Results tagged “State of Grace”
About two months ago, I was at a party in Brooklyn where I was the only tattooed person in the room (which is shocking for Brooklyn, but really, I have enough tattoos for all guests). Anyway, at some point there was an excited discussion about a Japanese artist who was creating beautiful cat art, and "Oh, by the way, Marisa," someone called out in the middle of the talk, "the cats are tattooed!"
Right away, I knew exactly what they were talking about: the work of Kazuaki "Horitomo" Kitamura known as Monmon Cats (Monmon being a Japanese term for tattoo). Monmon Cats and Horitomo's exception tattooing -- by machine and by hand -- are renowned in the tattoo industry. [Horitomo has been tattooing for over 20 years.] Tattoo collectors travel from around the world travel to State of Grace Tattoo in San Jose, CA, to get a tattoo from him -- even tattoos of his Monmon Cats (as shown below). But I thought it particularly cool that the work resonated so greatly well beyond our community.
Then, last week, I saw on the State of Grace Facebook page that all things Monmon Cats are featured on one site.
The tattooed cat portal features artwork including prints & tattoos, and is also a one-stop-shop for the Monmon Cats book and
Tattoos and food. If you add Beyonce into the mix, then you have my perfect trifecta of awesome. And it seems I'm not alone (except the Beyonce part), considering the response to our post on Chad Koeplinger's 10 Best Meals of 2013; so I wanted to share another great blog for those who hunger for the culinary and tattoo arts in one lovely bite.
Knives & Needles is the online home where "Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food." Written by Molly Kitamura (speaking of lovely!), the blog includes interviews with tattooed chefs (including photos of their artwork), favorite recipes of tattoo artists, and food tattoos featured on "Tattoo Tuesday." There are also cooking tips from Molly, who's background is in holistic nutrition.
Molly offered more on what inspired the blog on Tattoo Artist Magazine:
This is a blog that I started because I have a passion for food and a love for tattoos. I am a professional sushi chef of over 13 years and have worked all over the world for more than a decade. Over my travels working in various kitchens, I always noticed how many chefs are tattooed. Not only tattooed, but many heavily tattooed. I myself am pretty heavily tattooed. Not to get too deep but this has always interested me and I think that chefs and tattooers have similar personality types; artistic, transient punks who are traditionally the lowlifes of society working in a thankless profession. Tattooing and the chef profession have both seen a 180 to their popularity and reputation in recent years with TV shows and celebrity stars being formed in this modern-day atmosphere. I want to give all those tattooed chefs the chance talk about something other than food and give foodie tattooers a chance to talk about something other than their work with this blog!Molly's husband is renowned tattooer Takahiro Kitamura of State of Grace, so you'll see Taki making appearances on the blog and on its yummy Instagram page.
Check it for food as well as tattoo inspiration.
Dedicating his life to Japanese tattooing and educating others on the art, Kazuaki "Horitomo" Kitamura -- resident artist at State of Grace in San Jose -- not only keeps the tebori hand tattoo traditions alive but also the rich history of the art and the meanings behind its iconic motifs.
In "Immovable: Fudo Myo-o Tattoo Design By Horitomo," he shares this knowledge in a beautifully illustrated 9" by 13" softcover art book. Fudo Myo-o (also known as Acala, which translates into "immovable") is one of the Five Wisdom Kings in Buddhism. His role is to fight ignorance and delusions, and lead people to self-discipline and peace. He is shown sitting on a pedestal, surrounded by flames (among other representative elements), but of course there are many artistic ways to embody this Esoteric Buddhist icon. In these pages, Horitomo presents various interpretations of Fudo Myo-o, often with information on that particular composition.
What I particularly enjoy about this book is how he breaks down the elements of many of his drawings; for example, he highlights the different manifestations of weapons, hairstyles and garments. He even devotes pages to close-ups of postures. It's an excellent study for artists, but also a great resource for anyone fascinated by Buddhist art and stories.
