By Chuck Greenberg
Most of you probably know of Chuck Greenberg, A.K.A. Chuck DeeZee. Over the past several years, Chuck has gotten an insane amount of work all over the country by artists all over the world. The list of artists that have tattooed Chuck is mind boggling. With all of the time getting tattooed, traveling to get tattoo, talking to artists, and generally being around tattooed people – Chuck has picked up a thing or two.
I’m excited to say this is the first of a regular series of columns that Chuck is going to write for Tattoo Snob. Chuck is going to tackle subjects that a simple Google search won’t find. Below is the first of many article. If you have a subject that you’re interested in hearing Chuck’s thoughts on, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
My name is Charles Greenberg, and I have been a collector for as long as I can remember. I’ve collected all sorts of things over the years, from cassettes to vinyl, mountain bikes to historical and music memorabilia, and, of course, tattoos. I’ve always been a collector of art, starting with comics and collectible cards at a young age. Now I’m working on a near complete, but still in-progress double body suit that features work from some of the most highly regarded artists in the industry. You really have to want it in order to tackle such an undertaking, but I’m here to share some personal insights in the hope that maybe I can spare you some of the bumps you may encounter on your own path to great skin art.
Some of the facets of collecting tattoo work might seem relatively obvious, while others might not. The purpose of this column is to touch on many of the facets of being a tattoo collector, including, but not limited to:
- The obvious financial element, including some bartering tactics
- Preparing for (and scheduling) the number of hours involved in collecting tattoo work full-time
- Working with tattoo artists
- Tattoo artist collaborations
- Tattoo conventions and their associated contests
- Tattoo removal
- Tattoo shop hygiene and cleanliness, including standards and best practices
- Etiquette for booking with high profile artists
- Perhaps the biggest factor involved here is the element of cost
To be honest, I hate it when people ask me how much I’ve paid for my skin art just to hear them brag about having paid less for their own work, or to have them bark at me that they think I’ve paid far too much. $150-250 an hour is standard in the industry these days for upper echelon work. Most people do not realize how much time and effort an artist puts into crafting a custom piece, and time is money. If you are going to get a big tattoo, you need to have some kind of reasonable financial stability to pay for the number of hours that piece will take to be completed.
Bragging about how you got a deal with another artist will not get you terribly far in this industry. It’s advantageous for you to do your homework and to go to an artist who’s best suited to your idea. Time and time again I have read about people going to the wrong artists because they did not do their research in finding the correct artists to suit their needs. I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with your artist. You don’t want to be the sort of person who goes to the local bio-organic artist to ask for a black and gray anime portrait of your grandmother. With that in mind, it’s best to do an in-person consultation about your idea beforehand, if you can. It just might be the difference between a good tattoo and an epic one.
Patience is the name of the game if you seek out the artists who are in the highest demand. Get pieces which will exploit their strengths and challenge them. Avoid the same old recycled ideas that are common on Pinterest and Google. Of course there are different types of tattoo collectors; many want to focus on one style, such as traditional, illustrative, bio-mech, or black and gray work. Others, like me, appreciate all styles equally, and try to collect a piece from each of them. I’ll be writing here regularly, so I’d like to encourage all readers to contribute to this column by asking me any questions about tattoo collecting or other relevant topics that you want to discuss. I’ll do my best to provide a thorough answer for all of them, time permitting. I appreciate your time, and I hope you’ll be coming back to the discussion in the future.
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 Molly Kitamura
Ceiran Thomas has quite an impressive resume, having worked at some of the best restaurants in Wales, where he currently lives. I got excited when he approached me about doing an interview as I have always wanted to visit that area of England! I have heard its beautiful and I am curious about the local food. Ceiran has not only worked in the best places with some of the hardest kitchens in Wales, but was the head chef of a team of 40 at the London Games in 2012. He got started cooking with his grandmother as a child and loves butchery and considers himself a fishmonger.
Read more on Ceiran just below…. Plus his mouth-watering recipe!
Where do you work now?
I’m between restaurants at the moment I’m awaiting the opening of a new restaurant next month with one of the great British chefs I’m currently privately teaching.
What got you into getting tattooed?
I think the beauty and art of it I’ve Always been creative and expressed myself and I think it’s a beautiful way to do it.
What was your first tattoo?
My first tattoo was a rib tattoo of the welsh national anthem it’s close to my heart I’m a patriot hearing it sung brings a tear to my eye.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
I love cooking fish it’s amazing nothing better than fresh fish it’s just magical especially strait off the line just brings you so much closer to nature. Just simple.
