August 2013 Archives


Aug201330
08:43 AM
Delphine_Noiztoy.jpg
Delphine_Noiztoy2.jpg
Delphine_Noiztoy3.jpg
The possibilities of dotwork tattooing are incredibly exciting, and you can see just how far the stippling effect is taking artists' compositions to new levels. One artist who brings a unique perspective to this tattoo genre is Delphine Noiztoy, who owns the The Lacemakers Sweatshop, a Victorian and Steampunk-inspired tattoo studio in London.

Formerly of the renowned
Divine Canvas studio and mentored under dotwork guru Xed Le Hed, Delphine has a particularly interesting portfolio: she doesn't just use the stippling effect for beautiful fluid ornamental tattoo designs, but she is able to use only dots to shape fantastic realism.  She can also switch gears and rock some heavy blackwork tattooing.

While Delphine's home base is London's arty Hackney wick, she does frequent guest spots at shops around the world, including at one of my favorites: 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco.

Check more of Delphine's work on Facebook, and Instagram @delphine noiztoy.  Delphine is also a featured artist in my latest book Black Tattoo Art 2.
Aug201329
09:26 AM
Mark Mahoney Shamrock Social Club.jpg
Tattoo legend Mark Mahoney is cooler than any of the many rock stars he tattoos. His style & demeanor translate into the buttery smooth black and gray work that has made his Shamrock Social Club studio in Hollywood a destination for serious collectors as well as starlets.

Focusing on the celebrity side of his clientele, the Los Angeles Times profiled Mahoney and naturally named dropped the "who's who" of who he's tattooed, but it's an interesting read overall with discussion on his start in the business, coming out of rehab and back into tattooing, and why he's devoted much of his time to black and gray fine line work.

Here's a bit from the article:

Success was a long time in coming for the soft-spoken, gray-haired Boston native. Introduced to the art of tattooing as a teenager, Mahoney spent years studying the work of artists in Rhode Island and New York, trying to learn their secrets.

"Nobody was willing to share tattoo secrets and teach others," Mahoney said.

Eventually, he headed west and found a home in Long Beach on the Pike, the famed amusement park that was then home to many tattoo artists.

It was there that he encountered the fine-line black and gray tattoos that would become his signature style.

"It blew my mind," Mahoney says now. "I knew it's what I wanted to do -- the low-rider, Mexican style that started in the prisons."

Read more here

Mark Mahoney's story is also featured in the wonderful documentary on black and gray tattoo culture, "Tattoo Nation," which can be streamed online or purchased as a DVD.

Aug201327
08:59 AM
Arkansas body art bill.jpg
Last week, social media was buzzing with posts about the Arkansas State Senate Bill that would "ban certain tattoos, which it characterized as 'untraditional'."  And like so many things you read on social media, the posts were riddled with errors and drama. We even had a heated discussion about it on our N+S Facebook group page, with some interesting comments from members that went beyond discussion of the supposed bill but about regulation of our industry in general.

In that group discussion, Erik Sprague aka The Lizardman posted a link to bodymod.org, which offered the correct and insider info of how the Arkansas Body Modification Association worked with legislators to remove provisions of a proposed bill that would ban certain types of body art in favor of regulation -- regulation that was helped shaped by body modification practitioners.

Today, the news media, well, at least MSNBC, caught on and set out to correct the errors floating around the discussion of Arkansas' body art law. Here's a bit from the article:

At issue is Arkansas Senate Bill 387 which both chambers of the Arkansas state legislature actually passed in late March of this year. The bill was then signed by the governor. Rather than banning tattoos or cracking down on the body art industry-as many headlines have suggested-the bipartisan legislation actually legally redefines the term body art in Arkansas to add the practice of scarification-the scratching, etching or cutting of the skin to produce a design.

Rather than a seeing the bill as a crackdown, most body artists in the state are pleased with the legislation.

"We came away really happy," piercing and scarification artist Misty Forsberg told MSNBC. Forsberg, who works for Southtown Tattoo & Body Piercing in Fort Smith, Arkansas, was one of several in her industry working with state legislators to update the state's laws. The effort was "a little bit of a bumpy ride at first," she said.

An earlier version of the bill banned Arkansas's licensed body artists from performing scarification, but state legislators and the industry reached a compromise with the Arkansas Department of Health and that language was removed from the bill.

Read more here.

