2015 was a year that saw trials and triumphs for the tattoo community, making it an incredibly interesting year to cover. Lots of shaking-my-head moments over the ridiculous and even an excited fist pump (when no one was looking) as I typed.
As in past years, for the year-in-review, I've highlighted some of those top tattoo stories, convention coverage, and select profiles of featured artists. I hope you'll have fun reading posts you may have missed and looking back on the highlights in tattooing. Here we go ...
In the news ...
A big news item was the bill Governor Cuomo of NY signed this past summer that requires tattoo and piercing studios "to use single-use needles and inks," essentially limiting tattooers to expensive pre-packaged "ink shot" products -- with limited color palettes, and arguably, lesser quality -- rather than maintaining the industry standard of using disposable ink caps. Tattooers fought back, working together and meeting with representatives from the state senate. In the latest update I read, implementation of the new law was held until it can be amended, by either changing the wording or even change most of the law. Will keep you updated on that in the new year.
More recently, I wrote on a challenge to a law in Japan that mandates that "only licensed health care providers could pierce the skin with a needle and insert ink." Osaka-based tattooer Taiki Masuda is appealing an order that he pay 300,000 Yen for violating the law, and I'll also be keeping tabs on this case as it progresses. That's what tattoo law nerds do!
On the tattoo history tip, it was confirmed that the oldest tattoos known to date do, indeed, belong to "Otzi the Iceman," whose frozen mummified body, with a total of 61 tattoos, was found accidentally, in 1991, by two hikers in the Otztal Alps along the Austrian-Italian border. Scholars Aaron Deter-Wolf, Lars Krutak, Benoit Robitaille, and Sebastien Galliot collaborated on the research and their findings were recently published online in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, and can be downloaded here.
Also check the Lar's TEDxYYC talk entitled "The Cultural Heritage of Tattooing," in which the tattoo anthropologist explores tattoo practices and meanings among the world's indigenous cultures, with some fantastic images and video as well.
Another great TEDx talk is that of tattooer Dean Shubert, of Visual Tattoo, entitled, "Tattooing: Outlaw or Indigenous?" In just ten minutes, Dean weaves a beautiful timeline of tattooing's celebration and suppression, citing historical references but also including his own experiences in the mix.
One of the most widely disseminated headlines, across the globe, was a new tattoo preservation service Save My Ink, whose services include "preserving skin art on a wide scale with the ability to pass it on to loved ones." I had some questions and qualms about it, which I note in the post.
On social media, the following posts had some of the most hits, likes, shares, and retweets:
Echoes of wanting those damned kids off our lawn could be heard throughout the internet (including from yours truly) in discussions about how people today are getting their first and sometimes only tattoos in the most visible places. Check the controversial Don't Tell Me About Your F**King Neck Tattoo post and First Tattoo Tattoo: Hands, Neck or Face?
While those posts focused on bad decision making, this fantastic film "You Wont Regret That Tattoo" shows a very positive side to tattoo coverage.
Another film fave was Ink Mapping: Video Mapping Projection on Tattoos.
A hugely shared post focusing on wellness for tattooers was Ashley Silversides' The Painted Lady Fitness and Tattoo Artist Stretching Routine. On her website under Tattoo Artist Corner are two free downloadable PDF books: Tattoo Artist Stretching Guide (the focus is full body) and Tattoo Artist Stretching Guide 2 (the focus is hip flexors and rotator cuffs). And her tattoo yoga flash, painted by Andrew Ottenhof from The Foundry Tattoo in Odessa, Ontario, was a huge gift hit this season.
Pulling at our heartstrings was the story Mom Changes Tattoo for Transgender Son. It's a story about how Calgary-based tattoo artist Steve Peace lovingly transformed a portrait tattoo of one of his three children, Ace, on his wife to best capture Ace's identity.
Tattoo artists featured include ...
Paul Booth, whom I interviewed for an Inked mag cover story in their Art issue. Read a fun excerpt in the blog post.
Lard Yao Peter, who was featured in a compelling documentary short, telling the story of how he learned to create the handpoked tattoos he is renowned for -- a story that begins in Lard Yao prison in Thailand, aka "Bangkok Hilton."
