Results tagged “Thomas Hooper”

Mar201523
07:05 AM
swastika-tattoo.jpgSwastika tattoo on Guido Baldini by Thomas Hooper.

The recent tattoo headlines had some juicy news items, including debate over the use of the "gentle swastika," battling tattoo conventions in San Antonio, tattoo ink regulation in Europe, a new tattoo museum in New Orleans, a Jesus tattoo ad court case, and another reason not to get your girlfriend's name tattooed on you. Here's more:

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, there's been some controversy over one tattooer's use of the swastika in his artwork. In KRQE News' piece "Tattoo artist defends swastika-Zia design," there's video footage of tattooer Guido Baldini discussing how he wants to revisit the positive and auspicious symbolism behind the swastika and reclaim it from being a mark of Nazi-driven hate. Baldini also notes in the article that the symbol has history with Native American culture in the southwest, explaining that the symbol is referred to as "the weaving log or whirling log." In essence, his goal is change people's minds by sparking conversation -- even heated debates -- in the same vein as the forefather of the "gentle swastika" movement, ManWoman. It's an interesting read and watch.

Also seeking to offer some history lessons, although more contemporary ones, The New Orleans Tattoo Museum & Studio hosted its grand opening March 21st, and already has been featured in various press outlets, including the Gambit and the New Orleans Advocate. The museum is a partnership between 40-year tattoo veteran "Doc" Don Lucas and fellow tattooer and history buff Adam Montegut. They will be tattooing in the back of the 2,000 square foot space, while the front-end gallery space will house tattoo memorabilia, classic flash, machines, books and research materials. The space is also slated for artist talks and other events. The Gambit article shares some of Lucas' tattoo lessons:

Lucas says New Orleans' port city status was pivotal in bringing tattoo artists to the city, though the often transitory, traveling roadshow of early 20th-century tattooists and their shops largely is undocumented. [...] Lucas estimates there were 150 traveling artists by the turn of the century, and nearly one artist for every major city.

In the 1920s, George Pinell opened his first tattoo parlor in the 200 block of Canal Street. Its sign advertised "Prof. Geo. Pinell Electric Tattooing." Pinell also spent nearly three decades working from inside a truck near Canal and N. Peters Street, and in 1955, he opened a closet-sized shop under the ferry landing at the foot of Canal. The space was so small that customers sat with one leg outside the door and the other inside the shop, which advertised Pinell as a "tattooing specialist" with "all the latest designs." Pinell -- dubbed "The Professor" and "Old Man" -- was among only a handful of tattooists in the New Orleans area. In 1958, he told The Times-Picayune's Dixie magazine that his most popular tattoo was a person's Social Security number. "This is what I call a neighborhood business," he said. "One person in a block gets it done and tells his neighbors. Many think it's a good idea and follow suit."


On the legal front, the "Jesus Tattoo" advertisement, which I wrote about back in 2013, was the subject of a federal appeals court case, in which the people behind the ad sued a Texas school district because they wouldn't display the ad on the video scoreboard of its football stadium. Here's why Little Pencil LLC v. Lubbock Independent School District is particularly interesting: It's not just an issue of the First Amendment's prohibition against government establishment of religion. The school district also argued that they didn't want to display the ad because the tattooed Jesus pic would violate its policy against visible tattoos. The appeals court upheld the lower court's ruling that the school district's tattoo restriction rationale for rejecting the ad was "reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns." What that could mean is the school has a right to ban any ad with tattoos because it goes against the school's policy of mere mortals showing ink. So maybe that could apply to athletic gear ads that feature tattooed ballers!

jesus_tattoo_billboard.jpgIn European tattoo law news, the EU Commission is mulling over action on tattoo inks, assessing whether there should be some European-wide rules governing them, in addition national action that some European countries have taken to regulate tattoo pigments. I've been speaking with people involved in these regulatory discussions, so watch out for a detailed post on subject coming up.

Ok, I'll stop geeking out over the tattoo law stuff. Moving on...

In this article entitled "Back-To-Back SA Tattoo Conferences Expose Rift," there's talk of the beef behind competing shows in San Antonio, Texas. The 12th Annual Slinging Ink Tattoo Expo was held this past weekend (see coverage here), and next weekend the Texas Tattoo Jam will also take place in San Antonio. Seems to be based on a lot of personal bad blood -- which isn't uncommon in other cities' competing shows as well. Part of me wishes conventions were held only a few times a year -- as big international community events -- rather than watered down weekly gigs. There's also a related article that's worth a read: "Veteran Artists Lament SA's Tattoo Scene Turning Into Competitive Industry." It hits on the "art versus craft" debate in tattooing.

