Artwork above by Sabine Gaffron.This weekend, on Sunday, May 31st, from 11 am, Things & Ink magazine and the Feminist Library will hold their first Feminist Flash Day. The event will "showcase the history, progression and future of women in both the feminist movement and the tattoo lifestyle, and it hopes to highlight topics such as the female body, ownership, notions of beauty, societal reactions and equality within both worlds."
Artwork above by Debra Yarian.
Artwork above by Miss Elvia.
I've been really excited about the recent celebrations of women tattoo artists and collectors, which highlight talent and artistry rather than the typical "T & A." It's been great seeing my social media feeds blowing up with women and men calling out sexist convention ads and acts; I'm seeing more women tattooers being interviewed about their work and photographed with their clothes on; and there are some great events showcasing the fine art work of women tattooers and sparking discussions on feminist issues in our community.
Two such events coming up are the "Ladies, Ladies Art Show" [LLAS] in Brooklyn, NY, on June 11th, and in London, Things & Ink's Feminist Flash Day, this Sunday, May 31st.
This 4th year of the fabulous LLAS, curated by Miss Elvia, Emma Griffiths & Pat Sinatra, promises to be extra special this year. It not only honors generations of women tattooers, particularly paying respect to tattooing's godmothers, but also, a portion of the proceeds from sales of the artwork will go to a great cause. Here's what Miss Elvia told me about it:
This year especially we made an effort to contact a few more women who have been tattooing 20+ years, such as Vyvyn Lazonga, Debra Yarian, Jennie Peace, Debbie Lenz, Miss Roxy, Judy Parker, Bev Robinson (aka Cindy Ray), Shanghai Kate Hellenbrandt and more. Along with them, works by other well respected names in tattooing include Jill Bonny, Hanna Sandstrom, Monica Moses, Virginia Elwood, MaryJoy, Megan Kargher, Anna Waychoff, Miranda Lorberer, Sabine Gaffron, Titine Leu -- and more, including new upcoming talents.
The opening on June 11 will take place at Forget Me Not Tattoo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, from 7 to 11pm. It's free and open to all. The works will be on view and for sale every weekend until mid-July.
Here's more from Alice Snape, the editor of Things & Ink:
The day will bring together tattooists and enthusiasts alike to discuss the bonds between the female body, feminism and the empowerment and ownership that tattoos can afford women. The day will start with the opportunity to get a tattoo of feminist flash from one of three talented tattoo artists: Dexter Kay, Julia Seizure and Lou Hopper. This will be followed by a panel discussion comprised of some of the industry's most knowledgeable individuals, including renowned tattoo artists Dominique Holmes and Claudia de Sabe, who curated the Time Tattoo art exhibition at Somerset House. The discussion will be lead by art historian Dr. Matt Lodder and cult tattoo figure Blue from Into You in Farringdon.The event will take place at King of Hearts Tattoo Studio, 137 New Cross Road, London. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the best presents I got this holiday was the Things & Ink "Stripped Back" issues of awesome, with three special covers featuring tattooers Flo Nuttall, Brian Wilson, and Delphine Noiztoy as well as Yann Brenyak. While the content is the same on the pages, it's worth collecting all three. How often do you see men on covers of tattoo magazines?
Once again, I cite Things & Ink as a way to present tattooed women, even nude, in ways that are sexy without being sleazy. For example, the El Wood shoot, an image from which is shown below, is gorgeous and elegant. El has modeled for many other tattoo magazines, and if you do a Google image search on her, you'll see differences in which her beauty is portrayed.
I'm also a huge fan of "The New Normal" spread, in which women, and a man, who normally don't fall under the "tattoo model" category as per today's industry standards, are photographed and art directed by Josh Brandao as "human curiosities" "to challenge what society deems as acceptable, to shatter the boundaries of attraction and redefine what we see as beautiful." Check the video preview below for a peak at those pages.
Beyond the fashion, my favorite articles also included an intimate look into the home of Lianna Moule of Immortal Ink (with her husband Jason Butcher); the Q&A with tattooer Ashley Love of NY Adorned; and Amelia Klem Osterud and Carmen Forquer Nyssen offer another fantastic historical piece, this time on "Mr. & Mrs. Ted Hamilton," tattooed performers who worked for smaller circuses in the 1920s.
And so, once again, I highly recommend picking up the latest Things & Ink. You can grab it online here.
Once again, blowing me away with a gorgeous cover and compelling content, Things & Ink magazine has outdone itself with its latest offering, "The Illustration Issue."
The photography, styling and design should be a model of how to present tattooed women in a way that is seductive but not sleazy -- and actually showing their tattoos! Interestingly, editor Alice Snape changed the magazine's tagline from "Embracing Female Tattoo Culture" to "Independent, Tattoo, Lifestyle." Alice writes in her editorial, "Embracing Female Tattoo Culture' was set up to say: 'We're here to appreciate the art, not objectify the person wearing it.' It wasn't ever really intended to say: 'female only!'" Often projects designed to celebrate women erroneously tend to get taken as "anti-men," which is farthest from the case with Things & Ink, but if it takes changing a few words to bring more people to the mag, I'm for it.
You can buy Things & Ink online, at these stockists, or grab it at their stand at the London Tattoo Convention this weekend.