At least now the debate can center around people's thoughts on regulated versus unregulated aspects of our industry rather than hysteria and mistruths.
Aug201326
09:11 AM



In experimenting with ways the body can exhibit artwork -- work that changes and can only be viewable through technology -- artist Anthony Antonellis has implanted an RFID chip that can transmit net art, as shown in this (fairly graphic) video above by Animal NY.  In the accompanying article to the video, reporter Marina Galperina explains how it works:

The NFC / RFID chip is the size of a grand of sand. It's equipped with a tiny antenna and encased inside a glass capsule to keep it from being disrupted by its fleshy environment. This chip stores 1KB of data and is readable like a key fob by compatible phones, tablets, card readers and the Arduino microcontroller.
[...]
Antonellis is going bigger: "Thinks of it as a changeable, digital net art tattoo vs. fixed information." He's developing it to pair with an app for Android (maybe iPhone, eventually). You'll be able to swipe and download the data into your own phone and view previous artworks from a roster of exhibiting artists.

"I like the idea of micro-curation," Antonellis explains.
Read more and see images here.

The intersection of tattoos and tech is nothing new. We've written about the first animated tattoo, scannable bar code tattoos, augmented reality tattoos, and even a CNC automatic tattoo machine. But it's always interesting to me to see how the ways of exhibiting and viewing art is evolving with technology, and how we all can become walking galleries in different forms over time.
Aug201323
08:48 AM
kaepernick.jpgVideo screen capture above from Yahoo Fantasy Sports: Colin Kaerpernick Ink.

Last week, Forbes published an article entitled "Questions Concerning Copyright Of Athlete Tattoos Has Companies Scrambling." It's amazing for me to watch the evolution of the tattoo copyright concept because, when I started writing about it in 2003, people kind of laughed at it: some fellow lawyers told me that tattoos would never get copyright protection and tattooers told me to keep my dirty legal paws off the art form. Not many people took it seriously. Ten years later, people are definitely paying attention, particularly companies and organizations who may risk law suits from tattooers when they wrongfully appropriate a custom tattoo design. And that's what this Forbes article is about in relation to the National Football League and companies that make money off of athletes outside the field.

According to sources speaking to FORBES on condition of anonymity, the issue of copyright ownership concerning tattoos on football players has very recently been labeled as a pressing issue by the NFL Players Association. One source said, "I don't blame [the NFLPA], but they should have been on top of it earlier. It was something that was mentioned at the NFL Combine -- that was the first I had ever heard them mention anything on the issue of tattoos.  They advised agents to tell their players that when they get tattoos going forward they should get a release from the tattoo artist and if they can track down their former artists, they should get a release.
Getting a release means that the tattoo artist gives up his/her rights to the custom tattoo work (notice, I'm not talking about tattoo flash, which is another issue altogether).  Many artists I know would have no problem with this:  some may believe that the press generated from the tattoo may bring in more business, some just like seeing their artwork being shown to a wide audience, and others really don't care what happens with the tattoo when it walks out the studio door.

But there are options for artists regarding the rights to their work:
  • A tattooist can agree to release the rights to the design for an extra fee on top of the cost of the tattoo. But one has to consider: What is the design itself worth?  What if the athlete decides to take that tattoo design and commercialize it -- say, by marketing apparel with it prominently displayed? What if they do nothing at all but wear it and just decide to walk away from tattooists with dollar signs in their eyes?

  • A tattooist can license the art to the custom tattoo work. With a license, the artist retains the rights to the work, but allows a person or company certain rights to use the design -- for a fee or for free. For example, an artist may allow a client to have his/her tattoo design appear on Nike gear for their Fall 2013 line, but limit the rights to that use. So if Adidas comes around and wants it for the Spring line, the client can't make that agreement without being granted another license by the artist.

  • A tattooist and client can have a joint-ownership agreement. It could be argued that they automatically are joint owners in the copyright, particularly if they collaborated on the design, but formalizing it in an agreement makes things clear. With joint owners, each one has a right to do whatever they want with the work independently. They can license its use for free or try to make some money off of it. But if one does make money from it, the law says that profits need to be accounted for and they must split them 50-50.
I've naturally oversimplified things for a tattoo blog post, when in fact, nothing is simple.

Here's one of the biggest problems:  Athletes and celebrities are NOTORIOUS for having bad tattoos. Why? When they want them, they want them at that moment. I hear countless stories of celebrities walking into a shop and expecting the artists to put down their machines and take care of their immediate tattoo needs. So, do you think that many even remember who tattooed them? On bodies filled with little bangers, are they going to travel the world trying to find all the artists who worked on them so they can sign a contract?  It's not practical for so many.

hangover tattoo_settled2.jpgArticles on tattoo copyright today cite the issues that arose in Whitmill v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc -- the Mike Tyson tattoo case, which I wrote about here, here, and here.