What is the food in Whales like?
Its Wales and its hearty and fresh we have a lively coast so the seas are abundant with shellfish and the like we also have a very green countryside full of the best organic veg and healthy cattle, wales is famous for its lamb.
Do you ever go to any tattoo conventions?
I’ve only ever been to tattoo conventions in Cardiff (Cardiff tattoo and toy convention I received a beautiful dot-work sleeve and Cardiff Halloween bash where I received an epic neo traditional calf tattoo and some scarification off a legend Dr Evil.)
Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?
I can’t pick and choose in the tattoo industry to be honest I’ve seen beautiful work from world class artists and just as good from local apprentices it’s not about who’s been tattooing for a lifetime it’s about the vision of the artist.
Who do you admire in the culinary industry?
In the food industry there’s many to name a few
Michel roux jr
The roux brothers
What will your next tattoo be?
My next tattoo will either be my lower knuckles or my kneecap tattooed with a neo traditional rose
What were the London Games like?
The London games were just alive the only way I can describe it just non stop I worked 17 hour days strait for the games and then 13 hours a day in the rest days between the Olympics and the Paralympics and then back to 17 in the Paralympics it was full on but I miss it
Ceiran has generously given us one amazing recipe, check it out and let the hunger pains begin!
Crab and Scallop Lasagne with Chive Bureè Blanc
.400g fresh white scallop meat (white only)
.480ml fresh double cream
.Pinch of course sea salt and cracked black pepper
.430g white crab meat
.aprox.500g fresh Pasta dough
For the sauce -
Small handful of chives
Block of unsalted butter (cubed)
40ml white wine
40ml white wine vinegar
Roll out pasta sheets and rest between cling film sheets in the fridge
(Can you ready made sheets but these much be cooked aldenté before you build the lasagne)
Pick threw your crab meat for any shell.
Blitz your scallop meat in a food processor and add your crab meat.
Slowly add your cream and seasoning, put in a piping bag and rest in the fridge for 10 minutes
prepare your lasagne in metal rings
First layer a pice of pasta cut to size in the bottem then pipe your scallop mix about 10-15 mm and add another sheet then another 10-15mm of mix then a final sheet
To cook steam over boiling water for 8-10 mins with a lid
For the sauce
Dice your shallots fine
Add your white wine and vinegar to a pan and reduce add shallots and reduce till there is allmost no liquid in the pan then add cream and reduce further till thick move to a low heat and slowly whisk in your butter cubes
Chop your chives and add to the sauce. Garnish with wild mushrooms if available and micro herbs.
Thank you Ceiran!! Incredible food and great tattoos!!
You can catch more of Ceiran and his food on his Instagram, @theinkchef
If you would like to be featured on our blog, please email us or tag us!!
By Molly Kitamura
My new and dear friend, Alessandra Palotti is a great tattoo artist and a great cook! Alexandra is Italian from Bologna, Italy where she has been tattooing for over 6 years. Alessandra and her husband, Koji Ichimaru, run their private studio in Bologna, what a beautiful place to live, definitely on my go-to list!
Alessandra and I got to cook together one day. I made beef Milanese and she made Bolognese sauce. I had never had traditional, authentic Bolognese before and had a completely different idea in my head on how it is made. I learned so much from her that day.
Here is a mix of Alessandra’s tattoo photos, her recipe and photos of the process. Please enjoy and try out her recipe, it will become a staple in your culinary repertoire!
By Guy Aitchison
For a decade and a half now I’ve been perfecting my Reinventing The Tattoo curriculum, which teaches some of the fundamentals of artistic design in a way that can be applied toward making your tattoo work stronger, more dynamic, and more unique. It’s an educational program that has been attended by many artists who are now among the industry’s top artists and educators. So I’m psyched to offer this first installment of Reinventing The Tattoo in interactive webinar format. That means that you can attend it online from anywhere in the world but still participate in the critiques, exercises and discussion. I’m offering a limit of 30 tickets so that everyone’s work gets enough time on-screen, where I not only critique it but also use Photoshop to demonstrate ways of improving it. It can also be attended in person at a hotel near us in Marion, Illinois, but many webinar participants have found that the closeup, high definition experience they get on their computers is almost better than being there in person.
