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P E R S E V E R A N C E

Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World

MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

Source: http://www.janm.org

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About the Exhibition

Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World explores the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices in this groundbreaking photographic exhibition.

As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice.

Although tattooing is largely seen as an underground activity in Japan, Japanese tattoo artists have pursued their passions, applied their skills, and have risen to become internationally acclaimed artists. Through the endurance and dedication of these tattoo artists, Japanese tattooing has also persevered and is now internationally renowned for its artistry, lineage, historical symbolism, and skill.

Curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip FulbeckPerseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind. Perseverance will explore Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints. This exhibition will also examine current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.

Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, HoritakaHoritomoChris Horishiki BrandMiyazoShigeJunii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists will cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.

Premier Sponsor

Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman

Patron Sponsors

Friends
LS Tattoo Museum
Pasadena Art Alliance
UCSB Academic Senate
UCSB Department of Art

Supporters
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Richard Ross
Samy’s Camera
Spoonflower, Inc.
Target
Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation

Media Sponsor
The Rafu Shimpo


What’s In a Name?

By Deb Yarian

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By Don 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.

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photo 4 Redo of “Carlita” by Deb


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.

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By Don Yarian


Notes & Advice 8

By Nick Baxter

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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.

You can read the entire Geddes interview (as well as interviews with three other great modern painters too!) on the noeyeddeer blog.

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Tattoo Age: Freddy Corbin Part 1

By Vice


STUNNING TATTOOED CERAMIC LADIES: WE INTERVIEWED THE ARTIST BEHIND THEM

By Indigo del Castillo

http://www.lostateminor.com

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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.

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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.

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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…

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*NEW* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Victor Policheri

http://www.viptattoo.com

Heidi Hay Tattoo

Gothenburg, Sweden

IG: @viptattoo

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The Last Kalinga Tattoo Artist

Photo and Caption by Michal Duchek

http://www.travel.nationalgeographic.com
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A fascinating culture of the Igorot people brought me and my girlfriend to Kalinga. Head-hunting ceased decades ago, however, the motifs of Kalinga tattoos and the way they are being tattoed remains the same (charcoal and an orange thorn). We decided to visit this beautiful tribeswoman who is the last Kalinga tattoo artist. After a few days, long hours spent on buses and jeepneys, we were lucky to find a local guide Francis who brought us to Buscalan. We were overwhelmed how hospitable and friendly she is. Her natural beauty and her tattoo tempted me to ask her for a pose outside her dwelling.

Location: Buscalan village, Kalinga, North Luzon, Philippines


Arts In Context | A Moving Canvas

A message from Kate Hellenbrand:

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TODAY is the DAY!!!

PBS SPECIAL airing TONIGHT at 7:30 p.m. here in AUSTIN, Central Time~
Available on line thru their website tomorrow for the rest of the world to see.
This isn’t some crappy “reality” TV SHOW. This is a respectful overview of the real art of tattoo. It’s PBS, people!
I’ve continued to turn down “Ink Disaster” and “Tattoo Titans” and all the other crap thrown at me that is made up and disrespectful to my glorious art/craft. Thankfully, I held out. I am proud. And even though haters will pick it apart, I say: SUCK IT!
I am almost excited enough to buy a TV (which I don’t have) and subscribe to cable (which I won’t do) so gratefully I’m going to watch at Chris Kirkpatrick’s home with his lovely wife Christine. He’s the client
getting the girl with the cobra that you’ll see.

LEMME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

And we have some photos up on the website: http://www.artsincontext.org
and also on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ArtsInContext