In that case, the tattooist who tattooed Mike Tyson's infamous facial tattoo, Victor Whitmill, sued Warner Bros. for copyright infringement in prominently featuring his tattoo design in the The Hangover 2 and its advertising. In the film, a bachelor party once again leaves its wacky heroes with no clue of what happened the night before, except for a facial tattoo on the groom Stu played by Ed Helms--a tattoo that is practically exact to the one Whitmill inked on Tyson. The lawsuit sought damages and an injunction to stop the use of the tattoo in the film, which would've delayed its big Memorial Day release. The injunction wasn't granted but Judge Catherine D. Perry of Federal District Court in St. Louis did say that Whitmill had a "strong likelihood of prevailing on the merits for copyright infringement" and that most of the arguments put forward by Warner Bros. were "just silly." The case settled soon after in June 2012.

But this wasn't the first case of tattoo copyright involving celebrities. In 2005, Portland tattooist Matthew Reed sued Rasheed Wallace and Nike to stop them from using the custom tattoos he designed for the basketball star in a Nike sneaker ad. The ad focused on the tattoo and even simulated its creation. Also in 2005, UK tattooist Louis Molloy threatened to sue David Beckham if he went ahead with a promotional campaign that also focused on a tattoo Molloy did for him (the guardian angel tattoo). With no clear answer on how judges would go in the cases, agreements between these athletes and artists were reached outside the courts.

The bottom line is that there would have been a less likely chance of the tattooists even thinking about a lawsuit if there was an agreement before the tattoo session even started, or at least a conversation about who owns the rights to the custom work.

Yet, should lawyers be brought into every session?
Will the whole discussion of rights mar the experience of getting a tattoo?
Or does it even matter?
Will it just be like the waivers and releases clients sign before they get tattooed?


It's tricky. There are no easy answers -- which makes it an interesting discussion, and also a scary one for the NFL and companies doing business with heavily tattooed celebrities. And like I have for the past ten years, I'll keep watching how it plays out.

For more on my writing on tattoo copyright check these links:
Aug201321
09:04 AM
Mike_The_Athens tattoo.jpg
Mike_The_Athens tattoo 2.jpg
My friends at the Greek tattoo magazine Heartbeat Ink have a fantastic in-depth Q&A with Mike The Athens, in English and in Greek. Tattooing for 24 years, Mike The Athens is not only one of Greece's preeminent tattooers, but has garnered international acclaim for his work, which is largely inspired by Tibetan and Himalayan Art, Sak Yant, and mantras, but also moving towards Japanese-influenced tattooing.

Today, Mike The Athens splits his time between Athens, Greece, and Goa, India. In the Heartbeat Ink interview, he explains what living and tattooing on two continents is like, how tattooers must have a conscience, and even the fun way he got his name. Here's a taste:

Where are you now in 2013?

I split my time between Athens and Goa. Things are much different in Goa now, compared to how it was fourteen years ago, when it comes to tattooing. Around 150 walk-in studios have opened and two or three private ones. Nowadays, not only tourists get tattooed, but also locals. Goa is a very advanced place. Besides the great energy it possesses, you can meet really interesting people too. Plus, you don't need to convince anyone about who you are. Most of them don't have a clue about who I am, if I'm a renowned tattoo artist or not. The relationships formed in India follow totally different patterns from the Western ones. Everything is still original to a certain point. As the years go by, things are slightly changing, but the people living there, including me, aspire to keep the originality factor alive. 

Can you describe your everyday life as a tattoo artist in Goa?

I feel sort of cut off from the international tattoo scene, since I live so far away from the rest of the world. I have time to paint, create tattoos and painting collections. I would like India to be my base in the future, as far as tattooing is concerned, and people who want to get a tattoo from me to travel all the way there to get it. Some people are already combining it. All these, whilst guest artists and my senior apprentice, Thanos, will be working in my studio in Athens.

Read more, and view some wonderful photos, here. Also check Mike The Athens' site and blog.

Mike is also one of the featured artists in Black Tattoo Art 2, which is currently available for pre-order.

