Results tagged “ed hardy”

04:32 PM

It's always a little weird when you get a phone call that asks, "Can you come by the shop so we can photograph your back? And... be sure to shave." (It's even weirder when you find yourself saying to your girlfriend, "No one is gonna see that part and it's gonna suck when it grows back - DON'T SHAVE ME THERE!")

But these are the sacrifices I will make for Horitaka - an amazing man, tattooist, publisher, event-organizer, and friend.

October 25-27th brings us the inimitable Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts at the SFO Hyatt Regency. This year, Horitaka is presenting a seminar from Shige and a talk and book signing from Ed Hardy in addition to a "who's who" litany of tattooists grinding away in their booths.

If you're anywhere near San Francisco, it would behoove you to be at this amazing show. Trust me.

Click here to get more info on hours and pricing.

08:22 AM
Yesterday, CNN published "Ed Hardy: From art to infamy and back again" -- a feature that largely focuses on the trajectory of the Ed Hardy fashion brand, from celebrity status symbol to "one of the most polarizing brands in recent memory."

The article is inspired by Hardy's excellent memoir "Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos." As CNN writes, the book does "set the record straight" about the brand, which came about when Hardy entered into a deal with Christian Audigier to produce merchandise with his art. However, the book is so much more. As I noted in my post on the book, it is not just a story about one tattooist's life. It is an ode to the art of tattooing, its philosophy, and its culture.

The greatest thing about the CNN feature is the link it includes to a 1995 NY Times article entitled, "Tattoo Moves From Fringes To Fashion. But Is It Art?"  In fact, I probably would not have even posted the CNN piece at all if it weren't for this wonderful find.

That NY Times piece discusses "Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos," the 1995 exhibition at the Drawing Center in NYC for which Hardy contributed and consulted. [Hardy Marks Publishing also put out the catalog to the show.]  It is an excellent read on the relationship between body art and the fine art world, and almost 20 years later, the questions that Michael Kimmelman asks in that article are just as important today. Here's a bit from the article:

One wonders what tattoos mean, if anything, even unconsciously, to a generation that has grown up with AIDS. Tattooers talk about the erotic aspect of tattooing. The mix of needles, blood and doing something unalterable to one's own body, something taboo, besides, seems germane. So does the fact that tattoos violate the notion of the body as sacrosanct and pure. (And remember when William F. Buckley proposed tattooing everyone with H.I.V.?) Tattooing has to do with taking liberties with one's own body at a time when such liberties have been circumscribed.

And in the end, no matter how popular they have become, no matter how much they have been assimilated and sanitized by fashion and the art world, tattoos are still startling. Which is the bottom line. By now virtually no visual art form has the power truly to startle. But tattoos, not the drawings of them, but the actual things, can. They're genuinely transgressive, and every generation wants to redefine beauty by adopting what seems transgressive to the previous generation. Are tattoos beautiful? Well, to paraphrase the old saying, a tattoo is only skin deep.

I highly recommend you check out the rest of the 1995 NY Times article, and if you have the time, the CNN piece on Hardy is worth a read as well.

If you haven't picked it up yet, grab Ed Hardy's memoir "Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos."
09:09 AM
ed hardy war your dreams.jpg
Today is the release of Ed Hardy's memoir "Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos," written with best selling author Joel Selvin. It is not just a story about one tattooist's life. It is an ode to the art of tattooing, its philosophy, and its culture.

There have been many stories and interviews with the man who forever changed tattooing. [I've interviewed him myself for Inked mag, which you can read here.] How he would draw tattoos on neighborhood kids as a child with eyeliner. His time at the Art Institute in San Francisco, which established the fine art basis that translated into his tattoo work, and his time in Japan, which changed his whole mindset on what a tattoo can be. The first tattoo conventions. His books. His paintings. His brand. They are all in there, with so much more. However, they are pulled together in a way that makes you feel that you are immersed in a great conversation, and you walk away, not just knowing about the life of another person, but knowing a bit more about yourself.

