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Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace: Common Sense Advice for Workers with Body Art

By Erika Icon

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Tattoos and piercings are becoming more accepted as a form of art and expression. They are a big part of the cultural landscape in cosmopolitan cities like Los Angeles. To give you an idea of their rise in popularity here are a few figures. Thirty years ago, 1 in 100 people in this country had tattoos. Now 1 in 10 Americans have them, and one-third of those aged 25 to 30 have tattoos. While society is becoming more liberated and expressive, and piercings and tattoos become part of mainstream culture, some employers are still having a hard time wrapping their heads around body art in the workplace.

What are my rights?

If your company tells you that you can’t wear piercings or reveal your tattoos at work, they aren’t doing anything illegal. Don’t look to the legal system to protect workers who have body art. The law covers discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, age, nationality, origin and gender. The one exception may be if you’re a Hindu with a nose ring, which could be a religious observation.

But there are limits. Your company can’t use tats or piercings as an excuse to fire you. A company can, on the flipside, use it as an excuse not to hire you. I’ll cover more reasons for this later.

Many companies have policies that prohibit tats and piercings that are generally outlined in their handbook and/or employee manual. If the policy is new, it may be given out in memo form (or they may revise the current employee handbook). An employer may change a dress code at any time, with or without warning. To cover their derrières legally, the employer will generally give the new guidelines in written form. If an employer does change the dress code, it must be applicable to all employees.

What’s all the hoopla?

In a recent Vault.com survey, employers and employees were asked about tattoos and piercings in the workplace. 60 percent of employers said that they were less likely to hire a candidate with tats or piercings. Their main concern was how the company would be viewed and/or represented. Although the demand for skilled workers is high and filling jobs has been difficult, some managers are willing to pass on workers who they believe could tarnish the company image.

But why do people think less of those with body art or piercings? Some people still associate tattoos with bikers, sailors, criminals, gang members — the pariahs of society. You might see it as self-expression and free speech, but your boss (or potential boss) perceives it as being rebellious, calling attention to yourself, and not being part of the team.

Many employers have a cookie cutter mentality of how their workers should dress and be perceived. Surprisingly, Starbucks, the McDonald’s of the coffee world, doesn’t allow their baristas to show tats or piercings; all tats must be covered up and piercings removed. They’re going for the crisp, clean look and want to let their coffee — rather than the worker’s appearance—do the talking. If you don’t like the Starbucks policy, you might try serving coffee at a smaller, local coffeehouse.

The times they are a’ changing

While some employers cringe at bodywork and piercings, others are embracing it. If you choose a position where you don’t interact with clients, or are pursuing an artistic career, you’re more likely not to have a problem at work. Here is the official policy of some employers at the time of this writing:

• The nation’s largest retailer, Walmart, doesn’t allow facial piercings (i.e. eyebrow, nose or lip). They do allow tattoos that aren’t offensive; ‘offensive’ tattoos must be covered up.

• Borders, one of the nation’s largest book sellers, views body art and piercings as something that makes a worker more interesting and a definite plus.

• Ford Motor Company allows everyone from Senior Executives on down to have tattoos and piercings. The only exception is that factory workers are asked to refrain from piercings that could endanger factory settings and/or worker safety.

• Wahoo’s, a California-based chain of fish taco restaurants, allows their employees to strut their tattoos in the restaurants and in the corporate office (specifically graphic designers, and even the owner).

If you have tattoos and piercings how should you handle it at work?

Walking into work (or an interview) with a giant dragon on your arm probably isn’t a good idea. Modest tats (ones that can be covered up with your pants or a shirt sleeve and/or are small in size) are probably okay. You can take out some of your earrings if you have multiple piercings and/or a nose or eyebrow ring. Or, go for studs instead of large hoops. The piercing through the septum (the one that looks like a bull ring) and large earplugs aren’t usually well received. Large tats (especially ones on your neck or arms) and tongue piercings seem to concern employers the most.

Many tattoo establishments and artists now have consultations with the customers before tattooing them. They ask them to really think about the ramifications of having a tattoo on the neck and other areas that are exposed. Many younger people don’t think about the consequences or the permanence of tattoos. Better to go with a tattoo on the upper arm that could be covered up by a short-sleeved shirt if necessary.

