The last decade has seen an evolution of portrait tattoos -- whether they be hyper-realistic or conveyed through a surrealistic lens. Artists throughout the world have dedicated their craft to mastering this difficult tattoo style with explosive results.
In Germany, one such artist specializing in this genre is Randy Engelhard of Heaven of Colours studio. Tattooing since 2001, Randy began working in all styles until he came to color portraiture about five years ago, inspired by his mentor Boris Zalaszam and other realism wunderkinds including Mike De Vries and Roman Abrego. Film and animation characters make up a great deal Randy's portfolio as well as personal portrait tributes of his clients.
Now clients need not travel to Zwickau, Germany for work. Randy will be doing his first guest spot in NYC at Sacred Tattoo from August 13th to the 18th. [His rate is $250/hour.]
If you're interested in an appointment, email Kevin@SacredTattoo.com.
Photo by Sukree Sukplang for Reuters
This past weekend, thousands of gathered at Wat Bang Phra temple (50 miles West of Bangkok) to honor the founders of the temple and "recharge" the magic of their tattoos, as reported by Reuters. Devotees believe that the sacred tattoos, Sak Yant, performed by monks in Thailand offer protection to the wearers and even bestow upon them magical powers.To maintain that magic, the tattooed must obey certain rules and abstain from lying, stealing, drinking and drug use, sexual misdeeds and killing. However, the magic is not lost forever on rule breakers as the festival allows them to reclaim those blessings.
Reuter's Annie Chenaphun describes the scene at the temple this weekend:
Crowds seethed through the temple grounds, with men roaring, hissing and screaming while imitating the creatures tattooed on their bodies, as if they had been possessed by them. One pecked towards the ground as if he was a chicken, others flung up their arms and danced.You can also see video footage from the festival on MSNBC:
To learn more about Sak Yant tattoos, see Father Panik's guest blog on his quest for the magic tattoos, and also our book review of "Sacred Skin: Thailand's Spirit Tattoos" by Tom Vater and Aroon Thaewehatturat.
In this latest installment of The Proust Questionnaire for Tattooists, we hit up Lalo Yunda of Bogota, Columbia, who tattoos in a variety of styles at Sacred Tattoo in NYC. Here's how it went down:
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Thirsty, in your bed, dying for water, hungover, not being able to get up.
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Being able to flow with life with a good rhythm, sometimes fast, sometimes slow and always curious to what's next.
Your most marked characteristic? Ask other people because if I answer myself i'll probably say what I would like to be my most marked characteristic!
What is your principle defect? None! Haha! Ok maybe disorganization.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? All the bad guys who in the end are good.
Who are your favorite heroes in real life? Banksy, Many Chao, and some regular people who live really tough lives with a smile on their faces and are able to share and care with others, expecting nada!
Your favorite painters? Joaquin Sorolla, Miro...so many.
Your favorite musicians? Systema Solar, Bomba Stereo, Buraka
Who are your favorite writers? Alejandro Jodorowski, Alvaro Mutis, Malcolm Gladwell.
The quality you most admire in a man? Honesty, humbleness, funniness and good heart.
The quality you most admire in a woman? Honesty, humbleness, funniness and good heart, smile, boobs and ass...
Your favorite virtue? Being able to feel and understand that we all are one....on the same boat
Who would you have liked to be? A better version of me, or some tribal man from the Caribbean, South Pacific like Bali or Hawaii who spent his days with littlle clothes on, fishing and swimming, all of these of course before the arrival of f**kin missionaries.
Where would you like to live? I would love to live in a place with the perfect mix of warm weather, great waves and enough flow of clients and adventure...may be Hawaii, Brazil or somewhere in California.
What are your favorite names? Simple ones.
What natural gift would you most like to possess? Will power without being boring.
How would you like to die? Fast and happy
What is your present state of mind? Snowboarding
What is your motto? I can't tell u. ;)
Do a good deed for the holidays and help someone less fortunate! This Friday, December 16th, from noon until 8pm, our friends at Sacred Tattoo will be holding a toy and clothing drive for Coalition for the Homeless. Bring in any new toy or new/gently-used winter clothes/blanket/jacket and you can get a tattoo from the flash sheet above for just $50! Don't feel like getting tattooed? No problem! The donation box will be at the front of the shop all day.