Ed achieves this in the way he weaves tattoo philosophy within his own story. He doesn't hit you over the head with anything like, "This is what tattoos are about." In fact, he clearly states, "I don't know why people get tattoos"; but he then adds, "but I do think people get tattoos for themselves, first." And he goes on to explain his thoughts on why this is a very personal art and what it does for people. He even notes a time when a sailor came into his shop in San Diego, and Ed said to him, "Who did the fucked up eagle on you?"  As he said this, Ed knew that he was wrong; that it was this sailor's favorite tattoo and he had no right to be critical. This passage was also a reminder to keep my own tattoo snobbery in check.

He also talks about "the magic" of tattooing:

Like Lyle Tuttle always says, "tattoo" is a magic word. It hits people in a way that no other visual medium does. And it is not simply visual, but visceral. Everybody has an opinion about it and everybody has a gut reaction. And because they are permanent, tattoo raise all these issues about life and death.
Read more on Ed's life in "Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos."

Ed will be doing readings and book signings in New York, California and Hawaii. He kicks off the book tour today in Manhattan at 6pm at Barnes & Noble on 59 Warren Street in Tribeca.  Check his full schedule here.
08:51 AM

There's a great video of Ed Hardy in his San Francisco art studio by Bloomberg Business week, entitled "The Hideaway of America's Most Famous Tattoo Artist" (embedded above). While less than 3-minutes long, it packs some juicy info, from Ed's past to the art he is creating today. The highlight of the video is when Ed whips out a box filled with old tattoo designs he created when he was just 10 years old, and he chats about using Maybeline eyeliner at the time to "tattoo" the kids in the neighborhood. You'll also see his latest paintings, which are quite different from his iconic tattoo imagery. It's a must watch.

Also, on Bloomberg Business week, there's a short piece called, "How to Get Rich With Tattoos, by Artist Don Ed Hardy," in which Ed writes of his start in tattooing and how he ended up being a brand name.

The real Ed Hardy story comes out in his memoir Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos, to be released on June 18th. I have an advance copy next to me and will be writing a review soon. Meanwhile, you can pre-order your copy on

For more on Ed, check my 2011 interview with him for Inked mag.
08:14 AM
tattootime ed hardy.jpg
One of the greatest gifts you could get any tattoo fan is the re-release of Ed Hardy's historic TattooTime series. Here's more from Hardy Marks:

Hardy Marks Publications is excited to announce the re-release of all five issues of our historic Tattootime magazine in one boxed set. This year marks the 30th anniversary of our premier publishing effort, New Tribalism, the book that detonated the explosive growth of tattooing in the late twentieth century.
Now all five Tattootimes -- New Tribalism (1982), Tattoo Magic (1983), Music & Sea Tattoos (1984), Life & Death Tattoos (1987), and Art From the Heart (1991) are in two beautiful hardbound volumes, enclosed in a sturdy slipcase. All contents are from the first edition of each original--subsequent reprints omitted some material. The combined volumes add up to 352 full color pages, plus original covers, and an added 27-page subject and title index to the entire series.
Tattootime truly changed the world--documents, ideas, and images that have become legendary. Now experience its timeless impact.

The set is excellently priced at $50 plus shipping. Order it online here.
07:40 PM

More Thom deVita goodness from Vice's Tattoo Age series.

In the fourth installment of this five-part feature, Thom talks about living and working in NYC's Lower East Side, with its grit, guns and junkies, before the luxury hotels and couture boutiques of today. An added bonus is artist and documentarian Clayton Patterson offering some history of the tattoo and art scene of LES, including stories and photos of Mike Mallone and Kate Hellenbrand's time with Thom, which changed their lives. Ed Hardy, Nick Bubash and other tattoo legends also share some of their own personal stories about Thom's innovation and influence.

For me, the highlight is right at the beginning:  Thom removing his shirt to show his Huck Spaulding dragon backpiece done in the sixties, a massive work tattooed at a time when people just didn't get big work. And you know, it still looks fantastic -- true to the adage, "Bold will hold."

