Last night, the much-anticipated "Tattoo Nation," a documentary on the history and evolution of black & grey tattooing, premiered in Los Angeles, complete with a red carpet laid out for tattooing's own A List, including Don Ed Hardy, Jack Rudy, Freddy Negrete, Good Time Charlie Cartwright, Tim Hendricks, and Cory Miller (who narrated the film), among many others.
Danny Trejo was also in attendance, as his own experience getting needled in prison plays heavily into the narrative of the film. There's even footage of him taking his daughter to get tattooed (in a studio, not a cell).
Check the Tattoo Nation Facebook page for photos from last night.
As noted in my last post on the film, the nationwide release is next Thursday, April 4th. In some cities, like LA and Modesto, the film will play for a week, but in most others, it is an initial two-day limited engagement. There are over a hundred cities and locations for the screening, which are largely listed on www.Dandeentertainment.com.
** For those in NYC, I'll be hosting one of the Manhattan premiers: The April 4th showing at AMC Empire 25 at 234 West 42nd St. in Times Square at 8pm. I'll be handing out N+S stickers and buttons and also selling copies of my Black & Grey Tattoo box set in the lobby. The screening may sell out, so it's best to buy your tickets in advance. **
I've given this film a thumbs up already, but it's also been given shout-outs from outlets like the Hollywood Reporter, LA Weekly and a mention in Variety. And as a number of reviews have noted, this isn't just a movie for tattoo collectors, but anyone interested in art, culture, or just a shirtless Trejo. Director Eric Schwartz may not have any tattoos, but he really does our community justice, reflecting the true reality of tattoo culture.
While black & grey is the central theme, the film examines tattooing in contemporary US history overall. It's strength lies in the oral histories of those who created history, like Hardy, Rudy, Cartwright, Negrete, Mark Mahoney, Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand and the other greats featured. Check the preview below to get a taste, but I highly recommend you going out to see it.
And for those in New York, I hope you'll see it with me on Thursday.
Legendary NYC artist/tattooist Thom deVita (featured in a five-part series from Tattoo Age) will be a part of a major event at Kings Ave Tattoo NYC in conjunction with VICE all this weekend. There will be an art sale of Thom's work featuring books, art boxes and stencil-rubbings - plus, Thom himself will be there all weekend!
If that weren't enough, a crew of heavyweight artists will be tattooing on location all weekend. Scott Harrison will be there will be tattooing deVita-inspired tattoos on Saturday and Sunday and we'll witness the work process of Chris O'Donnell as well as the stellar King's Ave crew: Mike Rubendall, Grez, Brian Paul, Justin Weatherholtz, Jason Tyler Grace and Frankie Caraccioli (check out the whole Kings Ave team's portfolio here).
PLUS, should you want to get tattooed, some of the guys will be taking walk-ins all weekend and Grez will be taking walk-ins all day Sunday.
What: Thom deVita Pop Up Gallery with VICE's Tattoo Age
When: January 11th-13th
Where: King's Ave | 188 Bowery (at Spring St), NYC - 2nd floor
Time: 12-9pm daily Friday and Saturday, 1-7pm on Sunday
(Full Disclosure: Marisa and I will be there on Friday around 6pm should you want to stop in and say hello to two blogger-dorks)
The final installment of Vice's "Tattoo Age" series focusing on Thom deVita has been launched (and it's quite a viewing, clocking in at over 24 minutes). Watch the installment above and don't forget to check out the entire series on the Vice website.
In conjunction with the end of this wonderful, five-part film, Kings Ave Tattoo and Vice will be hosting an art show/sale on January 11-13th.
(Via the @kingsavetattoo Instagram account):
Thom's one of a kind creative rubbings from tattoo stencils, art boxes, signed books, and more will be available for purchase. The legendary artist himself will also be present to talk about his art and Scott Harrison will be tattooing deVita inspired tattoos Saturday and Sunday [...] Chris O'Donnell, Timothy Hoyer and [Mike] Rubendall himself will be present and working in the city alongside the everyday crew.