I was pretty excited to enjoy the magazine on a long subway ride, and not worry about people seeing the cover and thinking that I was reading porn (as with a number of other tattoo publications). On the cover is tattoo artist Danielle Rose and her own artwork. Here's more from Alice:
Danielle Rose is renowned for her dark and weeping ladies. With a colour palette of black and two accent colours, her work is instantly recognisable and highly sought after by many tattoo collectors. For The Illustration Issue cover, we've created something truly unique and special. We did a photo shoot with Danielle, and she illustrated over the top of the images. Then we morphed them into one, turning Danielle into an abstract work of art. The artist has become one with her work, the illustrator has become the illustrated.Danielle's tattooing is also featured in a profile on her inside the magazine. Also profiled are Eva Schatz and Dexter Kay. Other highlights in the magazine for me are "All in the Family," in which the parents of tattooers, including IntoYou's Alex Binnie, discuss their thoughts about tattooing and what it was like finally getting tattooed themselves. There's also "Ancient Ritual in a Modern World" discussing Samoan tattoo traditions, and Amelia Klem-Osterud offers up her expertise on the origins of some "old school" flash. Tons of goodness inside the magazine and too many to list.
In addition to celebrating the launch of this issue, Things & Ink will present tonight, with Atomica Gallery in London, "Miniature Ink" -- an exhibition featuring miniature original artwork from over 100 of the world's leading tattoo artists, with proceeds from the sale of the work going to benefit Sarcoma UK. The opening is tonight from 6-9 pm and runs until October 1st. This will also be a celebration of Things & Ink's second year in publication.
While I won't be there, I'll be raising a glass to the continued success of a wonderful part of our community.
Artwork for Miniature Ink by Angelique Houtkamp.
Editor Alice Snape brings us the third installment of her marvelous tattoo magazine, Things & Ink where the theme is all about love, baby! In her words:
The issue is all about love, in all it's glorious forms. It explores love between lovers, friends and family, passion and romance throughout history. Paralleling love as an emotion with a love for tattoos. There's also an in-depth interview with Rachel [Baldwin], an exclusive competition to win an original by the cover star herself, plus lots more...
They've also put together a wonderful behind-the-scenes video of Rachel's cover-shoot (which is scored to a NoFX tune so, obviously, I'm pretty giddy about that fact alone).
Things & Ink pride themselves on their tagline: "Embracing Female Tattoo Culture," but I personally find the magazine to be gender-neutral - or in the words of the Slinky jingle: "It's fun for a girl and a boy!" Everything from the articles to the paper-stock to the typography are a pleasure to read, hold and view.
More importantly: they eschew what, in my opinion, is the blatant misogyny of the majority of tattoo magazines. When I pick up a tattoo magazine, I want to see great features on tattooing and images of great tattoos. If I wanted to see images of naked, minimally-tattooed women in provocative poses, well, that's what my subscription to Playboy is for; and to be honest, I only read that for the articles. (No, seriously, I swear).
Perhaps that's what "Embracing Female Tattoo Culture" actually means: we're here to appreciate the art, not objectify the person wearing it. If so, it's a sentiment that I strongly support and I'm glad that it's done so through such a quality product; and it's also a sentiment from which other publishers in the industry could certainly learn a lesson.
So, I tip my Vassar College cap to everyone involved with Things & Ink on a job well done and encourage everyone of all genders out there to dive into this magazine!
When we got home from vacation, I had the lovely surprise of finding The Face Issue of the UK's Things & Ink magazine, a publication that I described in my first post on it as "a love letter to tattooed women."
This second issue is cover-to-cover fantastic. Bob Baxter, the former editor of Skin & Ink magazine, once said that you need a woman on the cover of a tattoo magazine because sales drastically drop when you don't. Well, Things & Ink shows how you do it right, respecting tattooed women who make up at least half of the tattooed masses according to recent US polls.
The front cover, featuring tattoo artist Cassandra Frances, is fabulous, with a close-up of her beautiful face and facial tattoo, and the back cover is the back view of that portrait, with an up-close look at her neck tattoos and sleeves. Cassandra is not clutching her boobs or sucking on her finger. I know, crazy! You can watch a video of the cover shoot below.
The concept of focusing an issue primarily on facial work is one I really dig. As noted on the Things & Ink site,
The face issue examines what it means to be a woman and have facial tattoos. It also asks a number of artists their rules when it comes to tattooing the face, explores cosmetic tattooing for people to regain control over their bodies while recovering from illness and features all the usual tattoo artwork and artist interviews.Other highlights for me is the profile on Mo Deeley, a 54-year-old "Glam-ma," who is covered in tattoos after only started getting tattooed a year ago. Her photos and story are inspiring. I also really enjoyed Amelia Klem Osterud's article on whether Lady Randolph Churchill really did have a snake tattoo, which so many have speculated on. A sexy bit of tattoo history.
I asked editor Alice Snape what her highlights are, and here's what she said:
My highlight of Issue 2 is the article by Kelli Savill on the sexualisation of women with tattoos (page 54). It explores how tattooed women are portrayed in the media, including Suicide Girls, and how women's bodies are used to market objects including the tattooed Barbie Doll. It has received such a powerful reaction to readers and it seems to have really resonated. The feature is accompanied by a beautiful shoot by Kristy Noble, of a mannequin tattooed by Dominique Holmes, Inma and El Bernardes. I also loved hearing such diverse opinions of how people feel about face tattoos, it made me question how I feel about them myself. The cover photo of tattoo artist Cassandra Frances is stunning, I am so happy she said yes to being on the cover. She is an amazing artist and person, and I would love to work with her again in the future.You can purchase the magazine online here, and from the stockists listed here. For updates in between issues, check Things & Ink on Twitter and Facebook.