Check all the Thom deVita episodes:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
09:12 PM

As all good things must come to an end, Vice TV's Tattoo Age has posted its final video of its stellar series, which offers a truly real look into the lives of renowned tattooists. And as we expected, Part 3 of the Freddy Corbin profile keeps to its high standards.

This raw and intimate episode begins with personal footage of a 24-yr-old Freddy jumping out of an airplane with friends, who happen to be tattoo greats themselves:  Eddy Deutsche, Guy Aitchison and Igor Mortis. The video then jumps to Freddy today reminiscing on those early years in his career. When he's telling stories about working at Ed Hardy's Realistic Tattoo then Tattoo City, there's wonderful film from that time (in the early to mid 90s) woven through the narrative. He reveals that the pressure of performing at these exceptional studios was a factor in his "shit storm" of drug use. The accessibility of drugs when he lived in the Red Light District of Amsterdam didn't help either. Being "strung out," he was fired from Tattoo City and rumors swirled through the tattoo community as to Freddy's future.

But he did get his life together, crediting his close friend Vinny and his wife Lisa. Indeed, his family life is a big part of his profile and there's gorgeous film of them playing with their son Sonny. His spiritual side is also a large focus of the latter half of the video, and again, there are some fascinating images accompanying his travel tales,
from his trips to India to Burning Man.

Moving from the dark to light in his personal journey, this feature on Freddy Corbin is inspiring and the perfect way to bring the series to a close.

To celebrate the success of Tattoo Age,
we're giving away this Dan Santoro print. Just leave a comment on this post in the Needles & Sins Syndicate FB page or Tweet us and we'll chose the winner next Wednesday via Good Luck!

11:37 AM

While we've learned a great deal about the stellar artists featured in the Vice TV series Tattoo Age, the latest video, Part 2 of the Freddy Corbin profile, goes even further and offers a modern tattoo history lesson as Freddy muses on his start in tattooing over 27 years ago and the greats who have guided him.

Weaving old photos and archival video from Michael O. Stearns' tattoo documentaries from the 90s, the episode charts Freedy's life from his first tattoo at Lyle Tuttle's old San Francisco studio (which he paid for with a $75 tax return), to how he got Erno Szabady to give him his first shot, to that fateful call at 9am when Ed Hardy asked him to come work at his Realistic Tattoo studio. Along the way, Freddy tells stories about how he learned history from Sunny Tufts, how Henry Goldfield was a great mentor artistically and technically, and how he was inspired working alongside Dan Higgs and Greg Kulz.

Once again, another must see.

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. See Freddy's work on

Tattoo Age has a contest where you can win this Dan Santoro print. Details on Twitter.
02:13 PM

If you missed our post earlier this month on Shawn Porter's Occult Vibrations blog, then here's a reminder to bookmark and check it often for online videos (which Shawn largely transfers from old VHS tapes) of decades old footage that offers an intimate look into tattooing's modern history. 

In this video excerpt from the 80s documentary "Tattooing Reality", Ed Hardy, Bob Roberts, Bill Salmon, Chuck Eldridge, and Leo Zulueta (who joins in towards the end), are hanging out at Realistic Tattoo and saying everything you want to listen in on -- from jokes about creating a "Safeway of tattooing" (a foreshadowing of studios in mega-shopping malls?), to serious discourse on being flexible in having a diverse portfolio of work, even if one is known for a certain style, as Ed has been for Japanese and Leo for Neo-Tribal tattooing. Another excerpt from "Tattooing Reality" can be found here.

Beyond the videos, Occult Vibrations posts artist profiles and other tattoo goodness. Check it.
05:20 PM

No amount of exclamation points could possibly convey my excitement over Shawn Porter's Occult Vibrations, a site for those interested in "the symbolic legacy of tattoo culture." While the site is a new venture, it will fast become a primary tattoo destination online, particularly with Shawn's archival footage.

Videos include the (above) excerpt from Frisco Skin & Tattoo Ink, featuring Daniel Higgs, Freddie Corbin, and Ed Hardy. Released Shot in 1990 at Ed Hardy's Realistic Tattoo, the film has clips of Hardy talking about his studio, which was appointment-only, something just not done at the time. [Update: The interviews were done around 1988-89.]

