Results tagged “Video”

03:32 PM

I thoroughly enjoyed this Heartbeat NY video profile on Gene Coffey, resident artist of Tattoo Culture in Brooklyn, in which he shares his thoughts on originality, plagiarism, and finding one's own voice in tattooing, among other great discussions on the art.

Gene is just as adept in painting images with words as he is with a tattoo machine and with brushes. I love how he phrases his work as a remix of images and experiences said with a slightly different accent, and also how he explains how he came to develop his distinct tattoo style, in the vein of his fine artwork, with the encouragement of innovating French tattoo artists Noon and Loic (aka Xoil), who are regular guests at Tattoo Culture. Gene says that Noon advised him to take out every image in his portfolio that he no longer wanted to tattoo and just to leave those works that represented the type of work he wanted to take on going forward. He did so, and in the process, became a tattooer renowned for expanding the definition of what a "tattoo" is.

I also found myself nodding my head and saying Amen when he talked about "tattoo plagiarism" and finding copies of his custom tattoos. He shares that it's not just a copy of an image that someone is stealing, but all his life experiences that it took to make that tattoo.

Of course he says this in a much more quirky and interesting Gene Coffey way, so I recommend watching the full video, which was created by Snorri Sturluson.

Find more of Gene's tattoos on Instagram, and the Tattoo Culture site.

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02:32 PM

The documentary film "TATTOOS: Perceptions & Perspectives" by Maximillian Jacobson-Gonzalez has been making the internet rounds, but in case you haven't seen it (and its accompanying video interviews), I highly recommend you spend some time, as it offers thoughtful discussion on common tattoo issues: stigma, tattooing as an artistic practice, the impact of fashion and celebrity, and also identity, individuation and belonging, among others. These are not new discussions, but what makes the film really compelling is the diversity of the perspectives and the experience and expertise of those interviewed.

For me, I could listen to our friend Dr. Matt Lodder talk about tattoos for days, particularly sharing his expertise looking at tattooing from the art historian perspective. Find more thoughts from Matt in this separate 29-minute interview with him. The film starts off with a great quote from Matt: "The story is a persistent one: some people get it, some people don't." [And there are fun follow-up person-on-the-street interviews with people saying they don't get it.] I also appreciated his discussion on how tattooing is viewed as a "phenomenon," and gets written as, "Why would you do that to yourself?" but he notes that someone handpoking a Wham logo (as his old bus driver did) and someone traveling to Switzerland to get tattooed by Filip Leu are not the same thing.

Maximilian then talks to Filip and Loretta Leu -- one of the most renowned and respected tattoo families in the world. There's also a 23-minute interview with Filip for more. Loretta talks about society's acceptance -- or lack thereof -- of tattooing, while Filip shares his own experience getting tattooed very young, the desire to be separate from a group and then that desire to be a part of something.

Further to that discussion on belonging, Dr. Margo Demello, cultural anthropologist and author of Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community (2000), talks about tattoos as symbol and affiliation, noting that it's why  gangs still get tattoos and police still track it. She also compares cultural acceptance of tattoos to other movements and acceptance like the women's and gay rights movements. Check the additional 15-minute interview footage with Margo.

Other highlights include interviews with Paul Sayce, VP of Tattoo Club of Great Britain; tattoo veteran Lal Hardy; Perry Rule of Total Tattoo magazine; and heavily tattooed actor Robert Lasardo. Find extra footage of Lal here and Paul here.

Feel free to share your own perspective and thoughts on the film in our Needles & Sins Facebook group or Tweet at me.
06:03 PM
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Dominating dotwork tattooing, Chaim Machlev's work, from mandalas to modern geometry, is ubiquitous on "Best Tattoos" lists and is one of the most reblogged/regrammed/"liked" artists of the blackwork genre in my social media feeds. And for good reason. His expert technique, combined with fresh perspective and interpretations of ancient art, results in incredibly beautiful work that commands a long look, rather than a quick glance at an image flashed on our phones.

