Ever wonder what Spock or Princess Leia would look like with a full sleeve of tattoos? The Tumblr site Shopped Tattoos adds gallons of ink to everyone from AC Slater and Wonder Woman to Grace Kelly and Bette Davis. There’s even a few presidents in the mix.
Mario Lopez as AC Slater
Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman
Katy Segal as Peg Bundy
Stand By Me
Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused
The Graduate‘s Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman
Jackie and President John F. Kennedy
Kate Middleton and Prince William
By Kevin Miller
Tattoo by Russ Abbott at Ink & Dagger Tattoo in Decatur, GA
Tattoo Snob: Since the beginning of 2013, you’ve been working on a sleeve that you just posted. Before we start talking about the specifics, can you share your thoughts on larger pieces such as sleeves, back pieces, torso pieces. How do you approach them? Do you prefer to do these over smaller pieces?
Russ Abbott: Well, from my perspective as the artist, I feel most comfortable doing large-scale work, specifically arm sleeves, although I am doing more torso work than ever before. But with the sleeves, I love the unique challenge of designing around a cylinder. I also love that the work is such a serious part of the collectors life. Obviously, arm tattoos get seen by a lot of people in day to day interactions. I like to think about how the piece will be viewed by the world outside of tattooing. I ask myself, “Will this be the tattoo that changes someone’s mind about tattooing?” Hopefully in favor of it. Haha! But I do really love when client’s tell me stories about members of their family going from tattoo critics to true fans after seeing the work I do for them. I’m sure every tattooer gets those stories.
TS: Let’s talk about the concept of this sleeve. How did it come about?
RA: I met the collector, Chris a few times through mutual friends. He didn’t have any tattoos a couple of years ago but he’s gotten covered up fast! When he talked to me about doing his sleeve I was pumped because in just a short time, he had already managed to collect nice work from amazing artists like Timmy B, Kelly Doty, and Ryan Thomas. Chris had already proven he could sit for long sessions and his skin tone is ideal for the full range of colors. Plus he seriously doesn’t seem to have any concern about what he’s getting. I would try to check with him about my ideas for colors and such and he would just be like “Whatever dude, I don’t care. I trust you.” He just had this concept that was perfect for me. If you look at the photos of the sleeve, the concept he pitched me is exactly what you see. He’s into photography so he wanted a camera, a model, and the resulting photographs. He also requested that the model be in a flapper costume and suggested I fill space with my signature ornamental scrollwork. I loved that his concept would give me the opportunity to showcase two distinctly different styles of my work, black and gray realism, and illustrative color.
TS: You made all of the stops in preparing this sleeve, including models and photographers. Can you tell us about that process?
RA: For the way I tattoo, I always need to find the best reference material available. I could have probably found a decent reference photo for the camera and maybe even the girl, but to hit the jackpot and find multiple poses of the same girl in the right costuming? Not likely. But I did start with a Google search to see what I could dig up. No dice. Then I contacted a few models to see if they had any photo sets that might fit the project. Several beautiful girls sent me photos but I still didn’t find anything that felt right. In the process of seeking out models, a friend suggested I talk to a local model named Brittany Michelle aka Ladee Danger. Luckily, she was stoked about the idea and even offered to handle her own costuming, hair, and makeup. We met at the shop one day and spent several hours taking photos. Mary D. helped out with the photos and the lights. Thanks Mary and Brittany! I couldn’t have done this without your help.
TS: Do you prepare for every sleeve, back piece, and torso piece in the same way?
RA: Full on photoshoots are not required for every piece but I do put in quite a bit of work on the front end of a big project. There’s no substitute for great reference. I recently completed a Battle of Gettysburg sleeve that required me to hire Civil War reenactors.
TS: How many sessions did it take, and do you know what the total amount of time was?
RA: Chris’ photography sleeve? I’d have to guess because I don’t have accurate records but I would say maybe 8-10 sessions. 40-50 hours.
TS: You worked on this sleeve throughout the entire country, at various shops and at various conventions? How did that come about?