Finally, there's this piece: "Man says ISIS tattoo led to him getting fired." Isis was his ex's first name. Another reason why it's not a good idea to get boyfriend-girlfriend tattoos, kids!
Feb201525
11:32 AM
Teddyboy Greg Master Barber_becca.jpeg
Photo above of Master Barber "Teddy Boy Greg."

tattoo by Fernie Andrade_becca.jpgTattoo above on "Teddy Boy Greg" by Fernie Andrade.

brent mccown tattooing_becca.JPGTraditional hand tattooing by Brent McCown.

Brighton Tattoo_becca.jpgAll photos above by Rebecca Holmes.

I'm back in NYC after the non-stop party that was the Brighton Tattoo Convention. With the miserable winter weather, one would think I'd spend my vacation days flying south to Caribbean beaches and not the cold English seaside, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend my birthday with friends who were traveling from around the world to be a part of this show. I most definitely made the right choice.

The convention took place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel, located directly on the seafront in the center of the city. It was a massive labyrinth of booths throughout the hotel's convention center, with over 350 artists from over 16 countries working. 

You turn one corner and there was the traditional tattooing platform, with Copenhagen's Colin Dale hand poking Nordic dragons while, next to him, Brent McCown was tapping Polynesian tatau.

In sharp contrast, down the aisle, rap music blared from the booth that housed Norm, Big Sleeps, & Big Meas doing their sought-after script. Crowds also formed around other big names from the US such as Thomas Hooper, Bugs, Bong, and BJ Betts, among many others. 

queen moth tattoo BJ Betts.png

Tattoo above by BJ Betts.

UK legends George Bone, Lal Hardy, and Alex Binnie drew plenty of fans as well. [As a side note: Alex had a gathering on Thursday night before the show for the release of Charles Boday's Handpoke Tattoo book, and it was great to check out his Brighton shop, which has that same cool vibe as his iconic London studio.]

One particular thing I found interesting in the lead-up to the show was that many artists -- who normally book their convention appointments months in advance -- were advertising that they would be doing almost all walk-ups, so lucky convention goers who got in early could get prized time without being on a waiting list. I wonder if they knew how lucky they really were.

The tattoo competitions were limited to Best of Day entries with Guen Douglas winning Friday for a neo-traditional lady hand tattoo; Ryan Evans winning Saturday for his black and grey portrait of Marlane Dietrich; and Alex Gotza of Dirty Roses Tattoo in Greece winning Sunday for a full thigh gypsy tattoo (shown below).

alex gotzas tattoo.pngAs for me, I spent much of my time helping the convention organizer Woody manage the press, as there was a lot of interest in this eighth year of the show. But when I wasn't doing that, you'd most likely find me at the opulently decked out booth -- complete with gold drapery and Moroccan lanterns -- of tattoo witches Alicia Cardenas, Goldilox, Delphine Noiztoy, and Lorena Morato. Other stunners at that booth were model Moniasse, Frank Doody, and Drew Becket. [All of whom are shown in the pic below.] I shared a rented house with these beautiful people, kind of like a Real World Brighton, and ... I think I'll leave the exploits (and damaging photos) off this blog. Moving on ...

brighton tattoo convention.jpg

More seriously, there was also a lot of tattoo history shared at the show. Our friend Dr. Matt Lodder gave a wonderful talk on Sutherland MacDonald, "the first tattoo artist." And just outside his roundtable discussion, you could view the artifacts and archival photos from the famed Bristol Tattoo Club. I also particularly loved the fine art exhibition of Ramon Maiden (a post on him is coming soon). 

Most of the hard partying took place at the Sailor Jerry cocktail lounge and by the main stage where crowds of psychobilly babes gathered on Friday to see The Meteors, who still can bring a mosh pit to action after 35 years (with an older shirtless crowd). Other bands through the weekend included The Sex Pistols Experience, as well as King Salami and the Cumberland 3. 

Prettying up the Rockabilly set pre-concerts were barbers flown in from California, although lumberjack beards and skull caps dominated over pompadours. Really, I could barely recognize friends underneath all the hirsute hotness.

It's all these different offerings, in addition to top tattooing, that make a great convention. Most important to me, these gatherings are an opportunity to share love with friends from across the globe and reaffirm that we are one community of beautiful freaks. And that's better than any beach vacation.

