Results tagged “traditional tattoo”

07:43 AM
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OC Weekly recently published a profile and Q&A with tattooer Eric Jones, entitled "Eric Jones of Port City Tattoo on How Tattooers Are Like Plumbers and the Magic of Tattooing."  Plumbing and magic aside, Eric talks about his tattoo style, client relationships, tattoo TV, and differences between his old NY shop and Port City in Long Beach, CA. My favorite quote, however, comes from a discussion in the profile on how he believes that everyone should get a tattoo at least once:

Everyone should experience a tattoo at least once. It gets rid of the illusion that life is this super sacred, serious thing. [...] It's like, you can't enjoy your car without a dent in it, because you're always worried about keeping it perfect. Or do you really even have any drinking stories if you don't have at least one about throwing up?
The tattoos Eric likes to put on are traditional, however, as he notes in the article, he works in many styles: "As a tattooer, you have to do all of the styles. You can't turn away tattoos, you just have to be like a plumber."

Follow Eric on Instagram and check more of his work on the Port City site.

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02:19 PM
blackwork tattoo sway.pngsway traditional tattoo.pngKnown for strong, traditional tattooing, especially the bold-will-hold black variety, Sway of Sacred Electric in Leeds, UK, was recently interviewed for the Brighton Tattoo blog. In that Q&A, Sway talks about Sacred Electric, his crew, and how they find inspiration for their work. Here's a taste:

Firstly how did you get into tattooing? How long have you been tattooing?

I can't remember not being into tattoos. I always drew on my arms when I was a kid. I started getting tattooed when I was way too young with designs I had done- stupid idea. I just  took my drawings to the shops I got tattooed in, asking for a job. I started tattooing maybe 10-11 years ago. I can't remember now my memory is so bad. I did my apprenticeship with Chris Wright of Viking Tattoo in Jarrow. I never see him anymore, but I'm always grateful for the time he gave me and his help getting me started in tattooing.
Read more on the blog.

For those in the US wanting to get work, Sway will be traveling to the East and West Coast this summer. And in addition to the Brighton Tattoo Convention next weekend, Sway will be at the Nepal convention in April.

See more of Sway's work on Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr.

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10:37 AM
swallows and daggers.jpgPhoto by Joshua Gordon.

On my list of favorite tattoo blogs, for a long time, has been Swallows&Daggers. It's my go-to source for everything about traditional and neo-traditional tattooing, with artist profiles, galleries, and articles on the history behind iconic tattoo imagery.

This month, the Swallows&Daggers crew (who are based in the UK) have created a streetwear brand that is inspired by these traditional tattoo motifs as well as hardcore and hip hop cultures.

Check for their debut line, which features artwork by Clark Orr, Zach Shuta, and Matt Skiff that is clean and bold, just like a good traditional tattoo. The tees and hoodies can be purchased online and in select retail partners in the US & UK.

If you want to watch cute and really young tattooed boys play around in the shirts, see the video below. Also hit their lookbook on Flickr and Facebook

12:11 PM
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This past weekend, the AFP reported on ancient tattoo practices having a contemporary appeal in Rob Bryan's article "Myanmar's tattooed women lure tourists."

In it, you'll read stories of the few remaining Chin women who bear the facial tattoos of their ancestors, a rite of passage and act of beautification for young women that is vanishing as the new generation of Chin have not see its aesthetic appeal. They are, however, seeing how it could prove lucrative. As Rob Bryan reports:

Aware their days are numbered, the unusual-looking elders are embracing the outside interest in their lives, having struggled to get by on traditional income sources of farming and logging.

"Late in life they are using their unique and soon-to-disappear looks as a way of earning money for the betterment of their impoverished communities," said Simon Richmond, a researcher for the Lonely Planet guidebook to Myanmar.

The article also discusses the ethical debate on "human zoos" -- exploitation or education/documentation?

When one of the Chin woman is asked how she feels about the tourists, she says that she welcomes those wishing to learn more about her and her heritage, adding "Sometimes I feel like my parents' spirits are coming back to me through the visitors."

I recommend a full read of the article.

For a related look at the traditional tattoos of that region, read Lars Krutak's article for the Vanishing Tattoo: "Tattoos of Indochina: Supernatural Mysteries of the Flesh."
04:00 PM
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On New York's Long Island, there's a treasure trove of tattoo history: flash that dates back to the Civil War era, vintage machines, sideshow memorabilia, a file cabinet filled with acetate stencils from the 1930s and so much more. The real treasure is the collector himself, Cliff White of Cliff's Tattoo in Centereach, LI.