RA: Chris lives in Ohio or Kentucky I think so traveling was a big part of the process. He came to my studio in Decatur, Georgia for most of the sessions. But he also loves going to conventions so we met at both of the Hell City conventions and also Ink & Iron in California. Again, he’s a totally dedicated collector and I can’t thank him enough for all he went through to make this tattoo happen. Most clients don’t think they deserve much credit for having great work. But to me, they deserve way more credit than they think!
TS: Nobody really saw pictures of the progress of this sleeve as it was progressing. Was this on purpose? Do you prefer this versus posting pictures during every session?
RA: Yeah, I used to post a bunch of in-progress work because I’m not one of those artists who finishes a new tattoo everyday and I wanted to still be a part of social media everyday. But after careful consideration, I decided it was better to post quality over quantity so I made a conscious decision not to post as many in-progress pieces. That’s funny you noticed that. I guess that’s kind of your job though. Ha.
TS: You just posted a layout of a new sleeve that you did with Manga Studio. What exactly is that? Are you preparing more pieces like this?
RA: About a year ago, I purchased a massive digital drawing display made by Wacom. (Cintiq 24HD) I’ve been learning to use it ever since and I’ve found all kinds of useful drawing programs. Manga Studio 5 by Smith Micro is my new favorite though. It’s just a really natural way to draw digital art. It’s tools and interface are simple to use but extremely powerful. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
TS: What do you have lined up for 2014 in regards to large tattoo projects? Outside of specific projects, what do you have planned for 2014?
RA: That digital sleeve design you were just referring to was actually a really exciting experiment for me. I came up with the concept and did the entire design without a client to get the tattoo. I wanted to see if I could post a sleeve drawing and sell it online. I posted it up on Instagram and Facebook, and a girl brought me a deposit and set her first appointment 2 days later! So at it turns out, I think I will be able to control the ongoing direction of my work by doing custom artwork and then finding the client. I’m still not technically accepting any new clients on my waiting list so really picking one of these ready-made designs will be the fastest way to get tattooed by me. All I ask is that people show me the respect of not stealing these designs that I’m posting. Like I said, it’s an experiment.
TS: Any last words?
RA: I just wanted to thank Tattoo Snob for helping raise the standards of tattoo related media. I know you guys do this work out of love for tattooing and you incur a substantial financial strain to travel to shows, not to mention all of the time you put in. You guys always seem to put the spotlight on incredible artwork from all over the globe. You’re doing great work. So thanks!
Shot by Estevan Oriol
By Joey Knuckles
Tattooing is all about progression. We learn from our mistakes and we grow every day; we should all approach it with humility and respect for our fellow artists. True tattooers want to continue to grow, and to become the best tattooers, artists, and people that they can be. To do this we must get rid of the negativity. I can tell you from my own personal experiences over the past couple of years that there are already enough things to bring you down.
A little advice: about two years ago, I stopped listening to news/media/political arguments. I also fought off some personal demons, such as drinking, anger, and depression. Not only have my anxiety and stress levels dropped drastically, but also my thought process has been liberated and I’ve been able to focus on what truly matters. Separating yourself from all the negativity and drama in your life, and surrounding yourself with people who support you is so important. The people in my life, including my wife Tori, my ever loyal Philadelphia clientele, my continuously growing Columbus clientele, and my brothers everywhere, are what keep me going and continuing to progress and to further my understanding of the past, present, and future of this craft. I can wake up in the morning, work on some sketches, and just be happy and honored to be part of the tattoo community.
We are the few and the lucky to be “true tattoo artists.” We must understand that we are all folk artists responsible for handing this craft over to the next generation with integrity and intelligence. If we ever want to progress as individuals and as artists, we have to understand fully what builds a true “traditional tattoo.” Not that everyone has to work in a “traditional style,” but everyone should understand and be able to accomplish the fundamental tattooing techniques. We must understand the tools involved in this trade, and resist relying on shortcuts such as tracing other artists’ work, Google images, and using programs like Photoshop to create graphic images that are unrealistic in the tattoo world (never mind Photoshopping tattoo pictures to create colors and vibrancy that do not exist in nature). As the saying goes, “Don’t confuse the menu with the meal.” People in the beginnings of their careers in this industry are learning these days with rotaries right from the start, without taking the necessary 5 to 10 years needed to master working with coil machines, among other aspects of tattooing. It seems everyone is rushing into fame without absorbing the knowledge required to become a “tattoo master.” So let’s take this note from one of our forefathers in tattooing, which has been a personal motto of mine, so that maybe we can all treat each other, and our craft, a little better: “I ‘Joey Knuckles’ am in the business of rendering a service to this community for the small group who choose to have their bodies decorated in some way or another…I choose to pursue my profession with intelligence and skill, wishing not to offend anyone, but instead with my love for mankind do what good I can do before I die…” —Pledge by Stoney St. Clair.
