When tattoo artists enter fashion territory, the result is often exciting, unique, and a lot of fun. The ITS FOR ME brand of NYC tattooer Virginia Elwood is perfect example of that. Virginia has taken her tattoo aesthetic, which is heavily influenced by folk, outsider art, and Americana, and translated it onto lush 100% silk scarves, totes and patches. The scarves, which sell for $160 (and can be purchased online), are made from hand carved linoleum prints digitally transferred and printed onto silk.
What I think is also particularly fun is the origin of the brand name:
ITS FOR ME was born out of humor and satire in the tattoo shop. In the late 00's there was an influx of young clientele requesting what many tattoo artists considered upside down tattoos... or tattoos oriented so that the image faces the wearer as opposed to the viewer. When these clients were asked why, the response was always "because, it's for me."The ITS FOR ME scarves, bags and patches each have "origin stories." For one, the "Theo Scarf" was named for Theo Kogan (pictured above), who is probably most well known as front woman for the iconic band Lunachicks. Theo is ITS FOR ME brand ambassador, which makes it even more badass. Also collaborating with Virginia on ITS FOR ME are Kyle Gamache, Dani Jedda & Todd Weinberger (more here).
For more on Virginia and ITS FOR ME, check the video below by Eric Weiss. You can also find Virginia on Instagram.
Update: Black Tattoo Art Volume I is now sold out but the Black Tattoo Art II and Color Tattoo Art are still available (for now).
"Black Friday" is a term that represents gross commerce in the name of holiday cheer, so I figured I'd take over that name and add a bit of beauty by making it Black TATTOO Friday, and offer the few remaining author copies of some of my books at a significantly reduced rate. The books on sale are:Tattoo above by Vincent Hocquet (Black Tattoo Art I).
* Black Tattoo Art Volume 2 (my latest baby) on sale for $120 + shipping, and
* Color Tattoo Art (my new school/cartoon/comics monster) on sale for $99 + shipping.
Buy them online here.
Along with the books, I'll throw in Needlesandsins.com stickers and condoms for free! And a love note!
The book sale kicks off our holiday guide, so we'll be featuring lots of other products to knock off your shopping list without ever having to enter a Walmart.
Here are some sample pics from the books below. See more pics on Flickr: Black Tattoo Art I, Black Tattoo Art II, and Color Tattoo Art.
Tattoo above by Leon Lam (Black Tattoo Art II)
Tattoo above by Genko (Color Tattoo Art).
The very tongue-in-cheek "Good Taste Products" recently released "Lil' Sideshow," a line of freaky baby clothes and accessories designed by "The World's Best Artist" Mitch O'Connell.
Lil' Sideshow onesies, bibs, diaper bags, baby blankets and more -- which can be purchased on Mitch's Cafepress shop -- are adorned with carnival characters including Lil' Tattoo Girl, Lil' He-She, Lil' Pinhead, Lil' Spidora, and even Lil' Stripper (discuss!). As his illustration work is often provocative, it's no surprise that he'd walk the line of taste in this venture.
Mitch is known in tattoo circles for his book, "Mitch O'Connell Tattoos," and also his signature Flash sheets, although he is not a tattooer himself. Check more from his portfolio here.
In an effort to save y'all from being stun-gunned at the mall, I've jumped in on "CyberMonday" and have put some of the books I've birthed on sale:
From today through
You can order via Paypal on the Needles & Sins online store or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get a sneak peak inside the Black Tattoo Art 2 here and Black & Grey Tattoo here.
It's been a while since I've done a shopping post, and I wanted to share my latest Etsy find: tattoo stylized cards, prints, and even apparel by Quyen Dinh of Parlor Tattoo Prints.
I had vowed to do more letter writing and was looking for some fun stationery. Rather than give my cash to Hallmark, I always prefer to support independent artists, and so I just typed in "tattoo greeting cards" into Etsy and was wonderfully surprised to find Quyen's work.
These Star Wars Themed Tattoo Flash Note Cards are my faves; they're a set of 8 blank greeting cards, measuring approximately 4.5" x 5.5", with white envelops for $28.
Also check out her flash sheets and prints. This 11"x14" ode to Sailor Jerry is a fantastic tribute to the tattoo master, also for $28.
See all of the Parlor Tattoo Prints artwork here.
One of the key messages throughout last weekend's Paradise Tattoo Gathering was the need to constantly improve one's drawing skills to be a good tattoo artist. The workshops (and the Drink & Draw party) were great places to hone those skills, but naturally, this work isn't relegated to retreats. A strong artist's arsenal is filled with reference material, from sketches to fine art to tattoo inspiration.
Packed with all this goodness is "Roses and Leaves" by Kore Flatmo. The 120-page softcover is dedicated to one of the most iconic images in tattoo: the rose. And there are over 350 roses in these pages in various forms including black line drawings, charcoals, tattoos and paintings.
