Results tagged “Japanese”

02:58 PM
8330d1356070011-full-back-piece-thread-003-copy.jpgI love stories of body transformations, particularly large tattoo work, so I thought I'd share a piece by Brian Dunn, entitled, "Kuniyoshi Dreamin'" on Medium's Human Parts collection. 

In his essay, Brian writes on the creation of his Utagawa Kuniyoshi-inspired Japanese backpiece, tattooed by Jay Cavna in Mesa, Arizona; however, he shares more than just the process, but also the thoughts that run through one's head when making such a huge personal change:  the leap of faith with the artist, finding the right expression, dealing with the physical pain ... and how to tell your wife. Brian is a really engaging writer and uses words like "sweet, callipygian backside," so how could I not share it?

Here's a taste:

Despite not having any recent successful pain management campaigns to point to, I was confident that I would lie like a cadaver while still recognizing that what men think we're capable of is both wildly optimistic and grossly inaccurate. We consistently overestimate our ability to do everything from throwing a football over those mountains to drinking a gallon of milk in one hour. That I had zero qualms about my ability to lie perfectly still while someone carved into my dermis for hours meant nothing in the final analysis, but blind self confidence was one thing I had going for me.

It wasn't the only arrow in my quiver. If I should ever be writhing on the table and looking to bolt, I need only remind myself that nothing's more sad than an unfinished tattoo. Except the person wearing it. I've heard of tattooers who, when tattooing dragons, save the eyes for last. They claim that it's only when the eyes are done that the dragon comes metaphorically to life. No one wants to walk around with a blank-eyed, dead dragon adorning their skin. What's more, half-completed tattoos are a tangible sign of failure. What example would I be tacitly setting for my young daughter if, every time we went swimming, I ripped off my shirt to reveal her father's lack of follow through in the form of colorless peony flowers?

I also had my modest-patron-of-the-arts status to uphold. I support live jazz. I've donated to NPR. I buy the occasional art fair original work of art. When I ponied up the deposit for the tattoo a month before my first session, I wasn't just saving a slot. No, I was entering into a tacit contract with Jay to see things through to the end. Composition is crucial for large tattoos, and I was making the man fit three large animals, plus clouds and waves and flowers, onto a funky-shaped canvas complete with curves, lumps, and crannies (see buttocks). His work was markedly front loaded, and my tapping out after a session or two would render his pre-tattoo toil for naught, effectively pissing off a man who would see me naked and was at liberty to divulge to the entire shop the relative size of my genitalia.

Read more of "Kuniyoshi Dreamin'" here. And see more of Jay Cavan's tattoo portfolio on Instagram.
06:16 AM
Henning Jorgensen tiger tattoo.jpg Henning Jorgensen tattoo.jpgThirty years ago last month, Henning Jorgensen opened Royal Tattoo in Helsingor in Eastern Denmark, and as a tribute to how he has inspired generations of tattooers around the globe, Lars Stig Moller created this video (below) in which fellow tattooers offer their gratitude for all Henning has done for the tattoo community. Some clips are serious, heartfelt messages, while others are fun & ridiculous, but all attest to just how much of an impact he has made.

Henning is renowned for his flawless Japanese-inspired compositions, as well as his classic old school works.  Tattooing since he was 18 years old, Henning began his career in Copenhagen's Red Light District, and worked with the legendary Ole Hansen (who was known as "King's Tattooer" for the work he did on Frederick IX, King of Denmark, according to the Tattoo Archive).  When American tattoo legend Mike Malone visited Copenhagen, he opened the door for Henning to the world of Japanese tattooing. Henning also traveled to the US to get tattooed by Don Ed Hardy and, according to Henning, watching Hardy work solidified the desire to pursue the Japanese aesthetic.

Today, Henning himself is a legend in this style and has influenced countless others just like the greats before him.

