Results tagged “Daniel DiMattia”
Last night, I was reminded just how much tattoos hurt. It hurt in a way that I wanted to travel back in time and slap my 20-year-old self who would proclaim, "Oh, it's just like scratching a sunburn" because, back then, I had never sat for hours while needles drilled into my bony shin [or 5 hours of line work on the ribs like last year.]
Over the past 4+ years, since I've moved back to my native Brooklyn, I've only been getting tattooed once or twice a year, when my artist, Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo travels to NYC or when I make a trip back to Liege, Belgium -- home to Calypso Tattoo and where I lived for almost 8 years.
As I work on a unified body suit, a year can feel even longer because I'm excited to see my body continue to transform and to become the person I envision myself to be. At times, when working piece-by-piece on the design, it can feel like I'm in a state of flux. That "I'm not done." But the pace is important for a number of reasons.
In an age of instant gratification, there's something special about having to wait for what you want. It offers a greater sense of gravity and even ritual to the tattoo process. On a practical level, it also allows for more time to research patterns and gather ideas on how to bring all these motifs on my body together. Dan is really a master at creating that harmony and flow and taking a holistic approach to how the tattoos look on the body overall.
And then there's the fact that I have enough time to forget the pain.
The new tattoo on my calf and shin, is comprised of all dots. No lines this time. When it heals, I'll post better pictures so you can really see how Dan worked the density of the dots to create some beautiful light effects. Using a rotary machine, which doesn't have the harsh buzz of the coil, Dan worked tirelessly for over four hours to make every point perfect. And as always, I'm thrilled -- although my happy dance will have to wait until the swelling goes down.
I just secured my next tattoo appointment with Daniel DiMattia, of Calypso Tattoo when he comes into New York for the NYC Tattoo Convention, May 17-19, so I'm excited, especially considering that I only get tattooed once a year now. But it's interesting to watch how my body suit is slowly coming together, piece by piece. Last May, he tattooed my ribs -- which wasn't fun -- but this time it should be easier with small calf work. I'll be posting photos in two weeks of my new work when it's done.
Dan is booked out for the time, but consider taking a trip to Liege, Belgium, the home of Calypso Tattoo. Dan will also be working the London Tattoo Convention in September. Oh, and we'll be there too!
As my next volume of Black Tattoo Art is in its final stages, set to launch later this Spring, I wanted to offer you a preview of some of the work that will be featured. And considering it's the birthday of my tattoo artist today -- Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo in Belgium -- I figured I'd post one of his more recent works that will be in the book: this adorable dotwork Matryoshka dolls (or Russian nesting dolls) tattoo . I love the background dot patterns with the henna-inspired line work as well.
Check more of Dan's work here. You can also read about my last couple of sessions with him as we continue my body suit here and here.
More previews to come!
Tattoo by Colin Dale.
Last week, the HuffPo's Religion section had an interesting article by Jacob D. Myers entitled, "Holy Ink: The Spirituality of Tattoos." In it, Myers, who is tattooed, explores the spiritual impact of body art and breaks it down into three observations:
* Tattooing can change one's identity, having an affect on how the tattooed person is viewed by others and how she views herself.
* Tattoos are "roadsigns," that is, when tattoos mark a significant life moment, they can "be powerful enough to return one to that state of spirituality."
* And tattoos can make one feel a part of a community.
This may not be big news to all who are tattooed, but it's great to have a well written piece read by those who simply see tattooing as a "fad," or even worse, the realm of "the lowest elements of the human race."
Not every tattoo need be imbued with great spiritual significance, of course, but I agree with Myers in many ways -- most important, that I do feel I am part of a community. It's why I'm sitting here writing this blah blah.
The added bonus of this piece is finding out that Myers is tattooed by one of my favorites Colin Dale of Skin & Bone in Denmark, and that his wife is tattooed by my own artist, Daniel DiMattia of Belgium. There's a great passage in the article where he describes how his wife views her tattoos:
When I asked what she thought about herself on the other side of the needle, she explained that her tattoo did not change her, but was an indelible expression of her journey toward her authentic self. She sees her tattoo as an outward mark of an inward journey, accessing a part of her self that had always been there. I asked her how this step along her journey made her feel and she replied, to my surprise, "Fierce!"Fierce, indeed. More tattoo images in the article's photo slideshow.
