Results tagged “inked”

12:43 PM
Michele Wortman floral tattoo.jpg
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As we wade our way through the floods and debris left by Hurricane Sandy, I want to focus today on the beauty, rather than destructiveness, of nature. The first artist who naturally came to mind, particularly with her floral-form bodysets, is Michele Wortman of Hyperspace Studios in Illinois.

I had a wonderful time interviewing Michele and her husband -- renowned biomechanical artist Guy Aitchison -- for an upcoming issue of Inked magazine. In it, we talked about how their distinctive artist styles developed, some of the controversy behind their approaches, and how one can be a better artist through attitude adjustment.

Here's a taste of that interview where Michele describes her bodysets:  ethereal, organic tattoos with a unified look throughout in the large scale projects.

Michele, how did your style develop?
My style originated from being a collector and not necessarily resonating with the early work I collected. I started to assess it more and realized that I wanted something that was more unified, that had less weight to it, and that reflected more of how I was feeling rather than what the styles were available at the time.

Around when was that?

It was around 1995 when I first got a half sleeve. I know that's not very much coverage but, at the time, it seemed it because you didn't really see women with the coverage you see now, and it felt like a big step. Then I got a chest piece a year later. My work had a fair amount of black in it, and I wanted something that felt lighter and a little freer. So I started getting lasered, getting rid of all the black in my ink so that I could reconstruct it, and during that period of time, I became a tattoo artist.

Would you say your style is more feminine?

It's interesting you should say that because, originally, I had wanted a half sleeve of flowers and this girl looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, "You would get that. How typical of you." That bothered me, so I decided I would rebel against my "feminine nature" and get architecture, which is very masculine in my opinion, very man-made. The fact that I rebelled against my feminine nature in the beginning only to come back to it later was an interesting lesson for me-to be comfortable and enjoy things that might be associated with having feminine qualities and not try to fight it and be someone I'm not. That had a lot to do with the energy I was putting into my tattoo work and that became my defining style.
More of our interview will be in an Inked "Icon" feature. I'll do a follow-up post when the issue is out. To view more of Michele's work, check her Facebook page as well as the Hyperspace website.

Michele Wortman floral tattoo4.jpg
09:19 PM
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The October issue of Inked, which just dropped, has my interview with Joe Capobianco, the Prince of Pin-Up tattoos. In it, Joe talks about his signature style, quitting the convention circuit, hair pomade, and what makes a woman sexy. Here's a taste:

You have such a signature style that one can look at a pin-up tattoo and know that it's a "Capo Girl." What are the elements you put into your work that make it your own?

"There are certain ideas that go into my work: the shape of the figure, the attitude of the figure--in pinups it's important that the girl has the right attitude. I usually start with the face. In my opinion, if you blow the face on the pinup, it doesn't matter if she's naked with big boobs. If the face is shot, the pinup is shot. In everything I've done, I've looked to great artists like Gil Elvgren, Earl Moran, Alberto Vargas, Hajime Sorayama, and Olivia. Their work is in the back of my mind--it's subconscious--but I don't try to copy them. I think that's something some people lack: they try to make their work look like someone else's, but for me, it's more about letting things happen on its own, naturally."

joe capobianco tattoo2.jpgWhat do you think makes a good tattoo?

"In my opinion, a good tattoo is something that is readable and something that's going last. Outlines are important, shading is important, solid color is important. I even go a little bit crazy with the saturation of color, which some traditional guys say, "Why do you do that? It's too much." But I don't think too much is gonna hurt the tattoo. I want the tattoo to look like I just did it for as long as possible. It's not high art. It's not your vision on somebody. I know this will sound shitty--and I'm not making points with some people--but I don't think it's fine art. A tattoo is a tattoo. "

joe capobianco tattoo.jpgEspecially considering that you tattoo these tributes to women--what is sexy to you?

"It's not about any one thing. A girl can be drop dead gorgeous and have a killer body that men will drop their fucking drawers for, and I'll look at her and go, "eh." It's something about the way the woman carries herself. It's something you can't put your finger on--and you shouldn't be able to put your finger on. So many women try so hard to be what they consider the perfect woman, and they're missing the point. There is no perfect woman. The fact that you come in all shapes and sizes, that's the beauty of it."

Read the rest in Inked. Get it on newsstands or by digital issue download.
05:00 AM

Inked Magazine Premier Issue Inked Magazine was the first tattoo magazine for black skin. It had a short run of two issues, when Easy Riders Publications (later known as Paisano Publications) decided to stop the magazine for reasons unknown.

Don't get the 1999 Inked Magazine confused with the glitzy, glossy 2009 Inked -- they are two completely different beasts. Today's Inked is a progressive publication that pays homage to all of tattoo culture, unlike others in the industry.

Before this review goes any farther I would like to give special thanks to Sandra at Paisano Publications for sending me their last two copies of this groundbreaking magazine.

I remember buying Inked when it first hit the newsstands; boy, was I psyched. Finally a magazine about something I could relate to: black skin. I was even blown away by the cover. How did they get all that color into that black chick's skin, was the first thing on my mind.

In 1999, I had been collecting tattoo magazines for about 6 years and had just received my first tattoo from Pedro Baluga (who happened to be a guest editor for the premier issue). I was hungry for anything with information on tattooing black skin. The majority of magazines were a disappointment to me -- there was rarely a black person in any of them, and I just wanted to see an example of what was possible on my own complexion. I also just wanted a tattoo magazine to discuss something I could relate to: being a black kid from the inner city.

Inked Magazine Final IssueInked gave me what I was looking for: reviews of black bands, articles on African body modification rituals, articles on black tattooists. But all good things must come to an end. When I asked the publishers why they stopped after only two issues, no one knew.

I can only guess that 1999 just was not the time for a magazine like this. Now there are so many more examples of black folks with extensive tattoo coverage. Then, less so. Then, I was looking at 2pac as being "tatted", now he would just be a dabbler.

Easy Riders Publications should be commended for even putting this magazine out at the time. It also published Tattoo, Tattoo Flash, Easy Rider, Biker, Savage, V-Twin and In the Wind, and considering most of these titles were geared largely towards biker readership, creating a mag about tattooed black skin was a progressive and gutsy move.

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