Freehand Tattoo by Carl Grace


Stay Humble with Dave Wah: The Exclusive Tattoo Snob Interview

By Kevin Miller
I generally excited about everything that’s posted on Tattoo Snob, but I’m really excited about my interview with Dave Wah. Dave has been killing it for a long time, and he recently opened Stay Humble Tattoo Company in Baltimore, Maryland. I shot Dave a handful of questions about his tattooing, opening up a new shop, who inspires him, and what else he has lined up for 2014.
This interview is a must read. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be checking flight prices and planning a tattoo getaway to Baltimore by the end of the interview.
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Tattoo Snob: For those who aren’t familiar with your work, can you give them the basics?
Dave Wah: I guess I would consider myself to be an artist who likes to do a little bit of everything. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great veteran artists over the years, including Uncle Pauly and Eric Gregory, who really stressed the importance of being versatile. My work ranges from realism to traditional, however I do try to incorporate my own style into everything. I think the range of styles I use keeps me motivated to keep creating. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing that I don’t have a particular style, all I know is I love going to work everyday.
TSdave-wah-1-214x300: Let’s talk about Stay Humble Tattoo. Tell us a little about the shop, and what led you to this path.
DW: I opened Stay Humble Tattoo Company in Baltimore, Maryland last october and things have been amazing ever since. The time just seemed right to head out on my own, I’ve developed a large clientele base and I’ve always wanted to work closer to the city. My father has owned his own business for over 35 years and he always taught me the benefits of working for yourself. I also had the benefit of working under Vinnie Myers for the past 5 years, and he is easily one of the most successful people in tattooing.
It’s a second floor shop, and I set it up to be a semi-private studio. There’s limited signage outside and you kind of have to know I’m there to even know it’s a tattoo shop. I tattoo by appointment only and it’s a super laid back environment. It’s kind of nice having a little hidden place to do my work.
TS: Your work ranges from black and grey, to traditional, to neo-traditional, to realistic. How did this come about? Do you have a preferred style?
DW: I think there’s a few factors that led to me doing so many different styles. I think the number one reason is I truly love almost every style of tattooing. I never understood artists who only liked one style and hated everything else. There’s value in so many different styles of tattooing. Another thing that led to me being diverse is my background in realism. As a kid growing up my focus in drawing was realism, so when I got into tattooing I was able to incorporate realistic techniques into traditional tattoo designs. The last reason is that it took me a long time to figure out how to do a solid tattoo, I worked at street shops and I kind of jumped around trying different things to find what was right for me. Tattooing is hard.
My favorite style tends to be illustrated realism, not even sure if that’s an actual style haha.
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TS: With being comfortable in so many different styles, do you suggest different styles based on the subject matter or what the client asks for?
DW: I’m very fortunate that most of my clients tend to let me do whatever style I want. Once they give me the subject of their tattoo I consider what style I think it would look best in, and what style would look best on them. I’m also very aware of my limitations as a tattooer, so I think about how I can utilize my strengths to make the tattoo work.
TS: I see your website states that you no longer do coverups. Why is that? Does this include lasered pieces?
DW: The short answer is that coverups are a pain in the ass and they stress me out. I will cover lasered pieces if they are light enough, I’ll also cover up small tattoos if it’s fairly easy. It’s such a shame that so many people are looking for cover ups these days, unfortunately I think the problem is only going to get worse over time.
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TS: Outside of tattooing, what do you do in your spare time?
DW: Spare time is pretty hard to come by these days, tattooing is pretty much my whole life. When I’m not working or drawing tattoos I spend a lot of time looking at tattoos online, good ones and bad ones. Other than tattoo related stuff I spend a lot of time in my basement studio recording and writing music. I’m really lucky to have a wife that gives me a good amount of freedom.
TS: Which tattoo artists inspire you? What about outside of the tattoo world?
DW: My favorite tattoo artist is Seth Wood. I don’t think I’ve seen a tattoo of his that I didn’t love. Some other artists who constantly amaze me are Jim Sylvia, Stefan Johnsson, Peter Lagergren, Mike Stockings, Emily Rose Murray, and Mike Moses, just to name a handful. I think we’re very fortunate to live in a time when everyone’s work is so readily available to see. I’ve only been tattooing a little over eleven years but I still remember having to wait for new magazines to come out see new work.
TS: Who was the last tattoo artist that tattooed you?
DW: The last two tattoos I got were from Steve Wimmer in Delaware and from Seth Wood when he was still in Brooklyn. Both were really great experiences, it’s really cool to see how every shop has it’s own unique vibe.
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TS: Who do you want to get tattooed by?
DW: I’d love to get tattooed by Jim Sylvia, Grime, and of course Seth Wood again. There’s a bunch of artists in Maryland who I want to get work from, Jason Reeder, Gary Gerhardt, Thomas Kenney, and John Rippey, all those guys are killing it.
TS: Any travel plans for 2014?
DW: I think most of my traveling is done for 2014, my wife and I just had our first baby so I’m gonna hold off on traveling till the end of the year or the beginning of 2015. Between the baby, a new shop, and the new house we just built my plate is pretty full. I usually do about 5-6 conventions a year but I’d like to do a lot more conventions and guest spots in the future. I also need to get back out to see my friends at Memento Tattoo in Columbus, Ohio. Those guys are on another level.
TS: Any last words?
DW: I’m currently looking to set up a steady rotation of guest artists at my shop in Baltimore. Working by myself has been great, but you can learn so much more by working with other artists. If anyone wants to set up a guest spot send me an email to dave@davewah.com with a link to your portfolio. Thanks so much for supporting me and putting my work on your website, it really means the world to me.

