Artwork by Horiyoshi III.
Artwork by Thomas Hooper.
Apparel artwork by Titine Leu.
This Friday and Saturday, November 13 & 14th, more than 1,000 artworks by international tattoo artists will be sold at The Peter Mui Collection of Original Tattoo Art Auction. This is arguably the largest collection of tattoo art to ever go up for bid, created by some of the world's most renowned artists, such as Horiyoshi III, Filip and Titine Leu, Horitomo, Bob Roberts, Thomas Hooper, Robert Hernandez, Guy Aitchison, Michelle Wortman, Leo Zulueta, Roger Ingerton, Kim Saigh, Stephanie Tamez, Jondix and much, much, much more.
The auction will take place in NYC at 22 Little West 12th Street, and bids can also be made via email, phone/fax, and online. Bid online via Liveauctioneers, and also via Invaluable.
On Liveauctioneers, here's a list of items for bid on November 13th, and items for bid on November 14th.
Peter Mui was a musician, actor, and designer, who founded the tattoo clothing brands Yellowman, Misplaced Cowboy, Samurai Surfer, and Mui Mui. It is because so much of the artwork from tattooers was sought for apparel that the majority of the items for auction are torso-sized original paintings -- some crafted on templates for sleeves, and others as tank tops, as shown here; however, there are also original flash sheets and paintings on canvas, board, and paper, among other mediums.
Mui died in 2009, leaving this massive collection to his family, who chose Guernsey's auction house for this sale. In this CBS TV piece on the auction, Guernsey's President Arlan Ettinger states, when asked who potential buyers are, "You know, I get asked that a lot, who is going to be the big buyer in this auction or that auction. And the answer is, you never know. It's always a surprise," adding, "I'll bet you that 50 percent of the work will get sold to people who don't have tattoos, probably never had interest in it, but see the excitement, the beauty in some of these works." He also anticipates that some works will go in the tens of thousands, "30, 40, 50,000, we think."
Also in the CBS report, tattoo historian Dr. Anna Felicity Friedman is interviewed, although, on Facebook, she makes it clear that they did not consult her on the weak pop tattoo history lesson that is thrown into the piece. On social media, she also notes that it will be interesting to see what the sale prices end up being. If you look at the starting bids, some start as low as $200 while others start at $6,000. Dr. Matt Lodder commented that, from a tattoo art collector's perspective, some pieces appear to be highly undervalued while others significantly overvalued. He noted that some original flash sheets have minimums that go for not much more than prints sold at conventions or online.
Personally, I think there are a number of factors in the valuation of the pieces -- including how much artwork is already in the market by a particular artist, and let's not forget an artist's "platform" and notoriety, which can be derived from those reality TV appearances, can also play into the bidding.
There are some concerns I have with the auction: first, Dr. Lodder pointed out that, on Twitter, Valerie Vargas, stated that none of the works listed as hers were created by her. How many other artists are incorrectly listed -- and is it by mistake or fraud? Also, I question the fairness to the artists.
Over ten years ago, Peter Mui contacted blackwork tattooer Daniel DiMattia (whom I was married to at that time), sent him these clothing templates to design, and offered a one-time flat fee for them. I thought the fee was significantly low for the market, and Dan did not participate. I wonder what deals the other artists were offered. I don't think it was in the "30, 40, 50,000" range.
That said, it is an impressive collection, and assuming that most are works created by those they are attributed to, it can be a great way to get your hands on originals by one of your favorite tattoo artists. I'll be seeing how the auction plays out online this Friday and Saturday.
Apparel artwork by Bob Roberts.
Apparel artwork by Filip Leu.
Artwork by Jondix.
Kewpie by JondixKewpie by Sadee Glover.
Tattooed Kewpie dolls! I want them!
Alas, I'm buried under work in Brooklyn, but if you're in London -- and many are traveling to the London Tattoo Convention next weekend -- you must head to Miniature Ink II, presented by our friends at Things&Ink in collaboration with Atomica Gallery. The opening reception is Wed Sept. 23rd, 6-9pm, at the Atomica Gallery Pop-Up, 55 Neal Street in Convention Garden. Drinkies sponsored by Sailor Jerry and Huber Beer. The exhibition runs through October 2.
