By Marisa Kakoulas
This past weekend, tattoo artists from around the world traveled to Seoul for the Ink Bomb Tattoo Convention – many at the expense of the organizers — to work on excited collectors in the burgeoning South Korean tattoo community. However, that all came to a halt Saturday afternoon when the police raided the convention site and ordered that the show be shut down. Tattooing is illegal in Korea, and the government decided to enforce the ban this weekend.
I learned of the news from our friend Demetra Molina, who co-owns The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor in Ithaca, NY, with her tattooist husband Eddie Molina. Eddie was at the Ink Bomb convention to visit, and was giving Demetra a FaceTime play-by-play of what was going down. The police ordered the artists to clean up their booths and pack up. Many of the artists ended up taking booked clients (a number of them US military) back to their hotel rooms to work. In the end, the whole show ended up being cancelled, affecting vendors and performers as well as artists. Needless to say, a lot of money was lost.
Dave Hazzan from Groove Korea has a great post on the convention shutdown. Here’s a bit from that:
“Five police officers walked through the venue at WAV Bar and Bistro in Apgujeong, checking IDs, ordering artists to clear up their stands, and above all making sure no tattoo needles or ink were out, never mind being used. When asked to comment, a frustrated police officer only said, “Foreigners need to keep their passports on them. We need to take the ID numbers of Koreans and foreigners here, because tattooing is illegal.” He refused to comment any further or give his name or badge number…
To read the full article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/06/police-shut-down-ink-bomb-tattoo-show-in-seoul.html
By Dan Mcnab
I’m a tattoo artist in the city of Huntington Beach, Ca. I own and work at The Tattoo Gallery with four of my very close friends. After years and years of leaking trash bags, I decided one day to put an end to it once and for all and created RinseCup CleanUp.
When I designed this product I made sure it is the best that exists and can not get any better. Also, it’s non-toxic because our trash gets put into landfills and that would only hurt the environment. I believe as a whole, us humans do enough of that! Disposing of our rinse cups and ink caps this way is the safest method and eliminates cross-contamination in our trade due to the contaminated liquids we produce.
Once in the landfill, RinseCup CleanUp slowly releases the water and improves soil conditions through aeration. It’s less expensive than using paper towels and safer than dumping it down a sink. When that method is used more toxic chemicals are needed to clean the area it was dumped in, which leads to poisoning our environment even more.
Now we are in many countries and the response is amazing. So much support from this trade! The only advertising I have done is thru IG. It’s spreading like wildfire and I’m excited to see where it goes from here. It’s only been about 6 months since I released it for sale!
For more information about Rinsecup Cleanup, email:
By Marisa Kakoulas
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
It is with excitement and purpose that I start as the new Editor-in-Chief of Tattoo Artist Magazine. First and foremost, I am committed to continuing the culture of excellence and quality of TAM as admirably lead by outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Crash. I recognize the importance of TAM to our community & cultural progress and envision clear potential for continued growth and innovation. In conjunction with editing every issue of TAM, I also have a vision of further integrating TAM into the hands of avid tattoo collectors and artists, fully mining the educational format of TAM to better serve artists, collectors, readers and our society as a whole.
The “changing of the guard” at TAM will bring a new perspective to the magazine. With this change comes a shift in editorial emphasis to make TAM the world’s primary outlet for tattoo culture, tattoo education and tattoo art more relevant to our industry than any other magazine in our field. As the new Editor, my aim will be to increase the availability of important articles, artists, values, social and artistic advancements in our industry.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, I have been with TAM since it’s inception 11 years ago. Unlike Crash, I am not a tattoo artist, but have paid my dues within the industry for well over a decade. I know the ins and outs of everything tattoo and tattoo related. I am eager to start this position and see where I can help carry TAM into the future.
I invite each and every one of you who has any questions or concerns about the future of TAM and our craft to please email me to discuss our shared future and what we can build together.
You may reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos and Interview by Ino Mei
Jondix spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine about his initiation into tattooing, his past as a tattoo nerd, the first tattoo he ever did; at Tas Danazoglou’s neck, his experience in Greece while been Mike the Athens’apprentice and the issue of copying in Dotwork, which he characterizes as “embarrassing”.
What is your actual name? How did the name Jondix come up and what does it mean?
My name is Jondix, that’s who I am. Before Jondix, I was another person. My “baptism” made me the human I am now. During one of the art reunions I used to attend with my friends Ciruelo Cabral, Eva Blank, Heinrich and others, this name came up as a joke, but a year later when Ciruelo published a new book, he used it in the credits and I thought it was a sign and that’s how it started to affect me and change my mind in a more artistic way than before.
Where you working as an architect in the past? When did you first come into contact with tattoos and how did you get involved with tattooing?
I never worked as an architect. in fact I didn’t even finish the university. After seven years I kinda quit… I needed money and I was into parties and guitars and Harleys and all the typical Mediterranean excess… I saw the first tattoos as a child on people from the army…badly done you know… and then in Boston I saw a good tattoo, a death reaper from Spider Web Tattoo and wanted it immediately. So at eighteen I started getting tattoos, like Steve Vai’s autograph and some stupid biomechs until Tas Danazoglou came to Barcelona and saved me…
Is it true that you were “discovered” by Tas Danazoglou? How did you meet him?
