The recent headlines this week tackled tattoos and tradition, sacred rituals, racism, celebrity, comedy and more.
First up, when PBS ran a story on a family of Trump supporters in North Carolina, it seems they producers did not know (or did not alert viewers) that the hand tattoos on one of them are commonly considered "white power" symbols. Gawker called out the racist tattoos, interviewing Mark Pitcavage, senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League, for more on the Celtic cross and "88" tattoos on the hands of Trump fan Grace Tilly (shown above). Pitcavage told Gawker:
The Celtic Cross is an ancient and revered Christian symbol typically not associated with extremism at all. However, one particular version of the Celtic Cross--a squarish cross with a thick circle intersecting with it (also known as Odin's Cross), has become one of the most popular white supremacist symbols around. In the past 20 years, its popularity has done little but grow, thanks to its use as the logo by Stormfront, the largest white supremacist website in the world.Gawker adds: "Per the ADL's website, '88 is a white supremacist numerical code for Heil Hitler.' Finally, a connection has been made between Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump."
When the discussion of the PBS piece turned largely to these tattoos, PBS had to add two editor's notes acknowledging the tattoo issue. When they reached out to Tilly, she denied that her tattoos were white power symbols, but commenters weren't buying it, especially, the "88."
With continued association to racist groups, Trump supporters who have gotten tattoo tributes to The Donald may soon be looking to erase their mistakes. Looking forward, Gizmodo offers a "Preview of the Presidential Tattoos People Will Be Getting Removed In 2017."
Negative associations with tattoos, particularly to the criminal underworld, are what lie behind the bans found at so many spas and hot springs in Japan. [In Sept 2013, I wrote on how one Maori woman was refused entry to a bathhouse in Hokkaido because of her Moko.] Recently, the Japan Tourism Agency has asked spa operators to accept tattooed foreign tourists. According to the Japan Times,"the agency asked operators to take measures such as offering stickers to cover tattoos and setting certain time frames for tattooed tourists to bathe, so as to separate them from other visitors." They would need one very large sticker for my bod! Japan Times also noted that the request does not extend to relaxing the rules for Japanese with tattoos.
In Thailand, tens of thousands descended upon Wat Bang Phra for the annual Wai Khru ceremony in which devotees receive Sak Yant -- tattoos believed to imbue the wearers with magical powers, and also "re-energize" the powers of their existing tattoos. The MalayMail has this video of the ceremony, and The Nation interviewed attendees about their tattoo talismans.
Proving you're never too old to be tattooed, 103-year-old Jack Reynolds plans to get a tattoo for his 104th birthday next month, making him the oldest person on record to do so. Check this adorable video interview with him. In an interview with Good Morning Britain, Reynolds says that he would like to get tattooed on his arms, but they are too skinny, so it may just be inked on his butt.
On the celebrity tattoo tip, GQ offers "An Annotated Guide to David Beckham's Many Tattoos." Thank you, GQ.
Also thankfully, that awful Ben Affleck backpiece is a fake. Phew.
Finally, I had to giggle watching comedian Amy Schumer trash Mike Tyson for his 'slutty' facial tattoo.
UPDATE: Our Instagram friends tell us that Nigel de Jong's tattoos, as shown above, are by Ade Itameda.
I swore to myself that I wasn't going to do a World Cup tattoo post, but after being inundated with news articles on player and fan tattoo tributes, I'm falling for the hype -- and doing so because there's actually good work out there on the field. [Less so in the stands and in front of TVs.] So I culled through the many, many news articles and came up with some worth checking:
Let's first ignore the tired cliche "Once sported only by biker gangs, outlaws, and sailors, tattoos are now ..." that begins the IBN article "11 players in FIFA World Cup 2014 with the coolest tattoos ever!" Yup, quite a statement. But there are some decent picks from the mass of tattooed soccer/futball players. For one, the traditional Samoan sleeve (shown below) of Australia's Tim Cahill (as discussed in these videos). According to IBN, "The sleeve on his left arm has his Samoan roots from his maternal family with a symbolic lifeline of his grandmother after she died, linking it with that of his own and his parents." Then there's that photo of USA's Tim Howard, who also stripped down for PETA's Ink Not Mink campaign -- as a personal favor to me.