Colin Dale of Skin & Bone was also featured in a great documentary video, with footage that includes Colin freehand drawing a Nordic-inspired tattoo, his tattooing by hand and machine, and also an up-close look at his performing native Inuit skin sewing.
Chaim Machlev, world renowned for his ornamental dot and line work, and sacred geometry, was the subject of a feature film, capturing the personal and professional of Chaim's life, from the artist's "conventional" lifestyle in Tel-Aviv to his buzzing studio in Berlin.
Michele Wortman's Bloom Project was discussed in this post, focusing on Michele's beautiful floral body sets,
And we got an insightful and salty oral history lesson in the video interviews with Sailor Fred Part 1 & Part 2.
Here are a few posts of tattoo conventions from my personal trips or those of friends:
* The Brighton Tattoo Convention
* The Mondial du Tatouage in Paris.
* Flashbacks from the infamous Dunstable Tattoo Conventions.
* The NYC Tattoo Convention in June and the Empire State Tattoo Expo (also in Manhattan) in July.
* The Pagoda City Tattoo Fest.
* And the London Tattoo Convention.
On a personal note ...
I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina to get a beautiful leg tattoo (below) from Nazareno Tubaro, blackwork genius and wonderful human being. In that post, I share my tattoo vacation excitement as well as play-by-play of getting the work done. Looking forward to more work from Naza in the new year!
Soooo, I want to give you all a huge hug for your continued support and sharing your thoughts through the Needles & Sins Syndicate Facebook group, and my Instagram and Twitter accounts. You continue to motivate me to bring you the tattoo goodness throughout all these years.
Have a beautiful new year!!
Wow. 2014 was quite a year for tattooing, with a glaring spotlight on the industry -- on the good and the bad. When I first started blogging about tattoos over ten years ago, I never imagined this much mass mainstream media attention, and this past year had the greatest amount of coverage I've seen yet.
For our year-in-review, I've highlighted some of those top tattoo stories, convention coverage, and profiles of the artists I've featured. I hope you'll enjoy reading posts you may have missed and have some fun looking back on the highlights in our community.
In the news ...
One of my favorite things about the tattoo news this past year is the great effort to correct a lot of misinformation and cliches about tattooing, especially its history, and we have heavily tattooed academics to thank for that: Dr. Matt Lodder, Dr. Anna Felicity Friedman, Dr. Lars Krutak, and Dr. Gemma Angel, among others. The following posts are on articles that they have either written or informed as experts, which are really fascinating:
* Tattoo Cliches Through the Ages
* Tattoo History Myths Exposed
* The Cook Myth & Western Tattooing
* Setting the Tattoo History Record Straight
* Dr. Matt Lodder's "Proto-Flash" Find
Being a tattoo nerd myself, I couldn't help but weigh in on the legal issues that had an impact on our industry in 2014:
* 10 years of Legal Tattooing in South Carolina
* Military Tattoo Battles
* Tattoo Copyright in Total Tattoo
* Tattoos at Trial
The intersection of technology and tattooing made for some popular posts as well:
* Art & Skin app
* Tattoos as Sheet Music
* 3D Printer Tattoo Machine
* The Inkspiration App & P.ink Day
And here are other news posts that had some of the most hits, likes, shares, and retweets:
* Tattoos Post-Mortem
* The Guide to Breast Reconstruction
* Warning: Recall of White & Blue Lion Inks, Needles & Kits
* 105-year-old gets tattoos and offers wisdom
* Survivors Ink: Transforming tattoos of trafficking victims
* The New Yorker tattooed covers
* Stick & Poke tattoo kits and my more recent post on the new Handpoke Tattoo book.
Oh, and I was the target of the Daily Mail and their horrid headlines, as I wrote in "World's Worst" ... Tattoo Reporting. [Sadly, the Daily Mail is eating up my 15 minutes of fame!]
Coverage of tattoo conventions, from my personal trips or those of friends, were also featured:
* NYC Tattoo Convention March 7-9, plus extra photos
* Paris Tattoo Convention
* Virginia Beach Tattoo Fest
* London Tattoo Convention
Tattoo Artist profiles ...