Joey Knuckles has been tattooing since 2003. Beginning his career in Columbus, Ohio most notably at High Street Tattoo, where he honed his tattoo skills in a fast-paced environment under his mentor Giovani. He then moved to Philadelphia in 2008, working in legendary shops like Philadelphia Eddies, Olde City Tattoo, Art Machine Productions, and Black Vulture Gallery, over the past five years. He has now returned to Columbus full-time, after inheriting High Street tattoo from his good friend, mentor, and High Street Tattoo founder Giovani. Joey prides himself on being a well-rounded tattoo artist specializing in anything ranging from cover-ups, custom lettering, floral work, to large-scale illustrative designs.
Some Quality Meat collaborated with Fitzroy Amsterdam to organize their annual new year’s bash. Kim Papanatos Rense made six classic nautical designs that are now placed on Fitzroy’s office walls, dishes and pig legs. The night ended in a huge party.
After a year & a half search, six months of construction, blood, sweat, tears, etc., we at last announce the opening of the ATAK:SF creative workspace & gallery. Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood within a lofty brick building, this flex creative space will allow us to peruse new & different avenues while still focusing on our core mission of tattooing. The main floor will host the gallery & creative workspace with tattooing on a private second floor loft.
To consecrate the space we are hosting an inaugural exhibition centered around the ubiquitous theme of rebirth. The event will feature over forty artists from around the globe. Come & celebrate this new beginning with us.
By Dawn Cooke
I am speaking to you from deep within the trenches of this silent war. I reside inside of the tattoo community. I’m deep within the middle ranks of those that have lasted over 10 years in the trade. There is a war between the real traditionalists who are true to their craft and the tattoo rock and roll super star wanna-bes. This is more of a mentality than it is a style per se.
What I mean is that there are those of us who love tattooing for it’s rich history and the purity of the art form and then there are those of us who only care about what tattooing can get them. Some of us are in it purely for the art sake others are here for an ego boost. So with that said here are the reasons the tattoo community hates reality TV, without being too obvious. Plus some great new artists I have come to know about!
- These shows and people who make them are missing the point altogether. Tattooing is counter culture not consumer culture. It’s theorized that all counter culture eventually becomes consumer culture. But tattoos aren’t like dollar store trinkets that you throw away in a year, made in some Chinese factory. Tattoos are permanent and what makes a tattoo good is it’s longevity as the skin is aging.
- They have no idea about the richness of history that is continually being shaped and unearthed regarding tattoo culture nor do they seem to have any genuine interest in it.
- They mindlessly exploit the culture on a whole that most of us in the trenches hold sacred. The culture that we live, love, and have tried to make meaningful contributions to… they’re trying to cash in on something they have no clue or concern about!
- They claim to be reality yet at every casting interview you are directed about what to say and how to say it. The footage is directed and edited to suit the purpose of the production first and foremost and the concern is ratings and nothing else. There’s no uncovering of a deeper meaning in any of these shows that I have noticed and I have suffered through a few of them hoping for something good to come of it.
- Producers and casting agents don’t do their homework. They have hardly any idea about who is or isn’t respected in the tattoo community (unless they ask Oliver)… and that’s only one perspective. It takes constant research to keep up with that!
- Their main objective is to sensationalize which goes along with ratings again but it makes the whole thing unauthentic. We can tell. Not everyone is a drooling idiot.
- They treat artists like fresh meat. They just riffle though them like a douche bag on a quest to see how many one night stands they can get.
- Tattoo artists aren’t actors! So just hire actors and write a good script already! Hire us to draw on the tattoos!
