The Official Blog for Tattoo Artist Magazine

travel

Chuck Greenberg: Ain’t just a tat

By Chuck Greenberg

Via: http://www.tattoosnob.com

Most of you probably know of Chuck Greenberg, A.K.A. Chuck DeeZee. Over the past several years, Chuck has gotten an insane amount of work all over the country by artists all over the world. The list of artists that have tattooed Chuck is mind boggling. With all of the time getting tattooed, traveling to get tattoo, talking to artists, and generally being around tattooed people – Chuck has picked up a thing or two.

I’m excited to say this is the first of a regular series of columns that Chuck is going to write for Tattoo Snob. Chuck is going to tackle subjects that a simple Google search won’t find. Below is the first of many article. If you have a subject that you’re interested in hearing Chuck’s thoughts on, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

Chuck

 

My name is Charles Greenberg, and I have been a collector for as long as I can remember. I’ve collected all sorts of things over the years, from cassettes to vinyl, mountain bikes to historical and music memorabilia, and, of course, tattoos. I’ve always been a collector of art, starting with comics and collectible cards at a young age. Now I’m working on a near complete, but still in-progress double body suit that features work from some of the most highly regarded artists in the industry. You really have to want it in order to tackle such an undertaking, but I’m here to share some personal insights in the hope that maybe I can spare you some of the bumps you may encounter on your own path to great skin art.

Some of the facets of collecting tattoo work might seem relatively obvious, while others might not. The purpose of this column is to touch on many of the facets of being a tattoo collector, including, but not limited to:

  • The obvious financial element, including some bartering tactics
  • Preparing for (and scheduling) the number of hours involved in collecting tattoo work full-time
  • Working with tattoo artists
  • Tattoo artist collaborations
  • Tattoo conventions and their associated contests
  • Tattoo removal
  • Tattoo shop hygiene and cleanliness, including standards and best practices
  • Etiquette for booking with high profile artists
  • Perhaps the biggest factor involved here is the element of cost

To be honest, I hate it when people ask me how much I’ve paid for my skin art just to hear them brag about having paid less for their own work, or to have them bark at me that they think I’ve paid far too much. $150-250 an hour is standard in the industry these days for upper echelon work. Most people do not realize how much time and effort an artist puts into crafting a custom piece, and time is money. If you are going to get a big tattoo, you need to have some kind of reasonable financial stability to pay for the number of hours that piece will take to be completed.

Bragging about how you got a deal with another artist will not get you terribly far in this industry. It’s advantageous for you to do your homework and to go to an artist who’s best suited to your idea. Time and time again I have read about people going to the wrong artists because they did not do their research in finding the correct artists to suit their needs. I can’t stress enough how important it is to work with your artist. You don’t want to be the sort of person who goes to the local bio-organic artist to ask for a black and gray anime portrait of your grandmother. With that in mind, it’s best to do an in-person consultation about your idea beforehand, if you can. It just might be the difference between a good tattoo and an epic one.

Patience is the name of the game if you seek out the artists who are in the highest demand. Get pieces which will exploit their strengths and challenge them. Avoid the same old recycled ideas that are common on Pinterest and Google. Of course there are different types of tattoo collectors; many want to focus on one style, such as traditional, illustrative, bio-mech, or black and gray work. Others, like me, appreciate all styles equally, and try to collect a piece from each of them. I’ll be writing here regularly, so I’d like to encourage all readers to contribute to this column by asking me any questions about tattoo collecting or other relevant topics that you want to discuss. I’ll do my best to provide a thorough answer for all of them, time permitting. I appreciate your time, and I hope you’ll be coming back to the discussion in the future.


Visions From Venice: Part 1

By Melissa Fusco

canal laundary 2

For a few years now, I have had a strong desire to visit the land of my great grandparents and become immersed in my ‘genetic roots’. Italy, my much anticipated trip, has arrived…

Outside of conventions, guest spots and gatherings in the states, I crave a culture change and new scenery at least once a year.  I was meeting a friend here in Venice, unfortunately for good reason she was unable to make the first leg of the trip. So I prepared as best as I could to be in Italy for 6 days before the Rome convention, alone.

For more than half of my life, about 20 years now I have traveled alone more times than accompanied by a travel companion. No doubt I would enjoy a companion on my travels, however, there is something precious about solo travel and how it contributes to my inner self. It helps build my confidence and aids in my personal growth. For me, when I travel, I prefer to live amongst the locals, so first thing off the plane, I find my way to the small water taxi dock. I purchased a water taxi pass on-line that would take me from the airport to the nearest taxi stop from my hotel destination. After the taxi makes a few stops along the way, I finally arrive at my exit and play the alley way game to find my hotel. Hotel Tiepolo, is settled down the alley that runs directly along side the Piazza San Marco. One of the most visited tourist landmarks on the S. Marco Island in Venice. I thought I was a little further away from this touristy area and at first was a little let down by the busyness of the surrounding areas.  However, I feel I couldn’t have picked a greater location.

Doge's palace

When I depart from the front door of the hotel, which is located at the end of an alley, I weave my way through narrow alley ways that ended at the water front Palazzo. I quickly find myself amongst the crowd. The sounds of sea gulls, water taxi’s, sales men, and tourist chatter fill the breezy ocean air. Kiosks filled the waterfront walkway selling duplicate Venezia souvenirs, scarf’s, hats and Italian leather handbags. Landscape artists work amongst rip off Coach bag sellers, and not to forget the slightly annoying single rose auctioneers.  The phrase “ no thank you” leaves my lips more times then I could count throughout the day. I quickly head to the water taxi stop titled S. Marco  Zaccaria.

(more…)


The Last Kalinga Tattoo Artist

Photo and Caption by Michal Duchek

http://www.travel.nationalgeographic.com
TvyamNb-BivtNwcoxtkc5xGBuGkIMh_nj4UJHQKuor2GrSwVm50lfBnfXvEVLT3aSLOlS-AkbadMug

A fascinating culture of the Igorot people brought me and my girlfriend to Kalinga. Head-hunting ceased decades ago, however, the motifs of Kalinga tattoos and the way they are being tattoed remains the same (charcoal and an orange thorn). We decided to visit this beautiful tribeswoman who is the last Kalinga tattoo artist. After a few days, long hours spent on buses and jeepneys, we were lucky to find a local guide Francis who brought us to Buscalan. We were overwhelmed how hospitable and friendly she is. Her natural beauty and her tattoo tempted me to ask her for a pose outside her dwelling.

