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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

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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 »

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 »

Price of tattoos: why cheap ain’t good!

Tattoo by Mick Tattoo

The Pricing Of Tattoos. Some basics to consider. -By Crash There’s an old saying- “Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good.” – Let’s talk about why. Once the decision has been made to get a tattoo, the next thing people generally want to know is- “How much will it cost?” Though typical, it is my contention that there are far more important questions needing answered first that should guide the next steps of those seeking their first (or next) tattoo. Quite often it is what one PAYS for a tattoo, (rather than what it might COST them in the long run), which can most easily send the gullible down dark alleys and into the back-room dangers of illegal, unlicensed, and untrained “kitchen magicians”, (better known as “scratchers”). (Hear them howl!) People are sucked into this delusion/illusion of (e)quality by the misguided BELIEF that they can obtain some the MYTHICAL ‘deal’ by going to a non-professional, (*in GENERAL, a non-professional is one willing to do tattoos OUTSIDE of a shop. Period. Even if they ‘work at one’, or ‘used to’, or ‘are going to, one day’, etc- they are conducting themselves in a non-professional way, ALREADY, and it is at your risk; so it becomes very easy to imagine ALL THE OTHER health and safety guidelines they’ll choose to ignore, on your behalf. **NOTE- it’s NEVER too late to WAKE UP and start making better decisions– ‘Artists’ and customers! Trust me, we ALL do, eventually, no matter where we start from. So relax and join ... Read More »

11 Tips on How to Care for Your New Tattoo

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Got a new tattoo? Now what? Here you will find our top 11 tips on taking care of your new tattoo. There are so many aftercare recommendations and products out there, some deliver and some don’t, however- the most important thing (which is #1 on this list) is to listen to your tattoo artist– he or she will inform you precisely what you must do to properly care for your tattoo, all based on the results they’ve seen over many years of experience. The vast majority of tattoo healing problems are because the clients/customers fail to follow directions. Period. The instructions you’re given are very important. Now, these pointers below are for general care, and they are very basic, time-tested guidelines. If any point differs from what you are instructed, follow the advice of your artist. And remember that people have different types of skin, allergies, potentials for reactions, etc, so everyone will naturally heal differently. Top 11 Tattoo Aftercare Tips: 1– Pay attention to what your tattooist tells you and do precisely what he or she instructs. If she/he is a professional with experience, they will certainly know what product and healing technique works best for their own work, in general, and for their clients in particular. Keep in mind, if you change the aftercare for whatever reason the tattooist is not obliged to touch up your tattoo free of cost. It is your responsibility to take care of your tattoo once you leave the studio. 2– DO NOT ... Read More »

Filip Leu: world’s Top Japanese artists, pt4

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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 »

Inksmith & Rogers 30th Anniversary

Eric Inksmith and Rogers 30th yeah anniversary

By Deb Yarian Early in my tattoo career, I was blessed by the friendship and mentorship of Eric Inksmith and the late legendary Paul Rogers. At a time when secrets of the trade were highly guarded, their willingness to share their knowledge with others was a rare commodity. It was that, their shared love of tattooing, and their hospitable natures that drew travelers from all over the globe to the first Inksmith and Rogers shop that Eric and Paul opened in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1984. Three decades later, those same qualities are what drew me and hundreds of fellow tattooers, friends and their families back to Jacksonville for a two day celebration of their 30th anniversary. Paul passed away in 1990 but hosts, Eric Inksmith, Mike Wilson, and Angelo Miller succeeded in carrying on in that same spirit of generosity during the two day event. Inksmith and Rogers consists of five shops now, spread across the city, home to more than 25 devoted tattooers known throughout the tattoo world for their bold, colorful, beautifully executed tattoos. Throughout both days of the celebration resident and guest artists tattooed at all of the I & R locations. People lined up for hours waiting to get tattooed by Eric, many hoping to get The signature Inksmith and Roger’s smile and a “30″ year mark. Their flagship shop’s large outdoor area resembled a carnival midway festooned with tents and flower covered tables. Guests, Philadelphia Eddie and Bowery Stan Moskowitz manned a table, selling their ... Read More »

10 of the world’s best Japanese tattoo artists: pt2- Horiyoshi III

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This is Part 2: Horiyoshi III – 10 of the world’s best Japanese style tattoo artists. -Horiyoshi III (no connection to Horiyoshi II, from the last post), is Yoshihito Nakano of Yokohama, Japan, and is our featured artist today. Horiyoshi the 3rd is perhaps THE most respected and celebrated tattoo artist in Japan’s history. His work is admired and studied by experts, artists and collectors worldwide, and with more than a dozen books available on Horiyoshi’s life and work, it’s easy to understand why he is unarguably considered the preeminent Japanese tattoo master of this or any era. His work is EPIC! Beautiful! And Groundbreaking! While still remaining rooted in centuries of tradition.                   It was during the first year of Tattoo Artists Magazine’s existence that I found myself given the sudden chance to travel to Japan and meet this legendary tattooer, Horiyoshi III. TAM was still brand new at the time, so having a friend send along my request to Horiyoshi, asking to feature him and his work in the new magazine project opened up the chance of a lifetime- an invitation to come visit Horiyoshi’s studio and museum. It would be the realization of a lifelong dream to see Japan, (having become obsessed with Japanese art, history and lore as a young child after watching the mini-series “SHOGUN” on television, and then discovering the amazing filmography of Akira Kurosawa and books of translated Japanese legends by Lufcadio Hearn in my teen years!) Hell yeah! I could NOT ... Read More »

10 of the World’s BEST Japanese style TATTOO ARTISTS: pt1

Best Japanese Tattoo Artist

Over the next few weeks we’re going to pay tribute to Japanese-themed tattoos and the contributions of 10 Tattoo Artists widely considered to be some of the BEST IN THE WORLD. For an ever-increasing  number of tattoo collectors (and artists alike), Japanese-styled tattoos are appreciated as the most sophisticated and visually pleasing style of tattooing, today. Though known about since the late 1800s, the popularity of Japanese tattoos in the United States, Europe and around the globe has really only expanded exponentially since the 1960s, prior to this time very few people could understand the depth to these expressions of ink in skin- historically or mythologically. Tattooing is a visual art form, however, and Japanese tattoo work has always had an incomparable effect on even untrained eyes. Just imagine early westerners traveling to a strange land, months at sea, stepping off and seeing such decorated warriors! The history of Japanese tattooing and the mythological roots of its powerful yet elegant imagery are deep topics of study and the daunting pursuit of many modern professional artists and scholars, alike. The myths represented in these tattoos and Japan’s rich history of tattooing are subjects for future blog posts, but for our purposes, now, let us trace the various Japanese styles of tattooing, today, back to but a few primary influences- starting with (perhaps, surprisingly to some) the pioneering work of American master, Sailor Jerry Collins and his correspondence with Tattooers around the globe. There are reasons Norman Collins (aka Sailor Jerry) is so respected by the tattoo community, not the ... Read More »

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