Mike The Athens.jpg
Aug201320
09:12 PM
tattoo_inforgraphic.jpg
Canada's National Post recently published this tattoo industry infographic, which you can view in detail here. Like most infographics that try to condense complex info into a small image, much of the stats are questionable; for example, I'm uncertain as to the info source on the percentages listed of what body parts are most popular for tattoos - especially as everyone I just saw on the street today had a neck tattoo (without any other coverage, of course). That said, it's worth a click for anyone looking for a bare bones primer on coil machines, pigments, and even how the ink gets into the skin. But if you're serious about stats, pretend I didn't mention anything.

To date, my favorite infographic remains this one by Paul Marcinkowski.
Aug201319
09:16 AM
nike samoan tattoo.jpg
Nike's limited edition "Pro Tattoo Tech Tights" had a limited run, as the company pulled the line after rightful outrage over its appropriating the ancestral art of the Samoan pe-a -- the traditional tatau of the Samoan men. Receiving the pe'a is a sacred right of passage, and so naturally, Nike's exploitation of the patterns for women's exercise gear was seen, at the very least, as insensitive to Samoans.

But this isn't the first time Nike and other companies have been accused of being "culturally exploitative." Check this video for more.
Aug201315
01:27 PM
no-touching.gif
I've seen lists like this before, but Samantha Escobar has published a tumblr-esque tweak on the theme over at The Gloss thanks to her usage of animated GIFs to illustrate her points about dermal illustrations.

Take a quick break from your day and go check it out!

Aug201314
07:40 AM
thomas_palm_tattoo.jpg

By Matana Roberts

The first time I saw a palm tattoo I was 16; it was on an older lady Brit punk, covered in some of the most beautiful tattoos I'd ever seen, complete with a gorgeous faded heart and dagger palm. She was intimidating to say the least, but somehow I mustered up the courage to ask about it. "Never do this love," she said with quite the experienced grin, "I only did this because I hated him." I could hear her distinctive lilt in my head, years later, as I table lay, with a favorite soft blanket, to do exactly what she told me not to...

I'd always felt a decorated palm belonged on someone who earned it; always appreciated it's gem rarity. When I started jonesing for one, talked myself out of it a trillion times partly because I felt I was not deserving and partly because it seemed like a serious dumb leap of faith. I had talked to plenty of tattooed compatriots, browsed magazines, blogs, videos; watched an actual tattooer jump off a table screaming; the latter convincing me it was most definitely a bad move, but also, I kept running into folk who said, "Well, if you do it: Thomas(!) Hooper (!)" Fast forward to a curious coincidence of rare scheduling events, mostly in thanks to Thomas's hard core, ever impressive, work,work,work (even) harder mentality, and there I was on his table...nervous as hell, I might add.

Beforehand, I again went back to asking around, reading about it, thinking about my initial vision of that lady punk, remembering a palm of one of my favorite tattooers done by another favorite tattooer, and finally, as if a message from the gods, remembering the inherent toughness of the ovary laden; as after all, if I really wanted to, I could, push a fully formed human out of a space that seemed a wee bit small for the occasion, you know? and that's what finally pushed me heart first, head last on towards my last bit of inspiration: mom memories.

Mom, 52, died of a lady's cancer. [Get your annuals awesome women of the world!] It was epic and unforgiving. Took her left arm/hand before all was said and done. True to character, she acted unshaken; spoke with bubbling excitement at learning how to do old things "new." What she didn't know: that particular hand of hers, was my favorite; had a scar on it from a midwestern tomboy childhood. When I was but a wee one, in a crowd, it was hard to crank my head all the way up to see. Being able to instantly spot that hand was like spotting the holy grail. Raised catholic, she became a radical activist, for a while espousing her upbringing, changing her name to a political moniker that translated to "rose." So though I already had a mom memorial tattoo; had staunchly decided that was enough, lest I be covered in my own grief, it seemed rather fitting, for my courage skill-set, to have this image be related in part to her. Post surgery, at home, she would often walk around with a small blanket shrouding her shoulders for warmth in order to battle phantom pain. I brought that blanket with me to Saved, along with some good tunes.

Saved is one of my favorite shops, not only because of the talented hard working artist roster, but also because of their ever impressive and eclectic music playlist! I am always hearing something there that I want to hear more of later....but I knew I'd need to channel in my own personal sound heroes for focus. So as we got started, in my ear cans were later years of John Coltrane and earlier years of Lydia Lunch.

The.Pain.Was.Epic.
 
