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An Interview with Phil Holt

Phil Holt interview

By Nicki Kasper Lets start by telling those who don’t know you who you are, what you do, where you’re located, etc… My name is Phil Holt. I live in Tampa Florida with my four kids. I own RedLetter1 with my friend Jeff Srsic. We have three of our friends share the space with us where we all tattoo 5-6 day a weeks. Nick Stegall, Chris Reed and David Bruehl are the best shipmates Jeff and myself could ask for. I also sell my handmade pigment under the name “Old Gold Small Batch”. The batches are still “small” but it’s really gotten busy so the facility has grown and I have a lot of small batches brewing nonstop. How long have you been in the tattoo industry and what’s your tattoo history?  How did you come up in the trade? … My brother started bringing tattoo magazines around when I was about 12 years old. I think he was mainly bringing them around because back then, in the magazines like EasyRider’s you could see bikes and boobs… Not that I wasn’t impressed with boobies but I became mostly interested in tattoos. Then in high school I really sunk my teeth into art and tattooing.  I started making tattoos in 1996. In 1998 I moved to Ohio on a sink or swim mission to become a real tattooer and basically I moved every 20-24 months for a decade. In a surreal sort of way, every shop I worked at had an amazing ... Read More »

TATTOO-LOVERS: 50 SHADES OF BLACK & GREY TATTOOS

50 shades

There’s no denying it– from the ‘jailhouse’ look of east LA to ancient, island based tribal, and from intricately designed geometric pattern tattoos to the dark and macabre, it’s easy to see that black and grey tattoo styles dominate a huge cross-section of fans and collectors in our modern tattoo culture. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, (and make a play on the title of a much anticipate erotically-themed film:), for REAL Tattoo-Lovers everywhere, TAM wanted to pay tribute to some of the world’s greatest Black & Grey tattoo artists! Though the styles of black & grey tattooing today vary widely…the entire realm of modern black and grey tattooing all have at their core the simple foundation of ink and water. In many ways this “shady” explosion of B&G’s immense popularity owes it’s modern origins to but a handful of dedicated and skilled artists of recent years, all of whom devoted themselves entirely to the task of pushing the boundaries of their personal artistic expression, and, (ultimately), to what we now know is possible to portray on human skin… using only black ink and the many shades of grey. THIS WEEK- It’s my honor and pleasure to introduce younger tattoo artists, collectors and new-ish tattoo fans in general to some of the MODERN MASTERS of black & grey tattooing. Though tattooing goes back centuries in human history, from Ötzi the Iceman to the Maori island tribes to skulls and portraits, we’re going to start with the trendsetters of modern techniques- 1) Jack Rudy –  A living legend, Jack Rudy is world ... Read More »

Workhorse Irons: Better Tools For Better Tattooing

nicki feature images

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Breast Cancer Survivors Get Tattoos In Colorado

Cancer survivor gets tattoos in Colorado

Article by Carrie Antlfinger WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) — For women who have survived breast cancer, breast or nipple reconstruction can be a first step toward looking like their old selves. A Colorado organization is helping some of those women, and others who don’t choose reconstruction, in their emotional healing — through tattoos to help conceal their scars. P.ink is a Boulder-based group that helps connect survivors with tattoo artists. Its first annual P.ink Day was in 2013, when it raised money and funded tattoos for 10 women in a single day in Brooklyn, New York. In 2014, the event expanded and featured all-volunteer artists in 12 cities in the U.S. and Canada who helped 38 women. “I think a lot of survivors see this as their opportunity to define what breast cancer looks like on them, and that is the ultimate in personal empowerment we are shooting for here,” said Noel Franus, who launched P.ink with the help of others at the CP+B advertising agency, where he works. Franus got the idea after his sister-in-law, Molly Ortwein, underwent a double mastectomy and wanted something more than reconstruction or tattooed nipples. She went to the family for ideas on a tattoo and got a pernambuco tree blossom one in 2013. The organization also has a charitable arm, the P.ink fund, which raises money to pay experienced tattoo artists to work with survivors. P.ink has created a smartphone app where women can look at designs and try one on via photo. ... Read More »

