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Crash: My first tattoo convention, San Diego,1993

tattoo-convention-image

This post is the story about my very first tattoo convention. It was (gasp) 1993 (I think; it could have been 1992); I was a fairly inexperienced, young tattooer and my new boss, “Painless” Paul Nelson (of Atlanta’s famous Ace Tattoo Studio), decided to attend the San Diego “Tattoo Tour”, (an early convention circuit put on by JD Crowe and his partner…both tattoo artists). Paul was scheduled to get his chest worked on by Gil Monte, a leading black and grey artist of the day who specialized in these awesome fineline, black and grey skulls with eyeballs…and, most importantly, Paul insisted I come with him and try to get tattooed while we were there. So COOL! Here I was– new job, new boss, first trip, and I was hungry to learn everything I could about tattooing. It was a big deal, my first convention…and most exciting was when I learned that all the superstars of 1990’s tattooing were going to be there. Now I wanted a tattoo. Not only that, but I wanted a GOOD TATTOO, from one of the artists who was inspiring me. It was great realizing that I could actually be getting a piece from one of my personal tattoo heroes! I saved money for a few months and began trying to figure out how to get an appointment, and who with, once I realized there were a lot of choices– Jack Rudy, Eddie Deutsche, Guy Aitchison, Aaron Cain, Marcus Pacheco, Paul Booth, Kari Barba, Gil Monte, and so many more…(I ... Read More »

TAM presents: Mastectomy Tattoos w/artist Shane Wallin

Janine's photos and of P.ink day 2014 were taken by John Swanson of JPS photography

Many of you may remember this amazing post-mastectomy tattoo image, shared across social media and blogs worldwide- Crash: When I first saw Shane’s work I was blown away, not just by the work he does (which is exceptional) but by the stories of the women he has helped reclaim a sense of feminine dignity after the trauma of cancer, mastectomy surgeries and other reconstructive measures.   TAM is proud to introduce our new columnist, Shane Wallin, of Garnet Tattoo in southern California. When I first saw Shane’s amazing work and heard the stories of women he was helping reclaim feminine dignity, I was blown away– not just by the work (which is amazing) but by the lives he changes with his work. I reached out to him to learn more-  Artist Shane Wallin: Fast & Furious facts: -Shane Wallin 40 years old -Born and raised in MN -Always wanted to tattoo and focused on it in High School -Used my graduation money to start a sleeve and talk my way in to an apprenticeship -Tattooing 21 years/1994 -Opened Twilight Tattoo in 2001. -Just opened Garnet Tattoo in Southern California last month. To start off this series of seri-ous posts here on the TAMblog, I asked Shane to tell us all a little bit about his history and how he came to this rather unique form of specialized tattooing: I’ve been tattooing for over twenty years now. About 15 years ago, I opened my first tattoo shop in Minneapolis, MN, Twilight Tattoo. I didn’t get my ... Read More »

Imagination is the Limit for 3D Tattoos

3d-hand-tattoo-on-chest

For as long as tattoos have existed, they have been used for a wide variety of reasons. Tattoos offer different experiences to the people who get them, and to the people creating them. Getting a tattoo is a good medium for exploring creativity. It enables one to experiment with different looks. It allows people to use their bodies as a living canvas where they could mark their feelings and interests to their hearts’ content. Every tattoo has a story to tell. Like art, people will interpret them differently and it will cultivate in them a growing interest for the tattooed person. Tattoos are generally so artistically and beautifully made and they are usually 2D or 2-dimensional. So it is not surprising for tattoo artists to kick their creative skills up a notch by creating 3D tattoos. 3D tattoos are tattoos that look so realistic on your skin, as if the real thing is on your body. In making these they still use ink which is used in normal tattoos. It is also different from inserting implants into the skin to make it look more pronounced. The difference is how a tattoo artist makes the picture. They are created by utilizing lighting and shadows to add depth to the picture, creating an illusion of being lifelike. It also takes advantage of the body’s natural contour to define and shape a picture. One example of this is of a person getting a dolphin’s face tattoo on his amputated arm, creating a lifelike ... Read More »

The Right Tattoo Artist For The First Time

thomas-hooper-tattoos

Picking the right tattoo artist is as important as picking the perfect design to place on your body. After all, how good is that perfect design when the artist does not know how to render it properly? Here are some things to consider when looking for the most suitable tattoo artist for the job. First thing to consider: does the artist’s work reflect the style you want? Some tattoo artists specialize in black and white, while others are good with vivid colors. There are those with a comic-style output, some are good in realistic portraits, and others on landscapes. Ideally, most have experience with all styles of artwork, but if you have a particular one in mind that you want to be rendered then it is best to do a research beforehand to find the best artist. After all, the ink will stay on the skin forever. In addition, check the reputation of the artist as well as his studio, if he has one. You might also ask some friends who have previous experience and knowledge with getting inked. Check not only a tattoo artist’s output, but his style of working as well. Are you more comfortable with someone who free hands the drawing on the body or rather make a drawing first on pen and paper? Do they have reputation for tattooing anyone who walks through the door, anywhere in the body they want? Usually a responsible tattoo artist would talk you through the tattoo, especially if the placement ... Read More »

