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Deb Yarian On the Pain of a Tattoo

Deb Yarian tattoo artist

By Deb Yarian I’ve heard it over and over again from my customers – The more they get tattooed, the more it hurts, and I’ve thought about it and experienced it myself. I don’t think it’s my imagination. Each time I get tattooed it does seem to hurt way more than the time before! I have my own (not scientifically proven) theory about this… Simply put, if you were to be poked with a sharp object you would feel pain, your brain would say “hey there’s a pain, move away from the source of the pain.” The next time that you were poked with that sharp object, your brain again would direct you to move away from the source of the pain. Okay, so what happens if you don’t move away…? Your brain probably says, “hey, I recognize that pain, and I’ve directed you to move away from that pain source AND YOU’RE NOT!!!!” So what happens the next time you feel that pain and you don’t move away- again ignoring the primitive instinct to move one’s self out of harm’s way? Well this time your brain calculates that you’ve been stuck with this sharp object before and you still refuse to move away from the pain source- so your brain instinctively, as a survival mechanism, must some how convey to your uncooperative body the importance of moving away from the pain. So what does it do? It makes it hurt worse. Just because you’ve decided to subject yourself to ... Read More »

The Pros and Cons of Tattoo Conventions

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Thinking about attending your first tattoo convention? Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of your convention experience, and a few warnings to consider before you go. The very best tattoo conventions in my experience, (for fans and pros alike), are those hosted by actual tattooers. I’ve been involved in tattooing for 25 years now, and I remember back in my early days the sheer excitement of attending one of the perhaps three or four tattoo conventions being held per year. My first convention experience was magical. Maybe it’s simple nostalgia on my part, but tattoo conventions used to be special; they encouraged community, advanced the craft, and they were focused on the art and artists, not the money. In the beginning, conventions were exclusively put on by art-ists, not corporations and not event professionals. Today, more numerous than ever, conventions seem designed for the green more than for the ink, and definitely more than the actual art or craft of tattooing. So many of them are getting known for gouging the artists working the show as well as the thousands of attendees, at every opportunity, charging outrageous amounts for tickets, food, beverages and the like, while they rake it in, hand-over fist, capitalizing on tattooing’s meteoric rise in popularity. Tattooing doesn’t matter to these people, it’s just an opportunity to make money. And it’s no wonder, tattoo conventions have become a multi-million dollar industry over the last several years, with more than 400 tattoo conventions being held annually, worldwide!   That’s ... Read More »

Today’s “pretty” tattoo studio

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Written by Roxanne Bastein But the studio was pretty… Over the past decade,  there have been many changes in the tattoo culture. It has become fairly mainstream. With this sudden cultural growth, and it’s acceptance in today society, more and more people are getting tattooed, and there is a shop opening up on every other block. Does this mean that anybody can run a tattoo studio? No my friends, it certainly does not. Most Studio owners today who do not partake in the arts are capitalizing on talents of the true artists and relying on new young artists, or artists from other countries and their ignorance of the culture to make their money, charging outrageous prices and promising “custom” designs, but providing a sub-standard service. Promising clients unrealistic expectations, and generally making a mockery of a time old tradition and artistic expression. When I got my first tattoo in 1987, it was in the back of a head shop, and I chose a piece of flash off the wall. In all fairness,  I was only 17 years old and it was an act of rebellion. The studio itself was definitely not pretty, but I still have that tattoo. And of course I’ve added many others over the years, have been to many shops and conventions, and have been lucky enough to meet and get to know many great artists…and some some really shady shop owners. (I ran my own studio for three years, and have been a piercer since 1999) ... Read More »

Tattoo Artist Gentle Jay Won Another Award

Gentle Jay tattoo artist

Gentle Jay from Spike TV Ink Master series 4 and holiday special 2014 takes home the 3rd place award at Villain Art’s Philadelphia Tattoo Expo February 14, 2015 for XL Color. The same piece won 1st place at the Providence Tattoo expo in October 2014. Jay Blondel the 37-year-old Brooklyn native has been drawing since childhood, but came to the tattoo trade almost by accident. Don’t let his moniker fool you, Gentle Jay is no shrinking violet. After brief stints in art school and as a party decorator Jay found his way to tattooing and body piercing in 1999.   He prides himself on his tattoo versatility, not sticking to just one style because his goal is to come up with something new. Gentle Jay looks at this season’s competition as his break out party and believes his meticulous work and fine lines is what will set him apart from his competitor and prove that he can hang with the big boys. Blondel works out of Amity Irons Tattoo in Copiague, New York where he has put every kind of animal, monster, pixie and pirate flag imaginable on his customers. Since his appearance on the show he is in high demand. Jay is traveling around the globe meeting, tattooing and partying with his fans. He’s heading to Argentina March 2015 to meet his South American fans! Want to know the truth about something? Ask Gentle Jay for a reality check! facebook.com/GentleJayTattoo  |  instagram.com/gentlejaytattoo  |  twitter.com/gentlejaytattoo Read More »