Quickie With Brooklyn’s Myles Karr

Myles Karr tattoo artist

By Crystal Morey I am a huge fan of Myles Karr. In a time where recycling ideas and styles is par for the course, Myles’ work stands out as fiercely unique. Plus he’s funnier that doorknob humpin’ monkeys… Where do you work and what’s your poison? I work at Three Kings Tattoo Brooklyn and I don’t understand the poison question part of this. Is this in regards to drinking, like a familiar way of talking about booze, because I take my booze and poison consumption fairly seriously…I also don’t really like people knowing what I consume, I often eat my breakfast in a brown paper sack, that I shove in my mouth as quickly as possible. I sometimes think about making a giant paper mache head that I can wear, so I can eat and drink in piece with a very neutral expression on my face…all the while, I’m disgusting and consuming underneath the veneer I created for myself… How would you describe your tattoo style? My tattoo style is best described as a failing comedy routine performed by 2 elderly men, one of whom decided right before the routine started that he hated the other comedian, and really doesn’t want to be there anymore…he keeps dropping his cues, and the punch lines just kind of hang in the air like a cloud of fetid smoke. If its a color tattoo, the smoke would be persimmon and the background would be paynes grey and there would be a lot of teal ... Read More »

An Interview with Dan Trocchio

Tattoo Artist Don Trocchio

By Nicki Kasper Tell us a little bit about yourself… Where are you from?  Where do you work? etc… I’ve been working in NYC since I moved there in 2000, however I’ve been doing a lot of traveling the last couple of years and six months ago I moved to Providence Rhode Island.  I’m still tattooing in NYC for a week or two at a time and it’s still primarily where I make my living, tattooing at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn.  I think I’m going to move back in spring, or start traveling again. Were you primarily traveling here in the states or were you also working internationally? Any specific places on your bucket list? I was in Madrid and Barcelona, both amazing places. I love Spain. And to Bremen, Germany to see some good friends and do a little work. I took the train from Spain to Germany, I prefer trains. Looking out the window and being grounded is best. When i got back to the states, I took the train from NYC to Colorado, then to SF, then Portland. The West Coast train was awesome, the star light and the Zephyr. Though the train through the Midwest, I would skip… Not a very exiting landscape from the window of a train. I really want to go to Thailand, or any of those beautiful places where you can survive on 2$. Grand Canyon and Crater National Park are definitely on my bucket list, too. I’ve been staying put at the ... Read More »

Deb Yarian on Zeke Owen

zeke_blog

I saw him before I found out who he was. A striking figure of a man… He was movie star handsome with the physique of a boxer.It was 1980.  I was 21 and tattooing at a friend’s shop in Daytona Beach, Fla.We weren’t introduced but when I was told who he was, his imposing physical presence equaled the reputation that preceded him. Zeke’s name dominated tattooing for much of the latter part of the 20th century.  An iconic figure and a forefather of American tattooing.  If you know the names Sailor Jerry, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone you should know the name Zeke Owen. Sadly, Zeke is in a nursing home now and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.His family is asking for the tattoo community’s help to cover medical expenses. They have set up an account to help with his needs and care.  If you are willing and able to help please go to www.gofundme.com/awq8eoMy husband Don and I had the great fortune to interview him a few years ago at our shop in Alaska.If you would like to learn about Zeke’s amazing tattoo journey you can read about it in issue #39 of Tam. Thank you for your help!   This Month of January, TAM will donate 30% of sales of issue 39th to assist Zeke! Zeke has done a lot for tattooing, and he needs the community’s support. Please give what you can, and spread the word! Get TAM Issue 39 Today and Help Support Zeke!   ... Read More »

Friends don’t let friends get bad tattoos!

bad tattoos what can you do?

What can any of us DO about the number of people out there getting BAD TATTOOS? Why do people get bad tattoos? Why do neighbors, coworkers, and even our family members come up and show us their new tattoos [which are obviously sub-par] and say, “I just got a new tattoo! It looks good, right?!” How can otherwise intelligent people, people whom we know have relatively good tastes in music, movies, comedy, theater, ballet, (SH#T– nearly ANYthing else creative in the world), but be utterly and completely blind to the truth about how bad their own tattoos are? As hard as it is to say- it may not really be their fault; even tattooers need up to TEN YEARS to learn how to recognize good work! That’s how hard it is to learn. But, for some reason, every-body thinks they know what’s good and what’s not, when it comes to tattoo work. Speaking AS a tattooer of 25 years, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s mostly OUR OWN fault, the pros who’ve been doing it for 10-20 years or more; we LET television and the internet flood the hearts & minds of genuinely interested tattoo fans, and did little to make a stand TOGETHER when we had the chance, by creating and offering quality, entertaining AND educational media resources for the masses. Most tattooer’s have selective memories, so it’s been really really difficult for many of them to remember that there was once a time that they didn’t know shit about tattoos ... Read More »

