January 2014 Archives

08:38 PM
Mike Bakaty.jpg
The NYC tattoo community -- rather, the worldwide tattoo community -- has lost a true gem with the recent passing of Mike Bakaty of Fineline Tattoo, the longest continually running tattoo shop in Manhattan since 1976.

I learned of Mike's passing through his friend Dana Brunson, who also pointed out a touching tribute by former Skin & Ink editor Bob Baxter. Bob encouraged Mike to write a column for Skin & Ink called "Bakaty's World," which showed the world what an amazing storyteller Mike was as well as an artist. In Bob's memorial post, he published one of Mike's stories. Here's an excerpt:

Back around the time that it dawned on me that I could draw better than what I was doing off of the few sheets of commercial flash I had, I was tattooing a number of young guys from the Lower East Side, aspiring bent-nosed types, you know what I mean? Whenever they got work, you'd be paid in single dollar bills. If you did an eighty-buck piece, you got eighty singles. The one time I asked about it, the response was, "You do dollar action, you get dollar bills."

One of these guys showed up one day wanting to get a grim reaper, which, of course, I had. The thing was, it was a piece of commercial flash. The image had passed through a hundred or more hands before it landed on that particular sheet. I thought it was really lame. The skull was lumpy and the teeth were disproportionate to the size. The fingers and arms looked like a bunch of weenies on the end of a stick. The drapery in the robes was non-existent. In other words, it looked like shit. I knew I could draw it better.

I ran this down to the kid and told him to give me a couple of days for the redraw. I did the skull without the lumps and made the teeth proportionate. The arms and fingers looked like bones, and it was more gestural. The robes looked like drapery out of a Renaissance painting. Not a bad job, if I said so myself. The upshot of the whole thing was, when the guy came back a few days later, I had him look at my drawing and compare it to the original. "Yours looks too real," he proclaimed, as though he'd come face-to-face with the Reaper himself. "But the other one looks more like a tattoo. That's the one I'll have." A tattoo's a tattoo's a tattoo.

Read more on Baxter's Tattoo Blog.

I'm lucky to have had to pleasure of meeting Mike. Back in my old Needled.com days, Mike and his son Mehai were the first artists featured in our tattooist video profiles (published in 2007), which I've embedded below. In the video, Mike talks about tattooing underground during NYC's tattoo ban, which was lifted in 1997, and also how he came to tattooing as a fine artist ("You didn't have to kiss dealers' asses to get an exhibition"). The video is a good way to spend 4:54 minutes.

Mike left his mark, and he will be fondly remembered by so many.

09:28 AM

The Broken Circle Breakdown.jpg
In Slate's "The Woman Behind the Tattoos in Belgium's Sexy Oscar-Nominated Film", Brussels-based tattoo artist Emilie Guillaume is profiled for her work in the acclaimed Belgian film The Broken Circle Breakdown. The film is traveling around US theaters now, and will be available on demand on outlets like iTunes from February 4th.

I'm excited to see this film, not just because tattoos play heavily in this love story, but especially because the strong female lead is a tattoo artist. According to the film's site, the plot unfolds in the following way:

The Broken Circle Breakdown tells the love story between Elise and Didier. She has her own tattoo shop, he plays the banjo in a band. It is love at first sight, in spite of major differences. He talks, she listens. He is a dedicated atheist, although at the same time a naive romantic. She has a cross tattooed in her neck, even though she has both feet firmly on the ground. Their happiness is complete after their little girl Maybelle is born. Unfortunately, Maybelle, at six years old, becomes seriously ill. Didier and Elise respond in very different ways. But Maybelle does not leave them any choice. Didier and Elise will have to fight for her together.

