Port Monmouth, NJ – January 17, 2013 Nephews Skate Shop + Gallery will be hosting WILD AND FREE, a group artist exhibit on Saturday, January 25, 2014 from 6pm to 10pm. The exhibit has been guest curated by Little Chris Smith. WILD AND FREE will feature all original works of local tattoo artists Erik Schmidt, Little Chris Smith, Pete Pederson, Chuck Ordino, and Bryan Keinlen. Nephews will be opening up their doors to the public to host an evening of inspiration, conversation and enjoyment.
Erik Schmidt – “Erik has been tattooing in Neptune for several years after ‘doing time’ in Asbury Tattoo. He learned to tattoo under the guidance of Patrick Dean and Dave Shoemaker, following proudly in the tradition of those before him. His focus is clean, solid methodical tattooing, just like his mentors.”
Little Chris Smith – “Little Christopher Smith hails from Sandy Hook, New Jersey. He enjoys a radical lunch, surfing hella waves, skateboarding with buds, and entertaining hot chicks. You will usually find his best girl, Leche (his baby dog), at his side when he is not tattooing at Neptune Tattooville, where he works for the most gnarly awesome bosses Patrick Dean and Dave Shoemaker. Little Chris, or LC as his friends call him, prides himself on his ability to get wild and loves his mother like all radical dudes do.”
Pete Pedersen – “Pete has taken the long road at achieving his tattoo skills. His background in art of all mediums has proven to be vital in his development as a tattooer and as an artist. Working at print shops, screen printing factories, and in the fields of photography and graphic design all eventually lead to his discovery and love for tattooing. After spending much of the late 1990s loitering around Jersey Shore tattoo shops, Pete finally landed a job at a local shop as a body piercer. During his time working as a piercer, he started to acquire much tattoo knowledge under the guidance of Jim Weiss (now at Black Panther Tattoo). An opportunity to fulfill another dream of playing music fell in Pete’s lap right around the same time and he took a brief break from the tattoo world to peruse his passion in music, all the while still working as an artist. After a few years on the road, Pete decided he needed to get back to his original passion of becoming a tattooer. His chance came in the way of a job working as the shop manager of Neptune Tattooville complete with an apprenticeship. There he learned to tattoo under the guidance of Patrick Dean and Dave Shoemaker, following proudly in the tradition of all those before him.”
Chuck Ordino – “Chuck got his start in this shady business by apprenticing with Vinny Kapelewski, a Neptune native like himself, at Sinister Ink (now known as Revolver Tattoo) in New Brunswick. Upon completing his apprenticeship, he went on to work with Vinny and Joshua Disotell at Broken Heart Tattoo in Keyport for 5 good years before settling in at Neptune Tattoo in April of 2010. When he’s not watching the Cooking Channel, listening to sludgy doom metal or teaching his son Lucas how to “color inside the lines”, he is constantly woodshedding; trying to simplify and refine his work, and strives to apply a clean, solid tattoo.”
Bryan Keinlen - “Back in high school some friends and I started a punk band. Being the artist I naturally took on the task of inventing what would be our logo, and then went on to design all of our record covers, T-shirts and whatever other merchandise I could think up. More than 20 years of the Bouncing Souls has gone by like a million lifetimes and yet seemingly in the blink of an eye. Creating music and art has remained my means of expression all throughout. When not busy with the band, I tattoo at Neptune Tattooville in Neptune NJ.”
Nephews Skateshop + Gallery is located at 183 Main Street, Port Monmouth, NJ 07758.
By Allison B. Siegel
Fineline Tattoo opened in 1976 during the New York City ban on tattooing and is considered the longest continually running tattoo shop in Manhattan. It’s located on 1st Street and First Avenue in the East Village. Previously, Mike Bakaty, the founder and owner, operated underground for 36 years in secret back rooms and loft apartments. With the walls adorned with Bakaty’s original flash art, Fineline is definitely near and dear to our skin and to the history of NYC.
We interviewed Bakaty and asked him about tattooing and New York City:
When did you first fall in love with tattooing?
I’m still falling in love with tattooing. I got interested back in ’74 when I went to get some work covered up…I got more interested in ’75…and then by 1976 my interest was such that I started tattooing myself.