- Be creative and pick a new topic you’ve already beat this one to DEATH! Do a reality show about a dive bar and the bar flies who go there…anything!
- Tattooing is boring to watch! Unless you’re getting a tattoo or doing one it’s basically uneventful!!!!! Get over it! It’s time for a “where are they now”, a reunion show, with dream sequence and montages of the highlights of those old shows! If you want to do something exciting pick an artist to follow and see what it’s like to be in that persons shoes….. Even then you will probably figure out that all we do is draw and look at books!!! Unless you pick a “model” with big tits and then we can just watch hours of bouncing tits. No talking please, it’s unnecessary! No one wants to hear the word “tattoo” over and over.
The “reality” is that it takes immense dedication, fortitude, time and money to be a tattoo artist or a serious tattoo collector. Most of this is lost in the flashy bullshit you see on these shows. How about a no bullshit TV show? Ever see the movie Network ? Give me the raw Truth! So I don’t mean to be snarky. I’m all for promoting a healthy outlook on our culture but I just feel they are missing the mark a little bit. I can’t say I could do better but if I had a million dollar budget I bet I could.
By Dan Henk
I want to address two things in this blog. They might seem unrelated at first, but I’ll try my best to tie them together.
The first is that people love to complain, and they have a ton of excuses on why it is someone else’s fault. You know what I’ve learned in my 41 years on this planet?
Shut the fuck up, put your nose down, and try doing some ground work for a change.
I hear all the time “I’m a good artist, but no one would give me a chance, so I bought this kit of eBay and starting tattooing out of my house.”
Unless you happen to be one of the very few who just stumble into opportunity, like Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton, you have to go above and beyond, spending countless hours trying to realize your dreams.
I spent years doing menial jobs until, at age 28, I finally started tattooing for a living. Even then it was a touch and go at first. But after striving for so long, I was not about to give in. The guy who taught me was in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. I lived in Brooklyn, New York. Working at his shop was not an option. The first shop I worked at was way out in the ghetto in Queens. I would barely even call it a shop. The second shop I worked at was Underground Tattoos on Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn. That is where Mike Tyson is from. We closed at dark so we didn’t get robbed, I got called “white devil”, and we had to call the cops more than once when we were being scoped out by some guy who wanted to rob us. People tried to pay with food stamps. My third shop was also a nightmare, one of slowest shops of an infamous chain in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. I wasn’t until my fourth shop, on St. Mark’s Place in NYC that I could finally pay rent and afford 3 square meals a day.
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.
Tattoo Culture Magazine #5 featuring Gunnar, Eric Inksmith, Shawn Barber and more is now available on the App Store at:
Digital edition for all other devices/computer go to:
By Dan Brooks
Somewhere between the release of “Reality Bites” and the closing of MTV’s sports bureau, my generation got tattoos. We were not the first Americans to do so, but we were the first to do it en masse. Now, two decades later, we are becoming the first to carry them into middle age. It turns out tattoos are permanent, even when little else is.
Like many important signifiers of the 1990s, tattoos began as a gesture of rebellion and became so ubiquitous as to carry no stigma at all. There was a time when a visible tattoo disqualified you from most jobs, many families and several religions. To be tattooed was to declare that you would no longer rely on strangers’ good will, either because you were an adventurer — sailor, yakuza, heavy-metal musician — or because you had such poor judgment that you were likely to alienate people anyway.
Now the tattooed type has expanded to include hairdressers and graphic designers, accountants and yoga teachers and — perhaps most disturbingly — cool dads. I know a dozen people with full sleeves, and all but one of them have children. Their sleeves now read as an indictment of nonconformism rather than an assertion of it — which is weird, because the tattoos themselves haven’t changed.
I have two tattoos. The one people see is on my left bicep: a barn swallow, which we had around the house when I was growing up. I got it when I was 22 and obsessed with the metric shape of sentences. I believed that I could describe the swoop of a swallow in a sentence whose syntax paralleled the path of flight, itself reflected in the Bézier curve between the bird’s shoulder and head. After weeks of increasingly crazy rewrites of the sentence, I got the tattoo to exorcise a demon from my craft.