Location: Buscalan village, Kalinga, North Luzon, Philippines


Stay Humble with Dave Wah: The Exclusive Tattoo Snob Interview

By Kevin Miller
I generally excited about everything that’s posted on Tattoo Snob, but I’m really excited about my interview with Dave Wah. Dave has been killing it for a long time, and he recently opened Stay Humble Tattoo Company in Baltimore, Maryland. I shot Dave a handful of questions about his tattooing, opening up a new shop, who inspires him, and what else he has lined up for 2014.
This interview is a must read. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be checking flight prices and planning a tattoo getaway to Baltimore by the end of the interview.
dave-wah
Tattoo Snob: For those who aren’t familiar with your work, can you give them the basics?
Dave Wah: I guess I would consider myself to be an artist who likes to do a little bit of everything. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great veteran artists over the years, including Uncle Pauly and Eric Gregory, who really stressed the importance of being versatile. My work ranges from realism to traditional, however I do try to incorporate my own style into everything. I think the range of styles I use keeps me motivated to keep creating. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or bad thing that I don’t have a particular style, all I know is I love going to work everyday.
TSdave-wah-1-214x300: Let’s talk about Stay Humble Tattoo. Tell us a little about the shop, and what led you to this path.
DW: I opened Stay Humble Tattoo Company in Baltimore, Maryland last october and things have been amazing ever since. The time just seemed right to head out on my own, I’ve developed a large clientele base and I’ve always wanted to work closer to the city. My father has owned his own business for over 35 years and he always taught me the benefits of working for yourself. I also had the benefit of working under Vinnie Myers for the past 5 years, and he is easily one of the most successful people in tattooing.
It’s a second floor shop, and I set it up to be a semi-private studio. There’s limited signage outside and you kind of have to know I’m there to even know it’s a tattoo shop. I tattoo by appointment only and it’s a super laid back environment. It’s kind of nice having a little hidden place to do my work.
TS: Your work ranges from black and grey, to traditional, to neo-traditional, to realistic. How did this come about? Do you have a preferred style?
DW: I think there’s a few factors that led to me doing so many different styles. I think the number one reason is I truly love almost every style of tattooing. I never understood artists who only liked one style and hated everything else. There’s value in so many different styles of tattooing. Another thing that led to me being diverse is my background in realism. As a kid growing up my focus in drawing was realism, so when I got into tattooing I was able to incorporate realistic techniques into traditional tattoo designs. The last reason is that it took me a long time to figure out how to do a solid tattoo, I worked at street shops and I kind of jumped around trying different things to find what was right for me. Tattooing is hard.
My favorite style tends to be illustrated realism, not even sure if that’s an actual style haha.
dave-wah-6
TS: With being comfortable in so many different styles, do you suggest different styles based on the subject matter or what the client asks for?
DW: I’m very fortunate that most of my clients tend to let me do whatever style I want. Once they give me the subject of their tattoo I consider what style I think it would look best in, and what style would look best on them. I’m also very aware of my limitations as a tattooer, so I think about how I can utilize my strengths to make the tattoo work.
TS: I see your website states that you no longer do coverups. Why is that? Does this include lasered pieces?
DW: The short answer is that coverups are a pain in the ass and they stress me out. I will cover lasered pieces if they are light enough, I’ll also cover up small tattoos if it’s fairly easy. It’s such a shame that so many people are looking for cover ups these days, unfortunately I think the problem is only going to get worse over time.
dave-wah-5
TS: Outside of tattooing, what do you do in your spare time?
DW: Spare time is pretty hard to come by these days, tattooing is pretty much my whole life. When I’m not working or drawing tattoos I spend a lot of time looking at tattoos online, good ones and bad ones. Other than tattoo related stuff I spend a lot of time in my basement studio recording and writing music. I’m really lucky to have a wife that gives me a good amount of freedom.
TS: Which tattoo artists inspire you? What about outside of the tattoo world?
DW: My favorite tattoo artist is Seth Wood. I don’t think I’ve seen a tattoo of his that I didn’t love. Some other artists who constantly amaze me are Jim Sylvia, Stefan Johnsson, Peter Lagergren, Mike Stockings, Emily Rose Murray, and Mike Moses, just to name a handful. I think we’re very fortunate to live in a time when everyone’s work is so readily available to see. I’ve only been tattooing a little over eleven years but I still remember having to wait for new magazines to come out see new work.
TS: Who was the last tattoo artist that tattooed you?
DW: The last two tattoos I got were from Steve Wimmer in Delaware and from Seth Wood when he was still in Brooklyn. Both were really great experiences, it’s really cool to see how every shop has it’s own unique vibe.
dave-wah-10
TS: Who do you want to get tattooed by?
DW: I’d love to get tattooed by Jim Sylvia, Grime, and of course Seth Wood again. There’s a bunch of artists in Maryland who I want to get work from, Jason Reeder, Gary Gerhardt, Thomas Kenney, and John Rippey, all those guys are killing it.
TS: Any travel plans for 2014?
DW: I think most of my traveling is done for 2014, my wife and I just had our first baby so I’m gonna hold off on traveling till the end of the year or the beginning of 2015. Between the baby, a new shop, and the new house we just built my plate is pretty full. I usually do about 5-6 conventions a year but I’d like to do a lot more conventions and guest spots in the future. I also need to get back out to see my friends at Memento Tattoo in Columbus, Ohio. Those guys are on another level.
TS: Any last words?
DW: I’m currently looking to set up a steady rotation of guest artists at my shop in Baltimore. Working by myself has been great, but you can learn so much more by working with other artists. If anyone wants to set up a guest spot send me an email to dave@davewah.com with a link to your portfolio. Thanks so much for supporting me and putting my work on your website, it really means the world to me.

Reviving the art of Filipino tribal tattoos

By Aya Lowe

Source: http://www.bbc.com

_75061795_i-zspmwgk-x3

Each tattoo is designed around an individual’s life story.

The Spanish conquistadors who landed in 1521 dubbed the Philippines the Islands of the Painted Ones after the heavily tattooed locals. Nearly 500 years on, tribal tattooing is almost extinct. Aya Lowe met the islands’ last practitioner and those trying to keep the tradition alive.

For more than eight decades, Whang-Od has been inking the headhunting warriors and women of her Kalinga tribe.

Using the traditional “tapping” style, dating back a thousand years, she hammers ink into the skin using the spike of a calmansi (lime) tree attached to a bamboo stick that has been dipped in wet charcoal.

The simple designs are evocative of the nature around her in the mountainous region of the Cordilleras – outlines of centipedes, trees and snakes or basic geometric patterns such as diamonds and squares.

_75060674_afteratattooingsession,whang-odrestsinaquietcornerofbuscalanvillage._larskrutak

Kalinga tribal tattoo artist Whang-Od

These, she says, are “earthly messengers from the gods [that] protect you from enemies or bad spirits”.

Not for the light-hearted, this slow, primitive method is extremely painful and would have been endured for short periods only. Large tattoos might take several months to complete.

However, at 94, Whang-Od – whose own skin is etched with a variety of designs – is likely to be the last of her kind.

Training her niece

Tradition dictates that skills can only be passed down family lines. Having lost the love of her life at the age of 25 in a logging accident, Whang-Od did not marry again and bore no children.

“It can’t be passed on to anyone else,” she insists. “It has to be within the same family because if someone else who is not from the same bloodline starts tattooing, the tattoo will get infected.”

However, the young in her village are not keen on adopting the body work of their elders. Though she is training her niece to carry on her work, Whang-Od says that her young relative is more interested in her studies to become a teacher.

_75060676_whang-od,thelastkalingatattoomasterhammeringanorangethorntoolintothechestofaclient._larskrutak

The “tapping” tattoo method is extremely painful and can be endured for short periods only

The preservation of tribal tattooing may, however, lie thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, where a group of dedicated members of the Filipino diaspora has been working hard to ensure the tradition is not lost.

Tatak Ng Apat na Alon, which translates as “Mark of the Four Waves Tribe”, was formed nearly 15 years ago in Los Angeles by Filipino-Americans.