But the real focus of this clip is the "young turks, tattoo tag team" of Freddy Corbin & Dan Higgs. Right at the outset the narrator says, "Some of the best of whatever is new in the nineties will be done by Corbin and Higgs. Your skin can bank on it." Indeed, Corbin & Higgs tattoos are invaluable.

What is truly priceless about this footage is hearing Higgs discuss his tattoo work at that time -- particularly in light of him leaving the art and moving into various other mediums, most notably music. Today, Higgs rarely talks about tattooing, but even listening to his thoughts over 20 years ago still left me more puzzled over this enigmatic character.

These videos will not take away the mystery that surrounds tattoo icons. For many watching, they will inspire. At the very least, offer a history lesson.

When I asked Shawn about the blog, he humbly said: "I made the blog to focus on artists I like...the videos just sort of came out of that. It's important to get these films off of VHS and onto more stable digital platforms; if 1000 people have something, it's a lot harder for it to get lost."

Watch more here.
03:07 PM
margaret cho dwts.jpg

Comedian, activist, and hottie Margaret Cho, will be showing off her moves and tattoos in the latest season of Dancing With The Stars, which premiers this Monday the 20th. Represent, Cho!

I've never seen the show so I read this thingie that says, "We, the viewers, call the shots. We determine who stays and who goes each week." So how do we do that? Well, I read this thingie, which explains it all. In a nutshell, you can call or text to vote at the top of each performance until 30 minutes after the end of the show; for online voting, you have until 11am (Eastern Time) the next day.

So, vote for our own version of "hot inked chick" and keep her dancing, or have people like The Situation of Jersey Shore and Bristol Palin (Sarah's daughter -- yeah, I don't know why she's on either) taking away her air time. [Ok, The Situation should be amusing as well.]

Curious about Margaret's tattoos?

Artists who have worked on her include Ed Hardy, Chris O'Donnell, Mike Davis, Kat Von DNathan Kostechko, Andrew Moore, and Barnaby of Mom's Body Shop. She's blogged about these experiences here.

The fabulous Shawn Barber has also painted Margaret -- a portrait of her while getting tattooed by Mike Davis -- and that painting is the cover of her ChoDependent album, which includes soon to be classics like "Eat Shit & Die." The ChoDependent tour starts today in Vegas and will hit tons of cities across the US and Canada. Check the list of dates here.

margaret-cho_m.jpgKick some ass, Margaret!
01:11 PM
grilled cheese tattoo.jpgThe answers to our survey are flooding in -- I hear you Internet! -- and in crafting this week's tattoo news review, I kept in mind much of your advice and fought everything in me to link Miley Cyrus's tattoo advice [see, no link!]. Instead, I distilled it to the more meaty headlines like tattoo culture in Egypt and India, Maori Moko in fine art, tattoo art designs for vets with prosthetic limbs, and the "Why" question behind our tattoos. I've left most of the fun fluff to the quick and dirty links at the end, but please indulge me in this first item:

The Grilled Cheese Tattoo Promo -- one of the biggest headlines this week, from Cleveland to New Zealand. In essence, a restaurant in Ohio that specializes in variations of grilled cheese meals is offering a 25% lifetime discount to those willing to tattoo their love for the classic sandwich. My gut reaction was mockery, of course, but then I saw the gallery of grilled cheese tattoos -- most tattooed by Eric of Voodoo Monkey Tattoo like the one above. There are so many crazy creative renditions of the meal that I lost all snark in me. My faves: the R2D2 grilled cheese tattoo, the Sacred Heart sandwich, the Hello Kitty version, and the tough and manly Melt Army tattoo. Check the gallery, which also includes the artist credits (a rarity).

Ok, now for more serious news ...  

After reading about some market for human tattooed skin, a 28-year-old man in China got a backpiece and then posted an ad to sell his skin for 150,000 yuan ($21,965) to get out of debt. He'll also use part of the money for the skinning and then for new skin grafts. Other than a sad state of mind, his biggest problem is the law: it's illegal in China to buy and sell human organs, and guess what our largest organ is.