For a more in-depth look into the artist himself, filmmakers Nikita Luennemann & Lukas Muganga created the documentary "Dots To Lines" (embedded below), which follows Chiam over the course of a year, filming various tattoo projects and telling his personal story. The filmmakers also note: "Carried by the narration of his unusual path that led him from a 'conventional' lifestyle in Tel-Aviv, Israel to a very distinct mind set and a cosmopolitan way of life, it underlines his unique style of tattooing, which puts the art in the focus, feeds of emotions and the shared experience."

The trailer is just a quick tease, and I look forward to seeing the whole film. Will follow-up when I have more info on it.

See more of Chiam's work on his site, Facebook, and Instagram.

Dots To Lines (Official Trailer) from Nikita Lunnemann on Vimeo.

02:08 PM

Just when you thought the mass commercialization of tattooing couldn't get any worse, there's this special report Baby Tattoos.

While I know a few guys who remind me of "Ryan Quinn," the tattooer in the video -- ya know, artists just looking for a new canvas -- thankfully the report is a fun parody by Center City Comedy, written by Kevin Ryan and directed/edited by Conor Kelley. The way some shops market themselves these days, though, the jokes aren't too far off from the truth. And you can't deny that "a sick tribal chestpiece on an infant .. just pops."

Enjoy the giggle!
02:13 PM
Morten Transeth tattoo.pngTattoo above in progress.

tiger head tattoo.pngI love to get an insider's look into tattoo shops around the world, not just for their art, but also for the vibe of the studio and tattoo culture in their city. And so I really enjoyed this video documentary short (embedded below) by Ivar Myhrvold featuring Morten Transeth of Blue Arms Tattoo in Oslo, Norway. The video is in Norwegian, but captioned in English -- just turn captions (CC) on for subtitles.

What I find particularly interesting is how artists across the globe who are heavily influenced by traditional "old school" tattooing, such as Morten, offer their own spin and approach to iconic themes. Morten talks about that as well as the history of the shop, Oslo clientele, and other insights into Blue Arms Tattoo. Definitely worth a watch.

Find more of Morten's work on Instagram.

Kreativitet & Tradisjoner (Creativity & Traditions) from Ivar Myhrvold on Vimeo.

12:51 PM

As I was zooming through my Facebook newsfeed this Sunday morning, I came across this video (above), posted by tattoo godmama Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand, and while it's not new to the internet, I had to share it in case it didn't come across your own newsfeeds. More important, it's a reminder of the wonderful work that Shawn Porter is doing with his Occult Vibrations tattoo blog and YouTube video channel.    

The video, entitled "Paul Rogers at Grandpa Groovys," is 8-minute footage from the 1988 Grandpa Groovy's Tattoo Convention in Richmond, Virginia, and features Paul Rogers, Sailor Moses, Lyle Tuttle and Jack Yount -- as well as some amazing mullets, Michael Jackson playing over the speakers, and close-ups of tattoos, likely taken straight from those classic Cherry Creek flash sheets. It also features collectors with real passion for tattooing, not those just looking to meet a TV star or get an epic Instagram pic.

I encourage you all to check the other fantastic flashback videos, particularly the 1991 National Tattoo Convention footage and Elizabeth Weinzirl interviewed by Crazy Ace Daniels (a true gem!!).   
01:46 PM

In the Needles & Sins Facebook group this weekend, member Jack Two Hands posted this Vice video, embedded above, which I had to share in case you didn't catch it. It's a wonderful segment on tattoo history and a look into today's tattoo culture in Hong Kong.

In the video, 60-year-old Jimmy Ho talks about how he opened his first tattoo shop at the age of 14, following in the footsteps of his tattoo artist father, and what it was like to tattoo at that time and throughout the years till today. VICE visited his shop, Mong Kok, and also talked to Ho's former apprentice and clients. A must see!
07:23 AM
In our Needles & Sins Facebook Group this weekend, Inge & Beth posted links to The Guardian's article and video featuring the work of Survivors Ink, a nonprofit project that aids formerly trafficked women by transforming their tattoo and branding marks of abuse into artwork, or helping them remove these tattoos completely.

