My portrait above by James Hole.
Portrait of tattoo artist Bugs.Portrait of Alice Snape, editor of Things & Ink magazine.
One of my favorite tattoo gatherings that I attended last year was the Brighton Tattoo Convention, right on the beautiful English seaside. It had this real communal vibe, set up for top tattooing but also for hanging with old friends and new. It really stood in sharp contrast to the ever-increasing sterility of corporate-sponsored tattoo conventions.
While I was there, I had the absolute pleasure of being photographed by James Hole (as shown by the top photo above). I felt like I was being shot for Vanity Fair, with a real editorial sophistication but also laid back approach. James got me to relax and giggle through it, but I also understood that this was serious work and not once did I throw devil horns or try to make funny faces, like usual. He also beautifully captured my friends like Bugs & Alice, above.
The wonderful Brighton Tattoo Convention Blog has more of Jame's portraits from last year's show. A must see.
This year's convention is coming up, April 30th to May 1st at the Brighton Centre, and it promises to be even better, with stellar artists from the world, and some wonderful events such as the Tattoo Identity exhibit on women in the history of tattooing, a film screening of "The Point of No Return" - A Journey into the Ancient Past of Tribal Tattooing in Borneo, the custom car and barber expo, the infamous after-parties, and more.
Check more on the convention here and also see more of James Hole's work here.
Portrait of Kelly Violet.
Photo above of Master Barber "Teddy Boy Greg."
Tattoo above on "Teddy Boy Greg" by Fernie Andrade.
Traditional hand tattooing by Brent McCown.
All photos above by Rebecca Holmes.
I'm back in NYC after the non-stop party that was the Brighton Tattoo Convention. With the miserable winter weather, one would think I'd spend my vacation days flying south to Caribbean beaches and not the cold English seaside, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend my birthday with friends who were traveling from around the world to be a part of this show. I most definitely made the right choice.
The convention took place at the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel, located directly on the seafront in the center of the city. It was a massive labyrinth of booths throughout the hotel's convention center, with over 350 artists from over 16 countries working.
In sharp contrast, down the aisle, rap music blared from the booth that housed Norm, Big Sleeps, & Big Meas doing their sought-after script. Crowds also formed around other big names from the US such as Thomas Hooper, Bugs, Bong, and BJ Betts, among many others.
Tattoo above by BJ Betts.
UK legends George Bone, Lal Hardy, and Alex Binnie drew
plenty of fans as well. [As a side note: Alex had a gathering on Thursday night before
the show for the release of Charles Boday's Handpoke Tattoo book, and it was great
to check out his Brighton shop, which has that same cool vibe as his
iconic London studio.]
One particular thing I found interesting in the lead-up to the show was that many artists -- who normally book their convention appointments months in advance -- were advertising that they would be doing almost all walk-ups, so lucky convention goers who got in early could get prized time without being on a waiting list. I wonder if they knew how lucky they really were.The tattoo competitions were limited to Best of Day entries with Guen Douglas winning Friday for a neo-traditional lady hand tattoo; Ryan Evans winning Saturday for his black and grey portrait of Marlane Dietrich; and Alex Gotza of Dirty Roses Tattoo in Greece winning Sunday for a full thigh gypsy tattoo (shown below).
As for me, I spent much of my time helping the convention organizer Woody manage the press, as there was a lot of interest in this eighth year of the show. But when I wasn't doing that, you'd most likely find me at the opulently decked out booth -- complete with gold drapery and Moroccan lanterns -- of tattoo witches Alicia Cardenas, Goldilox, Delphine Noiztoy, and Lorena Morato. Other stunners at that booth were model Moniasse, Frank Doody, and Drew Becket. [All of whom are shown in the pic below.] I shared a rented house with these beautiful people, kind of like a Real World Brighton, and ... I think I'll leave the exploits (and damaging photos) off this blog. Moving on ...