In Egypt, tattoos largely mark Coptic Christians even if their national identity cards do not. Tattoos have been a long tradition in their community to ensure Christian burials and, as one tattooist says, " identify Christian orphans whose parents had been killed in war...So they wouldn't be brought up as Muslims." I often use Coptic tattoos as an example of how companies can get in trouble when they ban religious tattoos. For Coptic Christians, tattoos play a big role. In one US case, Red Robin Restaurants fired an employee when he would not cover up his small Coptic wrist tattoos. The Equal Employment Commission took up his suit and it settled for a nice sum. Read more about it here. It's a rare case but one employers must be sensitive to.

On the issue of cultural sensitivity, a portrait of Queen Elizabeth with a Maori tattoo on her chin has sparked the ire of Kiwi monarchists and at least one Maori. The artist, Barry Ross Smith, has said "it was meant to be a sensitive depiction of two cultures coming together."  I understand how Maori could be offended, especially after the sacred Moko has been appropriated so many times by companies; the best example is Sanro's Hello Kitty Maori. However, in this case, I can see the artist's intention.

Please feel free to weigh in on this issue or any raised here in the comments section.  

In India, Mumbai's tattooed Goths lay low as many feel that, even in a more permissive city like Mumbai, they will be discriminated against.

Back in the US ...

The Department of Veteran's Affairs has contracted with the company Global Tattoo Orthotic Prosthetic Innovations to offer custom tattoos on prosthetics and orthopedic braces for vets at VA hospitals and clinics across the US. See a gallery of the artwork here.

This profile on a new tattoo studio/art gallery in Cary, NC has interesting stats on tattooing throughout the state; for example, the number of tattoo businesses in North Carolina spiked 45% in 2009. Also, in NC, every tattoo artist must apply for a permit through their county health department, which each have their own rules and with different permit fees and rules; thus, you'll find some counties with many shops and some with none. Another example of how local laws impact tattoo culture and business.

The SF Examiner talks to Ed Hardy about his art and, yes, trucker hats. I did like this question and his answer:

How do you see your role in the world?
As an artist and somebody that can hopefully light up people's lives with the work that I make and influence people with my art. If it makes you think -- takes you outside yourself and opens yourself to the mystery of life -- that's great.
The interview is inspired by Ed's art show at San Francisco's Beat Museum, which runs through January 20th. Read his artist statement here.

The San Francisco Chronicle goes to Mom's Body Shop on Haight Street to talk to customers about "the allure of body art." And what is that allure? Well, we don't know because they never really ask the question. Just the standard ones about the pain and how many they have. I'd love for reporters to delve into the "Why" question. Not simply accept answers like, "I got it for my dead grandmother" but the real why we chose to mark these moments or simply beautify ourselves permanently. I always say, "I got it because I like it" but why I like it changes as I get older (as if I'm growing into my tattoos). I'd love to see an in-depth, modern study on it.

Let's leave the philosophy & psych, and shamelessly enjoy some quick-n-dirty links:

12:14 PM
Appetitefordestruction.jpgLike most people in the third decade of their life, I was first exposed to the work of Robert Williams through the appearance of his controversial painting on the Guns N Roses Appetite For Destruction album cover.  Well, let me rephrase that: the migration of said painting to the inside of the jacket after the people of Wal-Mart threw a hissy over the subject matter.

And as a guy who's done more than his fair share of interviews over his adulthood, I hate reading features on artists that center around the rank-and-file, "boring question and boilerplate answer" route of lazy journalism.  That's why I was thrilled to find that the November issue of Juxtapoz Magazine featured a lengthy discussion between Robert Williams and Ed Hardy on the nature of their respective art-forms.  No Q&A to speak of, just two grumpy old grouches grumbling about art.

Sadly, issue 106 already appears to be off the newsstands (I'm always a little late to the party), but I wanted to share some quotable gems that were locked within...