Unique Full Back Tattoo Design Ideas

Lord of the Rings full back tattoo

Nowadays, high quality tattoos tend to be seeing as high-end works of art, and with fine art, certain tattoos requires a big canvas.  So, what better canvas for a large tattoo is there than a back?  Here are just a few unique full back tattoo design ideas we found.                         *Note from TAM – Unfortunately, we were not able to find the information on some the artists who are responsible for these tattoos.  If you happen to know who did one of these pieces, please feel free to leave a comment and let us and the rest of the readers know! Cheers Read More »

An Interview with Phil Holt

Phil Holt interview

By Nicki Kasper Lets start by telling those who don’t know you who you are, what you do, where you’re located, etc… My name is Phil Holt. I live in Tampa Florida with my four kids. I own RedLetter1 with my friend Jeff Srsic. We have three of our friends share the space with us where we all tattoo 5-6 day a weeks. Nick Stegall, Chris Reed and David Bruehl are the best shipmates Jeff and myself could ask for. I also sell my handmade pigment under the name “Old Gold Small Batch”. The batches are still “small” but it’s really gotten busy so the facility has grown and I have a lot of small batches brewing nonstop. How long have you been in the tattoo industry and what’s your tattoo history?  How did you come up in the trade? … My brother started bringing tattoo magazines around when I was about 12 years old. I think he was mainly bringing them around because back then, in the magazines like EasyRider’s you could see bikes and boobs… Not that I wasn’t impressed with boobies but I became mostly interested in tattoos. Then in high school I really sunk my teeth into art and tattooing.  I started making tattoos in 1996. In 1998 I moved to Ohio on a sink or swim mission to become a real tattooer and basically I moved every 20-24 months for a decade. In a surreal sort of way, every shop I worked at had an amazing ... Read More »

Workhorse Irons: Better Tools For Better Tattooing

nicki feature images

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Quickie With Brooklyn’s Myles Karr

Myles Karr tattoo artist

By Crystal Morey I am a huge fan of Myles Karr. In a time where recycling ideas and styles is par for the course, Myles’ work stands out as fiercely unique. Plus he’s funnier that doorknob humpin’ monkeys… Where do you work and what’s your poison? I work at Three Kings Tattoo Brooklyn and I don’t understand the poison question part of this. Is this in regards to drinking, like a familiar way of talking about booze, because I take my booze and poison consumption fairly seriously…I also don’t really like people knowing what I consume, I often eat my breakfast in a brown paper sack, that I shove in my mouth as quickly as possible. I sometimes think about making a giant paper mache head that I can wear, so I can eat and drink in piece with a very neutral expression on my face…all the while, I’m disgusting and consuming underneath the veneer I created for myself… How would you describe your tattoo style? My tattoo style is best described as a failing comedy routine performed by 2 elderly men, one of whom decided right before the routine started that he hated the other comedian, and really doesn’t want to be there anymore…he keeps dropping his cues, and the punch lines just kind of hang in the air like a cloud of fetid smoke. If its a color tattoo, the smoke would be persimmon and the background would be paynes grey and there would be a lot of teal ... Read More »

An Interview with Dan Trocchio

Tattoo Artist Don Trocchio

By Nicki Kasper Tell us a little bit about yourself… Where are you from?  Where do you work? etc… I’ve been working in NYC since I moved there in 2000, however I’ve been doing a lot of traveling the last couple of years and six months ago I moved to Providence Rhode Island.  I’m still tattooing in NYC for a week or two at a time and it’s still primarily where I make my living, tattooing at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn.  I think I’m going to move back in spring, or start traveling again. Were you primarily traveling here in the states or were you also working internationally? Any specific places on your bucket list? I was in Madrid and Barcelona, both amazing places. I love Spain. And to Bremen, Germany to see some good friends and do a little work. I took the train from Spain to Germany, I prefer trains. Looking out the window and being grounded is best. When i got back to the states, I took the train from NYC to Colorado, then to SF, then Portland. The West Coast train was awesome, the star light and the Zephyr. Though the train through the Midwest, I would skip… Not a very exiting landscape from the window of a train. I really want to go to Thailand, or any of those beautiful places where you can survive on 2$. Grand Canyon and Crater National Park are definitely on my bucket list, too. I’ve been staying put at the ... Read More »

Deb Yarian on Zeke Owen

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I saw him before I found out who he was. A striking figure of a man… He was movie star handsome with the physique of a boxer.It was 1980.  I was 21 and tattooing at a friend’s shop in Daytona Beach, Fla.We weren’t introduced but when I was told who he was, his imposing physical presence equaled the reputation that preceded him. Zeke’s name dominated tattooing for much of the latter part of the 20th century.  An iconic figure and a forefather of American tattooing.  If you know the names Sailor Jerry, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone you should know the name Zeke Owen. Sadly, Zeke is in a nursing home now and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.His family is asking for the tattoo community’s help to cover medical expenses. They have set up an account to help with his needs and care.  If you are willing and able to help please go to www.gofundme.com/awq8eoMy husband Don and I had the great fortune to interview him a few years ago at our shop in Alaska.If you would like to learn about Zeke’s amazing tattoo journey you can read about it in issue #39 of Tam. Thank you for your help!   This Month of January, TAM will donate 30% of sales of issue 39th to assist Zeke! Zeke has done a lot for tattooing, and he needs the community’s support. Please give what you can, and spread the word! Get TAM Issue 39 Today and Help Support Zeke!   ... Read More »