Another good idea is camouflage. Cover your tats with concealer or band-aids. Women can wear bangles or other large bracelets to cover tats on their wrists and still be quite stylish. You can choose to wear long sleeved shirts or long pants and women can wear thick tights and/or strappy heels to conceal tats on their legs and ankles.

Some piercings can’t be left without jewelry all day long. You can use retainer jewelry, which are just clear pieces of plastic to keep your piercings open, or wear clear or flesh-colored plastic balls on your tongue ring. Another option is to go small; choose a very small silver ball for a nose ring, so it will be a little less conspicuous.

The Vault.com survey revealed that 70 percent of the people with tattoos whom they surveyed concealed them at work, while 30 percent didn’t. A good gauge might be to look around your office (or come into the office to look around before your interview) and see if others are wearing their piercings and not concealing their tats. If there is nothing in your employee manual, you can remove and cover up until you’re sure. Many states are at-will employment and have initial 90-day trial periods, so if you really like your job you must weight the importance of your body art and piercings against continued employment.

A Word from the Writer

You may wonder what makes me know so much about this subject. Sure, I did research, but I have also indulged in body art. For the first time in over 10 years, I have been asked to cover up my tats and remove my nose ring. I received a phone call from Human Resources before I even started my current position to let me know that I had already broken the dress code with my nose ring (I covered up the tats on my multiple interviews there).

Although I have a creative position in an agency and have worked at much more conservative places than this (and have been allowed to ‘be myself’), I have to abide by the rules. Why? Because this is one full-time job that I definitely want to keep.

Erika Icon is a Los Angeles-based writer and regular contributor to Working World and Working Nursemagazines.


Jeff Gogue |Cherry Blossom Tutorial

By Jeff Gogue

www.unicyclebrand.com

Whether you are a seasoned veteran looking to reduce and rebuild your skill set, or a new aspiring artist that is trying to fill in the gaps, we hope this video helps to advance you forward. Our objective at UB is to embody the intention of excellence. We are giving this to you with our whole hearts, hoping it enables you to produce original works that inspire others to do the same. Thank you for your support!
The drawing from this video is available as a PDF unicyclebrand.com/tutorials

Instructor: Jeff Gogué
Director: Ryan Moon
Music:
Free Tone Textures By Small Colin
freemusicarchive.org/music/Small_Colin/Retro_Masters/01_-Small_Colin-Free_Tone_Textures-_Retro_Master
Kosmiche Slop by Anenon
freemusicarchive.org/music/Anenon/Bonus_Beat_Blast_2011/06_anenon-kosmiche_slop


Honduran Experts Decode The Hidden Meanings Behind Gang Tattoos

Source: www.latino.foxnews.com

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It’s an image ingrained in the culture of both the United States and countries throughout Central America: the heavily-tattooed, ruthless gang members on the prowl for victims.

These inked-up thugs – such as members of the feared Mara Salvatrucha (or MS-13) and Barrio 18 street gangs operating in El Salvador and Honduras – have been blamed in part for the surge in unaccompanied minors streaming north toward safety in the U.S. and have kept border agents busy making sure that none of these hoodlums enter the country.

While law enforcement officials in places like Los Angeles and throughout the federal prison system have been studying gang tattoos for years to get a grasp on affiliations and meanings, the countries in Central America have only recently latched on to this practice as violent crime rates spiral out of control throughout these nations.

Police in Honduras now claim to have cracked the code on the symbolic meaning of these tattoos even as more and more gang members hide their ink amid a crackdown on gangs in the country.

One of the most popular images found on gang members is two hands clasped together and fingers facing skyward in prayer posture. Experts interviewed by Honduras’ El Heraldo newspaper say that this tattoo is not a representation of any religiosity on the part of the gang member, but a plea to “forgive me mother for my crazy life.”

“This phrase means that there are normal moments in the life of gang member or a gang that let you think properly about the actions carried out in the course of one’s own life,” the newspaper reported. “As a result the position of consciousness arises because [the gang member] realizes he is doing something wrong which is against morality and decency, even taking the life of one or more persons.”

Other religious tattoos, such as Jesus or the Virgin of Guadalupe, are found throughout the Central American gang world and represent similar meanings, although the Christ tattoo is almost exclusively used by MS-13.

The yin yang is also a popular tattoo in gangs throughout Central America. While most commonly associated with Asian gangs, it has become increasingly popular among the MS-13 street gang in El Salvador.

