Results tagged “NY Adorned”

07:18 AM
shawn mcdonald tattoo.pngtiger and dagger tattoo.jpgmcdonald painting.jpgColorado-based tattoo artist and painter Shawn McDonald of American Standard Tattoo Gallery in Fort Collins, CO, has been on the road, doing guest spots across the country, but he took some time to play along with our Proust Questionnaire for Tattooists, the Q&A designed as an old party game -- offering some insight into one's personality, including particular affection for Scarlet Johansson. 

Shawn will be a guest artist at New York Adorned in NYC
from October 27th to 30th, and then at Mainstay Tattoo in Austin, Texas from November 13 to 16th.

I believe Shawn may still have some free spots left at NY Adorned this week, so hit them up to see if you can score some time.

Now, here's our quick & dirty Q&A:

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? 
Being uninspired, there's nothing more miserable than having no idea what to make next.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Those final exciting moments when a great tattoo or painting is about to completed.

Your most marked characteristic? 
I'm bryllhient!

What is your principle defect?
At times, I'm maybe too submerged into my work, not giving enough time to normal.

Your favorite painters? 
Caravaggio, Leonardo DaVinci, Angelica Kauffman, Timothy Hoyer, Mike Davis, Albrecht Durer.

Your favorite musicians?
Clint Mansell, Juicy J, Sargeist

Who are your favorite writers? 
Oscar Wilde, DaVinci, Harlen Coben

Who would you have liked to be? 
Who married Scarlet Johansson?

How would you like to die? 

See more of Shawn's work on Instagram.
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07:56 AM
Junco Peony Finished.jpgToday, we have fascinating guest blog post from Pamela Shaw, who shares her experience receiving traditional Japanese hand-tattooing -- tebori -- from renowned artist Shinji Horizakura. Here is Pamela's story in her own words:

By Pamela Shaw
Being very green to the tattoo world, having only one other tattoo, it seemed to me that getting this tattoo was a mix of a boon and not quite deserved; though I feel that way about my first tattoo experience, and expect to feel that way with each of the artists whose work I have the pleasure and honor to have on my body.  Still, Shinji Horizakura's work had been in that category of  "one day maybe I'll get lucky enough to have work from him."  This "one day" thought slowly turned into a lust of sorts.

I became more and more enthralled with tebori after reading the Munewari Minutes blog, the plethora of information and photos generously posted by tattoo artists and collectors online, and Takahiro Kitamura's "Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in the Japanese Tattoo" book, to name but a few sources. I love the dedication to maintaining tradition, the influence from all forms of art (literature, mythology, theatre, fine art, music, religious iconography) and keeping things handmade in this ever machine and technologically influenced world.  At this rate, how could I not not get a tattoo from Shinji Horizakura?  I adore his bold use of color, there is such solidity and strength within the aesthetic.

Knowing full well that I most likely was not going to get a tattoo from Shinji Horizakura any time soon, I called NY Adorned to put my name on his list. Shortly thereafter, I found myself happily, surprisingly, feeling like I won the lottery: making a consultation appointment.  I cannot find any other rational explanation given the "bird with plant
matter/branch/flower on my left thigh" subject matter description and Horizakura's long wait-list as to how this happened.  From what I imagine, this is not what Shinji usually does with his time, though I could be wrong since I picture him working tirelessly on much larger tattoos, day in and day out.  I feel very lucky and grateful to Shinji, the folks at NY Adorned, and to the tattoo gods who have been smiling on me for giving me this opportunity.

peony tattoo closeup 2.jpgI asked Shinji for a dark-eyed Oregon junco, a bird I first saw in Northern California on a trip with my herbalist school program and a bird I have seen since here in New York with slightly different coloring.  On the day of our consultation, I had a few color photos of the bird in question, and a couple of other examples of art prints with
birds as well.  We discussed placement, and plant material.  I had my heart set on a pine branch, but Shinji advised against it and said that he'd come up with something else.  I got a rough marker sketch on my leg, and booked my appointments.

