By Deb Yarian
The first thing out of my mouth when a couple says “We’ve decided to have a baby” is usually “Congratulations,” not “What happens if you get a divorce?”
I wish as many obstetricians counseled their patients against having babies using the same reasoning as some tattooers do when they advise their customers against getting a partner’s name – “What happens if you break up?”
Well, what happens if you break up is that you, having made an adult decision to show your devotion to someone by getting their name tattooed on your skin must now also make another adult decision and learn to live with it, cover it, or change it.
A ludicrous comparison, yes – but the name tattoo (a foolish choice only in retrospect) seems far less permanent when compared with the really permanent – living child.
This sort of counsel is a particular pet peeve of mine… I think that when a person, for whatever reason , wishes to commemorate their love and devotion to another person by choosing to get that person’s name tattooed on their body, then that is their adult decision and they don’t need my opinion, other than possibly font or calligraphic design choice or placement.
I’ve heard so many tattooers respond to name requests with such negativity. With mocking responses ranging from “That’s a sure way to end a relationship!” “You sure you want to do that?” To ridicule or refusal to do the name tattoo.
But why should any couple coming in to get name tattoos from me or any other tattooer have to validate anything other than their legal ability to get tattooed? Since when did the tattooer become the priest and rabbi and moral counsel of their customers?
During my 35 years of tattooing there have probably been hundreds, even thousands of tattoo designs that I have been asked to do that I, myself, would not have chosen to get. In my opinion many more ugly or foolish design choices have been made than choosing to get the name of a loved one.
I am speaking solely on my opinion of a person’s decision to get another’s name – not the aesthetics of it.
Certainly, if the aesthetics of type interferes with the look or design flow of a larger tattoo then when asked for my artistic opinion I would give my honest one. However, if asked my opinion as to whether someone should get their partner’s name – how could I answer that?
I feel that it’s only my responsibility to advise on design choice and placement and to try and do the best job that I can regardless of my opinion of someone else’s choice of what to wear on their body.
By Chuck Greenberg
Most of you probably know of Chuck Greenberg, A.K.A. Chuck DeeZee. Over the past several years, Chuck has gotten an insane amount of work all over the country by artists all over the world. The list of artists that have tattooed Chuck is mind boggling. With all of the time getting tattooed, traveling to get tattoo, talking to artists, and generally being around tattooed people – Chuck has picked up a thing or two.
I’m excited to say this is the first of a regular series of columns that Chuck is going to write for Tattoo Snob. Chuck is going to tackle subjects that a simple Google search won’t find. Below is the first of many article. If you have a subject that you’re interested in hearing Chuck’s thoughts on, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
My name is Charles Greenberg, and I have been a collector for as long as I can remember. I’ve collected all sorts of things over the years, from cassettes to vinyl, mountain bikes to historical and music memorabilia, and, of course, tattoos. I’ve always been a collector of art, starting with comics and collectible cards at a young age. Now I’m working on a near complete, but still in-progress double body suit that features work from some of the most highly regarded artists in the industry. You really have to want it in order to tackle such an undertaking, but I’m here to share some personal insights in the hope that maybe I can spare you some of the bumps you may encounter on your own path to great skin art.
Some of the facets of collecting tattoo work might seem relatively obvious, while others might not. The purpose of this column is to touch on many of the facets of being a tattoo collector, including, but not limited to:
- The obvious financial element, including some bartering tactics
- Preparing for (and scheduling) the number of hours involved in collecting tattoo work full-time
- Working with tattoo artists
- Tattoo artist collaborations
- Tattoo conventions and their associated contests
- Tattoo removal
- Tattoo shop hygiene and cleanliness, including standards and best practices
- Etiquette for booking with high profile artists
- Perhaps the biggest factor involved here is the element of cost
To be honest, I hate it when people ask me how much I’ve paid for my skin art just to hear them brag about having paid less for their own work, or to have them bark at me that they think I’ve paid far too much. $150-250 an hour is standard in the industry these days for upper echelon work. Most people do not realize how much time and effort an artist puts into crafting a custom piece, and time is money. If you are going to get a big tattoo, you need to have some kind of reasonable financial stability to pay for the number of hours that piece will take to be completed.