_75061791_wwiiveteranslakaymaymayaosagangab(left)andthelatejaimealos(right)ofdananaovillage.today,lessthan15kalingamenbearthewarriortattoosoftheirancestors._larskrutak

The traditions of the Kalinga tribe elders are not being adopted by the younger generation

Their name is a reference to the “waves” of immigrants who came to the Philippines.

The group has grown to become a global community made up of hundreds of people with Filipino heritage looking to revive the tattooing traditions of Filipino tribes by having their designs etched on their skin.

 

_75061793_fourwavesgroup,kalingatattoosimagecreditellefestin2

Tribal tattoos have been popular with the Filipino diaspora

“People are sacrificing their skin to revive this ancestral form of art and make sure it is not forgotten,” says Elle Festin, the co-founder of the community.

“The only way you can find proof of designs is through oral history and artefacts. The only way to stop it becoming obsolete is by reviving the designs.”

Having left the Philippines as a teenager, Mr Festin said his journey into the world of tribal tattooing became a way for him to connect with his own heritage, something he felt he had lost growing up in the US.

“Filipinos in the Philippines don’t need to define themselves, but for the Filipino diaspora many are looking for a connection back to their heritage,” he says.

_75061795_i-zspmwgk-x3

Filipino heritage is essential if someone wants to have a tribal tattoo.

“It’s more important for them to define themselves as Filipino in a foreign country.”

Tattoos were a prominent feature among pre-Hispanic tribes of the Philippines. They acted as a corporal roadmap designating people by tribe and rank, acting as a protection charm or medal, or as permanent make-up.

Dr Lars Krutak, a tattoo anthropologist in the Visayas region of the central Philippines, says traditional tattooing practices had vanished in the region by the 1700s because of the presence of the Spanish military and the influence of the Church.

_75061797_i-fzqpw6g-x3
But in Mindanao, an island in the country’s far south, and the mountainous region of the Cordilleras – the home of Whang-Od – the practice survived because of the area’s remoteness and warrior tribes who successfully defended their ancestral homelands from foreign invaders, like the colonial Spanish.

Pilgrimage

People who receive a tattoo have to be of Filipino heritage. The artists work closely with their clients to research their family histories and life events to create a design.

“We were very careful about how it grew and who our tattoo artists were,” said Mr Festin. “We didn’t want it to go viral and turn into a trend like Polynesian designs. We wanted to encourage curiosity to getting people talking about the meaning behind the markings.”

In 2008, Mr Festin made perhaps the most important pilgrimage in his career as a tattooist when he returned to his homeland to visit Whang-Od and the Kalinga tribe.

“When I first met Whang-Od I was afraid of what she would think of my designs, especially as they were modified from original form,” he said.

“But she was impressed with my tools and asked me to tattoo her. You could tell she was experienced by the way she lay down and stretched her skin.”

While the sight of a fully tattooed man or woman is becoming a rarity in the Philippines, it is this small dedicated group of enthusiasts, far across the ocean, that is keeping the art form alive, hopefully for many decades to come.

About the author: Based in Manila, Aya Lowe writes business, travel and human interest stories around South East Asia and the Middle East.


Last Rites Tattoo Studio and Last Rites Gallery presents: Lastrites.tv

jpeg

 

Lastrites.tv: A NEW and Online Community

png

 

 

 

New York, May 2014 – Last Rites is excited to announce the launch of its brand new website, Online Community and Forum. Lastrites.tv will serve as the umbrella site for both Last Rites Tattoo Theatre and Last Rites Gallery, uniting the two separate meccas for the dark arts under one roof, alongside the birth of the Last Rites Online Community. Although Last Rites Tattoo Theatre and Last Rites Gallery will still exist independent of one another, we hope this new site will make it easier for our patrons to enjoy all the talent and beauty under one roof, similar to our space at 325 West 38th Street in NYC. Our intention is to provide a digital space to serve as a comprehensive community of like-minded individuals that have a true appreciation for the dark side of art.
We’ve designed the structure of the website to make your journey simple yet visually stimulating as you peruse all facets of the dark art world that is Last Rites. Our main navigation gives constant access to Last Rites Tattoo Theatre, Last Rites Gallery, the Last Rites Store, Forum and Online Community. Each category gives you access to drop down menus allowing you to choose which component you wish to explore. Further, we have integrated social media streams, videos, appointment forms, a forum and tons of images for your viewing pleasure! It is our hope that our patrons will browse and interact with the art and one another on our platform through our Forums and Online Community.

Paul Booth truly wishes to unite friends, fans, and enthusiasts from both the Fine Art and Tattoo worlds. His inspiration and aspirations can now be accessed through the free Last Rites Online Community and Forum. The Online Community will allow visitors to create their own profiles, photo and video albums, chat, and interact with the website fully, including commenting and liking on artwork and pages. The Forum will offer a wide array of subjects to ponder and discuss, also accessible from logging on to the Online Community. It is our hope that these avenues of discussion and social sharing will allow you, without the restricting guidelines of censorship, to explore, contribute and embrace the dark arts.

Lastrites.tv is also mobile friendly and easily accessed from all smart devices. We hope our site proves to be ergonomic and a haven for all friends, fans, and enthusiasts.

Last Rites Gallery
325 West 38th st #1 NYC
212.560.0666

http://www.lastrites.tv

 

 


GUEST BLOG: “TATTOOISTS, TATTOOED” EXHIBITION

tattoo machine

At the prestigious Museum du quai Branly in Paris, the “Tatoueurs, tatoues” opened on May 6th to great acclaim, with renowned tattoo artists in attendance for the opening, as well as international media (including the New York Times). Reviewing the exhibit for Needles & Sins, our friend Serinde in Paris offers her thoughts in this guest post as well as photos of exhibit pieces here on Flickr.

By Serinde

A tattoo exhibition? You mean, not in the corner of a tattoo convention? In a real museum? Well, it’s for real, and it’s happening now in Paris, at the Museum du quai Branly, which is quite famous for showing high quality exhibitions, usually specialized in anthropology and ethnology. And it is now showing “Tatoueurs, tatoues” (or “tattooists, tattooed”).

Of course, having a few tattoos myself, and being both interested and a bit educated in tattoo history and techniques, I had to rush there, and report back on what this exhibit has to offer:

The exhibition was curated by Anne & Julien (who’ve been involved in the modern art scene for many years now), and advised and directed by famed French tattoo artist Tin-Tin. The goal of the exhibit, as explained by Anne & Julien, is to show how tattoo, which has existed since ancient times, has changed, developed, disappeared, and been reborn to the art we know today.

tattooed arm mummy

In the first part, named “from the global to the marginal,” the exhibition tells the story of tattoo throughout history, and society. You can view a mummified tattooed arm from Peru, antique tools, and amazing portraits of Algerian tattooed women. This part also explores the role of tattoos in the navy, and in prisons with, among other things, a short movie that I highly recommend: “La peau du milieu” (1957), showing the “underground” side of tattoo, at a time when the meaning was much more important than the style, which was, well, rather poor.

Then, you enter the marginal and colorful world of sideshow, circus, freaks, and…traveling tattoo artists. As a transition, there’s a very interesting “Wall of Fame,” displaying a timeline of tattoo culture, including laws, techniques, famous tattoo artists, and famous tattooed people.

tattooed skin

The exhibition goes on with a focus on tattoo in Japan, North America, and Europe. The Japanese selection shows some stunning paintings, tattoo projects, photos of tattooed people, videos, a photo of a tattooed skin taken from a dead man (gulp! I first didn’t notice it was only a photo); other incredible artifacts include a kabuki costume painted so that it looked like a tattoo when worn by the actor. In the North America and European selections, there were more photos and prints of tattooed people, and interestingly, a copy of Samuel O’Reilly’s patent for his tattooing machine (and some modern day machines as well).