Tattoo by Daniel DiMattia.
[Many thanks to David G. for the link!]
This past Saturday I added to my tattoo collection by getting both sides of my ribs done, courtesy of Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo. Here's how it went down:
I woke up to the smell of steak and eggs (sorry, vegans), which Brian was preparing especially for my appointment. While this may seem like a frivolous detail -- akin to me seeing photos of everything my friends eat posted on Facebook -- my point in mentioning it is the importance of a fueling up before a session because, really, getting needled takes a toll on your body and you need to feed it to keep going. [Keep in mind that I'm Greek, and we eat like we're getting tattooed every day.]
After breakfast comes outfit choice. Something loose fitting and slung low on the hips so as not to rub against and irritate the fresh tattoo. When I got my hips done last time, I wore breakaway pants -- the kind sports figures and male strippers tear off (woohoo!) -- so I can undo the snaps along the sides to expose just the skin being tattooed and not flash everyone at the shop. I highly recommend them. But they weren't necessary this time as we decided to extend the tattoo from the existing flowers and snakes on my hip bones and not lower down. Yoga pants did the trick.
Fed and dressed, I headed to Tattoo Culture in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where Dan was guesting, along with fabulous abstract artists Noon & Loic Lavenu aka Xoil. There were a lot of jokes in French throughout the day but they largely centered around genitals than Jerry Lewis. I was entertained.
Pay attention: Ok, here we go about the actual tattooing part in case I lost you at the food and fashion. Days before the session, Dan took my measurements and we decided how we wanted to shape the tattoos on the ribs to bring a more cohesive look with my existing stomach and hip work. I chose to keep to floral and mehndi-inspired motifs, which flowed inward along the shape of my waist. It's slimming and way better than lipo. While Dan is brilliant at freehand designs directly on the body, he drew the design in advance for better symmetry and because we didn't have time to spend hours coming up with something on the spot. He was leaving for Belgium the next day.
Stencil on. Mirror check. Great. Let's do this.
Ouch. No really, ouch.
Tattoos hurt, yes. Some people feel them in certain spots more than others, and the ribs were my unhappy place. Couple that with a large Belgian bearing down on me (see above) and the inability to move because it's all line work, with some dot shading. Not much room for error if I twitched.
Not much room for sympathy either. Most of my big work (back, sleeves, etc) is by Dan. Dan and I were once married. There's no need for polite client relations. This pain was payback for the times I didn't do the dishes. He is quick to mention, however, that he enjoys tattooing me because it's the only time I shut up. He's right.
There were some short breaks here and there. Dan's lovely fiance Devanei shared great stories about her experiences on this NY trip. Brian showed up with the most important tattoo provision ever: a Snickers bar. Chocolate and peanuts. It satisfied.
Within five hours, including breaks, both sides were done. Dan works fast, and you want fast on the ribs.
Three days later, the healing has been super-quick as well. I've been doing my usual LITFA method: Leave It the F*ck Alone, with just a thin layer of A&D ointment here and there. I'll switch to moisturizer soon.
The tattoos are perfect. The work harmonizes with the existing designs and also lends itself to further additions as we continue my bodysuit, slowly. I love the way I look in them.
That's why I get tattooed.
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."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.
Well, I'm still molting but because some of y'all have been asking about my new snake hip, here's a sneak peak while it heals.
On Monday, Belgian blackwork maestro, Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo spent nearly 8 hours on a stippled snake that winds up my left thigh to my hip. Dan was a guest artist at Tattoo Culture in Brooklyn so I didn't have to travel to his studio in Liege (although I recommend doing so for a European tattoo vacation). The work mirrors and balances out the snake on my right thigh, which Dan tattooed in November at his shop. More on that in this post.
Because I wasn't jet-lagged, and I had the ridiculous and wonderful Tattoo Culture crew as entertainment (plus Brian Grosz feeding me candy), the pain seemed significantly less than the first snake, even though it was the same tattoo and same amount of hours under the needle. A testament to mind over matter and optimal tattoo conditions.