Tattoos are roughly 2.5 inches in size and are valued around $150-200 each.and will be subject to a "limbs only" rule (arms and legs) in order to keep the machines humming along quickly.
Sacred Tattoo is located on the second floor at 424 Broadway between Canal and Howard. Take the J/M/Z/Q/R/W/6 train to the Canal St station.
"People tend to empathize with major events...until the next big thing happens. But we think the world's issues deserve more than just a moment of empathy. The Social Tattoo Project is making empathy permanent."
Making empathy permanent. The Social Tattoo Project description certainly got my attention. We live in a time when legions of people are sporting ironic self referential tattoos, parents are looking for cut-rate deals on baby portraits, and just too many have chosen to immortalize Kat Von D on their own bods. So tattoos used for social good could be a welcome relief -- a break from the fashion, marketing and general media clutches that have swooped in to co-opt an ancient art. Of course, The Social Tattoo Project is created by three interns at the BBH NY ad agency.
That said, these interns sold me on their experiment to blend art, social media and human interest together. It also helped that they partnered with our friends at Sacred Tattoo in SoHo, whose artists Matthew Adams and Jon Mesa are doing the actual tattooing.
Here's how the project works:
Our volunteers are getting tattoos that represent worldly issues, but they have no idea what their tattoos will be. They are letting you decide.
So far, five volunteers have gotten tattoos with the following topics: #human trafficking, #poverty, #Pray for Japan, #Norway, and #Haiti. The Haiti tribute tattoo video is shown below (finished tattoo is above).
All tattoo videos can be viewed on SocialTattooProject.com.
What makes me a bit uncomfortable, though, is the idea of having someone else choose your tattoo, particularly from the whims of social networking. The biggest twitter trend this week was the earthquake that hit the East Coast. And do we really want to see more of these "I Survived the Quake" tattoos? [In this case, I have little empathy for dumbassness.]
But whether you agree with the praxis or not, the theory behind The Social Tattoo Project is positive and interesting. Kudos to interns Haywood R. Watkins, Stephanie Krivitzky, and Jennifer Huang for their hard work on this.
Tattoo by Dean Sacred
On Tuesday, the New Zealand Herald proclaimed a "Huge Renaissance as One in Five Get Tattoos" in the country, and so we thought we'd pay tribute to the vast tattooed Kiwi population with a profile on one of Auckland's stellar shops, Sacred Tattoo.
Sacred opened its doors in 1998 with artists who tattoo in a variety of styles but are particularly known for their Traditional and Neo-Traditional tattoo work. Dean Sacred runs the show with part-owner Dan Andersen (who splits his time with Chapel Tattoo in Melbourne, Australia). Rockin artists in residence are Mark "Dark Mark" Tumaru, Hamish Mclauchlan, and Erin Chance. [Happy Birthday, Erin!]
Here are teases of their portfolios below. Hit their links for more tattoo goodness.
Tattoo by Erin Chance
Tattoo by Hamish McLauchlan
Tattoo by Mark Tumaru
Tattoo by Dan Andersen
Check Sacred's Facebook page for convention schedules, guests artists and prints & apparel for sale.
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?
We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog blather for announcements of vital importance.
First, we're having another art event, and while we'd love to send out those "Save the Date" magnets that creative couples mail out for their big day, it seemed ill fitting considering the work being shown: Nathaniel Shannon's live, candid music photography of bands like the Dillinger Escape Plan, Pentagram and GWAR. A better reminder would be to punch yourself in the face really hard right now, and by the time the bruising goes away, that's when the show will open. April 3rd. At the most wonderful Sacred Gallery. I'll soon be doing a full post on the event -- entitled While the Others Were Sleeping -- but for a preview, click here.
And to get yourself in the right frame of mind for the exhibit, join us for some live metal this Saturday, March 20th, on Manhattan's Lower East Side at The Local 269 for the SOS and Friends Show featuring our own Brian Grosz and his stoner metal outfit Dogs of Winter. This is one of the last remaining gigs for the Dogs so bring your $8 cover and throw your horns high. They should jump on stage around 10PM. The remaining shows are at Cousin Larry's in Danbury, CT for the SubRosa Party on April 9th, and April 14th in Brooklyn at Public Assembly for the Hipsterwrecktomy party.
