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

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

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

Best Japanese Tattoo Artist

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

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 »

Tattoo Artist Profile: “Texas Tony Hundahl”

Featured tattoo artist Tony Hundahl

I met Tony Hundahl in January, 2007, (I think), at the famed Austin Tattoo convention. It was my first trip to Austin so, as was my custom, I spent the week before the convention traveling the city, meeting artists, visiting tattoo shops, (searching for the good food:) and booking interviews for the convention. The Austin Convention was (and still is) a great show! My team and I had a blast; we met a ton of new people and managed to get about 8 interviews completed in only two days, with just as many tattoos filmed. There wasn’t a whole lot of time for chit-chat during convention hours so I distinctly remember being stunned silent in the middle of an interview set-up by this GIANT full-torso WOLF-HEAD tattoo (and the shirtless Texan it adorned) marching abruptly past me and out the front doors for a smoke. “He must be on a break,” I figured, since he was still oozing. “I NEED to get a better look at that tattoo!” No joke, it was the most impressive tattoo I’d seen all weekend…(perhaps all year!) It displayed an intensity and boldness I’d only really seen Ed Hardy pull off so successfully! I dropped whatever it was I was doing and swiftly headed outside to see this tattoo and find out WHO was working on it!  GET the FULL 20 min video interview HERE for only $.99 I went hunting for the guy outside and quickly found him, the tattoo screaming at me from across the street, (as a good tattoo should). I briskly strolled up and ... Read More »

Forrest Cavacco Video Interview

By Luke Holley Read More »

Bay Area Tattoo Convention 2014

Bay area tattoo convention 2014

Video by Luke Holley Read More »

Alliance of Professional Tattooists

Professional tattoo alliance

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 »

Nick Baxter / Jeff Ensminger Exhibition

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Press Release Nick Baxter: Perception of Being Jeff Ensminger: Into the Void Exhibition of new works at Mindzai Creative, 2001 South Lamar #D, Austin, TX 78704 November 21 – December 3, 2014 OPENING – 8pm – 11pm Friday, November 21 Mindzai Creative in Austin Texas is pleased to present a dual exhibition of new paintings by two Austin fine artists and tattooers, Nick Baxter and Jeff Ensminger. Both artists have worked over the past year to create a new body of work for the show, each with their own cohesive theme and symbolism. The unveiling of these paintings will take place at the Mindzai warehouse and gallery space in South Austin from 8 to 11 pm on Friday, November 21st. Both Nick and Jeff will be in attendance, with originals for sale as well as limited edition giclee prints and posters, along with live t-shirt screen printing featuring a design from each of their painting series.   Nick Baxter’s series titled Perception of Being consists of twenty oil paintings on board, each sized at 9 x 12 inches and depicting a lone human heart on a background of pure white. Each of the twenty hearts features a unique variation or visual effect representing one of the many complex emotional or feeling states of the human experience. Conceptually, this series references the philosophical study of phenomenology while also being inspired by modern scientific research into emotion-based changes in the electromagnetic fields generated by the heart. Nick reduces these ideas into a ... Read More »

Nick Baxter: Notes and Advice 9

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By Nick Baxter “If you wish to make certain your painting will succeed, a minimum of three things must come from you–and only you. The first thing is knowing why you want to paint your subject, the second is an analytical grasp of what you see, and the third is the skill to control the process of painting.” –Richard Schmid This quote I recently came across, written by a wise and very accomplished alla prima realism painter, got me thinking about the underlying structure that comprises the task of creating art. Schmid divides this structure nicely into 3 primary, foundational elements. This striking simplicity belies the complexity inherent in most forms of art, especially realism, and that simplicity bodes well for artists and laypersons alike–the so-called “uncreative” types, those who mistakenly regard themselves as “not having an artistic bone in my body.” Here’s my interpretation of Richard Schmid’s quote, expounding on his 3 main tenets and how they (encouragingly) apply to everyone: “Knowing why you want to paint your subject” refers to concept and theory. In other words, the philosophical side of the craft, the ideas and meaning the artist is working with or wishes to communicate through their work (I’ve written a lot about this here and here, with a future post coming as well). This relates to the study of your own mind, to “knowing thyself” and formulating ideas about life and the world around you. I believe that everyone has ideas about themselves and the world around them, because our living brains ... Read More »

