The Official Blog for Tattoo Artist Magazine


Body Tattoos By Shige

By Martina


SHIGE (Shigenori Iwasaki) is a famous tattoo artist, born in 1970 in Hiroshima.

After being a mechanic for Harley-Davidson in Yokohama, he taught himself how to tattoo since 1995 and pursues original Japanese Style with a traditional inspiration.

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Dusty Neal // Anvil Made

Interview by Jordan Tinney.
Instagram: @jordandgrs

Reblogged from:


I’m going to say this only once: don’t blink. Dusty Neal is an American tattooist based out of Ft. Wayne, Indiana at Black Anvil Tattoo. This might sound a little fan-boyish, but Dusty is one of the best and most under rated in the game today. A fastidious worker, incredible painter and even more amazing tattooer. I recently had the chance to conduct a short interview with Mr. Neal; if you’re in his area don’t sleep on this guy.

Jordan TinneyWhat really got you into tattooing?

Dusty Neal: I’ve always known I wanted to make art for a living, but I never really thought about becoming a tattooer until I was already in college and getting tattooed when I could. It was really hardcore and metal that made me interested in getting tattooed though. Just being into all that stuff, seeing tattoos on bands and at shows really made me think about tattoos. I didn’t grow up with it around me in any other form and I guess that’s what attracted me to it. When I came into it finally I was so naive about what good tattoos really were, and over the few years I’ve been tattooing my tastes and thoughts on it have changed so very much.

JTWhat year did you start tattooing professionally?

DN: I made my first tattoo in January of 2006.


JTDid you have an apprenticeship in the traditional sense?

DN: I apprenticed under Donny Manco, and owe everything to him for giving me an opening into tattooing. He taught me the fundamentals of what I was actually doing, but other than that it was really not much of a passed down tradition or anything. Sometimes I wish I had a “proper” apprenticeship and was taught more traditional ideals and methods, yet by being someone’s 10th apprentice (with 5 after me), and not really being taught about flash or anything, it forced me to go out and learn what I could from serious tattooers or just by trial and error of my own experience. I would say now I do everything probably the complete opposite of what I was taught, but everyone has to find what works for them and everyone is different.

JTTell me about Black Anvil, and how that came to fruition?

DN: The conception of Black Anvil Tattoo is a recent happening. I met Nate (Click) my first year tattooing and have worked with him ever since he started, four years ago. He was there when Donny Manco and I started New Republic Tattoo. Over the past few years, especially after bringing in Beau Guenin, it was really our shared vision that started to shape New Republic into what it became, and also what started to create a tension between us and Donny. It was a non-dramatic split from Donny, as we just felt it was time to leave New Republic and create something that could be completely our own. With B.A.T. we wanted to pay tribute to the traditions and honor of tattooing, and create an environment that would display that pride while also being more advantageous to our clients and our shop morale.

JTDid you do more traditional art in your past, before you started tattooing?

DN: Honestly, as much as I try to adhere to traditional principles, I still don’t even consider myself a “traditional” tattooer, but only because I feel like its disrespectful to those people who are really devoted to that mentality and lifestyle, and not just the aesthetic. Before tattooing, shamefully I had no understanding whatsoever of traditional tattooing. It took a few years before I really started to understand what my perception of it is. My perception of it is also constantly evolving.

JTWhat truly influences you in your life, and in your tattooing as well?

DN: A tattooer’s life should be infused in his or her work. It’s important to me that my interests show through my work, because that’s what makes people stand apart from imitators, and will also attract like-minded artists towards each other. Having said that, classic heavy metal and “evil” imagery is probably the biggest influence over my work, but also occult symbolism, Aliester Crowley, sex, death, the supernatural, and nihilism. Aside from these things, I’m also very influenced by finding affirmation and sharing ideas with my co-workers and friends, especially, Jacob Des, Cla Wolfmeyer, Jacob Bryan, and Destroy Troy.

JTDo you continue to find new things to keep you “into it” or are you always coming across inspiration?

DN: I find it easy to stay “into it,” but I also consider it a tattooer’s top priority to enjoy their work and be confident with it, otherwise they are only doing the craft a disservice and should find another line of work. There are too many passionate and talented people tattooing to allow room for those doing it merely to pay bills. However, it’s important to me to constantly be growing and evolving. Inspiration doesn’t always come, but I manage to seek it out and find it.