The design, experts say, symbolizes the balance between good and evil, which the gang members have achieved through force, violence and death.

One the most notorious and widespread tattoos in any gang culture is the spider web, meant to represent power and a gang’s expansion into new territories. It is found mostly on elbows, shoulders or knees.

Experts recommend that young people thinking of getting a tattoo should study what they want carefully and make sure that the ink they get doesn’t have some subliminal meaning that could have them hurt or even killed unintentionally.

“Just having a tattoo alluding to one of those groups and crossing to some other group’s turf is an offense, because the person is identifying himself or promoting a different group,” an unnamed expert interviewed by El Heraldo said.

Tattoos, however, are becoming less prevalent among gang members in Honduras after the country cracked down in 2005 on gang associations by threatening people with ties to street gangs with nine to 12 years in prison and a hefty fine.

With tattoos being easy identifiers of gang associations, some members of gang’s leadership have warned their fellow brutes to cover up their body art or put it on a place of the body that is not easily seen.

Younger gang members have been saved from the cover-up because they came into the groups after the gang laws went in place, but older members have been forced to wear long sleeves in the hot weather and even caps to cover up their head tattoos.


Forever: The New Tattoo – Recap of Berlin Book Launch

From Gestalten

The suggestion that “tattoos are not just for sailors any more” is a familiar one. It might be surprising to learn, then, that the popular media has been reporting the arrival of tattooing in high society for nearly one hundred years. To celebrate the release of “Forever: The New Tattoo”, Gestalten hosted an evening of informative and entertaining talks by renowned tattoo artists Alex Binnie and Duncan X, as well as by heavily tattooed art historian Matt Lodder, author of the book’s preface. Further tattoo protagonists, namely Jon John, Liam Sparkes and Zoe Binnie, attended the event at the Gestalten Space in Berlin and gave us additional insight.
The book shop.gestalten.com/forever.html
See photos from the event here bit.ly/V4w6rP and bit.ly/Sqd5uW
More videos on gestalten.tvhttp://vimeo.com/50360812


The World’s Best Tattoos Just Might Be Centuries Old

By Katherine Brooks

www.huffingtonpost.com

Oh, the tattoo. From an innocuous badge inked ever so carefully on one’s back to a blanket of color flowing from the shoulders to the ankles, the world has proven the tradition of permanently adorning the body with artwork is here to stay. Hidden from sight or paraded in public, designed by professionals or picked and poked by amateurs, humans just can’t get enough of this particular brand of body modification. Take, for example, a Harris poll from 2012, which declared that in the U.S. alone, one in five individuals had chosen to bring needle to flesh. That’s 20% of the adults surveyed, for those bad with fractions.

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The Lesson of the Needle

By Aimee Heckel

www.huffingtonpost.com

n-TATTOOS-large570I try to relax into the needle scraping across my skin.

Accept the discomfort with love, I keep telling myself, knowing that love is the opposite of fear, and that any drop of fear will destroy this experience. If I let fear cloud me now, I am going to miss the message.

Any rational human would say I should be scared.

I have given my entire back to Chris Fuller, a tattoo artist at Junkyard Ink in Louisville. I met Fuller during an interview in a few months earlier. I clicked with his philosophy: that tattoos are art on flesh. In fact, Fuller and most of the other employees at the shop were traditional artists first. Fuller was a painter.

I visited the shop regularly to talk about my next tattoo. My first four had been specific words or designs in specific places on my body for precise reasons. I had over-thought them all. They felt like extensions of my body, and they were an external expressions of internal enlightenments. They were my babies, in ink.

This time is different.

I don’t know what Fuller is going to tattoo on me. Neither does he.

We agree to not go into the tattoo with preconceptions, but to approach it in the same way he paints his murals on canvas. I will be Chris Fuller’s canvas for a free-form tattoo painting.

Like I said: not rational whatsoever.

But rationality — the over-thinking, the limiting human mind, the man-made labels and explanations — is exactly what I want to suppress.

I am hoping by stilling my brain, I will shift perspective. Gain sight through the endless spirit, not eyes, which can shut or go blind. I hope that by diminishing the physical absorption of a physical experience, it can transcend into something spiritual.

And maybe not hurt so dang bad.