Kings Ave Tattoo is located at 188 Bowery at the corner of Spring St. (on the second floor) in NYC. We'll see you there!
Photo of Khan by Edo Zollo. All photos in this post by Edo.
This past weekend, one of the world's best tattoo shows -- The London Tattoo Convention -- welcomed an estimated 20,000 attendees to East London's Tobacco Docks for the finest tattooing, performances, art exhibitions ... and Instagram posting.
I'm not gonna lie. I wanted to delete all my social media apps out of jealousy. We couldn't make it to the party this year but were constantly reminded what we were missing. But I'm over the envy and now enjoying the many images of the show.
My favorite photos are by London-based photographer Edo Zollo, who has graciously let us share some of them here. You can see Edo's full convention set on Flickr. Also check him on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.
For more convention photos, follow these links:
No Pain, No Gain (Portrait of the artist Jeffrey Lutz), Sergio Sanchez, oil on linen, 2011.
For my West Coast homies, this Saturday, September 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m is the public opening reception of L.A. Skin & Ink at the The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. The show "explores the unique role of Los Angeles in the Tattoo Renaissance over the last 60 years. The exhibition will move through the transformation of tattooing from its traditional base of military and outlaw cultures into an art form of great distinction and adoption into contemporary culture."
It's a serious show displaying the work and artifacts of tattoo legends who have passed as well as today's art stars, including Bert Grimm, Bob Shaw, Don Ed Hardy, Cliff Raven, Jill Jordan, Leo Zulueta, Jack Rudy, Charlie Cartwright, Estevan Oriol, Mr. Cartoon, Edgar Hoill, Lucky Bastard, Zulu, Carlos Torres, Sergio Sanchez, Shawn Barber, Camila Rocha, Sean Cheetham, and more.
L.A. Skin & Ink runs from September 30, 2012 to January 6, 2013, and during this time there will be talks and special programs associated with the exhibit, including Zulu Lounge Night on November 10th. Check CAFAM's Facebook page for more info.
For tomorrow's opening party, anyone who shows their tattoo at the admission desk gets in for free. The museum is also free on the first Wednesday of every month. Otherwise, it's regularly $7 for adults; $5 for students, seniors, and veterans; and free for CAFAM members. It's hours are Tuesday - Friday, 11am - 5pm; Saturday/Sunday, 12pm - 6 pm; and closed Mondays.
The Craft and Folk Art Museum is located at 5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036. You can't miss it with the new window display created for the show by Norm Will Rise.
UPDATE: We've added a Q&A with Vincent on the show and new photos, below.
Tattooer and fine artist Vincent Castiglia -- known for his surreal works painted in his own blood -- has shown in galleries and museums around the world, including a solo show at the famed H.R. Giger Museum Gallery in Switzerland. From Thursday, October 4th through the 31st, his biggest show will be on view at Sacred Gallery in NYC, entitled "Resurrection."
The new retrospective art exhibition includes around 30 works spanning the last decade, from the beginning of his career to today, and seeks to "examine the congruency of life and death." For example, in "Stings of the Lash" (88" x 59", Blood, 2005) shown below Vincent says the work addresses "the unique nature of the human will," adding: "The figure stands between two neurons attempting to communicate; only the message is diffused in the space between them by this willful phenomenon. Behind him are three dimensions, which the figure penetrates, physically as well as allegorically, the terrestrial, the celestial, and beyond this the collective unconscious."
Here's a Q&A I did with Vincent on the show:
This is an impressively large show, starting from the beginning of your career to today. How has your work evolved over the past ten years -- will the viewers be able to see any progression from the earlier works to the new paintings you are showing?
