3-D, Watercolor and Flash Tattoos
article by: http://www.nytimes.com
If you are thinking about getting a tattoo, or adding another one to the half-dozen or so you already have, the options of what are available may have multiplied since the last time you visited your tattoo parlor.
How about going 3-D?
The Swiss artist H.R. Giger, who died inMay, is known mostly for his creation of the nightmare-inducing character in “Alien,” but he is also the godfather of three-dimensional tattoos. His work spawned a style called biomechanical tattoos, which have an allure that has recently extended beyond sci-fi fans.
“People would get these tubes tattooed on their skin in the ’80s,” said Mark Mahoney, the owner of the Shamrock Social Club in West Hollywood. “So it’s funny that it’s just been starting up again.”
Clients are bringing in photos from “Bodies: The Exhibition,” a museum show dedicated to showcasing the human body. “I just did a cutaway of real muscular imagery on somebody’s shoulder,” Mr. Mahoney said.
Other versions include the illusion of ripped skin and more-approachable styles, such as lifelike animals or objects that appear to be in motion.
“The 3-D effect makes it look more organic, like it belongs on my skin,” said Corrine Skeen, 28, a dental hygienist from Baltimore. Last month she chose a 3-D tattoo to memorialize an aunt who died of cancer. “I wanted it to look like there’s a real butterfly sitting on my shoulder.”
Not for the sensitive, 3-D ink requires a large amount of detail and needlework, which can be fairly labor intensive. (Translation: more pain.)
“That stuff is so dense, and it has to have a kind of darkness to it,” Mr. Mahoney said. “So that’s a committed, real tattoo person at that point.”
So far, social media has the largest volume of 3-D inspirations.
“Instagram is a great way to view artists’ portfolios if I’m interested in a new piece,” said Ms. Skeen, who has four tattoos. “So when I saw photos of photorealistic and 3-D effect tattoos, I knew I wanted something like this.”
Despite hyper-realistic tattoos’ growing visibility on social media sites, Jon Mesa, a traveling tattoo artist who has recently worked out of Bang Bang Tattoos and Sacred Tattoo, warns that relying on some of these photos as references can backfire.
“It’s still really cool, but may not have that same shock value that it has on an image in your phone,” Mr. Mesa said.
A couple of other choices are out there for those who want to decorate themselves.
Tattooing has long been regarded by many as an art form, but rarely do ink lovers get to make as literal a parallel than with watercolor tattooing.
The style is derived from a European free-form method of tattooing, Mr. Mesa said. “They are not based on old-school sailor designs or Japanese designs,” he said. “It’s more about expression, movement and color choice rather than just the power of imagery.”
Joey Hamilton, the season-three winner of“Ink Master,” on Spike TV, recently painted a watercolor butterfly on a client’s ribs. “You are trying to make them look like there are little paint runs or splotches of color,” he said. Elizabeth Vogt, 24, from Spokane, Wash., recently chose a watercolor tattoo of a bird for her fourth and largest tattoo. “This particular piece is from an artist that I’ve been following for a while, and it fit the watercolor, aviary theme that I seem to have going in the rest of my ink,” Ms. Vogt said.
In contrast to 3-D tattoos, watercolor tattoos have very little detailing to emulate the imprecise, flowing aesthetic of a painting. But a drawback is their inability to age as well as traditional tattoos. “The color is kind of applied as a wash, so less pigment means less saturation on the skin,” Mr. Mesa said.
Designed to look like bracelets, necklaces and beach bling, Flash Tattoosare this summer’s noncommittal style upgrade. Perhaps an answer toTattly, the geek-chic temporary tattoos popular among design and typography devotees, Flash Tattoos are a hit among the surfer set and those with a bohemian flair. With summer music festival season afoot, the jewelry-inspired tattoos were already a crowd favorite at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April. Alessandra Ambrosio and Vanessa Hudgens were among countless bloggers and festivalgoers seen showing off their adornments.
Miranda Burnet, 39, who created the brand, says she was not entirely aware of the attention the festival would bring until her sales spiked right before.
Last July, she introduced Flash Tattoos after becoming inspired while sourcing ideas at her previous job. In Dubai, she noticed the big trend was 24-karat temporary tattoos. Ms. Burnet, a Texas native, said she wanted to create something similar without the hefty price tag.
