Results tagged “animated tattoo”

01:11 PM
Jesse Smith tattoo chest piece.jpg
In the November issue (yes, November) issue of Skin & Ink magazine on newsstands now, you'll find my profile on Jesse Smith of Loose Screw Tattoo in Richmond, Virginia. I came to know Jesse's work upon seeing two of his clients at a convention sporting bold and colorful bodysuits, which seemed to illustrate stories that would be beloved by children but best appreciated by adults. Jesse shared his art and his own personal stories for the magazine. Here is an excerpt:

The characters that populate Jesse Smith's tattoo and fine art work are up to no good. Rabbits, squirrels, and mice may look cute but they play out evil plots in full-body tattooed color bombs reflecting the political and religious views of the wearer. The juxtaposition of heavy subject matter relayed in light and charming form has become a signature for Jesse that has attracted an international clientele since he began tattooing in 1999. Today, he welcomes these clients into Loose Screw Tattoo in Richmond, VA, which he opened May 6th of this year.

Jesse Smith Tattoo backpiece.jpg
When asked about the serious undertones in his art, Jesse offers this example of how one of his larger tattoo projects developed:

"One of the pieces that I feel really had a lot of political fuel behind it was the 'Oppression' piece. The client who owns this piece really had no idea as to what he wanted when we first sat down together. His main concern was to cover-up this rather large piece that ran across his shoulders. I asked what his political and religious views were and if he'd be interested in trying to illustrate something that revolved around those particular themes on his back. We soon came up with the concept of oppression. In this particular piece, the gorilla represents the government/corporations and their massive size. The gorilla is trying to give the squirrels--which in this piece represent the average person--a toxic acorn. The toxic acorn represents all the things that the government/corporations try to give us that aren't good for us (i.e. credit cards, high interest loans, etc.). The squirrels take the acorns, but rather then eating them, they turn them into acorn bombs and will eventually give the government/corporations a taste of their own medicine."
Jesse Smith Hand tattoo.jpg
Of course, not every tattoo Jesse creates bears enormous ideological weight. His portfolio is peppered with playful works that stand on their aesthetics alone, from pink bulldogs to a penis on a swing. But most are crafted in a distinct style that is very identifiably his own. It transcends the old "New School" label. Jesse has called it "Lo-Brid," and explains how he coined the term:

"When I first started tattooing, New School was the genre of tattooing that I looked up to and connected with the most. As I matured as an artist I noticed that the artists who were being grouped into that particular genre had surpassed what all that genre encompassed. I had discussed this thought with other artists and they all seemed to share the same opinion. So I started to brainstorm a bit and came up with the name Lo-Brid. I liked how it played off of the words hybrid and low brow and seemed to run parallel to their meanings. I, personally, consider the Lo-Brid style a movement of tattooing that has collected inspiration from graffiti, tattoo, comic book and lowbrow art.
Read more of the article in Skin & Ink.

Jesse is also one of the many wonderful artists featured in my last monster book Color Tattoo Art: Cartoon. Comics. Pin-Up. Manga. New School (along with Jason Stephan, also at Loose Screw). Reduced rate copies are still available for $150 plus shipping via my online store or by emailing marisa at

Jesse Smith penis tattoo.jpg
10:00 PM

The intersection of tattooing and technology is fascinating and full of possibilities. We've seen scannable bar code tattoos, augmented reality tattoos, and even a CNC automatic tattoo machine. While these examples have a definite cool factor, they have tended to be less artful. And that's why I was very excited to see this use of tattoo tech that combines a custom tattoo by a respected artist and interactivity (beyond strangers trying to touch and ask its deep meaning).

Tattoo artist Karl Marc of the wonderful Mystery Tattoo Club in Paris tattooed a design incorporating a matrix code that, when scanned, presented an animation of the tattoo. The animated tattoo, which is deemed the first of its kind, is part of Ballantines' Human API project and their "Leave an Impression" promotion.

As you can see in the video above, Ballantines live streamed Karl Marc tattooing the work (on June 16th), and during the four-hour session, the artist discussed his process and also interacted with online viewers who logged into the Human API Facebook Page. You can see the text chat popping up in the video, as many offered suggestions for the work and made profound statements like "Ouch."

Another note on the tech:  As the code triggers online content and the URL associated can be changed, Karl's client, Marco, will be able to change the animation whenever he wants (he already has an additional animation on top of the one showed on the video).

The next Human API video will take place on July 14th with a graffiti artist "mixing spray and user interactivity." You can take part in that on their Facebook page as well.

For more on Karl Marc's tattoo work, check his online portfolio.

UPDATE:  Some people have brought up hygiene issues in placing the smart phone on the fresh tattoo. Here's Ballantines response:  "It's been cut in the edited video, but during the actual session, Karl cleaned and sterilized thoroughly both Marco's chest and the device before triggering the code. [...] The last thing we (and surely Karl) want to do is to promote unprofessional tattooing."
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