It's my biggest exhibition to date in terms of the amount of works. And yes, there's a very apparent progression in technique from the beginning through present. I initially began working in this medium very painterly, and somewhat suggestive, I'd say with the first 2-3 paintings in this medium. And from there just fell in love, and aimed to take it as far it as it would go in terms of technicality and polish. I'm not sure if I'd consider even the first few paintings experimental, but more a natural evolution of possibility.
Is there a common theme that runs through all of them?
Yes, several I believe; the congruency of life and death, universal stations of the human condition (that most people don't care to face), polarity and the harmonizing of polarities, dissection, decay, rebirth, struggle and tragedy, perseverance and hope.
I'm sure you've answered tons of questions about working with your blood. But for those new to your work, perhaps you can describe the process of creating the paintings with your blood, and why it is an important medium for you.
Because my work is literally part of me. I'm being brutally honest with each painting, in many cases sharing harsh realities that I've struggled with, some even being an "exorcism" of sorts. There's a very literal transference of energy I feel in working this way. Some pray, I paint.
Anything else you'd like to add.
"Resurrection" is a unique opportunity to see this many originals of mine in one place, even for me. In addition, my first sculptural work (created this year) will be in the exhibit. I'm very happy to be showing this collection in my hometown of New York City, and at Sacred Gallery.
For more on "Resurrection," check Sacred's exhibit page.
Hope to see you at the opening reception on October 4th from 8PM - 11 PM. Sacred Gallery NYC is located at 424 Broadway (2nd Floor) between Canal and Howard in SoHo.
"Stings of The Lash", 88" x 59" (framed), 2006, blood on paper.
Tattoo by Vincent Castiglia.
View from the Keystone Lodge, and Johnny of 13 Roses Tattoo, Atlanta.
My trip to the Paradise Tattoo Gathering began even before my bags were packed. The party kicked off in beautiful Keystone, Colorado last Thursday, and I followed along in real time on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Most posted their images with #paradisetattoogathering so it was easy to follow. Check them here.
The photos highlighted the tattoos being created on the convention floor but also what was going on behind the doors of the many seminars -- like 3D works from Chet Zar's sculpture workshop, and portraits in progress from those lucky enough to get into Shawn Barber's sold-out painting class. And naturally there were VIP party pix. Horns-high group photos in various Instagram filters.
I flew out of NYC Friday afternoon. With enough frequent flyer miles, I scored a roomy business class seat. Once settled in for the flight, the grey-haired grandfather sitting next to me smiled and said, "I love your sleeves." Turns out his kids have sleeves of their own. We spent a good portion of our flight making fun of the freaks: the tattoo-free suits getting drunk off the free booze soon after take-off. But I guess I was the freak to some. Heavy tattoo work is not as common outside of coach, and I found myself having to answer (again) the question: What band are you in? Because, ya know, hot towelettes are only for tattooed hands with record deals.
But within hours, I was amongst our people at the Keystone Lodge, with tattoo's rock stars like Bob Tyrrell, Nick Baxter, Durb Morrison, Nikko, Noon, Jeff Gogue, Damon Conklin ... the list goes on. Check the full artist line-up.
Jeremiah Barba tattoo on Mr. Scary.
Throat tattoo by Tim Pangburn on the wonderful tattoo journalist Mary D'Aloisio.
The big buzz Friday afternoon was Adrian Lee's "Bloodwork: Bodies" exhibit. It is a stunning collection of backpieces and bodysuits created by 53 tattooers around the world and documented in meticulous detail. Adrian gave a talk about the work with a slideshow presentation and also signed copies of his must-have book.
The evening closed with a Drink and Draw party, compliments of Graceland Tattoo. Considering how Keystone's high elevation [9,280 feet] was messing with us, I gave props to those who could manage more than a couple of drinks. Lack of oxygen makes for lower bar tabs. I did find myself surrounded by three tattooists taking full advantage of altitude inebriation, and they suckered me in to judging a napkin art contest. There were a lot of animated penis drawings -- all artfully done of course.
Ashley's neck and backpiece by James Kern. Fantastic cover-up work.