Interesting Facts About Blossom Tattoos

Interesting Facts About Blossom Tattoos

One of the most popular designs of tattoos for women is blossom tattoos, along with butterflies and angels. Although this design is generally related to East Asia’s culture, it has now spread through the Western part of the world. Its popularity stems from the nature of the design, colors and its rich meaning. Let us look more closely at different aspects of blossom tattoos. Meaning behind the Tattoo Cherry blossoms mean different things to different countries. In China, cherry blossoms signify power and love. This tattoo is suitable for a woman who is strong and has high respect for her freedom. In Japan, this flower signifies high regard for life and temporary sadness. Having this tattoo could mean that you treasure your limited time in this world and you are aware that everything is not forever. Adjustment for Men and Women As previously mentioned, due to the nature of its color, blossom tattoos are more commonly seen in women. However, if a tattoo artist knows how to reign in choosing and adjusting the colors and design in such a way that it appears masculine, then men can wear this design. For example, the artist can use black ink for the entire blossom and incorporate skulls and fire images to go with the sakura design. For women, even the flower itself is enough to create a powerful and striking design. Depending on the personality of the person getting a tattoo, she can also add in images of hearts, koi fish and ... Read More »

Celtic Style Tattoos and their Universal Meaning

Celtic Style Tattoos and their Universal Meaning

In history, the Celts have exceptional talents in the world of the arts. Celtic artifacts like potteries, jeweleries and other ancient Celtic artworks serve as tangible proof of their creativity and expertise. The natural things found in the environment have been established by the Celts as symbols of humanity and the progress of time. There is an abundance of symbolism in Celtic art and they represent almost every facet of the human life. No wonder people have been inspired in coming up with Celtic style tattoos as they can relate these symbols to their own experiences. Continuity is a significant quality of Celtic art. Starting line and finish line generally do not seem to be present in Celtic symbols. The symmetrical and detailed designs make the art more interesting. Their shapes have the same form in any direction one would look. Spirals and knots can also be implicitly seen in their symbols. At times, the complex details and extraordinary symmetry make the Celtic symbols difficult to copy onto the skin as Celtic style tattoos. The following are some of the common elements in Celtic style tattoos: 1. Spirals   Single spirals – signify the radiation of spiritual energy. Depending on how a person looks at it, the direction of the radiation may be different. It may be inward for some and outward for the others. Double spirals – They represent balance like the existence of equinoxes. Triple spirals – These generally symbolize female strength and energy through their various stages ... Read More »

The Truth About Tattoos

The Truth about Tattoos

Getting a tattoo is a serious business. It is more than just a piece of art. It also requires a certain responsibility on your part. There are particular things you need to know about tattoos: 1.    Tattoo Machine. Have you ever seen the machine used for tattooing? Well, that device generally has four essential parts: •    Needle •    Tube for ink •    Electric motor •    Foot pedal 2.    Allergic reaction. It is important to research more about your medical history as well as the quality of ink used for tattooing. This is because when you get a tattoo, some allergic reactions do not occur right away. There are instances when scars and rashes happen after tattooing. 3.    The tattoos don’t age, but your skin does. One thing you have to remember about tattoos is that they fade as you get older. However, it does not have something to do with the tattoo per se. The reason it looks blurry is that the skin goes through a constant cycle of renewal. As it renews over time, it affects the appearance of the tattoo; thus, making it look aged. 4.    Temporary tattoo has its own risks, too. In fact, FDA advised the public to watch out for the ink used in temporary tattoos. These inks are black henna that may contain para-phenylenediamine or PDD that can cause for permanent scarring. 5.    Do not judge the quality of all tattoos based on a single one. There are people who are having second thoughts ... Read More »

Make Sure You Don’t Regret Your Tattoo

tattoo-regrets-6

When people get drunk, they do crazy things. They dance a little weirder. They call their exes. They crave for crispy, greasy fast food. Worst case scenario is if they get into an accident while driving. However, nothing immortalizes the drunken craziness quite like—no, not tagged Facebook photos—tattoos. More importantly, terrible tattoos. However, getting terrible tattoos is not exclusive to those who went a little crazy at the bar, and those who got it while nursing a broken. Anyone can be a victim of this just because of sheer carelessness or not doing proper research. Perhaps the most common mistake: getting a tattoo of a significant other’s name. Unless he/she can promise the kind of forever that a tattoo makes, one should steer clear of names of loved ones, although make an exception for names of children or parents as those are sure to remain the same for all of eternity. A more disastrous situation is getting a portrait of a significant other. These are more terrible tattoos because these are usually bigger than a name, and unfortunately not a lot of artists can render a good portrait tattoo. So if the design is not an old flame’s name, what else could fall under the category of terrible tattoos? Mistakes in spelling, grammar or language. Before getting inked always, always do thorough research. If it is in one’s native language, make sure to check the spelling and grammar. When in doubt, make sure to look through a dictionary or even ... Read More »