Moving through the exhibit, at this stage, museum goers now view works made by tattoo artists exclusively for this exhibition: 19 artists worked on “tattoo project” paintings, and 13 artists tattooed silicon body parts to great effect.

There’s also an exploration into the revival of traditional tattoo in Oceania and South-East Asia, displaying some impressive masks and head sculptures (I was especially impressed by those), traditional tools, as well as modern tattoo projects. There’s further cultural discussion of tattoo in China, the Latino and Chicano cultures in the US, among others.

At last, the exhibition ends with the “new generation” of artists, such as Yann Black and the “Art Brut” movement in tattooing, as a nod to the future of the art.

Tin Tin tattoo silicon

 

 

To read the rest of this article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/05/tatoueurs-tatoues-musee-du-quai-branly.html

 


Horiyoshi III and David Lee Roth


What is Art? (Part 2)

By Nick Baxter

Last year I started collecting my thoughts on the continual debate in my head about what art is, and how it can be (among other things) an effective form of communication. That effort was and still is intertwined with the process of further understanding my own art, and all other art, as well. In hindsight, I thought the initial writing (here and here) was a bit unfocused, and since it was also incomplete, I took the time recently to revisit those blog entries and rework them into a more cohesive essay.
The final part of that essay, as mentioned in the second of those prior blog posts, is about my belief that photojournalism can be viewed as a creative art form, possessing an almost-accidental form of raw beauty capable of inspiring other works of art (such as many of my own). This critique of photojournalism introduces broader questions about the “unintended” as art, and–for now–completes my investigation into the sneakily complicated debate “What is art?”

In the future I’ll post the final version of the essay in its entirety, but for now here is the “part 2″ continuation of those prior blog posts.

Photojournalism and the Unintended as Art

In the last 100 years, photojournalism has become a fixture of our visual landscape. On the surface, it’s simply defined as the use of images to tell a news story or to report on current events. In this role, the photos are not art, and their photographers are not acting as artists, which means their images are typically held to strict ethical standards of honesty, impartiality, and objectivity. But these attributes are graded on a scale that becomes increasingly inexact amidst the complexity of postmodern thought and the digital age of endless reproduction and re-appropriation. This is the point at which the question “What is art?” becomes relevant and fascinating to me, when applied to the medium of photojournalism.
I’ve always appreciated the naïve purity of an image that’s been produced with no pretense of art, utterly uninhibited by the finicky shackles of artistic rules or the whims of unreliable muses like inspiration. In this open and wild space, artistic qualities and natural beauty are given the chance to emerge on their own, unintended and raw, like the strongest of weeds in a perfectly manicured lawn, and photography seems to be an ideal medium for this phenomenon. This element of chance can produce quite powerful images, capable of communicating intensely to the viewer while remaining—and precisely because they remain—firmly grounded in the truth of reality “as it happened.”
And so the commonplace photos we’re bombarded with through ever-increasing media saturation begin ostensibly as visual data comprised only of ‘facts’ or neutral information, yet end up loaded with symbolism, embedded with the perceptions and beliefs of their creators and audience after becoming the subject of this artistic line of inquiry.

2004_TWIP_040304_02.ss_full-1024x685

One of my all-time favorites (sorry I could not find the photographer or credit online).

In studying art history, it seems this afterlife of the journalistic image became much more possible in the wake of the Dada movement, when artists (including photographers) carved out new niches for their work beyond mere decoration or commemoration of important people or places. Art in the 20th century became increasingly deconstructivist, philosophically charged, and conceptual in nature, filling multiple roles while having its meaning manipulated by the increasingly complex worldviews of both creator and audience1.

Because of this evolution, just about anything could be considered art in the right context, meaning that most contemporary art now resides as much in the blurry, ambiguous realm of provocative ideas as it does in the realm of traditional craft. Hence a museum visitor might encounter an exhibit of random paint splotches that, beneath its completely underwhelming, childlike appearance, contains a metaphor referencing complex political or psychological theories learned by the artist through years of intense academic study.

 

This can be maddening to the viewer who simply wants to marvel at a skillfully executed object of beauty, or it can be liberating for those who want to engage in debate, controversy, or social change through the arts. My own art has always attempted to straddle this fence by incorporating the best of both worlds: technical, precise handling of paint in the realism tradition, yet depicting modern subject matter and informed by the angst and alienation of postmodern philosophies. It is my belief that photojournalism in the modern age, thanks to that 20th-century process of expansion and deconstruction, straddles a similar fence, one separating objective observations from subjective beauty and meaning.

This ability of the journalistic photograph to transcend genres is confirmed in the academic community by the fact that “Breaking News Photography” is a Pulitzer Prize category. This prestigious yearly award started in 1917 as a way to honor impactful achievements in American journalism, literature, and music. Winning photographs are resurrected as art objects, receiving appreciation for their poignancy and beauty—a second life of sorts, after their initial purpose or function in the journalistic media has been served.

This second life also takes the form of photo essays, curated and arranged into cohesive narratives, which are now commonly presented in art and lifestyle publications, fine art galleries, and museums throughout the world. Depending on the intentions of the photographer and exhibiting institution or publication, as well as the sensibilities of the viewing audience, these photographs may be appreciated for their communication about the world events that comprise their content, or for their artistic qualities—or both.

In his 1995 essay about the modern age of photojournalism, writer Richard Lacayo wades into the debate surrounding artistic subjectivity and meaning:

“Photojournalists tend to stay aloof from talk about camera aesthetics. There is something about dodging gunfire in Beirut that discourages ruminations on style, understandably enough. More to the point, no one who catalogs bloodshed or poverty wants to be thought of as yet another vendor to the senses. Some news photographers spend half their lives chasing wars; who can blame them if they reach for the door when they hear the word art? …The stereotype survives: artists have visions; journalists have assignments. They may both think to themselves, ‘I am a camera,’ but each means something different.

“Yet aesthetic questions have a moral dimension. Color is pretty; misery is not. How does one keep the simple appeal of color from confounding the full range of meanings a photograph may convey? If pictures of genocide come to us in the muted pastels of a GAP ad or the vivid hues of a rock video, how does a photographer keep atrocity from looking palatable?”2

While the moralist in me sympathizes with this sentiment, the artist and rebel in me, raised in an age of cynicism, desensitization, and ambiguity, views adjectives like ‘palatable’ as mere subjective opinions, impossible to resolve into an absolute truth for all to agree on. Human culture is so diverse that practically anything could be considered palatable art, by someone. And so I answer Lacayo’s question with another question: “Why should the photographer keep atrocity from looking palatable?”

I want to ask this question not because I enjoy atrocity, but because I am capable of the postmodern complexity of holding multiple feelings and competing appreciations within me simultaneously. In this case, that multiplicity includes the horror and revulsion at the tragic events occurring in our world as well as the aesthetic delight at the spectacle of color, shape, line, emotion, symbolism, and meaning on vivid display, emerging somewhat accidentally (and perhaps with more purity) through the photojournalistic medium.

