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Collaborative Tattooing – Saved Tattoo NYC


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.


Why Tattooing Is Universal

Maori face paint (Ralph Orlowski/Reuters)

National Geographic photographer explains why many cultures view the body as a blank canvas.

 ORIGINAL ARTICLE FOUND HERE

ASPEN, Colo.—Tattooing, when you think about it, is like smiling: Nearly every culture does it, but not always for the same reason.

In a given society, the motivation for covering oneself in paint, ink, or even scars speaks to what the civilization as a whole holds dear.

Chris Rainier, a photographer for National Geographic and other publications, has traveled the world in search of cultures he describes as having “one foot in the Garden of Eden.” (He was also Ansel Adams’s last assistant). Speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is organized jointly by The Atlantic and the Aspen Institute, he explained how “many cultures around the world believe that the body is a canvas waiting for a story to be told.”

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Should anti-tattoo discrimination be illegal?

Original Article here

A woman on her phone in an office with a large tattoo on her upper arm

Tattoos are more popular than ever, but workers can be dismissed from or denied jobs because of their body modifications. Some want protection under employment law. Should they get it?

You’re perfect for the job. You have all the skills and experience the company is looking for, and you’ve turned up for the interview in your smartest attire.

But there’s a problem.

If you have a tattoo that incurs the displeasure of the boss, you might find any offer of employment is swiftly rescinded.

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*NEW* Photos Added to the Gallery

Tattoos by Drizy

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Bonny Marony’s Tattoo

Gold Coast, Australia

Find him on Instagram: @drizelinink


‘Scratchers:’ They’re illegal and they could be putting your health at risk

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http://video.fox17online.com/Scratchers-continue-to-be-a-problem-in-West-Michigan-26557456

They are called ‘scratchers’ and they are a growing concern for area county health officials. The term refers to tattoo artists practicing without a license, which is illegal in most states including Michigan, and they are usually doing it right out of their own homes.

While the offers they advertise seem like good deals with prices usually much cheaper than professional tattoo shops, Kent County health officials warn they could be putting people’s health at serious risk.

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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.


A Tattoo That Completes a New Breast

 

FINKSBURG, MD. — A tattoo parlor here has become a mecca for an unlikely crowd: women with breast cancer.

Little Vinnie’s Tattoos offers designs ranging from swordfish and skulls to intricate Japanese-style art. But women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer do not typically come for traditional ink. They flock here seeking one thing — a three-dimensional nipple tattoo by the owner, Vinnie Myers.

“Nobody really talks about the areola and nipple area, but it’s so important,” says Kimberly Winters, 44, a human resources benefits administrator from Wooster, Ohio, who underwent a mastectomyand reconstruction of her left breast two years ago. This spring Ms. Winters traveled nearly 400 miles to Finksburg seeking a realistic nipple tattoo from Mr. Myers.

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Word of his skill has spread among women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. More than 5,000 women have traveled from as far away as India to have their reconstructed breasts tattooed by Mr. Myers.

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

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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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Women Finding Beauty in Tragedy: p-ink.org

Gugo Tattoo, Sao Paulo, Brazil: www.facebook.com/... [p-ink.org]

Tattoo by: Gugo Tattoo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

This year’s P.ink Day will be October 10, 2014.

Last year was a huge success—it was truly a transformative event. Check these amazing pictures

Still, last year was a prototype experience. We learned from it and the plan is to make our next P.ink Day even better.

Friday Jones

Tattoo by: Friday Jones


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Propaganda Podcast: Joe Swanson with Josh Hagan


Scars of a Past Life, Lend a Helping Hand

By Erin Boyle

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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.

erin boyle beginning scars

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