The wonderful Amanda Wachob is no stranger to this blog as she continues to expand tattooing's vocabulary, beyond representational art, with her experimental work. Largely known for her brushstroke effects, Amanda takes a painterly approach to the art form but still keeps the strength of a traditional tattoo.
Amanda talks about this approach on Boston's NPR news station, Here & Now, with a segment entitled "Turning Tattoos Into Fine Art." Along with photographer Paul Nathan, who is the author of "Generation Ink," she also answers some of the standard questions like, Does it hurt? or What will happen if you no longer like it? And she does so in a way that best represents our community. You can stream the show or download it to your media player for offline listening.
A few weeks ago, Amanda was also featured on Huffington Post with a short profile and slideshow of her tattoo and fine art.
Amanda works out of a private studio in Brooklyn. Find out more about her on AmandaWachob.com.
Once again, the tattoo world has rallied to help others in need, within and beyond our own community. While the media has "Sandy fatigue" and seems to have lost interest in the massive, long standing effects of the hurricane, tattooists from around the world have contributed fine art, books, tattoo machines, supplies and their own time to the Restore Red Hook Tattoo & Art Show Benefit, which will raise money to help Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood -- an area that was particularly devastated by the storm.
Here's the press release below with details on the event and how to buy art and get tattooed there.
WHAT: "Restore Red Hook Art Show"
WHEN: Sunday, December 16, 2pm -8pm
WHERE: Kidd Studios 133 Imlay St. Brooklyn, NY. 11231
WHY: Help revive Red Hook businesses still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
On Sunday, December 16 from 2pm to 8pm, "The Restore Red Hook Art Show" will bring together some of the most prominent names in the tattoo industry to Kidd Studios (133 Imlay St.) for a benefit to help local Red Hook businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. In addition to a silent auction, the benefit will offer on-site tattoos, live music, and a cash bar.
The benefit is made possible by Ethan Morgan of Rivington Tattoo (175 Rivington Street), himself a well known tattoo artist who lives in the heart of Red Hook. Ethan's neighborhood was devastated by severe flooding and power outages after Hurricane Sandy struck, October 29. (Ethan himself was without heat, hot water and power for 19 days.) While some businesses are starting to buzz back to life, many are still recovering.
"This is my neighborhood, and these are people I rub elbows with everyday," Ethan said. "I'm just happy I can give something back." All proceeds from the auction will go directly to restoreredhook.org.
The event will include four tattoo stations offering original Hurricane Sandy / Red Hook-inspired designs created specially for the event by Rivington Tattoo. Prices start at $50. The silent auction will offer prints (starting at $20) and original artwork (starting at $50) from artists across the U.S. and as far away as Europe. There will also be a one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted tattoo machine with a retail value of $500.
Participating artists include: Jojo Akermann, Robert Atkinson, Zoe Bean, Mike Bee, Murran Billi, Roberto Borsi, George Campise, Bill Canales, Nick Caruso, Stephane Chaudesaigues, Lior Cifer, Shelby Cobra, Damon Conklin , Patrick Conlon, Andy Engel, Mike Godfrey, Mark Harada, Hek1, Dana Helmuth, Sean Herman, Robert Hernandez, Marisa Kakoulas**, Tim Kern and James Kern, Dan Marshall, Daniel Mirro, Rob Nunez, Pili Mo'o, Shane O Neil, Coco Octaviosen, Jeffery Joel Page, Alex de pase , Mike Pike, John Reardon, Betty Rose, Mikael Schelén, Lara Scotton, Magie Serpica, Alex Sherker, Sweety, Guy Ursitti, James White and Chet Zar.
My submission as a "participating artist" is the Photorealism volume (#3) of Black & Grey Tattoo Art. You won't find it cheaper so be there and bid!
Check some of the fine art being auctioned:
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.
In the past decade, we've seen an explosion of fine art by tattooists in galleries and museums, and it's been quite an exciting movement in the industry; however, there seems to be a lack of progress when it comes to representing the work of women tattooists in many of these shows.
Giving a platform for these women from around the world is the Ladies, Ladies Art show at Tattoo Culture in Brooklyn, NY opening next Thursday, May 17th from 7-11PM.
This exhibit, curated by Elvia Iannaccone Gezlev (Miss Elvia), Emma Griffiths and Magie Serpica, is in its second year and promises to be just as phenomenal as the first, with the work of nearly 100 female tattoo artists featured. The first show was primarily a salute to the modern godmothers of tattoo including Madame Vyvyn Lazonga, Pat Sinatra, Debbie Lenz and Juli Moon, who were all in attendance. For this show, the focus is largely on the next generation of women artists, largely from NYC but hailing from all over the country and around the world. Check their site for the list of talent. Here's more from the curators:
We can't help but notice the growing number of amazing women who choose to pursue the art of tattooing in its finest forms, as a job and as a lifestyle -- a craft that was only reserved to men until a few decades ago. A real revolution of the arts is happening! This is a chance to celebrate the female presence and spirit in tattooing, from the masters who paved the way to the established professionals who set the trends and to the talents of tomorrow. Enjoy, support and buy a piece of original art!For a preview of the art on display, see the Ladies, Ladies Facebook photo gallery.