Saturday was another full day of tattooing and seminars. One seminar that I found particularly interesting was "The not so secret secrets of the tattoo world" by Kris Richter of Beyond the Ink. The seminar (free to all with admission passes) focused on how to choose the right work and artist, and while beneficial to even long-time collectors, it was really a great primer for those new to the art and especially those trying to navigate the whole convention scene. One of the most popular seminars that day was James Kern's Advanced Cover-Ups For Tattooists. Artists completely packed the room to learn from and get critiqued by the cover-up guru himself. My Copyright, Trademark, and Licensing Seminar with John Kastelic followed James's class, and while far from packed, I had a blast talking tattoo law with a fabulous group of artists. [I was also honored to be included on the tattoo business panel Sunday night.]
Sunday rounded out with the completion of some large-scale tattoo works going on that weekend -- with so many fantastic artists from around the world, attendees took full advantage of the opportunity. But whether local or international, all tattoo artists working there had a reputation for excellence. This curating of tattoo talent is a key component of Gabe Ripley's events. You can't get a bad tattoo at Paradise.
Another component is community -- that friendly, laid-back vibe throughout the show where you feel you are a part of something, kinda like the Island of Misfit Toys except on a mountain and the dolls all look like Tim Burton creations.
We all closed down the lounge of the Keystone Lodge that Sunday night/Monday morning. It was filled with hugs and hook-ups, booming laughs (including my own notorious cackle), and wholehearted promises to connect before the next show. It was a tattoo Shangri-la. Paradise, even.
Gabe's next event is the tattooer-only Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico, March 25-28.
Tara's sleeve by Vince Villalvazo.
Thigh tattoo by Gene Coffey.
Gene Coffey himself.
John Anderton tattoo.
Last week, I mentioned that I'll be at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering -- one of my favorite tattoo events, not just for the stellar artist line-up, seminars and workshops, but because it's one of the few left where you actually feel there is a real tattoo "community." And it's a serious fun.
Because of The Gathering, many international artists will be stateside and doing guest spots at shops across the US. Our friends at Off The Map Tattoo in Grants Pass, Oregon and Easthampton, MA will be hosting many of these artists next month. Check out this insane line-up:
At the Oregon studio, renowned resident tattoo artist Jeff Gogue will host David Corden (9/4/12 - 9/8/12), Remis Tattoo (9/18/12 - 9/22/12), and John Anderton (9/18/12 - 9/22/12).
On the East Coast, the Massachusetts Off the Map crew welcomes Thomas-kYnst (9/1/12 - 9/3/12), Aurora Lancaster (9/5/12 - 9/11/12), and Fabian Danger De Gaillande (9/18/12 - 9/23/12).
I'm posting a tattoo by each of these artists here and highly recommend you check out all their work. Contact Off The Map for more info.
David Corden tattoo.
Aurora Lancaster tattoo.
Fabian Danger De Gaillande tattoo.
If you're a regular reader of this site, you're probably ready to run away. How much more can this woman talk about tattoo copyright, right?! It's almost a decade of this discourse, from my first article in 2003 on BME -- which was oddly quoted again today in Bloomberg's BNA blog -- to posts on this blog here and here and here ...
But I got so much more to say, and I plan to do it in a hands-on practical way that will help artists and collectors truly understand how copyright and trademark works, how to protect your rights, AND how to profit from your artwork through licensing. And I'll be doing it with fellow tattooed attorney John Kastelic at the wonderful Paradise Tattoo Gathering next month in Keystone, Colorado, September 13-16.
We'll be addressing these questions:
Who owns your tattoo? Is it you . . . or your client?
In addition, artists more and more are finding alternative avenues for
generating revenue from their artwork, image and even endorsements -
this seminar will provide information to understand how to
control the use and licensing of your work and image as well as
understand the issues you may confront and how to be prepared to
maximize your profits and best protect your interests before signing
away any of your rights.
