Results tagged “Kings Ave Tattoo”

12:06 PM
Rose Hardy Tattooweb.jpg
Rose Hardy tattoo above.

Todd Noble tattooweb.jpg
Todd Noble tattooing.

Pagoda City Tattoo web.jpeg
Joe Capobianco & co-organizer Justin Weatherholtz at the Kings Avenue Tattoo booth.

Pagoda City Tattoo competitionweb.jpg
Dream team Heather Bailey, Rose Hardy & Virginia Elwood judge the Saturday tattoo competition.

After back-to-back NYC tattoo shows, I was feeling a bit burnt out on conventions and figured I'd take a break this summer. I had a blast at those shows, of course, but big conventions can be intense with the crowds, cameras, competitions and general creative chaos. But after writing my post on the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest, I decided to drive down to Wyomissing, Pennsylvania this past weekend to check for myself what my friends had been talking up since last year's premier of the convention.

On the way there, I passed by billboards that promised damnation for abortion, special deals on rifles, and mega-mall retail therapy. And then there was the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest billboard--a good sign, literally, that all would be welcome to the party.

Just minutes after walking into the Crown Plaza lobby, filled with banners for the fest, I got hugs from friends who also traveled to be a part of it. At check-in, hotel employees were wearing the super-cool designed convention tees, just one of the many ways the hotel welcomed the tattoo take-over.

I dropped my bag off and headed to the convention area of the hotel, where I was warmly greeted by
Joe Johns and, soon after, Justin Weatherholtz, co-organizers and well respected tattooers. This was a hands-on operation, not run by an outside convention company, but by tattoo artists for tattoo artists and collectors.

The Pagoda City Tattoo Fest is a small boutique show with very select tattoo artists of the world's best. As I walked up and down the aisles, I kept thinking as I passed by the shop booths, "Woah, she's here, he's Wyomissing?" [The amount of talent is too much to name. You can check the artist list here.] And so many of them -- who have endless studio waiting lists -- were taking walk-ups. I wondered if those who just came in off the street knew how lucky they were.

While the focus was heavily on excellent tattooing, I also felt the strength of the show stemmed from the intimate community feel. I didn't just get to hang out with old friends; the way it was set up, with a great outdoor communal space by the pool and laid back vibe, I had the opportunity to meet new people, have a drink and share stories. It wasn't a bunch of posing tattoo models or reality TV tattooists holding court with fans. People were really connecting
. It was ... lovely.

That's not to say there wasn't some hardcore partying and 3am splashing in the pool. Dirty jokes, dirty laughs, & dirty tattoo tales will always be my favorite part of shows. [I never get tired of hearing veteran tattooer Mike Skiver keep telling the story of how he mistook my butt for his wife's at a convention 14 years ago -- a grab that began our friendship.] Sex, whiskey and rock-n-roll will never leave conventions (even if I, myself, went to bed sober at a reasonable hour).

Because I was having too much fun, I didn't take many pics, but you can see a few on my Instagram and Flickr album. Find more on the
Pagoda City Tattoo Fest Instagram.

Claudia De Sabe tattooweb.jpgClaudia De Sabe tattoo.

Zach Dunn painting web.jpgZack Dunn painting.

Me and Mike Skiverweb.jpgBooty out with Mike Skiver.

11:11 AM
10 months.  55 and a half hours under the needle.  Three giant tubs of Aquaphor.  Numerous discussions with my credit card's fraud department.  And countless attempts to bleach the blood and ink out of my sheets.

My backpiece by Mike Rubendall is finally complete... for now.

See pics (semi-NSFW) and read about the process at


09:12 AM
Even though I'm scheduled to finish up my back-piece this week with Mike Rubendall of King's Ave Tattoo, it's now possible for the Average Joe/Josephine to own and wear some of his art without the blood, sweat and waiting-list...

Rubendall's most recent painting, Alpha/Omega, is now available in a limited-edition, signed/numbered print on an aluminum panel.  Better yet, if you purchase the print, you also get a fitted New Era 59FIFTY cap in a custom package also designed by the artist.