The Justin Harris Interview

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By Kevin Miller http://www.tattoosnob.com I’ve wanted to interview Justin Harris for a while now. Justin was always down, but we could never work out the details. Well it’s finally happened, and I’m stoked. Justin recently moved to Philadelphia, and has been pumping out new work. Keep reading to hear how Philly is treating Justin, his advice for new tattoo artist, who you’re sleeping on, and why he changed his iconic Instagram name. Tattoo Snob: Let’s get the basic information out of the way. Who are you, where do you tattoo, and what other information do people need to know? Justin Harris:My name is Justin Harris, I currently am tattooing out of Deep Six in Philadelphia, PA. TS: You have an interesting story about your Instagram username, and why you eventually changing it. Can you tell us that story? JH: A lot of people have asked why the change in the name. People commonly referred to me as one of the “Bullies”, specifically @greenbaybully. I still and always will be a bully for life. My counter part Bobby Johnson (@glendalebully) started it and it stuck. As for the change in the name, it was mainly do to with separating from the IG persona and real life. Using the bully name was a good way for people to remember who you are. As any business traveler knows, names are hard to keep track of. We’ve all been there, and with that being said – it also can be a down fall having an alternate name. People would often ... Read More »

Inksmith & Rogers 30th Anniversary

Eric Inksmith and Rogers 30th yeah anniversary

By Deb Yarian Early in my tattoo career, I was blessed by the friendship and mentorship of Eric Inksmith and the late legendary Paul Rogers. At a time when secrets of the trade were highly guarded, their willingness to share their knowledge with others was a rare commodity. It was that, their shared love of tattooing, and their hospitable natures that drew travelers from all over the globe to the first Inksmith and Rogers shop that Eric and Paul opened in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1984. Three decades later, those same qualities are what drew me and hundreds of fellow tattooers, friends and their families back to Jacksonville for a two day celebration of their 30th anniversary. Paul passed away in 1990 but hosts, Eric Inksmith, Mike Wilson, and Angelo Miller succeeded in carrying on in that same spirit of generosity during the two day event. Inksmith and Rogers consists of five shops now, spread across the city, home to more than 25 devoted tattooers known throughout the tattoo world for their bold, colorful, beautifully executed tattoos. Throughout both days of the celebration resident and guest artists tattooed at all of the I & R locations. People lined up for hours waiting to get tattooed by Eric, many hoping to get The signature Inksmith and Roger’s smile and a “30” year mark. Their flagship shop’s large outdoor area resembled a carnival midway festooned with tents and flower covered tables. Guests, Philadelphia Eddie and Bowery Stan Moskowitz manned a table, selling their ... Read More »

Italian Adventures and Lessons Learned

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By Nicki Kasper I’ve met a lot of people over the last five years in this industry… I’ve made a lot of surface level friends and I’ve been blessed with quite a few real genuine friendships with people who truly care for me, and want to know who I am and what I’m about. I’m always humbled by this, and it means a lot to me when it’s clear that I’m not being used for what I might be able to do for someone. I always notice. I was personally invited to attend the World Wide Tattoo Conference by my friend, Alex de Pase last week in Venice, and it was great. It’s two and a half days of seminars, speeches, and discussion panels in front of a room full of people eager to learn and be inspired. I’m not a tattooer, I’m a business owner, but even I can stand to learn something from artists who are teaching and talking about what inspires them, what they have trouble with, and how they get through it. It’s all relative. There are many different styles when it comes to tattooing, as well as different schools of thought in this small industry, but… I do believe that we all stand to learn something from all of them. I think having an open mind and a willingness to shut the fuck up, realize that you might not know everything, and listen to someone teach or speak about what it is that helps them ... Read More »

Gideon’s Army: Tattoos In Law

Gideon's Army tattoos

By Marisa Kakoulas When my tattoo world and legal world collide, in some very powerful ways, I want to share it with you. I attended NYU Law School’s screening of Gideon’s Army, a film that takes a tough look at the American criminal justice system through the lives of three young public defenders in the the South who struggle with an overwhelming case load, long hours, and very low pay in order to ensure that those who are poor and cannot afford a lawyer in a criminal trial have the right to representation — a right guaranteed by the 6th Amendment of the US Constitution and the 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright, in which the Supreme Court ruled that defendants in criminal cases have the right to legal representation in state courts, and if they cannot afford a lawyer, the state would have provide one. Public defenders are such lawyers.Gideon’s Army, brilliantly directed by Dawn Porter, is not a documentary where tattoos play heavily. This film, at its core, is about how some of the greatest civil rights abuses lie in a broken criminal justice system, as noted by Jonathan Rapping, who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center, now known as Gideon’s Promise.However, one of the most powerful moments in the film comes in the form of tattoos. As seen in the short clip below (which is not all entirely in the film), Travis Williams, a public defender in Hall County, Georgia, calls himself and other public defenders who fight for the constitution ... Read More »

Forrest Cavacco Video Interview

Forrest Cavaco Video interview

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