It starts on April 8, where I’ll begin by going over the Reinventing fundamentals: Flow and fit, positive/negative relationships, contrast, priority and reserve, lines and edges, depth, and lighting effects. We follow that by doing an on-screen critique of each participant’s work, applying the concepts that were demonstrated at the beginning of the day. At the end of the session I’ll be handing out exercises for everyone to work on that night. Then, on April 9 we’ll go over everyone’s exercises so we can see how all the important fundamentals have been applied, and then follow up with a group of closeup video clips that demonstrate my latest understandings about technique. The Reinventing The Tattoo webinar is both immersive and interactive; wherever you live you can a part of this concentrated learning experience. Tickets are available now at the http://www.TattooEducation.com online store and TattooNOW.com/Webinars.
By Tom Blackwell
Mention tattooing and health in the same sentence, and chances are the topic is one of the nasty infectious diseases — from HIV to Hep C — that can be transmitted by dirty needles.
A new Canadian study, though, may be about to change that image, suggesting that tattooing equipment could actually be an effective new way to combat an array of skin conditions, penetrating deep enough to deliver drugs to the right cells, but not so far that the needle prods sensitive nerves.
“It’s logical that it works…. But we were amazed”
The just-published research found evidence that tattooing could greatly improve treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis, a parasite that leaves millions of people worldwide with disfiguring, and often emotionally devastating, facial sores. It affects mainly developing countries, but even Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan have contracted the illness.
The technology, though, could eventually have application in treating skin cancer, psoriasis and other ailments, speculates the scientist behind the project.
“We were extremely excited, very surprised [at the success of the experiment],” said Anny Fortin, a biochemist who did the work at McGill University. “If you think about it, it’s logical that it works.… But we were amazed.”
She cautioned that the initial study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, was conducted on mice, so there is no guarantee the results will translate into humans. The next step is further drug-tattooing work on pigs, whose skin is closer to that of people, and then to try the technique on humans if the animal research is successful.
Ms. Fortin said she came up with the idea after talking to a colleague who works for a company that makes tattooing equipment for applying permanent makeup. She obtained funding to explore the novel idea from Grand Challenges Canada — a federally funded agency that finances research on affordable innovations to attack health threats in poor countries.
Leishmaniasis, it turns out, is ripe for some kind of new approach. Caused by a parasite that sand flies transmit, the most dangerous form attacks internal organs and can be fatal.
The more common cutaneous version will not kill, but leaves patients with stigma-inducing ulcers on their faces, sometimes making it difficult for them to find a spouse or otherwise affecting their lives deeply. An estimated 1.5 million new cases are recorded yearly.
None of the current treatment options are ideal. One drug can be administered systemically, but the intramuscular injections — one a day for a month — are toxic and painful. Hypodermics are also used to deliver the same drug directly into the lesion, also extremely painful.
“I’ve seen children being treated, six people were needed to immobilize the child and this little kid was screaming like crazy,” said Ms. Fortin.
The tattooing machine targets Leishmania cells just below the surface of the sore, depositing the drug — instead of ink — into the bottom of the little holes it creates, far less painfully than a hypodermic needle. Ironically, it acts in much the same way as the fly injects the parasite when it bites someone, said Ms. Fortin.
Her study compared treatment of ulcers in mice using the tattooing gear, versus the intramuscular injections, and a topical ointment applied on the ulcer. The tattoo method was the most effective in all cases, clearing up the lesions completely, the study reported.
It is possible the heat generated by the tattooing also helps, triggering inflammation that brings immune cells to attack the pathogen, said Prof. Uzonna.
Ms. Fortin said she is now trying to obtain another round of Grand Challenges funding, which would require her to find matching grants from other sources.
By Molly Kitamura
We are back!! After a couple months break, Knives and Needles Blog is back! Sometimes even bloggers need a break to recharge with new material!! And what better way to get back into things than with Jairo Acevedo!!!! He is one talented and tattooed chef, so read on and check out his food and tattoos….. You will not regret it!
Molly: Tell us a bit about yourself, please include what you are doing now
Jairo: I’m a 27 yr old chef from Boston Mass. I’ve been here in Los Angeles for about 6 months now and I am currently the Personal Chef for Athletic Gaines, a professional athlete training group. The Head Trainer, Travelle Gaines, trains the athletes and I make their meals certain nights a week if not every night. Right now we are in the middle of a 8 week training camp for The NFL Scouting Combine. It’s been an absolute blessing to be able to move out here to California on a limb and be where I am.
