Results tagged “Ireland”

08:08 PM

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, I'm sharing this 8-minute video "Skin Deep:  A Youth Culture Tattoo Documentary," by Thinkhouse, which explores tattooing in Ireland through the reflections of Irish tattooers, seasoned and new. The artists include Kev McNamara and Sylwia Butkiewicz of Dublin Ink, Anto Ross of Spilled Ink, and Bren Harte of Dragon Tattoo.

There's some interesting discussion on the "unspoken rules" of not getting tattooed on hands, necks and faces until you have a lot of coverage; the reasons behind why so many young people in Ireland are heavily tattooed; and also thoughts on what tattooing will be like in 10 years. I recommend a look (perhaps with some Guinness).

[Video link via Some Quality Meat.]
11:17 AM

Yesterday, in my post on the Ink-n-Iron show, I mentioned that so many tattoo conventions seem to have their own distinct personalities. Well, no greater proof of this are the videos popping up online from The 2nd Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Fest, which took place in Cobh, Ireland June 3-6. Consider the Fest the hippie cousin of the tattoo world.

Last year, we had such an amazing time (read my redux here) and were bummed we couldn't make this year's gathering. Thankfully, our friends were there to capture the scene. Blue Shed Productions offers a beautiful overview of the love fest in the video above.

And in the footage below, well, there's some man-on-man foot action in the form of synchronized hand-poking on the soles of two tattooists' feet. The video was taken by Peter Schachner of Lard Yao Tattoo (who specializes in Thai tattooing by hand). There are a lot of ouches and giggling. Kinda cringed when I first watched it, but hell, you may think it's funny/ridiculous as well.

To see photos from the fest, check its Facebook page.

02:04 PM
Manny, Astarte at Irish Tattoo Festival.jpg
As I mentioned in July's redux of the Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Fest in Ireland, I had the pleasure of interviewing ManWoman, an artist who's mission it has been since the 1960s to reclaim the swastika from its Nazi taint back to its ancient, peaceful roots.

ManWoman, or Manny as his friends call him, used tattoos as a way to spread his message, and in doing so, found a loyal fan base in the tattoo community. In fact, many of those in attendance specifically came to hear ManWoman's presentation on his journey. Today, ManWoman is no longer adding to his tattoo collection but continues to inspire through other mediums like painting, writing and mixed media arts.

In our interview, ManWoman discusses everything from his spiritual awakening to the swatika's origins to meeting Holocaust survivors. You can read the full article in the October issue of Total Tattoo, now on newsstands and online. Here's a taste:

There are Holocaust survivors living today for whom the swastika could mean nothing else. Have you ever met anyone who was directly impacted by the Holocaust?

Yes, I have. About a year ago I was at a health spa in Glen Ivy, California where my men's group was having our big annual meeting. We were sitting in the hot springs with the water bubbling all around and all of a sudden this little bony hand comes over the railing, and this old, old lady who must've been close to ninety pointed at my arms and said, "They told us children we were going to a party when they put us in Auschwitz." And I thought, "Oh my god, how am I going to explain to this lady that what I'm doing has no connection at all?" She just went into this really sad place and I felt bad. What do you say to someone like her? I just told her that it didn't have anything to do with that. How do you tell someone in 25 words or less, in a two-minute encounter, about the incredible beauty and sacredness of this symbol? A symbol that is has been used by Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans and ancient cultures as the most sacred symbol of blessing and auspiciousness. I was in India last year, and you can't go anywhere there without seeing it. It's everywhere.

The symbol appears in many cultures throughout history. Why do you think it keeps appearing in so many different times and places?

It's because it's a part of the archetypes of the inner foundations of the mind. There are universal symbols; like Karl Yung said, "If you slice through every religion there are universal archetypes: death, rebirth, the sacred mother giving birth to the divine child. And guess what pours through my dreams night after night? It's the archetypes but totally free from any organized religion. I see my duty as an artist and poet to refresh these archetypes. They're not going to change but they need to come out in a new form that we can relate to differently. When I see all these young people taking the swastika and playing with it, dancing with it, and making it into what it really is, it's just amazing. I feel like crying because I'm so excited. I come here and there are all these guys with their heads shaved and swastika tattoos on their faces, and it's like my dream is coming true. I better be careful what I dream of!

You can purchase the Total Tattoo issue here. It also includes a great profile on tattoo artist Daniel DiMattia.
10:20 AM
It was way past midnight and we had all thoroughly over-served by the bar-staff at the pre-party for the Traditional Tattoo and World Culture Festival.  At this point in our European trip, Marisa and I had gone from tiny airline seat to tiny hotel room to a tinier airline seat to an even tinier hotel room - so we were utterly gobsmacked when we discovered that Matt Black of New Wave Tattoo (London) was staying alone in a three-bedroom suite in our hotel.

It's often said that the United States and the U.K. are "different cultures joined by a common language," but it appears that we share another common element in our trans-Atlantic Venn Diagram: MTV's Cribs.

