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Horihide still practices the dying art of hand tattoo

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Hand tattoo artist Horihide is one of the few tebori practitioners who remain, as body ink carries a stigma in Japan and young apprentices are few. GIFU, Japan — Hidden away in the backroom of a modest apartment in this central Japanese city, one of Japan’s last remaining hand-tattoo masters is preparing his tools. Over the last four decades Oguri Kazuo has tattooed notable geisha and countless yakuza, members of Japan’s notorious mafia. Today, the 79-year-old artist, known professionally as Horihide (derived from “hori,” meaning “to carve”), is working on a client who is a little more subdued. Motoyama Tetsuro has spent hundreds of dollars, traveled thousands of miles and waited more than three decades for a session with Horihide. The Japanese-born American software manager wanted the master’s ink in his skin — a living legacy for a dying art. With old masters passing away and young apprentices lacking the patience to learn the painstaking craft of tebori (hand tattooing), many followers believe its days are numbered. “If you know the master, why would you want to work with someone else?” asks Motoyama, 62, who first received the outline of a dragon by Horihide on his right shoulder in the 1970s. Motoyama lost touch with the master — who works only by word-of-mouth introductions in backdoor locations — before the work was complete. Last November, after a 30-plus year search, he finally located Horihide and traveled back to Japan from his home in Cupertino, Calif., to finish the piece. Japanese tattoos are steeped ... Read More »

Crackdown on illegal tattooing

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Getting a tattoo can sometimes be a major decision, especially if it’s your first.  If you’re doing it the right way, you call or visit a licensed tattoo parlor, discuss your options, and make an appointment for the procedure.  Many, however, decide to get their tattoos from an unlicensed person they either know or know of by word of mouth.  This way may be cheaper and faster, but is oftentimes unsafe and, in the State of Arkansas, illegal. Last year, the legislature passed a bill sponsored by Senator Missy Irvin that put regulations in place on the body art industry.  Licensed body artists around the state, including Roy Hicks of Star Tattoo in Heber Springs, heavily supported these regulations.  Hicks and Heber Springs Police Chief Bobby Walker were instrumental in bringing the dangers of unlicensed and unsafe body art practices to the attention of state legislators. “It’s a public health issue,” said Walker.  “The Health Department got behind it and got it passed.  You have unlicensed people out here putting needles in people and if they don’t do it properly, they can transmit diseases.” Unlicensed body modification, which includes tattoos, is a large problem in the county and around the state as a whole.  In an arrest just last week, Heber Springs Police Department confiscated materials that were being used by an unlicensed person giving tattoos in the area.  A quick look at the smudged, unsanitary bottles of ink makes it readily apparent that procedures in this particular instance could ... Read More »

Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace: Common Sense Advice for Workers with Body Art

Tattoos and piercings in the workplace

By Erika Icon Tattoos and piercings are becoming more accepted as a form of art and expression. They are a big part of the cultural landscape in cosmopolitan cities like Los Angeles. To give you an idea of their rise in popularity here are a few figures. Thirty years ago, 1 in 100 people in this country had tattoos. Now 1 in 10 Americans have them, and one-third of those aged 25 to 30 have tattoos. While society is becoming more liberated and expressive, and piercings and tattoos become part of mainstream culture, some employers are still having a hard time wrapping their heads around body art in the workplace. What are my rights? If your company tells you that you can’t wear piercings or reveal your tattoos at work, they aren’t doing anything illegal. Don’t look to the legal system to protect workers who have body art. The law covers discrimination on the grounds of race, color, religion, age, nationality, origin and gender. The one exception may be if you’re a Hindu with a nose ring, which could be a religious observation. But there are limits. Your company can’t use tats or piercings as an excuse to fire you. A company can, on the flipside, use it as an excuse not to hire you. I’ll cover more reasons for this later. Many companies have policies that prohibit tats and piercings that are generally outlined in their handbook and/or employee manual. If the policy is new, it may be given out ... Read More »

Slowmotion Tattoo By GueT Deep

Slow motion Tattoo by Gue T Deep

Tattoo by GueT Deep (Paris) Done on Fabrice (Switzerland) Tattoo Machine: No iron Tattoo Machine   Read More »

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 »

Tattoos Viewed Differently Around The World

Tattoos viewed differently around the world

Source: www.historyoftattoos.org As tattoos are slowly but surely gaining acceptance and popularity amongst most of the American population, it is interesting to note how widespread the appeal of this practice is becoming in other countries around the world. It is also interesting to consider how various other cultures view this practice, and whether those views have changed over time as has been the case with the United States. In America the main source of familiarity with Oriental symbols and other artwork comes from viewing this lovely, traditional art in tattoo studios all across the United States. It may, therefore, be surprising to many Americans to know that, due to the significant influence of Buddhist and Confucianist religions both the Japanese and Chinese societies take a very negative view of tattoos. In these societies, tattooing was a means of branding criminals; it was not acceptable for citizens to engage in the process. In today’s society, tattoos are still unacceptable. Although their younger generation usually takes a more liberal view of tattooing, the youngsters who have them generally keep them covered. Tattoos have long been a part of life for royalty in Great Britain. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors King George the fifth and King Edward the seventh, one of today’s most well-known royal figures, Prince Charles, also sports a tattoo. Unlike in the distant past, however, tattoos in Great Britain are no longer limited to the class of royalty; during the past few decades, tattoos showing up on their ... Read More »

Thumb Cobra with Erik Payne 8-16-14

Video by Luke Holley Tattoo on Luke Holley Read More »

Tattoo Artists Help Fight Skin Cancer in Brazil

Tattoo Artists Help Fight Skin Cancer in Brazil

By Kevin Miller www.tattoosnob.com Tattoo artists in Brazil are being trained by doctors to look for signs of skin cancer, thanks to Sol de Janeiro. Sol de Janeiro is a sunscreen company, and had the brilliant idea of having artists attending training courses to look for early signs of skin cancer. This is simply brilliant. With skin cancer being the most common type of cancer in the world, this could help people quickly identify the early signs.   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 »

FDA sides with your parents, says tattoos hurt, could cause infection

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By Pete Kasperowicz www.theblaze.com The Food and Drug Administration is warning people that getting a tattoo comes with several risks, including the possibility of being infected with HIV or hepatitis, allergic reactions, and other skin problems. And if you ever decide to remove your tattoo later, the FDA is warning about “pain and high costs.”   The FDA’s warning focused on women who get tattoos for “beauty, self-expression or cultural events.” It explained that tattoos can be done by injecting ink into your skin, injecting henna, or by getting a temporary tattoo. FDA said that because of the risk of infections, scarring or other problems, the FDA “has not approved any inks for injecting into your skin.” FDA has also not approved the injection of henna or hair dye into people’s skin. The FDA said it does not regulate tattoo parlors, but does monitor problems associated with tattoos — problems can be reported by calling 1-800-332-1088. The agency said removing tattoos is not easy. “You may not be able to completely remove your tattoo,” it said. “You could get a scar when you remove your tattoo.” There are other more complicated methods for removing them as well. “Tattoos can sometimes be removed by cutting out the tattooed skin then sewing the skin back together,” it said. “Other times, the skin can be sanded down to remove the tattoo.” The FDA indicated that least painful and easiest to remove option is the temporary tattoo, like the ones found in Cracker Jack ... Read More »

Graham’s Backpiece Tattoo by Darcy Nutt 1st Session

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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 »

Collaborative Tattooing – Saved Tattoo NYC

Collaborative Tattooing - Saved Tattoo NYC

Artists Thomas Hooper and Chris O’Donnell collaborate on full back tattoo.  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 »