Like the other snake, I decided not to use the numbing spray because the hurt was manageable, but yeah, by the seventh hour I was seriously ready to have it be done. After seven hours and forty-five minutes (with only a quick lunch break) of tattooing, I was standing (on shaky feet) completely in love with both of my hips. I still can't stop shimmying.
The snakes will form the foundation on my legs for different decorative elements that will surround them, but I think I'll take a little break for a while.
See more of Dan's work here.
I was once told by a Maori artist, who wore and tattooed his ancestral Ta Moko designs, that you're not really tattooed unless you have a badass skull on you. [His was an 80s metal version.] Skull imagery hold a sort of power, a reminder of our mortality that can evoke fear or defiance (a la 80s metal skulls). Its artistic interpretations are vast, particularly in our tattoo community. Paying homage to memento mori is Cranial Visions: Exploring The Skull Through Artistic Interpretation.
This 240-page hardcover, released by Memento Publishing, is the brainchild (sorry) of Mike DeVries and Jeff Johnson and edited by the wonderful Jinxi Caddel. Here's what Jinxi says of the project:
Cranial Visions honors the skull through artistic interpretations and many different mediums, including: tattoos, paintings, sketches and drawings, mixed media, digital art, graffiti, photography, and "skullptures." Each chapter is dripping with inspirational images created by masters of their crafts. Over 800 diverse, bold, and creative images of skull-related artwork. An outstanding book for reference if you are a tattoo artist, as it features angles and ideas from all sorts of perspectives.You can purchase the book on Mike's online store for $69.99. I highly recommend it.
Cranial Visions: painting by Shawn Barber
Cranial Visions: tattoos by Daniel DiMattia
See more samples from the book on Jinxi's blog.
Men's lifestyle magazine Complex put out this list of "50 Tattoo Artists you Need to Know," which is an interesting compilation that includes the usual big names, like Paul Booth, but also some exciting new comers. [I was glad to see my own artist Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo featured at No.11.]
The list was advised by tattoo historian and journalist Nick Schonberger who is also behind the wonderful Curatedmag.com and Selectism.com. There are a few mistakes, like misidentification in the photos of a couple artists, and I would have liked to see more biomech and organic work repped, but overall, I'd recommend checking it out and perhaps discovering new talent through the picks as I did.
I'm in pain.
Yes, we know tattoos hurt. It's what gives the art much of its badassness. I used to think that the pain was absolutely necessary to be part of the tattoo tribe. That is, until I got my feet tattooed and all I wanted was a Vicodin. [I didn't get one.] There was a time when I would've said tattooing my ribs had to be the worst, but now I know that my freshly tattooed foot--all swollen and throbbing (and not in a good way)-- wins for the most suckage.
But I'll stop my whining here and give you the lowdown on my new pretty tootsie.
Yesterday, I was at Tattoo Culture in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where Dan DiMattia works as a guest artist when he's in town, away from his Liege, Belgium studio. Dan has done most of my tattoo work: my sleeves, backpiece, ribs, stomach, and small hand tattoo.
In advance of my appointment, I sent Dan an email with images of my other foot tattoo by Jacqueline Spoerle--which you can read about here--and told him I wanted a floral design as well with a shape symmetrical to the other. That's all I said.
When I got to Tattoo Culture, he had a bunch of designs he drew up for me to choose from for the top of my foot; I picked my fave and then he freehanded the side up by my ankle and added a few extra touches all around. Perfecto.
Now the hard part.
The needles went it, the endorphins kicked, and all was cool for a hot minute until my foot then wanted to twitch and do a little dance. I kept it steady but it caused my body to tense up, so it took a while to relax and get into the shop banter. And there was plenty of it.
Loic from France is also guesting at the shop along with Noon--two of my absolutely favorite artists of the French Avante Garde/Art Brut style. The same way he needles humor into his tattoos, Loic offered comic relief. Or maybe it was just easy to make fun of him. Or maybe it was easy to make fun of both he and his client, a young girl who wanted a French sentence on her wrist that didn't make much sense but still insisted on getting it even after two native Francophones advised against it. [In the end, Loic did word it in a way that was understandable, albeit still retaining its desired idiocy.] Beyond that, I think the dude has a foot fetish, but I'll leave it at that.
It makes such a difference to get tattooed in a friendly and relaxed shop where the art is serious but the people are goofy. Or at least my own goofiness was allowed to flourish and shine.