Be sure to check out Matt's work on his MySpace profile!
02:39 PM
joe and cammy.jpg It was a tattoo love fest this past weekend at the Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Festival -- festival being the key word as Phil Cummins made it clear that he set out to organize a gathering that was far from the impersonal mega-conventions ubiquitous around the world. And he did so.

See over a hundred of Brian's photos here.

The fest felt like a cross between a family reunion and mini-Woodstock (or Glastonbury for my UK homies). Most tattooists worked in yurts surrounding the Marlogue Inn, and in adjoining fields, you found a big circus-like tent for bands and burlesque; a small group of vendors selling jewelry and clothing; and some convention-goers pitching their own tents to crash close-by after all the partying. Overlooking the fields, by the tree line, a suspension rig was hung for flesh-pulling fun.

Flowers adorned women's hair (mine with a skull barrette courtesy of Goldilox).
Shirtless kids ran around tattooing each other with marker pens.

Vegan yummies were sold just steps away from flaming burgers.

Booze, booze, booze.

And of course, there were drunken sing-a-longs around a Pan-like punk with an accordion.

Yup, it was pretty hippie.

But Brian and I dropped our Brooklyn badittudes, threw ourselves into the spirit of it all, and came outta the weekend smiling and (largely) unscathed.

I'm gonna break down my highlights below, but for full festival coverage, check my upcoming review for Total Tattoo magazine.

durga tattooing.jpg The festival stayed true to its "Traditional Tattoo & World Culture" label. Hand tattooing was ever-present, which was best considering the downpour on Saturday making electric tattooing in the main tent troublesome. In the smaller tattoo yurts, you had Durga from Indonesia (shown above) hand-tapping traditional Mentawai and Dayak Borneo tattoos. It was wonderful to watch and learn, and I'm grateful to him and Janti for letting me hang out.

Across from Durga's tent was Denmark's Colin Dale, who not only tattooed his signature hand-poked Nordic motifs, but also paid homage to Inuit skin sewing on one brave man who was gracious to allow a stream of convention goers come in and out of the tent to gawk in utter fascination. Yesterday, I posted Brian's video of the skin sewing here. Ya gotta see it.

As I mentioned, most machine work was in the main tattoo tent. Dotwork guru Xed Led Head got an early start on Friday night during the pre-party by continuing a facial tattoo collaboration with Matt Black on fellow blackwork artist Joe Munroe. [That work is the first image shown above.] Matt also got a few dots in the next day (shown below).

matt black tattoos joe munroe.jpg
That pre-party was pretty lubricated, so in our feel-good state at 3AM, Brian had the idea to create a "Tattoo Cribs" video (ala MTV) featuring Matt and his monster suite--three times bigger than our musty micro-room. That video is coming up.

[**Actually, the pre-party for us really began on the flight over when we met Cammy of Metalurgey in Dundee, Scotland, and his beautiful girlfriend Katie on the plane. It appeared that we were grouped together and segregated from the other passengers, like in-flight detention for the tattooed. And that was just fine with us.**]  

The nerve center of the fest was inside the Marlogue Inn's bar and restaurant, where I had a table for signing copies of my Black Tattoo Art book ... and playing Pippi LongShortstocking. As it was the driest area on Saturday with the largest wall space, I was surrounded by beautiful fine art work including that of Boz (his online gallery is a must-see) and Claire Artemyz, of whom I'm a long-time fan for her "body landscapes," which are intense and intimate super close-ups of tattooed skin.

ManWoman.jpgAlso in our indoor space was the incomparable Pat Fish, the Queen of Celt, who surprisingly was the only one tattooing the native art of the Irish. Pat was a machine and didn't stop working the entire weekend, but we did find a moment to chat about tattoos, law and her most excellent mule.

The keynote speaker of the fest (shown right) was ManWoman, an artist who has devoted most of his life to reclaiming the swastika from its Nazi association and bringing it back to its ancient, peaceful origins. This reclamation was an overriding theme throughout the fest and "gentle swastika" tattoos adorned many bods there. I interviewed ManWoman for Total Tattoo and had a lot of questions on whether the symbol could ever shed the horrors that surround it. ManWoman had his own yurt where he sold his books and his "Smiley Swastika" tees.

Another huge highlight for me was finally meeting in person Dimitris of Hellenix Stixis and the gorgeous Clare Goldilox -- both of whom I've featured here for their hand-poked tattooing. Dimitris schooled me on the importance of learning the symbolism and history behind the motifs he extensively researches and then tattoos. And Goldilox, well, she did the wildest tattoo of the weekend: a hand-poked handprint butt tattoo. Ok, this tattoo needs its own paragraph ...

So, the I-will-never-anger-a-man-that-large head of security for the festival, Mick, and his lovely wife Christine approached Clare wanting the imprint of his hand on the right cheek of her behind. Next thing ya know, his hand is dipped in ink to make the stencil, a skirt is lifted, and the task of proper placement on the butt cheek begins ... oh, and with the couple's awesome teenage daughter standing by and offering guidance on whether it should be a little higher up and to the left. Claire spread out rugs on the floor of the restaurant, then had Christine lay upon them, and proceeded to hand-poke her butt.

