Results tagged “sacred geometry”
Photo of Whang-Od Oggay by Lars Krutak.
I had to weed through the muck of dumb celebrity tattoo gossip and features focusing on the bad rather than beauty of tattooing, but I did come up with some gems. I also threw in a few that made me mad but were noteworthy. Here we go...
One of my favorite recent features was this Guardian photo show "What lies beneath: people with full-body tattoos bare all." Cheezy title, but great photos of a diverse group of collectors, including our friend Drew Beckett.
I was also so excited to read that the Philippines' oldest living mambabatok (tattoo artist), Whang-Od Oggay (shown above), has been nominated as a "National Living Treasure or Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA)" for her role in perpetuating the traditional art of Kalinga tattooing. I first learned of Whang-Od through Lars Krutak's writing "The Kalinga Tattoo Artist of the Philippines," and through the work of the Tatak Ng Apat Na Alon Tribe, who are reviving the ancient tattoo arts of their Kalinga ancestors here in the US. Hers is an amazing story and truly deserving of such an honor. Also check this video profile on Whang-Od (from 2013).
Lars' work is also discussed in the Smithsonian Science News article "Is tattoo ink safe?" The article explores a paper that Lars co-authored entitled "A medical-toxicological view of tattooing," which looks at the toxicological risks of the ingredients used in tattoo inks and also what happens to the pigments during tattoo removal. Lars is quoted in the article explaining further:
There are no regulatory requirements concerning the production and sterility of colorants, which can carry multi-resistant bacteria and carcinogens and trigger serious allergic reactions and viral infections. [...] New research is needed to contribute to the future development of safe tattooing, and this article is a first step in the right direction.In Australia, plastic surgeons & tattoo removal specialists want greater regulation of the tattoo removal industry, especially considering the damage that is being done by those with a laser machine and little experience.
On the US legal front, a federal judge tossed a lawsuit challenging the visible tattoo ban of the Chicago Police Department. In July, three Chicago police officers, who served in the military and have symbolic tattoos, filed the suit claiming that the ban violates their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and expression. However, U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras ruled that "the city's goal of having a professional-looking police force trumps the officer's desire to express themselves by keeping their tattoos visible while on-duty." We've been seeing more and more challenges to police department tattoo policies, with different results, but it appears that the legal tide is still with upholding these bans.
It was painful for me to read the TechInsider article on "trendy sacred geometry tattoos" -- which is anything but sacred. It features work from some good artists, but throwing it together in an Instagram Listacle format was tacky and lacked respect for patterns that should be taken as something more than the next cute Pinterest tattoo pick.
Thankfully, I felt better reading this profile and Q&A with Paul Slifer, the Massachusetts native who owns Red, Hot and Blue Tattoo in Edinburgh, Scotland. A few years ago, when I was visiting that fabulous city, I stopped by the studio, and they were really warm and welcoming. Plus the artists there know how to put on a beautiful tattoo. Check 'em.
One of the biggest stories in recent headlines was the tattoo of Justin Trudeau, Canada's new Prime Minister, which is a Haida-inspired raven with a globe as part of the body. As noted by Radio Canada International, the tattoo was done by Robert Davidson, an artist of Haida and Tlingit descent. Interestingly, the article brings up cultural appropriation and tattoos:
There has been controversy in North America over cultural appropriation-the fashion industry and non-natives using aboriginal symbols. But Peter Lantin, president of the council of the Haida Nation, told the National Post "when Justin Trudeau visited...again in 2013, he seemed to take an interest in the culture and, of course, his father was technically family."Read more on the issue of appropriation and Haida tattooing here. As a follow up to the Trudeau tattoo story, the BBC has this article on tattoos of other world leaders.
Aaaand let's wrap up this news review with some quick & dirty links:
* An Australian man with a Hindu goddess tattoo angered a crowd in Bangalore, India.
* Patrick Thomas of OC Tattoo on Pet Portraits, Graphic Design, and Tattooing his Sister.
* "My Life with a Face Tattoo" is an interesting BBC video profile of one Dundee man.
* And the most tattooed city in the UK is ...
Mandalas, Yantras, the interlocking swastikas of the Sayagata--they are some of the most referenced imagery found in dotwork tattooing. And the prevalence of their use and influence on so many tattooists worldwide can be traced to one man: Xed LeHead.
These artists, from the 90s Dunstable generation to today's Instagram #sacredgeometrytattoo stars, reverently refer to Xed as "The Dotfather," for the 3-needle dot configurations tattooed in richly textured patterns across massive swaths of skin. From the age of 13, Xed was handpoking friends, ten years before he chose to pursue tattooing around 1990. And from those very first tattoos, dots always dominated.
You'll be finding The Dotfather banner (above) popping up on social media feeds, in honor of all Xed's artistic contributions to tattooing, and the lives he has changed with his work. However, these tributes stem from very difficult circumstances and the desire to support a beloved friend, mentor, and inspirational figure in tattooing.