Jennifer Kempton, who founded Survivors Ink, explains her motivation behind the project:

Tattoos are a creative way to display beautiful and meaningful artwork on a human canvas. However, there are times when this unique form of art is being used to exploit human trafficking victims. It is becoming popular for traffickers to use tattoos as a way to forcibly brand their victims... marked as property, as if they were human cattle. These human trafficking victims are already being treated as though they are pieces of meat and now they are being enslaved by permanent marks of demoralizing tattoos. The thought of having to live the life of a victim, forced or coerced into being a sex slave, is horrible enough. But try to imagine being able to finally escape this life of darkness, only to be marked with a constant reminder of the violence you have suffered.
I want to help break the psychological hold of their perpetrators. I want to help them to be free of violent brandings that mark them as property. I want to enable them to erase the dark memories of enslavement and constant reminders of these marks. I want to use this unique form of art to help break the physical chains of bondage. I want to help remove or cover their brandings with something that is beautiful, meaningful and symbolic... which to me, is what art is supposed to be. But I know that art can become much more than that.
As noted in The Guardian article, the horrors of human trafficking in the US are astounding:  "Reliable statistics are rare, but those in the field estimate hundreds of thousands of women and girls - the majority of whom are US citizens - are sold for sexual exploitation in America's $9.5bn human-trafficking industry. According to the US Department of Justice, 300,000 of those at risk are children."

The "property of" tattoos on these victims is systemic in the US (but can also be found on victims worldwide). As Jennifer told The Guardian, "pretty much every woman who survives the streets comes out with some kind of mark on her body." She adds that there was even a crack house where a "tattoo artist" would often be in residence, trading tattoos on the women for drugs.

Through Survivors Ink, real tattoo artists donate their time to cover these marks of abuse, and the only cost is that to cover supplies. More on how the project brings tattooers and survivors together can be found on the Survivors Ink site.

The tattoo stories of the women featured in the article and video are heart wrenching, but I highly recommend you read and/or see the video. It is a reminder just how powerful tattoos can be, from oppression to transformation.
07:53 PM
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Last week, a beautiful tattoo video (below) was released online featuring Alexis Calvie of Black Heart Tattoo in St. Raphael, France. Filmmaker Arnaud Payen does a great job in capturing the dark and sexy vibe of the studio as well as the process of creation as Alexis works on a sacred geometry inspired sleeve. There are close-ups of the line work as well as how Alexis builds on the sleeve using the stippling technique.  The video inspired me to take a close look at Alexis' portfolio, as well as the other artists at Black Heart, and I really loved what I found.

Check their work yourself on their Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram @blackheartattoo pages.

ALEXIS CALVIÉ - Dotwork tattooing from Arnaud P. on Vimeo.

08:47 AM

It's now the science geeks' turn at making a viral video, and this one, I really like. If you haven't seen it when Ricky posted it to the Needles and Sins Facebook group this week, check out Destin Sandlin's Tattooing Close Up video.

Destin, of the YouTube channel Smarter Every Day, wanted to find out how tattoos work, so he went Timepiece Tattoo in Huntsville, Alabama, and hung out with the crew there to learn more about what they do -- and also get an inkless tattoo by resident tattooer Leah Farrow.

He then shot an up-close, slow motion video of a tattoo, explaining the science of a tattoo machine (Leah corrects his use of "tattoo gun") and how ink is put into skin.

Even if this is old info to many of you, it's still interesting how he puts it all together in this video package. Worth a look.  

For more up-close tattoo goodness, check this slow motion tattoo video, which we posted in May, that has more of an art than science focus.
07:10 PM

I came across this wonderful "Tattoo Soldiers" video, via Lal Hardy, in which three heavily tattooed Australian soldiers discuss some of the stories behind their tattoos ... or as the voiceover says, it's a "talk on titivating the torso."  The video title reflects that the film was taken in 1942, and it's interesting how the discussions of one's tattoos -- and the excitement so often behind such talks -- hasn't really changed much.  
03:43 PM

The Nothing Tattoo from Pear Films on Vimeo.