I also wanted poetry girls to look at my upper arm. I got my barn swallow at New York Adorned, and I like it. They do good work there, and my tattoo reminds me of a slightly different East Village, where I could walk down Second Avenue with plastic wrap on my arm, covering the fresh ink, and have a beer in Mars Bar. The bartender listened to my crazy syntax explanation and asked relevant questions, even though no sane person could actually be interested in that. Prosody as a visible line doesn’t mean much to me now, but the tattoo does. That once was, the tattoo says, and the memory remains, even as it becomes strange.
The tattoo that most people don’t see is a six-inch asterisk on my right shoulder blade. I got it my sophomore year of college, just after I turned 19. The tattoo guy asked me to bring in a pattern for him to trace, but all the asterisks I could find to print out had five points, and I wanted one with eight. Twenty minutes of brisk outlining and six hours of bloody fill work later, I had a recreation of the asterisk on Anthony Kiedis’s wrist, which I hadn’t realized was the central motif in the logo for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Over the next few years, the Chili Peppers went from a band I sort of liked to one that annoyed me immensely. They sound like Vinnie Barbarino arguing with a pinball machine. Occasionally someone will see my eight-pointed asterisk and ask if I am a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, and I claim to be the victim of a bad coincidence. Really, I saw Kiedis’s asterisk and thought I could get away with it.
A survey of the extraordinary diversity of punk and post-punk graphic design, Pretty Vacant: The Graphic Language of Punk features several hundred posters, flyers, fanzines, handbills, record sleeves and other graphic ephemera from the collection of Andrew Krivine.
Emerging in the mid-1970s, punk was truly popular culture on the margins, with new ideas germinating out of a sense of urgency and seemingly random aesthetic collisions. Before it became commercially commodified into a simplified mishmash of safety pins, mohawks and anarchy symbols, punk was as much about its wide range of visual signifiers at it was a kind of music. A do-it-yourself approach and a loathing of commercial slickness were key hallmarks of the punk attitude, informing not just the music, but also the explosion of graphic design that accompanied it. Taking cues from a wealth of influences ranging from Dadaism to the Situationist International to pulp fiction, and communicating the themes of nihilism, black humor and reappropriation, the visual language of punk was a pastiche of imagery that reflected the consciousness and anti-aesthetic of a new counterculture.
Featuring several hundred works on loan from New York-based collector Andrew Krivine, the exhibition includes iconic works by some of the most illustrious graphic artists of the period, including Barney Bubbles, Malcolm Garrett, Raymond Pettibon, Jamie Reid, Peter Saville, Linder Sterling, Gee Vaucher and Arturo Vega, as well as pieces created by the hands of talented, yet anonymous, artists. Beyond the ‘holy trinity’ of punk – The Clash, The Ramones, and the Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant includes posters, flyers, handbills, record sleeves, badges and other graphic materials created for both iconic and obscure punk and post-punk bands, including: A Certain Ratio, The Adverts, The B-52s, Bauhaus, Blondie, the Buzzcocks, the Circle Jerks, The Cramps, The Cure, the Damned, Devo, Elvis Costello, The Fall, Fear, Gang of Four, Generation X, The Gun Club, Iggy Pop, The Jam, Joy Division, Killing Joke, Kraftwerk, Lou Reed, New Order, Public Image Limited, Sham 69, Siouxsie & the Banshees, Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, Television and X-Ray Spex.
Photos and interview by Ino Mei
Alex “Kofuu” Reinke Horikitsune, the only apprentice of Horiyoshi III apart from his son Souryou Kazuyoshi and part of Horiyoshi III family, spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine about the path in tattooing, the “Shu Ha Ri” learning system, the highly importance of the design and the “limits” of tradition.
How were you first introduced to tattoo?
When I was twelve years old I started Martial Arts. As a kid, from a really young age I was constantly drawing. So when the Martial Arts came into the picture, I started drawing Asian themes and especially Japanese; like dragons and all sorts of stuff. When I was fourteen, we were on a trip with my family to San Francisco and by chance I walked into “Tattoo City” which is Ed Hardy’s tattoo shop. Of course I had absolutely no idea about it. I bought Ed Hardy’s yellow “Tattoo Time” and Sandi Fellman’s “Japanese Tattoo” book and then I was drawing out of those books all the time. I was crazy for them. At that age, I had many older friends and when we returned to Germany after San Francisco, they asked me to design some tattoos for them because they liked my drawings and they couldn’t draw themselves. So I drew some designs for them and they went and got them tattooed.
