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Tim Shumate’s Soulful Art Style

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Tim Shumate isn’t a tattoo artist. You won’t find him using someone’s arm as the canvas for his next masterpiece or traveling between tattoo conventions, yet his unique art style clearly has some tattoo roots behind it. Where do these roots come from? Why does his work resonate with the tattoo community as a whole? It all became clear in an interview with teevillain.com. When asked about the origins of the vintage tattoo nature of his work, Time replied, “Well, Sailor Jerry (The Godfather of Traditional Tattoos) has always been in my top 5 favorite artists. He keeps things really simple and bold, which is something I can’t do no matter how hard I try. He is definitely what started my obsession with tattoos. I am also really into restructuring pop art and icons.  Covering your favorite childhood Heroes in ‘hard life’ tattoos is a great way to make them grow along with you. They can stay relatable.” As Tim puts it, the goal of each portrait shown below is to “capture [the] essence” of the character. “Eyes are the first thing I start when I draw,” he explains. “If I didn’t capture the eyes, I would scrap the entire thing and start over. It’s important. The eyes are the window to the soul…” Tim Shumate’s soulful art style has no doubt inspired numerous tattoos, whether those tattoos are replicas of his work as seen in the gallery before or renditions of his unique pin-up girl style. Fans of his artwork ... Read More »

Making First Time Tattoos More Comfortable

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It doesn’t matter if you’re a teen or a senior, always and in every case the first tattoo is essentially a rite of passage. This bold step outside your comfort zone can be very intoxicating. And self expression is addictive. Today, tattoos aren’t just for sailors and bikers anymore; it’s now a way of self-actualization like never before. If you’re a tattoo artist dealing with a first time tattooee, their nervousness quickly becomes apparent. In order to make the newbie more comfortable, walk them through the process. Even if they’ve come prepared, they need to know that their artist understands what they’re going through. Cover the following aspects: Choose Body-Art carefully It’s just a statement of fact: many, many first timers make poor choices when it comes to their first tattoo, and nobody really knows it until years later, in hindsight. It’s important to make the effort implore those new to tattoo to carefully consider the body art they choose as it is going to be a part of them for many years to come, therefore QUALITY is their primary consideration. It doesn’t matter if it’s an epic tattoo or a piece of flash, quality of application is the key to happiness (when it comes to tattoo art;). In addition, a good starting point for the uninitiated is choosing a tattoo that represents something they value deeply, a statement to the world, or simply to show support for a cause. Proper Diet the Night Before When an appointment is set ... Read More »

Painful Tattoos! Let’s Explain How Bad Tattoos Hurt

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You’ve probably heard all the horror stories about the pain associated with tattoos. About people fainting, having to quit with a tattoo only partially done or going through dozens of small sessions to get through the process. Despite what you’ve heard, tattoos really aren’t as painful as you may have been led to believe. We’re going to walk you through what makes a tattoo hurt and how you can better manage the pain when getting your first, second or fiftieth tattoo. What Makes a Tattoo Hurt? There are a few factors that determine how much pain you’re going to feel while getting tattooed, but the most important factor is where the tattoo is located. Areas of the body with more nerve endings, which tend to be more sensitive to pain of any kind, are going to be the most painful to get tattooed. This includes most joint areas, such as the armpits and back of the knee, and of course genital regions. The most surprisingly painful region is around the ribs. While it may seem relatively numb, the upper area of your mid-section is made up of soft tissue that is incredibly sensitive – hence people who are ticklish and why poking someone in the side is an especially effective way to get their attention. The first picture in our gallery below, which is made up of particularly painful tattoo examples, is a pain chart that’ll show you the relative pain level of each body region. Beginners should definitely look ... Read More »

10 Really Bad Tattoos: How to Avoid Tattoo Regrets

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“Think before you ink” isn’t a well-known proverb, but it should be. When it comes to awesome body art, regret is simply the flip side. Whether or not you regret your decision to get a tattoo depends on your attitude towards it at the outset. The underlying issue is that most people that regret their tats are the ones who failed to find a quality artist OR who got inked on a whim in the first place. Lack of thoughtfulness will lead to regret. There are a variety of reasons why people choose to get inked and, more often than not, it’s all about the aesthetics. The only way not to regret your tattoos is to first change how you perceive tattoos and then learn to seek out (and PAY) for quality work. Key to No Regrets Th-ink About It Think about why you want to get inked in the first place. What are your motivations? If you have selected a particular design, ask yourself why. There are a great many things to consider before you opt for this life altering decision. Will it affect your career? Is it acceptable in your work place? If you are the type of person who wants to give everything meaning, don’t end up getting a tattoo on a whim. If you do, despite whatever reason you may have at the time, it will quickly lose meaning and you’ll begin to hate it as you sober up. Location If you have made up your ... Read More »