M: What got you into cooking?
Recent years have seen huge debates between tattooers about whether modern technology adds value to tattooing. Are all new products improvements or are we losing vital artistic skills?
Therefore, it is so refreshing to see technology used in such a way that no one can deny that it adds value to tattooing. An age old skill meets the height of modern technology.
The use of webinars allows you, as an artist, to learn from fellow tattooers without the need to leave the comfort of your own home. It’s a win/win situation where you do not need to close your studio for days and bear the cost of extensive travelling; artists that you know and respect are made available to you without the need to leave the house.
Off the Map are pleased to offer you the opportunity to buy one of a limited number of places available for a three day webinar extravaganza. So, what will you get over the three days?
It all kicks off on February 9th (is there a start time?) with a webcast that is live and free (oh yeah, free!) to the public at HYPERLINK “http://www.tattooNOWTV.com/“www.tattooNOWTV.com. This is not about indepth technical details of tattooing but will cover a variety of issues that are faced by Jeff Gogue and Guy Aitchison when they set about designing and executing large tattoos. It will be a collaboration, seeing these artists working on a sleeve project. Watch as they fuse together traditional Japanese elements alongside cutting-edge techniques. Not only will you be able to get a rare glimpse inside this high-energy creative process but you can ask questions, which will be answered during the seminar.
It doesn’t get more up close and personal than this!
On February 10th at noon (Pacific Standard Time – USA & Canada), the king of bio organic tattooing, Guy Aitchison, brings you “Structure: Optimizing Your Use Of Value And Color”.
Probably more so today, than ever before in the history of tattooing artists are striving to make their tattoos clearer, stronger and more easily readable. Again this is an issue brought to the fore by the advances in inks and the popularity of tattoos in modern society.
In this webinar Guy will demonstrate how you can use design to your advantage and how your execution of a tattoo can increase the graphic contrast in the final piece.
He will start with the layout and use of stencils, and follow this with a live tattoo demonstration, focusing on the subject of contrast. This webinar will allow you access to Guy’s experiences and knowledge, and a personal insight into how he strengthens his work and how you can strengthen yours. There is an interactive element within this process, in that student questions will be answered during the webinar.
Then on February 11th at noon (Pacific Standard Time – USA & Canada), world famous tattooer: Jeff Gogue brings you “Size doesn’t matter… Hand tattoo”
When asked why the title of this webinar, Jeff said “Whether I am laying out a full back piece, a sleeve, a leg, a head or a hand, I focus on the entire “canvas”. Whatever it may be.”
During the webinar he will share how he uses those proven tools of design and flow to create a successful piece of art. He will explain how he feels that sometimes as artists we overlook the basics in our attempts to produce something new and exciting. How often have we heard about tattoos being done “for the photo”. Again that modern technology of social media means that tattoos are “out there” within minutes of their conclusion and this has become the excitement we crave.
Jeff will talk to you about going back to basics, whatever size piece you are doing; and concentrate on those fundamentals of doing what you know works and to get good at that. He believes that the excitement you seek will follow, in other ways. Jeff will share with you his thoughts about transition, size, placement, and those other key elements that result in an intriguing, pleasing and above all, insightful tattoo.
To demonstrate to you all how he puts these personal tattooing values into practise Jeff will be tattooing Guy Aitchison’s hand. Whilst doing this he will explain his thought processes as the tattoo progresses and he will also be answering your questions from the chat room.So if you are looking for that training and education opportunity that will add value to your business for a mere $300.00 and greatly add a deeper understanding of creating a wonderful tattoo, then more details can be found at : http://www.tattooeducation.com/Event-and-Seminar_Tickets/item3865.htmlWhat are you waiting for, come join us on a journey of dermal discovery!
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 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!