Wait, it gets better ...

Once the outline was done, Phil's son Callan Cummins arrived to take part in the tattooing. Callan is Ireland's famed 8-year-old tattooist featured in mass media and even this documentary. The decision to have him tattoo went something as nonchalant as this:

"Mum, may I help Clare tattoo Christine's bum?"
"What did ya father say?"
"Ok, but do whatever Clare tells ya."

And this is what it looked like:

Goldilox and Callem tattooing.jpg
Callan was serious and tattooed like a pro.

Clare finished it up after a brief interruption by the cops (the bar/resto was not supposed to be open that late but something was worked out), and Christine was left smiling with her sexy new tush.

Then pints were poured.  A drunkenly exuberant DJ played that funky music.  And it seemed that every single person there was feelin' the love.

Ok, I've written too many words here, but the very best way to get the feel for the fest is to check out our Flickr photo set.

Share and enjoy. 
02:07 PM
ink-n-iron photo by nicole reed.jpgInk-n-Iron Fest photo by Nicole Reed

Tattoo events are taking place every thirty seconds throughout the summer, from New Jersey to Taiwan. Here's our pick list for the next few months to get you planning your own tattoo tour.


This weekend, June 11-13th, at the Ink-n-Iron show, custom cars, pin-up girls, Rockabilly bands, and top tattooists converge around and aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. I've been following the road trips of artists and vendors on Twitter as they make their way over for the seventh year of this sleep-less event.  Too much to do there: live shows, the International Pole Performer Showcase, the Pin-Up Pageant, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, hot rod and kustom car contests, and of course, you could get tattooed by these excellent artists. Check the photos from previous shows, like the one above, on this page.  

I noticed a few of my faves weren't going to be at Ink-n-Iron this weekend but instead are working the Krakow Tattoo Fest in Poland--artists like Robert Hernandez, Victor Portugal, Zsolt Sarkozi and even Jeremiah Barba will be there (and not in his Long Beach homebase--I also think Slayer has something to do with this).

Next weekend, June 18-20, artists will also be divided among two popular shows, Northern Ink Xposure (NIX) in Toronto, Canada and the Evian Tattoo Show in France. The longstanding NIX show will host seminars, Art Fusion and a fine art gallery, among the mix of tattoo goodness. On Thursday before the convention kicks off, there will be a silent auction benefit for Skate4Cancer where tattoo artists donated custom painted skate decks for the charity.

I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to make it to the Evian Fest as it's the last show in this beautiful city. Gene Coffey of Tattoo Culture offered his thoughts on last year's show here (from friendly crowds to dapper mustaches.) He also took some photos, including this one below of a tattoo he did there. The client wanted Gene to tattoo the words "Bonjour Mademoiselle" but in the way he thought it would be spelled. Gene has never taken a French lesson. Obviously.

bon jour tattoo.jpg 

So, remember the Pint Size Paintings exhibit I've been talking about, which launched at Hell City Killumbus? Well, the show is coming to NYC's Sacred Gallery but for one night only, July 9th. Don't miss it!

Alas, I will miss it myself because Brian and I will be in County Cork, Ireland, July 10 & 11, for The Traditional Tattoo and World Culture Festival. I am so excited for this! It's going to be a small gathering, in Cobh, of artists and collectors who love traditional tattoo--not in the Americana sense, but the tribal. For me, it's really a family reunion with Colin Dale and Xed Le head, who were featured in my Black Tattoo Art book, and a chance to hang out once again with the audacious Pat Fish, Queen of Celt. If you're looking for a tattoo vacation in a sea-side town with a bunch of beautiful freaks, please join us.  

July 30 through August 1st, Asbury Park, New Jersey will be home to the  Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival. I usually don't list first conventions because most have a rough start but when I saw the artist roster, I had to include it. It's another beachfront party--albeit a bigger one--with live painting, music and sideshow performances. We'll be there handing out Needles and Sins swag so look down. I'm short.

That weekend is also the Taiwan Tattoo Convention. Paul Booth, Shige, and Jason Stewart will be the main attractions but the tattoo art that's coming out of Taiwan itself demands attention, like the work of Andy Shou shown below. For more info on the show, hit the page.

andy shou tattoo.jpg

August 6-8, over 300 tattooists will descend upon Doncaster, England for Skin Deep's Tattoo Jam, one of the biggest conventions in the UK. When I went to the Tattoo Jam in 2008 (held in Wales), I had such a blast and got a hand-poked Thai tattoo as well. [See the photos here.] The diversity of artistic styles is vast so there's something for everyone at this show.

Also, Tattoo Jam has teamed up with the best named tequila brand ever for the Hornitos Design Competition where you get a chance to design a limited-edition Hornitos bottle, and if you win, oh, prizes abound.

August 27-29 is Hell City Phoenix's "Let It Burn" fest. What more can I say? If it's as good as last month's Killumbus show, then it's worth braving Arizona, even if you look like "an illegal."

For some advance planning, here are our favorite shows in September and October:

And with that, I'll leave y'all to update your calendars.
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