Tim Lehi’s Father, Rick Lee Peter’s Cancer Memorial Fund

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Donate to Rick Lee Peters and his family as he continues his fight against Cancer. Please help provide him peace of mind in his final days.

Rick Lee Peters received his Masters of Fine Arts with Honors from The University of Kansas.  But who needs a fancy piece of paper to notice the true talents of this man.  One peek at his repertoire is a clear display of a truly wonderful, creative and talented man who our Universe is preparing to take away due to Cancer.

He began his battle about a year ago and we all had hopes that he would pull thru this routine procedure.  The other side of the curtain must need some funny, bright new personalities and probably some new artwork!

As Rick prepares for a battle that his body no longer has control over, his family – his beautiful wife Jill, his son Tim and daughter Aimee, his grandchildren and a long list of loved ones and friends take comfort in being able to see and speak with Rick, and share encouraging hugs during these final days.  His good humor helps everyone ease thru an extremely heartbreaking and difficult process.

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Painting by Rick Lee Peters

Of course – with any medical battle there are costs involved.  Not only the hospital and treatment bills, but cost of living expenses, final resting costs, and the stress of being able to provide for loved ones once that fateful day has come.  One of Rick’s requests is to have a simple heart shaped headstone  -even the most modest design is worth a mint.

Rick has provided this World with laughs, smiles, love and brightness – not only thru his amazing being but thru the beauty of his artwork.  Whether you knew him in person or not – his paintings and sketches will spread a smile across your face and in your heart.

Skip the line at Starbucks and donate that $5 to someone who really matters.  No amount is too small or too big.  Every little bit helps.  Please donate and share this fundraiser with others.  

Thank you and much peace.

For donations, please visit: http://gfwd.at/1oQHJQO

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GUEST BLOG: “TATTOOISTS, TATTOOED” EXHIBITION

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At the prestigious Museum du quai Branly in Paris, the “Tatoueurs, tatoues” opened on May 6th to great acclaim, with renowned tattoo artists in attendance for the opening, as well as international media (including the New York Times). Reviewing the exhibit for Needles & Sins, our friend Serinde in Paris offers her thoughts in this guest post as well as photos of exhibit pieces here on Flickr.

By Serinde

A tattoo exhibition? You mean, not in the corner of a tattoo convention? In a real museum? Well, it’s for real, and it’s happening now in Paris, at the Museum du quai Branly, which is quite famous for showing high quality exhibitions, usually specialized in anthropology and ethnology. And it is now showing “Tatoueurs, tatoues” (or “tattooists, tattooed”).

Of course, having a few tattoos myself, and being both interested and a bit educated in tattoo history and techniques, I had to rush there, and report back on what this exhibit has to offer:

The exhibition was curated by Anne & Julien (who’ve been involved in the modern art scene for many years now), and advised and directed by famed French tattoo artist Tin-Tin. The goal of the exhibit, as explained by Anne & Julien, is to show how tattoo, which has existed since ancient times, has changed, developed, disappeared, and been reborn to the art we know today.

