Results tagged “Phoenix”

07:41 AM
whoopi tattoo.png^^ Not Oprah. But Whoopi's tattoo by Michelle Myles is real. ^^

The recent tattoo news was flooded with celebrity gossip, which I usually find pretty boring, but I had too many "Oh damn!" moments when going through the articles that I have to share.

First up, our fabulous friend Jenni Miller asks, "Who Is Responsible For The Monstrosity On Ben Affleck's Back?" An excellent question and one I just don't have the answer to. The offending tattoo (below) -- a phoenix rising from ashes -- was captured by paparazzi on set while Ben was filming Live By Night. It's caused such a stir that even his famous exes have weighed in. Jennifer Lopez said on What Happens Live: "It's awful! What are you doing?... I mean, I would tell him that. I would tell him, 'What are you doing?'" While Jennifer Garner told Vanity Fair, "You know what we would say in my hometown about that? 'Bless his heart.' A phoenix rising from the ashes. Am I the ashes in this scenario? [...] I take umbrage. I refuse to be the ashes." And even the NBA's Phoenix Suns had a little fun with Ben, as shown with the Tweet below. More important, our Jenni Miller asks "Why doesn't an actor worth millions shell out for excellent body art?" It's a question I'd certainly ask Ben and a lot of his famous bros.   

Comedian/actor Whoopi Goldberg's dragon tattoo got lots of attention at the Oscars -- especially when one beauty site confused her for Oprah. Whoopi's date for the awards was her daughter Alex Martin, who was also showing off what looks like a quarter sleeve floral tattoo. Again, no word on who their tattooers are. UPDATE: Thanks to Graeme in our Needles & Sins FB group, I learned that Michelle Miles of Daredevil did Whoopi's tattoo 10 years ago.

On award show red carpets, celebrities are often asked, "Who are you wearing?" -- meaning the fashion designer. Would love to hear them drop the name of their tattoo artists as well. 

In news that gave me hope for the future, a tattooer called Muddymoney refused to tattoo rapper Stitches because he didn't want his tattoo work associated with the garbage the rapper already had on him. TMZ wrote that Stitches wanted to link his "F*** a Job" tattoo on his face to his Tupac tattoo, which sits atop his "cocaine" one. Good call by Muddy.

Finally, Travis Barker's Musink Festival, which takes place this weekend in Orange County, will feature top musicians as well as tattoo artists. In anticipation of the show, The OC Register published "The 100 best tattoo photos from Musink over the years." There are some A-List tattoos in there, so it's worth checking out.

affleck tattoo.pngphoenix tattoo.png
05:13 PM
While we weathered the storms here in Brooklyn, so many of our friends were working and playing at the Hell City Tattoo Festival in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. Reading their twitter feeds, it was clear that Durb Morrison and his exceptional crew put on another top show. And the press agreed.

According the the Phoenix New Times, there was even a greater turn-out than last year with thousands in attendance at the Arizona Biltmore "to show off their tattoos, get new ink, watch live painting, and gawk over the art gallery." The article paints the scene of busy tattoo booths and fine art created live. It even finishes off with a note that tattooing should be considered an art form itself:

And if the fistfuls of reality TV tattoo shows, the thousands of people who showed up to Hell City, and the countless jaw-dropping tattoos they sported weren't proof enough, the dozens of detailed acrylic and oil on canvas works there (ranging from fantastical landscapes to realistic portraits) further proved that tattooing is not just something sailors and convicts do anymore -- it's clearly a mainstream art form.

Check their extensive gallery of photos by Ryan Wolf, including those shown here.

You can find more photos from the show on the's gallery, and Fox News has this quick video and write-up. If you have photos you'd like to share, hit us up.

01:28 PM
barcode tattoo2.png
The barcode tattoo as a statement against society rivaled the popularity of misinterpreted Kanji in the nineties, but one artist is bringing it back as a way to connect people's online lives with their fleshy ones. Or at least offer another way to market your blog. And ya know, I don't think it's such a bad idea.

Tattoo artist Levi Smith of The Jade Monkey Tattoo in Phoenix, Arizona has been tattooing quick response code [QR code] -- which is similar to a barcode -- on eager clients. The codes can then be scanned by smartphones (there's an app for that) and lead to your website, Facebook page or eHarmony dating profile. The possibilities are vast.

For more details on these scannable tattoos, check the CBS 5 News video interview with Levi or the videos posted on his blog.
03:40 PM
hell city tattoo.jpg
ABC News just posted a few photos from the Hell City convention in Phoenix. Cheers to them for some thoughtful captions and not the usual point-and-laugh at the freaks.