On the outside, the black cap features a charcoal-grey embroidered snake and logo for Kings Ave, but the magic lies within: the red and black satin interior features a reproduction of the Alpha/Omega print.  (Remember: it's what's on the inside that counts...)

Only available online, limited to a run of 100 and packaged in a custom-printed box, this offer won't be around forever... unlike your tattoo. 

Click here to order!

02:09 PM
While we all await the return of our editrix-in-chief - who has been at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering in Colorado, slinging books and lecturing on copyright - I thought I'd take the time to point you all once again to my blog documenting the progress of my backpiece by Mike Rubendall of Kings Ave Tattoo.

We just wrapped up sitting number 16 a few weeks ago (putting the total count at 51.5 hours of tattooing) and if you haven't had the chance yet to peruse the process, get clickin!

(WARNING: there are pictures of my booty up there, so you might want to consider the site NSFW)

11:17 AM
sitting-7.jpg[I'm gonna put the full-disclosure up front: there's full-exposure on the click-through link.  If seeing a naked man's behind isn't appropriate for your workplace - or if it just plain skeeves you out - don't click, just enjoy the cropped photo above]

After another four-and-a-half hours last Thursday, Mike Rubendall of Kings Ave Tattoo finally wrapped up all of the black-work/background for my dragon back-piece.  I couldn't be happier, if only because it means that we're done tattooing my butt-crack which is - to say the least - an unpleasant experience.

Head on over to my blog, Bodysuit To Fit, to read about my latest sitting and see the uncropped version of the above photo. 

Remember, it's NSFW.

01:08 PM
While we're in the midst of some renovations here at the Needles and Sins Compound, I'd like to direct your attention to my other blog, Bodysuit To Fit, which I'm using to chronicle my backpiece by Mike Rubendall of Kings Ave Tattoo.  We just wrapped up my sixth sitting last Friday (putting us at 22 hours of work to date) and my latest post touches on the pain, the process and the progress.

(WARNING: there are some pictures of my butt up there so, depending on where you work, some pics might be NSFW).

And, while I have your attention, I want to let you know about an event that I'll be taking a part in this coming Sunday at Bar Matchless in Brooklyn.  A fellow musician and old friend of mine by the name of Alex Berman has been battling Hodgkin's lymphoma for 12 years now.  He's a tough dude, not to mention a father of young, twin boys.  He's about to begin an allogenic bone marrow transplant, which doctors say will save his life.  Needless to say, it's an expensive process, so a bunch of us in the New York music-scene have come together to help out.

This Sunday, starting at 1pm, we'll be having live performances (including an acoustic set from yours truly at 1:45pm) and a ton of CDs, vinyl and t-shirts for sale from local musicians - all of the proceeds from which will go towards Alex's care.

I sincerely hope you can come out to help us help Alex.  You can read about his story and donate online here.


12:08 PM
Marisa and I are in the annual, last-minute scramble here at the N&S Bunker in preparation for the holidays, so posting will probably be a little light over the next few days.  That said, I will also refrain from spreading holiday cheer in the form of back-slaps, firm hugs and butt-squeezes because I go in for another session on my dragon backpiece tomorrow.  Don't ask me why I scheduled it this way... I enjoy sitting at Christmas dinner.

Two weeks ago, I handed my back over to Mike Rubendall of King's Avenue Tattoo and, because we're a bunch of blogging dorks, I've decided to chronicle the experience at Bodysuit To Fit.  I'll be doing my best to chronicle the sittings in words and photographs (read about Sitting 1 here and Sitting 2 here) and will try to refrain from twitteresque posts like "Oh god, all I wanna do is scratch my ass."

So, please - give it a read!

[FULL DISCLOSURE: Some of these pics are kinda NSFW.  Nothing frontal, just my narrow little butt]

01:13 PM

The third and final episode of the "Tattoo Age" profile on Mike Rubendall of Kings Avenue is now online, and like the rest of the Vice TV video series, it is an intimate and interesting look into the personal and professional life of this master tattooer.