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In the first part, named “from the global to the marginal,” the exhibition tells the story of tattoo throughout history, and society. You can view a mummified tattooed arm from Peru, antique tools, and amazing portraits of Algerian tattooed women. This part also explores the role of tattoos in the navy, and in prisons with, among other things, a short movie that I highly recommend: “La peau du milieu” (1957), showing the “underground” side of tattoo, at a time when the meaning was much more important than the style, which was, well, rather poor.

Then, you enter the marginal and colorful world of sideshow, circus, freaks, and…traveling tattoo artists. As a transition, there’s a very interesting “Wall of Fame,” displaying a timeline of tattoo culture, including laws, techniques, famous tattoo artists, and famous tattooed people.

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The exhibition goes on with a focus on tattoo in Japan, North America, and Europe. The Japanese selection shows some stunning paintings, tattoo projects, photos of tattooed people, videos, a photo of a tattooed skin taken from a dead man (gulp! I first didn’t notice it was only a photo); other incredible artifacts include a kabuki costume painted so that it looked like a tattoo when worn by the actor. In the North America and European selections, there were more photos and prints of tattooed people, and interestingly, a copy of Samuel O’Reilly’s patent for his tattooing machine (and some modern day machines as well).

Moving through the exhibit, at this stage, museum goers now view works made by tattoo artists exclusively for this exhibition: 19 artists worked on “tattoo project” paintings, and 13 artists tattooed silicon body parts to great effect.

There’s also an exploration into the revival of traditional tattoo in Oceania and South-East Asia, displaying some impressive masks and head sculptures (I was especially impressed by those), traditional tools, as well as modern tattoo projects. There’s further cultural discussion of tattoo in China, the Latino and Chicano cultures in the US, among others.

At last, the exhibition ends with the “new generation” of artists, such as Yann Black and the “Art Brut” movement in tattooing, as a nod to the future of the art.

Tin Tin tattoo silicon

 

 

To read the rest of this article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/05/tatoueurs-tatoues-musee-du-quai-branly.html

 


Horiyoshi III and David Lee Roth


*New* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Hanumantra Lamar

http://www.modernbodyart.co.uk

Modern Body Art, Birmingham

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What is Art? (Part 2)

By Nick Baxter

Last year I started collecting my thoughts on the continual debate in my head about what art is, and how it can be (among other things) an effective form of communication. That effort was and still is intertwined with the process of further understanding my own art, and all other art, as well. In hindsight, I thought the initial writing (here and here) was a bit unfocused, and since it was also incomplete, I took the time recently to revisit those blog entries and rework them into a more cohesive essay.
The final part of that essay, as mentioned in the second of those prior blog posts, is about my belief that photojournalism can be viewed as a creative art form, possessing an almost-accidental form of raw beauty capable of inspiring other works of art (such as many of my own). This critique of photojournalism introduces broader questions about the “unintended” as art, and–for now–completes my investigation into the sneakily complicated debate “What is art?”

In the future I’ll post the final version of the essay in its entirety, but for now here is the “part 2″ continuation of those prior blog posts.

Photojournalism and the Unintended as Art

In the last 100 years, photojournalism has become a fixture of our visual landscape. On the surface, it’s simply defined as the use of images to tell a news story or to report on current events. In this role, the photos are not art, and their photographers are not acting as artists, which means their images are typically held to strict ethical standards of honesty, impartiality, and objectivity. But these attributes are graded on a scale that becomes increasingly inexact amidst the complexity of postmodern thought and the digital age of endless reproduction and re-appropriation. This is the point at which the question “What is art?” becomes relevant and fascinating to me, when applied to the medium of photojournalism.
I’ve always appreciated the naïve purity of an image that’s been produced with no pretense of art, utterly uninhibited by the finicky shackles of artistic rules or the whims of unreliable muses like inspiration. In this open and wild space, artistic qualities and natural beauty are given the chance to emerge on their own, unintended and raw, like the strongest of weeds in a perfectly manicured lawn, and photography seems to be an ideal medium for this phenomenon. This element of chance can produce quite powerful images, capable of communicating intensely to the viewer while remaining—and precisely because they remain—firmly grounded in the truth of reality “as it happened.”
And so the commonplace photos we’re bombarded with through ever-increasing media saturation begin ostensibly as visual data comprised only of ‘facts’ or neutral information, yet end up loaded with symbolism, embedded with the perceptions and beliefs of their creators and audience after becoming the subject of this artistic line of inquiry.