For more on what went down at the convention, check the Brighton Tattoo blog, and these news items:

* Lifeforce Magazine photos by Damien Bird.
* The Argus coverage
* Bring the Noise article and photos

alicia and matt.jpgAlicia Cardenas and Dr. Matt Lodder chilling out at the Sailor Jerry Lounge.
Aug201314
07:40 AM
thomas_palm_tattoo.jpg

By Matana Roberts

The first time I saw a palm tattoo I was 16; it was on an older lady Brit punk, covered in some of the most beautiful tattoos I'd ever seen, complete with a gorgeous faded heart and dagger palm. She was intimidating to say the least, but somehow I mustered up the courage to ask about it. "Never do this love," she said with quite the experienced grin, "I only did this because I hated him." I could hear her distinctive lilt in my head, years later, as I table lay, with a favorite soft blanket, to do exactly what she told me not to...

I'd always felt a decorated palm belonged on someone who earned it; always appreciated it's gem rarity. When I started jonesing for one, talked myself out of it a trillion times partly because I felt I was not deserving and partly because it seemed like a serious dumb leap of faith. I had talked to plenty of tattooed compatriots, browsed magazines, blogs, videos; watched an actual tattooer jump off a table screaming; the latter convincing me it was most definitely a bad move, but also, I kept running into folk who said, "Well, if you do it: Thomas(!) Hooper (!)" Fast forward to a curious coincidence of rare scheduling events, mostly in thanks to Thomas's hard core, ever impressive, work,work,work (even) harder mentality, and there I was on his table...nervous as hell, I might add.

Beforehand, I again went back to asking around, reading about it, thinking about my initial vision of that lady punk, remembering a palm of one of my favorite tattooers done by another favorite tattooer, and finally, as if a message from the gods, remembering the inherent toughness of the ovary laden; as after all, if I really wanted to, I could, push a fully formed human out of a space that seemed a wee bit small for the occasion, you know? and that's what finally pushed me heart first, head last on towards my last bit of inspiration: mom memories.

Mom, 52, died of a lady's cancer. [Get your annuals awesome women of the world!] It was epic and unforgiving. Took her left arm/hand before all was said and done. True to character, she acted unshaken; spoke with bubbling excitement at learning how to do old things "new." What she didn't know: that particular hand of hers, was my favorite; had a scar on it from a midwestern tomboy childhood. When I was but a wee one, in a crowd, it was hard to crank my head all the way up to see. Being able to instantly spot that hand was like spotting the holy grail. Raised catholic, she became a radical activist, for a while espousing her upbringing, changing her name to a political moniker that translated to "rose." So though I already had a mom memorial tattoo; had staunchly decided that was enough, lest I be covered in my own grief, it seemed rather fitting, for my courage skill-set, to have this image be related in part to her. Post surgery, at home, she would often walk around with a small blanket shrouding her shoulders for warmth in order to battle phantom pain. I brought that blanket with me to Saved, along with some good tunes.

Saved is one of my favorite shops, not only because of the talented hard working artist roster, but also because of their ever impressive and eclectic music playlist! I am always hearing something there that I want to hear more of later....but I knew I'd need to channel in my own personal sound heroes for focus. So as we got started, in my ear cans were later years of John Coltrane and earlier years of Lydia Lunch.

The.Pain.Was.Epic.
 
Said blanket became handy face mask, thank god...and let me tell you, there was high comedy going on under there! Thomas was so positive which helped tremendously, and then almost like magic, we were done and I was shocked, because I had not shed a single tear, nor jumped off the table screaming bloody murder. I felt a calm sense of joy in my own "do now, ask questions later" innards, that continues to get me in sooooooooo much trouble, but yet manages to still teach me sooooooooo much...The post pain was almost unbearable: some of the healing days gnarly and suspicious, but now, it's almost, I dare say, "blooming!" (Thanks, Thomas Hooper!).

For the record, I'm not sure I really deserve a palm tattoo, but I'm beyond honored to rock one. And I can still hear the lovely lilt of that punk's voice, but now with my very own superimposed, imagining what I might say to a younger enquirer in my hopefully experienced years to come "Never do this love. I only did it because I loved her."

Postscript: The rose represents some other things I adore: a song,a cause,a film,a press. And that's just the short list....a rose: it seems to endure...all I hope for really.

---
Matana (mah-tah-nah) Roberts is a musician, former zine writer, and artist who lives in New York (f*cking) City. She has been getting marked and poked since the illustrious 90s from worldwide points near and far....

www.matanaroberts.com
www.steelkiltrose.tumblr.com
www.twitter.com/matanaroberts

Pre-orders have begun for her next recording release of experimental sounds. Details here.