Ed Hardy: "I don't give a shit if people get tattoos.  I don't even know why people get them.  My stance was I shouldn't get looked down on as some subhuman piece of shit because I wear tattoos or want to do them."

Robert Williams: "Eventually I'm going to be completely run over and forgotten by the people who paint big-eyed children, and I'm going to be smeared into a footnote... You're probably going to end up being a fucking footnote, too."

Ed Hardy: "I still think tattooing is the most loaded kind of medium, because of course, it's tied into the whole thing about mortality and social conditioning... But it's just a medium, an innocent meidum, inert as oil paint lying there.  Until the paint gets laid on by a human, it's just paint.  But it's the power that these images evoke."

For those of you in the NYC Metro Area with any interest in the hallucinogenic work of Mr. Williams, he has a solo show at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, running until January 31st.  For those of you who can't attend, there's also an online slideshow.

02:56 PM
ed-hardy-mens-punk-18195-6192_zoom.jpgYeah, yeah, yeah; I know, I know... We all roll our collective eyes with every new product that gets Ed Hardy's name smeared across it and swear never to discuss it again.  But if this crap is gonna keep popping up like the cockroach/bedbugs version of Whack-A-Mole, my eyes are going to be rolling into the back of my head faster than Linda Blair's mother realized she needed two priests: an old one and a young one.

Well, I have nothing to comment on this latest abomination because my pal, Vince Neilstein, over at (my personal version of AP Reuters), pretty much hit that tarty little Frenchman right on his copyright/trademark-infringing head with this gem of a post:

"Punk's not dead... so we'll celebrate by charging $145 for an ugly t-shirt made by teens in a sweat-shop in Taiwan, to be worn by privileged suburban white males who wear supposed 'punk' clothing as a badge of identity."

Forget it... Punk is officially dead.  Long live punk.
11:31 AM
seoul tattoo.jpg
Will have a double tattoo news review for you Monday as I've been working through the proofs  (all 500 pages) of my book on blackwork this week, but I wanted to highlight two news stories that I particularly enjoyed:

The GlobalPost's look at tattoo culture in South Korea today and a look back on the forefathers of American tattoo culture on The Selvedge Yard.

Jiyeon Lee's photos and story of underground tattooing in Seoul reminded me a lot of my own first tattoos when the art was still illegal in NYC (it was legalized in 1997). Lee paints a picture of studios with "dark tunnel-like entrance with graffiti covered walls" that are found only after the "proper" steps are taken, which are set out: "first you run a search on the web, then you hook up with a tattooist who will guide you to a nondescript space, and finally you sit down for the illegal procedure."

[No Internet searches and hook-ups back in my day. I also walked miles without shoes in the snow to get tattooed.]

In South Korea today, only those with a medical license, like Kwon Yong-hyun pictured above, can legally tattoo, but with the increasing popularity of tattooing -- in part thanks to tattooed soccer stars that played at Seoul's 2002 World Cup -- tattooists believe that regulation of the art is in the near future.

paul rodgers tattoo.jpgWith tattoo culture budding in South Korea, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of The Selvedge Yard's
look back on the evolution of American tattooing with a tribute to "Cap" Coleman and Paul Rodgers in their "forefathers of tattooing" post. Thanks to Jake for that link.

The post is a fantastic collection of stories and archival photos of the tattoo parlors and the sailors and sideshow stars that frequented them. My favorite image is of a service woman getting tattooed in the 50s, surrounded by other female soldiers.

Many of the photos and other tattoo memorabilia were amassed by Paul Rodgers over the 60 years he tattooed; he had a stroke on that 60th tattoo anniversary and died two years later. In 1993, Chuck Eldridge, Ed Hardy, Alan Govenar and Henk Schiffmacher (Hanky Panky), created the Paul Rogers Tattoo Research Center to house the collection. That collection moved from Chuck's original Tattoo Archive home in San Francisco to where it is now in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Chuck said:

"If we can't find a building here,we'll take the collection back to North Carolina. It's where Paul came from and would be the right thing to do. It would be like taking Paul home."

They did just that. Learn more about the research center here.