I kept drawing and drawing tattoos until I finished high-school and went for my A – levels. At that time I started tattooing. It was 1995 and I was twenty-one. I bought a starter kit and I began teaching myself; I am self-taught. Pretty hideous, but what can you do? Then I went straight to the army, where I was also tattooing. Afterwards I met Horiyoshi III in Bologna at a convention in 1997. A few months later, in 1998, I went to Japan to start my body-suit. There I saw and realized that I could make a decent living from tattooing. Back then things were different and therefore I took a huge risk; in many people’s eyes it seemed “crazy” that I became a tattooist. It was socially “unacceptable” and perceived as “a step down” from my family; although they offered me the freedom to decide what I wanted to become. My dad is a surgeon and told me “you have to decide yourself about what you want to do for a living. When I am dead, you’ll still have your job and I don’t want to be responsible for you not being happy with your job”. He knew I was into tattooing, but he thought that tattoo was a phase. Like all kids go through phases. But this one stuck (laughs)!
What happened when you went to Japan to get tattooed by Horiyoshi III?
I was totally into Japan, as I’ve previously mentioned, since I was a kid. I was also used to serving from being in the army; therefore I believe that the combination of those two resulted in me knowing my way around Japan quite well and I think that Horiyoshi III was taken by it, and we got along very well. At the end of 1998 Horiyoshi III came to Germany for the Berlin Tattoo Convention; he wrote me a letter asking to whether we could meet there and I took some time off in order to meet him. All of a sudden, I was the “organizer” for everything, because I could communicate with Horiyoshi III. It turned out really great. We had a great time together and we became friends.
How did your friendship “evolve” from this point onwards?
In the beginning of 1999 I went back to Japan to get tattooed again. I asked Horiyoshi III if he had a student, and he was like “no I don’t take any students”. Then, there was the Tokyo Tattoo Convention towards at the end of the same year and he said “you have to come again to Japan”. That is when I met the old-timers and many of the friends I have today like Lucky Bastard (Horiko), Mick from Zurich, Filip Leu, Luke Atkinson, Chris Garver, Marcus Paecheco; all super-great guys. It was a really important convention for all of us.
A couple of months after the convention, Horiyoshi III came to Germany again and I joined him on a trip to London to buy antiques. And Horiyoshi III asked me there, in London, in a black cab on the way to some antique shop, if I was still interested in being part of the Horiyoshi Family…
To read the full article, visit: http://heartbeatink.gr/en/columns-features/artists-studios-columns-features/horikitsune/#!prettyPhoto/0/
Shot by Estevan Oriol
Anna Felicity Friedman FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/10/14
+1 773 307-2753
Lyle Tuttle Tattoos on All 7 Continents
Becomes First Person to Accomplish This Feat
On January 21, 2014, 82-year-old tattoo legend Lyle Tuttle became the first person to
tattoo on all 7 continents. A long-standing “bucket list” item of his, this accomplishment
fulfilled a personal mission for Mr. Tuttle. He said of the endeavor: “Because I was lucky
to have the greatest time slot that any tattoo artist ever had in tattooing, it wound up
that I had tattooed on six continents. So I had an opportunity to tattoo on seven
continents. Well, I’m not out to break any records but why not do it, it’s there! Edmund
Hillary, they asked him why he climbed Mount Everest, and he said ‘because it was
After a long trip to the tip of South America, he and project assistant/tattoo historian Dr.