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One of my all-time favorites (sorry I could not find the photographer or credit online).

In studying art history, it seems this afterlife of the journalistic image became much more possible in the wake of the Dada movement, when artists (including photographers) carved out new niches for their work beyond mere decoration or commemoration of important people or places. Art in the 20th century became increasingly deconstructivist, philosophically charged, and conceptual in nature, filling multiple roles while having its meaning manipulated by the increasingly complex worldviews of both creator and audience1.

Because of this evolution, just about anything could be considered art in the right context, meaning that most contemporary art now resides as much in the blurry, ambiguous realm of provocative ideas as it does in the realm of traditional craft. Hence a museum visitor might encounter an exhibit of random paint splotches that, beneath its completely underwhelming, childlike appearance, contains a metaphor referencing complex political or psychological theories learned by the artist through years of intense academic study.

 

This can be maddening to the viewer who simply wants to marvel at a skillfully executed object of beauty, or it can be liberating for those who want to engage in debate, controversy, or social change through the arts. My own art has always attempted to straddle this fence by incorporating the best of both worlds: technical, precise handling of paint in the realism tradition, yet depicting modern subject matter and informed by the angst and alienation of postmodern philosophies. It is my belief that photojournalism in the modern age, thanks to that 20th-century process of expansion and deconstruction, straddles a similar fence, one separating objective observations from subjective beauty and meaning.

This ability of the journalistic photograph to transcend genres is confirmed in the academic community by the fact that “Breaking News Photography” is a Pulitzer Prize category. This prestigious yearly award started in 1917 as a way to honor impactful achievements in American journalism, literature, and music. Winning photographs are resurrected as art objects, receiving appreciation for their poignancy and beauty—a second life of sorts, after their initial purpose or function in the journalistic media has been served.

This second life also takes the form of photo essays, curated and arranged into cohesive narratives, which are now commonly presented in art and lifestyle publications, fine art galleries, and museums throughout the world. Depending on the intentions of the photographer and exhibiting institution or publication, as well as the sensibilities of the viewing audience, these photographs may be appreciated for their communication about the world events that comprise their content, or for their artistic qualities—or both.

In his 1995 essay about the modern age of photojournalism, writer Richard Lacayo wades into the debate surrounding artistic subjectivity and meaning:

“Photojournalists tend to stay aloof from talk about camera aesthetics. There is something about dodging gunfire in Beirut that discourages ruminations on style, understandably enough. More to the point, no one who catalogs bloodshed or poverty wants to be thought of as yet another vendor to the senses. Some news photographers spend half their lives chasing wars; who can blame them if they reach for the door when they hear the word art? …The stereotype survives: artists have visions; journalists have assignments. They may both think to themselves, ‘I am a camera,’ but each means something different.

“Yet aesthetic questions have a moral dimension. Color is pretty; misery is not. How does one keep the simple appeal of color from confounding the full range of meanings a photograph may convey? If pictures of genocide come to us in the muted pastels of a GAP ad or the vivid hues of a rock video, how does a photographer keep atrocity from looking palatable?”2

While the moralist in me sympathizes with this sentiment, the artist and rebel in me, raised in an age of cynicism, desensitization, and ambiguity, views adjectives like ‘palatable’ as mere subjective opinions, impossible to resolve into an absolute truth for all to agree on. Human culture is so diverse that practically anything could be considered palatable art, by someone. And so I answer Lacayo’s question with another question: “Why should the photographer keep atrocity from looking palatable?”

I want to ask this question not because I enjoy atrocity, but because I am capable of the postmodern complexity of holding multiple feelings and competing appreciations within me simultaneously. In this case, that multiplicity includes the horror and revulsion at the tragic events occurring in our world as well as the aesthetic delight at the spectacle of color, shape, line, emotion, symbolism, and meaning on vivid display, emerging somewhat accidentally (and perhaps with more purity) through the photojournalistic medium.