Again, I’m thankful to Dusty for entertaining me and this interview, and if your’e in Fort Wayne or Indiana in general, make sure to stop at Black Anvil and get a great tattoo, not only from Dusty but from his incredible coworkers. Dusty can be reached, or He’s on Instagram as well under @dustyneal. What we do is secret..

Tattoo Age: Grime Part 2


By Marisa Kakoulas


In The Guardian today is feature called “Painted Ladies: Why women get tattoos.” Normally, I find these types of articles banal, or even cringe worthy, for perpetuating cliches or not offering a broad spectrum of experience from our community. And so I was happily surprised to find many different voices of tattooed women in this article.

While there need not be any great miraculous reason to get tattooed, tattoos do come with a story, from an impulse to get a quick piece of historic flash to a full body project. I found the profiles of these women to be really interesting, and they made me think on the commonaIities and differences of our experiences with tattoos.

I particularly loved reading about Juanita Carberry, a merchant navy steward, who died in July at age 88. Here’s a bit from her story:

“The daughter of a renegade Irish peer, Carberry lived an extraordinarily full life. Her childhood in Kenya was difficult: her mother, a well-known aviator, died when she was three, and Carberry was often beaten by her governess. As a teenager, she was a key witness in a celebrated murder case, the 1941 shooting of the 22nd Earl of Erroll, and at 17 she joined the first aid nursing yeomanry in the Women’s Territorials during the second world war. In 1946, Carberry became one of a handful of women to join the merchant navy, remaining for 17 years. It was during this period, says photographer Christina Theisen, that she started acquiring tattoos. Her first was a small spider on the sole of her foot; it didn’t hurt, Theisen recalls Carberry saying, because the skin on her feet was so tough from walking barefoot as a child.”

Read more here.

It is the work of Christina Theisen and Eleni Stefanou that really makes this piece so engaging. Theisen and Stefanou are behind, a photo and film endeavor that pays respect to all tattooed women. They offer this on their work: “Our project seeks to capture the personal and the individual, embracing each woman and her tattoos as one, rather than isolating or magnifying the inked parts of her body. At the same time, by using natural environments and the context of urban Western culture, we intentionally move away from the sexualised glamour model aesthetic that dominates tattoo magazines and popular culture.”

Two words: Hell. Yeah.

My regret is that I wasn’t aware of the project when it first rolled out. I will continue to follow Theisen and Stefanou’s work, and I hope that more media outlets also follow their lead in telling compelling stories without the usual pop culture hype and flash so prevalent today.

Tattooing From Life DVD : Death In Bloom

By Jared Preslar

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Investing in ones self…

For years I have been purchasing instructional DVDs from amazing artists and I have always been very appreciative of their willingness to share information.  I started my apprenticeship in 1994 with an artist who was self taught; as you could guess this was a very frustrating journey and my mentor did not have much to offer.  I would ask questions and get answers back like “I don’t know how Filip Leu gets such large smooth gradients”.  He did not have the answers to what I wanted to know.  This method of apprenticeship was not ideal at all, and consequently it took me many extra years to learn what I could have learned in half the time had I searched out the proper experienced mentor.

In the meantime, I started getting on forums, talking to artists, and compiling pages and pages of conversations containing helpful information.  I was so grateful to be getting some sort of help, even if it wasn’t from my mentor, because other artists from the forums, DVDs, seminars, and books ended up becoming my mentors.  I started seeing that anyone could attain this information as long as they had the patience, motivation, and discipline to receive it. My mentor however, was not one of these people, and wanted me to share all of the information I was obtaining through my hard work and perseverance. I thought about this for awhile, and decided I was not willing to share with someone who was not willing to invest in themselves and take the time just like I was. If someone is not willing to take the time, spend the money to travel etc, then they are where they are because they have created that reality.  Successful people, not just financially, have worked very hard to be where they are and in my experience they are always continuing to learn.  Continuing education is key in any profession.