Recently, Xed suffered a severe medical condition, leaving him unable to use his arms and legs and forcing him to retire from tattooing. Xed faces a long road of rehabilitation and the need for specialist medical equipment and services that exceed both Xed and the UK's National Health Service budgets. To support Xed and give back all he has given to our community, a trust fund has been set up, spearheaded by tattooers Goldilox and Delphine Noiztoy, that will go directly to these medical costs.
** To be a part of this support, please donate to the Official Xed Le Head fund page. You can learn more about the fundraising efforts, share your Xed stories, and find out about his care on the Xed Le Head Facebook fundraising page. **
Also check @Xedleheadlove on Instagram and share the love with these hashtags #xedleheadlove #xedlehead #themaster.
There are additional individual fundraisers planned: There will be an exhibition of Xed's work at the Norwich Tattoo Convention August 15-16th, and for the first time his prints will be for sale. FK Irons is auctioning off three dedicated Xed tattoo machines, and there are many more auctions of artists work planned.
I'll be setting up an auction for the original Black Tattoo Art, the cover of which is graced by Xed's work and has pages of his tattoos inside as does Black Tattoo Art II). More on that to come.
While there are have been a number of fundraisers for tattooers' medical expenses, this one is different for me. Not only does compassion move me to help someone who is forced to stop making a living and doing what he loves, I think it is also time to reciprocate Xed's gifts of an expanded tattoo vocabulary and spiritual approach to the art. And for anyone who has ever banked on the Master Pattern and his other designs, it seems to me like a debt owed (although, he probably would not approve of me saying so).
Xed is also known for his generosity of spirit, dedication to his clients, and passion for tattoos. In my last interview with him, he said some beautiful things, a part of which I want to share with you:
[T]he days in the studio, the time spent devoted to another human, not sexual and with or without payment being of no consequence, but for the betterment of them, for improving their journey through life, knowing and believing fully that what I attempt to do with them, for them, is to rewire their Planet Freakout Playsuit a little, to improve their vibration rate and deepen their connection with their selves.There is also the want to get into their heads, to know them, to watch their growth, to get involved with really complex pieces that take at least forever to complete, often much longer.
Xed rose up through the famed Into You Tattoo, the London studio of his mentor Alex Binnie, and then created his own space in North London, Divine Canvas, the premier studio for blackwork.
You can find more of Xed's work on the Divine Canvas site and his personal site - which has a great interview section.
I also recommend you watching this Youtube video, in which he talks about his most renowned work on Lucky Diamond Rich, Guinness World Records Most Tattooed Man.
Once inspired, please go to Official Xed Le Head fund page and be a part of supporting a tattoo icon.
Dominating dotwork tattooing, Chaim Machlev's work, from mandalas to modern geometry, is ubiquitous on "Best Tattoos" lists and is one of the most reblogged/regrammed/"liked" artists of the blackwork genre in my social media feeds. And for good reason. His expert technique, combined with fresh perspective and interpretations of ancient art, results in incredibly beautiful work that commands a long look, rather than a quick glance at an image flashed on our phones.
For a more in-depth look into the artist himself, filmmakers Nikita Luennemann & Lukas Muganga created the documentary "Dots To Lines" (embedded below), which follows Chiam over the course of a year, filming various tattoo projects and telling his personal story. The filmmakers also note: "Carried by the narration of his unusual path that led him from a 'conventional' lifestyle in Tel-Aviv, Israel to a very distinct mind set and a cosmopolitan way of life, it underlines his unique style of tattooing, which puts the art in the focus, feeds of emotions and the shared experience."
The trailer is just a quick tease, and I look forward to seeing the whole film. Will follow-up when I have more info on it.
See more of Chiam's work on his site, Facebook, and Instagram.
Last week, a beautiful tattoo video (below) was released online featuring Alexis Calvie of Black Heart Tattoo in St. Raphael, France. Filmmaker Arnaud Payen does a great job in capturing the dark and sexy vibe of the studio as well as the process of creation as Alexis works on a sacred geometry inspired sleeve. There are close-ups of the line work as well as how Alexis builds on the sleeve using the stippling technique. The video inspired me to take a close look at Alexis' portfolio, as well as the other artists at Black Heart, and I really loved what I found.
Check their work yourself on their Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram @blackheartattoo pages.
I was excited to learn that, earlier this month, one of NYC's premiere tattoo studios, Kings Avenue Tattoo, welcomed a new tattoo artist to their roster: Zac Scheinbaum. Zac rounds out the Kings Ave crew with a portfolio filled with my favorite things: dots, geometry and lots of black ink. I hit up Zac with a few questions about his work:
You've recently become a part of Kings Avenue Tattoo, coming from Saved Tattoo. As both studios have a high bar for excellence, what was your path like in tattooing to reach that bar?
I learned to tattoo in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at a shop called Four Star Tattoo. Mark Vigil apprenticed me. He is a very knowledgeable and incredibly talented tattooer. When I met him, and the years that followed, he showed me everything about how tattoos should be done, and the right and wrong ways that he thought to do things. I feel like I still learn and recall things he said to me all those years ago and they are totally relevant. But he also definitely "raised" me in a sense to have a high volume of respect for everything dealing with the craft...and artists that do it.