The Justin Harris Interview

Justin-Harris-tam-blog

By Kevin Miller http://www.tattoosnob.com I’ve wanted to interview Justin Harris for a while now. Justin was always down, but we could never work out the details. Well it’s finally happened, and I’m stoked. Justin recently moved to Philadelphia, and has been pumping out new work. Keep reading to hear how Philly is treating Justin, his advice for new tattoo artist, who you’re sleeping on, and why he changed his iconic Instagram name. Tattoo Snob: Let’s get the basic information out of the way. Who are you, where do you tattoo, and what other information do people need to know? Justin Harris:My name is Justin Harris, I currently am tattooing out of Deep Six in Philadelphia, PA. TS: You have an interesting story about your Instagram username, and why you eventually changing it. Can you tell us that story? JH: A lot of people have asked why the change in the name. People commonly referred to me as one of the “Bullies”, specifically @greenbaybully. I still and always will be a bully for life. My counter part Bobby Johnson (@glendalebully) started it and it stuck. As for the change in the name, it was mainly do to with separating from the IG persona and real life. Using the bully name was a good way for people to remember who you are. As any business traveler knows, names are hard to keep track of. We’ve all been there, and with that being said – it also can be a down fall having an alternate name. People would often ... Read More »

Inksmith & Rogers 30th Anniversary

Eric Inksmith and Rogers 30th yeah anniversary

By Deb Yarian Early in my tattoo career, I was blessed by the friendship and mentorship of Eric Inksmith and the late legendary Paul Rogers. At a time when secrets of the trade were highly guarded, their willingness to share their knowledge with others was a rare commodity. It was that, their shared love of tattooing, and their hospitable natures that drew travelers from all over the globe to the first Inksmith and Rogers shop that Eric and Paul opened in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1984. Three decades later, those same qualities are what drew me and hundreds of fellow tattooers, friends and their families back to Jacksonville for a two day celebration of their 30th anniversary. Paul passed away in 1990 but hosts, Eric Inksmith, Mike Wilson, and Angelo Miller succeeded in carrying on in that same spirit of generosity during the two day event. Inksmith and Rogers consists of five shops now, spread across the city, home to more than 25 devoted tattooers known throughout the tattoo world for their bold, colorful, beautifully executed tattoos. Throughout both days of the celebration resident and guest artists tattooed at all of the I & R locations. People lined up for hours waiting to get tattooed by Eric, many hoping to get The signature Inksmith and Roger’s smile and a “30” year mark. Their flagship shop’s large outdoor area resembled a carnival midway festooned with tents and flower covered tables. Guests, Philadelphia Eddie and Bowery Stan Moskowitz manned a table, selling their ... Read More »

10 of the world’s best Japanese tattoo artists: pt2- Horiyoshi III

Horiyoshi-III-tattoo-blog-header-image

This is Part 2: Horiyoshi III – 10 of the world’s best Japanese style tattoo artists. -Horiyoshi III (no connection to Horiyoshi II, from the last post), is Yoshihito Nakano of Yokohama, Japan, and is our featured artist today. Horiyoshi the 3rd is perhaps THE most respected and celebrated tattoo artist in Japan’s history. His work is admired and studied by experts, artists and collectors worldwide, and with more than a dozen books available on Horiyoshi’s life and work, it’s easy to understand why he is unarguably considered the preeminent Japanese tattoo master of this or any era. His work is EPIC! Beautiful! And Groundbreaking! While still remaining rooted in centuries of tradition.                   It was during the first year of Tattoo Artists Magazine’s existence that I found myself given the sudden chance to travel to Japan and meet this legendary tattooer, Horiyoshi III. TAM was still brand new at the time, so having a friend send along my request to Horiyoshi, asking to feature him and his work in the new magazine project opened up the chance of a lifetime- an invitation to come visit Horiyoshi’s studio and museum. It would be the realization of a lifelong dream to see Japan, (having become obsessed with Japanese art, history and lore as a young child after watching the mini-series “SHOGUN” on television, and then discovering the amazing filmography of Akira Kurosawa and books of translated Japanese legends by Lufcadio Hearn in my teen years!) Hell yeah! I could NOT ... Read More »

