I just secured my next tattoo appointment with Daniel DiMattia, of Calypso Tattoo when he comes into New York for the NYC Tattoo Convention, May 17-19, so I'm excited, especially considering that I only get tattooed once a year now. But it's interesting to watch how my body suit is slowly coming together, piece by piece. Last May, he tattooed my ribs -- which wasn't fun -- but this time it should be easier with small calf work. I'll be posting photos in two weeks of my new work when it's done.
Dan is booked out for the time, but consider taking a trip to Liege, Belgium, the home of Calypso Tattoo. Dan will also be working the London Tattoo Convention in September. Oh, and we'll be there too!
In Oakville, Ontario, Canada, some of the best blackwork/dotwork in the world is being created at Good Point Tattoos, home to Cory Ferguson. [And yes, he's another featured artist in my upcoming Black Tattoo Art II book.]Tattooing since 2000, Cory is a second-generation tattoo artist. His father, tattooist "Harley Charlie" Duarte, introduced him to the art at a young age but he got his start in the business by working under Crazy Ace Daniels at Way Cool Tattoos.
Cory is best known for his blackwork and dotwork tattoos. His signature style is a fusion of Polynesian tribal designs, geometrics, optical illusions, Asian art, and pointillism. I particularly love the way he plays with perspective and negative space in his blackwork.
In this recently released video profile (below) by CreateMedia and Christoph Benfey, Cory talks about his style and what drives him in the tattoo process. He has a great line where he explains how he prefers to focus on the visual rather than any deep meanings behind the tattoos:
"I'm not here to tug at your heart strings. I'm trying to mess with your eyes."
Watch the video to hear more on Cory's art and get an up-close look as he creates a refined dotwork piece.
One of my favorite blackwork tattooers -- actually one of my favorite artists in general -- is Nazareno Tubaro of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He's no stranger to this blog, but I had to share this photo he posted on his Facebook page of work he did on a client because it is truly exemplary of how beautiful hand tattoos can be.
Check more of Naza's work here.
As I finish up the second volume to my very first book, Black Tattoo Art, I'm really enjoying pouring over the hundreds and hundreds of images of neotribal, blackwork, dotwork, ornamental, abstract and traditional tattoo art. I'll be highlighting a number of artists from the book here, in addition to those I've profiled in the past.
Let's start the new year with the work of Mikel Johnson of 4 Truths Tattoo Sangha in Victoria, B.C., Canada.
Tattooing since 1996, Mikel more recently opened up his new studio 4 Truths Tattoo Sangha, where he tattoos largely in tribal and blackwork, although he says that he happily works with clients on other ideas if he feels he can do the piece justice.
As he notes on his site, Sangha is a word in Pali and Sanskrit meaning association, assembly or community. The tattooist and Reiki Master has a strong passion for the sacred and communal aspects of tattooing and that comes forth in his work.
I spoke with Mikel about his studio and work. Here's a bit from our chat:
What is the vibe of the studio like?
Comfortable and really mellow. I wanted the studio to be really relaxing...no unwanted distractions. I guess it's maybe inevitable that I wanted to work in the kind of environment that I, personally, like to be in and get tattooed in. That's what I have done.
What is your particular approach to tribal and blackwork work?
Honestly, I think I am still learning this. I find I look at a lot of old reference. I truly stand on the shoulders of a lot of giants. I think, right now, my style may come out in how I visually balance things. I am not sure I will ever be done working at trying to make it my own, maybe that's why I like this style of tattooing so much. There are so many subtle layers to this work.
What do you love about this style of tattooing and tattooing in general?
It's hard to put into words what I love about these styles of tattooing. It just makes sense to me, feels right to me. Given the time, I would ramble on about this for longer than I should. I think there is a point in a tattooer's career where they find a style they really love working in. I feel fortunate enough to have found mine. Tattooing is maybe one of the last things that is still magical. The whole process is really quite amazing. It's such a unique and human experience. How can you not love that?
What's the best way to make an appointment?
The best way to reach me is by email: info [at] mikel.ca. As I am a one-man show, I find it works best.
Any conventions or guest spots coming up?
Right now, I haven't any solid plans to work conventions. I am looking to work the Edmonton convention next year, and I would love to go to the Montreal convention as well. Internationally, I think the Tattoo Convention in Nepal would be amazing to go see. Who knows? Maybe I will try and make that work somehow.