Bragging about how you got a deal with another artist will not get you terribly far in this industry. It’s advantageous for you to do your homework and to go to an artist who’s best suited to your idea. Time and time again I have read about people going to the wrong artists because they did not do their research in finding the correct artists to suit their needs. I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with your artist. You don’t want to be the sort of person who goes to the local bio-organic artist to ask for a black and gray anime portrait of your grandmother. With that in mind, it’s best to do an in-person consultation about your idea beforehand, if you can. It just might be the difference between a good tattoo and an epic one.
Patience is the name of the game if you seek out the artists who are in the highest demand. Get pieces which will exploit their strengths and challenge them. Avoid the same old recycled ideas that are common on Pinterest and Google. Of course there are different types of tattoo collectors; many want to focus on one style, such as traditional, illustrative, bio-mech, or black and gray work. Others, like me, appreciate all styles equally, and try to collect a piece from each of them. I’ll be writing here regularly, so I’d like to encourage all readers to contribute to this column by asking me any questions about tattoo collecting or other relevant topics that you want to discuss. I’ll do my best to provide a thorough answer for all of them, time permitting. I appreciate your time, and I hope you’ll be coming back to the discussion in the future.
By Marisa Kakoulas
This past weekend, tattoo artists from around the world traveled to Seoul for the Ink Bomb Tattoo Convention – many at the expense of the organizers — to work on excited collectors in the burgeoning South Korean tattoo community. However, that all came to a halt Saturday afternoon when the police raided the convention site and ordered that the show be shut down. Tattooing is illegal in Korea, and the government decided to enforce the ban this weekend.
I learned of the news from our friend Demetra Molina, who co-owns The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor in Ithaca, NY, with her tattooist husband Eddie Molina. Eddie was at the Ink Bomb convention to visit, and was giving Demetra a FaceTime play-by-play of what was going down. The police ordered the artists to clean up their booths and pack up. Many of the artists ended up taking booked clients (a number of them US military) back to their hotel rooms to work. In the end, the whole show ended up being cancelled, affecting vendors and performers as well as artists. Needless to say, a lot of money was lost.
Dave Hazzan from Groove Korea has a great post on the convention shutdown. Here’s a bit from that:
“Five police officers walked through the venue at WAV Bar and Bistro in Apgujeong, checking IDs, ordering artists to clear up their stands, and above all making sure no tattoo needles or ink were out, never mind being used. When asked to comment, a frustrated police officer only said, “Foreigners need to keep their passports on them. We need to take the ID numbers of Koreans and foreigners here, because tattooing is illegal.” He refused to comment any further or give his name or badge number…
To read the full article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/06/police-shut-down-ink-bomb-tattoo-show-in-seoul.html
By Nick Baxter
If you’re into oil painting or realism and somehow not already a fan of Jeremy Geddes, do yourself a favor and check him out. He is a modern master of the fantastic realism genre. When I found out that he recently did an interview about his process and thoughts on realism art, I eagerly read it and found some pearls of wisdom in his humble and deftly concise responses.
Especially helpful to me as a painter were a few choice reminders about the process of completing larger or more ambitious works, including this advice:
One mistake I often catch myself in is launching into a full sized painting before I have addressed and resolved all the potential problems in small scale studies. It means I can spend days or weeks in rework for an issue that could have been sorted out in hours if I had followed the correct procedure. Tampering down enthusiasm with pragmatism can be a tricky thing to hold onto sometimes, but it is almost always worth it.
And then there’s this insight regarding the public perception of “fine art” and the communicative power, which is a timely reinforcement of some of the conclusions about modern art I described in my “What Is Art?” essay:
…the disconnect between the intended meaning of a conceptual work and the meaning that ‘Joe Public’ will take from it is obviously huge, the work is most likely buried in decades of obscure theory that the public has no knowledge of or participation in.
By Dan Mcnab
I’m a tattoo artist in the city of Huntington Beach, Ca. I own and work at The Tattoo Gallery with four of my very close friends. After years and years of leaking trash bags, I decided one day to put an end to it once and for all and created RinseCup CleanUp.