The video begins with a discussion of his art collection, which includes never before published prints by Horiyoshi III, and is followed by footage of another passion of Mike's:  boxing. Then, the Vice crew flies out to Denmark to interview Henning Jorgensen of Royal Tattoo, a good friend and also a big influence on Mike's work. But the most fun for me was watching the whole Rubendall family playing around in their backyard, presenting the softer, family man side of the intensely driven artist.

And of course, there are great tattoo and fine art images. It all perfectly rounds out a this must-see three-part series. Check Part 1 and Part 2 as well.

Vice is offering prints by Mike as well as other "Tattoo Age" merchandise. Just follow them on Twitter and look out for their contests.
12:38 PM

Today we get another outstanding installment from the Vice TV "Tattoo Age" series on Mike Rubendall.  There's a heavy focus on the car-washing, flash-tracing and hog-tying of Rubendall's apprenticeship under Frank Romano of DaVinci Tattoo - but we also get some interesting insight to the effect that Switzerland's Filip Leu had on Rubendall's design and technique.

No Steve Gutenberg this time around, but a great 12 minutes of your time, nonetheless.
11:50 AM

Vice TV continues kicking ass with it's Tattoo Age series by profiling my main man, Mike Rubendall of Kings Avenue (and, yes, the first still they display is of my fu-moobs).  We've sung Rubendall's praises before on this blog, but now we get a chance to hear from his peers and co-workers, including Grez, Chris O'Donnell, Frank Romano, Justin Weatherholtz and Matt Beckerich, et al.

Oh, yeah... Steve Guttenberg also makes an appearance.  For serious.  Steve.  Friggen.  Guttenberg.

Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3 and you can read my accounts of getting tattooed by Rube here and here.
04:13 PM
To date, all of my tattoos have been born and raised in the chair - and sometimes the table - of Mike Rubendall at King's Ave Tattoo in Massapequa, Long Island.  So, as I prepare my pectorals for a touch-up session at the end of the month (which i wrote about here and here), I was happy to see that the Long Island Press has done a massive, five-page profile on The Man, himself.

The article covers a wide spectrum of information, from his apprentice days under Frank Romano at Da Vinci Tattoo, to getting chaffeured to Manhattan to tattoo rapper Damon Dash (and an interesting exchange with Naomi Campbell), to Rubendall's global travels to get his own body-suit completed by Filip Leu, Chris Trevino and Horitomo.

I would highly recommend checking the article, but if you're pinched for time or are simply entertained by blinking lights and buzzing machines, you can check out the video below.

09:26 AM
[Ed. note - Brian Grosz has been getting tattooed by Mike Rubendall of Kings Ave Tattoo for several years now.  His previous reflections on the process can be found here.]

P2260001.jpgOutside of the fluorescent lighting and the lack of leg-room, the train ride out to Massapequa was fairly painless.  Ordinarily, I drive out to my sessions at Kings Ave Tattoo, but given the miserable weather (and the fact that NYC trending topics on Twitter were "Snowpocalypse" and "SnowtoriousBIG"), I decided that mass transit was the way to go.  After all, I find driving in Long Island to be fairly treacherous in the first place, but the moment the weather turns sour, my van pulls a Cinderella and morphs into a giant lunchbox/cinder-block with Lindsay Lohan behind the wheel after a long night at the club.

I ducked into the cab-stand at the train station, which was manned by a squat man with hair plugs watching horse racing on a flickering television set.  When he asked where I was heading and I replied, "844 Broadway at North Kings," he keyed the button on his dispatch handset and growled, "Someone get down here - I got one for the tattoo shop!"  I suppose it's a popular destination in them there parts...

The cab screeched up outside and as I closed the door behind me, my driver - an older guy in a satin "Vietnam Vet" baseball jacket and presumably a laryngectomy - turned around, raised a device to his throat and asked in a robotic montone, "Tattoo shop?"