For now, my main focus is getting the studio running smoothly.
I feel fortunate. Thanks to my wife April, my clients, and all my friends that support and encouraged me to do what I do. Be good to each other. We are all more connected than we think.
Mikel - 4 Truths Tattoo Sangha
#31 - 532 Herald St. * buzz #133
In a city teeming with many of the world's stellar tattooists, David Sena has consistently stood out as one of NYC's finest for his exceptionally strong and vivid Japanese tattoos as well as bold and beautiful blackwork -- some of the best in the US.
I met David over a decade ago at a tattoo convention in New Jersey. Actually, I first met his client with a blackwork aquatic-themed bodysuit, whom I accosted to find out who did the work. He then took me to David, who seemed a bit confused by this short redhead spewing all kinds of questions at him in the usual hyper state I'm in when I excited by exceptional tattoos. Thankfully, I didn't scare him off and we became friends.
As his friend, I've gotten a front row seat to watch the transformation of his large-scale tattoo projects as well as his fire art; however, David describes his work best:
My fine artwork is created with a technique of drawing by burning marks on paper with fireworks and other volatile materials. These techniques are rooted in one of humankind's earliest technologies: fire, and as such they speak to something elemental in the human condition. Inspired by cosmology and the interconnection between terrestrial and celestial fires, my drawings become a record of their creation, a map pointing to the reason for human existence, or rather the outer limits, the infinite, the space not yet grasped. These two means of creating - tattooing and burning-- have a unique synergy, as they both entail physical and ritualistic processes of mark-making while transforming matter/people.David now has a new space to create his tattoos and fine art: Senaspace in NYC's Little Italy. And he's inviting all of you to its grand opening on 12.12.12, from 6-10pm (afterparty to follow). At the opening, there will be an exhibition of his latest works and live fire drawing demo.
David says of the space: "This gallery and tattoo studio is a reflection of my lifelong interest in diverse modes of artistic expression, and my conviction that art is not a luxury but a sublime human need. I hope this space speaks to you on an aesthetic, visceral, and personal level."
I've already visited the studio and it's a gorgeous space. He plans to regularly feature expositions, projects and guest spots by local and international artists in all mediums. So you'll be hearing more from David here.
SENASPACE, 229 Centre St. NY NY 10013, 212-966-5151, senaspace.com
One 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?Check more work from Thomas on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
When I released "Black Tattoo Art" in 2009, there were very few tattoo artists in the US specializing in dotwork and blackwork (not to be confused with black & gray tattooing). Strong, bold, all-black works and refined compositions created by stippling have been hugely popular in Europe for a while, but only recently have flourished stateside.
In California, 2Spirit Tattoo, is renowned for beautiful blackwork. Last year we profiled Roxx, studio owner and badass. But 2Spirit has an incredibly talented crew, and today, I want to spotlight another artist from the shop: Michael E. Bennett.
I particularly wanted to talk to Michael when I learned that he'll be doing a guest spot on the East Coast next month at NY Adorned from October 30th to November 3rd. I shot him a few questions, and he graciously replied. Here's our quickie Q&A:
Which dotwork artists have inspired you and how you do approach this style of work to make it your own?
The list of inpirations for my tattooing is endless, but off the top of my head, recently I've been influenced by the work of Gerhard Wiesbeck, Matt Black, and Kenji Alucky as well as Jondix, Hooper, and of course Xed le Head. Aything with power in it, though, it doesnt really matter what style. I suppose my approach is more based in 'traditional' tattooing. The Coleman kinda heavy lines and shading, that was the way I was taught to apply them.
Do you see a growing demand for this style in the US?
It seems so! I think that's exciting. I feel there's alot of energy in these types of tattoos. The actual act of recieving a tattoo definetly has its own power, demanding a calm composure of yourself while being put through pain is no easy feat, but I think when people see tattoos done in Blackwork/dotwork it effects them. It's just so ANCIENT. It's an art purely for application on the human body.
Is there a certain type of clientele that's attracted to this type of work?
Hmm. That's hard to say. It varies, certainly. More and more people are starting to see the beauty of it. Younger people are always the prominent collectors in tattooing, but this seems to attract all types of folks, which I love.
What types of tattoo projects are you most attracted to?
I like the spiritual aspect of tattooing, not necessarily religious, but something that speaks of a deeper meaning. That's the beauty of this kind of work, it seems so powerful even when there's no real subject matter apparent. It makes you think about form and structure, how things are put together.