While Emilie Guillaume was brought to the film to design the tattoos on the character of Elise, director Felix Van Groeningen also worked with Emilie on the development of the character -- learning about her life as a tattooer, seeking ideas for the tattoo studio in the film by visiting Emilie's studio, and even adapting some of Emilie's own tattoos for Elise. Emilie told Slate:

"Felix didn't know a lot about tattoos," Guillaume, 32, told me by phone. "It was a real discovery for him. He wanted to know about the life of a female tattoo artist so that the character didn't fall into becoming a cliche." [...] "He wanted the tattoos to tell the story of a life and not just be about imposing a style," Guillaume said of the director. "To create a credible character and make it seem natural that she would have those tattoos, I designed the motifs specifically adapted for her, as I would do for any person."

Emilie further explained to Slate the process of designing the tattoos and how they were tranfered to the body of Veerle Baetens, who plays Elise. Emilie's sketches of the tattoos are also highlighted in the article. What I found particularly interesting in the Slate interview is how some very real experiences of tattooed women are translated in the film, as noted below:

The first time Elise and Didier meet, she gives him a quick tattoo-based tour of her body, pointing out where she has covered up the names of former lovers. And when they undress for the first of many times in the film, her tattoos seem to serve as a gateway for him to discover her body.

"In reality that's also what happens," Guillaume said. "I'm very heavily tattooed, and when I meet someone in a romantic context they always want to look at them, read them, they think it's all written there and will explain everything. When a woman is strongly tattooed it makes a very strong impression on a man and he's always surprised and curious to see more, to know how far she will go with it."

Check the trailers and scenes from the film here.

[Thanks, Jesse from Diabolikdvd.com for the link.]

07:48 AM
Janm.jpgjapanese tattoo 1.jpgTattoos on the Instagram square: the woman is tattooed by Horikiku, and the man by Yebis. In the full portrait, tattoos are by Shige, Yellowblaze. All photos by Kip Fulbeck.   

"Perseverance - The Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World" is a photographic exhibition by Kip Fulbeck, which explores the artistry and master craftsmanship of traditional Japanese tattooing. The exhibit, curated by Takahiro Kitamura, will showcase works of over 30 of the world's leading contemporary tattoo artists. It will be on view from March 8 to September 14, 2014 at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles, and will include a number of special events.  

I asked Takahiro (Taki) about his experience curating "Perseverance" and his goals for the show. Here's what he said:

This is my first time curating an exhibit at a national museum, and with all the talented artists around, the selection of artists was very difficult. I had decided that I wanted to focus more on younger artists, even some that people may not be as familiar with, in order to show what the current generation is doing and how Japanese tattooing has both evolved and stayed the same. I am excited to show such a variety of regional styles from Yokohama to Tokyo to Osaka (of course!) to LA! There are magical things happening in the world of tattoo and I hope to exhibit some of the best modern Japanese tattoo work. Thankfully, Kip Fulbeck, the exhibition designer, has had amazing ideas on presentation - what would an art exhibit be without great presentation?

We have also put a lot of energy into insuring that people who are interested can learn something about Japanese tattooing, especially in the catalog (200 pages, full color) we have put together for the show. The show covers a lot of ground and involves a lot of people. I was honored that graffiti legend Chaz Bojorquez wrote out the "Perseverance" lettering and will also speak at the opening. It is also amazing to have a talk and personal historical account from Japanese tattoo legend Junii Salmon. I am also very proud to present Chris "Horishiki" Brand's 108 Heroes of Los Angeles, a modern take on the warriors of the Suikoden. And we have a great "kite" project, but I want to wait and let people see that for themselves!

I want people who have not been exposed to Japanese tattoos to be see the sublime artistry involved in contemporary Japanese tattooing. Following the visual impact, I hope people can see that the Japanese tattoo is far more than an art form, but a cultural vehicle...one that represents the folklore, history and culture of Japan. We are most proud of the photographs (some of which are life size!) and hope people can appreciate and understand the time and dedication on the part of the tattoo artists and their clients.
Read more on the museum's exhibit page and on the Perseverance Facebook page.

