Results tagged “NY Ink”

08:06 AM
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Luke Wessman Tattoo on "Amer the Gamer" at Lucky's SD

Last week, Complex magazine posted an extensive interview with Luke Wessman, an artist known to reality TV fans for his appearances on Miami Ink & NY Ink, but for true tattoo fans, he's regarded a strong artist with a distinctive artistic flavor. In the interview, Luke discusses the development of his style, his experience with reality TV, tattooing rappers, and more. And naturally, there are photos from his portfolio.

That portfolio has been called "traditional gangster" style. Here's how Luke describes it in the interview: "It's the merge between growing up around street and neighborhood tattooing like Olde English and block letters and then you go and learn to tattoo at this traditional shop. My influences come from both and I guess that would be the mix of traditional gangster tattooing."

Luke Wessman tattoo2.jpg Coming from an old school tattoo education, but thrust in the middle of the tattoo tsunami of popularity that comes from being on TV (even if on the sidelines), Luke has an interesting perspective on the direction the industry is taking. Here's a bit on that from the interview:

[I]n regards to something I heard in your Self Made documentary. Someone mentioned the divide between older tattoo artists and what's trendy now, like more graphic designers becoming tattoo artists, etc. What are your thoughts on that?

It's an interesting thing. There's the main old guys, that learn how to tattoo, learn how to use the machines and they learn how to apply tattoos--the purest form of tattooing. Now there's more and more of an art influence where you're artistically skilled and you're joining that with the tattoo form. Now artists are becoming tattooers and the emphasis is bigger on art than the tattoo skill. In between that, there's this loss of the boundaries of what you can do as a tattooer and what you should do.

These artists are coming from a pure art perspective without learning a lot of the boundaries of old tattooing. You have these people doing these fancy designs because they come from a painting background without a tattoo background so this mix in the middle are all these young kids who aren't really learning from old guys or time-tested methods. There's reasons why certain things are done because there are limitations. There are no limitations to these kids because they're used to doing design and painting and graphic design. They're stretching the boundaries at first but not really knowing the consequences later on.

Read more on Complex.

Check out Luke's work on his site and on Facebook. And you can also learn more about the artist through his 2010 "Self Made" video (below).
09:36 AM
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In the November issue of Inked mag, on newsstands now, editor Rocky Rakovic interviews Michelle Myles, boss lady of NYC's Daredevil and Fun City tattoo studios (which she co-owns with Brad Fink).

In this refreshingly frank Q&A, Michelle talks about tattooing in NYC when it was still illegal and underground (the tattoo ban was lifted in 1997), the popularity of Americana tattoos among hipsters and how NY Ink is "cast like the Jersey Shore." Here's a taste of that talk:

Speaking of competition, how do you feel about NY Ink?

It's embarrassing. I mean, I really like Tim Hendricks -- nothing but respect for him and I actually don't know much about the other people or whoever it is on the show. But I think it is unrealistic and gross the way it is portrayed. It's so heavily scripted. They're not even New Yorkers. Chris Torres is the only one from New York; they cast NY Ink like its the Jersey Shore. But it's not even reality TV -- just bad acting. They think there's some kind of truth in it, and there isn't. I think I wrote on my blog, that to me, their tattoo shop is equivalent of Monica's apartment on Friends because it's so unrealistic. And to hear Ami [James] whine, "I'm not going to be able to pay the rent"... I heard he made two million dollars.

You seem pretty offended by it.

It's just absurd and gross to anyone trying to pay their rent in NYC for any amount of time to hear them say, "Oh, I hope to get business" when they have ads on the sides of buses. I mean, my neighborhood used to be a shit hole and now it's super trendy, but we somehow managed to hang on. So if anybody takes away from that and saunters in with a TV show, yes, I resent that.

But don't you want to riffraff tourists to fill up that shop and not yours?

We want the riffraff! We want anyone's money! Anyone who comes into my shop is going to be treated well. I mean, as long as they're in line. We don't tolerate someone who comes in and acts like a jerk. But we welcome anybody in our shop. It doesn't matter if you don't have tattoos or never have been to a tattoo shop. There are no stupid questions, and we're happy to take anybody. We're not going to make anybody feel bad because they're not cool enough.


In the rest of the interview, Michelle discusses how she came to the art, her influences, and why she loves being a New York tattooer. A fun read.

See more of Michelle's work here and check her musings on tattooing here.

11:52 AM
nyinkbanner.jpgTonight at 10/9C, The Learning Channel will be debuting their latest tatttoo-reality show, NY Ink - and if you're anything like us, you rolled your eyes upon learning of the show and let out an ultra-snotty, "Oh, just what we needed, another tattoo-reality show."

(Full Disclosure - We actually have several friends on the show and wish them the best of luck.  After all, most tattooists don't have 401(k) retirement plans, so we're all in favor of "buying-in" before our tattooist pals get arthritis and scoliosis.  That said, we gave our pals full warning that we'd be mocking them incessantly - because that's what friends do.)

But after a dozen adult beverages at happy hour, we at Needles and Sins (along with the awesome help of Nathan at think we've found a way to incorporate an exciting plot twist in what will otherwise be a "same story, different city" situation.  That's right - we hereby present to you the SEMI-OFFICIAL NY INK DRINKING GAME!

