Results tagged “hand-poked tattoo”

07:27 AM
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The gag-inducing piece entitled "Enter 2015: Stick and Poke Tattoos Are the New Septum Piercings," could turn anyone off to hand worked tattoos, or even tattoos in general, as it talks about the "coolest style" on models and makes tattoos seem like the newest "It" handbag.

The piece references the Stick & Poke Tattoo Kit, which I wrote about here last January (that photo editor of Style with her poked tattoo is not at the forefront of trend as they say). In that post, I talked about how I felt really uncomfortable having stick & poke kits available in a neat little box with a price tag for the mass trendsetters, despite loving hand work (and having giving one -- a bad one) myself.

Thankfully, I can now articulate the difference between the consumer kits and real artists using this technique by pointing to Charles Boday's recently released Handpoke Tattoo: 23 Artists' Words and Ink. Charles informed me of his project last March at the NYC Tattoo Convention, and when I found that he met his goal of creating a book that features the work -- and words -- of artists who excel in handpoked tattooing, I followed up to find out more.

When I asked Charles to explain further about his interest in this type of tattooing, he explained:

A few years ago I wanted to learn how to tattoo [...] A friend suggested I start by hand for the expedient reason that if I made a mistake, it would be easier to correct. I started working on myself, and also looking online to see who was doing similar work. Two things happened: I discovered how much I loved the sensuous nature of the needle entering the skin, without the distraction of the noise and the blood inherent in machine work, resulting in work that was just as black as with a machine (and a quicker healing process), and also that there was a community out there, some of whom worked exclusively by hand, and others who mixed it in with their more remunerative machine work, especially at conventions.

I contacted a number of artists, including those working in traditional style in their own cultures. But the idea was for them to be moving outside the framework of tradition. Or reinventing it if it had been lost.
Charles also noted that women tattooers are more represented than in the traditional machine tattoo world. Considering how, in certain indigenous cultures, tattooing was traditionally done only by women, it's interesting to see how that has carried over.

I also asked Charles what he thought about the renewed interest in handwork, and he said:

There clearly is a resurgence in hand tattooing, on a number of levels. I think in the '70s and '80s, when the west was discovering the power of tribal design, epitomized by the work of Leo Zuluetta, there was a related decline in the cultures of their origin. I remember reading stories of Borneo tribesmen just wanting an American eagle tattoo. In a way, all this is fine-- there always will be an ebb and flow in cultural expression. But there is a real resurgence in tribal artforms in their place of origin. In the Philippines, in Borneo, in New Zealand. Furthermore, people like Colin Dale are exploring their long lost cultural art identity in Scandinavia, and also promoting Inuit traditional tattooing. Not to mention the burgeoning flower that is England and chopsticks, following on from the granddad of them all, George Burchett!
But what about stick & poke tattoos in popular culture? Charles adds:

Perhaps there is a less vaunted resurgence, which is that of the DIY tattoo...I belong to a few sites on Tumblr myself. What can I say? There's an interest in the non-professional. It's rough. It's punk. Mostly, it's crap...scratching, really. But out of this can be borne a true artist. I really believe this. I also believe you can do it yourself. In this medium. Without a Master (which is not to say without a mentor...We all need help!).
I agree with Charles' view of seeing art in all forms (although we did not discuss the commercialization aspect with the stick & poke kits). And what he has accomplished with Handpoke Tattoo: 23 Artists' Words and Ink is highlighting exceptional art by exceptional artists. I highly recommend picking up the book.

[Many thanks to Colin Dale for the link. Colin is also a featured artist in Handpoke Tattoo: 23 Artists' Words and Ink.]
08:58 AM
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Today, I wanted to share another artist who will be featured in my upcoming Black Tattoo Art IIGoldilox, an incredibly talented tattooist who works mostly by hand to creat soulful works of art. Goldilox can be found at Dawnii Fantana's powerhouse studio, Painted Lady, in Birmingham, UK.

I asked Goldilox for a few words on her work. Here's what she said:
I'm inspired by everything from botanical etchings to mehndi and geometry -- by the sacred and the silly. I feel that every tattoo I'm asked to do is an honour as that person has chosen to me to mark their skin with an image they'll carry forever. By keeping this in mind, I strive to make each new tattoo my best yet. A lot of my work is done by hand with no machines, just needles and ink. I adore the intimacy of the process with every tiny dot added one by one, using different tools but the same techniques used for millennia by our ancestors across the globe.
Check more of Goldilox's work on Facebook.

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08:51 AM
colin dale tattooing.jpghand tattoo.jpgThe other day, I received an interesting email from our friend and one of our favorite tattooers, Colin Dale of Skin & Bone tattoo studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. Colin particularly specializes in hand-poked dotwork, creating gorgeous pieces, large and small, with a particular bent towards Nordic art and mythology (although he works in a variety of genres).

In the message, Colin sent these photos, shot by his partner Nana, of him tattooing their friend Eric Frederikson with soot mixed with the ashes of Eric's deceased father to make the ink. As Colin said, "It doesn't get more tribal than that."

Considering my fascination with memorial tattoos using cremation ashes, I asked for more to the story, and Colin obliged. Here's what he wrote:

Leviticus talked about cutting and marking the body in reverence to the dead. The Hawaiians used to cut themselves with shells (scalp) and smear the funeral pyre ashes on themselves. And I know several people have done this in modern times before me...I seem to remember Bill Tinney (Photographer for Outlaw Biker, Tattoo Review, etc.) got a portrait of his mother (or grandmother) done by Brian Everett, I believe, with some ash mixed in the ink. However, I actually wanted to make ink out of the ash!

