The recent tattoo news had some groan worthy moments, celebrity sparkle, and a glimmer of culture. Here's what went down.
Those with respect for tattooing let out a collective "Ugh!" on social media when learning that a new chain of Whole Foods could include tattoo shops and record stores. Tons of media outlets covered it but Vice's article was my fave, especially with this opener:
Imagine a place where you could get a deer antler tattoo while eating quinoa chips and buying your fav Tame Impala record. A retail space so youthful and vibrant that you could get your bicycle repaired while shopping for ethically raised cuts of meat. That dream (or nightmare) may soon become reality thanks to Whole Foods.The Whole Foods hipster pitch comes in the form of "365 by Whole Foods," a cheaper, younger version of the pricey kale-shilling giant. Maybe a one-stop-shop for Pinterest tattoos wouldn't be so bad, but this would leave a lot of shop-girls/boys without walk-ins to roll their eyes at.
Vice also came through with their Trump tattoos feature, in which they asked those who got Trump tributes, "Why? Oh, why?" In my post last week on "Presidential Tattoos," I wrote on Bob Holmes of Clay Dragon Tattoo offering free tattoos of The Donald's name, slogan, or even face. Vice went to Clay Dragon to see what that was about. The people they spoke to ranged from a felon who was not even able to vote, to a local peace officer who just kept repeating the slogan "Make American great again," to a construction worker who got fancy with his free tattoo featuring Trump in front of an American flag, ripping open his shirt, and exposing a Superman logo. Yup, great again.
Beyond our borders, some beautiful tattoo work is coming out of Cuba, as ABC reports of the tattoo resurgence in the country; however, artists struggle with the industry being "alegal," that is, neither illegal nor explicitly permitted and regulated, and subject to the whims of officials. But progress on this front is being made:
In the middle of last year, state inspectors raided at least a half dozen Havana tattoo parlors, confiscating tattooing machines, needles and inks without providing a clear explanation. Alarmed, other parlor owners closed in order to avoid confiscation.In tabloid news, Lady Gaga and Angelina got new tattoos. I usually avoid sharing celeb stories, but these two are noteworthy.
Lady Gaga's David Bowie portrait tribute was tattooed by one of the godfathers of contemporary black & grey work, Mark Mahoney of Shamrock Social Club.
And Angelina was seen in Cambodia with new hand-poked Thai tattoos, purportedly by Bangkok-based artist Ajarn Noo Kanpai.
Finally, if you enjoy seeing paintings by old masters reimagined as tattoo models, check the work of Paris-based artist Nicolas Amiard.
Tattoo legend Mark Mahoney is cooler than any of the many rock stars he tattoos. His style & demeanor translate into the buttery smooth black and gray work that has made his Shamrock Social Club studio in Hollywood a destination for serious collectors as well as starlets.
Focusing on the celebrity side of his clientele, the Los Angeles Times profiled Mahoney and naturally named dropped the "who's who" of who he's tattooed, but it's an interesting read overall with discussion on his start in the business, coming out of rehab and back into tattooing, and why he's devoted much of his time to black and gray fine line work.
Here's a bit from the article:
Success was a long time in coming for the soft-spoken, gray-haired Boston native. Introduced to the art of tattooing as a teenager, Mahoney spent years studying the work of artists in Rhode Island and New York, trying to learn their secrets.Read more here.
One of my favorite comedians, Chelsey Lately, visited Mark Mahoney's Shamrock Social Club on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood to get tattooed because, ya know, all the cool celebrities are doing it. Mocking the whole process, from picking a design to the needling, it's a perfect send-up of Hollywood's bad tattoo choices (not necessarily bad artists).
My favorite part was when she referred to the legendary Rick Walters as "ZZ Top" and then asked him to come over (but not too close) and offer advice on whether she should go with tributes to Matt LeBlanc, K-Fed, Dog The Bounty Hunter, and Lance Bass. Mark & Rick suggested Matt. The next thing ya know ...
See it for yourself. It's a giggletastic three+ minutes.
Thanks, Pat, for the link!
Hope my fellow Americans had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Mine was memorable as it involved my dad and a freak landscaping accident -- one almost as bad as The Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace. But my father's feet have all their toes once again, and I can get back to what really matters in life ...
... Jermain Dupri's latest tattoo. The rapper/producer just got this twist on the "Holy Mother" black and grey portrait tattoo (shown above) by Jun Cha. And who plays the blessed virgin? Well, naturally, Janet. Miss Jackson if ya
I know. I'm bloggin while bitchy. Please forgive. Reading too many of these you-kids-get-off-my-lawn anti-ink rants.
But thankfully, a thoughtful article emerged from the mass of eewww-the-Denver-Nuggets-have-too-many-tattoos stories. Check Benjamin Hochman's piece for the AP on the Birdman's tattooist, John Slaughter of Denver's Tribe Tattoo. Slaughter offers this quote on the team's tattoos, among other
"Tattoos, for thousands of years, have been associated with tribes of people. And throughout the NBA, we are the most-tattooed team. It says that they're pretty self-expressive. It's almost like every single tattoo is a stage or a level in life that you've accomplished or gotten through-and where you're headed next."
In more from the grumpy old man front, Jonathan Zimmerman of the NY Daily News whines about his daughter wanting to get a tattoo; yet, even though he finds them "revolting," he can't come up with a good reason not to get one. In the end, the best advice for revolt
You don't need Barbie to tell you tattoos are mainstream. The freakin NY Times bleeds out a monthly tattoo story on a scheduled cycle. This week it reviews "Skin & Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor" -- check our April post on it -- and offers some interesting info behind the exhibit, like this:
"In the late 18th century, the show points out, tattoos would have served as a way of identifying bodies in cases of drowning; they were marks of association and identity that could not be eradicated by pirates, shipwrecks or enemy capture. [...] Each had a 'Sailor Protection Certificate' that was carried as a form of identification that detailed the tattoos on its bearer's body; these descriptions often remain the sole remnants of individuality in these once-anonymous figures."
The Times also posts a slide show of some of the exhibits including this archival photo from 1899 of a sailor getting tattooed aboard the U.S.S. Olympia.
To reclaim tattoo cool, we thankfully have German thrash metal veterans. Blabbermouth says that Drummer Jurgen "Ventor" Reil of Kreator has opened a tattoo shop in Essen, Germany called Carnap Ink Corporation, and true to their roots, they're doing tattoos you would find on metal heads in the early eighties. Take that as you wish.
The always cool Mark Mahoney of Shamrock Social Club is featured in a sweet and extensive profile in Lowrider Arte. What does he think about the Tattoo Barbie effect?
"There are two things that blow my mind: the fact that you can now remove them or that people can use cream to make the tattoo process painless. I remember how it used to be a scary thing to get a tattoo and how it hurt and that it couldn't be removed, but now you can avoid all that and some of that punch is watered down a bit since you have a way out. In a way that makes me sad, however I do realize that it's good for the business in the long run. I guess I just kind of miss the old days when you had to be an outlaw, or you had to be a real brave soul to get a tattoo."
Bringing it full circle, Mahoney's also tattooed Jermain Dupri, but not with any biblical nip slips.
Quick and Dirty Link Time: