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Jeremy Sutton on the opening of Electric Anvil Tattoo

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By Nicki Kasper Tell us a little bit about your history in the tattoo industry… How long have you been tattooing?  What shops did you call home before opening Electric Anvil? Etc… I have been tattooing for 18 years. Josh Egnew has been tattooing for 10 years. We both came from Three Kings Tattoo. Josh has tattooed in Brooklyn his whole career. He started out at Hand of Glory. Before Three Kings I worked at Guru Tattoo in San Diego and before that with Russ Abbott at Ink and Dagger. Who do you credit for teaching you the trade, and what was that experience like?  I learned to tattoo in Toccoa, Georgia from an old biker named Ole Roy. He taught me all the foundations of tattooing. But I really accredit the crew at Alien Arts Tattoo (now the crew of Anonymous Tattoo) in Savannah, Georgia for really helping me understand the craft of tattooing. They are also incredible artists so the envelope was always being pushed. Josh never had a formal apprenticeship, but was fortunate to have some great people looking out for him. Regino Gonzales and Marco Serio being at the top of that list. Between those guys and all of the amazing people he’s worked with over the years at Hand of Glory, Three Kings and on the road, I’d say the experience has been pretty fantastic. What made you decide to open a shop?  Well it’s been a long time coming. Just turning the key to ... Read More »

Japan’s Complex Relationship with Tattoo

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Japan’s Complex Relationship with Tattoo When visiting Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition, on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, Virginia until September 27, you’re struck by the pure artistry. Photo after photo of intricate, mesmerizing designs, breathtaking colors, and symbolic imagery, one interwoven into the other, which would be difficult to render on canvas, much less flesh. There’s a passion and a reverence in these galleries that is almost palpable.  That’s why it’s almost inconceivable that Japan, which has been so instrumental in elevating tattooing to an art form, has also pushed this art form into the shadows, even condemned it for centuries. To understand the seemingly conflicted relationship that Japan has with tattooing, you must carefully unearth the deep roots of Japan’s tattoo culture, which date back to the Jomon Period (roughly 10,500 to 300 BC). That’s when the first evidence of tattooing in Japan was recovered from tombs, in the form of clay figurines with faces painted or engraved to represent tattoos. Fast forward many years later to the Edo Period (1615-1868) and Japanese authorities began using tattoos to mark criminals. According to “Japanese Tattoos: From Yakuza to Artisans, Aesthetes” in the Wall Street Journal, “…convicts were branded with penal markings such as bands on the arms, or the kanji character for ‘dog’ on the forehead.” While this criminal stigma would prove difficult to shake for many centuries, tattooing enjoyed a significant reprieve from the negative connotation at the end of the ... Read More »

“Ladies Ladies” Art Show & Fundraiser, opens June 11

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by Dawn Cooke: Some of the top Ladies of tattooing bring you the  “Ladies Ladies” art show, happening again this year as it has for several years now. As always it’s a great representation of female artists in trade of tattooing. There are emerging and well established artists included in this show. The work is fantastic, done by some of the most skilled hands in our trade. This show is worth going to if you are anywhere in the area. It’s not just that these are great women artists but they are just great artists who are amazing contributors to our craft with ground-breaking ideas and techniques. Work will be on display and for sale so go forth in support of great artist in the trade of tattooing and be inspired. Show opens June 11th from 7-11pm at Forget Me Not Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY. – This year the show is also a benefit fundraiser for Charlene Gibbons, daughter of the famous Artoria and Charles “RED” Gibbons! LLAS 2015 will raise funds to help Charlene with her book project about her parents’ life. Charlene will be present at the opening. Many contributions from tattoo artists worldwide include original artwork, autographed pictures, acetate stencils, flesh and prints for sale. Some will be up for silent auction the night of the opening. – Once again the artists line up for the show is stellar, and includes names like Deb Yarian, Dawn Cooke, Judy Parker, Jill Bonny, Virginia Elwood, Telisa Swan, miss Mikki, ... Read More »

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts: “Perseverance”

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Since 1936, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts has been dignified. Revered. Respectable. Timeless. As of May 29th, however, it’s going to look a little different. On May 29th, it’s getting 115 tattoos. And frankly, it’s about time.  With the opening of Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition (also known as Perseverance), Richmond’s most popular art form moves into the biggest gallery in town. The world-famous exhibition—including pieces by Horitaki, Horitomo, Miyazo, and Shige—combines the mysticism and beauty of feudal Japan with the style and skill of modern art. And if there’s a better place on the East Coast for it, we can’t think of it. The capital of the old South—Richmond, Virginia—is now the artistic hub of the new South. It’s the third-most tattooed city in America (per capita, mind you), which makes it the perfect match of artists and audience. Richmond is, was, and will always be in love with art. Just not always the kind that hangs on gallery walls. Tattoos, graphic design, sculpture, typography, mural painting—Richmond’s breaking all kinds of new ground in these every year. When you’ve got a mix of young artists, art students, tattoo artists, musicians, skateboarders, crust punks, regular old (or as regular as they get) punks, bike gangs, motor-scooter gangs, and general nonconformists like Richmond has, you’re going to see an awful lot of beautiful things that don’t always fit the 20th-century definition of “art.” VMFA, to its credit, has realized this. In a city that prides itself fiercely on outsider ... Read More »

3 Day Ed Hardy Event at Kings Avenue Tattoo

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From Kings Avenue Tattoo: We are honored and humbled to host the legendary tattooer and artist Ed Hardy for an unprecedented 3-day event.  Hardy, renowned for his genre changing, globally influenced tattoo designs, announced that he will host “Pictures of the Gone World,” taking place May 15th, 16th & 17th at Kings Avenue Tattoo.  The event will consist of a three-day exhibition of Hardy’s most recent artwork, accompanied by the release of a New York- centric tattoo history book and a series of talks covering his influential, six-decade career. “Ed is a pioneer of tattooing, and we are making history with this event,” says Kings Avenue owner Mike Rubendall. Hardy will present a collection of his current and past artwork, consisting of mixed-media paintings that incorporate American an Japanese tattoo motifs, and “kiddie flash” – traditional maritime-inspired designs that he drew as a tattoo-obsessed child in the late 1950s, rendered with colored pencil on looseleaf notebook paper-which has never been publicly exhibited. The event marks the release of the Lew The Jew Alberts: Early 20th Century Tattoo Drawings, a compilation of designs attributed to Lew Alberts, a Newark, NJ native who tattooed under the famed Bowery-based artist Charlie Wagner. It’s the most recent title from Hardy Marks, the publishing imprint that Hardy co-founded in 1982, specializing in tattoo history and alternative art.  A limited number of books will be available for purchase at Kings Avenue, and Hardy will be signing copies on May 15th. Hardy will also stage two talks.  ... Read More »

An Interview with Matt Arriola

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By Nicki Kasper Let’s start with who you are and where you work…. My name is Matt Arriola. I work by appointment at Spotlight Tattoo in Los Angeles where I’ve been for almost a year. Tell us about your tattoo history. Who do you credit for teaching you the trade? How long have you been at it? I’ve been fascinated with tattoos since I was a little kid in Idaho… I can’t remember any special moment where I knew it was my thing, that probably came later as I got involved with skateboarding and playing music in punk and hardcore bands in Idaho. That’s what kind of led me into tattooing. I’ve  liked to draw since I was a little kid and when I was about 18 I decided I wanted to tattoo. I went to every shop in town with a resume and a bunch of drawings asking for apprenticeships. Haha!! Totally the way you’re not supposed to do it! I spent every day and night copying my favorite artist’s work out of tattoo magazines I bought at the gas station. I think my friends and family thought I was nuts!! Anyway after many denials, I finally landed an apprenticeship with Sean Wyett at Black Cat Tattoo. I bailed out early on my apprenticeship and moved to Seattle. This was about 6 months into it. Once in Seattle with no money and a whole 7 months of tattooing under my belt I found it difficult to find a job. Haha!! Once ... Read More »

