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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 »

The Pros and Cons of Tattoo Conventions

conventions-blog-tam-tattoo

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 »

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

bizarre-tattoo-1

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 »

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 »

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