Tattoo above by Cecil Porter
While I still find more tattoo odes to ODB than MLK, I'm heartened that, every year on this Martin Luther King Jr Day, there are more people commemorating his legacy on their skin. It's particularly fitting that MLK day is celebrated this year on the second Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama -- and I particularly love this President Obama tattoo with Martin Luther King Jr looking on behind him, created by Stefano Alcantara. A snip of the tattoo image is below.
As I wrote last year, one of the greatest things about tattoos is that they inspire communication. People are naturally curious over what others painstakingly and permanently put in their own skins. We hunger for a good story ... and many of us hunger to tell one. A mother may want you to know that the name above her heart is her beloved daughter. The veteran with the memorial tattoo on his arm lets you know about the courage of his lost friend. This communicative value also allows for teaching moments. A Dr. King tribute speaks not only about the how the activist inspired the tattoo collector but may also educate another who does not know of King's life and legacy.
It's powerful, what tattoos can do. And it's why I appreciate it when I do find tributes to inspiring figures, as they can be daily reminders to be better to each other and ourselves.
Below are some MLK tattoos we've featured in past posts -- beautiful tributes worth taking a second look.
Tattoos (above left to right) by Joshua Carlton, Mike DeMasi, and Logan Aguilar.
Tattoo above by Jason Grace.
Legendary NYC artist/tattooist Thom deVita (featured in a five-part series from Tattoo Age) will be a part of a major event at Kings Ave Tattoo NYC in conjunction with VICE all this weekend. There will be an art sale of Thom's work featuring books, art boxes and stencil-rubbings - plus, Thom himself will be there all weekend!
If that weren't enough, a crew of heavyweight artists will be tattooing on location all weekend. Scott Harrison will be there will be tattooing deVita-inspired tattoos on Saturday and Sunday and we'll witness the work process of Chris O'Donnell as well as the stellar King's Ave crew: Mike Rubendall, Grez, Brian Paul, Justin Weatherholtz, Jason Tyler Grace and Frankie Caraccioli (check out the whole Kings Ave team's portfolio here).
PLUS, should you want to get tattooed, some of the guys will be taking walk-ins all weekend and Grez will be taking walk-ins all day Sunday.
What: Thom deVita Pop Up Gallery with VICE's Tattoo Age
When: January 11th-13th
Where: King's Ave | 188 Bowery (at Spring St), NYC - 2nd floor
Time: 12-9pm daily Friday and Saturday, 1-7pm on Sunday
(Full Disclosure: Marisa and I will be there on Friday around 6pm should you want to stop in and say hello to two blogger-dorks)
"Tattourist" Jason Tyler Grace sold his possessions and set out to travel the world in early 2010, immersing himself in life-changing experiences, personally and professionally. He says in his first Tattoo Artist Magazine column: "I had no idea at all what a huge fucking impact this [traveling] would have on me and my work or what it would do for my outlook on tattooing, the craft, the industry and the community." In that column and subsequent writing on TAM, he shares his wild and wonderful adventures, and you can indeed see the impact of them in the tattoo works he posted along the way.
Now, JTG is settling down and making NYC his home. This month, he joined the stellar crew of Kings Avenue Tattoo and will be working at both locations -- two days a week in Massapeque, Long Island and three days a week on the Bowery in Manhattan. He says on his blog:
Jason employs vastly different visual imagery, so that you may find old school traditional work next to LA-styled black & gray next to graphic abstract art throughout his portfolio. Check his tattoos on Facebook as well as his blog and website.
To make an appointment, contact Kings Avenue Tattoo via email email@example.com or phone [LI: 516-799-5464 and NYC: 212-431-5464].
For almost a year now, tattoo and fine artist Jason Tyler Grace has been on the road with the goal of tattooing on every continent and experiencing the freedom and adventure that go with selling off your possessions and winging it around the world. He began his journey last January in Costa Rica and has traveled to Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia. And he's got stories to tell. And they are good.
Jason is back in the States for a bit, and last night over Jameson and Guinness, he told me about crooked cops and cocaine tours; tripping through Macchu Picchu; working tiny conventions and doing guest spots at some great studios like Nazareno Tubaro's place and Well Done Tattoos in Argentina; and also getting tattooed himself. We talked till 2am and I still didn't hear half of his adventures, but thankfully he's been keeping a journal and has begun sharing his travel diary in Tattoo Artist Magazine. Read part of his first installment on the TAM blog. Here's a taste:
He also has a travel blog, which he updates on occasion. A seriously compelling read.
Jason is in Brooklyn now tattooing at Three Kings Tattoo, and then will be in San Francisco, back at his old haunt Idle Hand Tattoo January 3-15th. In February, you'll find him in Melbourne, Australia at Dynamic Tattoo; from there, he says he plans to go around South East Asia, and who knows what will be next. He'll be somewhere near you soon, so hit him up for top tattoo work and a good story.