Tattoo above by Jason Bane of Iron Age.
The past week's tattoo headlines ranged from tattooed monks to Hello Kitty super fans. Here's a look:
St. Louis Business Journal takes readers inside the city's renowned studio Iron Age, where they filmed the process from consultation to design to tattooing by resident artist Jason Bane. The video is meh. It's an exciting shop and the video could have better reflected that, but it does offer the look and feel of the studio, and it's always interesting for me to see that process.
Also interesting is the story of Bobby Love, a tattoo artist turned monk, and the discussion of his own personal process -- from arriving at Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon in leathers on his bike to his six years there, becoming the curator of the monastery's art collections. It's a pretty powerful story of art, addiction, faith, and transformation. Here's more:
[Thanks, Brian, for posting the link to the article in our N+S Facebook group.]
ABC News in Bakersfield, CA reports on how tattoos are a "trend" for seniors. Trend pieces in mass media really don't hold much weight, especially as they relate to tattoos. It's, of course, likely that more seniors are getting tattoos because of greater accessibility and a lessened stigma among their age group. But it's pretty safe to safe that grandmas aren't running out en mass to slap pictures of their grandkids all over their bodies. What makes this article noteworthy is that no one featured was asked what they were going to look like when they get older!
Then, ABC News in Brisbane looks at the history of female tattooers in Australia, via Clare Miles' book on the subject, "Painted Ladies: The History of Female Tattoo Artists in Australia." Clare explains (in the audio of her interview) that when she was learning to tattoo and looked for information on other female tattooers, there was very little on the experiences of Australian women artists, as much of the discussion focused on American women. And so Clare began researching pioneering women in Australia's tattoo industry herself. A rather fascinating part of her talk is how famed "tattoo lady" and tattooist Cindy Ray (born Bev Robinson) had her image plastered all over post cards, books, tattoo machines and products, and yet barely received any compensation for it. [Sounds like a lot of "tattoo models" today.] It's a great discussion and you can download the 13-minute audio file here.
More noteworthy links:
The December/January issue of Inked Mag is now out and along with beautiful heavily tattooed women in lesser and lesser states of undress (it is a men's "lifestyle" mag after all), there are a number of features you got to check out, especially because we wrote them.
Our Patrick Sullivan has a great feature on how technology is changing tattooing including the new air-pressured tattoo machine and one-shot laser removal inks.
There are the party photos from my Black Tattoo Art book release shindig at Tattoo Culture.
And my Icon interview with Brad Fink, the most fun I've had interviewing a tattoo artist in a while. Here's a snippet as to why:
[As a young tattoo apprentice] Did you have to clean toilets and all the nasty stuff?
I did it but it wasn't Mitch telling me to do all the disgusting things. It was me knowing it needed to be done and doing it myself. This leads to my disdain for the younger generation coming into tattooing today. Back then there were no references or all the information on the Internet that is readily available. Back then, I had to search and search for it. I had to go to the library, seek out Easy Rider tattoo magazines and Ed Hardy's Tattoo Time series. Today, there are instructional DVDs and all this crap on how to tattoo. They even have premade needles now. When I started, I had to get to the shop two hours early to make my needles for the day or next two days. Today, people get very good in a short time, and there's this sense of entitlement young people have in the business that everything should be handed to them.
We didn't have a "shop person" back then to wipe people's asses. Today, these kids want to come in, do their tattoos, and leave. Back then, I had to make needles, clean the shop, stock my station, and answer the phones.
Did you also walk miles in the snow to the shop barefoot back in your day? [laughs]
Yes, I did! I wrecked enough cars by 17 years old and my insurance was cancelled, so as a matter of fact, I had to ride a bicycle or walk to the shop. Yes, Marisa, I did have to walk to work in the snow. [laughs]
Now you have a young apprentice. What lessons are you passing down?
I teach him life lessons! That there's more to tattooing than actual tattooing. I teach him everything from adapting to every quirky personality that walks through that door without those people you would have nothing. I'm teaching loyalty and respect. I want him to know the history and how tattooing got to this level.
Brad splits his time between his three studios, DareDevil and Fun City in NYC, which he co-owns with Michelle Myles; and Iron Age in St. Louis, which he co-owns with Mark Andrews and spends most his time. Brad is also a partner in Me Against The World clothing, a new advertiser to N+S.