As if to concede this very point I’m making and pay homage to the “What is art?” debate, the author goes on to admit, “The most capable photojournalists…have learned to incorporate the unruliness of color into a deliberate statement. …Barbaric rule can operate in the broadest daylight, suffering can happen in sensual settings, a place can be cruel and inviting at the same time.”

And so we see that through the inescapable conduit of subjectivity, passive observation becomes intentional communication, and thus, photojournalism can also be the highest of art forms, loaded with inspiration for artists working in any medium. I’ve always appreciated the best journalistic photography for this transcendent ability, the point at which the happenings of this world become awe-inspiring images, and the deepest truths contained in the human condition are put on poetic display.

referencefolder-lowres

Various newspaper and magazine clippings I’ve save over the years for reference and inspiration.

So once and for all, “What is art?” This question may never be fully answered. But with an integral approach and an open mind, artists and viewers alike can use this line of inquiry to enrich their experience of reality, to deepen the communication that is the purpose of all art, and to find beauty everywhere, even where it may be unintended.

2000_51398791.ss_full

Another powerful, poetic image (sorry I couldn’t find the photographer or image credit online for this one either).

1The Situationists of the 1960s took this evolution to the extreme, espousing radical anarchist views on art that embraced destruction and merciless re-appropriation of all imagery, in the service of transforming society and conscious reality into a powerful and playful dialogue with the present moment.

2Lacayo, Richard. “IV: Resurgence 1980-1995.” Eyewitness: 150 Years of Photojournalism. New York CIty: Time, 1995. 166. Print.


ARTIST PROFILE: KIRIAKOS, SAKE TATTOO CREW

By Marisa Kakoulas

http://www.needlesandsins.com

Kiriakos sake tattoo crew 1 Kiriakos sake tattoo crew 2

In Athens, Greece, the Sake Tattoo Crew is an incubator for top tattoo talent — not just respected in the country, but worldwide. One artist from this collective is Kiriakos Balaskas. Tattooing for 8 years after a tough apprenticeship with Sake, Kiriakos developed a style combining abstract expressionism watercolors and graphic art. But I wanted to learn from him how he views his work, and tattoo culture as a whole, so I took him away from organizing the Athens Tattoo Convention, which is May 23-25, for a quick Q&A. 

If forced to define your style, how would you describe it? What are the strongest influences on your work?


My tattoo style in general has always been a combination of heavy themes/ lines/ shapes, and naive — almost childish — color details. I’ve always found this invasion of joy into strictness (two sides that equally attract me) very interesting and exciting. As soon as I started experimenting with the watercolor technique, I felt I had finally found the absolute way of expressing this ultimate combination. My pieces mainly include these distinctive elements: a black graphic stencil or sketch, and either a brush or wide, “clean,” kid-style watercolors — usually two colors only. It is hard for me to define it in a sole, strict term as there is no one else in Greece who practises this style, but if forced to define it, I’d use the term my costumers use when they ask for it, “Kiddo.”

Some old school artists believe that “only bold will hold,” and that every tattoo needs a heavy outline to stay strong longer. What is your response to this? 

I agree and I myself use total black outlines in the stencil/sketch part. But as far as the watercolors outline is concerned, I feel the lines should create an ephemeral impression — if you take the loose element out of the watercolor, the very substance of it is gone. 

Because you are doing something new and innovative with your work, what kind of reactions do you get to it?

The reactions are positive, if not overwhelming. People are interested in trying this new technique or inflowing the style into their tattoos, and their eagerness to experiment with unconventional styles sincerely moves me.

What are some of the greatest lessons you learned in tattooing?

I’ve learned the greatest lessons and values of tattooing from the person who initiated me to this art, Sake. It was a tough apprenticeship by his side that I had to go through in order to become a respected tattoo artist, and one of the greatest lessons he gave me was to pay this respect back to the customers. They will have that piece on them forever, and that is something we always have to keep in mind. 

What do you think makes a good tattoo — and what do you think makes a good tattoo artist?

A good tattoo is a tattoo that remains the same over the years, as if it was only done two weeks ago. I consider good artists to be the artists who won’t rest or let themselves go as far as their technique, style and inspiration are concerned.

How have you seen tattoo culture in Greece evolve? How has mainstream culture in Greece adapted to the art’s popularity?

**To read the full article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/05/artist-profile-kiriakos-sake-tattoo-crew.html

Kiriakos sake tattoo crew 3


Knives and Needles with Ceiran Thomas

By Molly Kitamura

Source: http://www.knivesandneedles.com

image-1-png2

Ceiran Thomas has quite an impressive resume, having worked at some of the best restaurants in Wales, where he currently lives. I got excited when he approached me about doing an interview as I have always wanted to visit that area of England! I have heard its beautiful and I am curious about the local food. Ceiran has not only worked in the best places with some of the hardest kitchens in Wales, but was the head chef of a team of 40 at the London Games in 2012. He got started cooking with his grandmother as a child and loves butchery and considers himself a fishmonger.

Read more on Ceiran just below…. Plus his mouth-watering recipe!

Where do you work now?

I’m between restaurants at the moment I’m awaiting the opening of a new restaurant next month with one of the great British chefs I’m currently privately teaching.

What got you into getting tattooed?

I think the beauty and art of it I’ve Always been creative and expressed myself and I think it’s a beautiful way to do it.

image-4

What was your first tattoo?

My first tattoo was a rib tattoo of the welsh national anthem it’s close to my heart I’m a patriot hearing it sung brings a tear to my eye.

What is your favorite thing to cook?

I love cooking fish it’s amazing nothing better than fresh fish it’s just magical especially strait off the line just brings you so much closer to nature. Just simple.

What is the food in Whales like?

Its Wales and its hearty and fresh we have a lively coast so the seas are abundant with shellfish and the like we also have a very green countryside full of the best organic veg and healthy cattle, wales is famous for its lamb.

image-12

 

Do you ever go to any tattoo conventions?

I’ve only ever been to tattoo conventions in Cardiff (Cardiff tattoo and toy convention I received a beautiful dot-work sleeve and Cardiff Halloween bash where I received an epic neo traditional calf tattoo and some scarification off a legend Dr Evil.)

Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

I can’t pick and choose in the tattoo industry to be honest I’ve seen beautiful work from world class artists and just as good from local apprentices it’s not about who’s been tattooing for a lifetime it’s about the vision of the artist.

Who do you admire in the culinary industry?

In the food industry there’s many to name a few

James Sommerin

Thomas Keller

Raymond blanc

Michel roux jr

The roux brothers

Tom kerage

image-png

 

What will your next tattoo be?

My next tattoo will either be my lower knuckles or my kneecap tattooed with a neo traditional rose

What were the London Games like?

The London games were just alive the only way I can describe it just non stop I worked 17 hour days strait for the games and then 13 hours a day in the rest days between the Olympics and the Paralympics and then back to 17 in the Paralympics it was full on but I miss it

Ceiran has generously given us one amazing recipe, check it out and let the hunger pains begin!

image

 

Crab and Scallop Lasagne with Chive Bureè Blanc

.400g fresh white scallop meat (white only)

.480ml fresh double cream

.Pinch of course sea salt and cracked black pepper

.430g white crab meat

.aprox.500g fresh Pasta dough

 

For the sauce -

Small handful of chives

Block of unsalted butter (cubed)

40ml white wine

40ml white wine vinegar

2 shallots

20ml cream

 

Roll out pasta sheets and rest between cling film sheets in the fridge

(Can you ready made sheets but these much be cooked aldenté before you build the lasagne)

 

Pick threw your crab meat for any shell.