Finally, I'm grateful to so many of the artists who took time out to share their work and stories -- stories that I found inspiring, heart warming, and some were even pretty hilarious. Artists featured included:
Lorena Morato Zac Scheinbaum Holly Azzara
Marco Serio Shawn McDonald Shinji Horizakura
Cody Eich Sadee Johnston Kiriakos, Sake Tattoo Crew
Erin Chance Karrie Arthurs Pierre Chapelan
Betty Rose Jay Freestyle Lara Scotton
Lionel Fahy Alexis Calvie Delaine "Neo" Gilma
Noah Morris Shane Tan Briana Sargent
There was also a great NY Times piece on Thom Devita, and this post on Lyle Tuttle Tattooing on All 7 Continents.
I am most grateful to all of you for your continued support and also your thoughts shared through the Needles & Sins Syndicate Facebook group, and my Instagram and Twitter accounts. You make this labor of love of mine all worth it. I promise to keep working hard to bring you all the tattoo goodness in 2015.
Have a beautiful new year!!
It's always fun for me to look back at the news, events, profiles and interesting stories posted over the past year on our humble blog, and so I wanted to share my less-than-scientific Top most popular posts of 2013, based upon links to the site, comments on social media, hate mail & love letters. Here they are, in no particular order.
I hope you enjoyed reading these articles as much as we've loved writing and sharing them with you. I truly appreciate your feedback and comments (although please forgive me if I don't respond to all). You can find me on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram as well as at marisa @ needlesandsins.com. This blog is a labor of love and your support really fuels it.
As we start digging in to 2012, it's customary to look back at a wild year in our tattoo world, filled with new tattoo technology, even more TV shows, law suits, ethics debates, and crazy beautiful art. I spent some time going the posts of 2011 and amazed at how much we covered, and so much of it is thanks to you for your suggestions and links. Now, let's get to that customary blog review.
In the news ...
The most popular -- and heavily linked -- story was the Tattoo copyright controversy over the Mike Tyson tattoo in the film The Hangover II. The case settled but not without a federal court making note that tattoos are indeed protected by copyright and one can't just go stealing tattoo designs.
Tech & tattoos were also a hot topic. There were Scannable Barcode Tattoos, a Nintendo 3DS Augmented Reality Tattoo, and Karl Marc's first animated tattoo, among others.
Some items in the media sparked debate among the tattooed, including The "Drake Tattoo" Question, over the responsibilities of a tattooist when a client wants a name of a rapper on her forehead. The Scott Campbell Prison Tattoo was cool but should the artist have shown the masses how to make a tattoo machine from garbage?
Other popular posts included:
The TV shows ...
By far the most widely appreciated videos on tattoo artists at work was the Tattoo Age series; nevertheless, the NY Ink Drinking Game was downloaded across the globe. Do we even need to go into the travesty that was Tattoo School?
Tattoo Artist profiles ...
Needles & Sins stayed true to its purpose this year of showing stellar tattoo art, whether it be full interviews, quick & dirty spotlights, excerpts from my articles for Inked and Skin & Ink mags, or our Proust Questionnaire for Tattoo Artists. Here's a list of those featured:
Ed Hardy Tomas Tomas Alex de Pase Cliff White Oleg Turyanskiy
Orrin Hurley Ed Perdomo Sean Herman Darcy Nutt Nazareno Tubaro
Travis Broyles Yoni Zilber Shane Tan Yushi Takei George Bardadim
Jesse Smith Simon Watts Sara Martin Elson Yeo Caro & Cy Wilson
Lyle Tuttle David Tevenal Horitaka Ron Russo Shannon Archuleta
Iban Tattoo Holly Ellis Genko Dan Henk Mike Rubendall
Eva Huber Electric Pick David Glantz Baba Austin Stephanie Tamez
Michelle Myles Paris Pierides Annette LaRue Mike Mendes Roxx TwoSpirit
Chris O'Donnell & Thomas Hooper
Of course, conventions were covered, either by my own bad camera or links to galleries and reviews in the news:
And then there was the Charlie Sheen Tattoo by Alie K ...
An exciting year, indeed!
As I've said before, Needles & Sins is a blog of love, designed to be "look at this cool tattoo stuff," and in the process, has become a community. In the new year, we hope to keep building the site, bring back the comments and make it easier to navigate. Meanwhile, we've been loving the friendships and discussions that have emerged in the Needles & Sins Syndicate Facebook group. We are grateful for all your support, and hope you'll continue to hang with us in 2012.
Happy New Year!