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Over the years I kept buying DVDs, traveling to seminars, and buying books. I would talk to any artist whom I looked up to if given the opportunity, and soak up any information they were willing to share.  I have accumulated quite the library for art and tattooing, and still have every bit of information I have collected from 1994 to today. I cannot express how appreciative I am to the artists who give back like this. Some people say this is unethical and people need to learn the old school way, I could not disagree more. People who are sharing this information, like for example, are innovators in the industry. They are bringing education to people through technology. I am very impressed by how many are willing to take the time, spend the money, and offer this information to anyone who is willing to invest in themselves. I feel that Guy Aitchison is a person who truly gives back; he and are pioneers in this field of sharing within our industry and I highly recommend taking a look at the sites educational material; it has helped me a lot over the years.

To this day, I still spend the money to purchase the DVDs, books, webinars by, and travel to seminars. I will never stop doing this, as I believe a person should improve every year, and if not then they are doing something wrong.  In the past couple years I have started getting a lot of questions about my process, pigments, etc. which led to formulating a plan to create a DVD to answer these questions. I have no problem sharing this information with artists whom are willing to learn and improve. I do not believe myself to be some all knowing amazing artist, I would just like to give back, as others have done for me over the years.

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I talked about doing this DVD for about a year, planned it, found the right people to help and participate. I have made my process a combination of things I have learned on my own, things I have learned from others, and things I have learned from others but have made my own.  In this first DVD, which will be part of a series, I walk through my entire process of tattooing.  Everything from getting a reference, stenciling, something I call color isolation, and execution. I also talk about my machines and needles of preference.  I hope this DVD gives something beneficial to everyone who decides to acquire it, and I hope that it gives back even a fraction of what I have been given since I started this journey called Tattooing. I would like to thank all of the artists who share their knowledge, and the artists who give seminars, make DVDs, books, and Webinars! Any feedback is greatly appreciated for current and upcoming projects or suggestions for subjects that artists would like to hear more about etc.

The Tattooing from Life DVD is currently on Presale at a discount until after Christmas, can be purchased at  and will be for sell at a couple of the reputable supply companies very soon.

Happy Continued Education,


Jared Preslar


By Marisa Kakoulas

Reblogged from:

Loretta Leu

Influencing and inspiring the international tattoo community for generations, The Leu Family transformed tattooing, pushing it further into the realm of a fine art — and they’ve done so with openness and kindness, spearheaded by their wonderful matriarch Loretta Leu aka Y Maria.

Our friend (and wine expertDemetra Molina of The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor sat down with Loretta at the Montreal Art Tattoo Show in September and spoke about a myriad of topics, from Loretta’s travels, early days tattooing, her adorable dog, and the freedom of getting older. Here’s a taste from their talk:

Demetra: I asked about all of the travel she had done over the years with her husband Felix and their four children. Was that a difficult undertaking?

Loretta Leu: I had traveled a lot already in my life with my mother, I had traveled a lot with Felix before we ever got into tattooing. We didn’t start until we were thirty-five, both of us. Tattooing was really a Godsend; it saved our asses, because we always lived an alternative lifestyle, with four kids, already. So, it was always difficult finding ways of surviving. We didn’t want to go work in a shop, we found things to do, we made crafts, we went and lived in Spain, cheaper places, we would find ways of being able to carry on, the way we wanted to live with our kids…you know, without working for the man kind of thing…but it was always difficult. We got a bit of help from my mother sometimes, Felix’s mom when things were really tough, so when through sheer coincidence this chance came into our life, it seemed the perfect thing, you know, because you are your own boss, you don’t need to sell it in the sense that they come to you because they want a tattoo. You could be on a beach in Brazil with a little tattoo case, start talking to someone in a cafe, go back to your hotel room or whatever, settle on a price, and if they want a tattoo you tattoo. It is a very direct thing. We were both already artists, started that way originally, so it seemed perfect.

“Home is where the heart is….on the bus.” -Frank Zappa, Wet T-Shirt Nite

It has taken me almost exactly two months to finish writing this blog post, and I’ve thought about it every single day. After our trip to the Montreal Art and Tattoo Show held in mid September, my husband hit the road with a vengeance. Paris, London, Barcelona, Eddie toured around for two international tattoo shows in just over three weeks, plus a few guest spots with new contacts. I stayed home on this sudden European jaunt, helping to run our tattoo shop and keep things from burning down at home. Eddie had watched Filip Leu tattoo a one sitting backpiece in Montreal, and had been ready to travel, draw, and tattoo compulsively soon after. The London Convention was calling; so was Barcelona. Off he went. I was a proud tattoo wife from across an ocean.