And you didn’t care that tattooing was illegal at the time in NY?
Hell yeah, I cared. Every time the phone rang I jumped thinking it was the cops looking to bust me. After 21 years eventually I got over jumping at the phone.
How do you feel at the Bowery now and all the changes going on?
Well, you know, it’s not the Bowery I lived on for 34 years, you know? Don’t know how I feel about the changes. When they first built the Whole Foods down here I thought who the hell is gonna come down here and buy food? We tried to save the building we lived in (McGurk’s Suicide Hall). I lived there for 34 years. Check out more on McGurk’s.
What’s your opinion on Mildred Hull?
Millie Hull…well she was one of the first female tattooers I ever heard of. There’s a picture of her right there (points to picture on the wall).
This piece has her in it and some other legends like Charlie Wagner.
Well, it was us (Fineline) that brought tattooing back to the Bowery and the fact of the matter is I was totally blind to the fact that the Bowery had such tattoo history. I read somewhere the first heavily tattooed person exhibition was around 1876 right across from 295 (Bowery) where we lived…
Do you call this a parlor or a shop?
It’s a studio. I don’t see a parlor anywhere in here.
Can I ask how old you are?
Well, I’m 77.
G-d Bless you, man! You don’t look a day over 60.
Well, thank you, I just passed the big 77. If I knew I was gonna get this old I’d have taken better care of myself (laughter).
Dark Age Tattoo is now open!!
Check out the shop located at:
1407 E. Madison St
Reblogged from: feeldesain.com
Russian (St. Petersburg) artist Sasha Unisex transports beautiful geometric watercolors on skin as permanent tattoos. Find her works on Facebook and instagram.
Photos and Interview by Ino Mei
Unique, humble and conscious of himself, Yorg Powell spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk, about his eighteen year-old career and traditional – classic tattooing.
What lead you to get your first tattoo?
I was born in London. My parents didn’t have any tattoos. However they were up to beat with everything. So in the summer of 1983 we were on a family trip in Mykonos and there was an English tattooist on the island working out of a rented room. It was the age of punk, we were very young and the moment we heard about him we went and got ourselves tattooed without a second thought. I didn’t even ask the price. I picked a design off the wall that was a rat with his hands behind his back holding a pool stick. It was an experience. I remember it well. Then we found out that the inhabitants of Mykonos got him, threw his things into the sea and shipped him home because he tattooed a fisherman’s daughter.
When I was sixteen, I saved up after selling an old BMX I had and went to Bugs. It was a random choice. He wasn’t known then and did his tattoos in 1,5 x 1,5 room next to the toilet of an underground retro rock n’ roll cafeteria in Camden. Nothing custom existed in those days, it was all ready-made flash designs on the wall.
What design did you choose the second time round?
I got a unicorn. I went for something classic (laughs)! Three years later, fully conscious of what we wanted, me and Mike went to Bugs again for our first official large tattoo. Bugs covered up his unicorn and the rat.
How did you and Mike meet?
We’ve been friends for many years, from before we started tattooing together. We met through a mutual friend. We had many things in common, such as our great love of tattoos and motorcycles and going out a lot. Mike had the balls and was the first of our group to dare to do a tattoo on someone, this during an era when it wasn’t cool to be a tattooist. I found it very weird sticking a needle at a person in order to make a design on him. Afterwards, I studied fine art at Wimbledon College of Art and although I designed tattoos, I hadn’t made the move to human skin yet and wasn’t even sure if I wanted to. Mike prompted me after our visit to the 1995 Amsterdam tattoo convention when he said “common man, what are you doing? I’m waiting for you!”.
Then you returned to Greece and began learning at Mike?
Yeah, I came back right away! Mike already had Tas (Danazoglou) as an apprentice for about a year. I didn’t have an entirely traditional apprenticeship. I mean I didn’t go with my portfolio and offer to be an apprentice for some tattooist. I was a bit spoiled (laughs). He was giving Tas a hard time. I feel lucky that my best with whom we talked constantly about tattoo and we were drawing on ourselves, prompted me to do this and provided me with the foundations to do so and helped me so much.