The kewpies are designed by top tattooers from around the world, including Alex Binnie, Annie Frenzel, Anthony "Civ" Civarelli, Antony Flemming, Big Sleeps, Clare Hampshire, Deno, Drew Linden, Friday Jones, Guy le Tatooer, Hannah Pixie Sykes, Jody Dawber, Jondix, Keely Rutherford, Lal Hardy, Lauren Winzer, Lou Hopper, Michelle Myles, Nikole Lowe, Rachel Baldwin, Rose Hardy, Sarah Carter, Sasha Unisex, Wendy Pham and more.
All featured artwork is available to purchase on a first-come, first-served, basis. Atomica Gallery will also have a selection of limited edition prints, original artworks, ceramics and books and other artist-made rarities available for sale. What's even more awesome is that profits from the sales will benefit Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Alice Snape, Things&Ink Editor and curator of Miniature Ink II, offers more on the event:
Kewpies were common as illustrations, dolls and tattoo designs in the early 1900s before falling out of popularity in the 50s. With respected contemporary tattoo artists such as Mike 'Rollo' Malone (1942 - 2007) and Dr Lakra reviving their status, the cherub-like characters are once again in vogue as both tattoo flash and recognised artworks; decorated kewpie dolls by Mexican artist Dr Lakra have even appeared on display at Tate Britain and Somerset House.The exhibition also marks the three-year birthday of the magazine, so this opening is going to be quite a party -- and a hot ticket, so RSVP in advance via email email@example.com or join the Facebook event.
In Los Angeles this Saturday at the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, the first print installation by Raking Light Projects will take place featuring the work of tattooer, musician and visual artist Jondix of Barcelona, Spain.
I've been a long-time fan of Jondix's work -- a remarkable portfolio of intricate dotwork & blackwork, an example of which I've shown below. In his tattoos, you'll find his own interpretation of Eastern iconography and patterns -- and his spiritual and mystical influences are ever present in this exhibit as well.
Entitled Aeons Tulpa, this print and sculpture installation is inspired by Jondix's extensive travels and is described as "a metaphysical exploration of the artist's interior world." Here's more from Raking Light Projects:
The installation configuration, influenced by cosmology, represents Jondix's metaphysical being. Nine prints are arranged in rows and columns of three to create the shape of a square, with the tenth print displayed off to the side. Central to the installation is the idea of energy and connection, where each of the ten laser-etched prints are not only physically connected by string but also spiritually connected to the artist. The iconography is a confluence of motifs with Jondix's signature mystical imagery and Eastern-influenced patterning. His visual lexicon borrows from Eastern philosophies and incorporates auspicious symbols, deities and ritualistic objects combined with allusions to personal fantasy and science fiction.Jondix offers his own thoughts on his process for the show:
When you go into deep meditation, Vipassana or transcendental, you enter all the hidden parts of your mind. . . your body secretes endogenously produced drugs and you can have visions. When I was creating this series, I put myself in that position--trying to create something that will come to my mind in the future--and serendipitously I found my favorite place.Aeons Tulpa will be on view at the Against the Stream gallery for a year. Saturday's opening will take place from 7pm-10pm.
For more on Raking Light Projects, and their art prints created by renowned tattooists, check our post on them here.
Artwork by Timothy Hoyer
Over the years, when interviewing renowned tattooists about the greatest influences on their work, the name Eddy Deutsche is constantly being dropped. As part of the first crew of artists at Ed Hardy's legendary Tattoo City and later working with Horitaku of the Horitoshi family, Eddy developed a style that has inspired other artists to go beyond traditional tattoo tenets and experiment in their compositions and techniques, to meld various artistic influences and create unique works of tattoo art.
Eddy is a consummate innovator, and his latest project, featuring the fine art of tattooists, is another exciting example of this: Raking Light Projects is an online art gallery featuring fine arts and collectible prints created by stellar tattoo artists. With co-owner Andrew Fingerhut, Eddy invites a select group of artists to create a work of fine art based on their interpretation of a theme, along with several single-edition prints to showcase their individual artistic style and creative perspective. The work is then made available for viewing and purchase exclusively on RakingLightProjects.com.
The first theme is "Liberation," interpreted by Guy Aitchison, Jondix, Timothy Hoyer, Bert Krak, Carlos Rodriguez and Derrick Snodgrass. It's fascinating to see the vastly different approaches to the theme. Andrew offers more on this:
The overall collection successfully showcases the diverse perspective and the true depth of talent found among a select group of working tattooists. Some art proudly reflects the expressive, bold elements long associated with the best tattoo work. Other work reveals alternative facets of creativity that are as uniquely suited to paper and canvas composition as they are distinct from ink on skin. The tattoo commonality among participating artists can be celebrated, critiqued or ignored because the body of work stands strongly on its own.
