It's that time of year when social obligations of the holiday variety outweigh one's attempt to maintain a basic grasp of sanity and reality. Fear not, however, gentle reader... I am here to help you get dressed for these events quickly and in style.
Snowflakes? Check. Inverted pentagram and crosses? Check. Goat skull in a Santa hat? Check. While they bill it as a "sweater" (it's actually just a sweatshirt), Century Media is offering this awesome, "Black Christmas" accoutrement for just $20.
Additionally, if you despise all the Christmas music that's undoubtedly being jammed into your ear-holes, might I recommend an album I recorded a few years ago with The Priestess and The Fool? It's totally free to download and we cover a handful of off-the-beaten-path holiday gems (plus, I love playing The Pogues at a country rhythm).
Click here to visit the site or click here to directly download the zip file.
Even though I'm scheduled to finish up my back-piece this week with Mike Rubendall of King's Ave Tattoo, it's now possible for the Average Joe/Josephine to own and wear some of his art without the blood, sweat and waiting-list...
Rubendall's most recent painting, Alpha/Omega, is now available in a limited-edition, signed/numbered print on an aluminum panel. Better yet, if you purchase the print, you also get a fitted New Era 59FIFTY cap in a custom package also designed by the artist.
On the outside, the black cap features a charcoal-grey embroidered snake and logo for Kings Ave, but the magic lies within: the red and black satin interior features a reproduction of the Alpha/Omega print. (Remember: it's what's on the inside that counts...)
Only available online, limited to a run of 100 and packaged in a custom-printed box, this offer won't be around forever... unlike your tattoo.
Click here to order!
Tomorrow, September 25th, is the US release of "Forever: The New Tattoo" published by Gestalten. The 240-page hardcover distinguishes itself from the many tattoo titles on shelves today with an finely curated group of international artists who are creating innovative works and pushing boundaries with new patterns, approaches and even new ways of thinking about what makes a strong, timeless tattoo.
Insightful profiles on these tattooists are written by Nick Schonberger, one of the writers behind the excellent "Homeward Bound: The Life and Times of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry."
In an interview with Cool Hunting, Nick talks about some of the artists he interviewed for the new book and their stories:
[...] Curly from Oxford, he tattooed with Alex Binnie--a lot of the people have connections to Into You in London: Alex, Curly, Duncan X and Thomas Hooper. Curly talks about hating tattoos, hating mainstream tattoos, having hated tattoos before he met Alex Binnie and realized there could be something "art directed." Curly started moving into tribal tattoos and became one of the pioneers of what you could call "neo-tribal"--although his style is a little different than that. On a mainstream level, that's the easiest analogy. Amanda Wachob is a tattooer who approached tattooing as a way to begin to think about painting and how to combined those two things together. She paints after her consultations with clients and those consultations form the basis of the tattoos that she ends up doing. Robert Ryan is a musician and his music is all about pattern and his tattoos are all about pattern.Another highlight of the book is the foreword by art historian Dr. Matt Lodder, who always offers an interesting perspective on tattoo culture, from ancient tribal rites to contemporary trends. This past weekend, Matt moderated a discussion on tattooing during the book release event in Berlin. There, Alex Binnie and Duncan X discussed their tattoo experiences and ideology.
For a glimpse into that discussion, check this video (below) in which Alex & Duncan "talk about the current mass appeal of tattoos, its uniqueness as an art form and the "holy trinity" of tattooing styles."
You can pre-order "Forever: The New Tattoo" on Amazon.
One of the key messages throughout last weekend's Paradise Tattoo Gathering was the need to constantly improve one's drawing skills to be a good tattoo artist. The workshops (and the Drink & Draw party) were great places to hone those skills, but naturally, this work isn't relegated to retreats. A strong artist's arsenal is filled with reference material, from sketches to fine art to tattoo inspiration.
Packed with all this goodness is "Roses and Leaves" by Kore Flatmo. The 120-page softcover is dedicated to one of the most iconic images in tattoo: the rose. And there are over 350 roses in these pages in various forms including black line drawings, charcoals, tattoos and paintings.
Kore's art in charcoal are also available for purchase as a postcard set. The set of seven 4x6 postcards features five cards that have original artwork from "Roses and Leaves" and two cards of his dressed skeletons. The set comes in a vellum envelope with 2 complimentary stickers.
You can purchase the book here and the cards here. Also check the fabulous posters and prints available here.
For more of Kore's tattoo work, hit his recently revamped website and Facebook.
It's never too early to start planning your 2013 convention schedule and tattoo appointments -- and keeping track of them all on a calendar befitting such important dates.
I'm digging the recently released 2013 Horror Calendar, designed and produced by Dan Henk, who contributes his own signature dark art along with Nick Baxter, Adrian Dominic, Scott Trerrotola, Paul Acker, Steve Morris, Joseph Ortega, Buzz Hasson, Rodd Diaz, Jeff Esminger, and Ron Russo. It's a fantastic collection of fine art by top tattooers. A glimpse into each month is below.
You can purchase the calendar for just $15 plus shipping online here. Look out for them at conventions as well.
I finally got my hands on "Flash from the Bowery: Classic American Tattoos, 1900-1950" by Cliff White, and I can't recommend it enough to anyone who loves tattooing and classic Americana.