The waterproof tattoos are sold on the company’s website, flashtat.com, but shops like Planet Blue and Nicole Miller have also made them available on their sites. (Prices range from $20 to $30 for four sheets per pack, and a tattoo usually lasts four to six days.) Straddling tattoo and accessory, two of the nine Flash Tattoo collections are design collaborations with Eileen Lofgren, the owner of the jewelry company Child of Wild, and Rebekah Steen, the blogger behind Goldfish Kiss, a beach lifestyle blog.
The collections are exclusively designed in gold, silver and black, but Ms. Burnet said that she hopes to introduce fluorescent colors later this summer.
Thinking about getting inked? Check the bottle first.
The Food and Drug Administration is warning tattoo parlors, their customers and those buying at-home tattoo kits that not all tattoo ink is safe.
Last month, California company White and Blue Lion Inc. recalled inks in in-home tattoo kits after testing confirmed bacterial contamination in unopened bottles.
At least one skin infection has been linked to the company’s products, and FDA officials say they are aware of other reports of infections linked to tattoo inks with similar packaging.
Infections from tattooing are nothing new. Hepatitis, staph infections and even the superbug known as MRSA have been tied to tattoos. Dirty needles and unsanitary environments are often to blame.
But people getting tattoos can get infections in the skin even in the cleanest conditions. The ink can carry bacteria that can spread through the bloodstream – a process known as sepsis. Symptoms are fever, shaking chills and sweats, and the risk is particularly high for anyone with pre-existing heart or circulatory conditions. Less severe infections may involve bumps on the skin, discharge, redness, swelling, blisters or excessive pain at the site.
And you may not be out of the woods for a while: The FDA says it has received reports of bad reactions to tattoo inks right after tattooing as well as years later.
The FDA says it is concerned that consumers and tattoo artists may have some of the contaminated products from the July recall. White and Blue Lion may have just been one distributor.
Some of the recalled bottles have a multicolored Chinese dragon image with black-and-white lettering, while some are missing manufacturer information. In general, the FDA says those looking to get a tattoo should always ensure that the ink has a brand name and a location of the business that manufactured it.
“What the consumer can do is talk to the tattoo artist and see the ink bottles,” said Linda Katz, director of the FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors.
This isn’t the first outbreak linked to tattoo ink. Reports of infections have increased as tattoos have become more popular in the last decade.
Three years ago, 19 people in Rochester, New York, ended up with bubbly rashes on their new tattoos, linked to contaminated water that was used to dilute the ink.
Permanent tattoos aren’t the only tattoos that carry risk. An FDA alert earlier this year warned that temporary tattoos popular with kids and often found at beaches, boardwalks and other holiday destinations can be dangerous. The main risk is from black henna, an ink that is combined with natural red henna and can include chemicals that can cause dangerous skin reactions.
In that notice to the public, the FDA said regulation differs from state to state and can be lax in some places.
“Depending on where you are, it’s possible no one is checking to make sure the artist is following safe practices or even knows what may be harmful to consumers,” the alert read.
© 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Iceland may be a tiny island-country in an obscure isolated corner of the world, but the hearts and spirits of the Icelandic people are larger and broader than a Viking’s shoulders… Much like this charred volcanic rock of an island, the Icelandic Tattoo convention stands alone in the sea of tattoo conventions. Increasingly, side show gimmicks, music festival atmospheres and sub-par tattooing plague much of tattoo convention circuit today.
You will find none of these things at the Iceland convention… There’s no male strippers, fire-breathers or go-go dancers. You will however find amazing tattooers making some bad-ass tattoos.
Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World
MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014
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, 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.
Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman
UCSB Academic Senate
UCSB Department of Art
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation
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:
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 visited tourist landmarks on the S. Marco Island in Venice. I thought I was a little further away from this touristy area and at first was a little let down by the busyness of the surrounding areas. However, I feel I couldn’t have picked a greater location.
When I depart from the front door of the hotel, which is located at the end of an alley, I weave my way through narrow alley ways that ended at the water front Palazzo. I quickly find myself amongst the crowd. The sounds of sea gulls, water taxi’s, sales men, and tourist chatter fill the breezy ocean air. Kiosks filled the waterfront walkway selling duplicate Venezia souvenirs, scarf’s, hats and Italian leather handbags. Landscape artists work amongst rip off Coach bag sellers, and not to forget the slightly annoying single rose auctioneers. The phrase “ no thank you” leaves my lips more times then I could count throughout the day. I quickly head to the water taxi stop titled S. Marco Zaccaria.
By Kayla Matthews
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.
