I'm a big fan of blogs that chronicle the evolution of large scale work -- watching someone's transformation from what mama gave them to their own artful individuation (like Brian's Bodysuit to Fit). One that I'm following now with great interest is David Bragger's The Battle Royale Tattoo by Bob Roberts blog.
Bob Roberts and his Spotlight Tattoo are legendary. I know the word "legend" gets thrown around a lot but in this case it's incredibly apt to describe an artist who came up in the craft at The Pike in Long Beach from 1973, was taught by Bob Shaw and Col. Bill Todd, worked with Cliff Raven and Ed Hardy, and pushed tattooing to an even greater level of artistry. Spotlight remains a vigorous shop as well as a tattoo landmark.
David has been spending a lot of time this year at Spotlight. Bob finished up his leg work, which you can check on Flickr. It's a fantastic piece with some great art by Robert Ryan mixed in as well.
And with the leg done, it was time to move on to this back. In September, David began the blog with the sketches Bob had done for the backpiece. The posts then follow to stencil placement, lining, passing a kidney stone (!!), and the latest post shows the start of shading (and notes the soundtrack to that session). I'm loving the comments David adds along with the images. I highly recommend you give the blog a click.
Beyond being a tattoo connoisseur, David is also a player and instructor of old-time fiddle, banjo, mandolin and guitar. Watch some of his lessons on YouTube.
For more on Bob Roberts, you gotta pick up the definitive book on the artist: "Bob Roberts: In a World of Compromise...I Don't" published by State of Grace.
In our home there are two large tattoo works in progress, which means it's fully stocked with creams, painkillers, vodka, chocolate, and "tattoo sheets" (not the 1,500 thread count kind). Yesterday, I talked about adding to my tattoo collection with more rib work.
Today, Brian writes about his 11th tattoo sitting on his Bodysuit to Fit blog. Brian's got 38 hours already racked up with Mike Rubendall of Kings Avenue Tattoo. Check his post on how the backpiece is evolving ... and what it's like to score appointments with one of the most sought-after tattoo artists.
Tattoo by Matt Geiogamah
I've been a big fan of Ryan Keough's Tattoos In Flight for many years, so I was thrilled to see Ryan get some love on another favorite blog: Wired's Danger Room profiled Tattoos in Flight with great samples of aviation tattoos like the ones shown here.
A professional pilot and tattoo collector, Ryan curates top flight-themed tattoos but also provides information on the subject matter, making the blog a great read as well as eye candy. His own tattoo work, which inspired the site, has an interesting story behind it as well.
If you have an aviation tattoo you'd like to share, hit up Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tattoo by Mike Devries
One of my must-read tattoo artist blogs is that of Electric Pick. Beyond his posts of sexy illustrations and trippy tattoo work, his writing on politics and culture are eye-opening reads. Since the beginning of February, he's been sharing his adventures from sailing on a container vessel to Cape Town and now trekking throughout Africa.
We first wrote about Pick in our feature on Conspiracy Inc. in Copenhagen, his home for the last three years (which is the longest he's ever stayed in one studio). His next move, after his African tour, is to Hong Kong--a city he describes as "a constantly busy, evolving and magical environment."
I interviewed Pick about his life as tattooist/part-time spy for my next tattoo tome (on illustrative comic/cartoon work). Here's a taste from our talk:
Your adventures seem to be reflected in your drawings and sketches, but do they also impact your tattoo work?
Read more on Pick's vision of things here and check his tattoo portfolio here.
I've featured the wild and wonderful tattoos of Kristel Oreto of Crimson Anchor tattoo here before, but today I get to write about her greatest work of art: her daughter Angel who has created one of my new favorite blogs called Tattoo Sprout.
As Angel explains, Tattoo Sprout is about tattoo life, art, and the industry from a kid's perspective, with the ultimate goal of writing her first book about it all. She just recenty posted a profile on tattoo artist Jeremy Miller of Pigment Dermagraphics in Austin, TX. Here's a taste:
"Jeremy's style is a blend of New Skool and Realism. New Skool is a cartoonish style of tattooing and realism is photo realistic. His style is very popular among his clients. He likes things that can laugh at while he does the tattoo. He tattooed a chick-fil-a sandwich with fancy sauce on my mom's butt. I'm sure he had to get a few laughs out of that! Jeremy's style is very bold and colorful no matter what it is. His work is influenced a lot by Graffiti ( I <3 Graffiti ), cartoony art and from even flat imagery of traditional tattoo style. Most of his clients give him ideas then let him do his thing on the artwork. He has recently started working with textures and colored lines but is most importantly working on line weights. Jeremy WILL NOT do letters, he says he isn't good at them. He WILL NOT do tribal he doesn't like it."
I know! It's awesome, right?!
Bookmark Tattoo Sprout to read more great posts from a tattoo blog prodigy.
And by ink, I mean verbiage not tatouage.
Since 2005, I've been writing about my passion for tattoos near daily for Needled.com.
Today marks the last day of blogging for Needled ... And the first day on Needles and Sins, a site that talks tattoos and other fine art, plus music, shopping, book reviews, events, and so much more. .
Think of it as Needled Amped with more topics, more features and more kink.
This little blog will transform into a platform for other writers, podcasts, video blogs and maybe even a community where y'all can get involved. Big plans abound!
Highbrow for the underground -- and lowdown on the lowbrow. Something for everybody.
I welcome your ideas and thoughts for this new blogging adventure. Thank you so much for your support.
I smooch you!