Japanese tattoo 2.jpgTattoo above by Horitomo.
04:18 PM
things and ink celebration issue.jpgIn just one year, Things & Ink magazine -- a love letter to tattooed women -- has given us plenty to cheer about, and continues to do so with their latest hit, "The Celebration Issue."

On the front and back covers are tattooers Amy Savage and Tiny Miss Becca Tattoo, looking fun and beautiful; noticeably absent are them sucking on their fingers or arching their backs. Inside are interviews with Amy and Becca as well as samples from their portfolios. Other artist profiles include Q&As with Vicky Morgan and Sam Smith of Steveston Tattoo. I highly recommend that your check all their work.

Another tattooer featured, but in a lush fashion feature, is El Bernardes in the "East meets West" spread. This is how you do sexy without being cheezy. Check the behind-the-scenes video (embedded below) created by Gypsy East.

In addition to the articles, curated by editor Alice Snape, what makes the magazine so engaging is gorgeous styling, largely by Olivia Snape, and excellent photography in creative spreads. A perfect example is the stunning Saturnalia beauty shoot, which includes make-up tips in addition to the tattoo stories of the muses featured. [An unpublished image from that shoot is below.]

Saturnalia-beauty-shoot-issue-5-1024x682.jpgOther highlights for me in this issue include an article by Kelli Savill on a number of women who transformed their scars with tattoos; another wonderful history piece by Amelia Klem Osterud called "Changing Shapes of Beauty" on cultural shifts and ideal body types; and an engaging chat with Flora Amalie Leonardo Pedersen, co-owner and manager of Conspiracy Inc (with her husband Uncle Allan), photographer, and blogger.

I also really enjoyed Hannah Mosley's "Diary of a Tattoo Apprentice" column in which she shares her experience being interviewed by a UK newspaper and how the article actually turned out. Spoiler alert: Not good. Hannah has now completed her apprenticeship under Louis Malloy, but I hope she continues to write for the mag as she has sharp wit and smart voice.    

[Oh, and I'm also grateful for their review of my Black Tattoo Art 2 monster.]

I heard a number of people say that a magazine like this, one that truly celebrates tattooed women, cannot survive because it doesn't follow the standard tattoo mag menu. We need to prove them wrong. Support the magazine and what it represents by purchasing Things & Ink online here and at these stockists.

East Meets West | Behind the Scenes from Gypsy East on Vimeo.

08:56 AM
mark leaver_facial tattoo.jpg
mark_leaver_voodoo.jpgFacial tattoos provoke a reaction -- reactions that span awe, fear, loathing, excitement ... Personally, I've seen such beautiful facial tattooing, particularly on people who are my friends, that I find them just as artful as any decoration on the body.

Capturing the beauty of this work is Mark Leaver's Facial Tattoo project.The third-year commercial photography student at Arts University Bournemouth in England was recently profiled in Huck Magazine. [The article is offline line at this time of this post.]

In his profile, he offered this on the project:

What makes facial tattoos so distinctive is that they are still confrontational, there's no hiding them. There are only a select few people who make that kind of commitment and it was those people that I wanted to meet and photograph.
Unsurprisingly, the stereotypes were all very dated... if they were ever true at all.
See more of Mark's work on his site and Facebook page.
Top photo of Xed LeHead tattooing Iestyn at Divine Canvas, and portrait of tattoo artist Touka Voodoo.
07:46 AM
In November, we posted on Manami Okazaki's Wall Street Journal article entitled Japanese Tattoos: From Yakuza to Artisans, Aesthetes, in which she explored how traditional Japanese bodysuit tattoos -- wabori -- were losing favor among Japan's criminal underworld, the Yakuza, and gaining popularity among young people who are interested in them on an artistic level. You can read Manami's full WSJ article here.

