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Your Body: The Perfect Ink Canvas

Japanes style tattoos

A tattoo is, like all other works of art, a medium of self-expression. Whether by the artist or by the person being inked, a tattoo often holds meaning that cannot be expressed in words. Tattoo art varies greatly across the world, depending on the artist, the culture and the current trends. Classic designs such as tribal art, portraits, and Oriental elements have stood the test of time with its popularity among the tattoo world. For example, portraits rarely go out of style because each tattoo is unique to the person getting inked. The subject is someone the customer wants to be remembered or honored. Meanwhile Oriental tattoo art (dragon, koi, Japanese Kabuki mask, tiger, to name a few) is as popular. Not only because the imagery looks amazing when inked, but also because they usually have a deeper meaning. Customers attribute virtues such as courage, beauty or love to their chosen Oriental design. Tattoo art is still evolving, much like its counterparts in visual arts such as painting, drawing or sculpture. More and more tattoo designs move away from classical themes and go toward contemporary art. Starting with Americana themes such as pin-up girl tattoos, which were famous in the 50s up until now, tattoos can also be just about fun. Other examples of colorful tattoos are comic and cartoon characters. Random shapes are also thrown into the mix; heart tattoos on the wrist, small cartoon birds behind the ears, a different star shape for every finger. Other artists are ... Read More »

Meet and Greet Tattoo Stars

My first tattoo convention

As you start to get more and more tattoos on your skin, you would also want to know more about the tattoo world and how it all works, right? Luckily, there is always a venue for an up-close and personal encounter with all the amazing people who run the tattoo industry. Among these are tattoo events. These are conventions held all around the world and the basic idea behind it is to showcase the artists and their artworks. Aside from seeing great practitioners in person, they also have the opportunity to show off existing works that they are proud of. Most interestingly, tattoo events are also a venue to see them at work. This is great for aspiring tattoo artists who want to pick up techniques from the very best, as well as tattoo enthusiasts who want to see their favorite artist in person.   Tattoo events or conventions are mainly organized by professionals involved the industry. Examples of these are suppliers, tattoo studios/companies, and artists. Conventions can last anywhere from a day to three days, and the entrance tickets can range from about $10 to more than $30 per day. Not only do conventions showcase artists at work, but these can also provide other entertainment for its participants. Music shows, seminars, supplier booths, and contests are just some of the things you may expect when walking through the biggest tattoo events. This is also a perfect opportunity to book your favorite artists for an appointment. Some of the more ... Read More »

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. (*Read about here-)  Good tattoo conventions are special; they encourage community, advance the craft, and they are focused on the fans, the art AND the 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 an average of more ... Read More »

Jim Miner – Elegance Of Entropy Opening Reception: March 14th

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We just received this announcement from our friends at Analog Tattoo in San Francisco about their next art exhibit, this time featuring the amazingly talented Jim Minor. If you can make it, check out the exhibit. It’s sure to be superb! In this virtually empty & inhospitable universe where anything that does live will, after a beautifully brutish moment in time break down & disappear, we have a unique opportunity to understand & appreciate the beauty of the world around us.  Even in the chaos of an indifferent existence, beautiful things exist so they can be witnessed and interpreted by the viewer. Jim Miner, an integral member of the Analog Tattoo Arts Kolectiv, has been a practicing tattooer for over seventeen years, the last ten of which has found him further integrating decorative & ornamental themes into his work, adding layer upon layer of beauty to tried & true designs.  Jim is also an accomplished musician & his ability to combine musical & visual influences is immediately apparent to anyone familiar with his body of work. Inspired by Baroque & Victorian decorative styles, nature, travel & music, Jim’s works in watercolor & acrylic incorporate themes from the world of tattooing, attempting to elevate the visual & metaphorical imagery to another level of elegance.  As Jim puts it “making things beautiful for no reason”.  A simple reflection of the world itself, before this cycle ends & moves on to another state. For details about the March 14th, 2015 opening, click here. Read More »

Brooklyn Tattoo Shop to Host “Warriors Fund” Art Exhibition

Art Exhibition to Benefit Wounded Knee District School

Brooklyn Tattoo Shop to Host “Warriors Fund” Art Exhibition to Benefit Wounded Knee District School BROOKLYN, NY – Brooklyn tattoo shop Eight of Swords recently announced plans to host a fundraiser benefiting Lakota students from the Wounded Knee District School (WKDS) on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reservation. The event, called The Warriors’ Fund, is slated for Friday, March 6th at 7:00 PM and will showcase original artwork from over fifty of the country’s top-notch tattooers, including veteran Scott Sylvia of San Francisco’s iconic Black Heart Tattoo, Timothy Hoyer, known for his decidedly non-tattoo style oil paintings, and Justin Weatherholtz from King’s Avenue, one of New York’s best-known shops owned by internationally recognized tattooer Mike Rubendall.   The WKDS serves 134 students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade. Reservation schools throughout the country are often geographically isolated, contend with a severe lack of funding, and have some of the highest dropout rates in the nation. But one of the most immediate issues facing the students at the WKDS is hunger. While every student qualifies for free meals during school, the need is greater at home.   Newly-appointed principal Alice Phelps has made arrangements with Feeding America in Rapid City for a monthly food distribution for reservation families. Unfortunately, the need at home is more than they can handle. With only a single convenience store on the reservation and the nearest grocery store a staggering 80 miles away, Phelps started a food pantry that she runs out of the school for families ... Read More »

Should tattoos be considered art? Are tattooers artists?