More seriously, there was also a lot of tattoo history shared at the show. Our friend Dr. Matt Lodder gave a wonderful talk on Sutherland MacDonald, "the first tattoo artist." And just outside his roundtable discussion, you could view the artifacts and archival photos from the famed Bristol Tattoo Club. I also particularly loved the fine art exhibition of Ramon Maiden (a post on him is coming soon).
Most of the hard partying took place at the Sailor Jerry cocktail lounge and by the main stage where crowds of psychobilly babes gathered on Friday to see The Meteors, who still can bring a mosh pit to action after 35 years (with an older shirtless crowd). Other bands through the weekend included The Sex Pistols Experience, as well as King Salami and the Cumberland 3.
Prettying up the Rockabilly set pre-concerts were barbers flown in from California, although lumberjack beards and skull caps dominated over pompadours. Really, I could barely recognize friends underneath all the hirsute hotness.
It's all these different offerings, in addition to top tattooing, that make a great convention. Most important to me, these gatherings are an opportunity to share love with friends from across the globe and reaffirm that we are one community of beautiful freaks. And that's better than any beach vacation.
For more on what went down at the convention, check the Brighton Tattoo blog, and these news items:
Many of you know that I'm a huge fan of blogger/author/all-around-awesome-human-being Jinxi Boo Caddel for a myriad of reasons, many of which I've written about here before. Well, here's another reason: her Inspiration Art Project Series, beautiful hardcover publications designed to do exactly what the name says -- inspire exciting interpretations of particular themes by presenting a finely curated ensemble of art in different mediums focused on those themes.
Eight Arms of Inspiration: The Octopus Art Project book, which Jinxi co-published with Memento Publishing, is a perfect example of this. In the book's 336 pages, the octopus is interpreted by 440 artists of different disciplines and genres in nearly 1,000 different ways, including tattoos, photos, graffiti, jewelry, cake art, glasswork, pottery, poetry and so much more. If you're looking for reference for your next eight-armed cephalopod tattoo, this book is a must-have especially.
The next incarnation of the Inspiration Art Project series will be entomology and insects, and Jinxi is looking for your bug art, also in all different kinds of mediums as long as the artwork focuses on insects, arachnids, or snails, -- and it should be some kickass work. [For the Eight Arms book, they had close to 1,900 images submitted, so naturally not everyone makes the cut.] The deadline for submission is June 3, 2013. More info here.
A bird-inspired book is schedule for 2014.
Here's the best part of this project: a percentage of the proceeds of all book sales through Jinxi's Out of Step Books goes to Donorschoose.org in an effort to keep arts education alive and thriving. So far, donations have gone to 23 art classrooms in need, and donations will continue with the new insect book. There are also art prints for purchase, and all the proceeds from those sales go to Donorschoose.org. See why I'm such a huge fan of hers?!
Check more of the titles and art available on Out of Step Books and Like them on Facebook.
French born, Los Angeles based tattooist, painter and sculptor BUGS will be exhibiting a new body of work entitled Purity in Motion at Sacred Gallery in SoHo. The opening reception is 7-11PM next Thursday, May 12th -- the night before the NYC Tattoo Convention, where Bugs will also be tattooing. The show will run through May 29th.
I talked with Bugs about his upcoming exhibit in our Q&A for Inked Magazine and learned that he had just returned to sculpting, a medium he was exited to get back into. When I further asked him about it, he replied:
I'm sketching new cubic women, starting small. I'm going to make them in bronze. Near my house is a foundry that deals with a lot of artists. I think it will be interesting to see my work in 3D, to see my work freely with all the angles of my design. I don't know if it will be popular or will sell but I don't care. I do it for me.Bugs will learn soon enough how the sculpture is received with this first unveiling of the work. The sculpture will be on view along with paintings that "reflect a mix of different techniques showing images of nudes." He adds, "Also included will be other subjects close to my heart from my background in France."
If you can't make it to the show, you can appreciate his distinct cubist and modern abstract style (like the work below) in his tattoo portfolio online. Bugs works at the Tattoo Lounge in LA, Thurs-Sat, and Victory Electric Tattoo Co., in Studio City, CA on Wednesdays.