Blitz your scallop meat in a food processor and add your crab meat.

Slowly add your cream and seasoning, put in a piping bag and rest in the fridge for 10 minutes

prepare your lasagne in metal rings

First layer a pice of pasta cut to size in the bottem then pipe your scallop mix about 10-15 mm and add another sheet then another 10-15mm of mix then a final sheet

To cook steam over boiling water for 8-10 mins with a lid

For the sauce

Dice your shallots fine

Add your white wine and vinegar to a pan and reduce add shallots and reduce till there is allmost no liquid in the pan then add cream and reduce further till thick move to a low heat and slowly whisk in your butter cubes

Chop your chives and add to the sauce.  Garnish with wild mushrooms if available and micro herbs.

image-16

 

Thank you Ceiran!! Incredible food and great tattoos!!

You can catch more of Ceiran and his food on his Instagram, @theinkchef

If you would like to be featured on our blog, please email us or tag us!!

knivesandneedles@gmail.com

@knivesandneedles

Cheers!!

 

 


Confessions of a Tattoo Artist: Part 1


Buddha tattoo woman flies from Sri Lanka ‘with apology’

Source: BBC News

http://www.bbc.com

_74419627_74419626

Naomi Colman: “I’ve been treated like a criminal.”

A British tourist arrested in Sri Lanka because she had a Buddha tattoo on her arm said she has been offered a holiday in the country “as an apology”.

Naomi Coleman will arrive in London later, following a deportation order, as a court refused her permission to continue travelling to The Maldives.

Police said she was arrested for “hurting others’ religious feelings”when she arrived at the airport in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo on Monday.

The holiday offer was made as she left.

Ms Coleman, a mental health nurse from Coventry, flew in to Bandaranaike International Airport from India.

Kissing a Buddha

The 37-year-old said she told police she practised Buddhism and had attended meditation retreats and workshops in Thailand, India, Cambodia and Nepal.

Sri Lankan authorities take strict action against perceived insults to Buddhism, which is the religion of the island’s majority ethnic Sinhalese.

In 2013, another British tourist with a tattoo of the Buddha, Antony Ratcliffe, was also denied entry at Colombo’s airport.

_74375500_74375313

Ms. Coleman’s tattoo shows a buddha sitting on a lotus flower.

A year earlier, three French tourists were given suspended prison sentences for kissing a Buddha statue.

Following Ms Coleman’s deportation order, she spent a night in prison in Negombo and two nights in a detention centre while security checks were carried out.

(more…)


Aitchison/Gogue Collaboration Piece

jeff and guy

Back in February of this year as a part of our ongoing professional development webinar series,

TattooNOW and Off the Map Tattoo produced and broadcast an unprecedented live streaming

internet event. A collaboration tattoo from tattoo masters Guy Aitchison and Jeff Gogue,

watched as it happened by over 6000 viewers. Matt McKelvey was the lucky recipient of this

amazing tattoo. Here is his story of the experience…

 

When I saw that TattooNOW was offering the opportunity to be tattooed by Jeff Gogue and Guy

Aitchison, I spent the next few days writing my submission. I treated my entry like a resume,

which was built upon the image of the Heike Crab. I first saw the unique creature and heard its

mythology on Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. My goal was to have elements where both artists could

bring their strengths, but it would be unique enough to be exciting. A few months went by, and I

was honored to find out I had been selected.

photo 2

It just so happened that I ended up in the same exact hotel room that I stayed in when I started

my bodysuit. There was some pretty bad weather in Portland that weekend and after a phone

conversation with Jeff, I wasn’t sure if Guy’s plane would be landing. We decided if things fell

through, the least we could do would be to work on my existing tattoo.
(more…)


Ladies, Ladies! Art Show 2014

Opening reception May 15, 2014

7-11 pm

at Eight of Swords Tattoo and Gallery,

115 Grand str, 11249 Brooklyn, NY

www.wix.com/ladiesladies/artshow

Curated by Elvia Iannaccone Gezlev and Magie Serpica

image

Rose Hardy

An exclusive all ladies group art show featuring some of the most talented female tattooers: from the NYC ladies to international talents, this art show displays different styles and/or techniques, but only one love: tattooing. The show was also and foremost created to pay respect to the ladies who started tattooing first and paved the way for all others to follow, (names like Debra Yarian, Pat Sinatra, Kate Hellenbrandt, Vyvyn Lazonga and few more) in a tough industry, historically male dominated.

image copy

Tai Inglesias

Nowadays we cant help but notice the growing number and variety of skilled female talents taking over the tattoo world!!

The show is curated this year by Elvia Iannaccone Gezlev and Magie Serpica, and it’s at its 3rd edition.

image copy 4

Bruna Yonashiro

Opening May 15, 2014 at Dave Wallin’s Eight of Swords- Brooklyn studio and gallery, for two months, la crème de la crème of female tattooers art will be on display and for sale.

A chance to buy original art and to meet some of the artists!

Not to be missed!

image copy 3

Lara Scotton

 

Some of the artists of 2014:

  • STEPHANIE TAMEZ
  • TAI IGLESIAS
  • LARA SCOTTON
  • VICKY MORGAN
  • VIOLA VON HELL
  • MARIE SENA
  • MARIJA RIPLEY
  • DAWN COOKE
  • DEBRA YARIAN
  • HOLLY ELLIS
  • IMME BOHME
  • JACKIE DUNN SMITH
  • JACLYN REHE
  • JAMIE RUTH
  • ROSE HARDY
  • ALIX GE
  • AMY SHAPIRO

 

…… AND MANY MORE!!


Tattoo Artist Magazine: Mike Rubendall Issue #28 Teaser Video

http://youtu.be/-uUy3KBdBfg


Knives & Needles with Alessandra Palotti

By Molly Kitamura

http://www.knivesandneedlesblog.com

My new and dear friend, Alessandra Palotti is a great tattoo artist and a great cook! Alexandra is Italian from Bologna, Italy where she has been tattooing for over 6 years. Alessandra and her husband, Koji Ichimaru, run their private studio in Bologna, what a beautiful place to live, definitely on my go-to list!

photo-1

 

Alessandra and I got to cook together one day. I made beef Milanese and she made Bolognese sauce. I had never had traditional, authentic Bolognese before and had a completely different idea in my head on how it is made. I learned so much from her that day.

photo-5

 

Here is a mix of Alessandra’s tattoo photos, her recipe and photos of the process. Please enjoy and try out her recipe, it will become a staple in your culinary repertoire!

photo-3-1
(more…)


Japanese Tattoos as Fine Art

By Liz Ohanesian

Source: http://www.laweekly.com

JANMTattooShow12

Models show off their tattoos at the opening event for “Perseverance.”

On Saturday afternoon, four tattoo artists went to work inside Little Tokyo’s Japanese American National Museum for the opening of “Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in the Modern World.” They spent hours taking ink and needles to flesh, adding to the large, detailed illustrations that already marked their client’s bodies. Crowds gathered and dispersed throughout the day, watching with interest.

Most seemed unfazed by the buzz of tattoo machines. Many of the onlookers here have gone through a similar process. Some had tattooed sleeves that crawled out from under t-shirts. Others had art that peeked out above collar lines or below hems.