Kore's art in charcoal are also available for purchase as a postcard set. The set of seven 4x6 postcards features five cards that have original artwork from "Roses and Leaves" and two cards of his dressed skeletons. The set comes in a vellum envelope with 2 complimentary stickers.
You can purchase the book here and the cards here. Also check the fabulous posters and prints available here.
For more of Kore's tattoo work, hit his recently revamped website and Facebook.
Last week, we posted the latest Sullen Clothing contest, where two readers will score either the Hurt Locker Dufflebag, a super-sturdy, footed carryall with padded shoulder strap, and interior & exterior pockets; or the Metal Handbag, a vegan-friendly, faux leather shoulder bag, rock-n-roll studded, also footed and with interior & exterior pockets. I just plugged into Randomized.com all the names of those who Tweeted at us or posted in our Needles & Sins Syndicate Group on Facebook and the winners are ...
Congrats, Beth Miller and Brian Fuller!
You can still get a hold of these bags for free if you spend over $120 at the Sullen online shop this month. They're worth $60 each so it's a deal.
More contests coming up. Thanks to all y'all for playing along!
Photo by Joshua Gordon.
On my list of favorite tattoo blogs, for a long time, has been Swallows&Daggers. It's my go-to source for everything about traditional and neo-traditional tattooing, with artist profiles, galleries, and articles on the history behind iconic tattoo imagery.
This month, the Swallows&Daggers crew (who are based in the UK) have created a streetwear brand that is inspired by these traditional tattoo motifs as well as hardcore and hip hop cultures.
Check Respect-Tradition.com for their debut line, which features artwork by Clark Orr, Zach Shuta, and Matt Skiff that is clean and bold, just like a good traditional tattoo. The tees and hoodies can be purchased online and in select retail partners in the US & UK.
If you want to watch cute and really young tattooed boys play around in the shirts, see the video below. Also hit their lookbook on Flickr and Facebook.
Artists Cy & Caro have made their appearance on this blog before for their black graphic tattoo work, but today I want to share their collaboration with German designer Julie Springer on a limited series of gorgeous scarves & leggings that bear their signature artwork.
For this series, they experimented with discharge paste (which removes colors from the textile) and different fabric combinations, including jersey, wool and silk. All are silk-screen printed. The result is one-of-a-kind artful apparel with a special feel to it for a visual and tactile experience. Some of the designs were also printed on paper for an exhibit planned over the next couple of years.
While the artists say the collaboration was largely sparked by the desire to display their work in another medium, the scarves and leggins are available for purchase. Prices range from 60 Euro (approx. $80) to 120 Euro (approx. $160).
For more information, email cyface3 at gmail.com or kontakt at juliespringer.de.
And if you haven't seen the work of Cy & Caro, check their blogs SkinTraces and TravelTraces as well as Facebook.
Congratulations to the winners of our last Eargauges.net contest, Kellie D. and Aaron Pascual Ortiz, for being the chosen ones of Randomized.com. They'll each receive $25 gift certificates for bling at the Ear Gauges online store.
Thanks to everyone who played along on our Needles & Sins Facebook page. Many more contests to come!
Just a quickie post to let you know that we now have a Needles & Sins online store where those in the US can buy author copies of my books quick and easy and cheap(er).
While Black Tattoo Art is currently sold out, I do have available copies of Color Tattoo Art and Black & Grey Tattoo.
For those outside the US, hit me up at email@example.com for shipping rates.
One of our favorite tattoo blogs, Swallows & Daggers, which highlights Traditional and Neo-Traditional tattooing worldwide, has teamed up with indie apparel designers Death/Traitors (NYC) and the UK brand Honour Over Glory to create a new collection of shirts and crewneck jumpers that pay tribute to Americana imagery with a punk bent. [I think the promo pix are pretty sexy as well.]
You can order the shirts for about 16 British Pounds on the Swallows & Daggers shop. There you'll also find four issues of the S&D zine, which are a great read.
On their blog, check the artist interviews, news, & meanings behind classic tattoo motifs.
It's been a while since we put up a shopping post, and I thought today was fitting to do so as I just installed this featured product in sprucing up my place for Spring.
Check out BEEPART wall art & laptop decal on Etsy.
Beepart are designs influenced by tattoo, retro and other iconic imagery that are produced on vinyl to decorate walls, laptops, cars and other indoor & outdoor surfaces. Artwork includes sugar skulls, sacred hearts, swallows, koi fish, and pin-ups, among many others. I contemplated the Rock On wall art but felt the Hamsa was a better fit (yes, I know it does kinda match my tattoos). I was looking for something to decorate the wall near my shower that wouldn't be ruined by steam and vinyl decals do the trick.
