Results tagged “black and gray”

07:06 AM

laugh now cry later negrete.jpgOne of the godfathers of American black-and-gray Chicano style tattooing, Freddy Negrete, is renowned for taking the single-needle technique, common in prisons and gang culture, and raising it to a level of fine art. Having been in prison himself and overcoming addiction and other adversities, Freddy is giving back by partnering with Project Save Art to produce limited edition temporary tattoos of his famous "Smile Now, Cry Later" design -- the proceeds of which will be donated to the William James Association, which provides art workshops for inmates that "teach self-discipline, problem-solving, and concentration through absorption in a specific creative endeavor."

In the video above, Freddy talks about the evolution of black & grey, the meanings behind "Smile Now, Cry Later," and a bit of his own personal story.

The temporary tattoos are not just a way to collect art from an iconic tattooer, but also funds opportunities for even more inmates' lives to be changed through art. The tattoos are available for purchase now on

To see more of Freddy's tattoos (like the ones below), hit up his Instagram, and check Project Save Art on Instagram as well.

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10:43 PM
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Despite being the go-to source for celebrity tattoos, Mister Cartoon has remained true to his LA street roots, tattooing his signature black & grey style in the heart of Downtown's Skid Row -- at his aptly named Skid Row Tattoo studio -- as well as creating murals, apparel and merchandise, among countless projects, which you can read about on his site and blog.

In today's New York Post, Cartoon was featured, but not about tattooing Beyonce or Kobe, but about his favoitre hangouts in LA, in a street-styled travel piece, which is a good read. Here's a bit from it:

First stop is a spray-painted mural (246 S. Garey St., between Second and Third streets). It's Mister Cartoon's enormous, glorious tribute to Los Angeles, centerpieced by the Dodgers' logo and nodding to Day of the Dead, LA's famed freeways, Cartoon's iconic angry-clown graphics and, of course, a couple of sexy, scantily clad girls. "This is about me going out there and showing what I can do with spray paint while the sun beats down," Cartoon says of the project that took him two weeks to complete and was totally freestyled. "This was about graffiti and crushing and letting people know that I still have it."
On "date night," when Mister Cartoon wants to get busy with Mrs. Cartoon, he often opts to kick it at the Standard, Downtown LA (550 Flower St., 213-892-8080, "People who work there have sleeves of tattoos," marvels Cartoon. "Go to the Four Seasons and they're completely stiffed out. My wife and I like to meet at the rooftop bar here and pretend that we don't know each other. Maybe we sit in one of the cool, little pods together. Then if I play my cards right . . ." His voice trails off, but his smile tells all.
Read more of Cartoon's LA picks here.

And if you want to learn more of about the artist himself, check this video (below) where Cartoon talks about his start in tattooing, his low rider obsession and staying true to his crew.

09:57 AM
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I'm excited to be working on the second volume of "Black Tattoo Art," finding artists around the world doing bold, black and badass work. One such artist Laszlo Kis of Windhorse Tattoo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

What's particularly exciting about Laszlo, or Laci's, portfolio is how he can seamlessly move from heavy, tribal infused pieces to electric Americana to buttery black & grey to Japanese iconography. His artistic diversity is ever-present in his new book documenting his life in tattooing: "Windhorsetattoos by Kis Laszlo" available on Blurb.

Originally from Monor, a Hungarian city near Budapest, Laci began tattooing at sixteen years old in his hometown. He traveled throughout Hungary, working in Budapest, Balatonfured, and Sopron before moving to Sao Paulo, where Misi Karai, a long time friend from Hungary, invited him to work at his studio, Misi Tattoo. After three years, they decided to open up a new studio called Tattoo Tradition, where Kis worked for over five years until going out on his own in early 2010 and establishing Windhorse Tattoo.

lazslo kis tattoo 4.jpg When asked why he's chosen not to concentrate on one particular tattoo genre, Laci says he feels it is important not to limit himself to one style in order to fulfill the wishes of different clients: "I believe that, for some strange reason, people know what they will have on the body -- as if the tattoo has been there all along even before they enter the studio. Therefore, I cannot ignore their request, but must work with it."

I was hoping that he'll make a trip to the US soon, but with two young children, he's staying in Brazil for a while. Time to start planning a South America tattoo vacation.

See more of Laci's work on his blog and website.

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01:37 PM
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Our friends over at Sullen Clothing are offering yet another chance to get tattooed for free. Free! This time you can get up to five hours of work from black & grey specialist Big Gus over at their headquarters plus $500 worth of Sullen Clothing, a hotel for one night, and a feature on Sullen TV. Sweet!

All you have to do is go to Sullen's Facebook page, become a fan by clicking Like, and then click the sweepstakes link. That's it. But in the video below, Big Gus explains the rules in his own special way.

Must be 18+ years of age and winner is selected the beginning of April. Contest ends March 31st.

11:12 AM
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UPDATE:  And the winner of Bob Tyrrell designed tee is ... Keith Smith of Ontario, Canada who came to the closest to the actual tattooing time of just over 9 hours. Congrats Keith!