I responded in the affirmative as casually as I could, thinking to myself, "Jesus, I've gotta quit smoking..."  But, as he spun the wheels and swerved out onto Broadway, I was hit with the notion that I'd actually had this very same cab driver in Poughkeepsie, NY, over a decade ago.  After all, both hacks had the same flagrant disregard for traffic laws and the passenger's bill of rights.

While Mike was setting up and choosing colors for the left side of my chest (I've tried to keep this piece entirely in his hands in terms of color choice, design elements, etc), I mentioned my experience with my cyborg cab driver and the long-shot possibility that he had driven me to the Poughkeepsie train station back in '98.

"He's been driving forever and he did disappear for a few years - it's totally a possibility."

"No shit," I mused.  "But I figured it would be rude if I asked him, based solely on the cabby/voice-box connection."

"Well," Mike proposed with a smile, "You could've asked him, 'Do you have a brother in Poughkeepsie?  Because I know a cabby up there who sounds just like you...'"

A couple of hours later, we had completed the color for the Fu dog on my left side: orange and golden mane, red spots and blue eyes (for my father; the dog on the right will have green eyes, like my mother and an inverted color scheme).  As I carefully slid into my shirt and coat to venture back out into the cold, Eric at the front desk rang up the cab company for my return trip to the train station.  Apparently someone on the other line picked up because he simply replied, "Yeah" and hung up the phone.

"That was easy," I said.

In his best impression of the dispatcher he said gruffly, "Tattoo shop - one goin to the rail, right?"

I could only imagine who would be my driver on the way back... Admittedly, I was kinda hoping for Handsome John Pruitt - that guy with the hook for a hand who drove the tow-truck in Adventures In Babysitting.


[Kings Avenue Tattoo is located in Massapequa, Long Island and is home to artists Mike Rubendall, Grez, Matt Beckerich, Justin Weatherholtz and Brian Paul.  For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 516-799-5464]

11:42 AM
[Ed Note:  Brian Grosz is currently three sittings into his chest piece, a pair of Fu Dogs inked by Mike Rubendall at Kings Ave Tattoo - here are his reflections on the process so far]

Some people are of the belief that repetition breeds comfort and, without a doubt, there's a certain routine to my tattoo sessions with Mike Rubendall at Kings Ave Tattoo

I know that I will sit in traffic on the Long Island Expressway for at least two hours in deadlocked traffic up until the Queens border for no discernible reason. I will be nearly run off the road on the Southern State Parkway because I pilot an unwieldy van and seemingly the only requirement for a driver's license in Long Island is an abnormally heavy right foot. 

Blood will flow (profusely) and there will be a lot of jokes and inquiry about how much I must have drank the night before. The debate on whether the coil or the rotary machine hurts more [he uses both machines] will rage on in my head as I try to remember to breathe and I will stare at the artwork hanging on the wall of Mike's room; carefully searching for some detail or point of interest that I somehow hadn't noticed over the last three years of staring at the same damn paintings. 

The drive home will a blur of taillights and adrenaline, I will have to urinate like a Russian racehorse, and upon arriving at my local bar for a drink to steady my nerves, someone will give me an unwitting slap wherever I've taken some ink -- despite the fact that I'm visibly wrapped up in Saran Wrap like last night's leftover tuna casserole.

Ah yes: comfort incarnate.

What I really enjoy about my tattoo sittings, though...

02:44 PM
Most people look at me like I'm off my rocker when I tell them about how far out in advance I have to book a sitting with Mike Rubendall at Kings Ave Tattoo. I usually try to explain that it's well worth the wait and, as my father says to his design/woodworking clients, "There's Good, Fast and Cheap... pick two."

But people's jaws really seem to drop (seemingly for a multitude of reasons) when I tell them that I travel out to Massapequa, Long Island, to get tattooed.

So I had to laugh long and hard when I caught this featurette on the Daily Show...

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Long Island Wants to Secede
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

I know plenty of people who use that old "Gun Show" line (in the video at 4:17), usually with their tongue firmly and ironically planted against their cheek, but the inner-bicep six-shooter tattoos? That's just a whole new level of...

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