#Sobaone Monster

By Bj Johnson


The meaning behind the madness…

I have been making things my entire life. I was never a conscious choice, it simply flowed naturally and automatically from my skills, my interests and my passion. For me, creating is innate.  I cannot not create.

I finally made a career of my art in 1997 when I began tattooing. Tattooing is creative and experiential, but I found I still needed to build tangible things as well, so I soon gravitated to investigating the mechanics of building tattoo machines. Creating custom tattoo machines from scratch was wildly fulfilling, and naturally I wanted to set my work apart from others. To do this, I turned to other forms of metal art. I took a couple jewelry making classes at GVSU and was introduced to the metalsmithing craft.  I became addicted to this new medium immediately.  However the constraints of tattoo machine mechanics would not allow for exploration of all these wonderful tricks and techniques the metalsmithing world offered, so I began making little sculptures. These small scale sculptures were simply physical forms based on ideas and emotions I had, but I never went in any specific direction with them.  It was just playing.


I have also always loved symbolism.  Wanting my work to have deeper meaning and layers, I began researching.  All the paintings of the old masters are rife with symbolism.  Each element in their paintings was there for a reason.  I loved this and began to search for ways to include symbolism in my own work.

All of this became a explosion of purpose when I thought of making my monster sketches into three-dimensional pieces.  Through my research I found that historically,

Marked – Russian Prison Tattoo Documentary

Life Happens Everyday, Balance is Key

By Omar Edmison


My wife of 18 years asked me awhile back if I was still writing a blog for Tattoo Artist Magazine. I shot her a pile of excuses about time & being busy at work, taking care of the shop & spending time with her & the kids. She looked at me with her amazingly sweet smile as if to say “Sure Omar, I love you I have your back but you’re throwing up a smoke screen.” She knows me really well, better than any other human being on the planet. Her words that she spoke next were small and to the point. she simply said ” you’re really good at what you do. you have wisdom to impart.” I am not making that part up; she really does speak like that. So here I am sitting in front of a computer trying to figure out what to “impart” on you, gentle reader. I started thinking about what I had said to my beautiful and talented better half. It wasn’t a lie I have been busy with an amazing varied rag tag bunch of folks who for what ever reason be it a bump on the head or just a history of poor life choices have asked me to mark them permanently. It is also true that -as any shop owner can attest to- when you own a tattoo shop stuff comes up, there are always fires to be put out, business needs handling. It is most decidedly true that I love spending time with her and our 3 awesome kids. I don’t know about y’all but the last time I checked there are only 24 hours in a day only 7 of those days in a week etc., etc. you know the math. You are,I am sure, by this point getting my point that there are a lot of things that come up in my day to day life that are at times pleasurable at times nerve wracking & everything in between. Much like some of you out there, I get to try to figure out how to balance business & family, which is what struck me as something to write about…

Life, Happens everyday. It comes at us pretty fast you have to keep your eyes open and your head up if you are going to get through it in one piece. How to balance work & family…


I am not great at Balance. I don’t know to many tattooers who are, actually. We seem to be creatures prone to addictive behaviors. Not in drugs or drink; although there are certainly some of us who have found themselves killing time and brain cells with various chemeicals. I am speaking to the idea that when we find something we like we do it, A LOT. We drive forward forsaking relationships & responsiblity. Think about your apprenticeship or the first several years of tattooing. Were you able to carry on conversations about ANYTHING aside from tattooing? If the answer is yes, then I applaud you, I certainly couldn’t. In fact in the beginning years of my career, my aforementioned amazing, beautiful wife got frustrated with me & my tattooer buddies. She threw up her hands and said “Can we have a conversation about something else for five minutes? Anything else is fine, seriously”. We assured her that we could then sat in silence for the next 3 minutes until she gave us the reprieve, letting us get back to our discussion of coil wire, capacitors, tube vises, making ink etc., etc. I can’t recall exactly what we were talking about but it sure wasn’t what Kati wanted to talk about. We are like dogs with our respective bones. Which is what it takes to succeed and build a career. I know I wouldn’t be here after nearly 23 years if I didn’t pursue tattooing with laser like focus. I also know that I wouldn’t be where I am without the love and support of my family.