When I designed this product I made sure it is the best that exists and can not get any better. Also, it’s non-toxic because our trash gets put into landfills and that would only hurt the environment. I believe as a whole, us humans do enough of that! Disposing of our rinse cups and ink caps this way is the safest method and eliminates cross-contamination in our trade due to the contaminated liquids we produce.
Once in the landfill, RinseCup CleanUp slowly releases the water and improves soil conditions through aeration. It’s less expensive than using paper towels and safer than dumping it down a sink. When that method is used more toxic chemicals are needed to clean the area it was dumped in, which leads to poisoning our environment even more.
Now we are in many countries and the response is amazing. So much support from this trade! The only advertising I have done is thru IG. It’s spreading like wildfire and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. It’s only been about 6 months since I released it for sale!
For more information about Rinsecup Cleanup, email:
By Melissa Fusco
For a few years now, I have had a strong desire to visit the land of my great grandparents and become immersed in my ‘genetic roots’. Italy, my much anticipated trip, has arrived…
Outside of conventions, guest spots and gatherings in the states, I crave a culture change and new scenery at least once a year. I was meeting a friend here in Venice, unfortunately for good reason she was unable to make the first leg of the trip. So I prepared as best as I could to be in Italy for 6 days before the Rome convention, alone.
For more than half of my life, about 20 years now I have traveled alone more times than accompanied by a travel companion. No doubt I would enjoy a companion on my travels, however, there is something precious about solo travel and how it contributes to my inner self. It helps build my confidence and aids in my personal growth. For me, when I travel, I prefer to live amongst the locals, so first thing off the plane, I find my way to the small water taxi dock. I purchased a water taxi pass on-line that would take me from the airport to the nearest taxi stop from my hotel destination. After the taxi makes a few stops along the way, I finally arrive at my exit and play the alley way game to find my hotel. Hotel Tiepolo, is settled down the alley that runs directly along side the Piazza San Marco. One of the most visited tourist landmarks on the S. Marco Island in Venice. I thought I was a little further away from this touristy area and at first was a little let down by the busyness of the surrounding areas. However, I feel I couldn’t have picked a greater location.
When I depart from the front door of the hotel, which is located at the end of an alley, I weave my way through narrow alley ways that ended at the water front Palazzo. I quickly find myself amongst the crowd. The sounds of sea gulls, water taxi’s, sales men, and tourist chatter fill the breezy ocean air. Kiosks filled the waterfront walkway selling duplicate Venezia souvenirs, scarf’s, hats and Italian leather handbags. Landscape artists work amongst rip off Coach bag sellers, and not to forget the slightly annoying single rose auctioneers. The phrase “ no thank you” leaves my lips more times then I could count throughout the day. I quickly head to the water taxi stop titled S. Marco Zaccaria.
By Kayla Matthews
1. Your standards are the only ones that matter
Of course not everyone will think that your new chest piece is as gorgeous as you do, but why should that matter?
As long as you love the way it looks and feel great about yourself because of it, those stares on the street are laughable.
2. First impressions aren’t always right
Anyone with tattoos or a heavily tattooed friend can tell you this life lesson is true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched perfectly nice, loving, and intelligent people get judged because of their ink.
Having tattoos and knowing people with tattoos teaches you to not place value on appearances and, instead, spend more time getting to know new people.
3. Pain is temporary
This, for sure, is something every tattoo-ee can attest to. Regardless of your pain tolerance, you’re bound to encounter one tattoo that hurts like a B. But making it through a painful tattooing experience just makes you more proud of the end result.
Sometimes we forget that painful things can lead to great things, but I think tattoos are a fabulous reminder of that.
Skee. TV presents Marked Up Episode 1 featuring pro BMX rider Rick Thorne & Celebrity tattoo artist Danny Balena. Marked Up is a new look into the culture and lifestyle of the art of tattoos. In this series we will talk to celebs, tattoo artists and people of all ages and aspects of life to see what their tattoos mean, the story of why and why not to get them and how the culture has evolved thus far.
By Jacob Gersham
Randy Harris worries that lawyers are leaving a stain on the tattoo world.