Anna Felicity Friedman, flew across the Drake Passage on a 6-seat charter flight. Still
plagued by after-effects from a bout of frostbite acquired while serving in the Marines in
the Korean War, the trip posed a particular challenge for Mr. Tuttle. The two travelers
spent a full day touring, seeing—among the many wonders of the icy southern world—
glaciers, icebergs, penguins, seals, and whales—and experiencing what life is like for
those who live in Antarctica for extended periods of time. Then, late at night, Mr. Tuttle
set up his tattoo station in a scientist’s guesthouse at the Russian Bellingshausen Station
and tattooed his signature tattoo—his autograph—on Dr. Friedman’s leg, later adding
“ANTARCTICA 2014” when back in Punta Arenas, Chile. They were among only a
handful of tourists who have the privilege of sleeping on the continent each year.
Along the way, Mr. Tuttle acquired two new tattoos (he calls them “stickers on your
luggage”), the word “LIMA” during a stopover in Lima, Peru, and “ANTARCTICA 2014”
with a small penguin after returning to Patagonia. A natural prankster, he delighted in
surprising local tattoo artists along the way with his completely unexpected visits.
Mr. Tuttle, noted for his role in helping bring tattooing to a wider clientele in the 1960s
and 70s, began his career in 1949. He has tattooed such prominent clients as Janis
Joplin, Joan Baez, and the Allman Brothers and was featured on the cover of Rolling
Stone Magazine in 1970. Mostly retired from tattooing, Mr. Tuttle hosts an annual tattoo
convention every fall in St. Louis, travels widely educating about tattoo machines and
other topics, and maintains one of the world’s largest collections of tattoo-history
artifacts and ephemera.
You can read more about the project and view some images at: http://bit.ly/ltaproject
Media inquires: Please contact Lyle’s assistant on this project, Dr. Anna Felicity
Friedman, at email@example.com or +1 773 307-2753. High-resolution images
and video are available. Thumbnails on request.
By Nick Baxter
Here’s a process sequence for a tiny diptych painting I did a few months ago related to the recurring theme in my work of healing wounds.
This tiny little pair will be included in the forthcoming art catalogue Pint Size Paintings Volume 2, which compiles these small paintings completed by members of the worldwide tattoo community, and features them in a traveling art show.
I wrote about the Tibetan Buddhist symbolism surrounding my use of the hook symbol last year, after completing Shenpa I (which now resides in the collection of the amazing and prolific figurative painter Shawn Barber!).
An Exhibition of the Contemporary Art + Collectible Design
Celebrate the World’s First Large-Scale Exhibition Dedicated to Designer Toys at the Design exchange.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – TORONTO, Canada – February 7, 2014 – Design Exchange (DX), Canada’s Design Museum, is proud to present a series of firsts with its playful, unprecedented exhibition This Is Not A Toy, guest curated by music and fashion mogul Pharrell Williams. The first major original programming produced by DX. The first foray into museum curation for cultural connector Williams. The first time coveted artists, Brooklyn’s KAWS and Japan’s Takashi Murakami, have shown their work in a design museum. Dedicated to exploring the conceptual toy – a form made solely as an expression of an aesthetic or idea – as a fine art and design object, as well as a contemporary cultural signifier, This Is Not A Toy marks the first time these vibrant collectible sculptures, figures and paintings have collectively been on display in a museum setting.
By Deb Yarian
I’m past middle age now, so I was a child when TV was still fairly young and I still remember when television was broadcast only in B & W. I also remember when there were only 7 channels (and this was in NYC), the three major networks, three local networks and the public broadcast network. They came on early in the morning, ran programs and commercials throughout the day – but ended sometime after midnight, culminating with a picture of a waving American flag, the playing of the national anthem and then dead air and static, literally static- till they resumed broadcasting in the morning.
When the weekly TV guide came out, I would plot my viewing for the days ahead- first searching for my favorite shows, then looking for any specials or movies I wanted to watch and then i’d adjust my schedule for time conflicts.
This continued, to a degree through my teens, when other interests like REAL LIFE got in the way of my television viewing habits.
Fast forward thirty- years… I’ve changed- tv viewing has changed.
I still enjoy watching a few series that I have set to record. I still love watching movies and can do so on any of the many movie viewing options available – in color, high def etc, and so goes the evolution of my tv watching.
When I first became aware of tattoos, as a teenager in the 70s, and started tattooing, I was also acutely aware of the absence of tattoos and tattooing on TV.
