Results tagged “Holiday Gift Guide”

10:23 AM
tattoo porcelain.pngTattooed porcelain by By Mutti.

Tattooyogaflash.jpgTattoo yoga flash by Painted Lady Fitness.

tattooed lady tea towel.pngTattooed lady tea towel by Emily the Pemily.

It's "Cyber Monday," and while I've decided to ignore the online deals for fitness monitors, Spanx and other items recommended for me on Amazon (hmmmm), I figured it would be a good time to give a shout to some tattoo-related goodies that may help with your holiday gift list. I picked five recent faves:

For the tattooed ladies who lunch, or even my mama, I'm loving the beautiful porcelain dinnerware and tea pots adorned with tattoo motifs, by the Swedish porcelain brand By Mutti. The collection, shown above, entitled Faith Hope & Love, was created by ceramist and visual artist Eva Gernandt, who designed and independently produced the works in honor of all seafarers. I found the brand through tattooer (and Jedi Viking) Colin Dale of Skin & Bone in Copenhagen. Skin & Bone is offering this collection for purchase, along with other crafts and books for the holiday season. And of course, you can purchase the tattooed porcelain on

Now, y'all went crazy for the
tattoo yoga flash by Painted Lady Fitness, which I wrote about in July, but at that time, the sheets were not available for purchase online. They are now - but while supplies last! Painted Lady Fitness is the baby of Ashley Silversides, a yoga teacher and personal trainer who has taken a special interest in tattoo artist wellness. As I wrote in my post, Ashley has offered yoga classes at tattoo conventions, and she also put together stretching guides, providing photos, explanations and the benefits, directed specifically towards tattooers. The yoga pose flash -- which was painted by Andrew Ottenhof from The Foundry Tattoo in Odessa, Ontario -- is a healthy resource as well as a piece of art. You can purchase it via PayPal for just 40 Canadian dollars (which includes shipping).

I recently discovered the illustrations of Manchester-based Emily Boyd via her Emily the Pemily Etsy store. I've been collecting printed tea towels with fun motifs and framing them for my kitchen, and in my Etsy search for "tea towel," popped the old tattooed lady artwork (above). It was destiny. I bought it and also a tee with the same design. The quality of the hand screen printing on 100% cotton is great, and the tee has a cool cut. Delivery was quick (she ship's worldwide) and I think her prices are really fair. Check Emily's shop here.

[Also on Etsy, I still have my favorite shops for holiday greeting cards:  MargaretaGR's tattooed women of Xmas greetings, the tattooed Mike Tyson "Merry Chrithmith" card, and may favorite for the past couple years -- Sugarbeet Press' tattooed lady set.]

Tis the season when my friends are all having babies, and so I'm hitting up Jinxi and Steve Caddel's Out of Step Books, which has a special children's book section. The books include
"ABC - Tattoo Artists Illustrate the Alphabet" (below) and "Start Looking Up!", a hardback, full-color children's book, written by Jinxi and illustrated by Tony Ciavarro, that "spreads the message of how having a positive attitude can turn your day around and change the way that you see things (and life in general)." Yeah, PMA! While my focus is on gifts for the kiddies, there are so many fantastic beautifully produced books and prints on Out of Step. They especially make great gifts for your tattoo artists.

Finally, the ladies do love legendary tattooer Lal Hardy of New Wave Tattoo in London. And now even more so, thanks to a line of vibrators he designed for the UK's leading sex toy purveyors, Rocks Off. I haven't tried them myself, but I'm sure they are lovely.  You can purchase them from the Rocks Off site, or online via Amazon, Walgreens and other stores for "personal wellness."

Happy shopping!

ABC tattoo book.png"ABC - Tattoo Artists Illustrate the Alphabet" via Out of Step Books.
rocks off lal hardy vibrator.png"Rocks Off" massager designed by Lal Hardy.
03:51 PM
needles-sins-graphic(1) copy.jpg
Keeping with our beautiful tattoo theme for our Holiday Gift Guide, the H2Ocean Online shop has some fantastic gift sets, as well as individual products, for tattoo healing and also maintaining to keep your tattoos looking fresh and fantastic. H2Ocean, a supporter of this site, has been a long time trusted provider of tattoo and piercing aftercare in our community, supported and advised by top tattooers.