Orange Goblin

By Ino Mei



Heavy guitars, authentic attitude and a strong live presence, Orange Goblin could not but have tattoos.HeartbeatInk had the chance to “interrogate” and take photos of them before their long awaited concert in November in Athens.

Ben Ward: vocals
Joe Hoare: guitar
Martyn Millard: bass
Chris Turner: drums

How many times have you performed in Greece so far?

Ben: Tonight, it will be our sixth time and our fourth here at An Club. We always have a great time in Greece. The fans are very enthusiastic and as long as that continues we’ll keep coming back.

Chris: The thing with Greece is that it is part of Europe, but quite far out the bay; so whenever American & European bands travel, not many of them make it this far. So when a band seems to play, everyone seems to give their support.

Ben: And great food.

Chris: Terrible driving (laughs).

Are you familiar perhaps with any Greek bands?

Ben: I actually did vocals on an album for a band called “Lord 13”; good friends of mine. I also know Nightstalker who are quite big everywhere. We’ve heard things from the bands that we’re playing with; Stonerbringer tonight and Lucky Funeral tomorrow. We’re aware that there is a descent scene and there are a lot of good bands.


How’s the scene currently in London?

Ben: The scene in London is great! There’s a variety of shows every week. There’s always something on. Just this week Monster Magnet played last night and Alice in Chains and Ghost the night before. There are a lot of new good bands in London as well and many venues are doing a lot to support. Like the Black Heart in Camden; pretty much every night they put a young – new band to play live.

Martyn: The “Desert Fest” as well. It is every year the week before “Roadburn Festival” and it takes place in Camden Town for the whole week-end. It is actually quite big now.

Chris: It is basically like the British “Roadburn” but ten years ago; when it was less avant – garde and more just kind of riff based bands.

Are you preparing a follow up to your latest album “A Eulogy of the Damned”?

The plan is next year to knuckle down and do a new record. We have got a bit of time because
Martyn is getting married in May and that means that he’ll be away for his honeymoon. So if we can get stuff written, get in the studio before he gets married and goes away, we can get his parts done and the rest of us can finish it; hopefully we are looking at a midsummer release and so there is time to hit all the big summer festivals.


To read the rest of this interview, go to:

The Story of Natha Part 2: The Forest Trek

By Jon Osiris

Read Part 1 here:


It so happens that after becoming a bit more familiar with this place, I have been privy to further tales and experiences with The Natha and his strange and magical ways…

After morning exercises some weeks back, I was invited to take tea with the Natha somewhat privately, along with a couple of other students.  While we were ushered past a stone statue in the courtyard of the elephant headed god Ganesh, whom was bedecked with garlands of marigolds and offering bowls full of sweets, we entered into a small antechamber where the Natha’s consort was serving tea. I exchanged formalities and a few pleasantries with her and the other three while everyone was served.  Two of them were male senior students at the temple and neither were likely yet twenty years of age.  The third, a friend and guest of the Natha, a pleasant woman tattooist and artisan in her early thirties.

While sipping the aromatic brew we listened as the Natha told us why we were assembled.  It had to do with a messenger who had arrived a few days back…  a weary looking fellow that had appeared one evening and begged to see the Natha straight away, even before accepting food or water.  I had not heard anything more about him until now.  The man had traveled for several days without stopping, only taking sustenance when it was dire, exhausting his provisions quickly nonetheless.  The news that the messenger carried came from his village in the hill country north of the temple.  Several animals from the village had gone missing and most recently a small mute child was also gone from her play area near her families’ hut.  The local hunters had seen the sign and tracks of a large snake near the livestock pens, though absolutely no sign was detected near where the child was playing.  If that wasn’t enough, the headman’s daughter was coming into her own as a shaman and had sent word also to request a special tattoo ceremony to mark the transition fully into this capacity as a helper and healer of her people.  The Natha had lived with the people of this village for several years before he had the vision to build the temple.  He related that the headman and the old shaman were close friends of his and it was apparent that the he held them in high esteem.  We were asked to accompany the him if we desired, on his journey into the hills to assist his friends in whatever capacity he could.  Of course, all of us were keen on going and made immediate preparations to leave the following morning.  The messenger would stay on to rest and receive needed care from the Natha’s consort.