"Immovable" is available at State of Grace Publishing for $120 (US orders) and $150 (outside US).
If you'd like to learn about Fudo Myo-o drawing and design from Horitomo himself, he'll be giving a seminar with Horitaka on July 29th at 10am at the Kings Avenue NYC location (188 Bowery 2nd floor at the corner of Spring St). The cost of the seminar is $200 ($220 by PayPal). Space is limited. More info on the Kings Ave blog.
I also recommend checking out Horitomo's spectacular portfolio, which includes the tattoos shown below.
Photos by John Agcaoili.
The latest issue of Skin & Ink magazine (July 2011), on newsstands now, features my profile on the multi-talented Takahiro Kitamura, aka Horitaka, tattooist and owner of State of Grace Tattoo and State of Grace Publishing in San Jose, CA. Born in Japan but raised in California since the age of two, Horitaka has worked tirelessly to educate and promote Japanese tattoo culture worldwide. In our interview, Horitaka explains what led him on this path. Here's a taste from the article:
"I always had my heart set on getting a backpiece from Horiyoshi III of Yokohama, whose work I found through the Tattoo Time books. Even then, when I had an extremely untrained eye, I knew that this guy was the best. Something spoke to me. But I thought, I can't go there. I can't afford it. A bunch of can'ts. One day-this was around early 1998-I'm making tattoo needles with Jason Kundell and he says, 'Why don't you just call him? The worst thing he can do is hang up on you.' So I got up the nerve and called the number."
During the time he was getting tattooed, Horitaka developed a relationship with Horiyoshi. He would help translate letters sent by fans around the world. He was also encouraged to come to the shop outside of his appointment times and copy the drawings Horiyoshi set out for him. Most important, he intently observed everything that went on around him. "I was amped and inspired. The code, the way people act. Every romantic notion of that Samurai spirit of honor and tattooing all came alive right there." He adds, "Of course I was naive about certain elements, like what types of customers were coming in. In the beginning Horiyoshi said, 'Yeah, I've tattooed some Yakuza [Japanese crime families] but mostly carpenters and laborers.' And I'm thinking, carpenters and laborers don't wear Louis Vuitton. And then little by little he admitted, 'Well, maybe 50% of the clients are Yakuza...well, maybe 80%.' I'm not knocking it because some of those guys were the most polite, respectful clients and seeing that respect was amazing."
After ten years, however, the apprenticeship came to an end. "Unfortunately, as what happens in many relationships, we started to grow apart. I found it harder and harder to be a Japanese apprentice. There is still an element of following the master's will, and I was never 100% good at that. Growing up American, I was always testing that boundary. I was always one to question authority and that doesn't really work well in the Japanese framework. Sadly, I ended up quitting as an apprentice, but I will always love and respect Horiyoshi III and will never forget all he taught me."
Read more on Horitaka in Skin & Ink's July issue, out now. Also check the State of Grace Facebook page.
On a related note:
State of Grace has donated
Ok, this story is going to dwarf our tee and print giveaway, but hell, I'll share:
A 46-year-old mixed martial arts trainer from Liverpool, Australia ended up winning a full dragon backpiece (shown above left) modeled after that of a video game character (shown right) in the SEGA Yakuza franchise. SEGA Australia held the contest about a year ago to promote the new Yakuza 4 game, which drops today along with the tattoo unveiling.
The backpiece was tattooed by Josh Roelink, of Tatudharma Studios in Sydney, over six months in four-hour sessions with three-week intervals. See images of the tattoo process here.
Josh did not design the artwork for the game -- Horitomo of State of Grace did -- but Josh got his approval to re-create it. There's a great interview with Horitomo from a few years back in which he discusses the design work for SEGA but also his tattoo art and thoughts on Japanese tattoo culture. Worth a click.
For more on Horitomo, check this profile excerpt in Tattoo Artist Magazine. And for more on Josh, watch his interview with BMEtv.
I've found another must-have for my tattoo library: "Tattoo Artist, A Collection of Narratives" by tattoo and fine artist Jill "Horiyuki" Mandelbaum.