For that last minute holiday shopping, consider these two H2Ocean sets:

H2Ocean's Ultimate Tattoo Care Set $35 and free shipping (savings of $15)
  • 1-1.7oz Nothing Pain Relieving Foam Soap - to allow a pain free tattoo session (during tattoo process)
  • 1-Ultimate Tattoo Care - three step water based step by step care system will cleanse, moisturize and lock in the ink on all new tattoos. Contains a Blue Green Foam Soap, Ocean Care moisturizing cream, Ocean Foam skin barrier.
  • 1-Sea Life SPF 45 - Protect your healed tattoos from the harmful sun rays (protect your healed tattoo)

Extreme Tattoo Aftercare Holiday Gift Set $35 and free shipping (savings of $15) 
  • 1-1.7oz Nothing Pain Relieving Foam Soap - to allow a pain free tattoo session (during tattoo process)
  • 1-Extreme Tattoo Care - three step pharmaceutical grade tattoo products. The Extreme Tattoo Care contains a Blue Green Foam soap for cleansing the tattoo, Aquatat Tattoo Ointment to protect the tattoo for the first two days and Ocean Care cream to moisturize for the remainder of the healing process.
  • 1-Sea Life SPF 45 - Protect your healed tattoos from the harmful sun rays (protect your healed tattoo)
You can also get priority shipping to ensure your purchases make it into your own hands, and those of your favorite tattoo collectors, by the holidays.

Happy healing!
12:10 PM
Needles-and-Sins-Gift-Guide.jpgFor the holidays, why not give the gift of pain-free -- or at least a less painful -- tattoos?

Face and Body Professionals, an industry supplier for over 15 years, offers an array of topical anesthetics, and some package deals, including their Tattoo Shop Starter Kit. The kit is a trio of anesthetics with each of the following:

  * Super Trio: a numbing cream effective for the initial outlining of a tattoo.

  * Swipe: a skin cleanser and has a powerful anesthetic during procedures and extending the working time of Sustaine.

  * Sustaine Blue Gel: numbing gel which reduces sensitivity to the skin and reduces bleeding during the procedure.

The three together are regularly $105, but now $85 for the kit.

As someone who has done long painful sessions -- and did not get a trophy afterward -- I've begun to use the numbing creams for those 8-hour tattoos, which helps me sit still and for a greater amount of time . 

Face and Body Professionals has been a long-time supporter of this blog, and I encourage you to support their products -- for yourself, and those on your shopping list (including your tattooist!).   
07:06 AM
star wars tattoo.jpg
I'm a huge fan of, which never disappoints in offering cool, unique items -- from jewelry to home goods to apparel -- created by independent artists, including a good number of tattooers. So, for this Holiday Gift Guide I spent a lot of time on Etsy to find products with interesting tattoo twists.

First up, with all the buzz over the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser, I just had to share these Star Wars/Tattoo Mash-Ups by Adam Hayes of Red Rocket Tattoo, especially, the Holy Princess Leia, shown above. [* Side Note: There already is a Force Awakens tattoo. That was quick!]

The kid in me couldn't resist these beautiful handmade tattoo lady paper doll puppets, with their moving joints and adjustable parts, although I'll probably display rather than play with them because they're so pretty (shown below). I also dig Tessa the Tattooed Paper Doll, with all her kicky outfits. Ok, maybe I'll play with that one.

tattoo doll.jpgWhile I never get them out on time, holiday cards with tattoo themes offer a little more motivation to do so. Some of my favorites on Etsy are the MargaretaGR tattooed women of Xmas greetings (shown below), the tattooed Mike Tyson "Merry Chrithmith" card, and may favorite for the past couple years -- Sugarbeet Press' tattooed lady set.

For more shopping fun, check these tattooists' Etsy shop items:

* Sailor Whale tees from Olivier of Glamort Tattoo in Montreal.
* Handmade original book art by Tom Tapit of Triple Diamond Tattoo in Brooklyn.
* "Sex Flash" in the signature "bubble girlie style" of Kristel Oreto in Philadelphia.