The article, however, was just a peak into the tradition, artistry, mythology, and magic of
Japanese tattooing. For a more in-depth exploration of the art and culture, Manami has published, through Kingyo Books, "Wabori, Traditional Japanese Tattoo" -- a gorgeous 256-page coffee table book, that is not only beautiful to look at, but also provides insightful context in which to view the works. That context is an extensive and exceptional collection of oral histories and interviews with Japanese tattoo artists, compiled in English over a 6-year period.

As noted in the foreword, the goal of these oral histories was not only to showcase the artwork, but also offer the reader a glimpse into the psychology of the artists as well as their personalities. Manami achieves this goal in her discussions with masters who include
Horiyoshi III, Horihide, Horitoku, Tokai Horihiro, Horiyasu, Horimitsu, Horinami, Horicho II, Nakamura, Horitoshi, Horihisa, Horihito, Horimasa, Horikazuwaka, Horitsuna, and Horiren. Manami also interviewed Motoharu Asaka, master artisan of woodblock prints, and Shoko Tendo, author of Yakuza Moon, a memoir on life as the daughter of a Yakuza boss.

Japanese tattoo.jpg
Horihito, photo by Irwin Wong.

The oral histories are particularly engaging as they paint very vivid pictures of the artists' experiences in this underground art. For example, in his interview, Horiyoshi III muses on first time he saw a tattoo, as a child, at a public bath. He also talks about the meanings and rules in tattooing, working with the Yakuza, and how it was luck that brought him his 10-year apprenticeship under Horiyoshi I. He says, "90 percent of life is timing and luck, and people with bad timing and bad luck are basically fucked." Accompanying that Q & A are wonderful photos of Horiyoshi I, II and III, as well as Horiyoshi III's work from the seventies through today.

For stories harkening to the early relationships formed between Japanese and American tattooers, Horihide's interview is a must-read. Horihide shares stories on how he was "astonished" when he first witnessed tattoos with color
on American servicemen in Japan; he learned that they had been tattooed by Sailor Jerry, and so he began corresponding with Jerry in English for 4 years. They later met, exchanging American color inks for Japanese tattoo motifs. There's also a great photo of Horihide tattooing Sailor Jerry in Hawaii.

Moreover, Manami does an excellent job of offering
a history lesson on Japanese tattooing in her introduction. She also highlights stunning images, from various photographers, of the Matsuri festivals -- one of the rare occasions when people with traditional Japanese tattoos can be seen in their full glory.

In all, Wabori is a wonderfully curated collection of art and stories, offering unique insight into traditional Japanese tattooing and also inspiration for further masterful works.

You can purchase Wabori on the Kingyo website as well as Amazon.com.

Horimitsu.jpgHorimitsu, photo by Irwin Wong.

Wabori Japanese tattoo.jpg
Horikazu, photo by Michael Rubenstein.
08:23 AM
stick and poke tattoo kit.jpg
Hand-poked tattoos are experiencing a Renaissance, with stellar professional tattooers reviving the ancient methods of body adornment. Employing techniques passed down from generations, much of hand tattooing comes with strict tradition and sacred rituals. The question is should it come in a box?

When SF tattooist Shannon Archuleta sent me the link to the Stick & Poke Tattoo Kit, we both said that our initial reaction was Oooh nooo. Then there's the rationalization reaction: people have always been sticking and poking themselves, so they might as well be safe. This rationalization is how the kit is touted.

However, upon further reading of the site -- particularly the "Open letter to the precious tattoo artist" on the blog portion -- the disdain for the craft, the hygiene 101 info and bad advice on what to do with the dirty needles, and also the goal of putting the kits in stores around the world, well, it made Shannon and I revert to our original reaction: this is not a good thing.

The first (and probably the last) tattoo I ever did was a hand-poked tattoo; it was under the guidance of a professional tattooist and under sterile conditions. Despite this, the tattoo is not one of my proudest moments. I poked the ink into the skin too deeply, leaving a bit of a scar, nevermind the blurred lines. Thankfully, my friend whom I "tattooed" is a forgiving soul.