Said blanket became handy face mask, thank god...and let me tell you, there was high comedy going on under there! Thomas was so positive which helped tremendously, and then almost like magic, we were done and I was shocked, because I had not shed a single tear, nor jumped off the table screaming bloody murder. I felt a calm sense of joy in my own "do now, ask questions later" innards, that continues to get me in sooooooooo much trouble, but yet manages to still teach me sooooooooo much...The post pain was almost unbearable: some of the healing days gnarly and suspicious, but now, it's almost, I dare say, "blooming!" (Thanks, Thomas Hooper!).

For the record, I'm not sure I really deserve a palm tattoo, but I'm beyond honored to rock one. And I can still hear the lovely lilt of that punk's voice, but now with my very own superimposed, imagining what I might say to a younger enquirer in my hopefully experienced years to come "Never do this love. I only did it because I loved her."

Postscript: The rose represents some other things I adore: a song,a cause,a film,a press. And that's just the short list....a rose: it seems to endure...all I hope for really.

---
Matana (mah-tah-nah) Roberts is a musician, former zine writer, and artist who lives in New York (f*cking) City. She has been getting marked and poked since the illustrious 90s from worldwide points near and far....

www.matanaroberts.com
www.steelkiltrose.tumblr.com
www.twitter.com/matanaroberts

Pre-orders have begun for her next recording release of experimental sounds. Details here.

Aug201313
08:08 AM
The Game Twitter.jpg
The Game Twitter 2.jpgYesterday, FirstWeFeast.com reported that Jayceon Terrell Taylor, the rapper known as The Game (or just Game), was refused service at Houston's Restaurant in Pasadena, CA on Sunday because the manager allegedly said that his tattoos were threatening to customers.

The tattoos in question were on his arms and not the LA Dodgers logo on his face or the President Obama portrait on his torso. His sleeves include portraits of 2Pac as an angel and G-Unot -- which I find threatening to good taste -- but it's not like they are gang tattoos (or ones that could be identified as such).  And so it appears that it was the manager's personal fears and prejudices that led to the total sh*tstorm that one with over a million Twitter followers could easily unleash. The hashtag "#DontEatAtHoustonsPasadena" began trending, leaving the restaurant to extinguish Game's flame by asserting, according to Grub Street, that the manager was only "enforcing its strict dress code that requires sleeves" (not the tattooed kind).

The problem is that these dress codes are often subjectively enforced. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that a bunch of non-tattooed arms have been bared at Houston's before. Also, the manager supposedly told Game that his tattoos were "threatening," and did not simply say that tank tops were not allowed in the restaurant.

While the Game was able to mobilize his Twitter masses to get Houston's attention about the problem, many of us don't have that kind of clout.

Last week, Jeffrey posted in our N+S Facebook Group that he was with friends who wanted to celebrate a birthday at San Antonio's The Riverwalk; however, a number of places along the strip had a "No Neck or Facial Tattoo" policy. Jeffrey said that he's had his hands tattooed for ten years now and his neck tattooed for four and this was the first time he's had such a problem. His post led to an interesting discussion with differing opinions:  Shouldn't private establishments be allowed to set their own dress standards? Are tattoos considered "dress"? Are the policies there to protect against having gangs in these establishments? Or as Elaine stated, "And/or does it also function as de facto discrimination against certain ethnic groups?"

Feel free to share your opinion in the group under this post or hit me up on Twitter.

The postscript to Game's story is that he ended up taking his business to California Pizza Kitchen, tweeting: "Went 2 #CPK & they were happy to let me, my tank top & tattoos in 4 lunch. The mgr Kong even gave me a FREE desert." Manager Kong is a smart man.

And really, that's how I plan to play it myself -- take my money to places that will appreciate this "Handsome Ass Redhead" ... and maybe even give me free dessert.

[Thanks, Nick Schonberger, for the link.]
Aug201312
08:42 AM
colella hand tattoo.jpg
Tattoo above by Nick Colella.

mario desa tattoo.jpgTattoo above by Mario Desa.

This Saturday, August 17th, is the grand opening celebration of Great Lakes Tattoo at 1148 West Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL. The studio motto is "Cleanliness & Civility," with an emphasis on an attitude-free atmosphere where one can walk in daily, from 12-8pm, and get a strong tattoo, or make an appointment for larger pieces.