Something for everyone's stockings!

tattoo xmas card.jpg
01:49 PM
Alex Binnie art print.jpgAlex Binnie's  "Freddy" print above.

Alex Binnie Calypso print.jpgAlex Binnie's  "Calypso" print above.

One of the foremost respected online art galleries that sells original art and collectible prints by stellar tattoo artists is Raking Light Projects, a company owned and operated by veteran tattooer Eddy Deutsche and Andrew Fingerhut. 

As I wrote in our post on Raking Light back in 2012, around the time of its launch, select artists are invited to create artwork exclusively for Raking Light Projects.  All prints are produced in limited numbers, and select originals are also available for purchase on the site.

Prints include artwork by Eddy himself, as well as those created by tattoo artists who include Chad Koeplinger, Jondix, Virginia Elwood, Thomas Hooper, and Horizakura, among many others.

For our Holiday Gift Guide, I chose to feature a couple of my favorites by Alex Binnie, famed tattooer/owner of Into You Tattoo, and printmaker. The "Calypso" and "Freddy [Corbin]" prints, shown above, are 24" x 32" serigraphs on Magnani Incisioni paper, printed as an artist-embossed single edition of 100, respectively, and come with signed Certificates of Authenticity.  The print price for each is $100.

For me, the varied price points are an outstanding feature of Raking Light, making high quality prints accessible to art lovers with different budgets; some prints are as low as $60.

Check their full gallery/store online.    

08:37 AM
kakoulas books.jpg
Update: Black Tattoo Art Volume I is now sold out but the Black Tattoo Art II and Color Tattoo Art are still available (for now).
"Black Friday" is a term that represents gross commerce in the name of holiday cheer, so I figured I'd take over that name and add a bit of beauty by making it Black TATTOO Friday, and offer the few remaining author copies of some of my books at a significantly reduced rate. The books on sale are:

   * Black Tattoo Art Volume 1 (my first baby) on sale for $120 + shipping, SOLD OUT
   * Black Tattoo Art Volume 2 (my latest baby) on sale for $120 + shipping, and
   * Color Tattoo Art (my new school/cartoon/comics monster) on sale for $99 + shipping.

Buy them online here.

Along with the books, I'll throw in stickers and condoms for free! And a love note!

The book sale kicks off our holiday guide, so we'll be featuring lots of other products to knock off your shopping list without ever having to enter a Walmart.

Here are some sample pics from the books below. See more pics on Flickr: Black Tattoo Art I, Black Tattoo Art II, and Color Tattoo Art.

blackwork tattoo Vincent.jpgTattoo above by Vincent Hocquet (Black Tattoo Art I).

leon lam black tattoo.jpgTattoo above by Leon Lam (Black Tattoo Art II)

comic tattoo.jpgTattoo above by Genko (Color Tattoo Art).
10:29 AM
Art of the Leu Family.jpg
What better gift can one give than of art and inspiration, especially when the source is a family who has given so much themselves to our tattoo community?

The Leu Family, for generations, has transformed the way we view tattooing, a craft that can be a fine art in itself.  And in doing so they have excited a movement among tattooists to pursue mediums outside of skin.  

In the recently published The Art of the Leu Family, the Leu's continue the tradition of enlivening the creative spirit by sharing their own art work in a beautiful 192-page volume, complete with 152 color and 38 black & white images. The book is authored by Aia Leu, daughter of Felix and Loretta Leu, and one of the many talented artists of the clan. Aia, who studied art in Vevey, Switzerland, lives and paints in Ireland and has been exhibiting her work since 1999. The foreword and preface are by Eva Suszkiewicz and Loretta Leu.

The book is now available for pre-order on the Seed Press site for 40 Euro (approx. $53 US), and it ships worldwide in January.

Here's more on The Art of the Leu Family from Seed Press:

With a unique approach, this colourful book illustrates the work of a creative family of artists from Switzerland, spanning the years 1953 to the present. Eva Aeppli the first wife of Jean Tinguely, was the artistic pioneer of the family. Her children are Felix Leu aka Don Feliz and Miriam Tinguely.

