to bespoke.
To get your shoes tattooed, you'd have to visit one of the designer's "tattoo parlors," located in the Christian Louboutin Men's locations in New York, London, Paris, and Los Angeles. Your tattoo will be photographed and the image will be sent to Paris "where the designer himself will review and approve it," according to Forbes. Then you pick the style of shoe, fabric, embroidery, colors, placement, and the designs and materials are sent to Italy and India for production and embroidery. After three months and a new mortgage on your house, you have your custom kicks. The cost starts from about $1,400 to greater ridiculousness.

If you don't want to wait, there's the ready-to-wear pre-designed tattooed line of Loubs like this one, which you can grab for about $1,600.

Personally, I'm saving my cash for the real tattoo deal, but it's still interesting to see how the worlds of tattoo and high fashion play together.
09:43 PM
tim kern jeff soto tattoo.jpg
Tim Kern kitty tattoo.jpg
Today is the birthday of my dear friend Tim Kern of Tribulation Tattoo (check their fancy new site).  Many know Tim for his "creepy cute" creations, but really, Tim is one of the most versatile artists I know, creating exceptional works in vastly different genres.
He is also an incredible painter. He is wicked in karaoke. And his wife is super hot.

I could go on, but I'll let his bio speak further:

Tim Kern is a rotten carny bastard. A seventh-generation twin, he was born in a state of Misery... Half-cooked and with a lazy eye. Over the years, he has developed a passion for human oddities, prestidigitation, and serial killers. Tim has been a tattoo artist since 1995, and works at Tribulation Tattoo in NYC. If seen, do not approach, and shoot on sight.
I'll also add to that a little known fact:  Tim tattooed my most secret tattoo--a signature caricature piece on the back of my head, as shown disembodied below. [Photo by Til Krautkramer.] I have deleted numerous head tattoo puns here as a birthday gift.

Check more of Tim's work on Facebook and Instagram. There's also his free portfolio iPhone app powered by

His work will get in your head. [Yup, I said it.]

tim kern head tattoo.jpg
01:39 PM
buddhist tattoo marc.jpg

While I would be hard-pressed to convince anyone that I'm a practicing Buddhist (due to my foul attitude and all-around, Type-A, New Yorker mentality), Buddhism is certainly something that I've studied for a few decades. Conceptually, I agree with the notions of serenity, enlightenment and tolerance, so this news item makes me want to throw Sri Lanka a good ole Brooklyn-style side-eye.

According to the BBC, Briton Antony Ratcliffe was detained by security at the Colombo airport when they caught site of his Buddha tattoo and proclaimed that it was "disrespectful."

Says Ratcliffe:

They took my passport and held me there for an hour and a half. All the time they were bringing people in to look at my arm, and they were shaking their heads... I was explaining my case, pleading basically, and the chief officer just told me to 'shut up, shut up' and he refused to talk to me.

Sounds "Om" as fuck to me...

I won't lie, I've been profiled/questioned/scanned/swabbed/wanded at airports due to my outward appearance and tattoos on numerous occasions (in fact, one time I was patted-down by a guy who claimed to be Big Steve's stepfather). I try to take the serene approach: they're doing their job. But I find it odd that a permanent decision/commitment to Buddhism would raise such ire as an "act of disrespect" from a predominantly Buddhist country.

Got an opinion? Let us know on our Facebook group.

[Buddha tattoo by Little Swastika]
03:20 PM
Every now and again, I get asked by the fine folks over at The Daily Dot to talk about two of my favorite things: tattoos and technology. While my previous piece focused on tattooists who are utilizing the social-media power of Instagram, my current piece "Tattoos to Go" steps it up a notch to discuss my top five favorite apps for your smartphone/tablet.

Click over to the article for direct links to apps from Tattoo Now, Sailor Jerry, Horiyoshi III and Tattoo Culture Magazine!

02:44 PM
Pat Fish Celtic Tattoo.jpg
shamrock tattoo pat fish.jpg
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I naturally had to feature work from The Celtic Tattoo Queen herself, Pat Fish.

Collectors from around the world travel to Pat's Santa Barbara studio for her intricate knot and dot work tattoos. Last year, I posted an excerpt from my Inked mag profile on Pat, and I figure it's fitting today to post a bit more from our Q&A, where we talk about how she earned her royal title:

You're called the "Queen of Knots" in the tattoo community. How did that get started?