The rules are listed below my introductory video, but if you don't want to drink in front of the TV while cradling your laptop (and we wouldn't recommend that) we've also whipped up a printable PDF Rulesheet.

  • Every time they do an establishing shot of a New York landmark (the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, subways, yellow cabs, etc).
  • Every time there's incredibly scripted voice over/testimonial monologue (ie - "If you can make it here in New York, you can make it anywhere" or "It's not easy running a shop, but with a crew of talented artists like this...")
  • If someone gets a NYC tattoo (see above references, plus Yankees logos. If they get a twin towers tattoo, pour two tall shots and drink both)
  • During any discussion of the Sacred Three Taboo Tattoo Areas (above the collar, below the cuff, under the underwear)
  • If anyone actually gets a tattoo in one of the S.T.T.T.A. you have to drink every time it is shown.

  • Every time Ami James complains about being in New York City (adventurous, high-tolerance drinkers should simply drink every time Ami complains about anything).
  • Every time Ami has his shirt off in the shop for no explicable reason (this ain't Miami, son)
  • Every time the "shop girl" looks like she's near tears.
  • Every time someone is wearing those fashionable, black latex gloves.
  • Every time an artist is late for an appointment
  • Every time an artist storms out of the shop in anger (take two drinks - one for you and one for the drink he/she is about to go get around the corner).

  • Every time someone mentions a personal project (band, blog, self-published book, etc) to garner press for personal gain.
  • Every time a client is getting a "memorial tattoo" (however, any time it's for a "homey who ain't here" you are required to pour some out - pets and family members are excluded from this stipulation).  If you tear up during one of the memorial tattoo descriptions, CHUG your drink and then punch yourself in the junk.
  • Every time there is a meaningful, heartfelt "back story" behind a client's inspiration for their tattoo.
  • Every time a client mentions their congenital/accidental disability (drink twice if the tattoo "empowers" them)
  • Every time a client starts crying at their new, beautiful tattoo (CHUG for as long as they're crying DURING the tattooing process).
  • If someone pusses out on a tattoo, finish your drink and then hunt them for sport ("Functioning Alcoholic" level players only).
  • Every time a client walks in with a completely un-tattooable piece of reference art (drink double if the client or their friend drew it).


  • Pick three (3) rules total from any category.

  • Pick six (6) rules total from any two categories

  • (Well, now... someone wore their big-boy pants today!)

  • All rules from page one apply, plus...
  • If you know the client personally, double all drinking requirements.
  • Every time a large-scale tattoo (full sleeve, backpiece, etc) is completed in one episode - take one drink every session it presumably took to complete.

  • All previous rules apply, plus stock your bar for the following:
  • Make your alcohol-choices directly related to the tattoo happening on-screen.  Sake or Asahi for Japanese work, Miller Lite for tribal work, Irish whiskey for "memorial" tattoos, tequila for fine-line black-and-grey work, wine coolers for tramp stamps (amaretto sours are also acceptable - but one is required to scream "WOOOO!" or chant "Gym, Tan, Laundry!")

And may God have mercy on your soul... and your liver.

(Thanks again to Nathan at KnuckleTattoos for his help - if you have any recommendations for additional rules, tweet them with the hashtag #nyinkdrinkinggame)
11:40 AM
kat von d tattoo.jpg
Kat Von D portrait tattoo by Erin Chance

With filming beginning for yet another tattoo TV show, NY Ink, it seems the timing is right for Dr. Matt Lodder's look at the formulas behind "reality TV" (and their relation to the true reality of tattooing) in his article entitled, "Televising the Tattoo" for Paperweight: A Newspaper of Visual & Material Culture

The article articulates the hot button issue surrounding these shows: not every tattoo needs to have a story but a television show does. Here's just a bit of what Matt says:

It is true that subsections of the tattooed population--gangs, sailors, prisoners--have certainly long made use of tattoos to express specific concepts or to signify group membership, but this has never been true of tattoos in general. Tattooing has forever been decorative as much as it has been simply narrative, with many tattoos lacking a specifically expressive story-telling component to the design. Nevertheless, tattoo TV both depends on and reinforces the preconception that the skin is a screen for its generic formula. For so ingrained is the connection between tattoos and stories that without the traumatic sob-stories of death and loss attached to almost every tattoo, the shows would feature little more than shots of the tattooers high-fiving one another.

For more of this excellent read, you can order Paperweight, print & digital, here.

[For more on NY Ink, see the blogs of Ami James and Tim Hendricks.]
12:02 PM
kat von d tattoo.jpg
Today's post is inspired by the numerous emails I've been getting from agents looking for fresh cast members to join LA Ink and a new show, NY Ink (it was only a matter of time).

This Kat Von D tribute was tattooed by the fabulous Erin Chance in Auckland, New Zealand, who is a resident artist at Sacred Tattoo. When I asked Erin what the backstory was behind the tattoo, she said, "The kid just really loves Kat Von D." A tattoo without a grand story and deep meaning? In what reality is this?
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