To read the rest of this article, go to: http://heartbeatink.gr/en/issues/december-2013/yorg-powell/
Shot by Estevan Oriol
Campfires & Carbon’s mission is to have and promote real, unedited conversation with local tattooers. Here’s their podcast of a conversation with Justin Hartman from Urban Art Tattoo in Mesa, Arizona…
By Katy Watson
Source: BBC News, Baltimore: http://www.bbc.co.uk
A tattooist in Baltimore has built up a huge customer base because of his unusual specialty – tattooing nipples on to women who have suffered from cancer and had their breasts removed.
There is something very familiar about the suburbs of small towns across America.
The roads are big and distances long, but sooner or later you are guaranteed to come across a strip mall – a little open air shopping complex along the side of a main road.
And so there I was, 20 minutes outside Baltimore, parked outside one of these strip malls.
This one had a 24-hour pharmacy as well as a veterinary surgery, a hairdresser’s, a tanning shop and a tattoo parlour – Little Vinnie’s Tattoos, to be precise, and it was Little Vinnie I had come to meet.
He was a friendly man dressed in a tweed waistcoat, a striped shirt and a smart felt hat. Vinnie shook our hands, welcomed us in and showed us around his business.
The walls were covered in tattoo art with catalogues lined up at the back of the room, packed with thousands of designs to choose from.
A classic heart with a dagger through the middle, perhaps? Or maybe your favourite cartoon character or – if you are feeling patriotic – you could choose from a bald eagle or the American flag.
A few customers were sitting on the benches, waiting to go in one of the six studios along the side of the wall, each with a black crushed velvet curtain for a door.
But one studio on the other side of the room stood out. It had more of a structure to it and a wooden door, much like an office or a doctor’s surgery.
Rather appropriate really, because although Vinnie has no medical training, he has become a bit of a star in the medical world.
He no longer spends his day tattooing anchors on men’s biceps. In fact, most of his clients are women and they have one thing in common, they are all recovering from breast cancer.
A few years ago, a doctor in Baltimore asked Vinnie to help out with a patient who had had breast reconstruction, leaving her with no nipples.
So realistic were his skills in creating 3D nipple tattoos, patients started demanding him over doctors who typically carry out basic tattoos as the final stage of reconstruction.
Now, he says, it has taken over his life. Vinnie sees up to 1,400 patients a year and travels across the country and beyond.
To prove it, there is a map in his studio with pins in it, showing where people come from – he has clients in countries as far away as Saudi Arabia, no mean feat in a part of the world where tattoos are considered haram, or forbidden.
When I was visiting, Sarah had just finished her appointment and was beaming.
Sarah is in her mid-30s and last year was devastated to find out she had cancer – just a few months after being told she was pregnant.
Within a month of giving birth to her son, she had to have an operation to remove both her breasts. She describes the first time she took off her bandages as the hardest day of her life.
“Every time you go and take a shower you see these scars that are a permanent reminder of what you just went through,” she says.
But now she can smile.
“I have other tattoos but I never thought I would be getting my nipples done.” It is certainly a conversation starter, she jokes.
A self-confessed bad boy who learned his trade while in the army, Vinnie says there are a million people who need this done, but just a handful of people doing it.
He was even asked to fly to the United Arab Emirates recently because there were about 20 women who wanted his tattoos – but only three of their husbands would give them permission, so he could not go.
Such is his reputation, he is affectionately nicknamed “the Michelangelo of nipple tattoos”. But Vinnie plays down his talents – he says his work is not artistically challenging.
In fact, he got fed up a few years ago and decided to stop. He said enough was enough and he wanted to get back to regular tattoos.
But then one day a woman called him up to ask for an appointment. He said “No” and she sounded very upset.
Then out of the blue his sister called, telling him she had breast cancer too. It was a sign, he says, that he had to continue with this work.
“You lose the artistic satisfaction but then you gain this other satisfaction that is incredible,” he says. “I was not prepared for how it was going to make me feel.”