He came to a Barcelona Tattoo Convention and then stayed at the LTW tattoo shop in Barcelona for some years. I got many tattoos from him and we became friends. I was a tattoo nerd already, buying magazines and stuff… I got my first tattoo when I was eighteen, that’s twenty three years ago. There we no tattoo shops in Barcelona like there are today. I was going to tattoo conventions abroad just as a fan and even buying machines just for decoration purposes. Nobody did this in Barcelona, not even the established tattooists. So I knew who Tas was and I knew who Mike the Athens was from “Tattoo Planet” magazine and I wanted to get their more spiritual tattoos, as opposed to the trendy shiny stuff. Then one day on my birthday Tas came home and I played him “Resurrection” by Halford and he in return he showed me how to set up a machine and do a tattoo… and I ended up tattooing a bit on his neck that night…
To read this full article, visit: http://heartbeatink.gr/en/columns-features/artists-studios-columns-features/jondix/#!prettyPhoto/0/
By Kiri Westby
When I first heard there was a tattoo convention in Kathmandu, Nepal I was astounded!
I lived in Nepal as a college student, worked there as a human rights activist during the recent civil war and have spent a lot of time studying Nepali language and culture. I also married a tattoo artist seven years ago and have been on a crash course of American tattoo culture ever since. Nowhere in my mind did the tattoo scene that I had come to know and the traditional culture of Nepal mix. But there it was, website and all, and I was instantly fascinated.
My friend Eric Inksmith, a veteran of American tattooing, challenged me to take him to Kathmandu, having never really left the U.S. before. Like a butterfly suddenly wondering about the storms it’s own wings have produced, Eric was curious to follow the trail that he himself had blazed. I was honored to be enlisted for the job and to have the chance to experience alongside him what tattooing on the other side of the world has become.
At almost 70 years old, Eric recalled stories from the National Convention in Philadelphia more than 30 years ago. As I listened to tales of rival biker gangs fighting on convention room floors and people being thrown from hotel room windows, I tried to imagine how the kind, soft-spoken, Nepali people have embraced and come to celebrate tattooing. And not in a subtle, underground way either, the convention was being held at the famous Yak & Yeti hotel, one of the most iconic establishments in the Kathmandu valley.
As these things go, friends were recruited, word of the adventure spread and we soon had a posse heading East from the U.S., including: Mike Wilson, Mac Bibby, Robert Ryan, Jae Connor, Phill Bartell and Chad Koeplinger. Eric handled the longest flight of his life and no one killed each other on the way over…in fact, from the beginning, everything felt pretty magical.
Kathmandu has changed significantly since 2007. Corruption and an inefficient, newly-Democratic government have left city services under-funded and unattended. Half-finished construction projects leave gaping holes and exposed power lines, not to mention the electrical brown-outs and water shortages, which have left things feeling chaotic on the streets. But the upside to Nepal’s new political landscape is that there is also more public art and individual self-expression, and many people I spoke to were hopeful and optimistic for Nepal’s future, a far cry from my time here during the war in 2003. Part of this new self-expression has manifested in a relatively fresh and exciting tattoo scene.
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/
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!
TCM Issue 4 available now!!
Paul Booth, Miss Arianna, Dong Dong, Tattoo Archive, Tattoo History, Debra Yarian, Sean Herman, Needles and Sins, Pep Williams, Bro Safari, Artist Galleries and more…
Campfires & Carbon’s mission is to have and promote real, unedited conversation with local tattooers. Here’s their podcast of a conversation with Jeff Wright…
By Marisa Kakoulas
Reblogged from: http://www.needlesandsins.com
One of the most acclaimed tattoo gatherings – the NYC Tattoo Convention – has brought beautiful freaks worldwide to New York in spring time, as it has been held each May for 16 years. However, with the sad news that the convention’s venue, the historicRoseland Ballroom, will be shutting down in April 2014, I worried about the fate of my hometown show.
Thankfully, we’ll still be able to party in this iconic spot, if not for one last time, as the convention dates for 2014 are March 21st through the 23rd. While the news has been spread around social media, I’ve still been hearing people talk about making travel plans for May or even setting up appointments at that time, so I wanted to help get the word out there that the show will go on, but in March.
We’ll be there and hope to see you too! Check my bad camera phone pics from past shows on Flickr.
Nicki is working the Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts this weekend at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport Hotel! If you’re in the area, stop by and check it out. The line up at this show is amazing, and there’s some amazing limited edition art prints and merchandise you can pick up!