The 248-page softcover, released by State of Grace Publishing, is an interview book with thirteen different artists and includes hundreds of photos. Jill explains the impetus behind this three-year project and some highlights of the book:
We chose to interview some of the most inspiring tattoo artists around, spanning several generations and a variety of genres and styles. The idea was to bring together a group of artists dedicated to celebrating tattooing as a tradition with respect and discipline. The book features Richard Stell, Oliver Peck, Jef Whitehead, Henning Jorgensen, Chris Trevino and Gary Cosmala to name a few.
Tattoo Artist is available online at State of Grace for $75 including shipping, and for $60 at their San Jose studio.
Also check out Jill's stellar portfolio of Japanese tattooing here.
Celebrating its sixth successful year, A Convention of the Tattoo Arts will take place October 22-24, this year in SF at The San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency. Organized by State of Grace Productions, the show is run by tattooists for tattooists and collectors, and not by a convention corp trying to squeeze a buck out of the "tattoo fad." In addition to the hand-picked roster of artists, there are a number of exciting events that weekend.
For one, there's the groundbreaking seminar by Chris Conn Askew: "Drawing Women for Tattoo, the Chris Conn Way." The class, which costs $200 a person, entails a slide-show presentation and lecture, live sketching, and Q&A with the artist (who retired from tattooing in 2006). Program details can be found on Chris's Tumblr blog. Each attendee will also receive an instructional sketchbook, signed and numbered, exclusive to this convention. The seminar is a limited-enrollment event and is already 90% booked, so if you're interested, it's best to get in touch with Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org right away (no drop-ins will be accepted). You can view more of Chris' fine art, like the one above, on his gallery page.
A number of book releases and signings are taking place as well: Grime's much anticipated book covering his last ten years, and Jill "Horiyuki" Mandelbaum's Tattoo Artist: A Collection of Narratives. Also for sale will be the Bob Roberts: In a World of Compromise I Don't and These Old Blue Arms: The Life & Work of Amund Dietzel, among other books.
The show kicks off Thursday evening, October 21st, with an opening party hosted by Black Heart Tattoo. For more info, check the convention site.
In 1973, Bob Roberts began his life in tattooing at The Pike in Long Beach, a waterfront amusement park that was home to many tattoo legends--legends like Bob Shaw and Col. Bill Todd who taught Bob the craft. It was an apprenticeship where one learned to be equally adept at removing a drunk from the shop as well as putting on a solid tattoo. Bob went on to work with Cliff Raven and Ed Hardy, who pushed tattooing to an even greater level of artistry.
With this education, he took off for NYC and opened his Spotlight Tattoo studio, and after three years, he returned to LA where Spotlight has established its place as a tattoo landmark, where top tattooing continues to be the mainstay.
In these past 37 years, Bob has garnered underground cred and mainstream popularity for his tattooing and paintings. In this time, he's also racked up a lot of stories. Yet these stories and artwork have never before been published in one volume.
To ensure this important part of tattoo history is not lost, State of Grace Publishing has created the very first book ever on the tattoo legend:
Bob Roberts: In a World of Compromise...I Don't.
The 304-page hardcover (10" by 13") will include never before seen tattoo and painting photos, an extensive interview with Bob Roberts with a foreword by Don Ed Hardy.
The first edition will only be a 1,000 copies, with a hardcover sleeve, signed and numbered. The pre-sale will be at the Ink-n-Iron show in Long Beach (June 11-13) and the All American Tattoo Fest in Sacramento (June 18-20). Then in late June, you'll be able to purchase the book on the State of Grace online store via PayPal for $300 US/$325 world. The book will ship out in August.
With a limited print-run for a book this rare (and rumored to be the best volume State of Grace has ever done), it's almost a certainty that the book will sell out in pre-sale so put it on your calendars. I'll also post a reminder next month. If you miss it, however, the softcover will be released next year.
Another must-have for your tattoo library.
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.