By Adam Guy Hays
A few months ago I took part in the “Fuck Art, Let’s Kill” exhibition put on at Nick Caruso’s Bound For Glory shop in Staten Island. It was a death and reaper themed art show. I’ve always been a big fan of drawing skulls and reapers and as excited as I was to be a part of the show the idea of trying to come up with something nice and original that would stand out was daunting. I decided to try to paint something a bit out of my comfort zone. I stuck to my preferred mix of watercolors, inks, and liquid acrylics, but I tried to give the piece a renaissance feel using those media.
Before I’d started this project I’d downloaded a bunch of books from IllustratedMonthly.com to my iPad. I thought I’d just grab a variety and see what there was in them. They were cheap enough that I ended up getting a heap of really good stuff for a fraction of what physical books would cost. There was a lot of visual information there in a variety of styles. I found it handy when I was struggling for ideas in coming up with the composition for this piece. I flipped through the books on my iPad until I saw something that caught my eye. I saved the first two images (Ref. 1) because I was drawn to the composition. I started formulating the idea of doing a reclined death. It just seemed different. Like he was just kicking back like a dude on a lazy Sunday. There were some good examples of drapery in there as well. In the third image (Ref. 2), I really liked the candle’s being snuffed out and the light effects. The last image (Ref. 2) is the skull from the cover of the Illustrated Monthly book of skulls. I thought it’d be fun to paint an ancient looking skull with missing teeth.
I’ve always done my brainstorming sketches very small. I like to do two or three tiny versions so I can work out the composition before dedicating time to the details in a full size sketch. I meant to take a photo before trashing the other tiny sketches but I just kinda forgot. I chose the sketch whose composition I liked best (Fig. 1) and enlarged it on the copy machine to the size I wanted the final painting to be. I then laid tracing paper over the quick version and did some fine tuning to flesh it out (Fig. 2).
This piece is 12″ x 16″ and is on a piece of Windsor & Newton Aquarelle paper. This is my favorite paper to use for most every project. It’s similar to Arches cold press in terms of durability, but the tooth of the paper is much finer and allows for much finer line work when you’re using ink. I usually cut my piece of paper larger than I want the final image to be and mask it off with orange artist tape. It helps me keep my compositional constraints in mind by giving me a border where a frame would be. I also like to have an edge to test paint on that’s from the same ream of paper. Paper always ages differently and I think you have better results if you can test your colors on a piece of scrap paper that’s identical to the piece you’re painting on. You can see what my primary paints for this piece were in Fig. B. I used the FW Liquid Acrylic colors Flesh Tint, Crimson, Antelope Brown, and Purple Lake; the Dr. Ph. Martin’s Hydrus watercolor series Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna; and the Dr. Ph. Martin’s Slate Blue and Van Dyke Brown in the concentrated and transparent watercolors. The black i’m using is Speed Ball black.
By Molly Kitamura
Reblogged from: http://www.knivesandneedlesblog.com
Shawn Brown. Hardcore legend. Amazing tattooer. All-around cool guy. I had the honor of meeting Shawn and his wife, Michelle, a beautiful and talented photographer. Every time we hang out its continual laughs and high adventures (Japan <3)! Shawn lives in Washington DC and used to be the singer of legendary bands Dag Nasty, Jesus Eater, and Swiz. He is currently singing for Red Hare, they are definitely worth checking out! Shawn tattoos out of Tattoo Paradise, owned by Matt Knopp, so if you are ever in the DC area, you need to stop in and get a tattoo! In the meantime, read on and check out Shawn, his work and his mouth-watering tri-tip and vegetarian recipes!!
By Nicki Kasper
“In that moment, I realized that instead of trying to be inspired, I was going to try to inspire people.”
I recently ordered two copies of Jeff Gogue’s DVD, “tattoo as I see it”… Jeff is one of my closest and most genuine friends and I wanted to support his project, something I know he and put a lot of work, time, money, energy and heart into. I bought a copy for myself, and one for a close friend of mine – an artist I thought could use some inspiration. I didn’t know exactly what the DVD would be like, but I know Jeff, and I knew it would be inspiring, as well as very giving with valuable information and advice to tattooers… I just now was able to find the time to sit down and watch it, and it doesn’t disappoint.