Resident artists include Nick Colella, Erik Gillespie, Mario Desa, Mike Dalton, Beatdown, and Frank William -- all who have a particular expertise in the Americana tattoo traditions, although the repertoire is not necessarily limited to old school; for example, Nick is also renowned for his fine tattoo lettering, particularly, script work. The studio will also welcome top tattooers as guest artists throughout the year.

Check their portfolios on the Great Lakes Tattoo site, Facebook, and Instagram.

The opening party on Saturday runs from 5-10PM with complimentary rum cocktails from Sailor Jerry, micro-brews from Revolution Brewing and tacos and more from Big Star.

eagle tattoo erik.jpgTattoo above by Erik Gillespie.
Aug201311
05:00 PM
walter white tattoo.jpg
Walter White tattoo by Mark Bester of Marked for Life Tattoo Studio.

Tonight is the US premier of the final season of one of the most badass television shows Breaking Bad. The life a sympathetic chemistry teacher with cancer turned meth cook turned diabolical drug king pin has enthralled viewers around the world. That degeneration of a man (or evolution to some) is a compelling concept -- what would we do in similar circumstances?

And so it's no surprise that fans -- a number of them -- have tattooed permanent odes to the show's themes and its protagonist.

Flavorwire recently posted "14 Totally Creepy Breaking Bad Tattoos," which includes the Walter White portrait above by Mark Bester of Marked for Life Tattoo Studio in Stockton-on-Tees, UK.  But Flavorwire missed another cool BB tattoo:  this Walter White portrait below by Jamie Parker of MD Tattoo Studio in Northridge, CA.

Now I'm on the hunt to commandeer someone's cable TV and enjoy some Blue Sky.

UPDATE:  In the Needles & Sins FB group page, Kimberly posted links to great Breaking Bad portraits by Benjamin Laukus. Check them here and here.

BreakingBad_tattoo.jpgWalter White portrait above by Jamie Parker of MD Tattoo Studio.
Aug201309
09:48 AM
algeria tattoo.jpg
In many indigenous cultures around the world, the ancestral practice of tattooing is dying, and so when I see features like Aljazeera's "Algeria's tattoos: Myths and truths," I have hope that the traditions and the beautiful stories behind them will continue -- and perhaps spark a revival as we have seen with other cultures where tattooing has played a prominent role.

In addition to a great slideshow of the edler generation of the Amazigh, or Berber tribe, there are some personal stories of these tattooed women, which make it a must-read. Here's a taste:

The tattooing practice in particular has ceased for more than half a century already, with Roqaya's generation the last to be tattooed, in the 1930s and 40s. Tattoos have been documented throughout the Middle East and North Africa for thousands of years: painted on Egypt's Tomb of Seti, noted in the writing of pre-Islamic poet Tarafa Ibn Alabd in what is now Turkey and in the 1935 anthropological expedition of Winifred Smeaton in Iraq. 

In the Aures Mountains, the tattoos were considered enhancers of beauty when applied to the face and had therapeutic and healing purposes - particularly related to fertility - when found elsewhere on the body, such as above the ankle or on the back of the hand. For men, traditional tattoos were far less ornamental and served healing purposes.

Today, tattooed women say Islam's prohibition of tattooing is the primary reason for the loss of the tradition, along with changing perceptions of beauty and the disappearance of the adasiya, a wandering gypsy tattooist.

Read more here.

Aug201308
09:40 AM
sneakers.jpgIn a beautiful, heart tugging story, CBS News Denver reports on how tattooist Drew Carter, as well as other artists at Illumination Tattoo, use their skills to help kids battling cancer. They work with an organization called Peach's Neet Feet, which donates hand-painted shoes to children living with disabilities and fighting serious illnesses. Every shoe is customized to complement each child's life and interest. And that's how Drew spends his time a lot of his time when he's not tattooing.

As the CBS News feature notes, Drew himself beat cancer; he had undergone chemotherapy, radiation, and then a bone marrow transplant from his own stem cells. When Drew couldn't handle physical activity, he turned to art. Now, he's giving back, bring some fun into the lives of courageous children.

Check the video of Drew's story below and at CBS News.
 
Aug201307
08:40 AM
Damon Conklin art.jpgThis Friday through the weekend, August 9-11, is the 12th strong year of The Seattle Tattoo Expo, an international convention with an excellent roster of artists, fun performances, and seminars that include portrait painting with Shawn Barber and machine building with Dan Dringenberg.