Tattooing is difficult. It can be dangerous, especially in spreading bloodborne pathogens. And because of this, it shouldn't be picked off the shelf at an Urban Outfitters.*

What do you think? Share your thoughts under this post on the Needles & Sins FB group page or Tweet at me.

* Update: I should note that the kit is not available at Urban Outfitters and similar stores -- my comment referred to the goal of worldwide distribution, and if that was reached, I could foresee hipster stores carrying it.
10:28 AM
by Remis tattoo.jpg
Martin Luther King portrait above by Remis Tattoo.

cecil porter tattoo_MLK.jpgMartin Luther King portrait above by Cecil Porter.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
                                                         -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As I've done in past years in honor of
Martin Luther King Jr Day, I share exceptional portraits and tattoo odes to a man who embodied Ghandi's "satyagraha" or "soul force" here in the US in furthering social justice (as set forth in his iconic "I have a Dream" speech). It's a day on which I reflect on how I can take at least some small action in working towards equality and harmony, and give back to my community. It's heartening that some people have chosen to tattoo this reminder for every day reflection.

martin luther king jr tattoo by jason grace.jpgTattoo above by Jason Grace.

martin luther king tattoos.jpgTattoos (left to right) by Joshua Carlton, Mike DeMasi, and Logan Aguilar.
08:32 PM
Brian Kelly Army.jpg
As I was reading Vocativ.com's "The Brian Kelly Army" post, I realized that I didn't hate it as I thought I would. Brian Kelly is an American tattooer working at Loxodrom Tattoo in Berlin, and for 20 Euros, he'll tattoo his face on you ... and you can join at least 74 other people who are part of the Brian Kelly Army.

Here's more from Vocativ.com:

The signature tattoo is a stylized version of a photo of himself, a la Shepard Fairey's famously co-opted image of Barack Obama.

Kelly came up with the idea after finishing art school in Minneapolis. At the time, he was really into Fairey and Andy Warhol. He figured if you were going to do a graphic art version of a face, you might as well use your own. So he tattooed the first one on his calf. [...]

Kelly says some people get the tattoo because they know him or because he's done most or all of their tattoos. That was the case for Ina Schneider, 29, who says she got it because he had already done tattoos on her arm, back, foot and fingers. "I just liked the idea," she says. "People always come over and say, 'Who is this?' And when I tell the story, they're really shocked. I think it's fun. They're like, 'Are you serious?' And I'm like, 'Yeah, it's an army.'"

Read more here. And see more of the "Army" here.

I first thought, "Why would people tattoo this dude's face on themselves?" And then I thought, "Why do people tattoo Gwen Stefani's face on themselves?" And then I thought, "Tattoo artists are cooler than Gwen Stefani, so I guess it's better to be part of the Brian Kelly Army than that of someone who wrote Hollaback Girl." And so my thought process went.

I also harkened back to this past London Tattoo Convention, where two wonderful artists and friends got my temporary "Marisa Loves Me" tattoos, permanently tattooed. [Although, the tattoo is my ode to them rather than the other way around. Who doesn't want of reminder that they're loved?! Especially by me?!]

Another bonus from the Brian Kelly Army article is that I got to check his website and Facebook page and there's some solid tattoo work in there like these pieces below. No need to be a part of any militia to enjoy the art.

brian kelly tattoo 2.jpg

Brian Kelly tattoo.jpg

07:30 AM
Marisa Kakoulas_web.jpg
Having a Greek father who once told me that tattoos would never be accepted in the motherland, it's with true pleasure (and a bit of "I told ya so") to see a tattoo publication rise to international popularity, which happens to come out of Greece.

HEARTBEATINK is an online tattoo magazine in English and Greek with excellent photography and videos, and thoughtful interviews with tattooists, musicians, and collectors
. I'm honored to be among those collectors interviewed by the magazine's most excellent editor Ino Mei. Our Q &A was just posted today.