I know Jeff in a couple different ways… We’re friends; I know him on a personal level, and he’s fun, open, genuine, kind, generous, and hilarious. I’m also one of his clients, so I know him on that level. I know how much he cares about his clients, about the pieces he puts on our bodies, about the pain we’re feeling, etc. I know how much heart he puts into every single piece, and I’m grateful and fortunate to be covered in them. But in addition to being a friend, and a client, I’ve also had the pleasure of working with him on side projects.
I know from experience that nothing Jeff Gogue does professionally or otherwise is half-assed. He cares about the details. If he decides he’s going to do something, he wants to give all of himself to it. If it has his name on it, he wants it to be the absolute best he has to offer at that time and place. He never thinks he’s reached his full potential, which is why we see his work changing and evolving over and over. I can relate to him in many ways, which I think is part of the reason we became instant friends so many years ago.
“You’re either a taker, or you’re a giver.”
He wants to inspire others, and that is the point of this movie. It will inspire everyone who watches, artist or not. He’s honest and open about his process, what he wants, his strengths and weaknesses. It’s real, and humble and people can always relate to that.
If you’re an artist, you will be blown away at how generous Jeff is with information that will help you from laying out a piece to tips on using contrast in your work to mixing colors. It’s invaluable information that he’s learned by trial and error over the years and he’s sharing it all with you. But if you’re not an artist, and you just want to be inspired about believing in yourself and making shit happen for yourself… About not accepting failure, and instead being driven by it, you need to watch this film.
To Jeff and Ryan Moon – You guys did an incredible job on this, and now I wish I hadn’t been such a chicken about being interviewed for it! I’m proud of you both!
Shot by Estevan Oriol.
SHIGE (Shigenori Iwasaki) is a famous tattoo artist, born in 1970 in Hiroshima.
After being a mechanic for Harley-Davidson in Yokohama, he taught himself how to tattoo since 1995 and pursues original Japanese Style with a traditional inspiration.
Interview by Jordan Tinney.
Reblogged from: http://www.swallowsndaggers.com
I’m going to say this only once: don’t blink. Dusty Neal is an American tattooist based out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana at Black Anvil Tattoo. This might sound a little fan-boyish, but Dusty is one of the best and most under rated in the game today. A fastidious worker, incredible painter and even more amazing tattooer. I recently had the chance to conduct a short interview with Mr. Neal; if you’re in his area don’t sleep on this guy.
Jordan Tinney: What really got you into tattooing?
Dusty Neal: I’ve always known I wanted to make art for a living, but I never really thought about becoming a tattooer until I was already in college and getting tattooed when I could. It was really hardcore and metal that made me interested in getting tattooed though. Just being into all that stuff, seeing tattoos on bands and at shows really made me think about tattoos. I didn’t grow up with it around me in any other form and I guess that’s what attracted me to it. When I came into it finally I was so naive about what good tattoos really were, and over the few years I’ve been tattooing my tastes and thoughts on it have changed so very much.
JT: What year did you start tattooing professionally?
DN: I made my first tattoo in January of 2006.
JT: Did you have an apprenticeship in the traditional sense?
DN: I apprenticed under Donny Manco, and owe everything to him for giving me an opening into tattooing. He taught me the fundamentals of what I was actually doing, but other than that it was really not much of a passed down tradition or anything. Sometimes I wish I had a “proper” apprenticeship and was taught more traditional ideals and methods, yet by being someone’s 10th apprentice (with 5 after me), and not really being taught about flash or anything, it forced me to go out and learn what I could from serious tattooers or just by trial and error of my own experience. I would say now I do everything probably the complete opposite of what I was taught, but everyone has to find what works for them and everyone is different.
JT: Tell me about Black Anvil, and how that came to fruition?
DN: The conception of Black Anvil Tattoo is a recent happening. I met Nate (Click) my first year tattooing and have worked with him ever since he started, four years ago. He was there when Donny Manco and I started New Republic Tattoo. Over the past few years, especially after bringing in Beau Guenin, it was really our shared vision that started to shape New Republic into what it became, and also what started to create a tension between us and Donny. It was a non-dramatic split from Donny, as we just felt it was time to leave New Republic and create something that could be completely our own. With B.A.T. we wanted to pay tribute to the traditions and honor of tattooing, and create an environment that would display that pride while also being more advantageous to our clients and our shop morale.