Oct201212
06:28 PM
thomas Hooper singularities.jpg
facial tattoo hooper.jpgOne of the most sought-after artists for blackword ornamental and sacred geometry tattoos is Thomas Hooper of Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn. [In fact, he's currently not booking new clients.] Thomas is also a prolific painter and has worked on numerous design projects.

Thomas recently discussed tattoos, fine art and fatherhood with the designers at 3sixteen for their Singularities project, in which they highlight creative people in various industries.

You can read the full Singularities interview here, but I'll give you a taste:

Tell us about your first tattoo apprenticeship. What's something you learned that still rings true for you today?

I was taught how to tattoo by Jim Macairt; he gave me the foundations to begin learning about tattooing. Something he said to me that still rings true today is a question he asked me when he found out I wanted to learn (you have to realise also that I was a frightened and insecure boy so this blew my mind). He said: "What will YOU do for tattooing? You will get so much from it but what will YOU give back?" This is always in my head - how can I give back, how can I make something new and expand on what is already such an expansive wealth of inspiration and creativity.
[...]
In looking at your body of work, it's clear that you find beauty in repetition. Why is this, and where did you draw inspiration from as you developed your personal style?

I love repetition, and I realised its beauty in looking at traditional Japanese tattoos. Everything is the same but slightly different. I found inspiration in nature and I then started looking at the work of William Morris, Christopher Dresser and Ernst Haeckel - the former of which lead to my interest in textile design and repetitive patterns.
Check more work from Thomas on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
.


thomas hooper tattoo.jpg
Jan201227
12:20 PM
tattoo hands.jpg

tattoo hands 1.jpgThe label "anatomical art" is often assumed to be tattoo art on skin, but in a fun twist, Repop Mfg and thirteen renowned tattoo artists are changing the meaning by creating collectible art pieces, which can be purchased as easily as a US Senator.

These beautiful limited edition "hands" are real leather printed and sewn by hand in the US; then stuffed and mounted on a wood base and numbered. Curated by Takahiro Horitaka Kitamura, each piece in the collection embodies the signature style of the artists chosen for the project. In addition to Horitaka, the artists include Steve Byrne, Colin Baker, Thomas Hooper, Chris Trevino, Chris Brand, Tim Hendricks, Horiken, Dan Wysuph, Chuey Quintanar, Chad Koeplinger, Chris Yvon, and Scott Sylvia.
 
On February 1st, the hands will be made available for purchase by Repop Mfg. but be quick to click "checkout" as it's a limited run of 100/100.

tattoo hands 2.jpg
Dec201128
01:44 PM

Collaborative Tattooing: Sessions 2-8 from Taylor Toole on Vimeo.


Brooklyn's own Saved Tattoo is a powerhouse of talent with collectors traveling the world to get work that spans all genres. What's particularly exciting is when tattooists collaborate on a piece, melding their own unique artistry into one cohesive work on a very lucky client. This is brilliantly illustrated in Taylor Toole's video of Chris O'Donnell and Thomas Hooper working together on a backpiece for Ryan Begley (founder of Shirts & Destroy). The film pulls together footage from sessions 2 through 8, and it's a great peak into the process, especially for such a large tattoo.

Outside of tattooing, Chris, Thomas and Ryan are collaborating on a publishing venture specializing in hand crafted books and art editions:  Artifact Publishing recently released Winter Solstice: Black Mandalas, Series One, which is a set of 28 prints each measuring 5.5" x 5.5". Each collection of prints is enclosed in a hand-stained wooden box and is a limited edition of 100.  Details here. Chris and Thomas have also designed for Shirts & Destroy collections.

Looking forward to seeing more from them on skin, canvas, print and apparel.
Jul201115
02:28 PM

Earlier this week, we featured the first episode of a new tattoo show by Spike TV called Tattoo Age. We're happy to post that there's another series without the faux drama, featuring the adventures of a tattooist who reveals the realities of tattooing along with cultural highlights of different cities beyond the art.

Markus Kuhn says of The Gypsy Gentleman project:

Each episode will present the city that it was shot in. We will go to the streets and give you the city as it feels to us.

Marcus will be profiling one cool spot per city, a record store that sells coffee and antiques, or an Italian shoe maker in Buenos Aires that has been there for a 100 years, or a sumi shop in Kyoto that has been there 500 years.

Each episode will conclude with a feast involving all the great people who have come together for that city's filming. The message being- human interaction is the most important point; it is that moment together that is most important. Too often we miss the real highlights of being here.

This first episode features Virginia Elwood and Thomas Hooper in NYC. Check it.

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