The Telegraphs' "The 10 best tattooed footballers" is more about the best players and not the best tattoos, but the list includes Nigel de Jong (photo above) who has some interesting blackwork. Check more of Nigel's tattoos on his Instagram. And even if all the tattoos on this list are not that artful, some of the stories behind them are worth a read.
The Daily Fail's photo piece on players wasn't as bad as their usual tattoo coverage. I particularly liked the focus on the footballers with full sleeves, with discussion on some of the details. Naturally, they referenced David Beckham as the inspiration. And speaking of Beckham inspiration: thank you, H & M.
What discussion of soccer tattoos would be complete without those "wacky fans"? Following the tradition that sports tributes make for the most questionable of decisions, this Dutch fan did not disappoint with these portraits of Louis van Gaal and Robin van Persie, just after 2 World Cup games. I guess it's called FIFA fever for a reason.
Looks like The Hangover 2 continues to suffer some bad tattoo juju. First, the controversy surrounding who would play the small role of tattoo artist in the film. And now, the tattoo design itself.
Victor Whitmill, who did Mike Tyson's infamous facial tattoo in 2003, is suing Warner Bros. for copyright infringement in pirating his tattoo design "without attempting to contact [him], obtain his permission, or credit his creation"; he seeks damages and an injunction to stop the use of the tattoo in the film--which is essentially a big part of the movie. In The Hangover 2, a bachelor party once again leaves our wacky heroes with no clue of what happened the night before, except for a facial tattoo on the groom Stu (Ed Helms). There's also a monkey. See the trailer below.
Looks pretty funny but the legal claims are quite serious. [Download the complaint here.]
Tattoos. Copyright. The media is loving it. But in so many discussions of the case, there's a great deal of misinformation, so I'd like to break it down as best as I can.
First, when I wrote "The Tattoo Copyright Controversy for BMEzine in 2003, I approached it like a law school hypothetical; that is, I played with how intellectual property rules would apply in various potential disputes involving the ownership of a custom tattoo design. It was hypothetical because, at the time, no actual cases on record could be found specifically addressing this issue. Well, a lot has changed since 2003. Tattoo artists have sued companies for infringement and a number have received large settlements. Even collectors, like model & photographer Amina Munster [NSFW], have registered their tattoos with the US Copyright Office to discourage other collectors from copying.
The basics behind "The Tattoo Copyright Controversy still hold in addressing what exactly is copyright and its relation to tattoos. A couple of years later, I updated the article for Rankmytattoos.com and continued to post developments on my old Needled.com blog. So click these article links for more of a general discussion.
In this post, I'm going to break down the tattoo copyright issues in relation to Whitmill v. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., (E.D. Missouri), what I'll call:
The Mike Tyson Tattoo Copyright Case 101...
Photo by Charlie Brewer for News.com.au.
Photos of "Painted Ladies" dominated this past week's tattoo news with galleries from the Miss Tattoo Asia Pageant at the Singapore Tattoo Convention to Miss Tattoo Australia -- including the photo above of the Matt Shamah backpiece on the winner May Cheung.
In addition to the Miss Tattoo Australia photo gallery, the Courier Mail has an article on the "fast-growing female tattoo culture" in Australia. The article also mentions the Surf 'n' Ink tattoo convention on the Gold Coast taking place this weekend.
For more Miss Tattoo Asia photos, check Klik TV. Klik also shot plenty of tattoo photos from the Singapore Tattoo Convention that were not only of half-naked women (like the one shown right) -- best viewed on their Flickr page. They posted additional photos on their site in contest format where you can vote for your favorite tattooed person.
Also, on Flickr, check photo sets from photographer Naveen Prabhakar, Anvil Den, Apocalypse22001 and DumbKuKu.