One of the expo's founders is Damon Conklin of Super Genius tattoo -- a charismatic tattooer and painter whose work is imbued with just as much personality. CBS Seattle interviewed Damon about the expo, and in their Q&A, Damon shocked the interviewer with an unexpected answer to a typical tattoo question. Here's a bit from that:  

Does Seattle have a different tattoo "scene" than other regions in the country?
We have a very unique tattoo scene here in the Northwest 'cause we have unique personalities. We've got this urban core but then there are these mountain ranges and lakes and stuff all over the place -- these this individuality thing that maybe started in the '60s or whatever. it makes for a great music, art and tattoo scene.

What has been the weirdest request you've gotten from a client?
(Laughs) It definitely had to be "Where's Waldo" on, well, let's see here...what we might call the ****? (the area in between one's legs, and behind one's genitals but before the rectum)

(Laughs) Wow. Was not expecting that...
(Laughs) Neither was I!

[...]
For someone without a single tattoo, what is your best sales pitch to make it down this weekend? (Laughs) Well, anybody who doesn't know that 300 tattooers and 5,000 people under one roof is a party...(Laughs) But, it's amazing art and there are all kinds of mediums because tattooers paint. And then there's all the tattoos [themselves], there'll be people that you see on TV there -- and it's just a good time. There's really a lot of entertainment .... It's fun.
For more on the convention, find it on Twitter: @SeattleTattoo and on the Expo's Facebook page.  And for more on Damon's work, like the tattoos below and painting above, check the Super Genius site as well as his Facebook fan page.

Damon Conklin tattoo.jpgDamon Conklin tattoo 2.jpg
Aug201305
09:26 AM
Patrick Huttlinger, tattoo.jpg
Patrick Huttlinger, Sven Walliser.jpgTattoo by Patrick Hüttlinger. Photo by Sven Walliser.

As promised, I'm sharing the work of another fantastic artist featured in my upcoming Black Tattoo Art II, which will be released in September. I'm thrilled to have Patrick Hüttlinger be a part of this project.  Here's how Patrick describes his work:

When I started tattooing just before the turn of the millennium, I solely concentrated on the color black and I am still fascinated with the limitation which using this one colour offers, opening doors for new graphical challenges and at the same time giving justice to the medium of skin, through it's bold simplicity. Nevertheless, to be able to satisfy my inner-drive, the desire to create and change, I need to make use of a variety of artistic media. In the world of art, with its unlimited variety and infinite possibilities, I feel most at home.
Another art form Patrick has engaged in is the creation of exceptionally beautiful rotary machines, which you can learn about here.

Check more of Patrick's tattoo portfolio on his site, Facebook, and Instagram.

Patrick_Huttlinger 3.jpg
Aug201302
09:19 AM
wine tattoo 2.jpgI am THRILLED about a new segment for N+S, which combines my two loves:  tattoos & wine. The wonderful Demetra Molina, who co-owns The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor in Ithaca, NY, with her tattooist husband Eddie Molina, has graciously offered to share her expertise (she has a Level 1 Foundation from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust of England) -- and with a fun twist. Demetra will be reviewing wines from the areas of upcoming tattoo conventions, so when you're off to get tattooed, you can pick up a bottle of local wine as well. Considering that the Berlin Tattoo Convention kicks off today, Demetra educates us on German wines & the convention.

Check out Demetra's blog, The Boozy Life of a Tattoo Wife, as well as Eddie's tattoo work (which includes Demetra's tattoos shown here.)
 

BY DEMETRA MOLINA:

Tattoo conventions are an international affair, and tattooists travel quite extensively. Artists jump on and off of planes constantly, and the landscape is often a blur. Slowing down during intense travel often means wandering about in our new surroundings, taking in the area. In my case, wine and wine tasting helps me enjoy and remember a place, not just running through its airports with my husband and tattoo artist Eddie Molina. Looking to the next few months, there are several high profile conventions coming, all in exceptional wine areas. First up: Berlin, Germany 2013.

