The recent tattoo news was a blend of serious, sweet and silly. Here's the run down:
Ten days ago, NY Governor Cuomo signed legislation that requires tattoo studios and body piercing studios "to use single use needles and inks, to obtain consent forms from customers, and to maintain customer consent forms for a period of not less than seven years." The new law takes effect in 120 days from the signing. In our Needles & Sins Facebook group, Ricky Wong posted this Daily News article on the law, which elicited some great comments. Jœl B Van Goor joked, "I've been using the same needle since 2006 and I ain't about to change it now," and Lawrence Mascia made me giggle when he wrote, "Here I was thinking I was special when my tattoo artist would spit on the needle before hand to clean it." More seriously, Paul Roe noted that it does not state "sterile" inks and offers definitions open to misinterpretation. Pat Fish also shared:
The pre-sterilized single use needle set-ups, great, got that. But the single-use packaging of INK is the big threat. Over the years several suppliers have tried marketing inks this way, without great success, since the tiny caps of pre-packaged ink were prohibitively expensive. It is all about lawyers wanting documentation of the products used so they have someone to go after if there is a problem with healing. If this really does go into effect it will set an industry-threatening precedent.Personally -- and setting aside that not all lawyers are evil (ahem!) -- I think it's a poorly drafted bill, which was likely crafted without serious consultation from the tattoo industry. Regulations protecting the safety of tattoo clients are necessary and important, but they should reflect the realities of tattoo practice & industry standards and not be pushed through because of some knee-jerk reaction to misinformed health scares, or anger that some politician's daughter got a Snoop Dog tribute tattoo, or because a manufacturer can bank on it. The tattoo community needs to remind politicians of our voting power and resources, and that partnering with the industry on laws impacting it should be a necessity and not a courtesy.
On a lighter note, Paul shared this great piece on 83-year-old Doc Price of Plymouth, England, who will be judging the Plymouth Herald's Best Tattoo contest. Doc told the Herald that he believes himself to be the oldest living tattoo artist in the country and has tattooed more than 40 acres of human skin during his lifetime. He also shares some stories like a time when a disturbed British Intelligence worker entered his shop with a loaded weapon wanting a scar tattoo on his face, or his laugh over the Kanji tattoo that read "Windows 7" instead of a girlfriend's name on an unsuspecting tourist.
In a piece that hit close to home, a woman with vitiligo -- a chronic skin condition that causes the loss of skin color in blotches -- gets a tattoo to address stares & bullying. I actually have vitiligo on my face and hands, but because I have very fair skin, the loss of pigment isn't as pronounced as with those who have darker skin tones. Still, I was teased as a kid, and as an adult, it was suggested to me that I could have those white patches of skin tattooed to match my normal skin coloring. But, like Tifanny Posterar (another Brooklyn girl), I've embraced what I was born with and prefer to tattoo myself as a way to celebrate, rather than to hide. Tiffany has taken it further by getting the words "It's called vitiligo" tattooed across her forearm to educate those on the disease. More of her story in the article.
Quick & dirty links:
* Ricky & Pinky's tattoo parlour: 40 years of inking Hong Kong. Some great photos, including the top pic above.
* OC Weekly profiles Jess Yen of My Tattoo.
* "The 17 coolest tattoo artists you need to follow on Instagram." A good list. Although there are hundreds I'd add.
* Marine Corps to update its tattoo policy after review.
* Three held in Kuwait for illegal tattoo center.
* Will Smith Tattooed Suicide Squad Co-Star Joel Kinnaman.
* Photos from the 2015 Seattle Tattoo Expo.
* Men lose girlfriends after getting penis tattoos on their thighs. And I'll just leave it at that!
Photo by Katarzyna Mirczak.
There have been some interesting tattoo articles in recent news worthy of a round-up:
Yesterday, the NY Times ran an article entitled "Fresh Ink for the Human Canvas," which explores specific styles of tattooing, particularly watercolor-inspired work and hyper-realistic tattoos. It's a fashion & style piece, so there's no deep exploration of tattoo genres and fine art influences, but it's worth a read for some discussion on social media's affect on tattoo choices and stylistic tattoo trends, for which renowned artist Mark Mahoney offers his thoughts. There's also a mention of a company called "Flash Tattoo," which creates temporary jewelry-like tattoos, but it seems disjointed with the point of the article.