By Omar Edmison
My wife of 18 years asked me awhile back if I was still writing a blog for Tattoo Artist Magazine. I shot her a pile of excuses about time & being busy at work, taking care of the shop & spending time with her & the kids. She looked at me with her amazingly sweet smile as if to say “Sure Omar, I love you I have your back but you’re throwing up a smoke screen.” She knows me really well, better than any other human being on the planet. Her words that she spoke next were small and to the point. she simply said ” you’re really good at what you do. you have wisdom to impart.” I am not making that part up; she really does speak like that. So here I am sitting in front of a computer trying to figure out what to “impart” on you, gentle reader. I started thinking about what I had said to my beautiful and talented better half. It wasn’t a lie I have been busy with an amazing varied rag tag bunch of folks who for what ever reason be it a bump on the head or just a history of poor life choices have asked me to mark them permanently. It is also true that -as any shop owner can attest to- when you own a tattoo shop stuff comes up, there are always fires to be put out, business needs handling. It is most decidedly true that I love spending time with her and our 3 awesome kids. I don’t know about y’all but the last time I checked there are only 24 hours in a day only 7 of those days in a week etc., etc. you know the math. You are,I am sure, by this point getting my point that there are a lot of things that come up in my day to day life that are at times pleasurable at times nerve wracking & everything in between. Much like some of you out there, I get to try to figure out how to balance business & family, which is what struck me as something to write about…
Life, Happens everyday. It comes at us pretty fast you have to keep your eyes open and your head up if you are going to get through it in one piece. How to balance work & family…
By Brandon Collins
Reblogged from: http://www.tattoosnob.com
With the invention of tattoo “reality” shows, the average un-tattooed or mildly tattooed person is led to believe that tattoo artists are superheroes: they can draw an entire back piece in 15 minutes, go out to the clubs all night and still come to work on time, able to tattoo whatever you want, wherever you want it.
That sounds awfully appealing to some kids–but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. Anyone who has spent time in a tattoo shop knows that most tattooers are your average hardworking dads and moms with mortgages, car payments and phone bills,not prima donna rockstars that get VIP everywhere and drive Lamborghini’s. Those TV shows make a mockery of our profession and because of them, our trade has been diluted by half-ass, mediocre tattooers. Not only have these hacks not paid their dues, but they pump out crappy $20 tattoos that the average joes doesn’t even realize are shit.
Before deciding you want to be a tattooer, think about this: Say my appointment for the day doesn’t show up, so that $400 I needed to pay rent and put food on my table will just have to wait. If YOU go to work and no one shows up, YOU still get paid and so you can afford to sit home home and watch “TATTOO SCHOOL” and say to your stoned roommate “bro, I can totally do that shit!”. You get breaks and paid holidays, insurance and an guaranteed paycheck every week. We don’t. We work 50-60 hours a week tattooing, drawing and painting with no medical benefits and no retirement funds.
Don’t listen to your family. That skull with the lightning bolts and a joint in its mouth you drew in the 8th grade ISN’T amazing. Your parents, close family members and friends are always going to tell you that you are a natural artist. Their biased encouragement will only give you the false confidence to go into a tattoo shop and get your feelings hurt. Tattooing isn’t a hobby or something just to pass the time. It is a profession and a sole mean of income, so if you think we will welcome you and your “tat guns” into our trade with open arms, you are sorely mistaken. Apprenticeships are meant to be hard–to weed out the undeserving. If you are lucky enough to get one (and I do mean lucky) you will be taught a skill that can carry you for the rest of your life and you are forever indebted to the person who taught you. There are those dip-shits that don’t have the balls to go into a tattoo shop and try to get an apprenticeship – or they did and were tossed out, just order some “guns” online and “do tats” out of their house. Not only is this completely disgusting, unsanitary and unethical, but also illegal. Don’t even think about doing that. Those fucktards can do some real and irreversible damage to someone not to mention potentially spread disease.
Most tattoo artists don’t make a lot of money. Tattooers get paid by the hour but that money isn’t dumped right into our pockets. We have to give a percentage to the shop and pay for supplies and what-not. In reality we only get a fraction of what we charge for your tattoo. So when you tell me, “Dannnng $100?… Thats a lot, you must be rich!” and I want to run a steel spike through your head, you will understand why. As I mentioned before, if an appointment doesn’t show up or you don’t have anything scheduled, you don’t get paid. Imagine going to your job at Home Depot or where ever and working a full day without pay.
So next time you have the urge to be like Kat Von D or whatever rockstar tattooer is the flavor of the week… remember this: Countless hours of work for minimal pay and no benefits is the life that we have chosen and will defend with extreme prejudice. Do yourself a favor: keep your day job, and leave our profession alone.
Brandon owns and works at Nightmare Studios in Reno, NV.
By Mickey Schlick
I’m always trying to find answers to as many of the little issues that life throws at me as possible. I wanted to share some things that I think are applicable to our life in the shop. Often, I notice that many tattoo shops, especially street shops, lack adequate space for that most important or our chores, drawing. I wanted to cover a quick fix for this: a low cost, zero floor space, cheap drawing table.