TONIGHT AT SACRED: There will be a special one-night only Benefit for Japan in which all artwork will be priced at $200 or less, and all proceeds go to the Red Cross. Prints and original drawings from a stellar line-up of artists will be available. More info here.
For the December/January issue of Inked magazine, I had the pleasure of interviewing tattoo artist, painter, and now sculptor BUGS, whose blend of cubism and art deco inspired tattoos have earned him international acclaim as an innovator in the industry. You can pick up a copy at local news sellers in the US & Canada or download the digital mag via Zinio. Here's a taste of our Q&A:
Because there's such a demand for your work, how do you keep things fresh and find new ideas to answer this demand?Read more in Inked. You can make an appointment with Bug's at The Tattoo Lounge in LA.
To get us warmed up for the NYC Tattoo Convention next weekend, Tattoo Culture will be hosting an exciting solo show featuring the painting of legendary tattoo artist BUGS on Thursday, May 13th from 7-10PM.
With his signature blend of cubism, art deco and classical art in his paintings as well as tattoos, BUGS continues break ground in melding the fine art and tattoo worlds seamlessly-- something he has done for over 25 years, from his old studio in Camden, London to his new home at the Tattoo Lounge in Los Angeles. And for a short time, you can now find him in NYC for this exhibit and the convention.
Check his site for more tattoos and paintings.
As usual, the Needles and Sins crew will be in attendance enjoying the art and also drinking as wine, beer and light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there.
This Friday, October 2nd from 7-10PM, join the Needles and Sins crew in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Tattoo Culture's Fourth Anniversary Group Art Show opening.
On view, the fine art work of tattooists including the legendary Bugs, Dan Marshall, Liorcifer and Tim Kern, Dana Helmuth, David Sena, Emma Griffiths, Noon of France, and TC's resident artist Gene Coffey (whose oil painting is shown above), among other artists.
Many of you know most of our Needles and Sins events are held at Tattoo Culture because it's a large beautiful space close to subways and easy parking, but more important, it's an attitude free zone where people can enjoy the art work, chill, and party without pretension.
And yes, there will be free booze.
The show runs until November 13th. Hope to see y'all Friday.
Has it really been over a month since we last objectified tattooed men?
Forgive me. I've been so preoccupied with my upcoming book (and my own hot tattooed man) that I've neglected your one-handed typing needs. Well, I'm making up for it by objectifying one who is not only beautiful but beautifully tattooed by a roster of artists that is a Who's Who of the world's best, from Jack Rudy to Bugs to Brad Fink and beyond.
Behold Jeffrey Larish:
* City: Tucson, AZ ... by way of DC, Chattanooga, TN, Charlotte, NC, Bethlehem, PA
* Age: 38
* Relationship status: Married with a beautiful daughter
* Work: Stay at Home Dad (although we rarely seem to actually be at home)
* Fun: Sometimes I like to play the Rock and/or Roll. Mostly I enjoy hanging with wife & kid.
* Movies: I like to watch the old Universal Monster Movies with my daughter. We also watch the (real) Star Wars trilogy.
* Music: Yes, please!
* The Tattoos: I have tattoos from Rodney Raines & Chris Stuart of Ace Custom Tattoo, NC; Jack Rudy of Good Time Charlie's Tattooland, CA; Bugs of Tattoo Lounge, CA; Steve Lemak of The Quillian, PA; Curtis Richter of Art & Soul, PA; Chad Koeplinger (now at NY Adorned); Nikki Balls (now at Top Shelf Tattoo in Queens, NY); Matt Knopp of Tattoo Paradise, DC & MD; Steve Boltz & Eli Quinters of Smith Street Tattoo, Brooklyn; Jay Cavna of Sanctity Tattoo, AZ; Brad Fink of Iron Age Tattoo, St. Louis; Nick Colella of Chicago Tattoo Co.; with plans for more.
"When I first got tattooed way back in 1992, all I wanted was one little tattoo on my shoulder. Over 17 years and 200 plus hours later, I'm just working on one really big tattoo."
If you'd like to be objectified, send your photo and stats to marisa at needlesandsins dotcom.