I first met Ino in person at the last NYC Tattoo Convention, where she beautifully captured the scene in her convention coverage for her mag. Then we got to hang at the London Tattoo Convention in September, for which she also took wonderful images and video. There, we found a moment to chat about a possible "tattoo gene," the comparisons between tattooing & plastic surgery, tattoo law, and what happened when my dad did find out I was heavily tattooed (and more). It was a fun talk. Here's a bit from it:

 How did you get into tattoos?

Me:  Ed Hardy once told me in an interview that he believes that there could be a "tattoo gene." It made a lot of sense to me because, when you ask somebody who has a visceral response to tattooing -- who sees tattooing and has an actual physical reaction and is attracted to it -- that is something that's ingrained; people can think back and say,  "Well, I've always felt that way".  I remember when I was very young, looking at my mother's National Geographic magazines and coming across tattooed tribal women, and I was instantly thinking that this is really beautiful, mysterious and bad-ass. Of course, this is an ideal way of looking at it. really, if I would be honest with myself, it is because I liked tattooed boys when I was teenager (laughs).

HEARTBEATINK: Where you then tattooed when you were a teenager?

I was a nerdy teenager, did good in school, and my parents were very conservative. I didn't run around a lot. So when I found myself at tattoo shops at a young age, it held a kind of magic for me. Keep in mind that getting a tattoo was illegal back then, until 1997, in New York, so it was more secretive. You had to know where to go and ring the right buzzer. It was like a clandestine operation. However, when you were "inside", it wasn't what you'd expect, like a biker shop. At least in my experience, when I was first exposed to it, I was seeing really beautiful custom tattooing. There were art books rather than trendy flash for inspiration. I respected it so much that I felt I really wanted to wait until a had the right idea and do it at the right time. So, I didn't get tattooed until I was in my early twenties. Actually, I got my first tattoo during the early weeks of law school. I felt I didn't fit it, and was afraid that I'd become something that I wasn't. I love the study of law, but I've never been super competitive and I've never felt that I had to be above somebody else to be better. It was really at that time that I started thinking about art and tattooing a lot in terms of individuation.

HEARTBEATINK: That sounds very mature...

I was a very mature kid (laughs). Now, I'm regressing. I'm like a thirteen-year-old boy (laughs). Back then, I was like a forty year old women (laughs).

Read more here.

HEARTBEATINK also posted some photos from my latest book, Black Tattoo Art 2. Tons of tattoo goodness!
08:56 AM
It's really exciting to find artists with distinct styles who are able to take common themes and make them very much their own. One such artist is Cody Eich, currently at Studio 13 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I shot Cody a few questions about his work and he graciously took the time to offers thoughtful responses:

You're able to meld very different artistic influences together to great effect. What's your process like in putting it all together?

I've always loved contrast and balance.  Generally, I like to use one form or color to compliment the other in some way.  I also like breaking the rules.  I like putting objects or shapes in my artwork that aren't normally there.  Don't get me wrong, I think there are plenty of technical rules that need to be learned and followed by any tattoo artist, which are things that a fine artist or someone using another medium wouldn't necessarily have to worry about.  I always think about how a piece will last over time as it ages, my linework and saturation of a tattoo, but I've always loved that there is no real "right" answer to the artwork in tattooing or in other creative fields, so I feel free in my work when I get to break the rules. 

Where do you draw your inspiration and references?

I always say nature and the universe we live in are absolutely the most interesting art created by the most creative creator.  The seemingly chaotic but complete order of nature and the relationship between every living things is absolutely astounding to me.  Ordered chaos.  So, I love using natural things as reference for my tattoos, whether it be a person, animal, plant, rocks and geology, or anything else.  I find mechanical things or manmade things less interesting.  That being said, I also worked at an engineering firm for seven years prior to tattooing, and I find myself inadvertently and sometimes purposefully drawing inspiration from plan sheets and other civil engineering based imagery.  Things like topographic style lines, engineering linetypes from computer aided drawing programs will often pop up in my paintings and tattoos next to, or juxtaposed with, natural subject matter.  Lastly, I am continually inspired by other artists, fine and tattoo based, and being new to the industry I have so much to learn still from people who have been doing this much longer than I have.