[The Convention's Facebook pages, here and here, are being updated regularly with photos from attendees.]
The Sydney Morning Herald has a well reported short video on the Singapore Tattoo Convention. The paper's article on literary tattoos, however, is too snarky even for me.
Getting back to the fore-mothers of today's painted ladies...
Read this article on Sarawak women whose tattoos once marked status and beauty, but today, are rarely seen except on the elderly. Reviving Filipino tattoo traditions are the Tatak Ng Apat Na Alon Tribe. Last year, members traveled to the Kalinga mountains for the Kalinga Batok (tattoo festival) and had a chance to tattoo and be tattooed by local elders, including 89-year-old tattooist Whang Od. Read more (and see photos) about that festival in this great article by Lars Krutak. [The Revival chapter in my Black Tattoo Art book also features the Tribe and traditional Filipino tattooing.]
Tattoos for beauty and status can be found in Chanel's upcoming line of trompe-l'œil temporary tattoos shown during their Spring-Summer 2010 fashion show. The transfer will go for about $75 US (50 Euros) at Chanel stores and high-end boutiques beginning March 1st. Fashion divas Susanh Breslin and Samantha of the fabulous Haute Macabre sent me the Chanel links, and we all agreed to reserve judgment until we saw them in person, but as I told Sam, I think transfer tattoos are perfect for people who really shouldn't get tattoos (like the guy at the gym with the armband that only goes half-way around his bicep who thinks we both have something in common). At $75 a pop though, it's still a commitment, financially.
For more faux tattoos in fashion and home decor, check NBC San Diego's Imitation Ink gallery.
I've given you the pretty links, now time for the quick-n-dirty:
Abstract Tattoo by Amanda Wachob of DareDevil Tattoo.
I got some private messages last week admitting a forbidden love for the truly WTF tattoo galleries linked to in the news review, so before I get to the real newsworthy items, I'll satisfy more guilty pleasures with this first one:
It's a fun photo essay that includes Joe Letz's flying penis tattoo on his leg, the Hawaiian shark teeth on Brent Hind's face, and Jeffree Star's JonBenet Ramsey & Sharon Tate portraits.
To cleanse that frightening bunch outta ya mind, check out the exciting tattoo artistry of Amanda Wachob of DareDevil Tattoo, who experiments with abstract forms and conceptual design but can also do a solid, clean traditional tattoo. I met Amanda at our launch party Friday and she told me about an abstract tattoo project she's working on -- also mentioned on DevilCity Press -- where 8-10 people will be chosen to get a large tattoo, free. More details on that coming up later this week.
Amanda's conceptual art got me thinking of the lines and dots found on the oldest recorded tattooed person: Otzi the Iceman; however, a recent news item discusses how his tattoos have proved to be medicinal, not aesthetic. The article explains:
"There are groups of one, two, three, four and seven tattoo lines parallel to the longitudinal axis of the body, and so they're parallel to Chinese acupuncture meridians." The cross-shaped tattoo on his knee, and another one on his left ankle, also lay over Chinese acupuncture "trigger points," the researchers believe. Strengthening their argument is the fact that the soot-made markings are located on parts of the iceman's body not typical for tattoo displays, diminishing the notion that they served a more ornamental, aesthetic function.See a video on how the first tattoos were created.
Despite the millennia of tattoo history, many still think it's an unsavory fad. Here's yet another weekly news item on tattoo discrimination -- this time, an Ohio town does not think tattoos are a "fit."
But this prejudice is not so surprising after also reading weekly stories of idiots who use the art as a gimmick like this guy who got a tattoo to win a PalmPre phone. Of course, with the cost of the tattoo (and subsequent lasering I'm sure), he coulda just bought the PalmPre and been spared our mockery. Mock, mock, mock.
Some may also mock this dude above who proposed marriage -- permanently -- but today I'm feelin the love and just grateful that Caroline said "Yes." Now, let's hope the marriage lasts.
