Results tagged “Art Brut”

Oct201301
07:05 AM
Black Tattoo Art II.jpgUPDATED POST:  Limited author copies are still available. You can order via Paypal here or contact me at marisa@needlesandsins.com. Get a sneak peak inside the book here
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We live in a time when images of tattoos are in a constant stream online. Your eyes may light up at the artistry, as you scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feeds, click "Like," maybe even "Share" ... and then on to the next one. For me, when I want to really find inspiration, to spend time with a work of art, I want a book in my hands. That's why I continue to give birth to these monster tomes that are great big love letters to various genres of tattoos -- books that are meticulously crafted and published by Edition Reuss.

Black Tattoo Art II: Modern Expressions of the Tribal is my latest book; it's the second volume to my very first baby.  

At the time, when we published the first volume in 2009, I had no idea that we would have such an incredible response. I just thought that there wasn't really any comprehensive books on works created only with black ink, such as neotribal, ornamental and abstract work, and so Edition Reuss and I made one. What came out of it was a community. Artists and collectors from the book contacted each other, shared ideas, and had a few drinks. It was the greatest gift I ever received from a project. So when asked if I'd do a second volume, I said, "Hell yeah!"

Within this hardcover are 448-pages containing over 600 images, in addition to text, featuring the works of over 75 artists from around the globe. That texture of the paper, the weight of it in your hands, the details that can be enjoyed from such a large format book ... it adds to the experience of marveling at fine tattoo art.     

leon lam spread small.png    Here's more info on Black Tattoo Art II: Modern Expressions of the Tribal:   
 
Black Tattoo Art II: Modern Expressions of the Tribal, the second incarnation of what has been deemed the "Bible of Blackwork Tattoos," continues the first volume's photographic journey across the globe, showcasing the absolute best of tattoos that capture the magic of the ancient art form in exciting contemporary interpretations on the body. Within the 448-pages of this massive tattoo tome, readers will explore particular movements in tattoo art that, much like most indigenous tattooing, are more decorative and less literal; elaborate patterns predominate; harmony and flow with the body is paramount; and the color palette is primarily black--hence, the name Black Tattoo Art. This second volume follows the direction of the first, but takes it even farther.

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The most important addition to Black Tattoo Art II is the greater roster of international artists: 75 top tattooists from Saint Petersburg to Sao Paolo, Austin to Aotearoa, Barcelona to Brooklyn and beyond. They share their creativity, innovation, and spirit in presenting images of their tattoo and fine art work for this book. There are also more hand poked and tapped tattoos represented, and an entirely new chapter has been added celebrating Nordic and Celtic-inspired art. Along with the "Celtic/Nordic" works are those that fall under the chapters of "Dotwork," "Ornamental/Neotribal," "Abstract/Art Brut," and "Traditional Revival." Together, these works convey the endless possibilities of art that can be created with needles and black ink--although readers will find a splash of color in many of the tattoos on these pages.

thomas hooper spread small.pngThe "Ornamental/Neotribal" chapter encompasses works that enhance the body through motifs that fit so organically with the collectors, they appear as if they were born with the art on their bodies. Within the "Neotribal" genre, patterns from various cultures are melded and often infused with a modern, even punk rock, aesthetic. In this volume, with the addition of the more expansive "Ornamental" label, the chapter also includes art featuring geometric elements, some representational forms, and big, bold swaths of black ink.

The "Dotwork" chapter displays excellence in tattooing that utilizes the stippling technique in a painstaking process, creating sophisticated works out of small points to huge effect. From Sacred Geometry and Eastern Iconography to pop culture portraiture and folk art imagery, the tattoos presented in this chapter depict a large range of subject matter created from a small mode of articulation: dots.

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The new "Celtic/Nordic" chapter will inspire readers, not just with its stunning ancient designs, but also through the fantastic stories of the myths and lore behind much of the imagery, as conveyed by tattooist Colin Dale, who wrote the chapter's introduction and assembled the finest practitioners of Celtic and Nordic tattooing today for Black Tattoo Art II.

A newer tattoo movement that has defied easy classification is exhibited in the pages of the "Abstract/Art Brut" chapter. "Art Brut," or "raw art," evokes the intensity, feverishness, and freedom of creation when not bound by strict artistic formulas and conventions. This section has been further opened to include "Abstract" tattoos that possess the same flow and feeling but stylized in different ways.

buena vista spread small.pngThe "Traditional Revival" section of this book is just a glimpse into the work of those carrying on the techniques, ceremony, and spirit of ancestral tattoo practices. While the focus of this book may be the "modern expressions of the tribal," respect must be paid to the origins from which these works flowered. In this chapter, readers will find Iban hand-tapped works of Borneo, Mentawai tattooing of Indonesia, Ta Moko of the Maori, Tatau of Samoa, magic-infused Thai tattoos, and Kalinga tattoo practices being revived in the Philippines.