Rooster.jpgWhat point in your tattoo career did you feel that your own particular style broke through -- or did you begin tattooing your own art from the outset?

When I started painting before I was tattooing, I felt free to paint whatever I wanted because it was mine, and it was for me in my head.  There were no consequences.  With tattoos, it took me a bit to really put "my" mark on someone else.  Because my clients didn't start off asking for geometric shapes and other design elements that I like using, my tattoos were very stunted until I was encouraged by the owners of Studio 13 in Fort Wayne to make the art I wanted rather than strictly what the client was asking for.  From the time I started working there in 2012, they encouraged me to redraw my tattoos for clients before I tattooed them if I hadn't added my touch to the line drawings.  Once I started getting some of these tattoos that were more my style out there, people seemed to like them, so it really encouraged me to push things a bit more and develop something unique that I wanted to do. 

In a number of your tattoos, I see forms that look like constellations -- what's your intention behind them?

People always assume the shapes that you're talking about in my tattoos are constellations, so I sometimes just make up a name for them as if they are actually out there in space.  I have only actually tattooed one real constellation ever.  They are really just design elements that I started playing with as a way to put geometric, angular shapes next to organic forms in my artwork.  Contrast.

BIRD HAND.jpg I read on your Tumblr page that you will be making the move to Southern Ontario. Is that still in the works? Where can people find you in the next few months?

I am from the States, but am immigrating to Canada as my wife, Alisha, is from Canada.  After we got married in December 2012, we filled out all the paperwork and jumped through all the hoops with that and were able to submit our paperwork in March 2013.  I believe the average processing time is about a year, so I'm hoping that March of 2014 will mean I will be okay to live and work in Canada as a permanent resident.  In the meantime I have been okayed to live in Canada while I'm waiting to work, so I live with my wife in Brantford, Ontario and return to the States every month for about a week and a half to work with the wonderful people at Studio 13 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I'm hoping to be working full time in Canada sometime around March 2014 and am adding people to a wait list for once this happens, so I can start scheduling appointments as soon as my paperwork goes through.

For more on Cory, click:
Instagram: @codyeichtattoo
Facebook facebook.com/cody.eich
Tumblr codyeich.tumblr.com
07:20 PM
jeff gogue.jpgTattoo above in progress by Jeff Gogue of Off the Map, Oregon.

Join the worldwide live tattoo party, this Sunday, kicking off at 8PM EST until midnight, where TattooNow TV will broadcast live from Popcorn Noir in Easthampton, MA, with a line-up that includes:

8-10PM EST: "Tattoo as I See It" - A full length film featuring Jeff Gogue. [Jeff will answer questions about the film via Skype]

10-11PM EST: Off the Map LIVE! Hosted by Ben Licata. [Some of the following links have sound.] Watson Aitkison will be in house, and Skyping in is Deano Cook, Tom Strom, Thomas Kynst
... oh and ME!

11-12PM EST: Innerstate - Produced by veteran tattooist Guy Aitchison, Innerstate: The Movie is a 50 minute documentary film featuring interviews with the artists and an inside look at their visions, techniques, concerns and goals. It's a fast-paced film with a great soundtrack, perfect for your tattoo shop video library.

I'm really psyched to be Skyping in with the cool kids. I'll be talking about the top tattoo news, blackwork, and answering questions.  Beam in from your living room, tattoo studio, or host a viewing party of your own. See ya on Sunday!

07:17 AM
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I've spent a few hours fiddling about with the Art and Skin app and I have to admit that I've very, VERY impressed by their product.