Instead, it was two of those tattoo artists working in silence at their stations who could provoke a wince from the crowd. They were practicing tebori. That’s the traditional Japanese way of applying tattoos. In other words, they were using equipment that wasn’t motorized. The artists dipped their instruments into ink before poking repeatedly at patches of skin on their clients. One lay on his back, an arm crossed over his eyes. His stomach moved with breaths that grew deeper as the prodding persisted. Another remained still on his stomach. From certain angles, you could catch the tension creases form on his face.

Tebori is an old-fashioned way of tattooing, but it’s not antiquated. Takahiro Kitamura, known as Horitaka in tattoo circles, is the curator of “Perseverance.” He notes that there are still plenty of tebori practitioners at work. Many of them choose to use machines to outline the tattoos, he says, but they’ll still use their hands for shading. It’s more than an adherence to tradition. He notes that some believe working by hand makes for a better, longer-lasting tattoo.

JANMTattooShow03

“Perseverance” is an unusual show in that it both documents and celebrates the art of Japanese tattoos, as well as the impact this style of body art has had globally. Tattoos date back to Japan’s ancient history, but flourished during the Edo period. Despite an extensive history, tattoos in Japan aren’t mainstream. In fact, many who have traveled to the country have reported of signs that ban people with tattoos from certain institutions. Even in the U.S., where body art is relatively commonplace, the Japanese style is extreme in comparison to everyday tattoos. These are not your typical daisy on the ankle. Some people invest in full bodysuits. Others may stick with the trunk of the body or limbs.

According to Horitaka, one of the major misconceptions about Japanese tattoos is that they aren’t “fine art.” Tattoos have some similarities with other traditional Japanese art forms that have found homes in museums. Take the names of the artists as an example. A number of the tattoo artists here are known by names that use the prefix “hori.” Horitaka explains that this word means “to dig or carve” and notes that woodblock prints are often signed by artists whose names also begin with “hori.” It is, he says, something that tattoo artists adopted from wood carvers.

In curating this exhibition, Horitaka is challenging the misconceptions about tattoos. Artist and professor Kip Fulbeck photographed numerous human canvases bearing the work of the best artists in the field. Horitaka selected photos that zoomed in on the art, juxtaposing those with full-sized portraits of the people who wear the tattoos. The goal was to explore the diversity within the Japanese tattoo tradition, while making the show as much about the people as it is about the art. It’s a massive collaboration between the curator, the photographer/designer, the tattoo artists and their clients. For the opening day festivities, many of the clients turned up – some traveling to L.A. from Japan – to model work that can take months, even years, to complete.

JANMTattooShow34

Shawn McHenry and Chad Sachman, both from Rancho Cucamonga, are both clients of Inland Empire tattoo artist Espi. They were amongst the models at the exhibition’s opening event. McHenry has a full back tattoo. It took about a year to get that done. He also has work on his leg that’s been in progress for two-and-a-half years. His tattoos tell the story of Kintaro, a folklore hero, and his encounter with a large carp. It’s a tale that relates to McHenry’s work. He owns a koi fish shop and got into the business when he was barely an adult. “If you’re foolish and blind and just want to do it,” he says of the story’s message, “you can succeed.”

Horitaka says that tattoos almost always tell a story. Those may be based in folklore, religion or history. You’ll see narratives unfold down the back, below the buttocks and onto the upper thighs. They might scroll down arms or across the chest.

As Japanese tattoos have increased in popularity, the stories they tell have changed as well. “We’re in a world of fusion now,” says Kitamura. Time-honored tales aren’t the only ones told on skin. Chris “Horishiki” Brand is an artist at Good Time Charlie’s in Anaheim. He’s also part of the L.A.-based art collective UGLAR. For this exhibition, he presented 108 Heroes of Los Angeles. It’s a retelling of Shui Hu Zhuan, a Chinese novel that later made its way to Japan, where it’s known as Suikoden. In this series of tattoos, Brand merges Japanese and Chicano art in a story of rebellion. Photos of the tattoo piece are exhibited in the museum.

JANMTattooShow27

Undoubtedly, with narrative-based pieces as involved as these, getting a Japanese-style tattoo requires a serious commitment. Shawn McHenry once went through three days in a row of tattoo sessions, with each one clocking in at about 12 hours. “It got to the point where we would have to stop because of the smell of flesh,” he says.

He says that there is an endorphin rush that comes with being tattooed. That, however, can wear off when you’re in the lengthy sessions that occur with large pieces. He says that, at a certain point, the pain stays in a specific part of the body. It doesn’t move with the needle. Chad Sachman agrees with that sentiment. Last week, he had work done on his lower back, over the spine. “I was actually feeling the pain in my knee,” he says.

As for the artists, their work requires constant study. Horitaka, who owns a tattoo shop in San Jose, spent several years as an apprentice in the U.S. and another decade studying under a Japanese tattoo master. Although he works solo now, he’s not done learning. He says, “I think I’m always going to be a student of the Japanese tattoo.”


Knives & Needles with Grime

By Molly Kitamura

http://www.knivesandneedlesblog.com

Grime, Grime, Grime. One of the best tattoo artists in the world! On the slim chance you have not heard of him, he has a shop called Skull and Sword in San Francisco. He is widely known for being a renaissance man of tattooing (and art in general!). What I mean by that is that man consistently crushes any tattoo or style of tattoo requested of him no matter what it is. Grime has created his own style in the process, one that cannot be imitated or replicated although many have tried and failed. Basically you have to see his work for yourself to understand what I am talking about and I highly recommend checking him out!

img_19451

But today that is besides the point. Today we are talking Grime and his food! Mr. Grime can also cook (…renaissance man…) and he occasionally sends me photos of his dishes. They always look amazing. The other day he sent me a particularly mouth-watering photo of his pan-fried salmon filet with an oven-roasted yam and sautéed spinach garnished with raisins, pine nuts and a balsamic glaze. That photo had me seriously second-guessing what I had already decided to cook for dinner that night. You can never go wrong with simple yet sophisticated! Check out a few great recipes and some of Grime’s tattoo work below… Cheers!

I will try my best to recreate Grime’s recipes for you all. Try this dish for your next dinner, you will love it!

img_0661

Grime’s Pan-fried Salmon Filet With Oven-roasted Yam and Sautéed Spinach

(more…)


Tattoo Artist Magazine: Ink N Iron 2011


1300-year-old Egyptian mummy had tattoo of Archangel Michael

By Gene J. Koprowski

http://www.foxnews.com

Ancient Egypt Tatoo 4

CT scan 3D visualisation of the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman, to show the organs. (TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM)

A mummy of an Egyptian woman dating back to 700 A.D. has been scanned and stripped to reveal a tattoo on her thigh that displays the name of the biblical archangel Michael.

The discovery, announced by researchers at the British Museum over the weekend, was made during a research project that used advanced medical scans, including Computed Tomography (CT) images, to examine Egyptian mummies at a number of hospitals in the United Kingdom last year.

The woman’s body was wrapped in a woolen and linen cloth before burial, and her remains were mummified in the desert heat. As deciphered by curators, the tattoo on her thigh, written in ancient Greek, reads Μιχαήλ, transliterated as M-I-X-A-H-A, or Michael.

Curators at the museum speculate that the tattoo was a symbol worn for religious and spiritual protection, though they declined to offer additional details.