The History of the Mom and Heart Tattoo

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These tattoos are one of the most personal ways to express the love you have for your mother and the gratitude you feel towards her. Apart from giving birth to a child, mothers nurture, protect and make sacrifices for their children throughout their lives. This natural attachment is felt by everyone, regardless of nationality, race, status or religion, and some people make the highly personal decision to ink it permanently on their body as a permanent reminder of gratitude. These tattoos vary greatly in design and style, and sometimes are tattooed with other meaningful symbols to add to the aesthetics. The most common Mom-Heart tattoo incorporates some sort of symbol (normally a heart design), with the words, Mom, Mum, or Mother written on a ribbon across the heart. Other symbols this tattoo design may accompany depends on the personal experience of the one getting the tattoo and what they find meaningful. The most common choices are diamonds, pearls, wings and fire. Some even choose to go with butterflies or work their mothers’ favorite flowers into the tattoo design. The History of the Mother and Heart Tattoo It’s believed the first person to tattoo his mother’s name across the chest was an old Irish Sailor. He started this cherished tattooed design with a heart and saber, as well as the memory of a sailor’s song that he sung, “Kissed me darling mother”. This classic heart and mom banner is now, perhaps the most famous and widely loved tribute tattoo. Honor your Mom When ... Read More »

Medical Tattoos and Health Emergencies

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The decision to get drastic and permanent body modification is usually tied to what’s going on in an individual’s life. Significant experiences and events of a person’s life, no matter how good or bad, can change a person forever. The most commonly desired modifications in this regard are tattoos, and the range of events that can inspire body art is unending. However, when it comes to medical tattooing, there are several connections that can be made. There are some medical procedures that require tattoos in order to be done safely and effectively. For example, cancer patients that undergo radiation treatment are tattooed with marks on the area that is the target of treatment, allowing the doctors to easily find the spot and avoid zapping the surrounding healthy tissue. Tattooing has become an alternative option to medical bracelets, which traditionally serve to inform medical professionals of a patient’s condition in an event where they are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate. A report by American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in 2009 stated that more patients prefer medical-alerts to be tattooed on their skin, especially in patients that suffer from chronic conditions like diabetes. Tattoos for Post-medical Conditions Post treatment medical tattoos are also in abundance. Individuals that suffer from illness, medical treatment, or a mishap that disfigures them in any way tend to opt for tattoos to hide the scars in order to feel whole and attractive again. The trend is becoming so popular that many tattoo artists nowadays have added post-medical ... Read More »

10 Colorful Rockabilly Tattoos

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Are you like a little bit of country and rock ‘n’ roll? Then you’re probably already quite familiar with all things rockabilly, even if you don’t recognize the term. Rockabilly, the musical genre tag that denotes the early 50’s style of rock-and-rock, has transcended music to encompass an entire art form and lifestyle. Rockabilly tattoos represent the old timey swinging musical stylings found in music by legendary artists like Elvis Presley and famed featured films like Greased Lightning. The name comes from a combination of rock ‘n’ roll and hillbilly, the latter of which was often used to reference country music back in the 1940s and 50s when the rock ‘n’ roll genre first began to form. Largely originating from the southern regions of the United States, the first rock ‘n’ roll artists were strongly influenced by country music, and thus the rockabilly genre was formed. Rockabilly was used as the soundtrack for rebellious youth spirit during its early years, like many musical genres before and after its inception. It’s survived throughout the years as a characteristic of a time period long passed but not forgotten, where slicked back hair and bow tied hairbands were in fashion among the young men and women of the time. As you can see in our gallery below, many rockabilly tattoos seek to capture this classic look and often mix it with various other common tattoo themes and elements. From milkshakes to microphones, the plethora of iconic imagery that captures the rockabilly time period ... Read More »

What are Trash Polka Tattoos?