Recently, black-and-gray rock star Bob Tyrrell was at Sullen Clothing's HQ designing artwork for a new tee, which will be out in the Fall. While he was there, he took a break to answer some quick & dirty questions I sent over to see what he's been up to:  

What have been your favorite tattoos you've worked on recently?

Been doing a lot of skulls lately! Just did one with tentacles -- I just watched the new "Thing" movie, so I did one with weird arms and tentacles growing off of it. I did a Slash portrait recently that was fun, and a Ted Nugent portrait! Two of my guitar heroes.

Outside of tattooing, what projects are you working on?

Not much lately. I've been super lazy. I'm trying to get some prints going, haven't done them in a few years. I've been trying to play more guitar lately. I wanna get a metal band back together. I'm playing in a covers band now for fun, doing stuff by Sabbath, Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Metallica, Alice In Chains, Thin Lizzy...

Where can clients find you in the next few months, and what's the best way to get in touch with you to make an appointment?

They can go on my website,, for convention listings. I do guest spots out there in the LA area every once in a while, don't really advertise though, and guest spots at friends' shops all over the place. People can e-mail me on the site -- there's a form you can fill out for appointment requests -- and I finally have a business cell phone: 586-219-8661. You can call but texting is probably better. If I don't reply, hit me back as much as you want! I need an assistant really bad. I get nothing done if it involves business!

Will we be seeing you on a reality TV show any time soon? If you could have your own show, what would it be about?

I did a guest spot on LA Ink in Season 2, and one on London Ink in Season 2 also. That was a few years ago. It was fun, I got to be myself and there was no drama. Haha! Those shows were pretty good back then, before the producers brought more drama into the mix. Such is scripted reality TV. There's too many tattoo shows on TV now, and they're just getting worse. I definitely don't want my own show! It's getting out of control. Not just tattoo TV, but reality shows in general. Tom Renshaw here in Detroit had a pilot on Animal Planet called Detroit Ink, it was better than the other shows out there. Hopefully it becomes a series.

What are some of the tracks on your favorite playlist these days?

I got the new Van Halen album yesterday, it's killer! Can't stop listening to it. Been listening to The Little Willies lately, awesome country covers band! I love Norah Jones's voice. I'm hoping to marry her someday. Been listening to Joe Bonamassa a lot, one of my favorite guitarists these days. His solo stuff, and a project called Black Country Communion, kind of a supergroup with Glenn Hughes, Jason Bohnam, and Derek Sherinian. Killer stuff! Joe did an album with Beth Hart last year too which if totally killer. He released four records in 2011! A total workaholic. Slash's new live album is killer too! New Lamb Of God is also buddy Rob Dukes, singer for Exodus, has a band called Generation Kill, good stuff! Latest Exodus is totally killer too. The latest Pink Floyd reissues have some amazing bonus stuff!

What are some of your upcoming projects in the 2012?

Just to get prints out, another Sullen shirt, form a metal band...that's about it! And try to tattoo a little more and travel a little less!

As we wait for that new shirt to drop, his existing tee called "Blood Lust" (shown above) is available at the Sullen store and we have one to give away.

Yeah, another giveaway!

Here's how we're going to play this one:  In the video below, you'll see Bob tattoo a portrait on Sullen co-owner Ryan Smith. Watch it and let us know how long it took to complete the tattoo. Post your answer in the comment section to this post in our Needles & Sins Syndicate Group on Facebook or Tweet at us with your answer. Also include your shirt size. As usual, we'll put all the names of the commenters into and the internet gods will offer up the chosen one on Thursday, February 23rd.

Good luck!

02:50 PM
prkchwbsig.jpgLegendary DogTown pro-skateboarder and photographer, Pep Williams, may shoot for fashion, sports and music glossies but it's his portraits of tattoo life that have garnered particular acclaim for their penetrating intensity and soulfulness -- a quality that comes from the photographer's own experiences in the community and respect for the craft. 

The subjects of Pep's tattoo-focused imagery reflect his Los Angeles upbringing, and largely include black & grey inked bodies and faces. He also captures intimate moments in the tattooer's chair, which have powerful solemnity to them.

Pep will be on tour shooting street culture and skating in Brazil, Dubai, and Australia. Next month, he'll be releasing limited edition prints available for purchase. Updates will be posted on his site and Shockmansion blog.

For more on Pep, check Jinxi Boo's great interview with him.


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05:56 PM
Renowned tattooist Tom Renshaw of Eternal Tattoos in Clawson, Michigan has been recognized as one of the foremost wildlife, landscape and portrait artists, so it's no surprise that he's featured in a new pilot for the Animal Channel called "Tattooed in Detroit." The series premiers tonight at 9PM EST & then will be replayed at 11pm & 4am (11/20). It will also air several times this week.

Producers Intuitive Entertainment say of the show: "Each hour-long episode follows the stories behind animal tattoos--from prep to ink--and the people who pay permanent homage to fallen pets & life-changing encounters with animals. There's an intimate story behind every tattoo, and it's Tom's job to make sure those stories come to life."