Of course, it’s a far leap. But you can’t catch air without leaping. And I’ve always believed art is an experience and expression, not a logical, finite explanation to prove, or even understand.

Like Einstein said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

I get that, in theory.

I am about to really get it, personally. Do you believe in anything deeply enough to let it transform you? To let it become you? For the love of art, and the sake of its raw beauty, I am about to become it.

Hour two: As I lean over the chair, breathing into the pain, I decide this is what it must feel like to be the marble, or wood, or iron being welded into a new form.

When Michelangelo created some of his greatest masterpieces, he did not go in with an agenda. He did not carve the marble into an angel. Quite the opposite. As he put it, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” The angel was already inside.

Amid the dull hum of the tattoo machine, this quote haunts me. I try to imagine the beauty living inside everything: every piece of paper, every chunk of wood, every empty stage. Potential is hovering beneath the surface of everything, like scientific joules: artistic jewels.

Fuller “carves away” at my canvas in the same way he paints. He lays down layers of color until something emerges out of the lines and shapes, and he builds on that. He had been wanting to attempt this revolutionary style of tattooing for years, but he said he could never find anyone who wanted to do it. They were too afraid of letting go of the control.

What — or who — is living underneath my own skin?

As I sit, I wonder. It could be my own Michaelangelo angel. An octopus. A tree. Beneath my skin could be a flower, a lion, a snake. A demon.

Hour five: I think about beauty.

A person’s style is their temporary artistic expression. A daily opportunity to paint and celebrate our bodies.

Fashion is only as shallow as how you choose to confine it. Because it is possible — albeit difficult — to appreciate something for its pure and simple beauty. In fact, the origin of Zen came from that idea, a “silent sermon” during which Buddha held up a flower and gazed at it, saying nothing. Enlightenment might just be letting go of everything we thought we knew, the labels, the mind, the over-analyzing of every single thing, and just letting the beauty be.

I wrote about this one night. Just a free-form poem to myself. Not to share with anyone. I opened up and the words fell out onto the page.

It was the next day that Fuller told me his tattoo idea. I didn’t hesitate. I would lose control, but gain a mark for beauty’s sake alone. What greater honor than that? Not to remind me of something that I had experienced and learned; but rather to be that very experience and lesson.

Hour 11: I think more about Michelangelo.

Perhaps we all are born with the ability to unearth this perfect beauty, in various ways. For some, it’s dancing or drawing, photography, singing, writing, woodworking, playing an instrument, cooking, theater, a sport, making jewelry or designing clothes. You do not pick your art; it is a gift, given to you. You know it is yours because it chases you.

And it will. It nags at you until you die. That’s because it is your duty to do something with it. Art is what you give back, in exchange for the love that you receive, and the opportunity to have life. And it is balanced; every human’s art is as deep and breathtaking and awesome as the perfect love that God created us from and offers to us.

But occasionally — most of the time, actually — people decide that gift is not there. They suppress it. They bury it under things that do not satisfy. It is almost as if they don’t want their gift, or for some very human reason, they are afraid of it. They do not acknowledge or accept it, so they cannot express it.

Michelangelo accepted it. He opened up and took it. If people accepted their art and stopped thinking about it, and just became that gift, their art would flow from them perfectly and fully and completely.

The reason Michelangelo’s art was so incredible is because he simply removed the dam and could see what was already inside — of the marble, and of himself. Art flows out, like love flows in.

By letting go and releasing my canvas to an artist, and trusting him, I was allowing him to follow his art.

Of course, the very manifestation of this experience, the reason I was ready for it, came from the poem I had written the day before. In an artistic cause-and-effect, this made the tattoo a ripple effect from my own art: writing. Art begetting art.

Hour 20: I can’t wait to see what is living inside my skin.

It has been four sessions of about five hours each. Fuller used more than 20 different shades of blues, greens and purples. The white highlights he added at the end will continue to grow brighter as the tattoo heals.

He tattooed the entire right side of my back, from my neck to waist. I felt him painting swirls. I felt spirals and coils and curls, tracing the natural curves of my body. Fuller followed those shapes and connected them until they created a picture.

I stand up to finally see the completed project. I feel open and trusting, but exhausted. Above all, I feel honored to spend the rest of my life wearing a painting. Fuller initials it. I turn to see the mirror.