JT: Did you do more traditional art in your past, before you started tattooing?
DN: Honestly, as much as I try to adhere to traditional principles, I still don’t even consider myself a “traditional” tattooer, but only because I feel like its disrespectful to those people who are really devoted to that mentality and lifestyle, and not just the aesthetic. Before tattooing, shamefully I had no understanding whatsoever of traditional tattooing. It took a few years before I really started to understand what my perception of it is. My perception of it is also constantly evolving.
DN: A tattooer’s life should be infused in his or her work. It’s important to me that my interests show through my work, because that’s what makes people stand apart from imitators, and will also attract like-minded artists towards each other. Having said that, classic heavy metal and “evil” imagery is probably the biggest influence over my work, but also occult symbolism, Aliester Crowley, sex, death, the supernatural, and nihilism. Aside from these things, I’m also very influenced by finding affirmation and sharing ideas with my co-workers and friends, especially, Jacob Des, Cla Wolfmeyer, Jacob Bryan, and Destroy Troy.
JT: Do you continue to find new things to keep you “into it” or are you always coming across inspiration?
DN: I find it easy to stay “into it,” but I also consider it a tattooer’s top priority to enjoy their work and be confident with it, otherwise they are only doing the craft a disservice and should find another line of work. There are too many passionate and talented people tattooing to allow room for those doing it merely to pay bills. However, it’s important to me to constantly be growing and evolving. Inspiration doesn’t always come, but I manage to seek it out and find it.
Again, I’m thankful to Dusty for entertaining me and this interview, and if your’e in Fort Wayne or Indiana in general, make sure to stop at Black Anvil and get a great tattoo, not only from Dusty but from his incredible coworkers. Dusty can be reached email@example.com, or http://www.dustyneal.tumblr.com. He’s on Instagram as well under @dustyneal. What we do is secret..
Shot by Estevan Oriol
Interview by Ricky Williams
Tony Nilsson aka Tony Tox first came to my attention when I noticed Ricky Williams (The Family Business) was doing a guest spot at his shop, Blue Arms in Norway. The work Tony was turning out and the work coming out of the shop in general really blew me away. It’s great to find awesome tattooers flying under the radar in this day and age. I’d been looking to start a new interview feature with various tattooers interviewing their friends and this seemed like an ideal start. Ricky and Tony were kind enough to oblige me and below is the interview that came of this request.
Ricky Williams: Hey Tony I’d like to say thanks for doing this interview with me for the Swallows&Daggers blog. I was lucky enough to come and work with you guys in Norway. How’s the shop going and what’s the story behind Blue Arms?
Tony Nilsson: Were absolutely honoured to have you over buddy. I had a great time when you came over here; you’re a funny guy Ricky! Yeah the story behind Blue Arms is basically that the three of us (Christoffer Wøien, Morten Transeth and I) needed a place to work at the same time and were buddies from some time ago so we started looking at a place and it all went super-fast so after just a couple of days we signed the contract for our new studio, then we started looking into what we should call our new shop and Morten came up with idea of Blue Arms Tattoo after reading the biography of the old tattooer Amund Dietzel, who was born in Norway and lived in the early 1900s. We have always loved his work and thought that it would be great to have a kind of tribute shop to him in Norway since he is/was one of the biggest names here, we opened the shop August 2012 and its been busy ever since. I’m so happy that it worked out…
RW: Getting tattooed by you one night after work was such a great and memorable experience and I must say it’s one of my favourite tattoos. Tell us, what are your favourite things to tattoo?
TN: Ha-ha, really, you have soooo many good ones! Well I’m honoured to tattoo you Ricky… I guess my favourite things to do are old classic flash pieces of any kind… snakes, girls, daggers, roses, eagles etc. and all of them combined together in any possible way.
RW: I still can’t believe you let me tattoo you on your birthday and how nervous I was to do it. I know it must have been a big mistake (laughing) who else have you been tattooed by and what’s your favourite piece?