Check Michael's work on his blog and the 2Spirit site. You can reach him at childthepeacemaker [at] yahoo.com.
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.
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.
I got something for my European homies: One of my favorite artists, Nazareno Tubaro, has left his Buenos Aires studio for a bit and is doing a Scandinavian tour this summer hitting Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Here's where he'll be:
From June 23rd to the 27th, he'll be at another favorite -- Colin Dale's SKIN & BONE in Copenhagen.
From June 28th to the 30, he's tattooing in Helsinki at TATUATA.
From July 2nd to the 4th, he's tattooing in Alesund (Norway) at TATTOOS.NO.
From July 7th to the 10, he's tattooing in Halmstad (Sweden) at AMIGO INK.
Contact Nazareno at email@example.com.
And check our artist profile on him here. I'm hoping he'll be doing a US tour soon.
This past Saturday I added to my tattoo collection by getting both sides of my ribs done, courtesy of Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo. Here's how it went down:
I woke up to the smell of steak and eggs (sorry, vegans), which Brian was preparing especially for my appointment. While this may seem like a frivolous detail -- akin to me seeing photos of everything my friends eat posted on Facebook -- my point in mentioning it is the importance of a fueling up before a session because, really, getting needled takes a toll on your body and you need to feed it to keep going. [Keep in mind that I'm Greek, and we eat like we're getting tattooed every day.]
After breakfast comes outfit choice. Something loose fitting and slung low on the hips so as not to rub against and irritate the fresh tattoo. When I got my hips done last time, I wore breakaway pants -- the kind sports figures and male strippers tear off (woohoo!) -- so I can undo the snaps along the sides to expose just the skin being tattooed and not flash everyone at the shop. I highly recommend them. But they weren't necessary this time as we decided to extend the tattoo from the existing flowers and snakes on my hip bones and not lower down. Yoga pants did the trick.
Fed and dressed, I headed to Tattoo Culture in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where Dan was guesting, along with fabulous abstract artists Noon & Loic Lavenu aka Xoil. There were a lot of jokes in French throughout the day but they largely centered around genitals than Jerry Lewis. I was entertained.
Pay attention: Ok, here we go about the actual tattooing part in case I lost you at the food and fashion. Days before the session, Dan took my measurements and we decided how we wanted to shape the tattoos on the ribs to bring a more cohesive look with my existing stomach and hip work. I chose to keep to floral and mehndi-inspired motifs, which flowed inward along the shape of my waist. It's slimming and way better than lipo. While Dan is brilliant at freehand designs directly on the body, he drew the design in advance for better symmetry and because we didn't have time to spend hours coming up with something on the spot. He was leaving for Belgium the next day.
Stencil on. Mirror check. Great. Let's do this.
Ouch. No really, ouch.
Tattoos hurt, yes. Some people feel them in certain spots more than others, and the ribs were my unhappy place. Couple that with a large Belgian bearing down on me (see above) and the inability to move because it's all line work, with some dot shading. Not much room for error if I twitched.
Not much room for sympathy either. Most of my big work (back, sleeves, etc) is by Dan. Dan and I were once married. There's no need for polite client relations. This pain was payback for the times I didn't do the dishes. He is quick to mention, however, that he enjoys tattooing me because it's the only time I shut up. He's right.
There were some short breaks here and there. Dan's lovely fiance Devanei shared great stories about her experiences on this NY trip. Brian showed up with the most important tattoo provision ever: a Snickers bar. Chocolate and peanuts. It satisfied.
Within five hours, including breaks, both sides were done. Dan works fast, and you want fast on the ribs.
Three days later, the healing has been super-quick as well. I've been doing my usual LITFA method: Leave It the F*ck Alone, with just a thin layer of A&D ointment here and there. I'll switch to moisturizer soon.
The tattoos are perfect. The work harmonizes with the existing designs and also lends itself to further additions as we continue my bodysuit, slowly. I love the way I look in them.
That's why I get tattooed.
Tattoo on Ismael by Cy Wilson.
I met Cy Wilson at the Paris Tattoo Convention (photos) in 1997 and was instantly charmed -- not just by his open and affable character, but by his body of work that stood out for its modern yet organic compositions in his tattoos as well as art prints and silkscreen apparel. [I was equally charmed by his artist mother Sylvie, who went around the convention feeding berries to those working.] Indeed, being born of artist parents, you can say he was baptized in Parisian ateliers since the 80s, but it wasn't until he traveled to Asia and met a Japanese tattooist in India (who tattooed a sleeve on him), that his life tattooing began.
