Some of the most creative of expressions are those that reflect on love. Flash mob proposals. Bikers stopping traffic to get romantic. Having someone's name tattooed on your face. And naturally, many will say that you can never go wrong with diamonds.
Now, if you take tattoo art and diamonds...you have my attention.
David Cooper is heavily tattooed gemologist and designer at Jeff Cooper Designs -- a family business specializing in classic, handmade bridal jewelry. David teamed up with the renowned Mike Rubendall of Kings Avenue Tattoo (who's spent plenty of time with Brian), and together they created a beautiful collection that melds Mike's artistic eye with the jewelry designer's signature refinement.
The Heirloom Diamond Pendant, in gold and diamonds, is the first pendant design of their collaboration. To celebrate the launch of the collection, David is offering a Valentine's Day Giveaway. To enter, head to the Jeff Cooper Designs Facebook page, "Like" them, and fill out the contest entry form. The winner gets picked on February 14th.
There's a sweet backstory to this collaboration, which is noted on the Jeff Cooper blog. Here's a bit from it:
Anyone can network on the golf course, but our own David Cooper launched a new creative venture right from the tattoo chair.
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].
Dedicating his life to Japanese tattooing and educating others on the art, Kazuaki "Horitomo" Kitamura -- resident artist at State of Grace in San Jose -- not only keeps the tebori hand tattoo traditions alive but also the rich history of the art and the meanings behind its iconic motifs.
In "Immovable: Fudo Myo-o Tattoo Design By Horitomo," he shares this knowledge in a beautifully illustrated 9" by 13" softcover art book. Fudo Myo-o (also known as Acala, which translates into "immovable") is one of the Five Wisdom Kings in Buddhism. His role is to fight ignorance and delusions, and lead people to self-discipline and peace. He is shown sitting on a pedestal, surrounded by flames (among other representative elements), but of course there are many artistic ways to embody this Esoteric Buddhist icon. In these pages, Horitomo presents various interpretations of Fudo Myo-o, often with information on that particular composition.
What I particularly enjoy about this book is how he breaks down the elements of many of his drawings; for example, he highlights the different manifestations of weapons, hairstyles and garments. He even devotes pages to close-ups of postures. It's an excellent study for artists, but also a great resource for anyone fascinated by Buddhist art and stories.
"Immovable" is available at State of Grace Publishing for $120 (US orders) and $150 (outside US).
If you'd like to learn about Fudo Myo-o drawing and design from Horitomo himself, he'll be giving a seminar with Horitaka on July 29th at 10am at the Kings Avenue NYC location (188 Bowery 2nd floor at the corner of Spring St). The cost of the seminar is $200 ($220 by PayPal). Space is limited. More info on the Kings Ave blog.
I also recommend checking out Horitomo's spectacular portfolio, which includes the tattoos shown below.
In the August issue of Inked Magazine, on newsstands now, I interview the tattooer's tattooer, Mike Rubendall of Kings Avenue. In our Q&A, we discuss the new Kings Ave on the legendary Bowery in NYC (also posted here), his grueling apprenticeship when he was 17, and what it's like tattooing a dead body. Here's a taste:
What is the tattoo that you've done that sticks out most in your memory?
Read more in the "Icon" section of Inked.
You can also follow Brian's own experience getting tattooed by Mike here on N+S.
Even though King's Ave NYC opened their doors to the public back on April 1st, it's now time for us to party!
On Thursday, May 12th, Mike Rubendall, Grez and the rest of the crew invite you to stop by the shop at 8pm for "drinks, friends and family" (and, at the very least, I can assure you firsthand that the shop is utterly gorgeous and well worth a visit). Barring a plague of locusts, I'll be there with our estemeed editrix in tow so come on out and say "hello."
What: Kings Ave NYC Grand Opening Party
When: Thursday, May 12th - 8pm
Where: 188 Bowery (at Spring St) - New York City
Why: Like you gotta ask...
[UPDATE: Over at Tattoosday, you can enter for the chance to win a Kings Ave T-shirt!]
[Logo by Ryan Begley]
As a loyal client of Mike Rubendall and an admirer of the superlative tattooing that occurs at his Massapequa, NY shop, Kings Avenue Tattoo, news like this comes as a blessing for all of us City-Rats: Kings Avenue will be opening a location in downtown Manhattan.
With his associate, Grez, Rubendall has decided to open a shop in New York City, "for the simple fact of wanting to be a part of the energy, life, and creativity that Manhattan possesses. We have always been tremendously motivated and inspired by the people and art in NYC, and felt it was time for Kings Ave to grow."
Personally, I look forward to seeing their new space (their Long Island location is a beautiful, relaxed and sanitary sight to behold), not to mention a much shorter train ride home as I'm wrapped in plastic and reeking of green soap.
Tattoo collectors and enthusiasts can look forward to work from Rubendall and Grez in addition to the very talented Matt Beckerich, Justin Weatherholtz, Brian Paul, Shaun Nel and Sarah Schor (see the Kings Ave Artists Page for their portfolios). Kings Ave NYC will also host gifted guest-artists, having previously opened their autoclave doors to the likes of Chris Nunez, Chris O'Donnell, Kat Von D, Henning Jorgenson, Juan Puente and Tim Hendricks.
Kings Ave NYC, located at 188 Bowery (at Spring St) will open this Friday, April 1st. The shop will be open from 12pm-9pm on Monday through Saturday and 12pm until 6pm on Sunday.
For more information please visit kingsavenuetattoo.com or friend them on facebook.
[Backpiece by Mike Rubendall]