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With tattoos becoming more popular each year, it’s only natural that designs would begin to change and evolve. As more people get tattoos, it becomes increasingly likely that two or more people will wind up with the same design. For many, that’s simply unacceptable, which is where designs like Trash Polka tattoos come into play. The Trash Polka tattoo art style originates from the Buena Vista Tattoo Club in Würzburg, Germany. Tattoo artists Simone Pfaff and Volko Merschky are credited as the originators of the style, calling it a blend of “realism and trash; the nature and the abstract; technology and humanity; past, present, and future; opposites that they are trying to urge into a creative dance to harmony and rhythm in tune with the body.” The two distinct aspects every Trash Polka tattoo features are its chaotic blend of real and abstract imagery, which often utilizes words or writing of some kind, and its sole use of red and black ink. Trash Polka tattoos are made to attract attention and appear fresh, bringing up concerns that they may not hold up well on their own over time. Although the style is so new that there’s no way of knowing just how much touch-up work may be required to keep its stark appearance over the years. It may be difficult to find an artist who can mimic the Trash Polka style if you’re unable to fly to Germany and have it done by Pfaff or Merschky. The purposeful chaotic style ... Read More »

The Art of Watercolor Tattoos

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Have you ever seen a watercolor tattoo in person? You’d certainly known if you had. Watercolor tattoos stand apart from their traditional counterparts in a variety ways, from their vibrant color schemes to the special techniques artists employ to create them. While the term watercolors may cause you to think of the Crayola trays parents give children to paint with in an attempt to limit post painting destruction, they’ve actually been used for centuries to capture the colorful essence of nature. The art style was utilized during the Italian Renaissance by many famous painters and was often used to depict wildlife and landscapes. The art style uses paint in which pigments are suspended within a water-based solution, hence the name. While it can be supported on a wide variety of different materials, it’s most commonly applied to paper that’s either partially or entirely made of cotton in order to reduce the painting’s distortion when wet. Watercolor tattoo artists obtain the same sort of visual effect by lessening the overall ink saturation through subtle shading. They often achieve the brushstroke-esque design by forgoing the typical black outline seen in more traditional tattoos. If you do a bit of research into watercolor tattoos you’ll find a lot of people calling into question the art style’s longevity due to the lack of outline and lessened amounts of ink saturation. It’s true that watercolor tattoos don’t last quite as long as their traditional counterparts and tend to require more touch-ups to maintain, but the ... Read More »

Biker Tattoos: A Historic Example of Meaning

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Those new to tattoos are often cautioned by veterans to get something that represents a strong symbolic message or meaning unique to their personality or life experience. For more than seventy-five years biker tattoos have served as a prime example of the intense meaningfulness of the art. Anyone who’s watched Sons of Anarchy at least has a functioning understanding of how important tattoos are within the biker subculture. Most fans still vividly remember the scene where Kyle gets his tattoo burned off to signify his lack of association with the gang during season one. The history of biker tattoos started back in the 1940s and 50s right alongside the beginning of motorcycle gangs. Many of the first biker gangs consisted of ex-soldiers and served primarily as a means to continue the same sense of brotherhood and companionship many soldiers lost after coming back home from war. Even today many soldiers get tattoos to signify their devotion to their unit and position in the military, so it only made sense that the trend would continue among biker gangs as well. That being said, the historic significance is pretty much where Sons of Anarchy stops paralleling the real world nature of motorcycle gangs and biker tattoos. The outlaw connotations drawn by people outside of biker gangs came from an early assumption that biker tattoos were similar in nature to prison tattoos. While there have been a number of unlawful biker gangs over the decades, the vast majority are actually law abiding organizations ... Read More »

On the Topic of Hip Tattoos

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Even the most basic tattoo can be an incredibly sensual piece of art when strategically placed. The hip is often used as one such location, particularly by women who enjoy showing off their midriffs at the beach and during the warmer times of year. People who exercise to extreme degrees often use tattoos as a way to accentuate and draw attention to particular parts of their body. Men tend to focus on their biceps, hence the popularity of bicep tattoos. Women tend to focus on their core, which is why the fairer sex tend to sport hip tattoos more than their testosterone-fueled counterparts. The hips is also a prime locations for people who work in industries that frown upon the practice. It’s an easy location to cover up, making it simple for people to deny their existence during an interview process if need be. That being said, tattoos are starting to become commonplace and more accepted year after year. This trend has caused many people to feel comfortable getting more extensive and detailed designs, and the hip is the perfect place for these larger pieces of art. As you can see from many of the designs in the gallery below, hip tattoos tend to be quite large in nature, spanning the entire region above and below the waist. If a small picture’s worth a thousand words then a hip tattoo can be likened to a novel; an easy-to-read novel visible without the need of a mirror. Hip tattoos are also ... Read More »

TAM- Artist Profile: the Classic look of Eric Jones’ tattoos!