‘Michael is an obvious identity for a tattoo, as this is the most powerful of angels.’
- Maureen Tilley, professor of theology at Fordham University

But other scientists and theologians offered their thoughts on the tattoo’s cultural context.

“There was a sizable Christian population in Egypt in the 700s, perhaps close to a majority of the population,” said Maureen Tilley, professor of theology at Fordham University in New York.

“Like Greeks and Romans across the Mediterranean, the portion of the population that was literate was fascinated by the shapes of letters and delighted in making designs with letters in names. Hence, we have the odd shape of the tattoo composed of the letters.”

Ancient Egypt Tatoo 6

Infra-red reflectography of the tattoo found on the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman. (TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM)

Placing the name of a powerful heavenly protector on one’s body by a tattoo or amulet was very common in antiquity, Tilley told Foxnews.com. “Christian women who were pregnant often placed amulets with divine or angelic names on bands on their abdomens to insure a safe delivery of their child,” she said.

“Placing the name on the inner thigh, as with this mummy, may have had some meaning for the hopes of childbirth or protection against sexual violation, as in ‘This body is claimed and protected.’ Michael is an obvious identity for a tattoo, as this is the most powerful of angels.”

Christian Gnostics, religious cultists in that era, were especially interested in the names and functions of intermediary beings between humans and the divine, Tilley noted.

“The Gospel of Truth and the Book of Enoch were both popular among them and have much about an angel whose story sounds very much like that of Archangel Michael in many Christian stories, the angel who led the heavenly army against Satan and the Fallen Angels.”

She added that Christians were not the only ones to use the names of angelic powers in ancient days. “Jews of antiquity were fascinated by the identity and nature of angels,” she said.

Villanova University biology professor Michael Zimmerman, who also has used advanced technologies to study Egyptian mummies, said this kind of find has been sought for years.

“I did participate in an expedition to the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt’s western desert several years ago,” he told FoxNews.com. “This was an early Christian site (around 200 AD), and the deceased were still being mummified, by simply being dried in the very hot climate.

“We did not see any tattoos on those mummies, so the British Museum find is remarkable.”

The museum, which is located in London, will reveal what it has learned about this and seven other mummies in “Ancient Lives: New Discoveries,” an exhibition scheduled to run from May 22 to Nov. 30.

John Taylor, lead curator of the ancient Egypt and Sudan department at the museum, told a local newspaper over the weekend that the exhibition will tell the story of the lives of eight people from antiquity, portraying them as full human beings, rather than as archeological objects.

Photograph of the tattoo found on the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman.

Photograph of the tattoo found on the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman. (TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM)

Using sophisticated medical imaging usually reserved to study strokes and heart attacks, the research team discovered that these eight ancient individuals, whose remains have been held in the museum for some time, had many of the same traits that modern man does, including dental problems, high cholesterol levels and tattoos.

The exhibition portrays one mummy that dates back to 3,500 BC, as well as the tattooed female, aged between 20 and 35, who lived and died about 1,300 years ago. Researchers pointed out that regular Egyptians – not only the royals – were mummified.

The tattooed mummy, the remains of which were found less than a decade ago, was so well preserved that archaeologists could nearly discern the tattoo on the inner thigh of her right leg with the naked eye. But medical infrared technology helped them see it clearly.

The Vatican’s school of science, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, did not return multiple requests for comments made by FoxNews.com.


*New* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Ryan Willard

http://www.marionstreettattoo.com

Marrion Street Tattoo, Denver Colorado

photo 2 photo 2 copy photoimage


How Tattoo Machines Could be Key to Treating Disfiguring Facial Sores and Even Curing Skin Cancer

By Tom Blackwell 

http://www.news.nationalpost.com

Key West Lifts Ban On Tattoo Parlors

A tattoo machine can target Leishmania cells just below the surface of the sore, depositing the drug — instead of ink — into the bottom of the little holes it creates, far less painfully than a hypodermic needle.

Mention tattooing and health in the same sentence, and chances are the topic is one of the nasty infectious diseases — from HIV to Hep C — that can be transmitted by dirty needles.

A new Canadian study, though, may be about to change that image, suggesting that tattooing equipment could actually be an effective new way to combat an array of skin conditions, penetrating deep enough to deliver drugs to the right cells, but not so far that the needle prods sensitive nerves.

“It’s logical that it works…. But we were amazed”

The just-published research found evidence that tattooing could greatly improve treatment for cutaneous leishmaniasis, a parasite that leaves millions of people worldwide with disfiguring, and often emotionally devastating, facial sores. It affects mainly developing countries, but even Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan have contracted the illness.

The technology, though, could eventually have application in treating skin cancer, psoriasis and other ailments, speculates the scientist behind the project.

Sand-Fly Skin Disease Besets Afghanistan

An Afghan receives treatment for a tropical skin disease. The Afghan capital, Kabul, has one of the highest concentrations of the disfiguring skin disease, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which is a parasitic disease transmitted by the phlebotomine sand fly. Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) ORG XMIT: 104492714

“We were extremely excited, very surprised [at the success of the experiment],” said Anny Fortin, a biochemist who did the work at McGill University. “If you think about it, it’s logical that it works.… But we were amazed.”

She cautioned that the initial study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, was conducted on mice, so there is no guarantee the results will translate into humans. The next step is further drug-tattooing work on pigs, whose skin is closer to that of people, and then to try the technique on humans if the animal research is successful.

Key West Lifts Ban On Tattoo Parlors

A tattoo artist works on a tattoo.

Ms. Fortin said she came up with the idea after talking to a colleague who works for a company that makes tattooing equipment for applying permanent makeup. She obtained funding to explore the novel idea from Grand Challenges Canada — a federally funded agency that finances research on affordable innovations to attack health threats in poor countries.

Leishmaniasis, it turns out, is ripe for some kind of new approach. Caused by a parasite that sand flies transmit, the most dangerous form attacks internal organs and can be fatal.

The more common cutaneous version will not kill, but leaves patients with stigma-inducing ulcers on their faces, sometimes making it difficult for them to find a spouse or otherwise affecting their lives deeply. An estimated 1.5 million new cases are recorded yearly.

NA0817_TattooFullGraphic_C_MF

None of the current treatment options are ideal. One drug can be administered systemically, but the intramuscular injections — one a day for a month — are toxic and painful. Hypodermics are also used to deliver the same drug directly into the lesion, also extremely painful.

“I’ve seen children being treated, six people were needed to immobilize the child and this little kid was screaming like crazy,” said Ms. Fortin.

The tattooing machine targets Leishmania cells just below the surface of the sore, depositing the drug — instead of ink — into the bottom of the little holes it creates, far less painfully than a hypodermic needle. Ironically, it acts in much the same way as the fly injects the parasite when it bites someone, said Ms. Fortin.

Her study compared treatment of ulcers in mice using the tattooing gear, versus the intramuscular injections, and a topical ointment applied on the ulcer. The tattoo method was the most effective in all cases, clearing up the lesions completely, the study reported.

It is possible the heat generated by the tattooing also helps, triggering inflammation that brings immune cells to attack the pathogen, said Prof. Uzonna.

Ms. Fortin said she is now trying to obtain another round of Grand Challenges funding, which would require her to find matching grants from other sources.


Lit Fuse 10-Year Anniversary Party

Shot and edited by Luke Holley


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,796,245 other followers