Results tagged “Joshua Carlton”

Jan201420
10:28 AM
by Remis tattoo.jpg
Martin Luther King portrait above by Remis Tattoo.

cecil porter tattoo_MLK.jpgMartin Luther King portrait above by Cecil Porter.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'
                                                         -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As I've done in past years in honor of
Martin Luther King Jr Day, I share exceptional portraits and tattoo odes to a man who embodied Ghandi's "satyagraha" or "soul force" here in the US in furthering social justice (as set forth in his iconic "I have a Dream" speech). It's a day on which I reflect on how I can take at least some small action in working towards equality and harmony, and give back to my community. It's heartening that some people have chosen to tattoo this reminder for every day reflection.

martin luther king jr tattoo by jason grace.jpgTattoo above by Jason Grace.

martin luther king tattoos.jpgTattoos (left to right) by Joshua Carlton, Mike DeMasi, and Logan Aguilar.
Jan201321
10:54 AM
martin Luther King Jr tattoo.jpg
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.

TattooObama1Banner.jpg 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.

martin luther king tattoos.jpgTattoos (above left to right) by Joshua Carlton, Mike DeMasi, and Logan Aguilar. 

martin luther king jr tattoo by jason grace.jpgTattoo above by Jason Grace.
Jan201216
01:00 PM
martin-luther-king-tattoo-print1.jpgPortrait by Remis Tattoo

On this day celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., I will try to refrain from my usual groaning over the search to find tattoos honoring the civil rights leader and coming up with more odes to rapper Old Dirty Bastard. [Do a Google image search on each to see what I mean.] 

Then I think of Dr. King's "I Have A Dream Speech" and I'm reminded to judge people by the "content of their character," not color of their skin -- whatever colors and characters people chose to mark their bodies with.

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. My own tattoos are largely decorative but the patterns come from my Greek ancestry and places I've traveled. Buy me a drink and I have tons to talk about. 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.

martin luther king tattoos.jpgTattoos (above left to right) by Joshua Carlton, Mike DeMasi, and Logan Aguilar.


martin luther king jr tattoo by jason grace.jpgTattoo above by Jason Grace.


colorblind tattoo.jpgMLK-inspired "Colorblind" tattoo above by Watson Atkinson on musician Killick Hinds. For the great story behind that tattoo, see our 2010 MLK post. [Photo by Louis Cahill.]

Jan201117
12:15 PM
martin luther king tattoos.jpg
Tattoos (left to right) by Joshua Carlton, Mike DeMasi, and Logan Aguilar.

Every year on this US holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I scour the internet to find tattoo tributes to the civil rights leader. And every year, I'm disappointed that there aren't more.

Instead, I'm finding many celebrations of imbecility like the massive coverage of Gucci Mane's ice cream cone facial tattoo. [Mane was recently released from a psychiatric facility. The tattoo "artist" Shane Willoughby should also receive some counseling.]

I bring up the facial tattoo buzz to show contrast of how our art form is used in this so-called "Renaissance" of tattooing. There seems to be a loss of reverence for the craft and how we adorn ourselves permanently. No not every tattoo needs a grand story. Neither do tattoos need to be perfect and solemn. But they should be worn with self-respect and dignity.  And dignity and strength is what the celebration of MLK is about.
Jan201018
01:07 PM
colorblind tattoo.jpgPhoto by Louis Cahill

Today, we celebrate the life and works of Martin Luther King Jr., a man described as a "human rights icon." Some, however, choose to honor him every day with tribute tattoos, and those are the people I'd like to feature today; people who tattoo themselves with inspirational figures, instead of, say, Old Dirty Bastard or Gwen Stefani (sadly I found more tattoos of them than MLK).

The tattoo above is by Watson Atkinson on musician Killick Hinds who was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. to have the word "Colorblind" tattooed on his chest. Here's his story behind it:
 
"The design was a collaboration between me, my wife Delene, and the brilliant tattoo artist Watson Atkinson. This particular section of my huge tattoo project was done in Atlanta in 2007. Watson is currently at Blndsght Tattoo in Portland, Maine.

A favorite ritual upon moving to Athens, Georgia in 1995 was listening to local college station WUOG every Sunday morning for Dr. Martin Luther King Speaks. I was entranced and elevated by MLK's rich melodic tenor, his message of reconciliation, peace, and societal improvement. His encouragement to awaken the slumbering beast of universal brother and sisterhood helped in my releasing that which can't stand the light of day. I felt gratitude to be living in Georgia, in the heart of this sweeping and long overdue change. Some years on I began my tattooing and wanted a strong central anchor. My chest seemed a good place to highlight my hope for a world where we are all accorded without prejudice. The word "colorblind" is written backwards to highlight a graphic sense, and to recognize that words are only surface symbols pointing to something deeper. It's framed by 3's or E's, depending on your vantage. "33" is known as the age of wisdom and a nice entry into focused meditation. "EE" stands for "embrace extemporaneity," my unofficial improviser's motto. I'm also slightly red-green colorblind, and my father was completely colorblind, so I come by it honest. But the motivation was not to advertise my visual acuity or lack thereof, rather to celebrate the everyday work-in-progress of relating to one another."

Larger views of Killick's tattoo are here and here.

Other beautiful MLK tattoos include this one below by Jason Grace (currently having a non-tattoo adventure in South America) and these portraits by Joshua Carlton and Mike Demasi.

martin luther king jr tattoo by jason grace.jpg

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