Cleveland.com has a new feature called Tat Chat where they "celebrate body art" and "find folks with interesting tattoos and the often even more interesting stories behind them."
My favorite blog find this past week, however, was Coolhunting.com post on Carlos Alvarez Montero, and his photographs of the counterculure in NYC and Mexico City -- particularly the heavily tattooed.
Quick & Dirty Link time...
The Michael Jackson tribute tattoos dominated the headlines while Rihanna created some buzz of her own by tattooing three people at East Side Ink in Manhattan, home to her favorite artist Bang Bang. Tattooists at the shop got Ri's signature umbrella with the letter 'R' underneath it. But the biggest treat was for the paparazzi: see more photos on INFDaily.
Alas, the sweet press for the studio has backfired because now the NYPD and the NYC Health Department are looking into Rihanna tattooing without a license -- a misdemeanor offense that could mean fines and loss of license for East Side's owner. It's not confirmed, however, whether the city has opened an investigation into the unlicensed tattooing.
In more illegal ink news, this dude was jailed for tattooing minors but it should've been for his "online tattooing school." Note to self: ask my next tattooist to see license and diploma from Bob's Tattoo School.
The problem with unlicensed tattooing is the risk of severe infection, never mind shitty umbrella art.
Perfect example: this tattoo gone wrong law suit [via NSFW Modblog] where three friends walked into a Morgan Hill, California shop and walked out with massive staph infections. One posted this puss-filled tattoo (below) on HelpMeSue.com, also noting they researched the studio and found it was not yet licensed by the health department. It would have been better, of course, if such research was done prior to dirty tattooing. The image is a reminder to do our homework on the artist and shop opening our skin.
Infection may be common at unlicensed shops but I wouldn't go as far as ex-MTV veejay Jancee Dunn's fear of "rampant hepatitis" -- the argument she gave her over-60 mom who decided to get tattooed. But the super cool mom ignored such drama and gave the best reason for wanting a tattoo -- simply because she liked it:
"I've passed midlife. Your generation thinks every action has to be fueled by some major psychological motive. You know what? I just want some art on my body. And I like ravens."They went to Shotsie's Tattoo in Wayne, NJ, a long time tattoo staple in NJ (fully licensed of course), and the Ink Shrink worked a raven on her wrist, which she loved. The rockin grandma's next plan is to head to Burning Man, and while her daughter remains horrified, I'm inspired. Jancee's book Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask is now out.
Ok, now to cleanse that icky tattoo image from ya head, behold the Beckhams:
I just licked my screen. Their Armani ad is hot. Less so, The Beckhams: 10 years of tattoos, Tom Cruise and malnutrition.
Further celeb hotness, Mena Suvari shows off her '13' tattoo.
But I gotta ask, What would prompt someone to get a Lady Gaga tattoo?
In more important news ...
Quebec Superior Court judge has ruled that a dress code for day care workers forcing employees to cover-up tattoos was in violation of their rights.Supported by the daycare worker union in Quebec, Nadine Bélisle can now show off the snake tattoo on her shoulder blade. The union president said "We agree that if a tattoo is sexist, racist or violent it should be camouflaged. But I don't see how children are going to be traumatized by a flower on someone's ankle." The lawyer for the daycare argued the board put the general ban in place so they did not have to make the decision of what tattoos are deemed suitable. The judge didn't dig that argument and found that the ban "rests on prejudices." The Globe and Mail further quotes the Judge Jean Bouchard:
Another reason to love Canada:
Eric has been getting tattooed for over 20 years but saved room on his upper arm to mark the birth of his beautiful daughter Hayden (both shown right). And as Hayden was born on a full moon, he added one behind her name and above it a rose with a pink diamond in it. Ok everyone, time for a group "aaawww."
Another note to self: add Eric to our growing N+S "objectified tattooed men."
Not to be objectified: This dude with the Stooges backpiece and facial ink!
Perhaps he'll be inducted into Australia MSN's world's worst tattoos hall of shame. A group rivalled by those featured in this blog: Most unfortunate tattoos for a mugshot.