I'm happy to say that installation is idiot proof. Which means that I was able to put it up all by myself (like a big girl) without it getting tangled in my hair or making me want to rip out my hair as I've done before in other attempts with removable wall art. I was surprised just how easily such a large and intricate pattern went on but I did follow the detailed instructions exactly.
Another plus: the price. The Hamsa only costs $28. Others range from $8 (for vinyl stickers) to $105 (for a wall full of beepart creatures). Right now there's a 20% spring promotion with this code: BEEP20.
Beepart decals are designed by artist and freelance illustrator Neil Jeffery of London, Canada. In his Etsy shop, you'll also find original mixed media and collage art. [More on Neil here.]
So, overall, thumbs up (or horns high) for beepart for prettying up my place cheap & easy as well as artful.
UPDATE: And we have a winner! Two actually. Emails from George Koutroubis and Sean Phillips dinged in almost immediately after posting so George will get the tee and Sean will get a signed Jack Rudy-designed poster. Thanks to all of y'all who played along. The special promo code for Sullen discounts is still in effect.
The name "Sullen" has long been identifiable with tattooing and not for its artists' sunny dispositions. The lifestyle brand, Sullen Clothing, has been partnering with top tattooists (as well as graffiti artists and painters) to bring their art to apparel, prints, and other media. The Sullen Art Collective line includes original designs from Bob Tyrrell, Shawn Barber, Nikko Hurtado, Steve Soto, Jason Butcher, and many other well respected names. And soon, it will feature the work of black & grey legend Jack Rudy.
While Sullen and Jack have worked together on shirts, prints, posters and promos many times before -- including Tattooland's 35th anniversary tee -- this latest project is Jack's first Signature Tee with the Sullen Art Collective. The shirt will be officially released the first week of April but we have one here ready to giveaway to one lucky reader.
TO WIN: Send me an email to marisa at needlesandsins.com with the name of the car club Jack co-founded. [Hint: the answer can be found in N+S archives.] The first person to do so wins the tee. Easy.
We also have a special promo code for 15% off any purchase on BuySullen.com. Just add "NEEDLESANDSINS" upon checkout for the discount.
[Photo of Jack Rudy by Nicole Caldwell.]
I was once told by a Maori artist, who wore and tattooed his ancestral Ta Moko designs, that you're not really tattooed unless you have a badass skull on you. [His was an 80s metal version.] Skull imagery hold a sort of power, a reminder of our mortality that can evoke fear or defiance (a la 80s metal skulls). Its artistic interpretations are vast, particularly in our tattoo community. Paying homage to memento mori is Cranial Visions: Exploring The Skull Through Artistic Interpretation.
This 240-page hardcover, released by Memento Publishing, is the brainchild (sorry) of Mike DeVries and Jeff Johnson and edited by the wonderful Jinxi Caddel. Here's what Jinxi says of the project:
Cranial Visions honors the skull through artistic interpretations and many different mediums, including: tattoos, paintings, sketches and drawings, mixed media, digital art, graffiti, photography, and "skullptures." Each chapter is dripping with inspirational images created by masters of their crafts. Over 800 diverse, bold, and creative images of skull-related artwork. An outstanding book for reference if you are a tattoo artist, as it features angles and ideas from all sorts of perspectives.You can purchase the book on Mike's online store for $69.99. I highly recommend it.
Cranial Visions: painting by Shawn Barber
Cranial Visions: tattoos by Daniel DiMattia
See more samples from the book on Jinxi's blog.
We survived yet another holiday, rather unscathed albeit with lighter wallets. Sucked into the consumer industrial complex, we have fulfilled our shopping list for friends and family. Now it's time to treat ourselves. Our Holiday Gift Guide has been filled with goodness from largely indie designers and artisans, and for this last Guide posting, we want to give a shout out to these tradespeople who help keep Needles+Sins running.
An advertiser who has been getting a lot of media attention is MIR Russian Criminal Tattoo Apparel, not just for their sexy clothing but for the info they offer on all the tattoo designs featured on their shirts, dresses, jackets and accessories. Check out their newest ShtrafBat military line.
Offering an extensive selection of plugs and ear stretching jewelry at a low cost is Ear Gauges, run by a group of people who are a part of our community looking to promote safe and beautiful body adornment. [I'm wearing their organic spotted wood plugs right now.] Also check their forums on healing and aftercare.
And of course we love our trouble makers Father Panik Industries, who have been kicked out and banned from a number of indie markets for their blasphemy, particularly in the form of their brass knuckle rosaries. Their latest rosary piece is the hand-carved, sterling silver tattoo machine charm on semi-precious stones shown above.
So hit them up and show some self-love for making it through another Festivus.
The motto of tattoo journalist Travellin' Mick is "Wherever I lay my head is home," and over the years, "home" has often been remote villages where Mick has stayed with indigenous people documenting their culture and body modification practices. While he has written extensively about his experiences for many tattoo magazines, the images and essays have never been collected into one comprehensive volume. He's now setting out to do so.