The rest of the news will be up Monday. Have a great weekend!
11:00 PM
knuckle tattoos.jpgGot a monster tattoo news update for ya, filled with some old school salty tales, bequeathing tattooed skin, body art and cancer myths, and the usual tattoo law and celeb fodder, but before I do, behold these fabulous photos from Nathan of

Check Nathan's photo essay on, and vote for him (at the end of the essay) to be included in the print pub.

Oh wait! One more order of business please ...

.. you know I love, love, love when you send me links, but please no more to "Hipster Grifter" stories and tattoo photos? Ok, we all giggled at the beard tattoo, but she's not the first tattooed con with a healthy sexual appetite and she won't be the last (Halelujah). I don't know which is worse: her MySpace-posey faces in every blog or all the swine flooziness.

Now onto the serious stuff ...

You CANNOT get cancer from tattoos. Praise the NY Times for putting that health myth to rest. They interviewed Dr. Ariel Olstad who said "the ink is unlikely to do any harm because it is confined to cells in the skin called macrophages, whose job is to absorb foreign material." He did add:
"But people should know that they should always leave a rim of healthy skin around a pre-existing mole."
The reason behind this is because there have been cases where melanomas were overlooked because they came from moles hidden by tattoos. I have a bunch of moles and had no problem working my tattoos around them for this reason. Something to keep in mind, especially if you're super light skinned like me and are prone to melanoma.

Thinking of keeping that healthy skin preserved long after death? A 65-year-old Australian man, Geoff Ostling, who sports a full tattoo bodysuit, has pledged to donate his skin to the National Gallery in Canberra. According to the Daily Telegraph:
"He worked with cult artist eX de Merci over 15 years to tattoo a masterpiece on his body, from neck to ankle, with the theme 'All the flowers of a Sydney garden'.
Sydney taxidermy expert Sascha Smith said it could be a challenge to preserve the tattoos unharmed but the process would be no different to skinning an animal."
Funny, I just was interviewed by Esquire Magazine about donating and selling skin in the US. You can offer to bequeath your skin to an institution -- they may not accept -- but offering to sell it once you're dead, iffy. Plus, it'll end up like some creepy German flick.

Here's an interesting piece on Ed Hardy by Michael Corcoran for the American Statesman. I was initially turned off but the negative, albeit respectful, tone of Corcoran who is trying to educate Texans that Hardy is not just some guy who makes bedazzled tees. The author is not a friend and admits to it but does offer interesting insider tattoo gossip like on the relationship between Ed and Mike Malone:

"The two had their own language, built around countless hours waiting in the scab hut for military payday. If one called the other when business was nonexistent and asked what was up, the answer would be 'just talking to the panthers,' in reference to the black designs on the walls.

A customer who passed out during a tattoo was a mighty hawk. This comes from the time Malone tattooed a rather boastful customer who wanted 'The Mighty Hawk' on his arm. About halfway through the M, the guy got clammy and took a flop. Malone stood over him and said 'Mighty Hawk, get up Mighty Hawk. Are you OK Mighty Hawk?'  Old-line tattooists have hundreds of stories like that."

My major point of contention with the article: it doesn't mention the well publicized law suit alleging that Hardy is not seeing his fair share of the use of his name and artwork. That's all I'll say about that. For now.

And while I'm on it, let's get to some tattoo law news ...

1507434_202916_493e3d3d98_p.jpgA Pennsylvania appeals court ruled that a parolee shouldn't have been kicked out of halfway house for drawing sexy pin-ups for a tattoo. Taxpayer money put to good use! I can't roll my eyes back enough.

Here's an update on the Washington bill to regulate piercing and tattooing:  While the bill has passed, it needs approval by the state's governor. I know some people have this cool anarchist chic thing that makes them not like government regulation of anything, but it's gonna happen. The question is whether it will be on terms designed by people in the tattoo community like Troy Amundson (as with this bill) or you can have the Medical Quality Assurance Commission propose rules that would make body artists guilty of practicing medicine without a license for most procedures.