In contrast, Caro came to the art through a more academic root. Carolina, born in Heidelberg, Germany, first studied "European Media Culture" at Bauhaus-University Weimar but later pursued research into tattooing and "conceptualizing pain as a catalyst for creation and change whilst inking people in real life." She met Cy, and did her first tattoo on him in Lyon, France. They have been together for 4 years and tattooing together full time for two years on the road between Barcelona and Copenhagen. Next spring, they'll be putting roots down in Barcelona as Caro is seeking to get her Masters degree in Art Criticism at MACBA (Museum for Contemporary Art). Caro says that their different backgrounds inform their creative process, style, and relationships with their clients.
Tattoo on Normann by Caro
When asked to describe their tattoo style, they explain:
We do black, graphic work, everything between bold and very delicate, always body involved and always singular pieces. Our idea is to create tattoos that represent our visual culture as urban young people from the 21st century. Rather than reproducing "ancient" representations of things, we like to interpret even classic themes with a more modern graphic approach. But of course the new does not really go without the old; we consider it is very important to have a solid knowledge about symbols and cultural connotations in order to embrace the new.[...]
Tattoo on David by Cy.
They also have a special approach to client relationships. They first set up a meeting (free of charge) to discuss the idea and design. They always draw directly on the body and very rarely on paper (only if it's very specific motif or small geometrical design). They say that this way the client "can already carry an approximation of the potential tattoo in his/her skin and check it out alone at home, naked in front of the mirror, with different clothing and so on. We feel this helps the people a lot to get a clearer idea of what they really feel themselves like." They make it clear that they are anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-homophobe and will not work with those who hold such prejudices. While they believe regulations on hygiene tend to be exaggerated, as they are dealt with like surgical procedures, they take special care to "eradicate even the smallest risk of infection." [Cy was misquoted in the French translation of "Tattoo World" as saying the opposite.]
To get tattooed by Cy and Caro, check their upcoming travel dates:
Nov 7 - Nov 17 Zurich, Switzerland at INK TANK
Nov 17- Nov 27 Freiburg, Germany at VISAVAJARA
Dec 28 - Jan 23 Berlin, Germany at CHORUS TATTOO
Jan 23 - Feb 4 Copenhagen, Denmark at Colin Dale's SKIN&BONE
For more on Cy & Caro, check their blogs SkinTraces and TravelTraces as well as Facebook.
Tattoo on Normann by Caro
In San Francisco's Mission District, Shannon Archuleta works in her private tattoo atelier creating custom decorative pieces that harmonize beautifully with the shape of the body.
Shannon says of her work, "I seem to be sought out for my lines and floral, but I enjoy all sorts of styles. Lately, I am really enjoying a more narrative style."
Tattooing since 1994, the Sonoma County, CA native says that she continues to learn every day and tries to "keep up with all these new, talented young'uns pouring out of every corner." When she's not tattooing, she's hiking, antiquing, and taking pretty pictures.
Shannon has a positive vibe about her that is really infectious. I met her at the NYC Tattoo Convention years ago and liked her instantly. She has a great ability to put people at ease, which is so important in tattooing. And she's got a wicked sense of humor.
In this spotlight, I chose to highlight Shannon's Mehndi-inspired blackwork above, a feminine paisley rib piece and white ink nouveau poppy chestpiece below. To see more of her portfolio, you can check her website or her Flickr page (where there's more work in progress and cover-ups).
For appointments, contact her via email at shannon at shannonarchuleta.com or call 1.415.336.9406.
I've really tried to put a moratorium on my use of the term "badass," but I gotta make an exception here as it so perfectly fits the body of work -- and tattooist herself -- in this artist spotlight: Roxx TwoSpirit (aka Bling Bling Roxx) of 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco.
Roxx is on my A list in the US for exceptional blackwork tattoos -- whether they be big, bold and heavy black or delicate, highly stylized line and dotwork. Roxx says that her inspiration stems from "a fusion of indigenous art, the beauty found in nature, urban street culture, and fine graphic design." She has a particular talent for harmonizing the art to the bodies of her loyal clientele, so that the tattoos appear almost organic to the wearer. It's powerful work.