Next Thursday's opening is sure to bring tons of people, especially as it's the night before the NYC Tattoo Convention and many tattooists are in town, so it's probably best to get there early. If you can't make it Thursday, the exhibit will be up for two months at Tattoo Culture.
Hope to see y'all there!
UPDATE: Just learned that Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand will be at the opening, showing a special historic tribute to the women tattooers of the past and onward. Another reason to head over there!
Art by Claudia DeSabe
Art by Miss Elvia
Art by Karin Schwaiger
Just got back into Brooklyn and wishing for a few more days of vacation, but to help me ease back into the NY grind -- and appreciate the treasures of the city -- our friend Nick Schonberger sent us the link to this wonderful BBC video interview with Tony Polito.
Tony is the very definition of a Brooklyn tattoo legend. He started in the business at the age of 14 in 1959 and continues to tattoo today (although he closed his Crown Heights studio last year). In the video, you'll hear him talk about tattooing sailors from the Navy Yard, his penchant for pin-ups, and the 1961 NYC tattoo ban, which forced him to work underground (literally, his basement) for a while. You'll also catch Tony tattooing another tattoo luminary of Brooklyn, Mike Perfetto aka Michaelangelo.
The footage is just over three minutes and leaves you wanting more from this old salt. But I have good news! Tony, Mike and many others will be featured in an upcoming book on native Brooklyn tattoo artists, culture and history by Pete Caruso, aka Brooklyn P. With such a strong tattoo heritage in the borough and stellar art being created, it will be an important addition to your tattoo library. More on the book when it's ready to drop.
Meanwhile, check the video to get a taste of Tony's stories.
...or just for your fabulous self.
There's a common cliche among Valentine's Day haters that we don't need a corporate-created pseudo-holiday to spread some lovin. "We should express our love every day," say the damn hippies. But I don't care about any of that. Whether single or coupled, Valentine's Day for me is about the chocolate.
Bringing together my chocolate and tattoo obsession are Brooklyn homies BCake NY and Alex McWatt of Three Kings Tattoo, who teamed up to create old school flash-styled Valentine's Day cakes and cupcakes.
Woohoo! They're available right now to be personalized and delivered anywhere in the five boroughs in time for Tuesday if ordered by tomorrow, February 10th. Personalized cakes are $75.00 and a dozen cupcakes are $45 (including delivery).
To place an order, call Miriam at 347.787.7199.
If you're not in NYC, you can still check out the tattoo eye candy online at ThreeKingsTattoo.com.
I like to think of myself as a bit of a Brooklyn badass ... but then there are things that bring me back to reality. The embodiment of badassery in my borough can be seen in this fascinating slideshow on Flavorwire of a gang "of 'troubled teenagers coming of age' in 1959 Brooklyn." Legendary photographer Bruce Davidson captured these kids getting into fights, making out with tough looking girls, and naturally, getting tattooed (as shown above). It's all very sexy. Hit up Flavorwire for more photos.
Seductive, feminine, and most definitely rock-n-roll. Adha Zelma jewelry are true statement pieces that, like tattoos, command attention for unique and sexy adornment. And for this reason, we just had to include these Brooklyn artists, who have an international following, in our gift guide.
Creators (and best friends) Sheanan Bond and Cherise TrahanMiller hand-craft each line, which they say "centers on bringing elements of indigenous art and culture into our contemporary world." They approach each piece as sculpture for the body. Sheanan and Cherise say that they're inspired by "the organic shapes found in bone, shed antlers and shells -- along with the incredible colors and graphics seen in naturally molted feathers, the texture of skins such as stingray and the rawness of rough stones."
I'm particularly in love with one of the richly layered pieces I have from their Solstice Collection, with its mixed metals, gem stones and plumes. The line is described as evoking "the night sparkle of NYC and a little Mad Max." And I do feel likeTina Turner rockin it.
Hit up their online store for a full array of their collections and sale pieces.
Even sweeter, they're offering a special 20% off if you put in the code: Needles&Sins at checkout. The promotion ends 12/23/11.
As I mentioned in the artist profile on George Bardadim a couple of weeks ago, the veteran tattooist from Russia is doing a guest spot at Tattoo Culture in Brooklyn until October 30th. I just learned that he does still have appointments available, so it's a rare opportunity to get work from this multi-talented artist.
