Results tagged “Tattoo Nation”

09:26 AM
Mark Mahoney Shamrock Social Club.jpg
Tattoo legend Mark Mahoney is cooler than any of the many rock stars he tattoos. His style & demeanor translate into the buttery smooth black and gray work that has made his Shamrock Social Club studio in Hollywood a destination for serious collectors as well as starlets.

Focusing on the celebrity side of his clientele, the Los Angeles Times profiled Mahoney and naturally named dropped the "who's who" of who he's tattooed, but it's an interesting read overall with discussion on his start in the business, coming out of rehab and back into tattooing, and why he's devoted much of his time to black and gray fine line work.

Here's a bit from the article:

Success was a long time in coming for the soft-spoken, gray-haired Boston native. Introduced to the art of tattooing as a teenager, Mahoney spent years studying the work of artists in Rhode Island and New York, trying to learn their secrets.

"Nobody was willing to share tattoo secrets and teach others," Mahoney said.

Eventually, he headed west and found a home in Long Beach on the Pike, the famed amusement park that was then home to many tattoo artists.

It was there that he encountered the fine-line black and gray tattoos that would become his signature style.

"It blew my mind," Mahoney says now. "I knew it's what I wanted to do -- the low-rider, Mexican style that started in the prisons."

Read more here

Mark Mahoney's story is also featured in the wonderful documentary on black and gray tattoo culture, "Tattoo Nation," which can be streamed online or purchased as a DVD.

09:29 AM

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Tattoo Nation

For years people saw tattoos as a sign of rebellion. A middle finger salute to the rest of the world. Outlaw bikers got tattoos. Sailors on leave in Singapore got tattoos. Lifers in the joint got tattoos. But now in the United States one out of every three adults under forty has a tattoo! So what happened? How did tattoo go from something that was put on you to an expression that comes from within you? Tattoo Nation tells the story of a few people who helped transform the world of tattoo, and the way we think about tattoos, forever. This is the true story of the ink revolution.

The documentary "Tattoo Nation," has been lauded as one of the best contemporary films to explore tattooing to date. While the basis of the movie is black & grey tattoo culture, overall, it educates on the roots of how the art form arose from the streets to the galleries. Now the film is available for viewing straight to your computer or TV.

Click the link above to learn how you can watch it online or via DVD.

03:35 PM

TONIGHT is the nation-wide premiere of one of the more important documentaries in our community: "Tattoo Nation." While I've already written about it extensively here, I just wanted to send a reminder to those of you near the over 100+ theaters showing the film.

Check the full list of cities and locations on As I noted earlier, this is a limited two-day engagement in most cities, so try and get there tonight.

I'll be at the AMC Empire 25 theater at 234 West 42nd St. by Times Square at 8pm. It seems that the theater won't be handing me a mic for any Q&A as planned, but look for the tattooed redhead afterward for post-theater drinks at a local dive to discuss the film.

If you can't make it to the film tonight, check the trailer above and additional videos and photos on the Tattoo Nation Facebook page. You can also follow them on Twitter @TheTattooNation and me on @Needlesandsins.

Hope to see ya there!

04:30 PM


Last night, the much-anticipated "Tattoo Nation," a documentary on the history and evolution of black & grey tattooing, premiered in Los Angeles, complete with a red carpet laid out for tattooing's own A List, including Don Ed Hardy, Jack Rudy, Freddy Negrete, Good Time Charlie Cartwright, Tim Hendricks, and Cory Miller (who narrated the film), among many others. 

Danny Trejo was also in attendance, as his own experience getting needled in prison plays heavily into the narrative of the film. There's even footage of him taking his daughter to get tattooed (in a studio, not a cell). 

Check the Tattoo Nation Facebook page for photos from last night.

As noted in my last post on the film, the nationwide release is next Thursday, April 4th.  In some cities, like LA and Modesto, the film will play for a week, but in most others, it is an initial two-day limited engagement. There are over a hundred cities and locations for the screening, which are largely listed on

** For those in NYC, I'll be hosting one of the Manhattan premiers: The April 4th showing at AMC Empire 25 at 234 West 42nd St. in Times Square at 8pm. I'll be handing out N+S stickers and buttons and also selling copies of my Black & Grey Tattoo box set in the lobby. The screening may sell out, so it's best to buy your tickets in advance. ** 

I've given this film a thumbs up already, but it's also been given shout-outs from outlets like the Hollywood Reporter, LA Weekly and a mention in Variety. And as a number of reviews have noted, this isn't just a movie for tattoo collectors, but anyone interested in art, culture, or just a shirtless Trejo. Director Eric Schwartz may not have any tattoos, but he really does our community justice, reflecting the true reality of tattoo culture.  

While black & grey is the central theme, the film examines tattooing in contemporary US history overall.  It's strength lies in the oral histories of those who created history, like Hardy, Rudy, Cartwright, Negrete, Mark Mahoney, Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand and the other greats featured. Check the preview below to get a taste, but I highly recommend you going out to see it.

And for those in New York, I hope you'll see it with me on Thursday.      

07:39 AM
TattooNation_27x39_PosterLowRez_Final.jpgThere's been tons of buzz for the film "Tattoo Nation," which explores black & grey tattoo culture -- but really so much more.

Announced yesterday was the first 118 cities and locations for the screening of "Tattoo Nation," which you can find listed here on their Facebook page. This is huge for a tattoo-centered film, and I'm sure there will be more dates added.

I'm also fairly certain that these screenings will sell out in a lot of theaters, and so keep checking for info on buying tickets in advance in different cities.  In some cities, like LA and Modesto, the film will play for a week but in most others, it is an initial two-day limited engagement.

I had the opportunity to see the entire film and I feel it really does justice, not just to the black & grey genre, but to tattoo history in general as well as contemporary tattoo culture. I'll have a full review as time nears for the premiers. Meanwhile, check the trailer below. 

09:31 AM

There's been a lot of buzz over the documentary "Tattoo Nation," and if you check this official trailer, you'll understand why.

The film, directed by Eric Schwartz, explores tattooing largely from the perspective of black & gray culture -- a tattoo genre that found its origins in prisons and growth into a fine art. Heavily tattooed film and TV star Danny Trejo narrates the film and shares his own stories of getting tattooed with guitar strings and homemade machines while behind bars. His professional tattoo work, done by some of black & gray's finest, is continued during shooting, with Mark Mahoney working on Trejo's backpiece while the actor discusses the evolution of the art form.

Mahoney is joined on screen by his fellow godfathers of black & gray: Charlie Cartwright, Jack Rudy, and Freddy Negrete. Other legendary artists sharing their stories are Ed Hardy, Kate Hellenbrand, Henk Schiffmacher, Filip Leu, Rick Walters, and Tennessee Dave. The younger generation of black & gray greats, including Chuey Quintanar, Mister Cartoon, Jose Lopez, Franco Vescovi, among others, are repped as well. It's a Who's Who of the tattoo world.

Beyond the history of prison and LA street style of tattooing, the film delves into tattoo acceptance and battling stereotypes. Indeed, it's an important film for lovers of all tattoo art and culture. We're counting down the days to its release in theaters nationwide this October.

For updates, follow Tattoo Nation on Facebook and Twitter.
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