Are tattoos art

by Dan Henk  Working title: “Why people might think your work sucks”. I have been hearing complaints almost since I began fifteen years ago about how tattooing is not being taken seriously as an art form. Maybe it was as a genre specific sort of folk art, but that wasn’t enough for most people in the business. But you know what? I see where the illustrators are coming from. Now, before people get start to react, let me go over some of this. I think the best approach is to compare tattooing to another medium. When punk rock came out, there were a few auteurs, but most of it was crap. And I like punk. But it’s true. In high school I had a blue mohawk, combat boots, and a spiky leather jacket. Over time, some real talent started to emerge. That’s when it was recognized as an art form. It took a while, but bands like Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys are respected now. The Ramones and the Sex Pistols have even been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Same with metal. Or science fiction. Or comic books. In fact, I almost went into comics, and I’m still the first to admit that most early comics had mediocre artwork and stories. At best. Now you get the likes of Alan Moore and John Totleben. Metal used to have Venom. Now they have musicians that can play circles around many in other genres. Even  if you don’t ... Read More »

Tattoo Community raises $19k to honor one of their own- living legend Zeke Owen

zeke_blog

One of the most common issues plaguing tattoo artists from every generation is the serious lack of medical coverage and retirement options available to independent, blue collar craftsmen & women in the profession. From basic medical coverage to disability, these are real-world concerns for tens of thousands of professional tattoo artists, all across the nation and the world. There aren’t many 401K plans for the self-employed. Recently, the tattoo community was made aware of living legend Zeke Owen’s medical situation, and came together to help raise more than $19,000 (0f $20K needed) to help pay for this amazing man’s Alzheimer’s treatment and his nursing home. Amazingly, Zeke Owen started tattooing on the Pike in 1957!  The Pike is considered one of the west coast’s historical tattoo sites thanks to Bert Grimm & Bob Shaw, two legends of tattooing (before there were legends in tattooing). Zeke was part of that crew till, a few years later, he opened his own shop. In time, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone both worked for Zeke early in their careers, and a slew of others. Zeke was on one of the forerunners of early Japanese Style tattooing in America. Zeke has spent decades on the road doing guest spots at tattoo shops from Georgia to Alaska, tattooing collectors, spinning yarns, and selling antique tattoo art & stencils. Zeke is also the featured artist biography in the newly released Tattoo Artist Magazine #39. While doing promotions for the upcoming issue, project manager Nicki Kasper was contacted by Zeke’s son, Douglas, and ... 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 »

Bizarre Broken Heart Tattoos

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Photos submitted to us on Instagram– we found some interesting and bizarre broken heart tattoos. Enjoy!     *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 Limited Time Offer Get your Black & Grey bundle set here…or just click the image below. Read More »

Couples Tattoo Design Ideas

Top 10 couple tattoo desings

Whether you already have a tattoo or are planning on getting a new tattoo with your loved one, here are some of our favorite tattoo designs of couples that sealed their love with tattoos.   *Note from TAM – Unfortunately, we were not able to find the information on 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   Limited Time Offer Get your Black & Grey bundle set here…or just click the image below.     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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Breast Cancer Survivors Get Tattoos In Colorado

Cancer survivor gets tattoos in Colorado

Article by Carrie Antlfinger WEST ALLIS, Wis. (AP) — For women who have survived breast cancer, breast or nipple reconstruction can be a first step toward looking like their old selves. A Colorado organization is helping some of those women, and others who don’t choose reconstruction, in their emotional healing — through tattoos to help conceal their scars. P.ink is a Boulder-based group that helps connect survivors with tattoo artists. Its first annual P.ink Day was in 2013, when it raised money and funded tattoos for 10 women in a single day in Brooklyn, New York. In 2014, the event expanded and featured all-volunteer artists in 12 cities in the U.S. and Canada who helped 38 women. “I think a lot of survivors see this as their opportunity to define what breast cancer looks like on them, and that is the ultimate in personal empowerment we are shooting for here,” said Noel Franus, who launched P.ink with the help of others at the CP+B advertising agency, where he works. Franus got the idea after his sister-in-law, Molly Ortwein, underwent a double mastectomy and wanted something more than reconstruction or tattooed nipples. She went to the family for ideas on a tattoo and got a pernambuco tree blossom one in 2013. The organization also has a charitable arm, the P.ink fund, which raises money to pay experienced tattoo artists to work with survivors. P.ink has created a smartphone app where women can look at designs and try one on via photo. ... Read More »

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