Are Tattoo Conventions Sanitary? Helpful Guidelines–

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Tattoo conventions certainly have a lot to offer tattoo enthusiasts and the local communities, starting with access to some of the best artists from around the world, without the expense of flights and accommodations. The question of sanitation at conventions has long been a topic of concern debated by artists and collectors in the community…how can you protect yourself? As far as artists and sterility goes, you’re fine- the same professional level of cleanliness is mandated by the local governing bodies and health departments. In many places the artists are required to show proof of their own health licenses, if not acquire temporary ones from the city hosting the tattoo convention. So, that’s not the real problem. All the same sterilization techniques are used, their machines and equipment is covered, cleaned and/or disposed of between each tattoo. And all tattoos done at the convention site should still be properly cleaned and wrapped prior to anyone leaving the booth. No problem, right? So what’s the concern, then? Not much at all, until you visit the bathrooms and find dozens of those fresh, bloody, tattoo bandages discarded in the waste receptacles, lying around on the floors or even sitting on the sink countertops! Cross-contamination concerns abound! Once that bandage is removed, the safety barrier protecting their bloody wound from the outside environment (and vice versa) is gone. Without proper knowledge on sanitary procedures, everything those people touch after that bandage becomes a possible reservoir for disease- doors, sinks, stalls, mirrors, walls, furniture, bars, stools, ... Read More »

Inked in Montreal

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For more information about the Art Tattoo Quebec show May 29-31 in Quebec City, visit: http://news.arttattooquebec.com For more information about the Art Tattoo Montreal show September 11-13 in Montreal, visit: http://http://news.arttattoomontreal.com Read More »

Inksmith & Rogers 30th Anniversary

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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 have been more excited! Thanks to the help of our ... Read More »

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

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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 »

Italian Adventures and Lessons Learned

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By Nicki Kasper I’ve met a lot of people over the last five years in this industry… I’ve made a lot of surface level friends and I’ve been blessed with quite a few real genuine friendships with people who truly care for me, and want to know who I am and what I’m about. I’m always humbled by this, and it means a lot to me when it’s clear that I’m not being used for what I might be able to do for someone. I always notice. I was personally invited to attend the World Wide Tattoo Conference by my friend, Alex de Pase last week in Venice, and it was great. It’s two and a half days of seminars, speeches, and discussion panels in front of a room full of people eager to learn and be inspired. I’m not a tattooer, I’m a business owner, but even I can stand to learn something from artists who are teaching and talking about what inspires them, what they have trouble with, and how they get through it. It’s all relative. There are many different styles when it comes to tattooing, as well as different schools of thought in this small industry, but… I do believe that we all stand to learn something from all of them. I think having an open mind and a willingness to shut the fuck up, realize that you might not know everything, and listen to someone teach or speak about what it is that helps them ... Read More »

Forrest Cavacco Video Interview

Forrest Cavaco Video interview

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Bay Area Tattoo Convention 2014

Bay area tattoo convention 2014

Video by Luke Holley Read More »

Alliance of Professional Tattooists

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By Jason Sweet This article is part two, in a two part series, about the professional organizations in tattooing. I attended the APT Trade Show as part of my research and found myself not only rejoining them after a 10 year hiatus; I found myself being recruited for service to the APT in the future.   As much as I tried to resist, the call of service to my profession was too loud to ignore. Over the weekend, I was struck as to the commitment some had made to attend the APT trade show. I met a woman tattooist from Austria and a man from Australia. One couple I met drove to the trade show from Indiana, because flying from their home was prohibitively expensive. I personally found this type of dedication to tattooing and the APT, inspiring and motivating. I only took 5 days out of my year to attend the trade show; they took two weeks. I was originally introduced to the Alliance of Professional Tattooists, when I was tattooing about 2 years. I was hired at a tattoo studio that required I become a member of the APT as part of working for them. Joining the APT required filling out an application and providing professional references and a sponsor, as I had been tattooing less than three years. Additionally, I was required to take the Preventing Disease Transmission in Tattooing (PDTT) as part of my membership. The PDTT course was 6 hours long. It covered Blood Born Pathogens ... Read More »

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