Unfortunately human (animal) ash is very light, so I mixed it with soot to darken it up while still trying to
stay as prehistoric as possible. I don't know if you should give the recipe out [Editor's Note: yup, I am], but it was half ash, half soot -- and then an equal portion of 55% Vodka! The human ash was quite grainy, so I had to mill/mortar it, which was no problem at Lejre [Denmark, where the tattoo took place]. In the studio, I probably would have hit it with the ultrasonic for a few days. But Eric is from Minnesota (Minnesota Viking!), so my only concern was that he might catch Mad Republican Disease!
For more on the tattoo, and to see other great photos by Nana, read Colin's blog here.


And for other N+S posts on tattooing with cremation ashes check these previous posts:

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12:38 PM
colin dale tattoo machine.jpgIn the last 120 years, have you ever seen a tattoo machine tattooed by hand?

This Paul Roger's Mad Bee machine tribute is hand-poked by Colin Dale of Skin & Bone Tattoo in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Colin is no stranger to this blog. We've filmed him skin stitching at the Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Fest. We wrote about him tattooing a 103-year-old woman. And featured his own 3D Celtic Tattoo, a collaboration with Pat Fish & Cory Ferguson. Colin is not just one of our favorite artists, but a pal and confidant. We thank him for being a friend.

For more of the tattoo viking's work, check his online gallery.
04:07 PM

For those interested in hand-poked tattoo work, Grounded TV Network created this documentary short on Butterfly [no web site found], a painter who discovered traditional tattooing by hand in Goa, India and has traveled the world sharing her art ever since.

In the video, Butterfly discusses her spiritual approach to tattooing and the freedom to be able to work anywhere -- up in trees and volcanoes she says -- giving people the opportunity to be tattooed in nature and sacred spaces. [However, as far as I know, she has not tattooed in Tompkins Square Park with found objects from garbage cans.]  The film is by Syd Woodward and definitely worth the watch.

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01:27 PM
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Hand-poked. Dotwork. Skull.

Three of my favorite words in the tattoo language, so naturally, I had to know more about this chest piece on musician Johnny Kowalski tattooed by Clare Deen, aka Goldilox.

The work was done all by hand over eight hours in a couple of sittings. Beyond the logistics, the stories behind the tattoo are what's really compelling. Johnny wanted a tattoo to celebrate his thirtieth birthday and here's the inspiration behind it, in his own words:

 "I've always appreciated the beauty of animal skulls, and it seemed an appropriate symbol of adulthood because of the obvious connection with hunting. I also liked the connection with the Norse rune Algiz, which I have tattooed in red ink on my left big toe.

Above all, I knew that the tattoo would look fucking cool. I think that the cliche about knowing when you are in love also applies to finding the right tattoo design--you just know when it's right.

I chose Clare because I have held her artistic abilities in extremely high esteem for a very long time now, since before she started tattooing. One of her great strengths as an artist, on skin or on canvas, is that she has an amazing gift for depicting natural forms, whether that be as a painted portrait or a tattooed butterfly. The stag skull was a departure from her normal style, but once we had discussed the idea and she'd done a few preliminary sketches, I knew we were on the right track.

We both agreed that hand poking would be the best way forward for the tattoo, both in terms of allowing Clare to get as much detail she thought the tattoo needed and would hurt less for me. Having both machine and hand poked tattoos, I can safely say I prefer hand poking--it feels less traumatic and spares you the incessant buzz of the machine. However, despite the relative ease of hand-poked tattoos, I still found the tattoo extremely painful in places, which was in a strange sense what I was looking for:  a big, bewildering experience that would push my limits beyond what my experiences had previously led me to believe I could handle and to be left with an amazing image on my skin at the end of it to mark my thirtieth birthday." 

I like these kind of stories. But I'm nosy and wanted more.

Considering the large work, I asked Goldilox about her process in hand-poked tattoos and surprisingly, she told me that she had only been tattooing by hand for about a year (she had been using a machine since her start in the art). Goldilox is a self-taught tattooist, originally from rural Wales and now working at Painted Lady Tatoo Parlour in Birmingham, UK. She's has worked in many artistic disciplines: pin-striping cars, sign-writing, airbrushing, sculpting, drawing, painting, and sewing (among others) and so working by hand in tattooing "feels right" to her.

Here's more on what Goldilox said about her hand worked tattoos:

"I started tattooing by hand initially on myself. It felt intuitive. The fine lines I could create using just a needle just inspired me. My artwork has always been intricate, and tattooing like this felt like an extension of this...a very natural progression, and within no time at all, all my clients wanted hand-poked work...

To me, another wanting my artwork on their skin is an immense honor, and I feel that tattooing by hand,adding every minute dot one by one in the same way it has been done for millenia makes the tattoo all the more adds a certain magic!

I like working with color. Many hand-artists avoid it because colored inks have less saturated pigment so it takes a lot longer than black to actually get the color in the skin--but I like challenges!

I draw lots of my inspiration from many sources-old Victorian botanical plates, mehendhi art,Islamic geometry to name a few.I really love reinterpreting ancient artwork into the modern day using what is essentially an even older technique."

It looks like I'll be seeing Goldilox at the Traditional Tattoo and World Culture Festival this weekend, and hopefully, will bring back more examples of her work.

Check more of her work here. And hear Johnny's music here.
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