Andrew also explained more about the process:
A variety of traditional and digital printmaking techniques were utilized to create the prints. Each participating artist created original artwork that served as source material for a single edition of 20 or 25 prints. Once the prints were produced, the original artwork was destroyed or cancelled to preserve the underlying value of the edition and to ensure that the prints are objectively considered limited edition works of art. All prints are signed, numbered and include an artist-verified Certificate of Authenticity. Each artist was closely involved in the printmaking production process and their time, attention to detail and effort is proudly reflected in the resulting artwork.
I can personally attest to the print quality, having a hand-signed mixed media print on canvas of Timothy Hoyer's "Void," which hangs near my desk as I write this. As noted on the Raking Light site, it is giclee on gallery-wrapped canvas with silk-screen overlay; printed on Lyve fine art canvas using Epson archival pigmented inks; coating applied and pulled by hand on silk-screen machine using Glamour II varnish. The result is a powerful piece that is worth much more than its $250 price.
To view all available works, check the Raking Light gallery.
Tim Lehi laser etched wood print (above).
Mixed media print by Jondix.
Based on the flood of emails we've been getting over this exhibit, it seems London's art circles are amped over the upcoming Pens and Needles show at the London Miles Gallery, opening Friday, February 25th.
Pens and Needles will feature original paintings, stencils and photographs from over 20 highly respected tattoo artists, including Shawn Barber, Claudia Sabe, Nick Baxter, Nick Colella, Alex Binnie, Mike Davis, Xam, Daniel Albrigo, Holy Fox, Jeff Gogue, Shad, Jondix, Jee Sayalero, Lea Nahon, among many others.
More information on the show can be found here. I particularly like this part of the exhibit description:
Attitudes towards tattoo art and tattooed individuals continue to evolve for the better. Nowadays, it's getting harder and harder to draw a distinction between fine art and the best of modern tattooing. Doesn't this then make tattooed individuals the new cultural ambassadors of a truly new and distinctive 'modern art'?Just call me Cultural Ambassador Kakoulas!
The opening will also feature live music and live tattooing in their pop-up tattoo parlour. The party runs from from 7 to 11pm. And all are welcome to show off their own body of art.
Tons of tattoo stories topped the headlines, and I've trolled through them all to bring ya the good, bad and the whatthefuck.
N+S keeps our focus on stellar tattoo art, like this fresh work from Jondix in Spain (who's part of my upcoming Black Tattoo Art book); however, we will on occasion link to examples of the WTF if only to feel a sense of unbridled tattoo superiority. And so, behold COED Mag's What Were They Thinking gallery.
Many of the tattoos shown are featured the book No Regrets: The Best, Worst, & Most #$%*ing Ridiculous Tattoos Ever but there are some new gems like the Hasselhoff Ode and Chris Farley memorial tattoo. Looking at them, I feel better about myself already. And that is the power of tattoo. [Thanks, Father Panik, for the
UFC's Alan Belcher did not make the WTF list with his deformed Johnny Cash portrait tattoo.
As for the bad ...
I really don't know what's worse: Canada's CTA excessive use of "tramp stamp" in a removal story (and quoting a doc who says women can't get epidurals because of them -- not true) or starting off the article with reference to some shmuck who wanted a corkscrew tattoo removed from his penis. CTA did get the title right though -- Laser treatment is not quick fix. For stupid.
Then there's this going-to hell-bad: Texas Man Sought for Unpaid Bill for God Tattoo.
And the badass...
Burn Magazine's Eye of the Beholder story/photo by Anton Kusters who is documenting a Yakuza family in Kabukicho, Japan. One of our faves, Susanah Breslin, has been guest blogging for Boing Boing and included this powerful image in her collection of wondrous things.
This one is pretty wondrous to me ... "Man resurrects friend's ashes into tattoo." Granted, this isn't the first time I've heard stories like this but I always get goosebumps at the thought of actually wearing a loved one in my skin. I think it's a beautiful tribute but I wonder if anything else gets carried over in the ash. Just sayin.
In good news ...