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TAM Artist Profile: ERIC JONES, Costa Mesa, California. Interview by: MARCO ANNUNZIATA Originally from Southern California, born in Long Beach.  Since being a tattoo artist, Eric Jones worked in both Southern California and New York. He currently resides in Costa Mesa and works at Port City Tattoo.  What are your first memories of tattooed people? My first memories of tattoos involve the movie ‘The Illustrated Man’, based on the novel by Ray Bradbury. My father enjoyed the movie quite a bit, so, as a child, I was exposed to the concept of skin art. When I was a teenager, we attended the Renaissance Fair, here in California, and there was this man who had his entire skull cap tattooed. I do remember my father thinking poorly of his decision. How did you get into tattooing? I got my first tattoo done when I was eighteen. That is the legal age in California, and my friends in high school were getting them before me, so I had been looking at magazines for a year prior. One of the magazines was an International Tattoo Art featuring Dave Gibson and Mike Wilson. That was the defining moment in my decision to start drawing tattoo designs, or my redraws of these two great artists style. I redrew one of Gibson’s swallows that ran a banner with the name of his shop. In place of LUCKY, I had the name Jesus in the banner, that part of my life included christian belief. I went to a local Orange ... Read More »

An Interview with Dennis M Del Prete

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By Nicki Kasper Let’s start with who you are and where you work… Dennis M Del Prete and I work at my shop, Providence Tattoo in Providence, Rhode Island. Tell us about your shop… how many artists work there, and what kind of shop is it…? Custom work? Walk-ins? etc… I have had my own shop now for about 8 years. We do custom work and walk ins. The five guys I work with now are some of my favorite tattooers and best friends. Nick Pellegrino, Rick Lacapria, Pete Toatley, Andy Reach, and John Gorman. They are what my shop is made up of and I am lucky to work with them. What was your art background like? Did you like drawing as a kid, or did that come later? I liked drawing. I have always been drawing. I Have no formal art training. I buy a lot of books and read them and study them. What made you want to start tattooing? I wanted to stay off the beaten path ( Ironic now, I know). I wanted to work with my hands and make something art related. It just seemed fucking cool, it still does to me. Tell us how you got into tattooing… Who do you credit for teaching you the trade, and how long have you been in it? I found out Ken Johnson, a local shop owner and tattooer was going to be making machines so I contacted him for a pair. He was kind enough ... Read More »

3 Day Ed Hardy Event at Kings Avenue Tattoo

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From Kings Avenue Tattoo: We are honored and humbled to host the legendary tattooer and artist Ed Hardy for an unprecedented 3-day event.  Hardy, renowned for his genre changing, globally influenced tattoo designs, announced that he will host “Pictures of the Gone World,” taking place May 15th, 16th & 17th at Kings Avenue Tattoo.  The event will consist of a three-day exhibition of Hardy’s most recent artwork, accompanied by the release of a New York- centric tattoo history book and a series of talks covering his influential, six-decade career. “Ed is a pioneer of tattooing, and we are making history with this event,” says Kings Avenue owner Mike Rubendall. Hardy will present a collection of his current and past artwork, consisting of mixed-media paintings that incorporate American an Japanese tattoo motifs, and “kiddie flash” – traditional maritime-inspired designs that he drew as a tattoo-obsessed child in the late 1950s, rendered with colored pencil on looseleaf notebook paper-which has never been publicly exhibited. The event marks the release of the Lew The Jew Alberts: Early 20th Century Tattoo Drawings, a compilation of designs attributed to Lew Alberts, a Newark, NJ native who tattooed under the famed Bowery-based artist Charlie Wagner. It’s the most recent title from Hardy Marks, the publishing imprint that Hardy co-founded in 1982, specializing in tattoo history and alternative art.  A limited number of books will be available for purchase at Kings Avenue, and Hardy will be signing copies on May 15th. Hardy will also stage two talks.  ... Read More »

An Interview with Matt Arriola

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By Nicki Kasper Let’s start with who you are and where you work…. My name is Matt Arriola. I work by appointment at Spotlight Tattoo in Los Angeles where I’ve been for almost a year. Tell us about your tattoo history. Who do you credit for teaching you the trade? How long have you been at it? I’ve been fascinated with tattoos since I was a little kid in Idaho… I can’t remember any special moment where I knew it was my thing, that probably came later as I got involved with skateboarding and playing music in punk and hardcore bands in Idaho. That’s what kind of led me into tattooing. I’ve  liked to draw since I was a little kid and when I was about 18 I decided I wanted to tattoo. I went to every shop in town with a resume and a bunch of drawings asking for apprenticeships. Haha!! Totally the way you’re not supposed to do it! I spent every day and night copying my favorite artist’s work out of tattoo magazines I bought at the gas station. I think my friends and family thought I was nuts!! Anyway after many denials, I finally landed an apprenticeship with Sean Wyett at Black Cat Tattoo. I bailed out early on my apprenticeship and moved to Seattle. This was about 6 months into it. Once in Seattle with no money and a whole 7 months of tattooing under my belt I found it difficult to find a job. Haha!! Once ... Read More »