One of her arms is reaching up to the sky. Her chin is lifted, and she’s gazing up. She is feminine, elegant and fragile. She is abstract, almost a mermaid, or a cyclone, a Siren, a ghost, or an illusion in the water or sky or both. Fuller barely knew me when we started, but he tattooed my spirit.

Underneath my skin was a dancer.

TATTOO

This article originally appeared in the Boulder Daily Camera.

Photo by Mark Leffingwell/Daily Camera.


What’s in a Name?

By Deb Yarian

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By Don Yarian

The first thing out of my mouth when a couple says ” We’ve decided to have a baby ” is usually “Congratulations” not ” What happens if you get a divorce?”

I wish as many obstetricians counseled their patients against having babies using the same reasoning as some tattooers do when they advise their customers against getting a partner’s name – “What happens if you break up?”

Well… what happens if you break up is that you, having made an adult decision to show your devotion to someone by getting their name tattooed on your skin must now make another adult decision and learn to live with it, cover it, or change it.

A ludicrous comparison, yes- but the name tattoo (a foolish choice only in retrospect) seems far less permanent  when compared with the really permanent -living child

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This sort of counsel is a particular pet peeve of mine. I think that when a person wishes to commemorate their love and devotion to another person by getting a tattoo of their name, that is their adult decision and they don’t need my opinion other than possibly font or calligraphic design choice or placement.

I’ve heard so many tattooers respond to name requests with such negativity. With mocking responses ranging from ” That’s a sure way to end a relationship!” “You sure you want to do that?” To ridicule or refusal to do the name tattoo.
But why should any couple coming in to get name tattoos from me or any other tattooer have to validate anything other than their legal ability to get tattooed? Since when did the tattooer become the priest and rabbi and moral counsel of their customers?

During my 35 years of tattooing there have probably been hundreds, even thousands of tattoo designs that I have been asked to do that I myself would not have chosen to get. In my opinion many more ugly or foolish design choices have been made than choosing to get the name of a loved one.

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By Don Yarian

I am speaking solely on my opinion of a person’s decision to get another’s name- not the aesthetics of it.
Certainly, if the aesthetics of type interferes with the look or design flow of a larger tattoo then when asked for my artistic opinion I would give my honest one. However, if asked my opinion  as to whether someone should get their partner’s name – how could I answer that?

I feel that it’s only my responsibility to advise on design choice and placement and to try and do the best job that I can regardless of my opinion of someone else’s choice of what to wear on their body.


Army may ease tattoo policy

By Michelle Tan

Army Times

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Tattooed soldiers seeking to trade in their sergeant’s stripes for a lieutenant’s bar may soon see some relief from one of the Army’s most controversial regulations.

The Army is very close to announcing changes to the policy, that will likely relax the rules for soldiers looking to earn a commission.

Army spokesman Paul Prince confirmed a review had taken place and that changes were imminent.

“Specifics about these changes will be published in the forthcoming version of” Army regulations, Prince said.

Army officials are remaining tight-lipped about specific rule changes until the revisions can be published. But it’s likely to be good news for soldiers, many of whom have lambasted the service for not grandfathering enlisted soldiers who want to go officer.

The current version of Army Regulation 670-1, published March 31, includes the following rules:

• No tattoos on the head, face, neck and hands.

• No extremist, indecent, sexist or racist ink.

• No more than four visible tattoos below the elbows and knees. In addition, those tattoos must be smaller than the size of the wearer’s hand.

• Visible band tattoos cannot be more than 2-inches wide,

• Sleeve tattoos are not allowed.

But here was the kicker: While most soldiers were going to be grandfathered, the regulation states that enlisted soldiers with illegal ink cannot request commissioning without a waiver.

The Army said it tightened its tattoo policies in order to maintain a professional look across the force.

The clause angered many soldiers, who took to social media to vent their frustration.

Many felt insulted that they were deemed ineligible to be commissioned because of their appearance, especially if their tattoos honored their fellow soldiers killed in combat.

Staff Sgt. Adam Thorogood of the Kentucky National Guard filed suit July 10 in federal court, seeking to have the new tattoo rules declared unconstitutional. Thorogood, who has 11 tattoos, hopes to become an aviation warrant officer.

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Sgt. Lindsey Urena had a painful experience trying to remove a lizard tattoo on her hand in order to meet Army regs. (Photo: Courtesy of Lindsey Urena)

 

As of July, the Army has granted “approximately 59 exceptions to policy for tattoos” for enlisted soldiers working to become officers or warrant officers, Prince said.