Since my first gesture drawing class, I have been hooked on lap boards and I think they are a great solution when needing to move around is a must. Sitting in the chair and having the board at an angle against a table or the back of another chair gives a large drawing area and a much more comfortable angle. The other thing that most people don’t really notice is how much a horizontal surface can potentially skew a drawing.
Personally, I was looking for a more permanent fix and so I did some “figurin’” to come up with an idea that matched all of the benefits of having a large drawing table without loosing any floor space in the shop. The one thing about this plan in particular (which I am hoping that some of you will turn into ideas of your own) is that it is not very adjustable. So, as the old adage goes, measure twice cut once. On the upside, it is so cheap and easy that you can have multiple drawing surfaces in the shop that work for different people or drawing styles or projects for well under $100.
In our shop, most of the artists like to draw pretty big which we like because you can get a lot of life into the work when drawing with your whole arm. Personally, I’m about the newsprint because I would rather retrace my design with a marker on tracing paper than slide the rough onto the copier, or photograph it and deal with it digitally, but sometimes I can go big with it or sometimes I can work out a whole bunch of thumbnails on one sheet. Most papers have a larger style (I like 18×24), just think about what you like to draw on and then buy your table based on having enough room to draw and support your whole drawing pad and arms and whatever else you need, while still fitting the space. Obviously, you don’t need to go that big, but you could go larger or smaller on the table or paper (all of the measurements for this will be unique to you and your situation, so I’m not going to get too deep into that. ) Just read this, think about the logic of it, then go out and build your own that is perfect for your situation.
I started with a very complicated idea, which I won’t get into, but I will say looking back that I don’t know how my head got that far up my ass. I had spent all this time planning out this awesome drawing table with a support frame and a bunch of super heavy wood with a crazy detailed stain. Sounded good until I realized that it was going to be entirely too heavy for the wall and the stain didn’t go as easy as I thought it would. In the end, what worked the best was to keep it simple, use this 24″ x 48 1/2″ MDF for like $10. I just had them cut right there at Home Depot, to like 24″ x 36″ then painted it to match the wall that it was going to hang on with paint from the shop, so that you can barely tell it’s there at all. Very low impact, even visually. It’s great!
Check out this amazing instructional video Jeff made about drawing finger waves. His new DVD, Tattoo as I see it is available for pre-sale now on http://www.unicyclebrand.com.
By Jeff Gogue
I call it a movie simply because it’s moving pictures as opposed to non moving pictures. I make my living making pictures, but they don’t move. I think my goal with anything is for it to actually “move” people. Pun intended. This dvd or video or whatever you want to call it is moving. My hope is that your soul would be moved and your mind would be engaged with your heart to search yourself and discover or rediscover why you do what you do. Whether you tattoo, paint, make music, or have any other creative outlet, be it business, art, management or anything else. When you stop and think about it “creativity” is just thinking outside of convention or routine; it’s coming up with a solution to whatever is perplexing you that is outside of the norm.
“Tattoo as I see it” is my message, which starts with my story, my “why” to what I’ve done in my life and what I do with each day. It presents my beginnings, my intentions and my resolutions after attaining the goals I set out for. Along the way I have learned to be an artist. I’ve learned to be a professional at expressing things visually, and I’ve discovered that the door has been opened to a wide world that goes beyond what I thought was there.
This project was not my idea, or my vision, at first. When Ryan Moon, (Film Director, director of photography, designer, and co-producer) approached me with the idea of a tattoo instructional dvd, I was of course not into it. I don’t want to be another guy trying to capitalize on the tattoo frenzy, but after talking and mulling over ideas, I was convinced to just be myself and say what I feel I need to say. After a year and a half of talking, tattooing and wondering, I am pleased with what has transpired. It’s a well rounded presentation of both ideals, and practical application of what I believe to be foundational and fundamental principles of both tattooing in general and artistic understanding that’s applicable to any medium, all of this mixed in with honest, real experience and reflection on an art based life.
The (pre sale) dvd is available currently for $39.00 plus shipping world wide with the official release date being Friday, November 29th when the price will be $49.00 plus shipping. We are also planning on releasing a limited edition collector’s edition with two DVDs, one being Tattoo As I See It, and the other containing my home videos of seven trips to Japan for a full back piece from the renown Shige, of Yellowblaze, Yokohama. I filmed over the last three years documenting my experience, all of this is the backdrop for my candid story of who Shige is to me and what the experience meant and how it affected my life. This edition will be signed, numbered and limited. I had hoped to have them out sooner than this but doing it ourselves, we of course came up against lots of hurdles and costs.