To make an appointment, hit him up at bardadim(at)gmail.com or through his contact page. Check his online gallery and Facebook page to see more of his tattoo portfolio.
On October 1st, my latest book project "Tattoo World," which I edited for Abrams Books, hit the shelves of book stores in North & South America as well as in Europe. And now it's time to party.
Once again, we're joining forces with our homies at Tattoo Culture to celebrate the book's release and their sixth anniversary this Friday, October 7th. Drinks and snacks will be served to all you fabulous people. The party starts at 7PM and ends promptly at 10PM. For more info, check our Facebook Event Page. Tattoo Culture is located at 129a Roebling Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. [Map]
Hope to see ya there!
In the latest issue of Skin & Ink magazine (August 2011), I take a look at the progressive work coming out of Brooklyn's own Tattoo Culture via resident artist Gene Coffey (whose work is shown here) and a host of international talent including Belgium's blackwork specialist Dan DiMattia, and France's avant-garde artists Noon and Loic [aka Xoil], among many others. In fact, owner Chris Budd acts as a "tattoo concierge," helping tattooers from outside New York find places to stay, procure temporary permits, and build a local fan base.
While Tattoo Culture is a full-service custom shop where clients get tattoos in a variety of styles, the focus of the article is the more controversial work that push the definition of what a tattoo should be. Here's a bit of that discussion:
[Gene] credits the roster of guest artists at Tattoo Culture for his artistic growth. "We just feed off of each other's creativity. If I had never worked with people like Noon or Loic, for example, I wouldn't have even tried something weird like what I've been doing lately."Beyond the weirdness (and Gene himself is a strange egg), Tattoo Culture has a relaxed friendly vibe that seems to stand in contrast to the cooler-than-cool attitude of their Williamsburg neighborhood, also known as ground zero for hipsters. The studio also holds regular art shows, exhibiting classic tattoo-inspired painting, photography, mixed media and modern works.
Check their Facebook page for events and guest artists. Gene regularly updates his portfolio on his own Facebook page as well.
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.
Recent tattoo headlines have been abuzz with stories on memorial tattoos using cremation ashes, some calling it a "craze" and a "trend," as in the video above. I find these terms trivializing and even insulting to those who commemorate loved ones in such a deeply moving way. The media coverage did, however, motivate me to follow up with friends who have used the ashes in their tattoos and find out more about the process and healing.
Here is one account from Ginger who, along with her sister, got her mother's remains incorporated into a Morning Glory tattoo (shown below right) by Craig Rodriguez, owner of Hand of Glory and The End Is Near tattoo studios in Brooklyn, NY.
"Craig told me to buy a mortar and pestle -- ceramic, not wood [for autoclaving]. At home, I placed a small clean jar in the microwave for 30 seconds. I put the ashes in the jar and did 30 more seconds. I brought the jar to the shop, and the ashes were ground into a powder in just a few minutes using the mortar and pestle. It was so fine that it quickly dissolved into all the ink colors.
He did my sister's tattoo on Sunday, Sept 19. We saran wrapped the remainder of the ashes in the mortar bowl, and Craig locked them up. The following Friday, I got my outline and color. Then [in the following session], he did all the shading and two more stems to better attach it to my [existing] back piece. My sister and I both got our Mom on our ribs.
I am so happy with my tattoo. It healed perfectly. I gifted to Craig the mortar and pestle for the next person who wants a sacred tattoo. [He can autoclave it.] So, that's my story."
I've spoken with other tattooists who have also tattooed with cremation ashes and they've all said that, if proper sterilization and aftercare procedures are taken (like in any tattoo), the tattoos do not raise any special health risks. And, as in Ginger's experience, should heal into a special memorial.
Back in 2009, Pat interviewed Brooklyn-based tattooist John Reardon -- author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting a Tattoo -- when John was working at Saved Tattoo. Check the Q&A here.
Today, the bearded bombshell tattoos out of his own private studio in Williamsburg and continues to work in a broad range of styles, with a particular bent toward Neo-Traditional imagery. Capturing the vibe of the studio, Bryce Ward created this video above for our viewing pleasure.
* More of John's tattoo work here.
* Bryce's still photography here.
Here's another lit pick for our gift guide:
The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide, by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor, is a beautiful compilation of literary tattoos, whether they be favorite lines from Shakespeare, Shel Silverstein illustrations, a Kafka portrait, or the truly hardcore--a full backpiece of Theodor Adorno's essay "For Marcel Proust."
The Word Made Flesh comprises 150 photos of these tattoo tributes accompanied a statement from the wearer about the work. Some offer a few paragraphs on the significance behind their tattoos while others just have a few words like the Brooklyn College professor with the Adorno backpiece who simply said: "I'm always shocked at how few people make themselves into a lifelong monument to their favorite prose or verse."