When the first appointment finally rolled around, he had a beautiful stencil drawn for me. The peony was a lovely surprise, and I have to say, it is gorgeous. After giving the okay, we got our first session started.  I loathe having line-work done, and that last half hour of tebori felt like bliss by comparison.  I also am a rather huge wimp, and take an herbal tincture to get myself through measly two-hour sessions on my thigh so I could be relaxed and not twitchy and tensed up.  During my last session, I almost fell asleep; though that could have been the herbs talking. 

Tebori is obviously quieter than the machine, and to me, it is less jarring and painful -- dare I say, enjoyable. Now, my long-term tattoo plans are being reconsidered, so as to incorporate more of Shinji's fine tattooing.

I absolutely love my junco and peony and cannot thank Horizakura-san enough.  Every time I look at this tattoo, I am reminded that I am indeed a lucky woman!
07:21 PM
Jamie Wright tattoo2.jpgJamie Wright tattoo1.jpgWhile we rarely highlight an artist with less then five years experience, I'm happy to make an exception and share the work and words of Jasmine Wright, 26-year-old rising tattoo star, who has been tattooing 4 1/2 years (yeah, ok, it's close to 5 years) and is based out of Buju Tattoo in Mission Hills, San Diego. Jasmine has been on an intense 4-month travel streak, which concludes with her guest spot at New York Adorned from April 1st through April 5th.

I chatted via email with Jasmine about her work and also her thoughts on being a woman tattooist today. Here's how it went: 

What type of tattoos do you love to do?

My favorite types of tattoos to do change all the time! More often than not, I'll prepare for a piece that I think I'll be super stoked on, and it ends up being a nightmare, and vice versa. I'll be dreading an upcoming tattoo, and then it ends up being a favorite. It's weird. But speaking in generalities, I always enjoy color pieces, things with lots of smooth, organic shapes. And as much as I like "feminine" tattoos, I also love a good "mean, manly" tattoo as often as possible.

I particularly love your renderings of female characters because they have a lot of soul to them. What goes into creating these types of works to give it the personality they have?

When I draw out women, I've recently tried to add as much expression as possible, usually based on the client who's getting the tattoo. Most of the female images I've tattooed are on male clients, so sometimes I'll try to envision what kind of chick they'd be into in the real world. The ones that are on female clients, I try to keep more whimsical and soft, to really draw an ultimate feminine vibe. I try to reference old Playboy models, vintage fashion magazines, makeup models, things like that. Especially the high-end fashion models who always have those intense expressions, which make for awesome reference material. Dramatic features n' whatnot.

What other references do you look to?

My reference material is all over the place. I have a ton of books, old magazines, botany, and animal anatomy illustration books.  I also keep an eye on a handful of other tattooers and try to pull bits and pieces of stuff from everyone. I'm afraid of being categorized into tattooing too closely like another artist, so when I reference other tattoos I've seen, I always try to just use a small bit I've seen, or just the color palette, and not too much of the entire tattoo. It's hard to stay original, so it's a definite challenge.

Jasmine Wright tattoo.jpg Have you ever been met with any difficulty -- or any benefit -- being a woman tattooist?

If it were my choice (or even remotely realistic) I would love to tattoo anonymously without a name. Only because I want to be respected as a tattooer, not a FEMALE tattooer. There are a lot of instances that prove women tattooers get many things with less effort, or lower skill, or are just less deserving in general than their male counterparts, and I really hate that...There's a huge population of chicks that have come up recently, who only got to where they are by putting out half-ass tattoos and showing way too much skin to gain clients & popularity--simply by being a cute chick...I never want to ride off of being a girl to get anywhere in this community. I've really been working my ass off to just do good work that I can be proud of and gain respect of tattooers that I look up to from the work I do, not because I flirt. In that sense, I suppose it's an easy thing to fall into, and it's a difficult thing to work to avoid.