Jeff Gogue on attracting large scale tattoo clients

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By TattooNOWTV Jeff Gogue, internationally known for his famed original tattooing style and amazingly popular tattooing seminars, talks about how to attract large scale tattoo clients including backpieces and sleeve tattoos. Jeff chats about how the Shige and New Skool Collective backpiece books and his own experience getting a backpiece have help open clients vision. He is also asked if he feel like his work plateaus, and about learning to tattoo better. Whether you are a tattoo collector or just someone vaguely interested, this is great advice from one of the worlds top tattoo artists. Avoid tattoo mistakes that are easy to make but difficult to fix! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aTqv6… to watch this 2 hour episode in its entirety which also featured famed tattoo artists Jeff Gogue and Nikko Hurtado who answered a number of fantastic questions via Skype and Canman who was in house and talked about his style and what he learned from Guy Aitchison’s painting critiques. Check out these other Gogue clips! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DJys5… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO1rep… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kG-Ogj… Originally streamed from http://www.OfftheMapTattoo.com in Easthampton Massachusetts http://www.TattooNOWTV.com     Read More »

Alex de Pase on the World Wide Tattoo Conference

By Nicki Kasper What was the inspiration for the World Wide Tattoo Conference, and who’s idea was it in the beginning?  The project WWTC (WorldWideTattooConference) was conceived in 2011. The original idea was to get together different talented Tattoists in an itinerant multicultural context who would travel around the world, stopping over in significant European and American spots to share and offer their expertise and personal views of their work to the global tattoo community. The initial idea was mine. This year’s conference is in Venice, Italy… Where have previous conferences been held?  Did you find that each event had a different vibe? 2014 is the year to get back to the origins… After the first edition of Rome 2011, the WWTC is going back to its home country, Italy. So far the WWTC has been held 5 times, once in Europe and once in the States alternatively: 2011 was in Rome, April 2012 was the turn of Chigago, then September of the same year in London… 2013 was in Boston and 2014 will be Venice (actually it is in Mogliano Veneto, 10 minutes from Venice). Each edition had definitely a different vibe, specially if we distinguish between Europe and the US, but I guess the most distinctive one was the atmosphere perceived in London, as this conference was much rougher and wilder than the other ones, being it held in the same premises of the 8th London Tattoo Convention and just before the very same convention.   How has the conference progressed ... Read More »

Guy Aitchison – Jeff Gogué tattooing

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In this one hour clip Guy Aitchison and Jeff Gogue join talents for this unprecedented tattoo event. Guy and Jeff come together to create a large collaborative sleeve tattoo that includes both traditional Japanese elements and some more modern techniques and effects. This is an amazing opportunity for you to sit in on a unique project. This one hour clip brought to you by http://wwwTattooNOW.com and Cheyenne Tattoo Equipment http://www.cheyenne-tattoo.com/ You can view the full 8 hour collaboration by visiting the link below: http://www.tattoonow.com/Webinars-and… http://www.TattooNOWTV.com   Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #15 features Jeff Gogué, Shige & more… Get issue 15 Featuring Jeff Gogué here | Enter code October at check out and save 65%   Jeff Gogue - honesty…from the gut By Crash Shige - Yellow Blaze Tattoo By Horitaka Scott Sterling - The Bridge between Paul Rogers and Dringenberg, Cain and Ciferri is pure Sterling By Shane Enholm Book Reviews - Original Cliff Raven Designs, Bella, Vintage Tattoos Asian Art Museum - State of Grace By Horiyuki News Flash - Featuring Aloha Monkey Flash (Hardy and Arment), Richard Stell Sailor Jerry Letter - Experiments with Sailor Jerry Tattoo Photography - Basic Principles By Max Dolberg For The Record - Tattoo Design Origins: Hot Stuff By Tattoo Archive Professional Product Review - Critical Tattoo Supply Models CX-1 and CX-2 Read More »