The downside of being in a friendly shop, is that the guys are too friendly. When a woman walked in with a stroller asking if she could calm her screaming baby down inside the shop instead of outside, they said Ok. She didn't stay long but I was more annoyed by the audacity than the wailing. If there was ever a final nail in the coffin of tattoo studio intimidation, this was it. Again, a trade-off.
While Dan takes his time in designing, he is really fast at tattooing, which is pretty amazing considering he's meticulous in his line and dotwork. The actual tattooing took less than an hour. *phew*
We wrapped my puffy foot up, and I managed to stuff it into my over-sized rain boots. Today, it's nestled comfortably in monkey slippers. [sexy time!] The big question, however, is what to wear when I'm on my feet all tomorrow and through the weekend at the NYC Tattoo Convention.
As I ponder the great footwear debate, I'll end in all caps: I LOVE MY TATTOOED FEET.
In what can only be described as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, tribal/blackwork tattoo specialist Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo is adding more color to his tattoos!!!
[Not enough exclamation points exist to express this shocking news.]
I just saw the half-sleeve above on Tattoo Now's Tattoo of the Day -- a feature I check religiously -- and thought, "Wow, interesting use of color in dotwork shading amongst blackwork. I wonder who the artist is..." Wait, that's my tattoo artist (and yes, the dude I was once married to for all y'all gossip mongers)!
Considering Dan is tattooing my foot next month when he's in for the NYC Tattoo Convention (May 14-16), I figured I'd head to the Calypso Tattoo website and see what other new things Dan's been doing to mix up his portfolio. Alas, I didn't find anything crazy like a biomechanical portrait tattoo of Beyonce surrounded by Koi fish (I wish!), but there were new artistic influences like this modern art tattoo and this Egyptian-inspired piece; however, it seems he is staying true to what he is renowned for: a powerful blend of tribal-inspired art like these works and more feminine henna-inspired tattoos.
While Dan is booked for his New York trip, the best way to get work from him is to head to his studio in Liege, Belgium for a tattoo holiday. [Hit him up via his contact page.]
Once it's healed, I'll be sure to post pix of my new foot tattoo, which will complement the other one prettied by Jacqueline Spoerle (wrote about healing that one here).
If you haven't seen Dan's tattoo work on me, check 'em here.
I'm working on a new tattoo book project, and in it, I'd like to show how artists interpret popular tattoo themes in their own style. That's where I could use your help.
If you have a skull, dagger or heart tattoo that you would like to share in my project (for a major American publisher), please email a high-res image (or send a link for me to download it) to firstname.lastname@example.org along with information on the artist who tattooed you.
UPDATE: I should've clarified that tattooists can submit as well BUT the artist will need express permission from the client to use the image in the publication.
My eternal love,
Dotwork skull tattoo by Daniel DiMattia, Calypso Tattoo.
Tattoo Culture in Williamburg, Brooklyn has always been a second home for me. Owner Chris Budd has given his big, beautiful studio over as our Needles & Sins party and gallery space, an office for me to blog when I wanna break outta my apartment, and just a hangout of good friends and artists from all over the world.
Now, Tattoo Culture has found a home here on this site in their advertising support, as you'll find their distinct logo to the left.
Resident artist Gene Coffey is skilled at all styles, from abstract to Japanese to lettering and, most important, his clients love him because he doesn't bring attitude to the studio but a great sense of humor. His work is featured in this post.
What also makes Tattoo Culture special is that it acts as a concierge studio to international tattooists, artists who bring tattoo styles that are rare to find even in the NY metropolis, like the Art Brut style of Noon or the blackwork of Daniel DiMattia. Other artists have included Max.Schmal of Austria, Jake Abandonment and Adam of Darklite from Australia, Sento of Spain, among may others.
The current guest artist is my homegirl Emilie aka Klak of Belgium who is an old school tattoo diva but can rock a black & grey piece like she came from LA. Emilie will be tattooing at the studio until mid-November.
In fact, she's taking over for the week as Gene and Chris head to this weekend's Evian Tattoo Show in France. Chris will be taking photos and bringing back a report for Needles & Sins, so look out for that in the coming weeks.
If you're interested in advertising on N+S, hit me up through the contact link.