Art and Skin has done some amazing stuff with 3D photography, allowing you to virtually "revolve" around their featured artists and models. Imagine the "bullet-time" shots in The Matrix but apply it to a tattoo shop/artist/model - it's pretty awesome and insanely beautiful. Hopefully more app developers will continue to head in this direction (and more tattooists will continue to embrace non-standard technology as a means to promote their work).

Do I think their UX/UI (User Experience / User Interface) could use a bit more work? Yes. Their navigation isn't always intuitive - which can be fun if you want to "explore," but that's not always the case on a mobile device. Their sans-serif/ultra-thin typeface choices don't always render well on a phone, either, making the content hard to read at standard resolution. I got lost a few times in the app instead of discovering new content, but...

That said, hot holy Scooby Snacks this is cool!

Save the $4.99 you were gonna spend on some crap tattoo magazine this week and download the Art and Skin app - if anything, you'll have fun spinning Eddy Deutsche around in his studio.
02:34 PM
David Allen tattoo.jpg
David Allen tattoo2.jpgI've been a long-time fan of David Allen of Pioneer Tattoo in Chicago. I began following his blog about 8 years ago when he started his tattoo apprenticeship after leaving his graphic design career. His site not only charted his progress from novice to the sought-after tattooer he is today, but also showed the tools and methods he used in his learning process. Expert use of technology has played a big part of that progression.

David will be sharing his tattoo process using Apple devices -- from iPhone, to iPad to Macbook Air -- on Wednesday, Jan. 8th, 6pm at the Lincoln Park Apple Store in Chicago. David will also be going over scheduling and sharing that information between tattooer, assistant and client. He describes the hour seminar as super geeky (which I love). Should be a great learning event for experienced and new tattooers a like, as well as collectors.

For more on David's work, check his Facebook page and Instagram.

We also profiled David in 2012 and featured his beautiful mastectomy scar tattoo in 2010.
06:31 PM
popeye tattoo.jpg
This Popeye tattoo by Russian artist Alina Fokina has been making the internet rounds since Boing Boing and Neotorama posted it, but I figured I'd share it in case you don't spend your life online like I do.

In the comments to the photo on the Tattooist Art FB page, a few people have noted that incorporating the hand within the design was also used by Dardo Carlini Tattoo in this One Piece tattoo from the popular manga series (although I haven't been able to find the artist of that piece).

I think they're both fun pieces and they gave me a smile this weekend.

Thanks to The Lizardman for the link.
06:15 PM
needlesandsins.jpg It's always fun for me to look back at the news, events, profiles and interesting stories posted over the past year on our humble blog, and so I wanted to share my less-than-scientific Top most popular posts of 2013, based upon links to the site, comments on social media, hate mail & love letters. Here they are, in no particular order.

I hope you enjoyed reading these articles as much as we've loved writing and sharing them with you. I truly appreciate your feedback and comments (although please forgive me if I don't respond to all). You can find me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram as well as at marisa @ needlesandsins.com. This blog is a labor of love and your support really fuels it.
03:29 PM
Lorena Morato.jpg
Happy New Year, y'all!

I'm very excited for 2014, which -- based on the tattoo trajectory we've been seeing this past year -- promises to explode with more innovative, beautiful, and wondrous tattoo art.

To celebrate the new year, Swallows & Daggers asked me to contribute to their list "5 Tattooers to watch in 2014," for which tattoo bloggers each chose 5 emerging artists -- or established artists under the radar -- to highlight with a short intro and links.

I decided to feature just female artists from around the world who are incredibly talented, have unique approaches to tattooing, and originality in their portfolios. A number have been featured on Needles & Sins before and the rest will be profiled soon. Here they are:
Read Swallows & Daggers for the reasons behind my choices. Check the other bloggers' picks, which are also really great.

It was an incredibly difficult task to just pick five artists, but rest assured that we'll be bringing tons more artist profiles and interviews on Needles & Sins in 2014.

As always, thank you so much for being part of our N+S family. I kiss you!

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