Tattoos by Chris Stuart
Skee. TV presents Marked Up Episode 1 featuring pro BMX rider Rick Thorne & Celebrity tattoo artist Danny Balena. Marked Up is a new look into the culture and lifestyle of the art of tattoos. In this series we will talk to celebs, tattoo artists and people of all ages and aspects of life to see what their tattoos mean, the story of why and why not to get them and how the culture has evolved thus far.
By Jacob Gersham
Randy Harris worries that lawyers are leaving a stain on the tattoo world.
A court tattooist to basketball royalty, Mr. Harris says he has inked dozens of NBA players, drawing everything from a giant tree on Dallas Mavericks guard Monta Ellis, to a beady-eyed owl on Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, to a basketball-toting angel on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant.
Recently, he has found himself shaking his head at the litigious direction of his image-conscious occupation as the question of who owns a tattoo has become a source of tension.
To him, it’s simple: “Once they paid for the tattoos, man, they paid for it,” he said from his shop south of Atlanta.
Other tattooists say the issue isn’t that clear, especially in the case of sports videogames, which digitally re-create not just the bodies of athletes, but often their body art as well.
Phoenix-based tattoo artist Chris Escobedo took an intellectual property rights training course and in 2012 sued now-bankrupt videogame developer THQ Inc. over a mixed-martial arts game in which one of his tattoos—a large, scowling lion on the right rib cage of Ultimate Fighting Championship star Carlos Condit—makes a cameo appearance.
Last year he settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum, he said.
“They’re doing it without consulting the original artists, and that’s what makes it illegal,” he said. “I’m the little guy in this situation.”
Such lawsuits have left a mark. When videogame giant EA Sports, a brand of Electronic Arts Inc., EA +0.11% developed its own fighting game featuring Mr. Condit, which will be released this week, it left out the lion, causing gamers to growl. Electronic Arts declined to comment.
By Indigo del Castillo
Sculptor Jessica Harrison has forever changed how we see Victorian-era ceramic figures with her works involving ladies in fancy dresses sporting badass tattoos or their own blood and guts. In this exclusive interview, she talks more about her roots as an artist and her unique take on ceramics. [read our original posts about her sculptures here and here]
How did you discover your passion for sculpture?
When I was little I wanted to work in animation – there were quite a few great children’s tv programs on in the 80’s that were made with 3D models and I decided quite early on it looked like the best job in the world to mess around with clay all day.
Let’s talk about your grotesque ceramic ladies with severed heads and misplaced body parts. Where did you get the inspiration for this collection? What was the message you were trying to convey here?
That series is called ‘Broken’ as the pieces are made using found ceramics that I have quite literally taken a hammer and chisel to.They present an impossibly fair-skinned ‘perfect’ woman and my attraction to these works was precisely because of this image they portray of the female body – my aim was to counter it and present its opposite within itself.
This was simple to do, by breaking apart the hollow cast pieces and ‘revealing’ the interior, a standard formula in Western knowledge for making discoveries about the body. The female interior is a space still laced with taboo in a way that the male interior is not, and for me this gender bias of what is most often an invisible space in our everyday lives was a fascinating and important one to address. This series, like my other works in stone, ceramics, silicone and ink comes from exploring shared ideas about the body, unraveling shared experiences of different spaces, textures and shapes.
Do you have any memorable reactions and responses regarding the macabre ceramics?
Not really, the pieces from the ‘Broken’ series are very bland to me before I break them. I think they make more sense in their altered form.
Seeing as you’ve been into sculpture all your artistic life, how difficult was it to move into tattoo art in your series about the Victorian-era ladies with tattoos?
It wasn’t difficult as it is not something different. I’m using the tattoo in this series to explore the skin space rather than creating any tattoo art itself, which is a completely different thing. Tattooing is not a painting or a drawing onto a static plane, it is incredibly sculptural, literally threading ink into a moving surface, one that has no flat surfaces.
So although the pieces are called ‘Painted Ladies’ in reference to the old term for a tattooed woman, they in fact draw from something incredibly sculptural and active in space, the skin.
The tattoo imagery I have used is all from war-time source imagery, to recall a time before the popularity boom of the tattoo when it may be pointed more towards a particular kind of harsher life. The idea was to present opposing outer layers, contrasting skins, where masculine illustrations are intertwined with overtly over-idealized feminine costume. The viewer is presented with the question of what we are supposed to consider beautiful, which costume to believe.
How long did it take you to finish a piece?
A long time, that’s why there are only a few, and why there are unlikely to be any more!
Do you have anything you’re currently working on that we should look out for?
I have an exhibition opening at Jupiter Artland in Edinburgh this July. It’s going to be very pink…