Results tagged “Tattoo Hunter”

Feb201117
12:55 PM
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Tattoo Anthropologist Dr. Lars Krutak is no stranger here on Needles & Sins. We've linked his articles numerous times, from research on ancient skin sewing rituals to his visiting the oldest tattoo studio in Greece. We've applauded his documentary series for Discovery, Tattoo Hunter, which explores indigenous body modification practices worldwide. And we've listed his latest book, Kalinga Tattoo: Ancient and Modern Expressions of the Tribal, as a holiday gift guide pick.

What we haven't done is look beyond his work and profile Lars himself. This past weekend, The Borneo Post beat us to it. The article discusses his 15+ years researching tribal tattoo traditions and rituals, a number of which he has experienced himself. It focuses particularly on Lars's work in Borneo, as he was recently in Kuching to give a presentation at the Gathering of the Tribes 2011, a cultural expo that brought together international tattooists and tribal performers from across Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo). It's a great read and includes a touching story on his visit to the last Iban tattoo artist, who was dying.

Inspired by the article, I just interviewed Lars myself for Skin & Ink. Of course his many adventures could not possibly fit in a limited word count, so I'm offering some bonus bits from our talk below.

Lars_Kayabi_tattoo.jpgAs a kid, was there any indication that you'd follow the path you're on today? Were you playing archeologist as a child or poured over National Geographics?

Living in Mexico 1979-81, we traveled all over the country and I visited every Maya/Aztec/Zapotec archaeological complex, so I thought I was going to be an archaeologist, especially after "Raiders of the Lost Ark" dropped. It didn't hurt that my parents had a Nat Geo collection with every issue dating back to the early 50s (which I still have), and I took that love of archaeology and anthropology to college. I double majored in anthropology and art history at the University of Colorado at Boulder (1989-1993) and never looked back.

Was your interest in tattoo sparked during your graduate work at Univeristy of Alaska Fairbanks or beforehand?


After undergrad, I chased my (then) girlfriend to San Francisco in 1995 where I landed my first salaried job at Campbell-Thiebaud Gallery that was operated by Paul L. Thiebaud, the son of Pop Artist Wayne Thiebaud. Right around the corner was Don Ed Hardy's Tattoo City in North Beach so I used to peek in the window on my lunch breaks. Also, my good ole buddy Tony Barton (Hell or High Water Tattoos, New Orleans) was starting to tattoo at that time, and this provided the initial awareness and interest in tattoos. I left San Fran in January 1996 to pursue graduate work in Fairbanks, Alaska, and as I was walking across campus during the second week, I met an Inuit woman with tattoos on her chin. I was hooked at that point, wanted to know more, and that's when I became obsessed with documenting tribal tattoos.

What continues to motivate your research after all this time?


The main thing that motivates me is that these traditions are vanishing around the world before being accurately recorded. Time has always been my enemy, and I wish I would have been born 100 years ago.

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CONTINUE READING....
Jan201125
06:23 PM
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So it seems I'm a bit late to the party for the latest in tattoo TV. Last month, the testosterone channel Spike TV launched Permanent Mark, a three-episode special that follows 20+-year tattoo veteran "Permanent Mark" Walters as he travels the world experiencing various tattoo cultures. Here's how Mark explains the show:

I've been beating down doors for 7 years in Hollywood, way before the Miami Ink and L.A Ink and all the other shows about tattoos on TV. I was trying to get networks to film a show about how I would break into the subcultures of indigenous tattoos worldwide no matter what nasty shit I had to eat, what new fever I would catch, or what hole I had to crap in with a leaf too small to wipe my ass. All these things would get me respect in certain tribes and cultures because I never pretend to be tougher than I was, and my humility and stupidity showed them I was only human.

With this, I finally found myself in all my tattooed glory, sitting in a lot of network boardroom meetings. This is when producers at Spike TV, who had a filthier mouths than me, said to me "do what you want, we don't want to see the usual travel show. Get down and get f*cking dirty." That was all I had to hear.

I wrote 13 ideas and countries down and we made the decision that the Borneo headhunters (episode 1), the Yakuza in Tokyo (episode 2), and the Sak Yant tattoos made by the monks in Thailand (episode 3) would make the most compelling stories.

I'm not going lie to you, I lived in Japan and had my tangles with the Japanese mob as well as going to Thailand to collect tattoos by a dear friend who happens to be a monk, but I had never been to Borneo. Although everything I went through on the show was completely real, I never used my contacts in any country. It's really important to me that I show you, the audience how over the last 30 years I was able to infiltrate and be accepted by different cultures, and not only that, but have had the honor of earning their mark, in a culture where money doesn't mean a god damn thing, but your heart, your drinking abilities, killing the odd chicken or goat, and having the strength to eat the ceremonial sheep eye ball got me where I am today.

You can watch the full episodes online here. It's compelling TV. Grittier and more SpikeTV-ish than Discovery's Tattoo Hunter with tattoo anthropologist Dr. Lars Krutak, which we loved. Let's see if Permanent Mark has lasting appeal and gets picked up.

Also, check Mark's video blogs on YouTube like the one below.

Mar200911
02:43 PM
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In case you missed my last Needled entry on tattoo anthropologist Lars Krutak, I'm posting info on his new, wonderful show Tattoo Hunter, which airs on the Discovery Channel.

Check this week's episode, Saturday at 1PM, where Lars "treks deep into the jungles of Indonesia in search of the spirit tattoo of the Mentawai tribe."

Read about his fascinating experience online. Here's a taste:

[...] another way the Mentawaians keep their souls "close" is by beautifying the body. Individuals, be they male or female, who neglect their bodies by not keeping them beautiful with beads, flowers, sharpened teeth, and especially tattoos will cease to be attractive to their souls. In such cases, the soul may decide to leave its human host and roam about the body free. But if the soul does not return to its home, it may decide to withdraw to the ancestral world at which point that person must die.

The following episode airs March 21st at 1PM and finds Lars in the remote mountains of the Philippines in search of the tattoo of the Kalinga head hunters. A must see!

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Tattoo Hunter is not the only tattoo travel show. Coming this Spring ... Tattoo Highway.

Ok, I know it's unfair to juxtapose a show that has a tattoo scholar offering culture, history and adventure against one where a "reality tv star" travels across America in his mobile tattoo parlor called "Ministry of Ink." But it has potential to be the fruity dessert to a meaty dish. Here's a taste of what you'll find there:

The tattoos viewers will see Pendelton create this season include a memorial portrait created from the ashes of a man's wife mixed with ink; a tattoo that can only be seen under a black light; a giant gorilla riding a scooter, and a pair of matching eggplants.

They had me at the memorial done with ashes but, yeah, lost me at the gorilla and eggplants. Really?


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