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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 »

TATTOO-LOVERS: 50 SHADES OF BLACK & GREY TATTOOS

50 shades

There’s no denying it– from the ‘jailhouse’ look of east LA to ancient, island based tribal, and from intricately designed geometric pattern tattoos to the dark and macabre, it’s easy to see that black and grey tattoo styles dominate a huge cross-section of fans and collectors in our modern tattoo culture. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, (and make a play on the title of a much anticipate erotically-themed film:), for REAL Tattoo-Lovers everywhere, TAM wanted to pay tribute to some of the world’s greatest Black & Grey tattoo artists! Though the styles of black & grey tattooing today vary widely…the entire realm of modern black and grey tattooing all have at their core the simple foundation of ink and water. In many ways this “shady” explosion of B&G’s immense popularity owes it’s modern origins to but a handful of dedicated and skilled artists of recent years, all of whom devoted themselves entirely to the task of pushing the boundaries of their personal artistic expression, and, (ultimately), to what we now know is possible to portray on human skin… using only black ink and the many shades of grey. THIS WEEK- It’s my honor and pleasure to introduce younger tattoo artists, collectors and new-ish tattoo fans in general to some of the MODERN MASTERS of black & grey tattooing. Though tattooing goes back centuries in human history, from Ötzi the Iceman to the Maori island tribes to skulls and portraits, we’re going to start with the trendsetters of modern techniques- 1) Jack Rudy –  A living legend, Jack Rudy is world ... 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 »

TattooTv: Ink Master’s Sarah Miller & Lydia Bruno

Sarah miller ink

Here’s a short Q & A session between two recent contestants from TV’s Ink Master: Sarah Miller and Lydia Bruno. Lydia’s questions to Sarah 1)As tattoo artists learn, evolve  and progress , with them follows the industry and it’s tools. What are your thoughts on the rapid shift from coil to rotary machines that seems to be in motion. Do you find more artists are switching,and why. It really depends on the style that the tattoo artist specializes in. Personally, I see people who deal in more realistic styles making the switch to rotaries due to consistency and ease of needle changing. You can set multiple needles and only have one machine out and run it how you need, rather than having multiple machines set up for lining and shading. I really like rotary machines. I feel that since I’ve made the switch, my work has improved. Saturation is easier to attain, and the tattoos heal much faster and with greater consistency than with the coil machines. It also depends on the artist, as well. I can only talk about my personal experience. I know  a lot of artists are loyal to the coil, and their tattoos are perfect. 2) As an artist that has been on Ink Master, I know we constantly have to switch between being “the Artist” and  “the entertainer” is this something you find has prevented you from falling into the all important “artistic zone” while tattooing in the convention circuit? Yes. With my best pieces ... 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

zeke_blog

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 »

Can you tattoo over my scar/stretch marks?

Tattoo over scar

That’s a question we tattoo artists get asked a lot- “Can you tattoo over  scar tissue?” The answer to this question is yes, no, and maybe. It is possible to tattoo scars, (meaning, you can insert ink into scar tissue), but it’s important to realize that scar tissue differs from the rest of one’s flesh. It’s rough, rigid and much less porous. We’ll go into some detail below, but I want to say, first, that I’m no expert in dermatology; this blog is offered only as a starting place and guide to help people with scars and questions to navigate their options. My opinions are solely based on my experiences tattooing on and around scars, and on a very basic, working understanding of skin anatomy, (which every good tattooer should grasp.) For the general client looking to work over and around scar tissue, here are some basic questions to explore with your professional tattoo artist: What kind of scar is it? Is it a stretch mark? Was it from a cut? How deep was it? How deep does the scar tissue go? Are you prone to keloid? Is it a raised scar? Scars aren’t the exact same type of tissue as regular skin, and scar tissue tends to be more sensitive than routine skin. Is there nerve damage in the area of your scar? If so, the nerve damage may increase the discomfort you feel when you get a tattoo. Are you wanting to alter the texture of a scar? Tattooing ... Read More »