Also, I've met other tattooers who basically have spit in my face for being a girl; they told me I'll never make it, and that there's nothing I can do to ever be worthy. I think those people can kiss my butt, but I also agree in a small sense for those half-ass female tattooers I mentioned previously. There's a fine line that separates the legit women *artists*, versus the ever-increasing number of trendy "chick tattooers." Personally, I've had both benefits and hang ups by being a girl. I wish it wasn't the case in either direction.

Are you all booked up at NY Adorned (NYA) yet? If not, what's the best way to make an appointment?

I actually have no clue how my schedule at Adorned is looking yet, but I know I've got a handful booked. I'm sure I still have time left. Clients can email me through my website to discuss ideas and time frames, and follow up by calling NYA to pick a date and leave a deposit.

What other future guest spots and conventions are coming up?

I have a tattoo road trip in the works, most likely July/August, which will probably include multiple cities across the country (definitely Portland OR, Austin TX, Tempe AZ, and a handful of East Coast cities for sure). Those plans will be locked down by the end of April. I also guest spot in San Francisco at Seventh Son Tattoo almost every other month, and Unbreakable Tattoo in Los Angeles pretty often as well.

Anything else you want people to know about you?

I love my Aussie shepherd puppy, Albee, and I also love eating big awesome steaks! Haha! Otherwise, I'm a total old lady. I travel and tattoo, and sleep.

Jamie Wright tattoo3.jpg
08:55 AM
Kenji black tattoo 2.jpgKenji black tattoo.jpgI'm often asked about blackwork and dotwork tattooing in NYC, and really, compared to other parts of the world, there aren't as many who specialize in the style (although the number of greats is growing). So, I'm always excited when those who need nothing to travel with but black ink arrive for guest spots in NYC.

One of my faves is Kenji Alucky of Black Ink Power.

The native of Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan has been tattooing on the road and is now a guest artist at NY Adorned in Manhattan. I believe that appointments are still available, but not for long as Kenji will only be a guest until January 31st. You can hit up NY Adorned by phone at 212.473.0007 or via email: info [at]

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11:43 AM
black skull tattoo.jpgWhen I released "Black Tattoo Art" in 2009, there were very few tattoo artists in the US specializing in dotwork and blackwork (not to be confused with black & gray tattooing). Strong, bold, all-black works and refined compositions created by stippling have been hugely popular in Europe for a while, but only recently have flourished stateside.

In California, 2Spirit Tattoo, is renowned for beautiful blackwork. Last year we profiled Roxx, studio owner and badass. But 2Spirit has an incredibly talented crew, and today, I want to spotlight another artist from the shop:  Michael E. Bennett.

I particularly wanted to talk to Michael when I learned that he'll be doing a guest spot on the East Coast next month at NY Adorned from October 30th to November 3rd. I shot him a few questions, and he graciously replied. Here's our quickie Q&A:     

Which dotwork artists have inspired you and how you do approach this style of work to make it your own?

The list of inpirations for my tattooing is endless, but off the top of my head, recently I've been influenced by the work of Gerhard Wiesbeck, Matt Black, and Kenji Alucky as well as Jondix, Hooper, and of course Xed le Head. Aything with power in it, though, it doesnt really matter what style. I suppose my approach is more based in 'traditional' tattooing. The Coleman kinda heavy lines and shading, that was the way I was taught to apply them.
Do you see a growing demand for this style in the US?

It seems so! I think that's exciting. I feel there's alot of energy in these types of tattoos. The actual act of recieving a tattoo definetly has its own power, demanding a calm composure of yourself while being put through pain is no easy feat, but I think when people see tattoos done in Blackwork/dotwork it effects them. It's just so ANCIENT. It's an art purely for application on the human body.

Is there a certain type of clientele that's attracted to this type of work?

Hmm. That's hard to say. It varies, certainly. More and more people are starting to see the beauty of it. Younger people are always the prominent collectors in tattooing, but this seems to attract all types of folks, which I love.

What types of tattoo projects are you most attracted to?

I like the spiritual aspect of tattooing, not necessarily religious, but something that speaks of a deeper meaning. That's the beauty of this kind of work, it seems so powerful even when there's no real subject matter apparent. It makes you think about form and structure, how things are put together.