Despite the waiver process apparently working for some soldiers, there remains confusion.

Army Reserve Sgt. Lindsay Urena, a medic, just earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology with the sole purpose of seeking a commission and training to become a physician assistant.

Urena had a tattoo of a lizard removed from her right hand – a procedure she said was incredibly painful because the dermatologist she saw tried to remove the tattoo in one sitting. Almost three months later, her hand is still healing.

Now she’s worried because she has a large tattoo of Bumblebee from the “Transformers” on her left forearm.

Her commander wrote a memorandum requesting a waiver on her behalf, Urena said, but the unit is now mobilized, and she doesn’t know where her application stands.

The whole process has been painful and frustrating, she said.

“I am a noncommissioned officer,” Urena said. “I am professional in every aspect of my military career. How is having a tattoo a symbol of being unprofessional? As a medic, does my tattoo prevent me from saving a life, giving medical care of helping my fellow soldiers? Not in the least, so why am I being punished for it?”

Staff Sgt. Alan Lalonde, who has half-sleeve tattoos on his arms, said in an e-mail to Army Times he wished his service would get with the times.

“I wish they would see the generation in which we currently live and adjust slightly to take care of the good ones,” Lalonde said.

 


Girl X Tattoo – Michell G.

By Some Quality Meat

www.somequalitymeat.com

For Some Quality Meat we created a short and playful series about beautiful woman and their tattoo’s. Celebrating femininity and independence. With these shorts we try to depict the essence of and way of live of these beautiful females.
Model: Michelle Goormans
Jewelery: Monocrafft | monocrafft.com
Music by Hippie Sabotage, Stay High.


Tattoo Artist Brings Dots And Lines To New Heights In Stunning Geometric Ink Designs

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 | By 

original article here

Imagine this scene:

Sharp waves stretch back for as far as you can see, eating up the horizon in a vast display of stunning movement. Like the peaks and troughs of a chaotic line graph, the seas capture jumping fish as they weave in and out of the thrashes. Careful shading separates the animal bodies as they surface, drenched in the bleeding red pigment of a sunset-flooded landscape.

The description might sound like a recounting of an ancient Japanese print or a sprawling painted canvas, but the words are actually attached to artwork of a different sort. They tell the story of artist Chaim Machlev and his gorgeous tattoos.

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Seattle Tattoo Expo This Weekend!!

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I will be attending the Seattle Tattoo Expo this weekend.  This is one of my favorite shows in the US… So many talented artists… the show is busy, and the city is fun.  If you’re around, please stop by and check it out.  They always have good entertainment, good food, a good bar, cigar lounge, and most importantly… GOOD TATTOOS!  Hope to see you there!

For more information about the show like featured artists and event schedules, visit: www.seattletattooexpo.com

Nicki

TAM

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Scars of a Past Life, Lend a Helping Hand

By Erin Boyle

melissa fusco denver colorado tattoo artist king protea flower copy

Scar coverup by Melissa Fusco.

I think there’s something to be said about searching for an artist you can trust with personal symbols and parts of the self. I stumbled upon Melissa Fusco’s portfolio by pure chance after searching 4 years for artists in a different style; I was instantly swayed. I found her work captivating and unique: her craftsmanship was soft, colorful and organic, and I saw hints of depth and spirituality in her portfolios – these things really clicked for me. I had consulted with many artists over the years, and the request to tattoo over my scars was nothing new to me – I even met some who refused to work on scars. Finding a good fit was important; the artist would, after all, be spending several hours confronted with these scars and whatever it brought up for them. I was looking not just for the quality of an artist’s work but also the personhood of the one applying it, Melissa’s warmth and professionalism really showed through during our consultation process. Though she had no idea of my story at the time, I told her, “but really, who gets out of life unscarred in one way or another”…everybody has their thing…it’s all in what you do with it.

Now, I’m not much for telling soggy and dramatic tales about my life, much the reason why I chose this particular flower for my tattoo – but I’ll get to that later. The Buddha once said, “every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind; the goal is to find it”. I, like many, was blessed with a difficult childhood; abuse and neglect were my reality for much of my childhood and adolescence. Though high achieving, at 17 there came a point where my goals took a backseat and I thought there was only one way out. This thought became not just a memory, but left behind the scars to prove it.