Horihide still practices the dying art of hand tattoo

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Hand tattoo artist Horihide is one of the few tebori practitioners who remain, as body ink carries a stigma in Japan and young apprentices are few. GIFU, Japan — Hidden away in the backroom of a modest apartment in this central Japanese city, one of Japan’s last remaining hand-tattoo masters is preparing his tools. Over the last four decades Oguri Kazuo has tattooed notable geisha and countless yakuza, members of Japan’s notorious mafia. Today, the 79-year-old artist, known professionally as Horihide (derived from “hori,” meaning “to carve”), is working on a client who is a little more subdued. Motoyama Tetsuro has spent hundreds of dollars, traveled thousands of miles and waited more than three decades for a session with Horihide. The Japanese-born American software manager wanted the master’s ink in his skin — a living legacy for a dying art. With old masters passing away and young apprentices lacking the patience to learn the painstaking craft of tebori (hand tattooing), many followers believe its days are numbered. “If you know the master, why would you want to work with someone else?” asks Motoyama, 62, who first received the outline of a dragon by Horihide on his right shoulder in the 1970s. Motoyama lost touch with the master — who works only by word-of-mouth introductions in backdoor locations — before the work was complete. Last November, after a 30-plus year search, he finally located Horihide and traveled back to Japan from his home in Cupertino, Calif., to finish the piece. Japanese tattoos are steeped ... Read More »

Honduran Experts Decode The Hidden Meanings Behind Gang Tattoos

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It’s an image ingrained in the culture of both the United States and countries throughout Central America: the heavily-tattooed, ruthless gang members on the prowl for victims. These inked-up thugs – such as members of the feared Mara Salvatrucha (or MS-13) and Barrio 18 street gangs operating in El Salvador and Honduras – have been blamed in part for the surge in unaccompanied minors streaming north toward safety in the U.S. and have kept border agents busy making sure that none of these hoodlums enter the country. While law enforcement officials in places like Los Angeles and throughout the federal prison system have been studying gang tattoos for years to get a grasp on affiliations and meanings, the countries in Central America have only recently latched on to this practice as violent crime rates spiral out of control throughout these nations. Police in Honduras now claim to have cracked the code on the symbolic meaning of these tattoos even as more and more gang members hide their ink amid a crackdown on gangs in the country. One of the most popular images found on gang members is two hands clasped together and fingers facing skyward in prayer posture. Experts interviewed by Honduras’ El Heraldo newspaper say that this tattoo is not a representation of any religiosity on the part of the gang member, but a plea to “forgive me mother for my crazy life.” “This phrase means that there are normal moments in the life of gang member or a ... Read More »

Tattoos Viewed Differently Around The World

Tattoos viewed differently around the world

Source: www.historyoftattoos.org As tattoos are slowly but surely gaining acceptance and popularity amongst most of the American population, it is interesting to note how widespread the appeal of this practice is becoming in other countries around the world. It is also interesting to consider how various other cultures view this practice, and whether those views have changed over time as has been the case with the United States. In America the main source of familiarity with Oriental symbols and other artwork comes from viewing this lovely, traditional art in tattoo studios all across the United States. It may, therefore, be surprising to many Americans to know that, due to the significant influence of Buddhist and Confucianist religions both the Japanese and Chinese societies take a very negative view of tattoos. In these societies, tattooing was a means of branding criminals; it was not acceptable for citizens to engage in the process. In today’s society, tattoos are still unacceptable. Although their younger generation usually takes a more liberal view of tattooing, the youngsters who have them generally keep them covered. Tattoos have long been a part of life for royalty in Great Britain. Following in the footsteps of his predecessors King George the fifth and King Edward the seventh, one of today’s most well-known royal figures, Prince Charles, also sports a tattoo. Unlike in the distant past, however, tattoos in Great Britain are no longer limited to the class of royalty; during the past few decades, tattoos showing up on their ... Read More »