Felix went on with his wife Loretta Leu aka Y Maria to raise a family, many of them artists who with their partners work in a wide variety of styles. The collection contains selections from Eva Aeppli's life work. Don Feliz's surrealistic psychedelic art, the mandala art of Y Maria, works from Miriam Tinguely, Filip Leu, Titine K-Leu, Aia Leu, Tanina Munchkina, Ajja S.F. Leu and some pieces by other members of the family.

Featuring a diversity of art with drawings, etchings, watercolours, paintings and sculptures from the many artists in this family. Throughout the generations represented here there has also been a tradition of collaborative works of art, and a selection of these are included.

The Art of The Leu Family.jpg

11:51 AM
tattoo numb.jpg
Ok, maybe it's the gift of ouchless-er tattoos, but numbing creams, gels, and sprays are a great present for those looking at some major time in the tattoo chair. Face & Body Professionals has a special bundle for only $85, which includes three of their most popular pre- and post-procedure anesthetics:

Prepcaine is a pre-procedure topical anesthetic.

Swipe is a dual purpose skin preparation cleanser and
anesthetic for numbing the skin during procedures.

Sustaine Blue Gel topical anesthetic reduces sensitivity by
numbing the skin and it reduces bleeding during procedures.

You can also buy them individually here.

Holiday shopping is painful enough; order online at Face & Body Professionals for a quick and easy way to bring some comfort to those on your gift list, or even a present to yourself.
08:14 AM
tattootime ed hardy.jpg
One of the greatest gifts you could get any tattoo fan is the re-release of Ed Hardy's historic TattooTime series. Here's more from Hardy Marks:

Hardy Marks Publications is excited to announce the re-release of all five issues of our historic Tattootime magazine in one boxed set. This year marks the 30th anniversary of our premier publishing effort, New Tribalism, the book that detonated the explosive growth of tattooing in the late twentieth century.
Now all five Tattootimes -- New Tribalism (1982), Tattoo Magic (1983), Music & Sea Tattoos (1984), Life & Death Tattoos (1987), and Art From the Heart (1991) are in two beautiful hardbound volumes, enclosed in a sturdy slipcase. All contents are from the first edition of each original--subsequent reprints omitted some material. The combined volumes add up to 352 full color pages, plus original covers, and an added 27-page subject and title index to the entire series.
Tattootime truly changed the world--documents, ideas, and images that have become legendary. Now experience its timeless impact.

The set is excellently priced at $50 plus shipping. Order it online here.
02:49 PM
It's that time of year when social obligations of the holiday variety outweigh one's attempt to maintain a basic grasp of sanity and reality. Fear not, however, gentle reader... I am here to help you get dressed for these events quickly and in style.

metalsweater.jpgSnowflakes? Check. Inverted pentagram and crosses? Check. Goat skull in a Santa hat? Check. While they bill it as a "sweater" (it's actually just a sweatshirt), Century Media is offering this awesome, "Black Christmas" accoutrement for just $20.

Additionally, if you despise all the Christmas music that's undoubtedly being jammed into your ear-holes, might I recommend an album I recorded a few years ago with The Priestess and The Fool? It's totally free to download and we cover a handful of off-the-beaten-path holiday gems (plus, I love playing The Pogues at a country rhythm).

Click here to visit the site or click here to directly download the zip file.


11:59 AM
tattoo lady holiday card.jpg So, as anticipated, "Black Friday" was gross

Nevertheless, it hasn't put me off to gift giving, which I think can be fun and warm and fuzzy without crushing small children. A better alternative to the mall store melee is "Small Business Saturday," where shopping can be done to support your local business and independent sellers. My Small Business Saturday starts at Etsy, where awesome (and not so awesome) illustrators, crafters, and other badass people with glue guns offer creative wares you won't find at Walmart.

As in years past, I'm highlighting tattoo-themed holiday cards early on to give you enough time to order the greetings, write sweet nothings, and mail them (by post!). A couple were highlighted last year but are worth a re-order.