One of the greatest successes of the first volume of Black Tattoo Art was that it helped forge bonds among artists and collectors who find particular allure in blackwork tattooing. The goal of Black Tattoo Art II is to expand this community and further inspire those seeking to carry forth the beautiful and powerful traditions of the art form.

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Tattoo credits from top to bottom: Cover tattoo by Tomas Tomas; Leon Lam; Roxx 2 Spirit; Thomas Hooper; Celtic/Nordic chapter by Colin Dale; Buena Vista Tattoo Club; Filipino tattoo revival by Elle Festin/ Mark of the Four Waves (Photos by Joe Ash).
Sep201116
12:06 PM
Frankenstein copy.jpgIn the many interviews I've done with artists, the issue of whether "a tattoo should look like a tattoo" has come up repeatedly. Some say that only "bold will hold," that is, strong outlines, bold color, and lots of black. Others contest that tattoos need not be limited by these constraints and can indeed stand the body's aging while not strictly adhering to these tattoo tenets. Personally, I got quite a lot of flack for my "Art Brut" chapter in Black Tattoo Art, where I featured the avant garde style of deconstructed tattoos. To some, it looked like scribble, and to others, a new and exciting tattoo genre. When such tattoos are expertly executed, I generally fall into the latter category. While so much of this work has centered in France, Belgium & Montreal [see Yann Black, Jeff, Boucherie Moderne, Loic, Noon ...], there has been an emergence of US-based artists working in this genre.

Simon Watts of Immaculate Conception Tattoo in Hollywood is one such artist. I talked with Simon about his evolving tattoo style in which he's incorporating his painting and street art approach into his tattoo portfolio. He explains:

The drawings kind of look like I just sat down and tossed off some random scribble but there really is a lot of tweaking and editing along the way. And even though it happens quite quickly and looks effortless, that is only possible thanks to years of drawing, editing and critiquing.
simon_watts_art_tattoo.jpgI then asked Simon to discuss his artistic background and how it has shaped his tattooing:

The background to my style is this: My natural tendency is to be a bit of a control freak and perfectionist, which doesn't inspire spontaneous creativity as you tend to overthink everything. So back in the 90s, I was living in central London and set myself a task of sorts. I decided to grab a big fat marker pen and head out into the night and make some drawings. This kind of set me some necessary limitations as the cops don't like you running around drawing on public spaces, so you have to work fast. Without even realizing it, I'd kind of found my own visual voice so to speak and had my own style.

I then started to incorporate this looseness into my paintings in preliminary drawings for my paintings where you'd still see the linework visible in some parts of the paintings but eventually my experiments with painting moved away from line as I started to use the same "Loose" principles in my handling of paint and the drawing part just happened with the brush rather than the pen and the looseness became the key and the line not so important.

Fast forward to the present and my control freakish tendencies helped me get a handle on the endless technical and mechanical aspects of tattooing. As I'm sure you're aware, it's very demanding to learn all that stuff. But I've finally reached a point now where I was kind of on top of all that and could put it to the back of my mind and concentrate more on what I can do creatively with the medium, and because line is so important to a good tattoo holding up over time, I naturally started to think about my drawing style and how I could apply it to tattooing.
simon_watts_tattoo.JPG
It didn't seem obvious at first or even possible as I'd really had to relearn to draw for tattooing and my usual style contradicted everything I'd been taught. But deep down I knew it could work. After all there's lots of line movement so the line is always changing direction, which is good (no straight lines); there are lines crossing over each other everywhere, which breaks up large flat areas so you're not having to shade vast areas of flesh and trying to get it even. Plus you can play fast and loose with how you shade things. You still want to give the correct overall impression of three dimensions but you don't have to be exactly literal with directions of shading or depth, etc. So it's kind of liberating. I love it.
You can see more of Simon's work on Facebook & the Immaculate Conception Tattoo site.

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Jun201107
04:05 PM
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In the latest issue of Skin & Ink magazine (August 2011), I take a look at the progressive work coming out of Brooklyn's own Tattoo Culture via resident artist Gene Coffey (whose work is shown here) and a host of international talent including Belgium's blackwork specialist Dan DiMattia, and France's avant-garde artists Noon and Loic [aka Xoil], among many others. In fact, owner Chris Budd acts as a "tattoo concierge," helping tattooers from outside New York find places to stay, procure temporary permits, and build a local fan base.