Check Michael's work on his blog and the 2Spirit site. You can reach him at childthepeacemaker [at]

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09:21 AM
ben siebert tattoo 5.pngben siebert tattoo 3.jpgAustin, Texas is a hotbed of tattoo talent, from veteran artists to those new and killing it in the craft. One stellar studio in the city is Jason Brooks' Great Wave Tattoo. The work coming out of the shop, which is largely Americana and Japanese influenced, is strong and exciting. But it's not just from Jason's portfolio alone. 

Great Wave is also home to Ben Siebert, a younger artist but one who has been honing his skills for years. Ben came up at Hell Bomb in Wichita with Steve Turner, then made his way to Jason, whom Ben says inspires him "to strive to make better work every day."

I asked Ben what it is to make better work, to create a strong tattoo. He said, "Strong tattoos to me are tattoos that stand out from across the street, but at the same time have enough interesting detail and movement applied to it so the whole tattoo is not all taken in in one glance."  

There is also a timeless quality to his work, following the old school and Japanese traditions. On this he says, "I think that Americana and Japanese imagery have stood the test of time because they are deeply rooted in history pertaining to both Western and Eastern cultures. Something that has been passed down in some form or another." 

Those in the NY area need not travel to Austin to get work from Ben. He'll be a guest artist at NY Adorned from September 16th - 22nd.

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11:02 AM
yoni_zilber_tattoo1.jpegThis Friday, October 21st at 6:15, Yoni Zilber of New York Adorned will be part of the "Artists on Art" discussion series at the Rubin Museum of Art, where he'll talk about his study of Tibetan art and its relation to tattooing.

Tattooing since 1998, the Israeli-born tattooist artist in various styles including Thai, art nouveau, and ornamental art. Yoni says he is especially drawn to Tibetan art for its sensitive lines and rich compositions, which he says contour beautifully with the body. To excel at this style, however, requires not only technical skill, but also a keen sense of proportion, an appreciation for symbolism, and a respect for tradition.

For some time, Yoni studied Tibetan art on his own but sought out a mentor who could help him take his art to the next level. In 2007, while studying Tibetan paintings at the Rubin Museum, he met Pema Rinzin, an accomplished Tibetan tangka painter and contemporary artist whose work can be found in the Dalai Lama's temple in India. After several encounters, Rinzin agreed to take Yoni on as his apprentice. Committed to learning the intricacies of this ancient art, Yoni says he applies these lessons daily in his tattoo work.

To see more of Yoni's portfolio, check his website and blog.

11:03 PM
shinji tattoo.jpgI completely geek out over body suits-in-progress blogs, especially when the work is done by tattoo phenomena. [And it seems many of you do too considering the popularity of John Mack's series on getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III.]

One such blog is Munewari Minutes where Brooklyn's own Mike Crash posts on the progress of his Japanese backpiece and munewari. As Mike explains in one of his first blog posts,

"Munewari (literally 'chest dividing') is a tattoo style which covers the front of the torso while leaving the center of the chest untouched...The shape is meant to conceal the tattoo when traditional clothing such as a kimono is worn. As a matter of practicality, I confess the shape has become an anachronism. You're not likely to see many folks in kimono outside of the rare formal occasion. But the style is unique to Japanese tattoo and I think quite stunning visually, which no doubt has contributed to it's longevity--it is still a commonly tattooed style."

It's this information on Japanese tattoo, combined with Mike's own personal experience, that makes Munewari Minutes such an interesting read.

The artist creating the work is the renowned Horizakura, aka Shinji, of the Horitoshi Family. Horizakura has been tattooing Mike--by machine and tebori--for six years at NY Adorned.

The artists of NY Adorned have inspired other tattoo bloggers whom I love like my friend Sarah whose site Evolution of a Backpiece (which we posted here) relays her experience getting tattooed by Stefanie Tamez. Sarah was inspired by the blog (one of the first tattoo-in-progress blogs) of another dear friend, Keith Alexander, who died in July 2005. While his site is no longer online, you can see here on BME his backpiece, which was tattooed by Chris O'Donnell, also of Adorned.

shinji tattoo horizakura.jpg
Horizakura will not be at NY Adorned for long, however. As Mike noted in his most recent post, the artist will soon be opening up his own studio on the Lower East Side.