The first step in his publishing projects is a calendar and traveling exhibit called "In Your Face: The Beauty of Traditional Tattooing." The engaging wall calendar can be ordered via Trust Bodymodification's online store for 20 Euros or by contacting Mick through his website. The US price is $30 and the UK's is 20 BP.
Mick recently showed "In Your Face" in Singapore, and his next exhibition will be at Melbourne's Rites of Passage Festival, January 28th to 30th. He plans to bring the series to cities across Europe throughout 2011.
Describing the motivation behind "In Your Face," Mick says:
Over the last ten years of traveling, I accumulated a vast archive of photographs of traditional tattoos on people from around the world. Even though they were originally taken for documentary purposes, over time I realized that many of the portraits I did have an undeniable aesthetic quality: They tell stories of those people, show their pride and beauty. Often they are the very last ones of their kind, maybe 100 years old, and in their faces and eyes you can clearly see the history of their people.
Here are just a couple of images from the calendar and the stories behind them:
"March: I was looking for traditional tattoos in Gujarat province of India near the Pakistan border. I came to an old weaver's house, who was maybe in his 50s. He said: 'Oh, I don't have any tattoos, but my grandmother has!' She was 96 when I took those photos, and she was very alert and funny."
"April is a crazy one: This boy is a refugee kid from Myanmar. There is a monastery on the Thailand side of the border, where those kids are taken in, given an education, learn how take responsibilities by training horses and practicing martial arts. They get marked by the head monk, with a bee, because it is a social animal, one that labours for the well-being of the whole society, not just himself."
I'm looking forward to seeing the next stage in this project, a large-format book filled with his photographs with detailed descriptions of the images along with travel stories, his personal philosophy, and more.
In 2006, Adrian Lee and the NSKolectiv unveiled Full Coverage, a project in which their Suits Made to Fit "homework assignment," documenting the creation of full bodysuit tattoo designs on paper, was now put on living bodies -- thirty-three bodies transformed by eight artists: Adrian Lee, Horitaka, Paco Excel, Matt Shamah, Ron Earhart, Nate Banuelos, Jason Kundell, and Phil Holt. [See this trailer on how the project developed.]
The Full Coverage two-volume hardcover, with photographs by Max Dolberg and NSK illuminating the process from concept to creation, was released as a limited edition. It begins with an essay by Horiyoshi III followed by Adrian Lee's introductory text. The book sold out within one month. A second edition was released. Sold out. Used copies on eBay. Sold.
Now a revised third edition has been released that is 240 pages (11x14") of tattoo masterworks in a beautiful hardcover slipcase. It can be purchased for $80 on Last Gasp.
For purists, a rare copy of the first edition Japanese version of the book is being sold on the Analog Tattoo online store for $250. Other books available are Bloodwork Sleeves (350-page hardcover of 67 sleeves by 30 tattooers), Action Reaction & Suits Made to Fit. All gorgeous additions to your tattoo library.
Since last April, we've been talking about Dr. Beverly Yuen Thompson's "Covered": a much needed and appreciated documentary focused on women tattoo artists and collectors.
Now the film is available on DVD and can be purchased for just $25 here. This is one of my favorite picks for the holiday gift guide. For a look into the film, see the trailer above and other clips here on YouTube.
Public screenings of Covered have also been taking place across the US. The next one will be this Saturday, December 11th, from 7-9pm at Emma Griffith's Porcupine Tattoo studio in Brooklyn, NY. The screening is in conjunction with the Ladies, Ladies Art show at Tattoo Culture, which opens the night before. For more screenings, check the film's site.
In the first post on "Covered," we quoted Thompson on what inspired her to do the film. It's an important commentary on how women have been and still are generally treated in the tattoo community and bears reposting:
"Tattoo culture has now entered the mainstream with its exponential growth in popularity, reality television shows, and nationwide tattoo conventions. While Kat Von D might have made it to television stardom as a female tattooist, other women's voices from the tattoo community have been notably absent. When women are present, such as in tattoo magazines, they are often sexually objectified. Covered sets out to remedy these oversights by shedding light on the history of women in the tattoo industry and to share the voices and perspectives of heavily tattooed women in the United States."
Hope to see y'all Friday and Saturday!
Considering my convention photo albums all have somebody throwing up a Horns High salute, I felt these ski gloves by Drop are a good fit for our gift guide. With silicone printing on Durasuede for the palm, stretch fabric for the main shell, and microfleece lining, the gloves keep moisture away while bringing the rock on.
Granted, they don't show the same kind of commitment as this ultimate metal tattoo, but they still have more cred than, say, a Metallica shopping day.
You can buy the gloves for $35 online here.