Today, I'm handing over the blogging reigns to a long-time friend of the site, Jesse Nelson. Jesse interviewed Josh McAlear of Redemption Tattoo Boston, one of his tattoo artists, about some interesting pieces that Josh has recently done.
BY JESSE NELSON:
Social media has had an obvious affect on the tattoo industry. Never has it been easier to look through an artist's portfolio and find the right person for the style you desire. Facebook, Twitter and, most of all, Instagram have created a virtual rabbit hole in which I regularly fall through by clicking through picture after picture, by artist after artist. It was on one such trip that I found Josh McAlear of Redemption Tattoo Boston and I had the pleasure of sitting down with him for a chat and some work (a Paul Williams Phantom of the Paradise tattoo!) during a recent guest spot at True Hand in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia.
Looking through his work, its obvious to see that Josh has some love for the Macabre and these three pieces show what you are in for when you book some time with him.
JN: I know Rolling Thunder from back in my video store days and is also the name of Quentin Tarantino's production company because it is one of his favorite films. Were you a fan before doing this piece?
JM: Absolutely one of my all time favorites. So many awesome parts of this film. I had the pleasure of doing this one on my friend Coco who has a similar lust for revenge as I.
JN: I love your monster / skull work. The coloring and style recalls the comics and movie posters I grew up on, I assume you grew up with a similar love of the ghoulish?
JM: Damn straight. I've been a stone cold Horror maniac since I first saw Texas Chainsaw and Faces of Death in 8th grade. I really just want to make this style look like its actually from the 60's/70's, not just a copy of something from then. Also, 99% of the tattooers today all do the same crap. My goal is to do something everyone else isn't doing, but that people will actually get tattoos of. ha ha.
JN: This is another colorful monster that drew me into your work. With a piece like this, does the client come with you with specific ideas, or do they generally trust you to wow them ?
JM: It really is a mix of both. I tend to do more of the stuff like this when I travel. In those cases, people have been really trusting of me, which is great. It can be scary trying something that you haven't seen done before (coloring or style wise at least), but the more I do it the more I trust myself. I'm really happy people have been
responding well to my recent stuff, it definitely motivates me to keep going with it.
Josh can be reached at email@example.com and through Redemption Tattoo.
Jesse is the co-owner of the Philly based horror collective ExhumedFilms.com and DiabolikDVD.com.
First off, let me just thank y'all for your comments and suggestions--publicly and private--because it really helps in our efforts to make this site better and give you what you want. And I want what you want. Because I love you.
So, in the comments on the Baltimore Tattoo Convention media reviews post, LC made note of the Boston convention flying under the radar. When I looked into it, I found that there was plenty of media coverage -- it's just we didn't cover that coverage. My bad. [That was the weekend we switched servers and launched the redesign. Excuses, Excuses.] Even though the convention was 12 days ago (five years in Internet time), I still think the photos and stories are interesting. Here we go:
Boston.com did something cool: they had their photographer Erik Jacobs set up a portable photobooth to take shots of artists and collectors but also get some quotes on the tattoos. For example, I really dig the photo above of Josh Kanter whose head tattoo is done by Derek Noble in Seattle [you gotta see Derek's portfolio]. When asked "Any regrets?", Josh said, "You get, you own." I like that.
There's also a separate set by Essdras M. Suarez, including the cute pic below of Laura Rost & her T-Rex.
And the Boston Phoenix has photos that are meh but still worth a quick click.
Yet another tattoo-themed museum exhibition just opened in Boston: The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) presents Dr. Lakra, the first solo show of Mexican tattooist and painter Jerónimo López Ramírez, aka Dr. Lakra.
Dr. Lakra gained popularity as a tattooist in the 1990s but this popularity led to his frustration with the business of tattooing (although he still tattoos on occasion) and toward a different canvas. He tells the Boston Globe:
"People tattooing in Mexico were doing it with homemade machines. I went and got the stuff and built myself a machine, and then I didn't know exactly how to use it. It was totally different. I had to learn how to draw again with this machine.
His paintings, however, manifest his love of tattoo imagery, as seen in the works exhibited at ICA. The show's introduction makes a particular note of this: "Referencing diverse body art traditions from Chicano, Maori, Thai, and Philippine cultures, Dr. Lakra layers spiders, skulls, crosses, serpents, and devils over these existing images." The existing images they refer to are vintage prints of pin-up girls, luchadores,1940s Mexican businessmen, and Japanese sumo wrestlers. The predominant themes throughout the work: sex and death.
In describing the exhibit's commissioned wall mural, the Globe says it is "the raunchiest imagery...from which parents may wish to shield young children." They add:
"[the mural] oozes impish devils, drawings of brains, and other internal organs, vampires, piles of dung, tribal totems, and ugly-looking deep sea creatures. It makes absolutely no sense, and it's rather wonderful.
To which I say, yeah oozing imps and phalluses!
Dr. Lakra is on view at ICA until September 6th. Check the online preview of the show; you can also listen to audio commentary on the works here. The show is sponsored by Converse, which made this video below on the artist's inspirations and process [via Highsnobiety.com]
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has an exciting new exhibit on view until January: Under the Skin: Tattoos in Japanese Prints. Here's a bit about the show:
"Tattooing became an important feature of Japanese urban popular culture in the early 19th century, influenced strongly by the success of a series of woodblock prints featuring Chinese martial arts heroes with spectacular tattoos, vividly imagined by the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Tattoo artists copied designs from the prints and invented new designs that were, in turn, depicted in later prints.
Under the Skin: Tattoos in Japanese Prints explores the social background, iconography, and visual splendor of Japanese tattoos through the prints that helped carry the art from the streets of 19th-century Japan to 21st-century tattoo shops all over the world."
The Hudson Sun applauds the show and offers further background (and highlights) on the prints, photos, manuscripts and other artifacts. One particularly interesting piece of info is this:
In doing so, the exhibit goes beyond presenting beautiful works of art over the centuries but offers context and history for the viewers.
if you can't make it to Boston, MFA offers on online tour of Under the Skin here. A must see.
And for those in NYC, the Japan Society also has an exhibit on Japanese prints:
Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Japanese Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.
[Thanks, David, for the link!]
While the Lady of the Manor is off cavorting with the Maori in sunshine of Auckland, New Zealand, some of us are still stuck here in the cold, harsh, grey reality of the northeastern United States. Better still, some of us get to travel to a Massachusettes town on the coastline during a Nor'Easter to play some stoner-metal with a horrifically mangled finger. But I digress...
No, it's not a tattoo convention, but I can almost guarantee that there will be a convening of many fabulously tattooed bodies - not to mention 11 great bands over 10 hours (including the illustrious Dogs of Winter at 6pm) and a cover charge and 50/50 raffle that will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. That's right - it's DINKSTOCK 2!
If you're in the Boston metro-area, please come on down and say "hello." I'll be the sleeved, bald dude who's either bleeding profusely from the fingertips onstage or just drinking in the corner to ease the pain of a cooking accident gone horribly awry.