Other big changes are taking place at NYA:  Owner Lori Leven writes that artists Chad Koeplinger and Timothy Hoyer have gone on their own, and Bryan Randolph has moved back to California and is now working at Spider Murphy's.

The bigger news is that Lori will be opening up a new space on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan and bring all Adorned tattooists and piercers together in one location. Their original East Village shop will be turned into a jewelry store. And what about Brooklyn Adorned? Lori says:

"I want to close it. But, I want to sell it (of course, not to another tattoo shop ). Or become partners with someone I respect, in a new business that could well utilize the space. So, if you want to call me and talk about a business venture, please do so. Even if none of those things work out, we will still be leaving the Bedford shop. I'm a city girl and Manhattan is where I flourish. And when I flourish, my peeps are happy. And happy people working together is a blast!"

Best of luck to NY Adorned, Horizakura, Chad, Timothy, and Bryan in their new adventures. Will keep checking in on Munewari Minutes to see Mike's body evolve beautifully.

12:26 PM
andy lin.jpg
Photo of Andy Lin by Sean Toussaint

At last Friday's party, a lot, and I mean A LOT, of women (and a couple of guys) came up to me to say they loved our new "Objectified Tattooed Men" series where we, yeah, objectify tattooed men. As the last three men featured are "taken,"  a request for an unattached hottie was made. At least to help the fantasy along. And I shall not disappoint.

Behold the awesome Andy Lin.

* City:  New York City / Rochester, NY (born)

* Age: 31

* Relationship status: Single (yes, ladies!)

* Work: Photographer / Bartender/ Artistic Coordinator for Other Worlds Are Possible

* Fun: Dodgeball, big buck hunter, cooking, yoga, and lounging around with my cat.

* Music:  right now, listening to the Animals, Bob Dylan, Citizen Cope, Arcade Fire, Souls of Mischief, Van Morrison, The Secret Machines, Wu-Tang, Jeff Buckley, and Johnny Cash.
I used to play in this band: Nozomi Phoenix.

* Tattoo:  Blackwork Lotus by Shinji Horizakura.

"Shinji Horizakura, who is now at Brooklyn Adorned, did it back when he was at New York Adorned on 2nd Ave. My first tattoo.  It's a lotus flower.  With an edge.  But really it's an artistic distillation of who I am, and I feel an accurate one at that: it was created by my ex-girlfriend, someone who knows me better than most.  Save for the outline, which was done by machine, the entire piece was done by the Tebori traditional Japanese hand poke technique.  Getting this tattoo was incredibly meditative and fulfilling.  I got it back in 2006 and it still hasn't settled into my skin.  When I wear a wifebeater, the tattoo peeks out from either side and makes it look like I've got wings." 

See a video of Shinji working by hand (at Miami Ink).

If you wanna be objectified, or are being forced to by your friends, send me a pic and your stats to marisa at

10:47 AM
object-the-little-family.jpgPhoto by Martha Larson of Seattle.

There are Suicide Girls, Gypsy Queens and the Inked Girl of the Day. And we love all that cheesecakey goodness. But where can the ladies and gay boys get a little tattoo eye candy? Well, I'm here to provide.

Last week, I put out a call for hot tattooed men to feature here, and praise be, my Inbox dinged: You Got Male!