Aftercare: Skinlock product info

Skinlock_Logo_856x458px_Black

Skinlock is a supporter and paid advertiser of TAM, they also happen to offer one of the most unique aftercare product lines around, with some top notch names supporting them. I really can’t wait to try it out, myself. [NOTE: This is for artists- Skinlock sells only to tattoo shops and professional artists via reputable supply companies. Inquire for more info.]  SkinLock Summary: Applied immediately to a fresh tattoo, SkinLock quickly locks your ink in place, stops all of that nasty “oozing” and protects your fresh tattoo with a 100% transparent, flexible and antimicrobial barrier.  With a quick spray, SkinLock replaces all of those messy, unsanitary and hard-to-apply meat pads, vet wraps and plastic wraps with a clear, breathable solution that is easy to apply to ANY part of the body in seconds.  Plus, SkinLock helps to speed up recovery time.  Within three hours, SkinLock will have delivered better results and will have protected the integrity of your tattoo better than any other product or method can deliver within several days.  There is no other product available today that compares to the benefits of SkinLock. SkinLock is used daily by hundreds of the most talented artists around the world including Roman Abrego, Jack Rudy, Bob Tyrrell, Joe Capobianco, Charlie Cartwright, John Montgomery and many, many more. Remember, a tattoo is not fully complete until it’s fully healed.  Don’t compromise your fresh ink… demand the best.  LOCK IT IN with SkinLock. Key Features & Benefits        Locks ink in place;        Stops ... Read More »

Chris Trevino- Top Japanese Style tattooists! pt5

Chris Trevino and Ed Hardy

Chris Trevino is an expert in traditional Japanese tattooing who earned the nickname “Horimana” after studying for five years under the legendary master Horiyoshi III. His elaborate, full-body representations of Asian symbology reminds us of the later works by Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins aka Horismoku. Trevino now runs Perfection Tattoo in Austin, TX which was founded by Bob Moreau in the late 70s… The shop attracts people from every continent seeking to receive the gift of his artwork. His clients are usually serious about their tattoos, often committing to large scale projects that cover much of their body. Trevino knows how to communicate with individuals to draw out and refine an initially loose idea of what they want. He fully understands the iconography of Japanese art and explains how a seemingly simple warrior tattoo can represent far more than meets the eye based on the stories behind the character. His in-depth bio can be found in Tattoo Artist Magazine #11 and a full retrospective of his artwork and tattoos can found in his latest book “Gods & Warriors – Horimana: The Works of Chris Trevino” Horimana is his Japanese tattooer name, given him by Horiyoshi III, but he’s more commonly known as Chris Trevino, aka the workaholic, aka the Cyborg, aka THE MACHINE: Here’s why!- by Crash Hailing from Austin, TX, Chris Trevino was already well-known in the early 90s for his cutting edge tattoo skills and flash designs. This was the start of the ‘new-school’ movement of tattooing and ... Read More »

Filip Leu: world’s Top Japanese artists, pt4

Filip-Leu-TAM-blog-tattoo-header4

Filip Leu and family are some of my favorite people in the world. He was one of my first tattoo heroes, so getting to sit and pick his brain for an afternoon was life-changing. Filip’s history and life are the most unique [and inspiring] I’ve yet to encounter along my 12-year journey of documenting and sharing the very best of the contemporary world of tattooing. Filip is one of the most gifted artists our community has ever known; a great many consider this 2nd generation tattooer one of tattooing’s greatest prodigies. Son of Felix (RIP) and Loretta Leu (both artisans who tattooed to support their family and travel the world), Filip is the eldest of many siblings lucky enough to be raised in an incredibly encouraging, profoundly artistic, REAL ‘Tattoo Family.’ Filip got his first tattoo (from his father) around the age of 10. By 13, he was DOING tattoos. GOOD TATTOOS! By 18, he was an international superstar. He had no ordinary childhood. Filip spent much of that childhood doing his part for the family business- (tracing tattoo designs for the customers of Felix and Loretta), wherever the current base of operations might be for “The Leu Family’s Family Iron” [the company they are famously know as.] At any given time one could have run into the family anywhere from Switzerland to Spain to India to the US and beyond; simply, Filip was raised in art, ink, and blood. His artistic abilities, once apparent, were nurtured and encouraged by both father and mother, providing an ... Read More »

Friends don’t let friends get bad tattoos!

bad tattoos what can you do?