Lyle Tuttle gave me the name "Queen of Knots, and the title "Celtic Queen of the West Coast" came from a Skin & Ink magazine article. When I started [to tattoo], I was thirty years old. You can really do what you want till you turn thirty, but at that point, you better specialize and chose a profession, something that you are. I put myself through college doing research interviewing, and then I got hired by the local weekly newspaper to interview people. I did it for over a decade. But after a while, I got to where I didn't want to be edited anymore, where they'd brutally cut my work to make room for more advertising. I finally just decided that I wanted to do art full time. At that point, I thought that tattooing seemed to be the most legit way to do art. That's when I went on my quest to find who I should learn from and the rest is history. Now it's almost 28 years. Simultaneously, I decided something else I really needed was to find out my true identity because I was an orphan and lived all my life with a chip on my shoulder that somewhere, in some office, was the truth of about where I came from. I put a private eye on to find out who I was, and it turns out that I'm Scottish. It just made sense to me that everyone else in the world has ethnic pride--has an identity--and here I was finding it out and at the same time learning to do this new skill. So I decided to specialize in Celtic art, bringing back that tattoo tradition of the Europeans.

Like what traditions?

People think that the Europeans started getting tattooed when Captain Cook came back from Tahiti with tattooed sailors, who had gotten souvenirs when they went and explored. That isn't true. The Pictish people were known for their tattoos. It turns out that I'm a Campbell and the clan Campbell are Picts. It's an extremely small ethnic group. I thought it was something I should explore and one of the ways to do that would be to bring back alive this tradition of the heavily tattooed Pictish people--to bring these designs back to life in skin. One of the better choices of my life was to learn to tattoo and then to specialize in this.

See more of Pat's work on  Slainte!
01:22 PM
Shannon Larratt BME.jpg
Photo courtesy of Modblog.

Yesterday, the body modification community lost a leader. Shannon Larratt, founder of -- the first definitive online publication and community for those who decorate and alter our bodies -- died, as I've learned from other friends and BME's Modblog and Shannon's final post on

This is an incredibly hard post for me to write. Shannon was not just a friend, but he changed my life in many ways. He taught me to open my eyes to see the beauty in all forms of personal artistic expression, not just with tattoos and piercings, but with scarification, suspension, saline injections, skin sewing ... a myriad of modifications that has the masses laughing and pointing at the freaks.

BMEzine and the IAM community -- a pre-Facebook home and townhall -- was like the island of misfit toys, where we "freaks" could all share our experiences, our kinks, art, and random thoughts in a safe online environment and feel comforted that there were others out there who got it. One of the great changes to my life is the incredible and plentiful friendships that sprang from IAM. I am forever grateful for this.

Another great impact was being immersed in the online community through BME, and it's reflective discourse, that led to me to truly explore legal issues within body modification. Shannon encouraged me to pursue research into tattoo law and offered me a forum with my Legal Link column to share my thoughts and get feedback on how the law affected modified people around the world. So many shared their passions and personal stories. These discussions were the hallmark of BME.

Shannon notes the importance of this sharing in his final post:

For a long time the body modification community, while deeply isolated from the mainstream in a way that may be hard for younger people today to really relate to, had a wonderful sense of solidarity -- a sense that we're all in this together, a sense of all supporting each other's personal paths, from the subtle to the extreme -- but now it feels like there's infighting and intra-community prejudice. We once all worked together to better ourselves and share our experiences -- for example the creation of BME's various knowledge-bases (birthed from the earlier Usenet FAQs) that brought the world level-headed accurate information on modifications and their risks, as well as the thousands of detailed "experiences" that people wrote -- whereas now it seems like the majority of modification media is just about posting pictures, devoid of any real stories or information, reducing them to visual pornography for people to "cheer and jeer" at. All of these changes have slowly eaten away at the character of the body modification community and changed it in subtle and unpleasant ways. I do think this is a fixable problem though, and I have talked to many, many wonderful people (both artists and enthusiasts) who have a strong passion for body modification that I am sure could be part of a restoration effort. I truly hope they will fight to keep changing the world for the better.
Recently, Shannon and I talked at length about the "cheer & jeer" of body modifications. I disagreed with a lot of his support for dangerous procedures, and he would remind me to be careful not to create "anti-mod media" in my criticism of such (and other issues in tattooing). Our debates were exactly what you'd want a debate to be: respectful, informing and even mind-changing.

In discussing Shannon as the ultimate cheerleader of people's adornment and body morphing, my friend Julien said it best, "He trusted people to do right by themselves." Shannon had faith in people, especially people for whom society treated with little respect. He understood it because he lived it. Even in his last post, he discusses how he was not given the proper pain management for his chronic illness because doctors looked at him and thought he was just a drug addict. His life was dedicated to changing this prejudice and offering support to all of us who have faced so much discrimination because of the way we look.