While Tattoo Culture is a full-service custom shop where clients get tattoos in a variety of styles, the focus of the article is the more controversial work that push the definition of what a tattoo should be. Here's a bit of that discussion:

[Gene] credits the roster of guest artists at Tattoo Culture for his artistic growth. "We just feed off of each other's creativity. If I had never worked with people like Noon or Loic, for example, I wouldn't have even tried something weird like what I've been doing lately."

The "weird" tattoos that Gene refers to are abstract pen and ink watercolor styled designs. [Shown below] It began when a long-time client was flipping through Gene's sketchbook and said she wanted to get one of his drawings tattooed on her. They agreed on the drawing, and after it was permanently inked, they both loved the result. Gene says, "It felt really awesome. It was the first time a tattoo was a hundred percent my art. It wasn't drawn to be a tattoo. It was drawn because of something I felt, something that just came out of my head."

Since that time, Gene has further explored translating his fine art on skin, but he's quick to note that he still employs traditional tattoo technique. "The things that I tattoo - even the weird abstract work - still follow the fundamentals of tattooing. There's line work, there's contrast, there's shading, there's saturation of the colors. It's still a tattoo, just different imagery."
Beyond the weirdness (and Gene himself is a strange egg), Tattoo Culture has a relaxed friendly vibe that seems to stand in contrast to the cooler-than-cool attitude of their Williamsburg neighborhood, also known as ground zero for hipsters. The studio also holds regular art shows, exhibiting classic tattoo-inspired painting, photography, mixed media and modern works. 

Check their Facebook page for events and guest artists. Gene regularly updates his portfolio on his own Facebook page as well.

gene coffey tattoo culture.jpg
Aug201002
09:58 AM
loic art brut tattoo.jpg
One of my favorite styles of tattooing is the feverish abstract art movement that has its greatest popularity in France, Belgium and even Montreal but is created by top artists around the world. One of those artists is Loic of Needles Side Tattoo in France.

Loic, who has been tattooing for ten years, has his studio in Thonon Les Bains but you can also find him doing regular guest spots around the world. [This October, you'll find him in Brooklyn, NY at Tattoo Culture.]

He likens his tattooing to DJing: "A DJ uses different musical elements and effects to create one unified sound. I do the same but with images, using different artistic styles to create one discernible picture."

To see more of Loic's work, check his Facebook page.

[Very Shameless --> For more on this style of tattooing, check the "Art Brut" chapter in my Black Tattoo Art book.]


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Sep200908
05:24 PM
BlackTattooArt_web.jpg
Black is beautiful, my friends.

In fact, I've taken the statement to heart (and skin) with enough black ink in my dermis to fill the Library of Congress. And with this passion for blackwork tattoos, I began collecting images and some stories of the world's best tattoo artists only working in black ink with the help of my primary tattooist, former hubby, and friend, Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo, renowned himself for this style. The result ...

Black Tattoo Art: Modern Expressions of the Tribal.

The book will be released this Thursday, September 10 and yes, there will be some partying. Join me on Thursday at Tattoo Culture from 7 to 10:30pm for drinks, food, and an awesome playlist of tunes by the fabulous Ron Worthy.

I'll be selling some of my author copies at a discounted rate of $120 at the party. You can click the link (above right) to order my copies while supplies last for $159.

The book is available through LastGasp.com and from Hermansky books.

UPDATE: Get Free Shipping from LastGasp.com on Black Tattoo Art by using the promo code "Needles" at checkout.

Keep in mind that the book -- published by fine art and erotic publishers Edition Reuss --  is a 536-page, thread-bound hardcover with silver embossing that weighs over six pounds. A friend suggested that it will also nicely double as a home defense device. Or free weight.


evan tattoo by david sena.jpgEvan's sleeves by David Sena of North Star Tattoo


So yeah, my first tattoo book is done and out soon. All I can say right now is freakin finally!

Apologies for the lack of highbrow here but I did write a fancy press release with big words. What I didn't mention in the release is the year-long process of seeking out pictures and stories of the top blackwork artists. Many of whom shun online communication and enjoy long stretches of time without any worldly contact so to rejuvenate and become inspired for the masterful tattoos featured. But try to explain large size 300 DPI format to 'em ...

I joke. Kinda.