By Reba Maybury


Maellyn Macintosh is in the process of creating an exciting series of documentaries about tattooing in various cultures, but to complete all of the work that has been created so far she needs backing. You can read more about what Maellyn has created so far and watch a trailer of footage made so far.

In the first episode proposed Maellyn will travel to remote regions of India to document the indigenous tribes who use tattooing and piercing as an essential way of life, for healing, as a form of currency and as a form of religious devotion.


Here is Maellyn’s background to the documentary series so far:

Tattoos, piercing and scarification are now becoming mainstream and the taboos surrounding them are slowly vanishing.  But where do they come from and why were they used?

Indigenous communities have cut, coloured, pierced and shaped the body for centuries as part of complex rituals; for identity, beauty, healing, spirituality, coming-of-age ceremonies, and even occasionally as punishments.  There are still some communities who live as they did hundreds of years ago but most are being forced to integrate into western society, by threats to their land, resources and customs. Maellyn wants to tell their stories before they are lost forever.


Maellyn became fascinated by body modification while filming with a group of modern body modification artists and performers in London.  Her curiosity lead her to begin researching the origins of these practices and in December 2010 she took a camera and made a trip from Kathmandu in Nepal, through Central India to Southern India.  In Nepal she met the older tribeswomen with beautiful tattoos, whose grandchildren wouldn’t dream of tattooing in fear of not being offered work.  In Central India she met the fascinating Baiga tribe, natives of the forest who use plant medicine in their tattoos, which are also placed on pressure points for healing.  The women of this tribe wear their tattoos with pride as they are considered a currency which can be passed on to the next life.  She also met the nomadic and elusive Ramnami tribe, a low caste tribe whose facial and full body tattoos bear the name of the upper caste god, Ram.

Trippin’ Balls Art Show: Toronto, November 28th

Trippin Balls features paintings and print work by Toronto tattoo artists Alex Snelgrove, Kyle Hollindrake of Okey Doke Tattoo shop, and illustrator Paul Jackson. The exhibit features over a dozen bold and bright coloured vintage graphic designs, and vibrant psychedelic painted scenes pulled from the artists’ imaginations. We’d describe the works as nothing less then AWESOME!.
HUNTCLUB will be displaying and selling original paintings, custom prints, and temporary tattoos.
The opening reception is November 28 from 7pm – 11pm. The exhibition will remain on display from 1pm-7pm on weekdays until December 8 .
About the artists:

Alex Snelgrove has been tattooing since 2009. She has an extensive illustration background and continues to make art outside of the tattoo shop.

Kyle Hollingdrake has been tattooing since 2001. He loves tattooing tigers, dragons, wizards, unicorns, motorcycles, buxom ladies, muscle bound warriors and anything else thats awesome.

Paul Jackson is Toronto based illustrator and painter.

For any inquiries regarding the show or gallery, contact Darlene Huynh at

709 College St. W
Toronto, Canada

Tattoo for the Philippines

By Marisa Kakoulas

Reblogged from: http://www.needlesandsins.comtattoo for the philippines

Last week, I wrote, with a heavy heart, about how the tattoo community lost one of our own, Agit Sustento, in the devastating typhoon in the Philippines. And, as a true community, artists and collectors from around the world are joining Tattoo for the Philippines, and raising funds to be donated to the Red Cross relief efforts in the country. Find a list of participating artists here – and more are artists are welcome to be a part of it.

Elle Festin of Spiritual Journey Tattoo & Tribal Gallery (shown tattooing by hand below) offers more on the design he created for this fundraiser:

“The inspiration for the tattoo design comes from an artifact known as the Manunggul Jar. The artifact was discovered in a burial site Manunggal Cave in Lipuun Point, Quezon, Palawan. It was chosen as the inspiration for the design because the figures represent guides taking the deceased to the next life, in essence guiding the souls of those who died. The artist’s interpretation of the design is in the style of a petroglyph. This style was chosen as a nod to the indigenous cultures of the Philippines. The design also incorporates a dedication to Jonas Agit Sustento, a tattoo artist and musician from Tacloban, who perished in the typhoon along with several members of his family.”