What can any of us DO about the number of people out there getting BAD TATTOOS? Why do people get bad tattoos? Why do neighbors, coworkers, and even our family members come up and show us their new tattoos [which are obviously sub-par] and say, “I just got a new tattoo! It looks good, right?!” How can otherwise intelligent people, people whom we know have relatively good tastes in music, movies, comedy, theater, ballet, (SH#T– nearly ANYthing else creative in the world), but be utterly and completely blind to the truth about how bad their own tattoos are? As hard as it is to say- it may not really be their fault; even tattooers need up to TEN YEARS to learn how to recognize good work! That’s how hard it is to learn. But, for some reason, every-body thinks they know what’s good and what’s not, when it comes to tattoo work. Speaking AS a tattooer of 25 years, I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s mostly OUR OWN fault, the pros who’ve been doing it for 10-20 years or more; we LET television and the internet flood the hearts & minds of genuinely interested tattoo fans, and did little to make a stand TOGETHER when we had the chance, by creating and offering quality, entertaining AND educational media resources for the masses. Most tattooer’s have selective memories, so it’s been really really difficult for many of them to remember that there was once a time that they didn’t know shit about tattoos ... Read More »

The Justin Harris Interview

Justin-Harris-tam-blog

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 »

World’s top Japanese tattoo artists pt3: Mick Tattoo

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10 of the world’s best Japanese tattoo artists pt3: Mick Tattoo I spent a few days looking through my travel archives while preparing for this Artist Profile on Mick Tattoo, aka Mick from Zurich, (or, for you Game of Thrones fans)- aka Mick: the King of Dragons! When looking back on the history of this little adventure called Tattoo Artist magazine, I still don’t know how the whole thing came together. I’m no famous tattooer, just an average one with a side project  of documenting tattoo artists of the modern era, who suddenly found himself traveling the world and meeting the heroes of my craft. Back in late 2004/early 2005, TAM was still brand spanking new, understaffed, and much more complex (and expensive) than I ever imagined. I can’t tell you how many rides I bummed or couches I’ve slept on in the last twelve years since TAM’s inception, but I was receiving a lot of help from tattooers around the world, and each was encouraging me to push the boundaries of what our community could intentionally create, simply by working together. This was long before the social media explosion and the onslaught of TattooTV-type shows. Sadly, it was a much more unified time for our community; it’s a different world now, and I bear no ill will; things change. However, TAM’s objectives have not; it was (and still is) to conscientiously document tattooing’s most interesting, influential and talented artists of the time, plus collect stories of our shared past and then share all ... Read More »

First tattoo? Choosing a good studio

Cody Eich tattoo artist

Choosing the right tattoo parlor is just as important as the design you pick. When deciding to get a tattoo for the first time, it’s very important to get the very best advice you can (from the most experienced guide you can find). Once you find a person you can connect with, it’s time to begin the serious step of planning that tattoo. (BTW- that’s the REAL key, finding someone qualified that you can trust. Don’t be taken in by those who prey on customer ignorance, either on the street OR at a shop! Get informed. Be patient. And BE DISCERNING!) When someone actually makes the decision to get a tattoo for the first time, the next logical step is finding the right tattooist to do the work. BUT WAIT- how do you do that?! Tattooers are a dime a  dozen, these days! Well, for the majority of new tattoo collectors, it often and inevitably begins with finding the right tattoo parlor. This is a great place to start. Realistically, if you go to a less than ideal tattoo parlor, you’ll more than likely end up with less than the ideal artist and, hence, a less than ideal tattoo. No problem. It’s easy TO AVOID the most common mistakes made by the majority of people just getting into tattoos; the answer: simply be more informed than the majority! Before you decide on a tattoo parlor to do your tattoo, you need to compare what’s available to you and weigh out your options. The higher quality tattoo parlors certainly ... Read More »

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