But before we objectify our first brave bod, I just wanna say, Keep 'em comin. Send your photos to marisa at

And now meet:  Stefan Lawrence

  • * City: Brooklyn
  • * Age: 31
  • * Relationship status: Married and soon to be daddy [I know, ladies. sigh]
  • * Work: Freelance graphic designer, and sketch comedian with Elephant Larry.
  • * Fun: I like to bake bread, make brisket and pulled pork in the smoker, drink Tiki drinks & whiskey, and collect Disneyland ephemera. Also I like to hold my cats as if they were babies.
  • * Music: Guns 'n Roses, Elvis Presley gospel music, Band of Horses, Andrew WK, Blitzen Trapper, assorted outlaw country. Basically the kind of music you can wear a belt buckle to.
  • * See more:, and coming soon (6/17)
  • * The Tattoo: New tattoo work by Virginia Elwood of NY Adorned.
"My wife, Biz, is pregnant and we're about to have a little Katy Belle (that's the baby). I went to Virginia Elwood of NY Adorned with the general idea of the mama, papa and baby bird, with the banner reading "The Little Family," which is what me and Biz were calling it when we would be sleeping in the morning and both our cats were on the bed with us as well. Virginia just sorta took the idea and ran with it. Even though I'm a designer by trade, I like to let artists do their own thing because, really, what do I know about designing a tattoo?

When it came time for the appointment and I saw the design, it was love. Much bigger than I expected, but it looked so fluid and alive -- the way she wrapped the birds around my shoulder and arm, it just looked like it was meant to be there.

It took three sessions, about 6.5 hours total. Virginia was really great to work with, so friendly and easy to spend all that time with. Also she had very nice, interesting friends drop in to visit, so there was nothing about it that wasn't a pleasure. From a distiller friend of hers, I learned that a 100 lb. sack of vodka-quality potatoes costs 3 cents. 3 cents! I mean, come on. Anyway, it was just a great experience, and it's making me look forward to seeing Katy Belle when she pops out of my wife in about another month or so."
Congrats, Stefan and Biz!
09:35 AM
I'm lovin watching the progression of my friend Sarah's horimono up close and beautiful, but you can check out it out yaself through her blog Evolution of a Backpiece.

The wonderful Stephanie Tamez of NY Adorned is creating the serpentine-centered work that evokes The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Nothing could better embody temptation more than beautiful tattoos on a beautiful woman.

The blog also reminds me of one of the first online tattoo chronicles by the great Keith Alexander (a dear friend who was taken too soon in 2005). He too documented the progress of his backpiece -- also tattooed at NY Adorned -- by Chris O'Donnell.

What I love about all these personal blogs is, not only watching the works evolve, but reading about healing techniques, the relationship with the artist, and the stories behind the design.

Tattoo geeks rejoice in all the bloggy goodness!
10:32 AM
tattoo law.jpgI woke up this morning ready to tackle a monster To Do list and instead have to add another task:  Kick Bobby Fisher's ass.

In his drug-fueled post to criminalize tattoos, Bobby is essentially saying that the greater accessibility of tattooing has led to the loss of magic the art once possessed when it was underground, and also more bad decision-making as they are now so easy to to obtain. [Bad decision-making like giving Bobby a password to blog here?]

To this I say to Bobby and all those bemoaning the lost badassness of tattoo's history: Get the fuck over it.

My first tattoos were "illegal" in NYC. The tattoo ban was not overturned until 1997.  Yes, there were basement apartments to venture to, secret buttons to push and some cloak and daggerness involved  all of which you instantly find less cool when the needle starts buzzing and you're wondering whether the autoclave is working or just used for storage.

You can keep your Hep C, Bobby Fisher.  Give me Barbie dolls in the seat next to me over staph infections.

Legal tattooing also means that artists get to focus on something more important that outrunning (or paying off) cops: the art.

Talk to the old timers of tattooing and they all agree that the level of artistry in the tattoo community has grown exponentially in recent years because of its accessibility. Artists new to tattooing don't have to reinvent the wheel, so they can learn those basics faster and more on to refining and experimenting. The "earning it" may be lost but, in the end, I'll take it if it means I'm walking around as a beautiful work of art.

And speaking of, Bobby ain't running around with scratcher ink. He pays the big bucks for work from one of NY's top studios, NY Adorned, so either he's slingin crack to afford it or is really Bemie Madoff.

And like Bernie, if Bobby wants to go back to the good old days of criminal life, I'll send him the Astroglide to make the transition smoother.   

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