The multi-media presentation will include real world examples, informative handouts, sample contracts, and a Q&A. I encourage participants to submit questions beforehand to marisa(at)kakoulaslaw(dot)com but any question during the seminar will be addressed.
Space is limited so it's best to book your spot now online. The cost is just $175, a bargain just for the sample contracts alone. It will take place 5-7pm Saturday, September 15th.
This past weekend, we checked out the United Ink Tattoo Expo at Nassau Coliseum along with an estimated 20,000 others (that number hasn't been confirmed). Tattooed people in various states of cut-up tee shirts lined up to get work from internationally renowned artists as well as new comers to the craft.
The tattooists all looked like they were working hard. I watched Nikko Hurtado do this portrait above on Yall Quinones of San Juan, PR (who has an extensive collection of beautiful tattoos). Jose Lopez was working his black & grey magic along with other members of the Lowrider Tattoo crew. You can easily tell their clients by the massive pieces repping LA-styled tattooing at its finest, like this backpiece below. Their black & grey brethren Marshall Bennett, Shane O'Neil, among many others, were also making some lucky collectors very happy.
But all genres of tattooing were represented. Jason Ackerman and Kristel Oreto were dropping color bombs. Myke Chambers offered his signature Americana, and there was a full contingent of artists from China & Japan. Traditional Tebori (hand tattooing) was on view on a platform in the middle of the Coliseum for all to view, and there were plenty of eager spectators trying to maneuver their camera phones to get a shot. I was one of them. Here's the not-so-awesome pic of mine.
And as an added treat, Bowery Stan and Philadelphia Eddie, two of guards of the Old School, were another main attraction for serious tattoo fans.
For the less serious, there were tons of reality TV stars to ogle and pose for pictures with. And these "celebrities" were heavily promoted to draw a crowd to fill the very large space. Drita from Mob Wives and some of those, um, ladies from the Bad Girls club were there, and thankfully, they all managed not to punch anyone. Brandon from The Real World St. Thomas did a suspension, and naturally, a bunch of artists from reality tattoo TV were signing autographs in between tattoos. It was interesting to see one tattooist with a massive banner touting his tattoo competition fame when he was kicked out early in the show; nevertheless, he's reaping tons of benefits from his 15 minutes. Bless his heart.
On the fine art front, work from famed Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger was on view and there was even a very special prize for the collector who won the Giger tattoo contest (more on that coming up). Francisco Poblet, a student of Salvador Dali, was also a central feature with his "Dali Dynasty" art show.
The draw of tattoo shows for us is meeting up with so many friends who we don't often get to see if it was not for these traveling circuses. Very happy to hang with artist Phil Padwe of "Mommy Has a Tattoo" fame (we'll be doing a give-away donated by Phil soon), and filmmaker Beverly Yuen Thompson, the heavily tattooed woman behind "Covered," a documentary on other heavily tattooed women and female tattoo artists.
Oh, I guess I should mention that I wanted to punch some dude who came up to me saying he was looking for people to be in a pilot on bad, stupid and funny tattoos. Was he talking about me? Did he know that being short I have a low center of gravity that helps knock idiots on their ass? Many questions were not answered. He was one of a number of people shooting pilots. There were also the girls from "Tattoo Wives." I'm going to become an alcoholic with all these drinking games we have to create.
What I missed was the United Ink Award Ceremony & Hall of Fame Celebration, which I heard was a blast. There was a red carpet walk-through, iconic tattooists were honored and awards were given out to tattooists in different tattoo specialties. [Alas, there was no tribal/blackwork category.]
Add all this to seminars, shows, and even a United Ink anthem by Quiet Storm (!!), it was a massive production and special props go out to Frankie Scorpion-Espejo, who worked tirelessly on this, and to the crew at Tattoo Lou's who put on the show.
For more of my bad pics, hit up our N+S Flickr (although there aren't many). Also on Flickr, Hardcore Shutterbug has way better images.
LI Newsday has a write-up & photo gallery as well.