Wanna make a difference?
Contact Governor Chris Gregoire and voice your support of passing SSB 5391 Tattoo and Piercing Regulations.

Got another update on last week's news:

Remember the Joel Madden tattoo discrimination headlines? Now the British Air employee who made the "rocker" cover his tattoos before boarding the plan is not flying the friendly skies -- a rep for BA said the employee is being reprimanded, adding "we don't understand why the employee took it upon himself to enforce regulations that don't exist." Payback.

 Quick and Dirty Link time:

  • -- TMZ plays Guess the Bad Celeb Tattoo again.
  • -- Pharell is taking care of his old ink with MASSIVE laser removal (check the pix).
  • -- More on laser removal in general.
  • -- Lady Sovereign gets her first tattoo.
  • -- A "most beautiful" math tattoo.
  • -- Another geek tattoo, old school style. [Thanks, Scott!]
  • -- A Wisconsin tattooist tells the Prez his troubles in 2-page letter. Gets note back.
  • -- has a Q&A with Robin Soles of Indian Ink Tattoos in Jackson, MI.
  • -- has a Q&A with Oliver Peck on choosing a tattoo.
  • -- Mister Cartoon preaches to youth to make their own mark.
  • -- ABC News has video of the Fresno Tattoo Convention this past weekend.
  • Wanna share your convention pics? Let me know!
    02:19 PM
    rihanna tattoo.jpg
    The tattoo news this week has no love for the hippies. Guns, gangstas, ghouls topped the headlines with some juicy body art bits so let's get right to it:

    The biggest headline: Rihanna get's a new tattoo -- guns on each side of her rib cage by East Side Ink's Bang Bang. And it turns out it was the tattooist's idea:

    "I'm a big advocate of guns. So I said, 'How about a gun?' I printed out a picture of a gun that I thought would look good, and she loved it. We were thinking of putting it on her finger next to her wrist, or on her shoulders. She loved that, but it took away from her face, and you know, she's a CoverGirl, so we couldn't do that! So we put it under her ribs and she loved it. It took about 15 minutes. She didn't complain while I did the tattoo."

    C'mon, this has nothing to do with wanting to bust a cap in Chris Brown's ass? Bang Bang says the singer stayed quiet:

    "We didn't talk about why she specifically got it. She's a rock. She's just thinking about having a great time now." [Thanks to Jenni for the links!]

    In the best tattoo story written by a business mag: 
      Forbes profiles Paul Booth. And it's not bad. I'm not a fan of "The King of Creepy" headline but the article itself was fairly devoid of the usual cliches, and discussed Booth's other projects including plans for a "dark arts" bed and breakfast, preferably at an old Victorian in the woods. Another cool aspect to the article -- albeit very Forbes-ish -- is the photo gallery of Paul's work, which lists the occupation of the wearer and how much he or she paid for the tattoo.

    Ed Hardy is also featured in a article and podcast centering around his solo exhibition of his original paintings, prints and drawings at the Sylvia White Gallery in Ventura, CA. Hardy's famed "Dragon Scroll" is the show's centerpiece:  a 500-foot-long scroll painting of 2000 dragons in honor of the millennium and Chinese Year of the Dragon. Interestingly, the article says Hardy "distanced himself" from the clothing brand that bears his name [good thing to stay quiet in light of the law suit] but did say "For me not to have to tattoo and to focus the majority of my time on my personal art -- that to me is like my golden retirement." And well deserved.

    Going from the masters to the messes ...

    The biggest tattoo "FAILS": The six pack fail and the spelling fail. [Thanks, Brayden.]

    In fact, there were a number of spelling fails in the news this week, some with nasty consequences like this one: a Connecticut man pulled a gun on his tattoo artist who misspelled a tattoo then refused to fix it.

    Meanwhile, another tattooist who misspelled the name of a couple's son is refusing to fix the mistake, claiming they signed a release. While the release may protect the studio legally, maybe it should take head of the previous story.

    [I just wanna know why the tattooers aren't willing to fix their mistakes, guns and law suit threats aside. What happened to responsibility and just not being an asshole?]

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