I could probably write a million more words on Shannon's lasting effect on my life and on so many others. But I'll just end by affirming that Shannon's legacy will live on, and in honor of him, let us express love for each other even more so and make our own positive impact on the world.
UPDATE:  Read Shawn Porter's wonderful tribute to Shannon
Feel free to share your own Shannon stories on the Needles & Sins Facebook group page.
09:25 AM
It's March 15th, the Ides of March. It wasn't a good day for Julius Caesar but I hope it's a great one for you.

This fabulous Caesar tattoo is by Mason Williams:  tattooist, illustrator, and the owner of ArcLight Tattoo, a private studio in Cincinnati, Ohio. Check more of his tattoo work here.
07:20 PM
Pi tattoo Photo by Zeb Andrews.jpg

A google image search will show you tons of Pi tattoos. This photo above by Zeb Andrews is my favorite. [Check more of Zeb's work here.] Wish I had info on the tattooist & collector.
07:58 AM
p-ink breast cancer tattoo.jpg
While I get a regular stream of emails asking for tattoo artist recommendations, in the past couple of years, more of these messages have been from women who have fought breast cancer and are looking to transform their mastectomy scars into beautiful works of art.

I attribute the greater number of emails to two particular posts on this site: 
In the messages I've received, these women's stories and their excellent tattoo work have inspired those who have beat breast cancer to seek out their own artistic expression and change their bodies on their own terms.

Now, there is a wonderful resource I can point to for tattoo inspiration as well as artists adept at working with mastectomy scars: the Personal Ink Project aka or

P-ink is a Pinterest-based forum that "provides tattoo inspirations, ideas, and artist info to breast cancer survivors." The site invites artists, collectors, patients, supporters -- everyone -- to share or pin your own stories, design ideas, and favorite artists by emailing The people behind P-ink are those at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and David Clark Cause, which explains the sharp design and outreach.  

One of the most beautiful pins is the video of 47-year-old Molly Ortwein, who had a double mastectomy and then kicked some more ass by getting a 7-hour tattoo over her scars. The video shows Colby Butler of UnFamous Miami creating the work, from start to finish, and Molly glowing at the end, proclaiming that she can't wait to be naked on the beaches of Brazil soon. It's beautifully badass.

In light of the recent headlines about Facebook banning an image of a post-mastectomy tattoo, we need to put even more info out there to inspire these types of tattoo transformations, and P-ink is a great source to do so.

Many thanks to Lisa Solomon for the link!

09:31 AM
In the April issue of Inked magazine, now out on newsstands, you'll find my interview with the tireless Durb Morrison -- long-time tattooer and owner of Red Tree Tattoo Gallery, organizer of the incomparable Hell City Tattoo Fests, manufacturer of True Tubes innovative tattoo supplies, and all-around nice guy. In this interview, Durb talks about how he went from punk to entrepreneur and stayed on top of the tattoo game over all these years.

Here's a taste of our talk:

You started off as a punk teenage tattooing with a homemade machine to becoming a renowned tattooist, who also manufactures innovative tattooing supplies. A lot has changed over the years.

Definitely. I was a skate boarding punk rock kid. At that time with skateboarding, there was a lot of artwork rotating around it, and a lot of that art had a traditional tattoo foundation to it. There were also some really heavily covered skateboarders, even back then, who I looked up to. When I think back, I can see how I was naturally attracted to certain things, and how I'm supposed to be exactly where I am today. But I never really set out to be a tattoo artist. I had done a lot of art classes in school, and naturally did a lot of painting, so I had the art in my blood and on my mind. Right around when I was 14, that's when my friends and I started hand-poking little tattoos on places we could cover up, like our ankles, so we wouldn't get in trouble. When I was 17, I started getting professional tattoos, going to shops, and hanging out with heavily tattooed people. Around that time, a guy who saw that I had the art skills down taught me how to make one of those homemade machines. That was the catalyst for everything because, not only did I have a tattoo machine, but I had friends who willing to let me do my artwork on them.

Did you think tattooing was something you'd do for a living back then?

It started really as recreational. I didn't take it as seriously when I was just getting into it. It was punk. It was a rebellious art form. We're talking 24 or 25 years ago. But after I started getting going with it and tattooing more people and seeing the effect it had on them--how they really loved their tattoos--it drove me to continue tattooing and dive into it artistically. I started studying it, looking at all the magazines, driving hours to hang out at certain studios and watch the tattooing. Also, there was the inspiration of the community behind it. There was just so much personality. It made me want to be a tattoo artist and dedicate my life to it.

durb morrision tattoo.jpg[...]
Many artists today say that that community feel is gone, with the whole gentrification of the art form. What do you think about that?