Her tattoo career began on the streets of London in the late 80s, hand-poking punk rockers. She's lived and worked all over Europe and has finally settled down in San Francisco, CA. When Roxx is not painting San Francisco black, it's all about photography, her girlfriend Corey and their pitbulls Sumo and Apache.
See more of her work on Tumblr and Facebook.
Well, I'm still molting but because some of y'all have been asking about my new snake hip, here's a sneak peak while it heals.
On Monday, Belgian blackwork maestro, Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo spent nearly 8 hours on a stippled snake that winds up my left thigh to my hip. Dan was a guest artist at Tattoo Culture in Brooklyn so I didn't have to travel to his studio in Liege (although I recommend doing so for a European tattoo vacation). The work mirrors and balances out the snake on my right thigh, which Dan tattooed in November at his shop. More on that in this post.
Because I wasn't jet-lagged, and I had the ridiculous and wonderful Tattoo Culture crew as entertainment (plus Brian Grosz feeding me candy), the pain seemed significantly less than the first snake, even though it was the same tattoo and same amount of hours under the needle. A testament to mind over matter and optimal tattoo conditions.
Like the other snake, I decided not to use the numbing spray because the hurt was manageable, but yeah, by the seventh hour I was seriously ready to have it be done. After seven hours and forty-five minutes (with only a quick lunch break) of tattooing, I was standing (on shaky feet) completely in love with both of my hips. I still can't stop shimmying.
The snakes will form the foundation on my legs for different decorative elements that will surround them, but I think I'll take a little break for a while.
See more of Dan's work here.
I'm loving this this playful video of blackwork badass Nazareno Tubaro, which offers an up-close look at his set-up (with a wink). The video is shot by Emiliano Vargas and Macarena Magnani, and edited by Magnani and Bruno Gradaschi (who also did the post-production work). A fabulous collaboration.
I'm a long-time fan of Naza. [He's featured in Black Tattoo Art.] His powerful black tattoos -- from geometric dotwork to twists on Borneo tribal -- have earned him a reputation that reaches far beyond Argentina. He began his career in 1996 in his hometown of Bahia Blanca. It was at a time when information on the art of tattooing was extremely scarce. Without industry magazines or tattoo blogs to guide him, Nazareno set out for a more traditional arts education to further his craft and enrolled in the state university of fine art in Buenos Aires. He says that the lessons learned in art school opened him up to new ways of expression in his tattoo work. He continued to practice and study tattooing while at the university, and shortly after graduation, he began working as a tattoo artist professionally.
Art school, however, did not provide all Nazareno needed to know to master his craft so he traveled, visiting artists around the world, including those in Borneo, Spain and Mexico, to learn different tattoo approaches and also make a network of friends who share information and support each others' work.
In 2009, Nazareno opened his private tattoo studio in Buenos Aires. He also does frequent guest spots at Windhorse Tattoo in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Now I just need to convince him to make a trip to Brooklyn.
A fierce artistic energy emanates from London's illustrious/infamous Into You Tattoo. Owner Alex Binnie opened Into You in 1993, and since that time, the studio has garnered worldwide praise for innovative tattoo work from all members of its tattoo family. While tattoos in a variety of genres are created, Into You has a particular reputation for blackwork, and one of the artists renowned in this style is Tomas Tomas.
When asked about his life in tattoo, Tomas says that the search for his very first was disappointing after visiting many studios and feeling uninspired by the work he saw. He explains that he had his own vision for tattooing and spent the past 18 years unearthing and sharpening the style he yearned for as a child.
After some years, thanks to the rare tattoo publications available at the time, he discovered the work of various artists at Into You and connected with it. He became an avid customer there, spending hundreds of hours getting tattooed entirely from head to toe by the several resident artists. So it was only natural he found his way on the other side of the needle in these walls.
At Into You, Tomas hit upon a version of tribal blackwork that he says is his "attempt to reveal a new tribal graphic vocabulary in tune with the technological world." While still committed to the ancestral essence of this type of tattooing, he looks toward the future in London. He explains:
Further exploration of this practice revealed that, often, tattoos in tribal societies were poetic visual representations of the environments and cultures in which people lived at the time. It was also a celebration of the mysteries of life. I then realized, rather unconsciously, these same desires and values still fuel many to get tattooed today worldwide.
Tomas further discusses his tattoo philosophy, references and new works on his blog. Check it for tattoo inspiration and a great read.