Things You Need To Do To Avoid Getting Terrible Tattoos

Avoid getting terrible tattoos

The terrible tattoos that you see when you surf the net or go to the mall could have been prevented if the wearer planned everything carefully from the start. Tattoo is a permanent mark on your skin, and it won’t be easy to erase in case you don’t want it anymore. Don’t Rush Things Just because all of your friends talked non-stop about the great job that their tattoo artist did on their skin does not mean that you should immediately dash to the next tattoo salon and let them ink you. Tattoo enthusiasts do not get their tattoos on a whim. They usually plan everything before telling their favorite artist to proceed. There are studios that do not give their services to someone with shallow reasons for having it. Visit Events about Tattoo If you are a complete novice in the world of tattooing, then it is advisable to attend tattoo events and learn things. Tattoo artists usually go to such events to display their skills and fish for new clients. Some hold seminars, exhibits, and contests. You will meet tattoo enthusiasts and it is a good idea to ask for some advice. You will be able to determine if having a tattoo is something you really want when you attend such events.   Conduct a Background Research Investigate your target tattoo studio and artist if you already made up your mind about getting one. You need to make sure that everything will turn out fine and you won’t ... Read More »

Tattoo Art’s Journey through Time

General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

Tattoo art keeps changing with time, but one thing remains the same – the desire of some individuals to adorn their skin with it. Take a journey through time and get to know more about the transformation in the designs of tattoo. Tattoo Designs of the Past Ancient people use sticks and other spiky objects for tattooing. They intentionally wound themselves and pack ashes or dirt into the graze. They have their unique tattoo art. It is assumed that men in prehistoric era puncture their skin and add color to it by applying the black substance from the cooled burnt sticks. They usually create tribal markings. For the ancient men, there were no terrible tattoos. They wear their tattoo as a protective charm to safeguard them during the hunt. They also viewed tattoos as a way to align their lives with God’s purpose, ensure the preservation of their body even after death, as a sign of their status within the tribe, and boost fertility and virility. Tattoo Designs of the Not-So-Distant Past In the 1930s and 1940s, the only men and women who wore body ink were those in the service, circus people, or criminals. Popular tattoo art designs were anchor, ships, ferocious animals, ladies, weapons, eagles, and anything that can depict the patriotism of the men and women in service. Wearing a tattoo for art’s sake, and nothing more, became popular in the 1960s. There were people who decided to collect tattoos as if they were collecting paintings or ... Read More »

Top 10 Tattoos For Friday the 13th

Top Friday 13th tattoos

Tattoos and superstitious have made good bed fellows. On Friday the 13th, tattoo parlors all over the world (and particularly in the United States) are preparing flash designs for customers who want to tempt Fate. Ink Master judge and old school artist Oliver Peck has even made it a tradition and a world record, tattooing 415 number 13 on simply one Friday the 13th … Friday 13th are considered misfortune due to the fact that some think that Jesus was crucified that day. For others, it is good luck.                   *Note from Tattoo Artist Magazine Blog – Unfortunately, we were not able to find the information on the artists who are responsible for these amazing 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!   Read More »

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 »

Trendy and Famous Tattoo Designs

Tattoo by Alex Gotza

Whether you are a tattoo virgin or someone looking to get inked for the nth time, choosing a design is always a critical step. Since a tattoo is something that will be in the skin forever, choosing the design carefully may well serve as the fine line between having artwork to be proud of or regretting it for the rest of your life. The following examples of  trendy and famous tattoos could help in choosing the best design for you. Hopefully, tattoo removal would not be an option, as this could be more painful; think looking at an ex’s tattooed name on your back.   One of the most famous tattoos is tribal art. The appeal of a tribal tattoo is in its simplicity, with its bold shapes and black lines all throughout. Tribal tattoos also adapt fairly well to the human body. The design follows the way the body and the muscles move, as opposed to a static drawing in an unmoving piece of paper. Another famous tattoo design is portrait. Portraits may be harder to get than tribal tattoos because there are not a lot of tattoo artists who could do a portrait justice, and if you do come across one then it would definitely come at a price. However, there is also great satisfaction for getting a portrait tattoo, and could be therapeutic depending on the customer. Most common subjects are family and loved ones, pets or celebrity idols. Along with portraits, script designs are also included ... 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 »

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