The final stages of the project were completely made possible by our sponsors, Fusion Ink, Cheyenne Tattoo Equipment, Sullen Art Collective, and Tattoonow, and Off the Map Tattoo.
I started my own art production company called Unicycle Brand in order to fund this project and all the time invested in the cameras, the computers, the filming and editing over the last year and a half. Unicycle brand will be launching over the next year, our contributing artist lines of prints by Jason Butcher and Lianne Moule of the UK, Markus Lenhard of Germany, Derek Noble, USA, and Shige, Yokohama Japan. I envision this being the start of great things to come for art and tattooing.
Special thanks to Tattoo Artist Magazine for the years of support and for keeping it real for tattooers in this ever-changing world.
Please visit http://www.unicyclebrand.com to view the Trailer and order your (pre sale) copy now.
Also please visit our sponsors’ sites:
Sullen- Tattoo as I see it, t-shirt available soon.
Check out the trailer…
By Adam Guy Hays
A while back I decided I needed a new banner, as I’ve been using a shitty Kinko’s copy of one of my old ones for while now. I thought it’d be a good excuse to do another step-by-step of my painting process. I’ve included the photos of the references I used. I’m a big believer in having true life references for all projects.
I started with an image that my business partner Mike Bellamy drew and that has been our shop’s longtime logo. I wanted to keep the overall composition more or less the same but make my own version. I changed up the proportions, added a tiny RR logo , and gave the girl more Alphonse Mucha styled hair. I love that art nouveau stuff.
Typically when I’m sketching I like to use Prismacolor Col-Erase pencils on heavy vellum, which can stand a fair bit of abuse from erasing and sketching. The Col-Erase pencils are pretty good at staying where they’re put and not smudging too much. Some details in here are just plain pencil too.
By Kris Richter
My Name is Kris Richter and this is Beyond the INK…
Last year I traveled North America, speaking at tattoo studios and tattoo conventions. I developed a seminar that is about 45 minutes long, and covers everything someone needs to know, or consider before they get tattooed. I am humbled by the positive response it has received within the tattoo community and beyond.
Now, I am ready to take Beyond the INK to the next level.
I am asking for your help to raise $50,000. With that I plan on doing three things… Please watch this video and show your support by donating on ourGoFundMe campaign page.
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.
By Molly Kitamura
Reblogged from: http://knivesandneedlesblog.com/
I am super stoked to introduce Lizette Gonzalez today! She is an incredible talent, a beautiful girl and a woman who knows whats she wants! Check out her interview and get inspired to bake your ass of!
Molly: Tell us about yourself, background and what you are doing now.
By Deb Yarian
In my last installment of Lessons from Inksmith and Roger’s week 1, I explain that I had the pleasure of sending my second son, Nick, having just finished up an apprenticeship at our family shop in Alaska, to the world famous Inksmith and Roger’s Tattoo in Jacksonville, Florida for what many would consider a chance of a lifetime and a great opportunity for a brand new tattooer.
“The Tattooist’s Palette” seminar is designed by Russ Abbott to help today’s tattoo artists realize the full potential of the color options available today. This interactive seminar gives tattoo artists his years of hard won color understanding, along with a notebook of his secret learning materials and personal interface.
By Molly Kitamura
I had the most interesting and enjoyable lunch today, Taki and I drove up to San Francisco and ate lunch with the living legend Ed Hardy. He took us to one of his favorite haunts, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Ed had nothing but praises for the owner, Tony Gemignani, and his amazing pizza spot. Tony is super tattooed and even travels to Italy to partake in pizza-making contests. Rad! (more…)
By Molly Kitamura
Christian Dolias is a force to be reckoned with. He is an innovator in the culinary world, taking kitchens by storm leaving no pot unstirred! He runs an ever-expanding social club for chefs called, CutThroat Culinary with members all over the States, Europe and South America… (more…)
By Molly Kitamura
I have had the amazing opportunity to interview a talented chef named Andrew Santana. He is from California and is a jack-of-all trades when it comes to cooking! He has done it all! He has a passion for tattoos and kindly shared some of them and their stories with me. Here is our interview along with a mouth-watering recipe courtesy of Andrew! Read on and check it out! (more…)