Seriously, it was a great honor to curate the very first English language book EVER dedicated to blackwork tattooing in its many forms. It was inspired by Ed Hardy's TattooTime premier issue entitled New Tribalism. In it, the legendary Cliff Raven said one of my favorite quotes:

"The perfect tattoo -- the one I believe we are all struggling toward -- is the one that turned the jackass into the zebra."

Raven, one of the pioneers of the fine art tattoo movement, wrote that after 20 years of tattooing, he found "decorative art" was the tattoo style that best fit the human canvas. He explained that creating two-dimensional elaborations on a three-dimensional object is akin to "pin striping an auto as opposed to copying Frazetta paintings onto the sides of vans." It was a bold statement, but one perfectly suited to the tattoo movement it trumpeted.

He called this style "Pre-Technological Tattooing." Hardy called it "New Tribalism." Most have used the term "Neo-tribal" to define the tattooing of Leo Zulueta, one of the first contemporary tattooists to fully dedicate his body of work to interpreting the arts of indigenous cultures (also featured in Black Tattoo Art).

More recently, many tattooists have been defining their portfolios as "Blackwork," taking their tribal interpretations even farther but still adhering to the decorative arts tenets. Indeed, there is a rainbow of terms to describe this monochromatic art form.

blackwork tattoo vincent.jpgWork by Vincent Hocquet of Beautiful Freak Tattoo


For this book, we kept it simple with the title "Black Tattoo Art: Modern Expressions of the Tribal" to encompass the various designs and aesthetics that have sprung from the Neo-Tribal movement; a movement which took root in the late sixties, flourished in the eighties and nineties, and pollenized the beautiful offshoots of today.

The title is deceptively simple, however, because what really is "modern black" tattoo art?

It's not a book on traditional tribal tattooing. There is a chapter that looks at a few artists today reviving their ancestral tattoo arts, but this is a very small part of this monster volume.

It is a book that looks at how today's tattooists have taken the tenets of tribal arts -- the soulfulness and harmony with the body -- and applied it in contemporary, imaginative ways.

To see sample pages of their work in the book, check the Black Tattoo Art Flickr set.

I hope to see y'all at Tattoo Culture. If not, this month I'll also be selling the book at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering September 17-20, and at the London Tattoo Convention September 25-27. More convention dates to come.

And now, gotta rest up for Thursday's party.
May200921
12:00 AM
noon chest tattoo.jpg Good readers, let me take this time to suggest you toss out that old tape recorder from the 80s you may have used to interview various tattoo artists in the past, especially if you've recently discovered that during your latest interview it failed to record anything at all and, instead, still has the four gloriously terrible songs from your short-lived lark of a synth-heavy goofball hardcore band AXXX WOUND.

Good thing I was able to hang out with French tattooer Noon for a few weeks before getting him to sit down for an interview. So instead of a nice and neat little Q and A, you get a nice and neat little quasi-article from some feverishly taken notes before Noon booked for more international travels. And while it seems Noon is constantly on the move, he's made a semi-permanent home at Tattoo Culture in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, usually returning twice a year.

Recently featured in the May issue of Total Tattoo, Noon has created a style instantly recognizable and completely his own. It's something I'd rather let him describe, though he plainly says, "It's difficult to explain. I would say it's minimalist, it's singular. I don't know if there's a real name for this. The way I started was with the idea that the tattoo could be finished with only the line."

noon_tattoo.jpg

Growing up in a town full of ex-cons and gypsies, Noon's studied how they tattooed. "I watched them attach needles to pencils and set the ink bottle on a small plate over a flame. Very basic. I was young and in the poor part of town. All the guys there were tattooed and tattooing all the time. So I watched them. And at ten years old, I already knew how they did it. There was no color, no fill, only the line."

Noon's gypsy education could only go so far. He retained the basics and began to learn himself. He explains, "There were no magazines, no Internet. So in 1996 I got the address of Mickey Sharpz in London and I bought everything I could! I practiced on myself, I was always on the phone with Lionel (from Out of Step Tattoo) and we'd go back and forth asking 'How do you do this?' 'What's working for you?' It was not so easy then."

"I like the look and feel," he says, making motions with his hands that seem to be building something in mid-air. He plans to keep painting but he is a tattooist first. "Always tattooing," he says, "until they shkkt! -- chop off my hands."

Noon will be back at Tattoo Culture from November 9th through the 22nd. He's currently taking appointments via email.
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EDITOR IN CHIEF:
Marisa Kakoulas
CONTRIBUTORS:
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
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