If people say there's no community, it's because they don't put themselves out there and be a part of it. They just sit in their shops, complain and separate themselves from it. I feel very strongly about the community, and because I've been a part of it for so long, I wanted to give back. For example, by doing the Hell City conventions, we've brought people together; we've created relationships. People have even got married at Hell City. It definitely has a community feel in a creative environment.

People really have gotten married at your conventions?

We've had three or four couples get married at the conventions. We had one couple get married on the main stage on a Sunday in the morning before the show even got started. They had met at Hell City and two years later got married here. It was a match made in hell!
Read more in Inked magazine.

The Hell City Tattoo Fest in Columbus, Ohio is April 19-21. Go there. You may just meet your true love. You'll definitely get a stellar tattoo.

octopus tattoo durb.jpg
07:31 PM
cory ferguson tattoo dots.jpg
tribal backpiece cory.jpg
In Oakville, Ontario, Canada, some of the best blackwork/dotwork in the world is being created at Good Point Tattoos, home to Cory Ferguson. [And yes, he's another featured artist in my upcoming Black Tattoo Art II book.]

Tattooing since 2000, Cory is a second-generation tattoo artist. His father, tattooist "Harley Charlie" Duarte, introduced him to the art at a young age but he got his start in the business by working under Crazy Ace Daniels at Way Cool Tattoos.

Cory is best known for his blackwork and dotwork tattoos. His signature style is a fusion of Polynesian tribal designs, geometrics, optical illusions, Asian art, and pointillism. I particularly love the way he plays with perspective and negative space in his blackwork.

In this recently released video profile (below) by CreateMedia and Christoph Benfey, Cory talks about his style and what drives him in the tattoo process. He has a great line where he explains how he prefers to focus on the visual rather than any deep meanings behind the tattoos:

"I'm not here to tug at your heart strings. I'm trying to mess with your eyes."

Watch the video to hear more on Cory's art and get an up-close look as he creates a refined dotwork piece.
07:19 AM
When we got home from vacation, I had the lovely surprise of finding The Face Issue of the UK's Things & Ink magazine, a publication that I described in my first post on it as "a love letter to tattooed women."

This second issue is cover-to-cover fantastic. Bob Baxter, the former editor of Skin & Ink magazine, once said that you need a woman on the cover of a tattoo magazine because sales drastically drop when you don't. Well, Things & Ink shows how you do it right, respecting tattooed women who make up at least half of the tattooed masses according to recent US polls.

The front cover, featuring tattoo artist Cassandra Frances, is fabulous, with a close-up of her beautiful face and facial tattoo, and the back cover is the back view of that portrait, with an up-close look at her neck tattoos and sleeves. Cassandra is not clutching her boobs or sucking on her finger. I know, crazy!  You can watch a video of the cover shoot below.

The concept of focusing an issue primarily on facial work is one I really dig. As noted on the Things & Ink site,

The face issue examines what it means to be a woman and have facial tattoos. It also asks a number of artists their rules when it comes to tattooing the face, explores cosmetic tattooing for people to regain control over their bodies while recovering from illness and features all the usual tattoo artwork and artist interviews.
Other highlights for me is the profile on Mo Deeley, a 54-year-old "Glam-ma," who is covered in tattoos after only started getting tattooed a year ago. Her photos and story are inspiring.  I also really enjoyed Amelia Klem Osterud's article on whether Lady Randolph Churchill really did have a snake tattoo, which so many have speculated on. A sexy bit of tattoo history.

I asked editor Alice Snape what her highlights are, and here's what she said:
My highlight of Issue 2 is the article by Kelli Savill on the sexualisation of women with tattoos (page 54). It explores how tattooed women are portrayed in the media, including Suicide Girls, and how women's bodies are used to market objects including the tattooed Barbie Doll. It has received such a powerful reaction to readers and it seems to have really resonated. The feature is accompanied by a beautiful shoot by Kristy Noble, of a mannequin tattooed by Dominique Holmes, Inma and El Bernardes. I also loved hearing such diverse opinions of how people feel about face tattoos, it made me question how I feel about them myself. The cover photo of tattoo artist Cassandra Frances is stunning, I am so happy she said yes to being on the cover. She is an amazing artist and person, and I would love to work with her again in the future.
You can purchase the magazine online here, and from the stockists listed here.  For updates in between issues, check Things & Ink on Twitter and Facebook.