Reuters reports that there are less Iraqis getting tattoos used to ID their bodies, and instead are opting for artful ink. In 2005 and 2006, I blogged, on Needled.com, stories of how many caught in the mission-accomplished zone were getting identifying information tattooed on various limbs in case they were mutilated. One Bagdad tattoo artist said that, while many young men today are coming in for motifs like dragons and tigers instead of their names and addresses, he still keeps a low profile "for fear of being attacked by extremists who see his work as being prohibited by Islam or too Westernized."
A couple seeking to open a tattoo studio in Tempe, Arizona who had their business permit revoked won the right to open up shop, again. The city had appealed a court ruling in favor of the couple but to no avail. When will cities learn to stop wasting money on these suits and allow studios to open, thereby bringing more money into city tax coffers?
In celeb tattoo news ...
The LA Times reports that High Voltage tattoo, featured on the reality show LA Ink, is now a top tourist destination along with Kim Kardashian's clothing stores and The Hill's hot spots. The article says, "The manager of High Voltage Tattoo estimates that 90% of its customers are fans of the TV show." So I guess that makes only 10% serious tattoo collectors?
I'm no hater, but I'm not lovin the show either, especially after reading in Inked Mag that top tattooists Hannah Aitchison and Kim Saigh won't be returning to the show because of their lack of drama. I prefer my artists drama-free, thanks, and if they have more time for yoga practice before opening up my skin, well, the better. [Although a faux Aitchison/Saigh lesbian relationship would've been a hot episode.]
The new season will get plenty of drama with the addition of Rock of Love hot mess Aubry Fisher.
By the way Kim's new Vans are out. Nice.
Also check Margaret Cho's tattoolicious cover for Unzipped [a gay adult industry mag is obvs NSFW]. Her new show Drop Dead Diva premiered this week and is a comedy with body image as its central theme, one not uncommon to heavily tattooed peeps. I loved it.
Ashley Tisdale got a tattoo. Yeah, I don't care either.
Another autograph tattoo, this time, Paul McCartney. Let it
Cameron Diaz sports a faux tattoo on V Mag in her tribute cover to Madonna.
And of course ...
More Michael Jackson tribute tattoos.
Tattoo by Jondix of LTW Tattoo in Barcelona, Spain -- one of the many featured artists in my upcoming book on blackwork tattooing due out this Fall. More black tattoo photos to come.
I'm just getting over the food and ouzo orgy that was this past weekend's Greek Easter celebration, a Brooklyn backyard bacchanal where chasing around unsuspecting guests with a lamb tongue on BBQ tongs is not only encouraged but specifically laid out in the Bible, right next to promoting "opposite marriage." [See the gory Greeky pix on Facebook.]
Lucky for me, the news was not as juicy as our giblets, so I didn't have too many headlines to trawl through, but I did catch a few tasty treats on the net. Here goes:
More people are getting medic alert tattoos, prompting the medical community to address the legal and ethical issues behind them. Over the years, I've seen A LOT of Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) tattoos, particularly on people over 70 -- like this fiesty Kiwi who sparked debate worldwide last year over the enforceability of DNR ink. In the US, a mere DNR tattoo generally won't cut it. You need to back up your wishes with a valid DNR Order. Better use of those tattoos would be alerts of serious allergies, pre-existing conditions and even blood type, but hell, the jewelry has been doing a good job at that, so save ya skin for art.
In a reminder of how tattoos were once put to horrific use, Auschwitz camp survivors were reunited Sunday at Israel's Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem. The AP reports:
As terrified teenagers 65 years ago, Menachem Sholowicz and Anshel Sieradzki stood in line together in Auschwitz, having serial numbers tattooed on their arms. Sholowicz was B-14594; Sieradzki was B-14595.
This AP photo of the men has also been widely circulating around the Internet.
The small numbers needled in Auschwitz have been some of the greatest modern day symbols, not only serving as reminders of the genocide but also of survival and unity, as shown in the article.
Auschwitz tattoos have also had an impact on modern Jewish culture in relation to young Jews wishing to get artful ink, with the dark stigma carried over (beyond biblical texts on body markings).
For the best discussion on Jews and tattoos, read Craig Dershowitz's interview with Rabbi Henry Harris.
In more news on culture and tattoos, the Isle of Man's Manx Heritage Foundation is photographing people with Manx tattoos for a new promo campaign. The most popular tattoo is the "Three Legs of Man" symbol, which Wikipedia says originates in the legend that the Celtic god Manannan defeated invaders by transforming into the three legs and rolling down the hill.
If only there was as good a story behind the San Jose Shark Man.