When Skin & Ink Magazine asked me to interview Cliff, I jumped at the chance to hear his stories of a time when tattooing was raw and rough but a respect for the craft prevailed. I also spoke with Cliff's son Rob White who carries on the tattoo traditional and is a collector himself. [He's also a comedian.] Part 1 of the article in the February issue is on newsstands now. Here's a taste:

When Cliff began to tattoo in the early eighties, he had to learn to make his own needles, mix his own pigment from powder, tune his own machines, and search to find the right supplies. As an apprentice to William Averso, he scrubbed toilets and mopped floors. He spent hours cutting acetate stencils, a time-honored tradition that built up the muscle in artists' hands. Cliff's apprenticeship also included throwing out unruly clients--of which there were many. He says that guys who walked into the shop would puff out their chests and felt they had to be the toughest guy on the block. "If you worked in a shop back then, no matter how big and bad this guy was--and the biggest and the baddest were your clients--you couldn't let anyone get over on you in your shop," he explains. "That is your territory. If one person gets over on you, then everyone gets over on you. Nowadays, it's like dealing with the boy scouts."

What he didn't get much of in his apprenticeship were history lessons, so he had to seek them out. He began by visiting long-time tattooists. "I made it my point to go out there, shake their hands, sit and talk with them," he says. "I have done this up and down the East Coast." He's also heard a few good tales from his friend Lyle Tuttle, some so good, he won't share them in print.
Read more in the article, which includes gorgeous shots by Steve Prue.

paul rogers flash.jpgWith almost thirty-years of tattooing behind him, Cliff just recently traded in his tattoo machines for paintbrushes, and has been creating sought-after signage, furniture and decoration--all with an old school tattoo flavor much like his needled portfolio. See more of his work, like the one below, on his Facebook page, or go to Cliff's Tattoo in person, like many do, for an immersion in Americana.

cliff white armoir.jpgAs an added bonus: 

Check this video of how Rob White handles crack heads when they come to Cliff's. 
02:55 PM
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When I got back to Brooklyn from the Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Fest in Ireland, I found the latest issue of the wonderful Swallows & Daggers tattoo zine waiting for me. Considering it's published in the place I'd just come from, I've gotten to continue my love affair with the Irish beyond their pubs their lush scenery and vast cultural institutions.

Swallows & Daggers highlights Traditional and Neo-Traditional tattooing, promoting established and up-n-coming artists working in these styles. And they do so in the coolest of old school and new school ways by offering a paper zine (almost like a tattoo newspaper) with a dynamic blog. Bookmark it!

You can order the hard copy zine, as well as the digital version, through their online store, which also includes flash, tattoo books, prints, and some nice looking tees.

I particularly love the thoughtful tattoo interviews, but also check their section on the meanings behind common tattoo motifs, their growing convention coverage, and sketchbook reviews. In fact, there's a great article in this latest issue that explores the good and bad of mass-produced sketchbooks sold by tattooists and suppliers. ["Do they show a tattooer's particular approach to design or just make it easier for the uncreative?"]

Cheers to Cian David Wright who works his butt off putting it all together.
03:03 PM

The devlish Richard Metzger of has a new site that I'm loving: Dangerous Minds, described as a "compendium of the new and strange--new ideas, new art forms, new approaches to social issues and new finds from the outer reaches of pop culture."

One of my favorite posts is this video of 88 Lines about 44 Women, which contributor Tara McGinley found on Marc Campbell's Facebook page, where The Nails singer wrote:

"In the 30 years since 88 LINES ABOUT 44 WOMEN was first recorded there has never been a video version authorized by THE NAILS. Of the dozens of videos on Youtube that pay homage to the song, this is the only version created by a member of the band, me. So, here's the world premier of 88 LINES the video. Hope you enjoy it. I had fun making it."

Naturally I love the opening with the traditional Malaysian tattoo sequence (and dancing that follows). Keep in mind, as BoingBoing best put it, "the video is NSFW in a 1950s National Geographic sort of way."

Thanks to Sara for turning me on to the video (check out Sara's sister's site: Where's Lulu, a hip guide to places and services that are accessible to people with disabilities in Portland.)
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