In what can only be described as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, tribal/blackwork tattoo specialist Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo is adding more color to his tattoos!!!
[Not enough exclamation points exist to express this shocking news.]
I just saw the half-sleeve above on Tattoo Now's Tattoo of the Day -- a feature I check religiously -- and thought, "Wow, interesting use of color in dotwork shading amongst blackwork. I wonder who the artist is..." Wait, that's my tattoo artist (and yes, the dude I was once married to for all y'all gossip mongers)!
Considering Dan is tattooing my foot next month when he's in for the NYC Tattoo Convention (May 14-16), I figured I'd head to the Calypso Tattoo website and see what other new things Dan's been doing to mix up his portfolio. Alas, I didn't find anything crazy like a biomechanical portrait tattoo of Beyonce surrounded by Koi fish (I wish!), but there were new artistic influences like this modern art tattoo and this Egyptian-inspired piece; however, it seems he is staying true to what he is renowned for: a powerful blend of tribal-inspired art like these works and more feminine henna-inspired tattoos.
While Dan is booked for his New York trip, the best way to get work from him is to head to his studio in Liege, Belgium for a tattoo holiday. [Hit him up via his contact page.]
Once it's healed, I'll be sure to post pix of my new foot tattoo, which will complement the other one prettied by Jacqueline Spoerle (wrote about healing that one here).
If you haven't seen Dan's tattoo work on me, check 'em here.
Like David Hasselfhoff and unpasteurized cheese,
tattoos are big in Germany, and this weekend, I got a large dose of all (a
little less Hoff than cheddar but one in the
same). The 18th Annual Frankfurt Tattoo Convention -- yes, the
convention was older than some of the attendees -- kicked off this past
Friday in its usual spot: The Messe Frankfurt, a massive
modern expo hall in the center of this commercial city.
It wasn't my first Frankfurt tattoo foray. It was about seven or eight years ago when I last attended and, other than a shorter artist list and more vendors, much hadn't changed. There are certain elements that give this gathering its own specialness, which I will list for you but first...
Ok, key points on the show:
Photo of Rory Keating Tattoo on Lady Miss Nataka in Black Tattoo Art
It's been a month since I blogged about my Black Tattoo Art book, so I figured I could get away with a quick, shameless update.
Now, if you order the book from LastGasp.com, and put in the promo code "Needles" at checkout online, then you get free shipping -- and considering the book weighs about nine pounds, that's a big savings.
In the 536-page hardcover, you find 35 of the very best blackwork artists paying homage to the ancient roots of tattooing in their contemporary interpretations. No other publication has curated the work of so many esteemed international tattooists working in black ink and gathered them into one MASSIVE comprehensive volume. Check sample pages on Flickr.
A full page review of the book is in this month's Total Tattoo magazine and it got 5 out of 5 stars, saying "If we had a six star rating, Black Tattoo Art would certainly merit it." Woohoo!
I'm sure you'll soon get queasy reading incessant posts on my Black Tattoo Art so here's some virtual Pepto for ya ...
A FREE copy that you can win via the fab CoolHunting.com.
That's $159 saved in your wallet. Buy something nice. A kicky hat perhaps.
To enter to win, go to the bottom of this page, click on Contact and select "Black Tattoo Art Book Giveaway" from the drop-down menu. Tell them your favorite tattoo artist and they'll pick at random from entries received before 11:59 pm EST on 11 September 2009.
I'm so happy to be doing this give-away with the Cool Hunting crew -- the very best curators of high design -- because it brings me back to the roots of my tattoo blogging. Our joint blog venture Needled.com began in 2005. [About a year later, we sold it to Rivr Media. It ceased publication in February this year.]
My first, humbling moment clicking "post" for Needled was in their home, watching Josh hunched on his knees getting his back tattooed as he typed away on his Mac. It was a sight (and a great view!).
And so I always have felt part of the Cool Hunting family, at least their lowbrow little sister.
Also online today is a post on Black Tattoo Art featured in Piel Magazine, the virtual bod mod magazine published in Argentina by tattooed goddess La Negra. Le Negra has stunning tattoos by fellow Argentinian artist, Nazareno Tubaro, whose work is shown above and featured in the book. See more from his portfolio here.
Book, book, book, blah blah blah. Alright, let me get working on the tattoo news review to cleanse your palate from all my shameless book promo.