TN: Aaah I love that little panther you gave me! And for you to do it on the first day guesting at blue arms on my birthday while I was drunk is awesome. Thanks for the great gift buddy! I guess I’ve been tattooed by mostly buddies over time, but to name everyone hmmm, let’s see; Morten Transeth, Christoffer Wøien, Marius Meyer, Marco Meloni, you, Mikael Harrstedt, Jonas Uggli, Steve Boltz, Bert Krak, Hillary Fisher-White, Brad Stevens, Ashley Love, Lautaro Belmonte, Nic Ink, Hans Heggum, Ezra Haidet, Austin Maples, Ryan Shaffer, some guy from Brazil, some shit from Thailand (since I’m Swedish hahahah) Jeff from AWR, Henry Hablak, and I guess that’s it. I must say that of my favourites is my neck from Steve and hands by Morten and yours off course, ahhh fuck they’re all good, great memories from everyone, even the shit from Thailand is cool in a way.
By Marisa Kakoulas
Reblogged from: http://www.needlesandsins.com
Influencing and inspiring the international tattoo community for generations, The Leu Family transformed tattooing, pushing it further into the realm of a fine art — and they’ve done so with openness and kindness, spearheaded by their wonderful matriarch Loretta Leu aka Y Maria.
Our friend (and wine expert) Demetra Molina of The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor sat down with Loretta at the Montreal Art Tattoo Show in September and spoke about a myriad of topics, from Loretta’s travels, early days tattooing, her adorable dog, and the freedom of getting older. Here’s a taste from their talk:
Demetra: I asked about all of the travel she had done over the years with her husband Felix and their four children. Was that a difficult undertaking?
Loretta Leu: I had traveled a lot already in my life with my mother, I had traveled a lot with Felix before we ever got into tattooing. We didn’t start until we were thirty-five, both of us. Tattooing was really a Godsend; it saved our asses, because we always lived an alternative lifestyle, with four kids, already. So, it was always difficult finding ways of surviving. We didn’t want to go work in a shop, we found things to do, we made crafts, we went and lived in Spain, cheaper places, we would find ways of being able to carry on, the way we wanted to live with our kids…you know, without working for the man kind of thing…but it was always difficult. We got a bit of help from my mother sometimes, Felix’s mom when things were really tough, so when through sheer coincidence this chance came into our life, it seemed the perfect thing, you know, because you are your own boss, you don’t need to sell it in the sense that they come to you because they want a tattoo. You could be on a beach in Brazil with a little tattoo case, start talking to someone in a cafe, go back to your hotel room or whatever, settle on a price, and if they want a tattoo you tattoo. It is a very direct thing. We were both already artists, started that way originally, so it seemed perfect.
“Home is where the heart is….on the bus.” -Frank Zappa, Wet T-Shirt Nite
It has taken me almost exactly two months to finish writing this blog post, and I’ve thought about it every single day. After our trip to the Montreal Art and Tattoo Show held in mid September, my husband hit the road with a vengeance. Paris, London, Barcelona, Eddie toured around for two international tattoo shows in just over three weeks, plus a few guest spots with new contacts. I stayed home on this sudden European jaunt, helping to run our tattoo shop and keep things from burning down at home. Eddie had watched Filip Leu tattoo a one sitting backpiece in Montreal, and had been ready to travel, draw, and tattoo compulsively soon after. The London Convention was calling; so was Barcelona. Off he went. I was a proud tattoo wife from across an ocean.
I’ve been following Danny’s work for years, and finally crossed paths with him this summer. I’ve always admired his hard work and approach to the art, and I’m proud we’re featuring his work on Tattoo Snob. I always knew that Danny was one of the good guys in tattooing, and this interview does nothing if not reinforce that.
Tattoo Snob: How would you describe your tattooing?
Danny Derrick: I do tattoos that are built on Traditional American rules, but they have a lighter, more illustrative look to them. However, the longer I’ve been tattooing, the more I am leaning toward a classic traditional look.
TS: What is the most random thing you’ve tattooed on someone?