NPR has a piece entitled "Honolulu Police Chief's Ban On Visible Tattoos Sparks Criticism," which is a bit different from the usual articles on tattoo bans for law enforcement and military because the appearance-based standards affect largely Hawaiian officers for whom their tattoos attach significant cultural and religious meaning -- thereby, triggering potential issues with Title 7, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Here's more from that article:
Keone Nunes is a practitioner who taps out tattoo designs just as they were done a thousand years ago. He uses a hand-held tool -- a kind of miniature rake with needle-sharp tines made of animal tusks dipped in black ink. Uhi, or the artwork, is secondary to the prayers, protocols and techniques used in the ancient Native Hawaiian practice, he says.In other news, and for a lighter read, Gothamist has photos from the Urban Ink Convention, which took place in Brooklyn this past weekend.
Westword.com interviews 5 Denver tattooists, and they have some thoughful things to say about their craft.
Normally, I regret reading articles about tattoo regret, but this XO Jane article "I Am Getting Half Of My Tattoos Removed And I Still Have No Regrets," raises some insightful points on tattoo decisions made by Generation Y -- a generation who are used to walking into a shopping mall and getting instant tattoo gratification.
Further along the lines of regret, Chile's Mauricia Pinilla memorialized his regrettable soccer play with this tattoo.
Finally, the work of Katarzyna Mirczak is making the Internet rounds again after the Huffington Post article "18 Preserved Prison Tattoos That Are Still Attached To Skin," was published this Sunday. As we wrote about back in 2010, Mirczak's beautiful photographic series, called Preserving the Criminal Code, features a collection of 60 tattooed skins (preserved in formaldehyde) taken largely from dead prisoners. According to Mirczak, the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, collected the skins "with a view to deciphering the code - among prisoners known as a 'pattern language'. By looking closely at the prisoners' tattoos, their traits, temper, past, place of residence or the criminal group in which they were involved could be determined." If you haven't already viewed these powerful images, I highly recommend a look.
tattoo news review
Photo of Rockin Rollers Derby by Natalie Ujuk via Londonist.
I know you've been starved of your tattoo news updates from the old Needled.com times, but please, no Top Model mob behavior please. I appreciate your patience, the way you smile with your eyes, and how you let me talk incessantly about myself ala Tyra, and for this you will be rewarded with an extra-yummy news update. But first, go eat a cookie.
I, for one, prefer beautiful women brawling on skates, like The Broads of London's Rockin Rollers. Check out the fabulous photos of them by Natalie Ujuk on Londonist.
Ok, onto the headlines ...
The biggest news: TATTOO KILLS MAN! Sadly, a UK man died 10 days after his calf tattoo, which had gotten infected, but the cause was actually deep vein thrombosis, when a blood clot traveled to his lung. Granted thrombosis could have arisen from his inactivity in healing the tattoo but that is one of many potential causes. Still, the story will motivate me to get off the couch after my next session.
[Death may be an extreme fear but infections are not uncommon. Read about it here.]
Even the mere fear of infection has sparked a $20-million class action lawsuit in Canada. Lesson here: no matter how clean your studio, make sure that all your inspections, autoclave spore tests, and associated hygiene practices are in order, not just to protect clients but your studio from suits.
The biggest non-news: Suicide Girls get bacon bro tattoos at SXSW! My girls at SG are trendsetters as the bacon tattoo is lookin like the new tribal armband.
The biggest dirtbag news: Roxbury tattooist Jeffrey Dekmar is charged -- for the second time -- with sexually assaulting clients. Read the disgusting details from the arrest report:
"The patron wanting the prayer inked on her skin has alleged that she refused Dekmar's request that she remove her underpants, but that he yanked them down, digitally penetrated her, and then said, 'My bad,' according to an arrest affidavit."