For more on Henning's work, check the Royal Tattoo site, Facebook page and Instagram.  I also love this blog post by Jason Tyler Grace on his visit to Royal Tattoo in 2011.

09:04 AM
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Another installment of the web series Ink Stories recently dropped, featuring Rodrigo Souto of Black Garden Tattoo in Central London. The Brazilian-born tattooist has made a name for himself for beautiful large-scale Japanese work. But what's particularly interesting in the documentary short is the footage of Rodrigo creating in another artistic medium, collage. I really enjoyed watching him assemble his works -- particularly against the backdrop of footage of how he builds a tattoo.

Watch the video here or below. And you can also check Rodrigo's work on Facebook and Tumblr.

08:37 AM
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This exception work by Sailor Bit of Ethno Tattoo in Lausanne, Switzerland has been making the rounds but in case you didn't see it, I present it to you without further comment.

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09:21 AM
ben siebert tattoo 5.pngben siebert tattoo 3.jpgAustin, Texas is a hotbed of tattoo talent, from veteran artists to those new and killing it in the craft. One stellar studio in the city is Jason Brooks' Great Wave Tattoo. The work coming out of the shop, which is largely Americana and Japanese influenced, is strong and exciting. But it's not just from Jason's portfolio alone. 

Great Wave is also home to Ben Siebert, a younger artist but one who has been honing his skills for years. Ben came up at Hell Bomb in Wichita with Steve Turner, then made his way to Jason, whom Ben says inspires him "to strive to make better work every day."

I asked Ben what it is to make better work, to create a strong tattoo. He said, "Strong tattoos to me are tattoos that stand out from across the street, but at the same time have enough interesting detail and movement applied to it so the whole tattoo is not all taken in in one glance."  

There is also a timeless quality to his work, following the old school and Japanese traditions. On this he says, "I think that Americana and Japanese imagery have stood the test of time because they are deeply rooted in history pertaining to both Western and Eastern cultures. Something that has been passed down in some form or another." 

Those in the NY area need not travel to Austin to get work from Ben. He'll be a guest artist at NY Adorned from September 16th - 22nd.

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12:01 PM
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Tattooing since 1988, Russia's George Bardadim has gone from hand-poking with a needle and thread to building tattoo machines and achieving international acclaim for his stellar realism as well as other genres in his expansive portfolio.  When asked about his work, George says:

Black and grey tattoos were much more popular in Russia--then color through years--that's why I did a lot of them back then. Nowadays, the situation has completely changed. I also changed my mind a little and tried to learn how to work with colors in a way modern young artists do. I do my best to learn different styles, though sometimes it's not easy at all.
George's studio is in St. Petersburg but he travels extensively throughout Europe, working conventions and guest spots. His next shows are Frankfurt and Milan as well as a few smaller conventions.

Good news for those in the US:  George has just arrived for the first time in the States. He says, "I hope I will be able to find new friends and probably take part in local conventions. I really like to learn things through experience sharing, and I'm always open to new relations and guest spots."

From October 23rd to October 30th, George will be a guest artist at our Brooklyn homebase, Tattoo Culture, and he still has some appointments available! You can reach him via email at bardadim(at) or through his contact page.

Check his online gallery and Facebook page to see more of his work.

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12:26 PM
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Today marks the one year anniversary of one of my favorite NYC tattoo studios, North Star Tattoo, home to artists Rodrigo Melo and David Sena (whose latest seven deadly sins tattoo is highlighted above).  Both Rodrigo and David swept the tops awards for Japanese and Black Work at the NYC Tattoo Convention and I expect no less this upcoming May as well.

Brian and I will be heading to their anniversary party tonight, which starts at 6pm, and David said that the invite is extended to all Needles and Sins readers. With Jose Cuervo and Ketel One vodka sponsoring the bash, it'll be a great time, and hopefully one I'll remember. Should have pix up on Flickr if we get ambitious.

North Star is located at 74 East 7th street in the East Village.
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