10 of the World’s BEST Japanese style TATTOO ARTISTS: pt1

Best Japanese Tattoo Artist

Over the next few weeks we’re going to pay tribute to Japanese-themed tattoos and the contributions of 10 Tattoo Artists widely considered to be some of the BEST IN THE WORLD. For an ever-increasing  number of tattoo collectors (and artists alike), Japanese-styled tattoos are appreciated as the most sophisticated and visually pleasing style of tattooing, today. Though known about since the late 1800s, the popularity of Japanese tattoos in the United States, Europe and around the globe has really only expanded exponentially since the 1960s, prior to this time very few people could understand the depth to these expressions of ink in skin- historically or mythologically. Tattooing is a visual art form, however, and Japanese tattoo work has always had an incomparable effect on even untrained eyes. Just imagine early westerners traveling to a strange land, months at sea, stepping off and seeing such decorated warriors! The history of Japanese tattooing and the mythological roots of its powerful yet elegant imagery are deep topics of study and the daunting pursuit of many modern professional artists and scholars, alike. The myths represented in these tattoos and Japan’s rich history of tattooing are subjects for future blog posts, but for our purposes, now, let us trace the various Japanese styles of tattooing, today, back to but a few primary influences- starting with (perhaps, surprisingly to some) the pioneering work of American master, Sailor Jerry Collins and his correspondence with Tattooers around the globe. There are reasons Norman Collins (aka Sailor Jerry) is so respected by the tattoo community, not the ... Read More »

Italian Adventures and Lessons Learned

Nicki-TAM-feature-image-blog-italy

By Nicki Kasper I’ve met a lot of people over the last five years in this industry… I’ve made a lot of surface level friends and I’ve been blessed with quite a few real genuine friendships with people who truly care for me, and want to know who I am and what I’m about. I’m always humbled by this, and it means a lot to me when it’s clear that I’m not being used for what I might be able to do for someone. I always notice. I was personally invited to attend the World Wide Tattoo Conference by my friend, Alex de Pase last week in Venice, and it was great. It’s two and a half days of seminars, speeches, and discussion panels in front of a room full of people eager to learn and be inspired. I’m not a tattooer, I’m a business owner, but even I can stand to learn something from artists who are teaching and talking about what inspires them, what they have trouble with, and how they get through it. It’s all relative. There are many different styles when it comes to tattooing, as well as different schools of thought in this small industry, but… I do believe that we all stand to learn something from all of them. I think having an open mind and a willingness to shut the fuck up, realize that you might not know everything, and listen to someone teach or speak about what it is that helps them ... Read More »

Tattoo Artist Profile: “Texas Tony Hundahl”

Featured tattoo artist Tony Hundahl

I met Tony Hundahl in January, 2007, (I think), at the famed Austin Tattoo convention. It was my first trip to Austin so, as was my custom, I spent the week before the convention traveling the city, meeting artists, visiting tattoo shops, (searching for the good food:) and booking interviews for the convention. The Austin Convention was (and still is) a great show! My team and I had a blast; we met a ton of new people and managed to get about 8 interviews completed in only two days, with just as many tattoos filmed. There wasn’t a whole lot of time for chit-chat during convention hours so I distinctly remember being stunned silent in the middle of an interview set-up by this GIANT full-torso WOLF-HEAD tattoo (and the shirtless Texan it adorned) marching abruptly past me and out the front doors for a smoke. “He must be on a break,” I figured, since he was still oozing. “I NEED to get a better look at that tattoo!” No joke, it was the most impressive tattoo I’d seen all weekend…(perhaps all year!) It displayed an intensity and boldness I’d only really seen Ed Hardy pull off so successfully! I dropped whatever it was I was doing and swiftly headed outside to see this tattoo and find out WHO was working on it!  GET the FULL 20 min video interview HERE for only $.99 I went hunting for the guy outside and quickly found him, the tattoo screaming at me from across the street, (as a good tattoo should). I briskly strolled up and ... Read More »

Gideon’s Army: Tattoos In Law

Gideon's Army tattoos

By Marisa Kakoulas When my tattoo world and legal world collide, in some very powerful ways, I want to share it with you. I attended NYU Law School’s screening of Gideon’s Army, a film that takes a tough look at the American criminal justice system through the lives of three young public defenders in the the South who struggle with an overwhelming case load, long hours, and very low pay in order to ensure that those who are poor and cannot afford a lawyer in a criminal trial have the right to representation — a right guaranteed by the 6th Amendment of the US Constitution and the 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court ruled that defendants in criminal cases have the right to legal representation in state courts, and if they cannot afford a lawyer, the state would have provide one. Public defenders are such lawyers.Gideon’s Army, brilliantly directed by Dawn Porter, is not a documentary where tattoos play heavily. This film, at its core, is about how some of the greatest civil rights abuses lie in a broken criminal justice system, as noted by Jonathan Rapping, who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center, now known as Gideon’s Promise.However, one of the most powerful moments in the film comes in the form of tattoos. As seen in the short clip below (which is not all entirely in the film), Travis Williams, a public defender in Hall County, Georgia, calls himself and other public defenders who fight for the constitution ... Read More »

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