DD: In my 5 years of tattooing, I’ve worked in mostly appointment-only studios, which has afforded me the privilege of not having to do many random/weird tattoos. However, sometimes clients will request an idea that is somewhat out of the norm like a blonde wolf with antlers and the antlers becoming branches with an apple growing from them. This one, although random, still allowed me to arrange them in a way that didn’t feel too forced. At least to me it did.
TS: Imagine you found yourself stuck in an elevator with one tattooer of your choice — we’re talking several hours at minimum, so you two could really talk business. Who would it be, and why?
DD: Although a handful of tattooers instantly come to mind, I’d have to say Chris Conn. I was lucky enough to get tattooed by him recently and he has a wealth of knowledge, not only when it comes to tattooing and painting, but on seemingly most everything. I’m sure it would be an enriching experience. But let’s be serious, this scenario is highly unlikely.
TS: What would you be doing professionally right now if you weren’t tattooing?
DD: Who knows. My life could have gone a number of different ways. I probably would have pursued music more. I was in a touring band at the time I started tattooing and at that point I switched gears and gave tattooing the highest priority. If I hadn’t started tattooing there may have been another career path that sparked my interest and developed into something I was really passionate about, but like I said, who knows.
TS: Name an “ah-ha!” moment you’ve had in regards to tattooing.
DD: Seeing Chris Conn’s work for the first time. It was then that I saw how refined tattooing could be. His work gives you a window into another world and crates a narrative that tells a story that a tattoo of words never could. There are many other ah-ha moments, most of which were during my apprenticeship with Craig Beasley. It seemed, every day he’d explain a new piece of the tattooing puzzle I was trying to put together in my head.
TS: If you could only tattoo one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
DD: It definitely wouldn’t be family crests, I’ll tell you that god damn much. I’d be happy tattooing faces. There’s so many different ways to do them and show emotion They can be adorned with almost any other element I’d want to include as well. So that would be my loop-hole. A girls face with, fill in the blank.
TS: Name your influencers in life — people, things, whatever.
DD: This is something that is rediscovered every day. Everything in life influences me in one way or another, both directly and indirectly, consciously and unconsciously.
TS: Where do you find inspiration in regards to tattooing? And art?
DD: In tattooing, I’d have to give credit to Craig Beasley, Russ Abbott, Chris Conn, Seth Wood, Dan Smith and Adam Barton
TS: What kind of music do you prefer to listen to while tattooing? What about drawing and painting?
DD: I’m constantly trying to switch up what I listen to while working. A few constants would include Thrice, City and Colour, Murder by Death (especially “like the exorcist”), Converge, and Willy Tea Taylor.
TS: I’m sure you have a favorite tattoo of your own. Who did it, what is it… and any chance we could see a picture?
DD: My favorite tattoo is of a passenger pigeon on a branch of a pine tree and it was done by Seth Wood in 2009. I have to opt out of sharing a photo of the tattoo, since he never published it himself. If you take a look at his work, you’ll see what general style he does and why it would be my favorite.
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By Bj Johnson
The meaning behind the madness…
I have been making things my entire life. I was never a conscious choice, it simply flowed naturally and automatically from my skills, my interests and my passion. For me, creating is innate. I cannot not create.
I finally made a career of my art in 1997 when I began tattooing. Tattooing is creative and experiential, but I found I still needed to build tangible things as well, so I soon gravitated to investigating the mechanics of building tattoo machines. Creating custom tattoo machines from scratch was wildly fulfilling, and naturally I wanted to set my work apart from others. To do this, I turned to other forms of metal art. I took a couple jewelry making classes at GVSU and was introduced to the metalsmithing craft. I became addicted to this new medium immediately. However the constraints of tattoo machine mechanics would not allow for exploration of all these wonderful tricks and techniques the metalsmithing world offered, so I began making little sculptures. These small scale sculptures were simply physical forms based on ideas and emotions I had, but I never went in any specific direction with them. It was just playing.
I have also always loved symbolism. Wanting my work to have deeper meaning and layers, I began researching. All the paintings of the old masters are rife with symbolism. Each element in their paintings was there for a reason. I loved this and began to search for ways to include symbolism in my own work.
All of this became a explosion of purpose when I thought of making my monster sketches into three-dimensional pieces. Through my research I found that historically,