Can't make the shows? Download the DOW record for free here.
For the wordsmith set, I have another call for submissions from the tattoo and poetry journal Holly Rose Review. The journal editors are looking for tattoo images that evoke the theme of their fourth issue: Worry. For more information on submitting tattoo work for this issue, click here or join their Facebook page.
Finally, show some love to our newest advertiser, State of Grace Publishing. Yes, the same people who've brought the finest of Japanese tattooing to the US and one of our favorite conventions. Their Shige book, which I reviewed here, is an absolute must-have for collectors; their UGLAR book became a museum exhibit; and their Pint & Ichibay sketchbooks will inspire your next work.
Without advertisers like State of Grace, MATW Clothing, Father Panik, Tattoo Culture, and Devil City Press we wouldn't be able to give you ALL THIS (arms wide open) for free, so please support us by supporting them.
December and January are usually pretty quiet as far as tattoo events go, but there are a couple of impressive gallery shows and conventions to check over the next few weeks.
This Saturday, December 19th, head to Sacred Gallery -- part of Sacred Tattoo -- on the Chinatown/SoHo border in NYC for their first annual "Un-Holiday Party." This one day event -- a soft launch of the gallery -- will feature the fine art of tattooists including Paul Booth and his Last Rites crew, Jon Clue, Mike Bellamy, David Sena, Adam Hays, Vinny Romanelli, Picasso Dular, Matthew Adams, Lalo Yunda, Shey, Betty Rose and Vincent Castiglia (whose blood painting is shown above), among others. Live music and drinks abound. Party starts at 9PM.
Mark your calendars for our own sponsored art show: On Friday, January 15th, Needles & Sins presents "Girls," an exhibit of sultry photography by Maria Guido at Tattoo Culture in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. More on that show to come.
On the convention tip ...
It's not too late to book your flights to Singapore for the Second Annual Singapore Tattoo Show January 8-10, 2010. Every tattoo artist I spoke to who attended last year said it was one of the best conventions they have ever done -- a real feat for a first show. Everything from tight organization to interesting seminars to enthusiastic crowds make it a top tattoo vacation. Check the 300+ artist list. It's reads as a Who's Who of the world's best.
The following weekend, January 14-17, is a long-running favorite: The 15th Annual "Marked for Life" Female Tattoo Artist Expo in Orlando, Florida. Men and women alike are welcome at the Embassy Suites Orlando Downtown hotel to get tattooed from female veteran artists and rising stars. Art work created during the Art Fusion Experiment live drawing project will be auctioned off Sunday and proceeds will be donated to the Shriner's Hospital.
Today, we continue our beautiful, budding tradition of objectifying tattooed men with the addition of Kevin Wilson, manager of NYC's Sacred Tattoo.
And yes, that is a Toucan Sam chestpiece, tattooed by Nate Hough of House of Poncho's in Edgewood, Maryland. [See a close-up of it here.]
Here are Kevin's vitals:
* City: New York City
* Age: 28 going on 45
* Work: Studio manager for NYC's Sacred Tattoo.
* Relationship status: So very taken.
* Fun: I tend to be a workaholic. My downtime is usually spent at home, relaxing, watching movies with the lady. If there is any free time in my schedule, I try to hit the gym even though I'm far from a "gym rat", and maybe go out to see some live music.
* Music: I tend to like anything that can make my little butt wiggle.
* Website: http://www.facebook.com/Ke
* The Tattoos:
I'd like to say that most of my tattoos are on the "10 year plan." Since my schedule is always so hectic, it's hard for me to find time getting finished. I've always been into bio organic imagery so my sleeves and back consist mainly of this style. My whole life I've been a class clown so I've tried to incorporate some comical styling into the work I wear. I'm also into horror and gore so you'll hints of that on my body too.--
I know what y'all are gonna say, Why are all the hot ones with Fruit Loop tattoos taken? Alas, we are in need of some single tattooed men to ogle. Email me your pic and stats at marisa at needlesandsins.com.