Yes, I know. The reality TV format requires a death or "life changing encounter" for someone wanting to get tattooed; however, Tom is such a phenomenal artist, with over two decades of stellar work, that I'll tune in just to watch him work. The artist also explains to why this type of tattooing is important to him:

If someone loses their pet and their pet meant a lot of them, representing that on their skin creates a sort of long lasting bond. It makes them feel like their pet is still with them. [...] It gives them the satisfaction of seeing them on the daily basis, and gives them comfort.
The article adds:

Renshaw, one of the nation's most renowned wildlife and portraiture tattoo artists, is also a wildlife photographer and videographer. "I've been to Alaska 10 times photographing wildlife, predominately brown bears," says Renshaw, who often uses his adventures as research for his work. "I like wildlife tattooing. It encompasses the landscape, too. It's like creating a painting, it's the whole picture."
Looking forward to checking it out and hope the shows gets picked up.

06:43 PM
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For my Columbus, Ohio homies: On March 5th, Cap City Tattoo will present Revolutionary Revelations by resident artist Andy Johnson. At the opening, Andy will be showing nine tattoo portraits of revolutionary figures in the flesh and in photos. Cap City offers more:

The name Revolutionary Revelations grew out of Andy's learning process while working on the portraits for his friends and family. They were literally revelations about these amazing people, many of them not featured in history books. On the gallery wall you will see a photograph of each piece and story of how each subject influenced the clients. The opening reception will give you a chance to talk to each client and see the work live and in person. You can learn why they picked their history maker, enjoy refreshments and meet the artist.
The portraits--chosen by the clients and not Andy himself--include Emma Goldman, Albert Einstein, Johannes Gutenberg, Ammon Hennacy, John Brown, Eddy Merckx, Ted Roosevelt, Rosalin Franklin, and Emiliano Zapata.

The show will run from March 5th to March 31st at Cap City Tattoo, 61 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH (Old Towne East).

For more on Andy's work, head to his portfolio on Facebook. Also check the work of Cap City Tattoo's owner and tattooist Alli Macgregor.

eddy-merckx-portrait.jpgPortrait tattoo of Eddy Merckx

Emiliano_Zapata_tattoo.jpgPortrait tattoo or Emiliano Zapata
05:10 PM

In honor of Black History Month (sadly, the shortest month of the year), we're featuring this backpiece of Huey P. Newton, founder of the Afro-American Association and co-founder the Black Panther Party, tattooed on hip hop artist Freddie Gibbs by LA's Jun Cha. Jun says of the work:

It's a reflection of youth and independent thought. It's a symbol for the freedom of ideas and expression. The Panthers were a group that thought for themselves. It goes hand-in-hand with the young hustlers' generation today. Most art culture--whether it's hip-hop, art and design, or tattooing--has had its struggle to be accepted into the larger context of society. And this tattoo is the liberation of that.
A great video by Clement & Co. documenting the work is shown below. In it, Freddie discusses why he chose to honor the activist with this tattoo. It's a welcome change from recent stories of rappers with ice cream cone facial ink and Facebook tributes.

For more on Jun Cha's work, particularly black & grey, see his online portfolio and follow him on Twitter. For more on Freddie Gibbs, check his last album, Str8 Killa, on iTunes.
03:57 PM
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While at the NYC Tattoo Convention a couple of weekends ago, I was introduced to a phenomenal black & grey artist whose realism and ornamental work is stellar, not just in its complex composition but also in the absolute harmony with the shape of the client's body.

Check out the online portfolio of Caesar Tattoo in NYC.

Caesar, a Hungarian native, did his first tattoo in 1994 on a drunk in a smoky pub on the rural side of Budapest. Without someone to teach him the craft, Caesar "screwed up every volunteer's skin around," learning by trial and error, experimenting and carefully observing what worked and what didn't. Since that rocky start, Caesar has refined his technique and style, making him an exciting artist to watch. Yes, he's gotten international magazine coverage, but I'm surprised I haven't seen more considering his extensive body of large scale, powerful work.

I thought it would be interesting to feature Caesar today, in particular, based on the work above -- a half sleeve melding the Dominican and US flags, showing ethnic pride and American patriotism. [It's not an either/or thing, Governor Brewer.]

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Here's what Caesar said of the tattoo:

"Anthony is a broker from Long Island. He was born in the Dominican Republic--that's why there's the Dominican seal on the bicep and the gray-scaled Dominican flag--and he was raised in the US, which the American flag represents. I added the two little baby angels who hold the banner on the top of the seal. The cover up part is the window of the St. Rose Cathedral. His daughter's name is Rose. There's also a little rose bud growing out from the stone crack, fighting. We kept the original rose tattoos he had and just reworked them. I also added little daisies to break up the common sticker-style rose feeling."

Caesar's next convention date will be July 30-August 1st at the Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival in Ashbury Park, NJ. Otherwise, catch him at his East Village atelier

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