Published by Schiffer Books, "Flash from the Bowery" is filled with nine hundred sheets of tattoo art from over the past hundred years that still attract collectors today. Here's more on the collection:
Between these pages are images of the original acetate rubbings from Charlie Wagner's turn of the 20th century tattoo shop, The Black Eye Barbershop, in the Bowery at Chatham Square in New York. This is the only known art that has survived from this shop, where Samuel J. O'Reilley's modern-day electric tattoo machine was born and patented. The imagery of this classic flash preserves the origins of American tattoos, when tattoo art was transferred to the client from these templates via an acetate stencil. Everything was done by hand until O'Reilley's electrified tattoo machine changed history. This rich heritage of folk art has more than 900 individual pieces of flash that provide commentary on the shop's clientele and reveal some of the social, economic, and political ideas of the time.In the Introduction, Cliff offers some history on the sheets. This is to be expected of course. Every time I've had a conversation with Cliff, I've always enjoyed a history lesson. It's one of his missions to inform and carry on the great traditions of the craft.
Read more on Cliff here.
The book is just a small part of the tattoo gems Cliff has collected. His studio in Long Island, NY and his Victorian home (which was passed down from his great great grandfather) house artifacts that include photos and calling cards of the industry's godfathers and godmothers -- like the card of Mildred Hull, one of the few female tattooers on the Bowery in the forties. He also has sideshow memorabilia like a hand-carved wooden mermaid from Coney Island and Victorian spindled arch from Barnum & Bailey. And of course, he has vintage tattoo machines. [Cliff created the Oldtimer tattoo machine in 1989 as a nod to the forerunners of the craft.]
And so it's no surprise that Cliff's book is a rare and wonderful assemblage of old school tattoo. A must have. You can purchase it online at Schiffer Books.
Tattoos aren't the only thing we nerd out about here at the Needles & Sins Compound. And - despite my extreme loathing of George Lucas for retroactively destroying my childhood with his prequels and "re-releases" - when my love for Star Wars collides with the world of tattooing, I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl.
Motor City illustrator Mark Hammerstein has offered up these great prints in his Etsy shop for just $30!
As an old-school SW fan, I prefer his piss-take on the classic Norman Rockwell illustration (pictured above), but if you're a fan of Sith Lords and tribal tattoos, perhaps you'd like his Darth Maul piece (pictured below).
The signed/numbered prints measure 13x19" and are printed on acid-free paper.
I think it's fairly safe to say that we'd have no bio-mechanical movement in tattooing if it weren't for the art of H.R. Giger, so it only seems fitting that he's paid homage to the art-form with his "Tattoo Mechanoid" sculpture and ring.
Both pieces are based on a 2001 drawing from his series "The Professionals" the 5"x6" sculpture features a hand clutching a 2.5" sterling silver tattoo machine, which it's ready to apply to its own leg (an time-old tradition of any apprentice or fledgling tattooist). Cast in brass and finished with an acid bath for a unique finish, the sculpture sits atop a 6"x6"x1" base which features Giger's distinctive Alien Crest and an etching of his signature. The pieces are available in a limited edition of 500.
For those who would rather wear this beautiful image, there's also a one-size-fits-all ring, cast in sterling silver.
Both of these very cool pieces are available in the web-store at HRGiger.com.
Many thanks to all of you who sent in the link to Flavorwire's "Literary Ink: Famous Authors & Their Tattoos." It's a wonderful piece on the stories behind the tattoos of ten writers and also tattoo quotes from their books, like this one below by punk poet, novelist, & feminist writer Kathy Acker. She wrote in Empire of the Senseless:
As Flavorwire notes, she dedicated the book to her tattooist.
Also check the tattoos of China Mieville, Elizabeth Hand, Harry Crews, John Irving, Jonathan Lethem, Kevin Wilson, Patti Smith, Philip K. Dick, Rick Moody, Stephen Elliott, and Shelley Jackson. Jackson is well known in the tattoo community for her "Skin" project, "a 2095-word story published exclusively in tattoos, one word at a time, on the skin of volunteers."
The article inspired me to re-post some great tattoo-related fiction that I recommended in 2009. Perfect summer reading.
* Until I Find You by John Irving is an 800-page tome that follows the wild life of a tattoo artist's son and their search to find his "ink addict" father. It took me a while to get used to reading about many of the "fictional" characters who are real tattooists living today but overall it was a gripping read of a tattoo Odyssey.
* The Tattoo Artist: A Novel by Jill Ciment is another great work of fiction that explores the life of a New York artist who is marooned in the South Pacific and eventually becomes an revered tattooist among the Tu'un'uu people at the turn of the century. It then flashes forward, 30 years later, when she returns as a heavily tattooed woman to New York.
* The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall follows a young man in the early 1900s as he learns the craft of tattooing in his small English seaside resort town (with a horrid apprenticeship) and later as he makes his way to tattoo Mecca, Coney Island, NY, where he finds love and the canvas of his most bizarre works.
* Dorothy Parker's Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos Kim Addonizio and Cheryl Dumesnil curate fiction, poetry and personal essays that pay homage to tattoos.
And of course, there's Ray Bradbury's "The Illustrated Man," a collection of short stories that are told through the images that come to life on one drifter's skin -- from stranded astronauts to robotic clones. We did a special tribute to the book in this post last June, with an excerpt and video.
In this second post on upcoming titles by Edition Reuss, we share our great excitement over Dr. Lars Krutak's new book "Spiritual Skin: Magical Tattoos and Scarification."
The 400-page, large format hardcover looks at healing, protective and shamanic tattooing and scarification across the tribal world -- a world that Lars has explored in his 15+ years researching tattoo traditions and rituals (a number of which he has experienced himself). [Read our profile on Lars here.]
More on the book from Edition Reuss:
[...] "Spiritual Skin: Magical Tattoo & Scarification" journeys into highly sacred territory to reveal how people utilize ritual body modification to enhance their access to the supernatural.
The book will also be out in September, and can be purchased for 98 Euros. You can pre-order the book in the US on Amazon for $150 or contact Lars directly for signed copies and special offers at firstname.lastname@example.org.