One of my consistent favorites is Sugar Beet Press's "Tattoo Lady Holiday Cards," with the words "Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men" illustrated within the backpiece (shown above). Each card is $3.50 and a ten pack is $22.50 plus shipping. They are A2 size (4 1/4" x 5 1/2"), printed on heavyweight watercolor paper, and are blank inside. Red envelopes are included.

tattoo holiday cards.jpgYou really can't get more adorable than the "Tattoo Carnival People Holiday Cards" by Crankbunny.  You can purchase the set of ten "Miss Suzy" and "Sir Craig" cards for $20 plus shipping, or get 3-packs of each character for $12.50. The extra cool thing is that you can personalize the cards and choose what cut-out paper object each character holds -- a huge candy cane, a gift present, a dreidel, or gold star that is each detailed with festive glitter!  Also check out Crankbunny's wonderful tattooed paper puppets.

sugar skull card.jpgIn the UK, Vickilicious Designs is offering these "Tattooed Sugar Skull" cards for 2.60 GBP (approximately $4.15) plus shipping in the UK & internationally. The snow-flaked skull is "printed onto a silver mist card, pale blue/white dusted with silver finished with ice blue jewel."  It's blank inside and comes with the envelope. Customized cards are also available.

TattooLady1.jpgIf you're feeling crafty, get the "Tattoo It Yourself" cards by Canadian illustrator Andrew Kolb. Take the tattoo-free minx or gent, and draw your own greeting on their animated bods and inside on the blank banner. The cards are $18 Canadian dollars for a pack of five plus shipping in Canada and worldwide.

It's all much sweeter than a Facebook post.
02:11 PM
We kick off our N+S Holiday Gift Guide with our friends at Sullen Clothing, who have been giving us free swag for you to win all year.  Today, they have a special 40% off sale, where you can get serious deals on apparel designed by some of your favorite tattooists, including Jack Rudy, Nikko Hurtado, and Bob Tyrrell, among many others. Also check their tattoo travel bags and cases.

And remember, their contest to win a free tattoo from Bob Tyrrell is still on.

Cheap and free ... we like these offers.
01:52 PM
gift guide.jpg
It's "Black Friday" -- a day where people camp out at malls and beat each other for flat screen TVs and the last run of Elmo dolls.

I can't let you do that.

So, once again, we've put together our own gift guide where purchases can be made with just a click and will go to support indie artisans. Our advertisers also have special deals for N+S readers coming up as well. We kick it off today and will have a bunch of posts for you peppered throughout the weeks up until January 1st.
03:30 PM
low_cover_skull book_second edition_©2011 Kore Flatmo_2 copy.jpg
Along the lines of stellar art books by stellar tattoo artists in our gift guide today, I present "18 Angles of the Human Skull" by Kore Flatmo in Cincinnati, Ohio.

This second edition -- now in easy to carry book form -- takes the original content of the popular first version and adds even more value, including five pages of new drawings, sixteen paintings and a tattoo section. The book is not only a collection of exciting art but also is an excellent reference for those seeking to refine their memento mori tributes in their own work. If you're looking for a great way to tip your artists this holiday, "18 Angles of the Human Skull" will do the trick. You can purchase it for $100 on the Plurabella online store.

While you're there shopping, also check his fine art prints and apparel. Prints by Brenda Flatmo -- like this Nick Cave portrait -- are also available.

low_teaser page_SB_NEW_3_©2011 Kore Flatmo final copy.jpglow_paintings_page6_©2011 Kore Flatmo copy copy 2.jpg

02:23 PM

chris_dingwell_book.jpg I've told many artists "Do a book." It's a rather selfish suggestion/command as I love turning pages filled with stimulating imagery, firing my neurons up and kicking my ass to create more. And practically, it's a way to view art that won't fit in my tiny Brooklyn apartment. 

I wanted Chris Dingwell to do a book. Every time I see one of his works or live painting projects, I know I need to see it again. And I'm happy to say that I now can with his wonderful 150-page collection, "Inside Out," which can be purchased at

"InsideOut" looks at Chris's body of work over the past eight years, featuring full views of the paintings as well as close-ups where you can see the movement of the brush strokes. A fantastic foreword by Johnny Thief opens up the book, giving the reader a better sense of just who Chris Dingwell is beyond his acrylics. Johnny also talks about Chris's tattoo work, which -- like his fine art -- defies categorization. An easy catch-all would be "painterly," but it is so much more than that. Johnny says, "If I had to try and label it, I would call it 'Kineticism'." [He wants 20% every time that term is used.] 