I heard the show was once again a success. Cheers to Durb and the crew for another great event. I'm sure their own photos will go up soon, so check back on their media page or head there now to see images from past shows.
02:07 PM
ink-n-iron photo by nicole reed.jpgInk-n-Iron Fest photo by Nicole Reed

Tattoo events are taking place every thirty seconds throughout the summer, from New Jersey to Taiwan. Here's our pick list for the next few months to get you planning your own tattoo tour.


This weekend, June 11-13th, at the Ink-n-Iron show, custom cars, pin-up girls, Rockabilly bands, and top tattooists converge around and aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. I've been following the road trips of artists and vendors on Twitter as they make their way over for the seventh year of this sleep-less event.  Too much to do there: live shows, the International Pole Performer Showcase, the Pin-Up Pageant, Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School, hot rod and kustom car contests, and of course, you could get tattooed by these excellent artists. Check the photos from previous shows, like the one above, on this page.  

I noticed a few of my faves weren't going to be at Ink-n-Iron this weekend but instead are working the Krakow Tattoo Fest in Poland--artists like Robert Hernandez, Victor Portugal, Zsolt Sarkozi and even Jeremiah Barba will be there (and not in his Long Beach homebase--I also think Slayer has something to do with this).

Next weekend, June 18-20, artists will also be divided among two popular shows, Northern Ink Xposure (NIX) in Toronto, Canada and the Evian Tattoo Show in France. The longstanding NIX show will host seminars, Art Fusion and a fine art gallery, among the mix of tattoo goodness. On Thursday before the convention kicks off, there will be a silent auction benefit for Skate4Cancer where tattoo artists donated custom painted skate decks for the charity.

I'm a little bummed that I won't be able to make it to the Evian Fest as it's the last show in this beautiful city. Gene Coffey of Tattoo Culture offered his thoughts on last year's show here (from friendly crowds to dapper mustaches.) He also took some photos, including this one below of a tattoo he did there. The client wanted Gene to tattoo the words "Bonjour Mademoiselle" but in the way he thought it would be spelled. Gene has never taken a French lesson. Obviously.

bon jour tattoo.jpg 

So, remember the Pint Size Paintings exhibit I've been talking about, which launched at Hell City Killumbus? Well, the show is coming to NYC's Sacred Gallery but for one night only, July 9th. Don't miss it!

Alas, I will miss it myself because Brian and I will be in County Cork, Ireland, July 10 & 11, for The Traditional Tattoo and World Culture Festival. I am so excited for this! It's going to be a small gathering, in Cobh, of artists and collectors who love traditional tattoo--not in the Americana sense, but the tribal. For me, it's really a family reunion with Colin Dale and Xed Le head, who were featured in my Black Tattoo Art book, and a chance to hang out once again with the audacious Pat Fish, Queen of Celt. If you're looking for a tattoo vacation in a sea-side town with a bunch of beautiful freaks, please join us.  

July 30 through August 1st, Asbury Park, New Jersey will be home to the  Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival. I usually don't list first conventions because most have a rough start but when I saw the artist roster, I had to include it. It's another beachfront party--albeit a bigger one--with live painting, music and sideshow performances. We'll be there handing out Needles and Sins swag so look down. I'm short.

That weekend is also the Taiwan Tattoo Convention. Paul Booth, Shige, and Jason Stewart will be the main attractions but the tattoo art that's coming out of Taiwan itself demands attention, like the work of Andy Shou shown below. For more info on the show, hit the page.

andy shou tattoo.jpg

August 6-8, over 300 tattooists will descend upon Doncaster, England for Skin Deep's Tattoo Jam, one of the biggest conventions in the UK. When I went to the Tattoo Jam in 2008 (held in Wales), I had such a blast and got a hand-poked Thai tattoo as well. [See the photos here.] The diversity of artistic styles is vast so there's something for everyone at this show.

Also, Tattoo Jam has teamed up with the best named tequila brand ever for the Hornitos Design Competition where you get a chance to design a limited-edition Hornitos bottle, and if you win, oh, prizes abound.

August 27-29 is Hell City Phoenix's "Let It Burn" fest. What more can I say? If it's as good as last month's Killumbus show, then it's worth braving Arizona, even if you look like "an illegal."

For some advance planning, here are our favorite shows in September and October:

And with that, I'll leave y'all to update your calendars.
11:08 AM
hell city.jpg
I was looking forward to attending the Hell City Tattoo Vacation at the Arizona Biltmore but with my book being released early (this Thursday), I couldn't swing.

Thankfully, many of my friends attended and are happy to share their photos with all of us.

The first batch in is by the fabulous Ryan Keough. Check over a hundred of his photos here. Ryan focused his camera on the top roster of artists tattooing as well as the competitions. View some amazing tattoos. More on the show coming up.

UPDATE: The beautiful Chris Stauber just sent me the link to her photos from Hell City, including her husband Peter picking up a bunch of trophies at the tattoo contest. Congrats!
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