As if to concede this very point I’m making and pay homage to the “What is art?” debate, the author goes on to admit, “The most capable photojournalists…have learned to incorporate the unruliness of color into a deliberate statement. …Barbaric rule can operate in the broadest daylight, suffering can happen in sensual settings, a place can be cruel and inviting at the same time.”

And so we see that through the inescapable conduit of subjectivity, passive observation becomes intentional communication, and thus, photojournalism can also be the highest of art forms, loaded with inspiration for artists working in any medium. I’ve always appreciated the best journalistic photography for this transcendent ability, the point at which the happenings of this world become awe-inspiring images, and the deepest truths contained in the human condition are put on poetic display.

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Various newspaper and magazine clippings I’ve save over the years for reference and inspiration.

So once and for all, “What is art?” This question may never be fully answered. But with an integral approach and an open mind, artists and viewers alike can use this line of inquiry to enrich their experience of reality, to deepen the communication that is the purpose of all art, and to find beauty everywhere, even where it may be unintended.

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Another powerful, poetic image (sorry I couldn’t find the photographer or image credit online for this one either).

1The Situationists of the 1960s took this evolution to the extreme, espousing radical anarchist views on art that embraced destruction and merciless re-appropriation of all imagery, in the service of transforming society and conscious reality into a powerful and playful dialogue with the present moment.

2Lacayo, Richard. “IV: Resurgence 1980-1995.” Eyewitness: 150 Years of Photojournalism. New York CIty: Time, 1995. 166. Print.


ARTIST PROFILE: KIRIAKOS, SAKE TATTOO CREW

By Marisa Kakoulas

http://www.needlesandsins.com

Kiriakos sake tattoo crew 1 Kiriakos sake tattoo crew 2

In Athens, Greece, the Sake Tattoo Crew is an incubator for top tattoo talent — not just respected in the country, but worldwide. One artist from this collective is Kiriakos Balaskas. Tattooing for 8 years after a tough apprenticeship with Sake, Kiriakos developed a style combining abstract expressionism watercolors and graphic art. But I wanted to learn from him how he views his work, and tattoo culture as a whole, so I took him away from organizing the Athens Tattoo Convention, which is May 23-25, for a quick Q&A. 

If forced to define your style, how would you describe it? What are the strongest influences on your work?


My tattoo style in general has always been a combination of heavy themes/ lines/ shapes, and naive — almost childish — color details. I’ve always found this invasion of joy into strictness (two sides that equally attract me) very interesting and exciting. As soon as I started experimenting with the watercolor technique, I felt I had finally found the absolute way of expressing this ultimate combination. My pieces mainly include these distinctive elements: a black graphic stencil or sketch, and either a brush or wide, “clean,” kid-style watercolors — usually two colors only. It is hard for me to define it in a sole, strict term as there is no one else in Greece who practises this style, but if forced to define it, I’d use the term my costumers use when they ask for it, “Kiddo.”

Some old school artists believe that “only bold will hold,” and that every tattoo needs a heavy outline to stay strong longer. What is your response to this? 

I agree and I myself use total black outlines in the stencil/sketch part. But as far as the watercolors outline is concerned, I feel the lines should create an ephemeral impression — if you take the loose element out of the watercolor, the very substance of it is gone. 

Because you are doing something new and innovative with your work, what kind of reactions do you get to it?

The reactions are positive, if not overwhelming. People are interested in trying this new technique or inflowing the style into their tattoos, and their eagerness to experiment with unconventional styles sincerely moves me.

What are some of the greatest lessons you learned in tattooing?

I’ve learned the greatest lessons and values of tattooing from the person who initiated me to this art, Sake. It was a tough apprenticeship by his side that I had to go through in order to become a respected tattoo artist, and one of the greatest lessons he gave me was to pay this respect back to the customers. They will have that piece on them forever, and that is something we always have to keep in mind. 

What do you think makes a good tattoo — and what do you think makes a good tattoo artist?

A good tattoo is a tattoo that remains the same over the years, as if it was only done two weeks ago. I consider good artists to be the artists who won’t rest or let themselves go as far as their technique, style and inspiration are concerned.

How have you seen tattoo culture in Greece evolve? How has mainstream culture in Greece adapted to the art’s popularity?