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Erin Boyle beginning Stencil




Every good story has a twist; mine came a few years later after coming out of an abusive relationship. At that point I looked long and hard at my life, I spent a lot of time healing old wounds and rebuilding the Self. Mindfulness, courage and sacrifice were essential building blocks in my process of change and moving towards doing what I love and loving what I do. I threw away my masks of success and achievement, gave up my fancy title and hefty paycheck, got a second bachelors degree in pre-clinical psych, and began working at a Residential Treatment Center for youth with mental illness. In other words, for mere pennies I worked with teenage boys who liked to break shit, especially your face, and taught them how to give and receive love. This is what makes sense for me; this is what life is about, using our humanity to help others grow.

The paradox of my story is that no matter how much I healed and evolved, I still had my past written on my arms along with the judgment from others about what that means. No amount of success, forgiveness or compassion would ever make that go away. However, life with this tattoo is different. Not just myself, but others see beauty and strength where shame and secrecy once lived. In a way it removes the stigma I once felt. I don’t perceive myself as a victim or a survivor, I see myself as a person with the drive and motivation to create and sustain social justice through guiding others to lead the best possible life they can. As an Art Therapy graduate student en route towards doctoral research, I’ve found that having the permanence of this image in my skin helped ignite this fearless internal integration of my personal and professional lives. It’s closure, it’s dignity, it’s confidence, and in a huge way it is taking ownership of my body while standing grounded in authenticity and unapologetically residing in my own identity and truth.

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Tattoo by Melissa Fusco.

Embedded in the image also lies the memory of the process. To match my initial impressions, Melissa was grounded, focused, caring, calm, gentle, warm, empathic, funny, respectful, edgy, and an incredibly skilled independent female artist in a male dominated field. She made the process personal and relational, and that’s not something I got from any other tattoo artists I reached out to. I don’t know if I would have found another talented artist that I felt as comfortable with during this process, not to mention one who honored the experience. I’m grateful to have found her, and look forward to collaborating on future work.

As a symbol of the self, this phoenix of a flower holds no mythology – only truth. Coming from one of the oldest families of flowers on earth, whenever a wildfire ravages the area the King Protea is the first sign of new life. In fact, wildfires are central to their evolution – just as challenges, failures and setbacks are to ours. As I see it there is no fantasy in real life – our results come from our own hard work…or as Melissa would say, there is “no progress without sacrifice.” I couldn’t say it better myself.

MFUSCO red rocks

 

To see more work by Melissa, or to get in touch with her, go to:

www.missmelis.com


P E R S E V E R A N C E

Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World

MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014

Source: www.janm.org

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About the Exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

Premier Sponsor

Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman

Patron Sponsors

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

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

Media Sponsor
The Rafu Shimpo


CONTAMINATED TATTOO INK, NEEDLES RECALLED

By Mark Fisher

www.daytondailynews.com

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Multiple lots of tattoo inks and needles sold by a California-based company through the Internet have been recalled due to potential bacterial contamination, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Monday.

The voluntary recall by White & Blue Lion Inc. includes all tattoo inks, needles and kits distributed by the company. The products are sold separately by 8Decades and White & Blue Lion through www.amazon.com.

The recalled needles and inks may cause bacterial infection and can lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection, FDA officials warned. FDA laboratory testing found microbial bacterial contamination in both the inks and needles, agency officials said. There has been one illness connected with the tattoo products.

Jeremy McGrady, a tattoo artist at Cloak and Dagger Tattoo Studio in Dayton, said the company named in the recall is not a prominent supplier of tattoo ink and needles to the industry.

“I’ve never heard of it, and I’m familiar with most of the large companies,” McGrady said. “I suspect the only people who would be impacted by this are those making the poor decision to get tattooed at their own home.”

The products recalled by White & Blue Lion include a tattoo kit of a multi-colored Chinese Dragon Image with black and white lettering with Lot No. OR20036, Batch #8, in a 5-ml bottle. Some of the recalled tattoo needles are packaged in groups of five and labeled as “CE0197 Pre-made tattoo needle.”

Consumers can call the California company for more information at (626) 586-3485 from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday EST, FDA officials said.


How Rinsecup Cleanup Came About

By Dan Mcnab

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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:
Rinsecup@yahoo.com