By Ben Shaw
I finally climbed from my car in front of the Lodge section of Colorado’s Keystone Resort and Spa after trying unsuccessfully to check into the spa section of the massive resort. The sound of running water enters my awareness, teasing, because with little to no lighting outside the lodge, I can only hear it. The whole place is quiet and sleepy, with nowhere to eat at 11pm, so I chose from a vending machine buffet offered in the reception area and then crawled into a queen size mountain of pillows in my room. It was a long day on the road…
Suddenly awakened by a beam of light burning through my eyelids, I stumbled to the window, drew back the blinds, and gasped, awestruck by the magnificent view. A vast mountain range saturated with lush, green trees and split with running streams. A pond sits center stage in front of me, between the well-constructed resort floor plan and the gorgeous landscape. I took an eight-hour pilgrimage to interview Gabe Ripley, and this looks like the Holy Land…
Gabe Ripley has spent the last 13-14 yrs. immersed in the tattoo industry, developing websites, planning events, and building tattoo studios. His Off the Map corporation has three major divisions: TattooNOW, a company that powers a network of over 150 tattoo websites; Off the Map, a trio of custom tattoo studios, one in western Massachusetts, one in Grants Pass, OR, and a third opening soon in Italy!; and finally the Paradise Tattoo Gathering, a revolutionary four-day tattoo event, which I found myself transported to on this day.
After a day of amazing education, ending with Gabe’s own “Building a Great Business” seminar, I finally got his undivided attention. Gabe is a BUSY man. Orchestrating such a beautiful convention/seminar/tattoo artist retreat took all his focus, so I carry a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity…
Around 14.000 people visited Fira de Barcelona to enjoy the work from some of the best artists in the world.
More than 1.200 tattoos were made in the three days convention, that generated more than 320.000 euro.
Many activities inspired by the urban expressions and trends completed the program of what is considered one of the best tattoo conventions in Europe
“Here the crises does not affect us much, as people that come for a tattoo by a well-known artist from New Zealand for example, knows what he wants and does not care about the price” says Laura Cubero, convention’s spokesperson and organizer. In fact, all tattooists had their agendas filled during the convention, in some cases two months in advance. Not only did they demonstrate their skills, but also participated in the awards festival. This year The Best Piece of the Show” was for Javier Olmo tattooed by Samuel Sancho from Wanted Tattoo studio (BCN).
Among a list of talented artists, the conventions special guest on his first visit to Spain, was the prestigious master of traditional Japanese tattoo, Horitoshi I. Other really gifted performers included Jack Rudy, the single needle inventor and the “Fine Line” creator. The limelight was also shared by other well known artists to include Brent McCown (New Zealand), Tang Ping (China), Norm (U.S.A), José López (U.S.A), Laura Juan (Spain), Ching y Yang, from East Tattoo (Taiwan), Jota Esteban, from Mao&Cathy (Spain) and Andrea Afferni (Italy),
Barcelona Tattoo Expo
International Tattoo Convention
When: From Friday the 4th to Sunday the 7th of October 2013
Timetable: From 12.00h to 24.00h on Friday and Saturday and from 12.00h to 22.00h on Sunday
Cost: 15€ Friday ticket
18 € Saturday ticket
18 € Sunday ticket
40 €3 days bonus
copyright by ©linuxbcn
M: +34 650 762 302
M: +34 661 324 980
By Bob Done
Reblogged from: http://www.swallowsndaggers.net
At a time when new Tattoo Studios are popping up in towns faster and more frequently than ever, I thought it would be cool to have a chat with my mentor and 20 year veteran of the craft Phil Kyle about the situation we find ourselves collectively in, and what it was like for him “back in the day”.
This is the slightly edited version because I don’t think the internet was, nor will it ever be ready for the original.
BD – Ok, what’s your name and how long have you been tattooing for?
PK – Phil Kyle, been tattooing 21 years and been getting tattooed for almost 30 now.
Where did you start tattooing?
I served my apprenticeship at Main Street Tattoo just outside of Baltimore Maryland in Edgewood. I started actually tattooing when my mentor thought it was the right time.
How many shops were in town when you first started tattooing?
2 at most, unlike today’s carnival.
And what was the relationship like between those shops and yours?
People just did their work and got on with it.
And what would have happened if someone else moved into town and opened up a shop?
(Laughing) Well…….Back then they would’ve got a warning, and if they ignored the warning there would’ve been some action. They’d have their equipment taken maybe, or you know… But the fact was that people with no morals or ethics got served the fuck up. It’s not like today where assholes open up one street over. What’s the fucking point? And they don’t even have the nut sacks to come say, “Hey I’m opening up”, or whatever. Like we did. It’s like fast food chains popping up everywhere. Serving total shit! (laughing) People that should just be clients are opening up shops. If they really loved tattooing they should just stick to getting tattooed, and not try to be some hipster cool guy who couldn’t tattoo their way out of a paper bag. These are the people that talk way too much trash too, if they could run their tattoo machines the way they run their mouths maybe they could actually tattoo.
I’m working the London Tattoo Convention this weekend at the Tobacco Dock. All back issues are on sale for 10 pounds! Newest 3 issues, 15 pounds! I have Volume 1 books (our volume 1 book is the first 5 issues of TAM compiled into a nice hard cover book) on sale for 50 pounds, and Subscriptions are on sale for 36 pounds plus shipping! Stop by the Great Gallery room and check it out.
Here’s a nice video of the Hell City show in Phoenix last month by our friends at Tattoo Snob. Check it out!