This book, however, proves that there's a significant group of people who do. And it seems most live in my Brooklyn backyard. [Our humble borough is home to many writers and has more "coffices" per capita than anywhere in the world (maybe), and considering it's also ground zero for NYC's top tattoo work, the connection seems natural to fill a book.] The authors are also Brooklyn residents. They explained in an interview with GalleyCat that the project was inspired by seeing literary tattoos on the streets and even on their roommates. Justin said, "We decided to see if this was a coincidence or an actual trend, and put a call for submissions up on HTMLGiant.com. Pictures started pouring in immediately and we were off to the races."
View more tattoo submissions on their site TattooLit.com.
Tattoo by Thor at Yonge Street Tattoos in Toronto
I was also happy to see Shelley Jackson's Skin project featured in the book. Skin is "a 2095-word story published exclusively in tattoos, one word at a time, on the skin of volunteers." Read more about it (and how you can participate) here.
My one big issue is that the tattoo artist credits are at the back of the book in list format, which is hard to follow. I think the artists who render the words on skin should have equal billing with the authors on the very page the work is shown. That said, I recommend it as an interesting (and affordable) softcover for tattoo word nerds on your holiday list. Amazon sells it for $10.19.
Eva's next project will be a collection of music tattoos. She's looking for song lyrics, band logos, record labels, musician portraits, and the like. Check this post for more info on that book and how to submit your own photos.
For more on literary tattoos, also hit the Contrariwise blog.
This Thursday, December 9th, is the opening of an exciting solo show of new fine art works by David Sena, NY tattooist and co-owner of North Star Tattoo. Entitled "Inevitable Futures," the exhibition highlights David's work with a medium just as challenging as needles on skin: fire on canvas. Read more about the show here.
CoolHunting.com's feature on David's fire drawings offers an inside look into his process with an extensive photo gallery, including the one below.
Opening reception from 6 to 9pm
Live music by Drumone, Lenny Posso.
276 Greenpoint Avenue, Building 8 ground floor, Brooklyn, NYC
After Party Sponsored by Ketel One Vodka to be followed by RSVP only to email@example.com.
"Inevitable Futures" will be on view by appointment December 10-29, 2010. To schedule an appointment or for more information please contact David Sena: firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-917-445-4299.
I'm crazy excited about this upcoming exhibit opening December 10th at Tattoo Culture in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Ladies Ladies Art Show features the fine art of 50 women tattooists, from long-time veterans of the craft to rising stars. See the full artist list below.
It's an event where tattooed women are celebrated for their artistry and not how they fill a bikini. [So let's just see how many tattoo mags actually cover the show.] I'll be there with my signature out-of-focus photo skills and let you know how it goes down. The opening party runs from 7-10:30PM.
Here are a couple of paintings that will be on view. See more on their Facebook page.
Painting by Titine Leu.
Painting by Maria Sena
I'm really excited for the opening of Tattoo Culture's anniversary group art show in Williamsburg this Friday, October 8th from 7-11PM. The tattoo studio/art gallery is our second home -- an attitude-free zone that welcomes top artists around the world to work alongside resident tattooer Gene Coffey. This week, France's Loic and Noon have arrived to create their abstract/art brut badassness.
Gene and Noon will be showing their fine art in this group show with Emma Griffiths, Bailey Hunter Robinson, Fade Kainer, Dan Marshall and Liorcifer, among others. There'll be beer, snacks, and as usual, really hot people in attendance.
Hope to see ya there!
On September 9, 2009, Matty No Times (Three Kings Tattoo) noticed that his legs had become severely swollen. He went to an emergency room and three hours later, after multiple blood tests, was informed that he was in liver failure (see details below). Now, about 8 months later, Matty is on his way back but is in severe financial debt.
A group of all star artists have joined together for a remarkable show to help Matty pay off his medical expenses. The show will be at the YES Gallery located at 147 India Street and Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint (Brooklyn) The exhibition will run from July 17th to July 23rd with a special opening reception on Saturday, July 17th from 5 - 10PM at YES Gallery with special Guest DJ Jesse Jones (Yuppicide).
ALL ART IS $350 OR LESS, and raffle goodies from KCDC Skate Shop, Tattoo Elite International, Waverly Color Company and more. The goal of this exhibition is not only to support Matty No Times, but to also present a spectacular array of noted artists, allowing our friends and peers, art lovers and collectors to view and obtain works that are both affordable and of exceptional quality, and to do this while we help out our friend and colleague. This is going to be an amazing, HUGE art exhibition with some incredible artists donating art. Don't miss it!!