For more on Chris, check our artist profile on him from last year, and this article from last month in The Portland Daily Sun.

chris dingwell painting.jpg
06:16 PM

Seems like the tattoo art books listed in our Holiday Gift Guide are a hit, so we have another great pick: "Life Under My Skin -- 40 portraits de tatoues" by Paris-based journalist Anna Mazas.

This 168-page paperback features beautiful portrait photography of 40 tattooed people from around the world as well as interviews with these collectors about their work. The text is in English and French -- a great way to brush up or pick up some language skills.

Akin to the "London Tattoos" book, what is particularly excellent about "Life Under My Skin" is -- not only the full credit given to some stellar tattooists whose work is featured -- but also the discussion of the relationship between these artists and clients. Anna's text reveals more than just choice of artists and art work, but also something intimate about the wearers.

The portraits are engaging, with 10 photographers bringing their own different perspectives to capturing tattoo culture. These photographers include: Chris Coppola, Julien Lachaussee, Thibault de Saint Chamas, Nicolas Menu, Christophe Klain, Brice Beillant, Aline Dery, Aude Grandveau, Rosario Sanz, and Aurelie Verdie.

You can purchase
"Life Under My Skin" for 24.90 Euros here. For more images and info, also check the book's Facebook page.

LUMS_Portraits 2.jpg

04:16 PM
Seductive, feminine, and most definitely rock-n-roll. Adha Zelma jewelry are true statement pieces that, like tattoos, command attention for unique and sexy adornment. And for this reason, we just had to include these Brooklyn artists, who have an international following, in our gift guide.

Creators (and best friends) Sheanan Bond and Cherise TrahanMiller hand-craft each line, which they say "centers on bringing elements of indigenous art and culture into our contemporary world." They approach each piece as sculpture for the body. Sheanan and Cherise say that they're inspired by "the organic shapes found in bone, shed antlers and shells -- along with the incredible colors and graphics seen in naturally molted feathers, the texture of skins such as stingray and the rawness of rough stones."

I'm particularly in love with one of the richly layered pieces I have from their Solstice Collection, with its mixed metals, gem stones and plumes. The line is described as evoking "the night sparkle of NYC and a little Mad Max." And I do feel likeTina Turner rockin it.

Hit up their online store for a full array of their collections and sale pieces.

Even sweeter, they're offering a special 20% off if you put in the code: Needles&Sins at checkout. The promotion ends 12/23/11.

09:30 AM

Have a small child you one day hope will follow in your tattoo footsteps but aren't sure how to plant the seed when they're so young? Or are you itching to do a long-term sociological experiment with family members' kids to see if they'll get tattooed when they turn 18, or maybe even make a homemade rig from that old VCR up in the attic before they're even of age? The Matching Tattoo Memory Game from Seven Acre Toys might be just the thing to get started.  

Seven Acre Toys was founded by Chris and Hannah Blackburn (married master woodworkers turned toy company entrepreneurs) with the goal of creating better wooden toys that promote creativity and imagination. The Tattoo Game features six classic tattoo images, all drawn up by Chris himself (who recently visited Brian Mullen at Art Freak Tattoo in Providence for a full sleeve of dogwood flowers).

Here's more on the Seven Acre philosophy from Chris:

It's funny, one of our competitors has something on their About Us page that says something like, "Each product is made by hand and usually all the wood is surrounded by cups of tea, laughing children, and disco music, so each product will come to you infused with love and bliss!" We thought about countering that with something that says, "We have tattoos. We drink pale ale, listen to a lot of psychobilly, punk rock, and folk music. We make each toy awesome, it's up to you to continue that." However, drunk, loud, and arrogant might not be the best image for a maker of eco-friendly children's toys.
I tend to disagree and am hoping Drunk, Loud, and Arrogant will be the name of any future toy endeavors. Even better, Seven Acre Toys uses only FSC certified hardwoods that promote responsible forestry practices. Now, you'll have a clear conscience when you're one-upping all those other parents and their crappy non-green, made in China toys when you see them at the Knitting Factory's Mommy 'n' Me classes, or whatever the hell goes on there in the mornings.