The experience of getting tattooed, rather that the end product of that experience -- the permanent mark -- is the focus of "The Nothing Tattoo" video by Pear Films.  In the video, tattooer Veronica Tricker of ON2U Tattoo in Saskatoon, SK, offers inkless tattoos of the word "nothing" (which another tattooer draws for her). She explains that people have come to her with questions on what getting a tattoo is like, but do not want to commit to any artwork. So, in the footage, she tattoos two clients with water rather than ink, using the same needle depth, materials, plastic wrap-up, etc. to answer such questions.

Two particular points of interest in this video for me:  First, Veronica is a tattooer who has no tattoos. This made me question what kind of real experience she could offer -- other than technically needling skin -- if she has never had the experience herself. She raises the issue of her tattoo-free skin and offers sort of a defense of her choices. I happen to be in the camp that believes tattooers should be tattooed, and I'm not really swayed by her arguments; however, she articulates her position well.

Also, it got me thinking about what is the tattoo experience about:  Is it just the opening of skin? Is it that "Oh shit" moment when you realize you are changing your body permanently and the trust you must have in the person doing that to you? Is it the story behind getting tattoo? ....

Obviously, the answers are all personal and individual, but thinking on them has led to some fun mental gymnastics for me this afternoon.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in our Needles & Sins Facebook group or hit me up on Twitter.
10:48 AM

I enjoyed this illustrated TEDEd tattoo tutorial video "What makes tattoos permanent?" by Claudia Aguirre (animation by TOGETHER). It's basic info on how tattoos are made and answers questions such as, "If Humans Shed So Much Dead Skin, How Are Tattoos Permanent?" (as noted by Gizmodo), but the presentation of the material is clever and worth a watch.

[Thanks, Tommy, for the link!]
06:05 AM
doc forbes tattoo.pngA must-watch, absolute gem of tattoo history can be found in this 1964 profile on Doc Forbes entitled "The Diary of a Tattooist." CBC 20/20 host Harry Mannis visited Doc Forbes at his studio in Victoria, B.C. and interviewed the legendary tattooer, as well as his clients, who include a mother of four, an 82-year-old man, "Doc's lady friend Helen," and two sailors as they sit in Doc's chair. Doc even tattoos Mannis (without ink), so the host could understand the sensation.

There are just so many fascinating elements to the 32-minute video, including Doc's discussion on hygiene and safety in tattooing; how he mixes pigments and runs his machine a certain way for particular artistic effects; how his clientele is not limited to sailors but all kinds of people, and so much more. I also love the interviews with his clients, especially "his lady friend" who is heavily tattooed, but chose not to reveal her artwork, and so they measured her dresses so that she can always cover them.

There are some moments when the host is interviewing Doc while his machine is running and the sound quality isn't great, but stick with it and enjoy the program until the end. It's worth it. 

[Thanks to Thomas the Tall Tattooed Typographer for the link!]

01:52 PM
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In what seems like a film trailer to a blockbuster superhero film, this slowmotion tattoo video (embedded below), featuring Michael Taguet of Yama Tattoo, goes deep into the tattooer's process with a tight close-up view, which introverts may find a little too intimate. I really liked it and thought it was a fun way to see how an artist works, from sketch to stencil to tattooing to wipedown, and more important, to view a great finish to all the build-up.

The video was created by Stephane Couchoud of Millenium-Studio, and filmed at Yama Tattoo, which is in Saint-Chamond, Loire, of the Rhone-Alpes region in France. The work created in the video has that very graphic Neotraditional bent to it, but Michael works in a variety of tattoo styles. Check more of his tattoos here.

In May, we featured another slowmotion tattoo video, also of a French artist, Parisian tattooer GueT.

It should be interesting to see what other ways filmmakers present tattoo art to the public.

Thanks, Julien, for the link!
09:04 AM
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On the heels of Father's Day yesterday, I just learned that our friend Phil Padwe, creator of
"Mommy Has a Tattoo" and "Daddy Has a Tattoo," has recently posted the entire "Daddy Has A Tattoo" book on YouTube (embedded below).