**To read the full article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/05/artist-profile-kiriakos-sake-tattoo-crew.html

Kiriakos sake tattoo crew 3


*New* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Olaf Lobe

http://www.truelovetattoo.de

True Love Tattoo

Düsseldorf, Germany

Instagram: @olaftruelove

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Confessions of a Tattoo Artist: Part 3


Mike Moses: Facing the onslaught of the digital age

Source: http://www.tattoosnob.com

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Guest post by Mike Moses (On Instagram: @thedrowntown)

Those of us with at least a decade in the tattoo industry remember a world quite different from today. As for the old-timers… hell, they probably don’t recognize their own shops anymore. The nervous laughter and palpable fear of those yet to be tattooed is gone. Instead, quiet cadres glued to the 5600K light of a handheld revolution occupy our waiting rooms. Prospective clients gain reassurance that the process ahead is “no big deal” from an ever-growing web of search results.

What used to be a rite of passage for more questionable members of society (and more than a few good servicemen) is now served up hot to hoodie’d teenagers, housewives and your cousin Frank. You can’t even check out at the grocery store without a family of five cooing in unison, forcibly comparing their future projects and former mistakes to yours. I didn’t sign up for this – I just wanted some ice cream.

At some point, you have to wonder: “What the hell happened?”

Coming up in a small town, tattooers in magazines took on a heroic glow. They seemed so far away, their greatness vast and unattainable. As an apprentice, you poured over piles of moldy outdated magazines; tattooer preschool was all about taking notes of the good (and bad) aspects of others’ work. Next you began observing the guys you worked with and the dudes down the street; studying their style, approach, and remembering their names wasyour job.

In those days, even the guys a couple blocks over might as well have had miles of barbed wire around them. The only way to gain access was a chance meeting in a bar; perhaps you’d get lucky and someone would introduce you. To get a glimpse of their sticker smudged and road-worn portfolio meant manning up and walking into their shop, a frightening endeavor indeed. Understanding the industry relied on the realization that you owed other tattooers everything, simply for carving the path ahead of you.

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Back then tattooing was still massively unappreciated by the mainstream. It was a remote career, a venture regarded by all but the most subversive as a “bad move” – to pursue this was professional suicide. No one in their right mind would encourage you, and threats from disapproving parents hung in your head like nooses. But for all the nooses they tied and the gallows erected, nothing held the same allure as old timers’ stories: neon in the windows, shitty pool table out front; the hum and buzz off in the dark distance, the unknown.
(more…)


Confessions of a Tattoo Artist: Part 2


*New* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by James Mullin.

Lotus Tattoo

http://www.jamesmullintattoos.com

Hemet, CA

IG: @jamesmullintattoos @lotustattoohemet

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Rotary vs Coil Machines: Joe Swanson with Clinton Crider


*New* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Matt Lang
Mike Parsons Ink, Riverview, FL
http://www.mikeparsonsink.com

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athena tattoo


Aitchison/Gogue Collaboration Piece

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Back in February of this year as a part of our ongoing professional development webinar series,

TattooNOW and Off the Map Tattoo produced and broadcast an unprecedented live streaming

internet event. A collaboration tattoo from tattoo masters Guy Aitchison and Jeff Gogue,

watched as it happened by over 6000 viewers. Matt McKelvey was the lucky recipient of this

amazing tattoo. Here is his story of the experience…

 

When I saw that TattooNOW was offering the opportunity to be tattooed by Jeff Gogue and Guy

Aitchison, I spent the next few days writing my submission. I treated my entry like a resume,

which was built upon the image of the Heike Crab. I first saw the unique creature and heard its

mythology on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. My goal was to have elements where both artists could

bring their strengths, but it would be unique enough to be exciting. A few months went by, and I

was honored to find out I had been selected.

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It just so happened that I ended up in the same exact hotel room that I stayed in when I started

my bodysuit. There was some pretty bad weather in Portland that weekend and after a phone

conversation with Jeff, I wasn’t sure if Guy’s plane would be landing. We decided if things fell

through, the least we could do would be to work on my existing tattoo.
(more…)


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