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Honduran Experts Decode The Hidden Meanings Behind Gang Tattoos

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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 ... Read More »

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   Read More »

The World’s Best Tattoos Just Might Be Centuries Old

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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. Read More »

The Lesson of the Needle

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By Aimee Heckel www.huffingtonpost.com I 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 ... Read More »

What’s in a Name?

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By Deb 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 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 ... Read More »

Army may ease tattoo policy

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By Michelle Tan Army Times 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, ... Read More »

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. Read More »

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

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The Huffington Post  | By Katherine Brooks 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. Read More »

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         Read More »

Scars of a Past Life, Lend a Helping Hand

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By Erin Boyle 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 ... Read More »

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

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Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014 Source: www.janm.org 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 Fulbeck, Perseverance 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, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, ... Read More »

CONTAMINATED TATTOO INK, NEEDLES RECALLED

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By Mark Fisher www.daytondailynews.com 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 ... Read More »

How Rinsecup Cleanup Came About

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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: Rinsecup@yahoo.com Read More »

Visions From Venice: Part 1

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By Melissa Fusco For a few years now, I have had a strong desire to visit the land of my great grandparents and become immersed in my ‘genetic roots’. Italy, my much anticipated trip, has arrived… Outside of conventions, guest spots and gatherings in the states, I crave a culture change and new scenery at least once a year.  I was meeting a friend here in Venice, unfortunately for good reason she was unable to make the first leg of the trip. So I prepared as best as I could to be in Italy for 6 days before the Rome convention, alone. For more than half of my life, about 20 years now I have traveled alone more times than accompanied by a travel companion. No doubt I would enjoy a companion on my travels, however, there is something precious about solo travel and how it contributes to my inner self. It helps build my confidence and aids in my personal growth. For me, when I travel, I prefer to live amongst the locals, so first thing off the plane, I find my way to the small water taxi dock. I purchased a water taxi pass on-line that would take me from the airport to the nearest taxi stop from my hotel destination. After the taxi makes a few stops along the way, I finally arrive at my exit and play the alley way game to find my hotel. Hotel Tiepolo, is settled down the alley that runs directly along side the Piazza San Marco. One of the most ... Read More »

10 Life Lessons People with Tattoos Can Teach You

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By Kayla Matthews www.lifehack.org   1.  Your standards are the only ones that matter   Of course not everyone will think that your new chest piece is as gorgeous as you do, but why should that matter? As long as you love the way it looks and feel great about yourself because of it, those stares on the street are laughable. 2. First impressions aren’t always right   Anyone with tattoos or a heavily tattooed friend can tell you this life lesson is true. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched perfectly nice, loving, and intelligent people get judged because of their ink. Having tattoos and knowing people with tattoos teaches you to not place value on appearances and, instead, spend more time getting to know new people. 3. Pain is temporary   This, for sure, is something every tattoo-ee can attest to. Regardless of your pain tolerance, you’re bound to encounter one tattoo that hurts like a B. But making it through a painful tattooing experience just makes you more proud of the end result. Sometimes we forget that painful things can lead to great things, but I think tattoos are a fabulous reminder of that. Read More »