Results tagged “California”

08:06 AM
Elephant tattoo.jpg
The work of Slovakian tattooist Ivana Belakova of Ivana Tattoo Art is hard to forget. Her style blends street and graphic art, infusing it with what she calls "funky color," to an effect that is unique and exciting. The self-taught artist did her first tattoo about 12 years ago, and since that time, has earned a reputation worldwide, not only for her tattoos but fine art as well. Currently, Ivana lives and works in Los Angeles, but is constantly traveling, so I was thrilled that she took the time to answer some questions for Needles and Sins. 

If you met someone who was not familiar with your artwork and asked you about it, what would you tell her?

I would say I do funky color. It's probably the closest how can I describe my style. I do enjoy doing "modern" funky looking designs: a mix of street art and graphic art...a bit of realism at the same time. Yet, I am open minded to try new things that are very different from my particular style.

At the moment, I am doing more "street art" looking tattoos. I was a bit tired of doing realistic looking designs and I'm getting back to my "roots" now, I totally enjoy graffiti style artwork. I just want to have more fun and freedom in my work!

I look at the tattoos I did yesterday, and I would change them today. My style is constantly evolving, but there's similarity in my work when it comes to colors. With every tattoo I do, I'm learning something new and the level I'm at right now is not defined and never will be.  My mind is constantly changing; so for me, it's a very natural process of evolving as an artist and as a person. I do what I feel at that particular moment. Every person is so different and every one of them gives me a different vibe.

You've been interviewed for so many different magazines, and many features on tattooists, in general, tend to focus on the same questions. Is there anything you'd like to say about your work that I haven't before?

Perhaps how I see and how I feel about my tattoos...I consider my tattoos like a form of contemporary art. My tattoos are not probably masterpieces like whole body suits or they are not coming from an old tradition; yet, they are important to be here.  I consider tattoos as a serious art form; it is so raw and unique especially when it's made the  right way on a professional level.

When it comes to me, the most important tattoos are when I feel I pushed boundaries within myself. When I come up with something new, when I create something different. When I felt I have moved a bit forward. Those are definitely the most important and meaningful tattoos for me.

Fox tattoo.jpg
12:15 PM
art driven show.jpgOn July 21st, over 100 artists, including some of the top tattooists & painters in the world, will be exhibiting their fine art work in the "Art Driven" group show hosted by Sullen Clothing at their gallery & headquarters in Los Alamitos, CA. 

ArtDrivenFlyer.jpgWhat's also pretty exciting is that they have one spot open for an artist to display his or her work alongside the likes of Jack Rudy, Bob Roberts, Kari Barba, Freddy Negrette, Rick Walters and many other legends as well as tattoo prodigies. It's an amazing opportunity to share your art in a serious exhibition.

To participate, you have to "Like" Sullen on Facebook, then you submit your artwork on their wall. After that, the fans will vote on their favorite to choose "Whose Art Can Hang?". Already, there have been some excellent submissions.

I know there are tons of talented Needles & Sins readers, and I encourage you to be a part of the contest. And if you're near the Sullen HQ, definitely check out the "Art Driven" show. The opening runs from 7pm-midnight on Saturday the 21st of July. Sullen is located at 11081 Winners Circle, Los Alamitos, California.
12:21 PM
tough titties.jpg

For our SoCal friends, tomorrow Sept. 3rd, American Beauty Tattoo in Sunset Beach will be doing $20 flash tattoos all day (until 8PM) to benefit Team Tough Titties fundraising efforts for the Team Spirit Breast and Ovarian Cancer Walk (Sept. 24th).  

Check the tattoo designs available here. The t-shirt design is below.

The artists are not taking appointments and space is limited, so arrive early. This is the third year in a row that Team Tough Titties and American Beauty Tattoo have joined forces to benefit cancer research. The Team has raised over $75,000 since its inception in 2004.

For more information, visit the Team Tough Titties blog.


05:31 PM

Artist Jason Clay Dunn of Tattoo Alchemy in Montclair, CA works in a variety of mediums, including graphic design, digital illustration, traditional painting and airbrush art, but it's his Japanese-influenced tattooing with an "American twist" that captured our attention.

Jason has been documenting his tattoo process on video, and further discusses his work and life in tattooing in this video interview. [Also directed and edited by Richie Merritt.]

You can find more of Jason's tattoo work online here.


12:21 PM
ink-n-iron 2011.jpgWe're back in Brooklyn after a gorgeous weekend in Long Beach for the Ink-n-Iron Tattoo & Kustom Culture Fest...and really not a moment too soon as the California sun, cool breezes and laid-back dudeness were dulling our New York self-righteousness and sarcasm. But we made it back in one angry piece.

It was our first time at this monster convention aboard the legendary Queen Mary cruise ship and on its dock, which was blanketed with shiny kustom kars, vendors, and a stage that rocked with a serious line-up of bands including Buzzcocks, Fishbone, Skatalites, The Sonics, The Vandals, and other legends. It was all done up big and badass -- from buxom pin-ups to car club bruisers to bold backpieces on many, many beautiful people in various states of undress.

See photos on Brian's Ink-n-Iron Flickr set.

tattoo by tommy montoya.jpgBackpiece by Tommy Montoya

When we arrived at the convention, a queue of hundreds lined the dock waiting to get it. It was a sea of parasols and pomade and it hit me that many conventions worldwide do have their own distinct personalities. Ink-n-Iron is a Rockabilly, kustom culture Disney Land. And to me, that's a good thing. Tons of eye candy, a light and sexy vibe, and less tattoo snobbery (although we embrace that kind of thing).

The pin-up contest seemed to attract a bigger crowd than the tattoo competitions. As a side note, if you ever want to gauge "trends" in tattooing, tattoo competitions are the best places to do so. There were tons of young girls with tattoos that stretched along the sides of their lithe torsos. I heard one guy in the audience say, "The rib tattoo is the new tramp stamp." Indeed.

When the competitions weren't taking place in the Queen's Salon on the Promenade deck, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School (LA club) took over with live drawing and attempt at a record to have 1,000 people sketch a host of posing models. I hope they reached their goal.

tattoo by Tim McGrath.jpg Tattoo by Tim McGrath of 13 Roses Tattoo, Atlanta

On the decks below, tattoo artists from all over the world filled three levels with non-stop buzz. Being SoCal, the work was heavy on the black & grey but all styles were repped with a top notch roster of artists.

Despite my incessant eye rolling and head shaking, Brian decided to continue his quest to get his toes tattooed, asking great artists to perform general dumbassness. On Sunday, he convinced Sweety of East Side Ink to needle FU on his paw. To(e)-fu. I know. I had no control over this. [Clare Goldilox did a truck on his big toe in London.]

crazy Eddie.jpg Photo of Crazy Eddie by Tommy B.

This all happened before the major drinking, inspired by the convention-wide toast to Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins in honor of the day he passed, June 12th, 38 years ago. Crazy Eddie Funk (above) took the mic and offered his tribute: "Fuck Chicago ... Fuck Sailor Jerry." No one expected any more.

Sailor Jerry actually kept people pretty happy all weekend in front of its sweet Airstream (below). The Airstream shared dock space with a cigar lounge, beauty salon tents, beef jerky vendors, among many others. Something for everyone.

Beyond the jerky, what makes a convention for me is meeting up with friends who we haven't seen since the last show in our traveling circus of a subculture. No matter how big the show and all its attractions, the greatest lure remains the growing family of tattoo freaks who have become just as much a part of our lives as the tattoos we wear. Maybe Cali has mellowed me after all.

Photo by Tommy B.

If you have your own photos from the show and wanna share, send me the links.
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