A court tattooist to basketball royalty, Mr. Harris says he has inked dozens of NBA players, drawing everything from a giant tree on Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis, to a beady-eyed owl on Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, to a basketball-toting angel on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
Recently, he has found himself shaking his head at the litigious direction of his image-conscious occupation as the question of who owns a tattoo has become a source of tension.
To him, it’s simple: “Once they paid for the tattoos, man, they paid for it,” he said from his shop south of Atlanta.
Other tattooists say the issue isn’t that clear, especially in the case of sports videogames, which digitally re-create not just the bodies of athletes, but often their body art as well.
Phoenix-based tattoo artist Chris Escobedo took an intellectual property rights training course and in 2012 sued now-bankrupt videogame developer THQ Inc. over a mixed-martial arts game in which one of his tattoos—a large, scowling lion on the right rib cage of Ultimate Fighting Championship star Carlos Condit—makes a cameo appearance.
Last year he settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum, he said.
“They’re doing it without consulting the original artists, and that’s what makes it illegal,” he said. “I’m the little guy in this situation.”
Such lawsuits have left a mark. When videogame giant EA Sports, a brand of Electronic Arts Inc., EA +0.11% developed its own fighting game featuring Mr. Condit, which will be released this week, it left out the lion, causing gamers to growl. Electronic Arts declined to comment.
By Indigo del Castillo
Sculptor Jessica Harrison has forever changed how we see Victorian-era ceramic figures with her works involving ladies in fancy dresses sporting badass tattoos or their own blood and guts. In this exclusive interview, she talks more about her roots as an artist and her unique take on ceramics. [read our original posts about her sculptures here and here]
How did you discover your passion for sculpture?
When I was little I wanted to work in animation – there were quite a few great children’s tv programs on in the 80’s that were made with 3D models and I decided quite early on it looked like the best job in the world to mess around with clay all day.
Let’s talk about your grotesque ceramic ladies with severed heads and misplaced body parts. Where did you get the inspiration for this collection? What was the message you were trying to convey here?
That series is called ‘Broken’ as the pieces are made using found ceramics that I have quite literally taken a hammer and chisel to.They present an impossibly fair-skinned ‘perfect’ woman and my attraction to these works was precisely because of this image they portray of the female body – my aim was to counter it and present its opposite within itself.
This was simple to do, by breaking apart the hollow cast pieces and ‘revealing’ the interior, a standard formula in Western knowledge for making discoveries about the body. The female interior is a space still laced with taboo in a way that the male interior is not, and for me this gender bias of what is most often an invisible space in our everyday lives was a fascinating and important one to address. This series, like my other works in stone, ceramics, silicone and ink comes from exploring shared ideas about the body, unraveling shared experiences of different spaces, textures and shapes.
Do you have any memorable reactions and responses regarding the macabre ceramics?
Not really, the pieces from the ‘Broken’ series are very bland to me before I break them. I think they make more sense in their altered form.
Seeing as you’ve been into sculpture all your artistic life, how difficult was it to move into tattoo art in your series about the Victorian-era ladies with tattoos?
It wasn’t difficult as it is not something different. I’m using the tattoo in this series to explore the skin space rather than creating any tattoo art itself, which is a completely different thing. Tattooing is not a painting or a drawing onto a static plane, it is incredibly sculptural, literally threading ink into a moving surface, one that has no flat surfaces.
So although the pieces are called ‘Painted Ladies’ in reference to the old term for a tattooed woman, they in fact draw from something incredibly sculptural and active in space, the skin.
The tattoo imagery I have used is all from war-time source imagery, to recall a time before the popularity boom of the tattoo when it may be pointed more towards a particular kind of harsher life. The idea was to present opposing outer layers, contrasting skins, where masculine illustrations are intertwined with overtly over-idealized feminine costume. The viewer is presented with the question of what we are supposed to consider beautiful, which costume to believe.
How long did it take you to finish a piece?
A long time, that’s why there are only a few, and why there are unlikely to be any more!
Do you have anything you’re currently working on that we should look out for?
I have an exhibition opening at Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh this July. It’s going to be very pink…