09:14 AM
buena vista social club.jpg
buena vista tattoo club.jpgAs I finish up the second volume of my Black Tattoo Art book, I can't help but share some of the images as a preview to what will drop later in the Spring.

These tattoos are created by the wonderful Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Wurzburg, Germany. Artists Volko Merschky & Simone Pfaff describe their unique body of work as "trash polka," blending a variety of genres into exciting pieces, which defy categorization. I love the marriage of black & grey, stencil art, and often collage construction.  Can't wait to show y'all the rest in the book, much of it unpublished.

But for now, you can check more of their portfolios on their site and on Facebook.
08:37 AM
nazareno tubaro hand tattoos.jpg
One of my favorite blackwork tattooers -- actually one of my favorite artists in general -- is Nazareno Tubaro of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He's no stranger to this blog, but I had to share this photo he posted on his Facebook page of work he did on a client because it is truly exemplary of how beautiful hand tattoos can be.  

Check more of Naza's work here.
08:10 AM
tori amos tattoo.jpg
Tattoo by Paul Aherne of Spilled Ink Tattoo

Flavorwire's music editor, Tom Hawking, put together "The Most Beautiful Song Lyric Tattoos We've Seen," which go beyond lettering and combine "artistic flourish" to the music tributes. He picked fifteen tattoos, from odes to Nick Cave to Michael Jackson to Tori Amos (shown above). Would've loved to see the tattoo artists credited, but there are a number of watermarks on the images as sources.

If you have music tattoos of your own you'd like to share, post them on the Needles & Sins FB group page or Tweet at me.
07:58 AM
child tattoo artist.jpgThe tattoo news was busy last week while we were busy ourselves answering the questions of our fellow vacationers on the beach about our "sweet tats" (*cringe*).

And so it was pretty funny to find Buzzfeed's 16 Questions People With Tattoos Are Tired Of Answering when we returned because it seemed that Brian and I fielded all 16 daily from those who had too many margaritas at 10 am. Emmy Favilla did a good job with the list, and I can't think of any big ones she missed. If you do, share the joy in the comments to this post on the Needles & Sins FB group page or Tweet at me.

The biggest buzz was over baseball player Elvis Andrus's tattoo -- the 9-hour tattoo that prevented him from playing in the Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday because his arm was sore. While the tattoo is a loving tribute to his father, I still can't help but think that the biggest problem with the portrait is really not the physical discomfort. See it here.

In tattoo cuteness news,7-year-old Alicia Gutierrez made headlines after KTAB News in Texas sent a camera crew to her father's tattoo studio, Parlor 10-18 in Abilene, to film her as she learns to tattoo. [And the work she does rivals that of Elvis Andrus's artist!] Patrick Gutierrez says that he started tattooing at the age of 14 and that his daughter Alicia could be going pro herself at the age of twelve. The next Filip Leu? Watch the video of her tattooing here.

On a less cute note, Virginia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner had a booth at the Hampton Roads Tattoo Fest in which they had several posters of tattoos that they hoped artists or collectors would recognize to help solve cold cases.  [I much preferred to look at the tattoos being created on the convention floor via Instagram #hamptonroadstattooartsfestival.]

The Hampton Roads Tattoo Arts Fest inspired my favorite news article last week:  a feature on tattoo legend "Cap" Coleman entitled "Norfolk tattoo artist and his apprentice still inspire." It's a bit of a history lesson on the man, who was described by Chuck Eldridge in the article as "tremendously influential, especially on the East Coast. He took all those classic tattoo images that had been kicking around for the past 150 years, and even before that in Europe, and simplified them and made them a little bit more iconic." There are also anecdotes on Paul Rogers, whom Coleman mentored. A great read. Check the photos, including the one below from the Sargeant Memorial Collection, Norfolk Public Library, that illustrate the article.

cap coleman.jpgThe NY Post never fails to nauseate with their run-down of tattoo magazines, and thoughtful reviews like "plenty of skanky women posing in little more than colored ink." What's more upsetting is that there's a bit of truth to it all.

Finally, there's David Lee Roth teaching us about the history of tattoos in Japan (see video below). The Van Halen frontman has a YouTube channel called The Roth Show, in which he speaks at great length (greeeeaaaat length) on topics ranging from pro-wrestling to his travels in New Guinea to tattoos. In fact, there are a few episodes that talk tattoos. [I was even psyched to see my books on the shelf in the background of a number of episodes.] But this latest one is dedicated fully to the art form and Roth's own personal experiences of getting tattooed in Japan.  I wouldn't cite anything he says in academic discourse but it is entertaining.

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.