Tattooing was still an underground art then and tattoos just did not fit in to everyday, mainstream American life… there was little, if any, mention or presence of them on TV or in the movies with the exception of a couple of movies: The Illustrated Man,1969 and Tattoo, 1981 as well as an occasional documentary or the very rare appearance of a tattooer on TV.
By David Gonzalez
Visitors to the cluttered studio inside Thom DeVita’s Victorian house marvel at the artwork that covers the walls, his drawing table, even his hands. The images reflect not just his interests, but his skills, which he honed as a tattoo artist on the Lower East Side for some 30 years; a storied era to aficionados. The accomplishment was all the more remarkable because it was illegal in New York City at the time.
Nowadays, it seems everybody has a tattoo. If there is someone to thank for the art’s increased acceptance and visibility, it might be Mr. DeVita. Every month, Chris Grosso brings admirers up to visit the old master, in Newburgh, the upstate town where he has lived since leaving the Lower East Side in the early 1990s.
“He is one of the founders of modern tattooing,” said Mr. Grosso, who befriended Mr. DeVita two years ago while filming a documentary about him. “It’s not what you see on reality television, but something that only he and seven other people in the 1960s started, from purely a love for the art form. He wasn’t from a sailor or biker background, where tattooing comes with the territory. They appreciated the great Japanese masters, the people from Samoa. Thom was at the forefront of that.”
Growing up in East Harlem, the son of Italian immigrants, Mr. DeVita did not set out to be an artist. After high school, he worked at various jobs, from factory hand to messenger. He recalled how his parents used to refer to some people as “bohemians,” and how he warmed to the idea.
“It seemed like a nice life to live, being with artists,” he said. “It didn’t seem like they went to work. Then I realized when I got to the Lower East Side, I was 30 years too late to be a bohemian. But I caught the tail end of the beatnik era and the beginning of the hippie era.”
His own entree into the art world was improvised, when a potential girlfriend asked him what he did.
“I had to be something, so I told her I was an artist,” he said. “So I became an artist. I had to show her I was an artist, so I started doing some artwork.”
He decided to become a tattoo artist when the city banned tattooing in 1961 (the ban was lifted in 1997). He figured business would be good, since the law drove out his competitors, and the police on the Lower East Side had more pressing concerns than outlaw skin art.
Mr. Grosso said that Mr. DeVita created new designs incorporating nontraditional elements, such as Pueblo Indian iconography and even the rose from the Lord & Taylor shopping bag. He said he admires him for his restless creativity, even if — at 81 years of age, with hands trembling from Parkinson’s disease — he no longer does many tattoos.
Instead, Mr. DeVita resorts to rubbings, stencils and stamps, making montages of old tattoo designs on recycled wooden crates, paper, cutting boards and even ancient ledgers. He signs them with his surname, rendered in snakelike letters that would be the envy of any graffiti writer.
“He paints on everything,” Mr. Grosso said. “Maybe if he had seen graffiti he would have been a tagger. He just doesn’t stop. It has to be a compulsion.”
Mr. Grosso can understand. After making a documentary on Mr. DeVita, he set up a website to sell his work. Now he visits him monthly, to give him cash from the sales and pick up new work to ship. He is often accompanied by a friend or two who might want to learn about tattoo history firsthand, like Fernando Lions, a tattoo artist from Brooklyn who recently accompanied him on a trek.
The two young men peppered Mr. DeVita with questions, and asked to see some classic designs or snapshots from his time on the Lower East Side. Depending on his mood, he may or may not comply; pictures he had told Mr. Grasso never existed magically appeared during this visit. At one point, Mr. DeVita took out some panoramas he had painted in bold, black brush strokes.
“These are beautiful,” Mr. Lions said quietly.
“You know how they’re done?” Mr. DeVita asked. “The paper is scrap I cut off bigger pieces. I paint on them with whatever is left in the ink pot.”
Before they are sent off to customers, Mr. DeVita packs a slip that reads: “Any Imperfections Will Add to Its Beauty.” He first saw the phrase when he bought a china closet, and liked it so much he appropriated it.
“All my art is imperfection,” he said. “I dwell on imperfection. I’m constantly pulling things out of the fire.”