Phil's children's books, which are wonderfully illustrated, set out to teach, in a light and fun way, tattoo appreciation, and talk about why some moms and dads may look a little more colorful than others. If you've ever been asked by kids why you have drawings on your arms, these books offer some ideas when you want to avoid talking about that drunken night in Thailand.

You can buy "Daddy Has a Tattoo" on Amazon, as well as the "Tattoo Coloring Book." Or just put the kiddies in front of your computer screen and have them watch the story unfold online.

08:16 PM
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Top tattoo by Soda Pop and bottom by Sky Cris.

As part of their San Diego small business series, The Circus Cartel produced this video (embedded below) profiling Broken Heart Tattoo. In the 5-minute film, tattooer and shop owner Sky Cris talks about what drew him to the art form and his path along that way, but what I really enjoyed was listening to him discuss some points on the business aspect of running a tattoo studio. As their portfolios are not really highlighted here as much as other tattoo docs we've featured, this discussion, and also that of the genesis of the shop, was the most engaging for me.

I particularly smiled when Sky explains how he came to the name Broken Heart Tattoo -- how people often get tattooed when they are down and out to feel better. He also references a song in which one of the lines inspired him: "There's a man on the corner who fixes broken hearts..."  And that's seems to drive their work.

You can find Sky's tattoos, as well as that of resident artist Soda Pop, on the Broken Heart site and Facebook page.

Broken Heart Tattoo from The Circus Cartel on Vimeo.

09:42 AM

Featuring some of black & grey's finest, "Tattoo Stories" is a video series by Estevan Oriol and Mister Cartoon, with the goal of exploring the work, and personal lives, of esteemed tattooers from an insider's perspective -- and not just the usual "How long have you been tattooing?" Q & As.

The videos, which average around 6-7 minutes, take you into the studios of legends such a Jack Rudy and Rick Walter's, who offer tattoo history as well as philosophy lessons. There are also interviews with some of the most exceptional tattooers today, including Shawn Barber, Chuey Quintanar, Carlos Torres, Luke Wessman, Franco Vescovi, and many others.   

The series launched last summer, and when I first checked their SanctionedTV YouTube page at that time, I thought it was largely focused on their "LA Woman" series. As we stay away from the "tattoo model" thing, I didn't share it.  And so it was a happy surprise to go back and see that so much important tattoo footage, and not just T&A, had been amassed and offered in an engaging way.

Oh, and there's also this really moving Snoop Dog (yes, Snoop Dog) vid.
08:08 PM

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, I'm sharing this 8-minute video "Skin Deep:  A Youth Culture Tattoo Documentary," by Thinkhouse, which explores tattooing in Ireland through the reflections of Irish tattooers, seasoned and new. The artists include Kev McNamara and Sylwia Butkiewicz of Dublin Ink, Anto Ross of Spilled Ink, and Bren Harte of Dragon Tattoo.

There's some interesting discussion on the "unspoken rules" of not getting tattooed on hands, necks and faces until you have a lot of coverage; the reasons behind why so many young people in Ireland are heavily tattooed; and also thoughts on what tattooing will be like in 10 years. I recommend a look (perhaps with some Guinness).

[Video link via Some Quality Meat.]
12:36 PM
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Screen shot from The History Channel's "Marked."

Over at Tattoo Artist Magazine, Nicki recently posted this video (embedded below) of an episode from The History Channel's "Marked", which focuses on Russian prison tattoos -- the heavy symbolism, gritty technique, and complex underworld structure associated with them. It's an interesting 45-minute close-up at this segment of tattoo culture. However, I have to note that my favorite film on the subject remains Alix Lambert's "The Mark of Cain," which is available for purchase online.

The "Marked" series, and its look at the seedier side of tattoos, are geared for a wider audience, driven by TV storytelling than in-depth research, and yet, the episodes offer more than just pure entertainment and are worth the watch. If you're looking for a holiday gift, the Season 1 box set of "Marked" could be a good bet.

But if you're looking for inspiration for your next tattoo, I say skip the mob markings, and look to more artful -- and safer -- designs.

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