August 2nd-4th, Tattoo Convention Berlin 2013 will mark its 23rd festival in Berlin, Germany. International tattoo artists are drawn to this well-established show, currently located in the refurbished hotspot Station Berlin (check out the link to this beautifully renovated historic space here, especially if you enjoy architecture: STATION Berlin). Station Berlin is a former train station in the hub of Berlin, now a historic landmark with seven different halls of differing sizes. Crystal chandeliers hang amidst very minimal surroundings, elegant yet stark spaces waiting for creativity. It's the perfect place to showcase our colorful tattoo culture.

wine tattoo.jpgThe convention is known by tattooists to be well organized, have a talented list of names, and promises a large crowd of art enthusiasts as well as potential clients. I asked friend and tattooist Cory Ferguson about his past Berlin Convention recollections, and he replied with "..lots of stuff going on other than tattooing to keep the public interested...really fun, I loved it! So many other shows were just disappointing after doing that one. There is also just so much culture to take in on top of the show, that you can't go wrong doing Berlin." Suspensions, live bands, collaborative ArtFusion, tattoo contests, and a Tattoo Queen title is up for grabs. No bored wandering of the floor for hours at this show, too much to do. Culture, history, architecture, tattoo convention, wine! While Germany is mainly known for its beers and brews, there are a few wines you don't want to miss. Take a break from the beer gardens, and explore the local wines in the German Riesling scene.

Riesling is the leading grape variety grown in Germany, having originated in the Rhine region during the fifteenth century. It is an extremely flexible white grape that can be shaped into several styles of Riesling wine, from dry to sweet, and everywhere in between. The cool climate fruit is known to beautifully showcase the soil, or terroir, it is grown in. The vines do exceptionally well on the slate rock slopes of Mosel, and the slate is often a flavor dynamic of the finished wine.

Riesling is a very under rated, food friendly white wine, that is enjoying a renaissance in the culinary world. Many styles pair beautifully with seafood, poultry, and lighter pork dishes. Try a slightly off dry style Riesling with a Thai or Vietnamese meal next time; the crisp, fruity acidity and slight cooling sweetness will extinguish the heat!

We are fortunate that The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor is in the beautiful city of Ithaca. Located in upstate New York, and situated smack in the center of Finger Lakes wine country, it is a cooler climate viticulture area, very similar to prime German locations. The grape vines flourish in our climate, producing top-level grapes that will make world-class Riesling wines. Several of our wineries are responsible for highly rated Rieslings, in every style under the sun.

The Berlin Tattoo Convention is a fantastic opportunity to absorb a bit of tattoo culture, while enjoying wines that are created from part of the landscape. If you can't make it to the show, at least try a few of the wines from the area!

A few German Rieslings to try:

Dr. F. Weins-Prum 2010 Feinherb Riesling (Mosel)
Erben von Beulwitz 2006 Kaseler Nies'chen Riesling Spatlese (Ruwer)
Dr. Loosen 2011 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese (Mosel)
Schloss Vollrads 2011 Riesling (Rheingau)

And a few Finger Lakes Rieslings too:

Tierce Dry Riesling 2011 (Finger Lakes)
Dry Riesling Anthony Road Wine Company 2012 (Finger Lakes)
Riesling 2011 Sheldrake Point Winery (Finger Lakes)
Semi-Dry Riesling 2012 Leidenfrost Vineyards (Finger Lakes)

***
More guest blogs from Demetra coming soon!
Aug201301
09:15 AM
edl mosque tattoo.jpg
Yesterday, our art historian and good friend Dr. Matt Lodder posted on the Needles & Sins FB group page a link to an article about the arrest of a man with a mosque bomb tattoo.

Earlier in the week, I had seen the buzz over the "Boom" tattoo, but decided not to post it because I didn't want to give anyone more press to Shaun Reah -- a pathetic man with an idiotic racist tattoo. Sadly, there are too many of those. And I'm guessing that, especially within the Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL), Reah is not alone.

However, what Matt posted yesterday sparked the tattoo law nerdiness in me because it was the first time that I've heard about a man who was actually arrested solely on the basis of the content of his tattoo. Sky.com wrote:

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: "A 39-year-old man has been arrested in South Tyneside on behalf of West Midlands Police on suspicion of using words or behavior, or displaying written material with intent to stir up racial hatred."
As we can see from the photo captured at an EDL rally above, Reah not only has a hate tattoo, but is displaying it before the media.

The only US case involving a tattoo arrest that I know of was in April 2011, in which another dumbass explicitly tattooed the murder scene of a crime he had committed -- with details that only the murderer would really know -- and it was used as evidence against him.

The end note to the story about the mosque bomb tattoo is that Reah got it removed, as noted in this video below (although it looks like it was just blacked out). 

But is it really that he had a change of heart or just simply to get out of jail?

connect with us
archives
advertisement



EDITOR IN CHIEF:
Marisa Kakoulas
CONTRIBUTORS:
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Needles and Sins powered by Moveable Type.

Site designed and programmed by Striplab.

NS logo designed by Viktor Koen.