I initially came to New York to get my arm done by Mike Rubendall. He was a huge influence on me and definitely helped me to be where I am today even from back then. I also would've never met Chris O'Donnell without Mike. I had gotten tattooed by Scott Campbell over at Saved many years before and always thought that it would be so awesome to work there.
Long story short (sort of, after a rocky goodbye and a few months on St. Mark's), I ended up at Saved. Both Kings Avenue and Saved have always been gigantic influences on me and my work. It is a fulfillment of life dreams and goals to have the opportunity to work around these amazing artists.
How do you work to become better and better at your craft?
I never feel satisfied with my work, and I think that's important. I'm always trying to learn and get better. I sort of think of it as getting an education from all of these different amazing teachers, then taking things you like and don't like about what advice you are given, and deciding how to implement that to best fit your clients and your vision of the final piece of work.
I'm a fan of your style of blackwork and dotwork tattooing. How did you come to your style and what references do you seek out for your work?
The use of black and white imagery is what I have always been the most comfortable doing. I would love to do more color work also, but it is definitely a little harder for me to grasp sometimes. That being said, the strong use of dotwork and geometric tattooing that I do, I can attribute directly to Thomas Hooper. When he came to Saved, it definitely changed my mentality -- whether it was about my philosophy for tattoos, work ethic, design, and overall aesthetics, he had such a smart and different way of doing things. I really admire him and wouldn't be where I am without him. I've always loved this type of tattooing (Xed Le Head, Tomas Tomas, Jondix, Mike the Athens), but never understood how it was even possible. Thomas showed me how to make mandalas and how he suggested doing things, and I sort of took that, then just ran with it on my "own" after he left.
I'd say that, just within five years, the appreciation for blackwork and dotwork tattoos has grown exponentially in the US. Do you think that's accurate \? What are your thoughts on the growing interest in these styles?
I think every style of tattooing has a time and a place, and this just happens to be the time where this type of tattooing is getting a little bit more notoriety and acknowledgment, but I'm sure, as with all things, it will pass and something else will come up instead of it. Not that that's a bad or a good thing, but I think it's definitely something that, when people think of tattoos, this was just something they hadn't seen before and that's why it got so big -- because they didn't realize what was possible, or that a tattoo could be so detailed.
What do you love about tattooing?
I love tattooing because it's has given me the opportunity to do art every single day. I feel so honored that anybody would like to get tattooed by me. It means the world to me. Not only has tattooing integrated itself into every aspect of my life, whether I'm reading or having dinner or whatnot, I always can find new ideas everywhere. It lets you create all the time! You get to make people happy, and give them something that can change their lives.
What projects, travels, events are coming up for you that you'd like to share?
I'm working on a series of new paintings, and hopefully some flash. I am planning a trip to Japan early next year, but am not sure the exact dates yet.
Find more of Zac's work on his site and Instagram.
I'm very fortunate to have shelves of beautiful tattoo and art books from artists across the globe -- books I've learned a great deal from and books that inspire posts for this blog. But it is not often that a book inspires how I envision further work on my own tattoos and has me excited about different possibilities of expression when designing the next steps of my body suit.
One such book is "Solstice Mandala" by George "Orge" Kalodimas of Sake Tattoo in Athens, Greece.
Last July, I first wrote about the Solstice Mandala project in which Orge set out to create a mandala a day, from June 21st, the Summer Solstice, to December 21st, the Winter Solstice. And he did so. Here's more:
In the morning of 21st of June, Orge was listening to the radio and was reminded that this is the biggest day of the year. This reminder pushed him to later spend hours online learning about the Solstice circle and the unstoppable circle of life every year since the beginning of time. That's when inspiration stroke. He would design one mandala per day for the next 184 days, paying tribute to the solstice. He spent every day for 6 months designing a new mandala inspired by religion, nature and sacred geometry.Those 184 mandalas are beautifully presented in a lush, limited edition 128-page hardcover with embossed sleeve. Even more wonderful is that the book is accompanied by a signed & numbered limited print.
And the most wonderful part: the book is available for purchase at only 75 Euros (about $102 US).
Personally, I love how Orge has created mandalas that are incredibly detailed with various patterns and imagery, but would not overwhelm the body and would translate beautifully when the art is put on skin.
For more on how Solstice Mandala came to be, check this great video below.
And for more on Orge's tattoo and fine art work, check his Facebook and Instagram pages.
Thanks to Facebook, I was reminded that today is the birthday of one of my favorite blackwork artists: Roxx of 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco. Happy birthday, Roxx!
So when I went to the 2Spirit Facebook page, I found stunning new work that I had to share. Roxx is not only known for some of the boldest blackwork around (as shown below), but she is also able to create light and intricate sacred geometry patterns and, as evidenced by the very top photo, use the simplest forms to the greatest effect.
You can catch Roxx at the Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts, Oct. 25-27. She'll also be in NYC working to transform mastectomy scars on P.Ink Day, October 21st at Saved Tattoo. [More on P.Ink Day here.]
I'm also honored that Roxx is one of the featured artists in Black Tattoo Art 2.
More of her work can be found on Instagram.