Happy Holidays!

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05:32 PM
One of the most common questions tattooed people get on a regular basis is: "What does it mean?" There's an assumption that some momentous event must occur to inspire those who permanently mark themselves. For many, it is hard to understand tattoos as "art for art's sake."

With this in mind, I was pretty thrilled when I opened up Alex MacNaughton's new  "London Tattoos" book, and read this in the very first portrait profile, which is of 43-year-old Alice Temple:

My tattoos don't mean anything to me other than I like being covered in tattoos. It's a purely visual thing. I like the look of almost anyone who is covered, and I knew I wanted the same. What I have on me is almost irrelevant. What is important is the artist who works on me.
Alice's story is her lack of a story. It may not make for good reality TV but it's a great way to start a beautiful photography book where the subjects reflect on their tattoos and tattoo artists. Indeed, it is the props to the artists -- where the tattoos featured are specifically credited to each tattooist -- that makes London Tattoos  more than just pretty pictures and personal musings. You may actually fall in love with a tattooist's work based on what you find in these pages. [Alice's primary work was done by Nikole Lowe, which she further explains.]

But I really do dig the pretty pictures and reflections of the collectors. In these reflections, there are some compelling narratives behind the tattoos, answering the "what does it mean" question for those unsatisfied with the "because I like it" response. One of my favorites is that of Professor Richard Sawdon Smith, head of the Art and Media Department at London South Bank University. [A part of his spread is shown below.] Here's an excerpt from his story:

My tattoo is a very personal project made public. It speaks of living with a long-term incurable illness that requires regular blood tests on a tri-monthly cycle for the last 16 years, making the visible the internal and highlighting this regular routine.

London Tattoos by Alex MacNaughton1.jpg
London Tattoos by Alex MacNaughton2.jpg
If you're not a big reader, the photographs are sure to hold your attention. The award-winning photographer -- who has authored three street art books -- offers intimate close-ups of the tattoo work that accompany the portraits. See more in this gallery. But Alex states that his goal is not to have a book simply showing tattoos:  "I want to show how tattoos are a reflection of a person's character and lifestyle, how to live with them and how tattoos can enhance confidence and success in life." Right on!

Extra bonus:  The foreword is written by our tattoo history guru, Dr. Matt Lodder, who also takes off his clothes in the latter portion of the book.

You can purchase the 304-page paperback from or in the US.

BUT before you do, enter to win a free copy! The Prestel Publishing sent us a copy for one lucky reader. As usual, the winner will be selected randomly from those who comment on this post in our Needles & Sins Syndicate Group on Facebook or who Tweet at me. In one week, December 16, we'll put all the names of the commenters/tweeters into and the internet gods will offer up the chosen ones.

Good luck!

UPDATE: It seems the fabulous Dr. Lodder is offering a copy of his own to a reader in the UK. So when you comment in Facebook or on Twitter, let us know if you're in the UK.
12:59 PM
walter moskowitz bowery boy.jpg
The most perfect gift for tattoo artists, collectors, and anyone with a love of history and a good story is the Last of the Bowery Scab Merchants -- a two audio CD set filled with over 2 1/2 hours of tattoo tales by Walter Moskowitz, one of the legendary "Bowery Boys." More than something you put on your iPod or listen to in your car, it's truly a collectors item -- richly designed, with cover art by CIV, and a 24-page color booklet with old photos and essays written by Mike McCabe, Chuck Eldridge, and Brian Kates. I am also very honored to have contributed as well in the text and in audio.

Walter's son Doug offers a wonderful introduction and weaves his narration through Walter's stories, which were recorded prior to his passing in 2007. You'll hear about a great race-fixing horse caper, black eyes tattooed to look natural, life on the Bowery, and the Human Autograph, among so many other gems.

Read more in my initial post on the set in April. There are also some great reviews on Amazon, Book Mistress, and on the CDs' Facebook page.

For the holidays,
Last of the Bowery Scab Merchants is being offered for only $19.99 on A must have!!
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