The cost of the tattoo is $30.00 U.S. or $20.00 Euros. The costs of supplies will be borne by the tattoo artists who are also dedicating their time.

Find more info on Facebook.

tattoo for the Philippines 2

Why It’s Important For Tattoo Artists To Travel

By Dawn Cooke

Dawn cooke at Japanese tea garden

I have been traveling on and off since the beginning of my career.  I haven’t always been able to travel as much as some of my peers because I have other obligations that make travel less accessible to me. But whenever I can I try to visit places and often I go where I have friends. True friends in life and in tattooing are hard to come by but as I have learned once you find them they make life so much more enjoyable.

There are several reasons that I travel. I go for work, I go for pleasure, I go to network with others in tattooing and I go for inspiration. Nothing pays off more than being inspired by your peers. That’s why instagram is such a big hit! But instead of being glued to your phone get out there and meet all those great artists Face to face!

Totem at Native herritage museum Anchorage

 I recently went to Eagle River Alaska to visit my good friend Deb Yarian. It is a really beautiful place. Mountains, Fresh air, I really got the feeling that people there try to look out for one another. So different from here in metro Detroit where I am from. I have tried to bring a little of that brotherly love back here to Detroit with me.  Being there just really made me look at the world a little differently. People there are somewhat isolated and it seems like it makes they so much kinder to one another.

Heartbeat Ink with Carlos Torres

Interview by Ino Mei.

Reblogged from: Heartbeatink.grTorres_cover_web

Accomplished, modest and a maitre of the black and grey realistic tattoo, Carlos Torres gave HeartbeatInk an exclusive interview about his career and his relationship with the tattoo and the Fine Arts.

When and how did you first start tattooing?

I was nineteen years old. In the beginning I used to tattoo at home which was probably not good, but that’s how I started. I think my first tattoo was done in 1996. I have an ugly picture of it too (laughs). Back then it was really hard to get an apprenticeship. I slowly learned, practiced more and more on people and then I worked in different shops. I got fired from the first shop I worked in, back in 1998. One day I went to this well-known shop with my portfolio and they were like “you wanna work here”? That shop was “So Call Tattoo” in San Pedro, LA and I stayed there for ten years. That’s where I did most of my learning. The guys there, Tom Berg and Ethan Morgan, were geniuses!


Now you have your own tattoo studio?

Yes. It’s like a collective of us that own the studio. It’s like a private studio – gallery type of thing. So everybody has freedom to come and go. I think that it is good for artists to have freedom, to be able to do what they want to do. I believe that I have learnt the most while being on the road; going to conventions, doing guest spots, so I think it is important to have freedom.

What is your relationship with Fine Art?

I never went to Art School. I never had a “formal” education. I started painting, rather recently, six – seven years ago. Once I realized I liked it, I focussed on it; I started attending some workshops from masters. I enjoy doing drawings and oil paintings. Our tattoo studio looks like an art gallery when you walk in and we are tattooing in the middle.


To read the rest of this interview, click here!

Amsterdam Tattoo Museum Closure Story

By John Niederkorn 

Reblogged from:

Since the closure of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum (ATM) in Nov. 2012 the tattoo community, along with fans and followers of the museum have had many questions about its untimely closure.

Today the intention is to shed some light on this subject by presenting *bankruptcy documents levied against the museum’s main financer and location provider Mrs. Mary Jeannette Leonora Seret, and her private company by the name of Partners at Work BV…
11 HenkSchiffmacher portrait

*1.7 Cause of bankruptcy

The bankrupt company is engaged in the reintegration of long-term unemployed people and people who have trouble finding labor. The orders were to do so – after tender – awarded by the municipalities or social services.

At one point, a partnership was established between Mr. Henk Schiffmacher or the foundation Amsterdam Tattoo Museum and the bankrupt company. Mr. Schiffmacher, known tattoo artist, had the desire for its collection accessible to a wide audience in a museum and for the bankrupt company was ‘ideal’ means to place multiple people from the reintegration purposes to work in this museum.

Henk Schiffmacher and Seret agreed the Schiffmacher collection would be housed at the Plantage Middenlaan 62 location. In conjunction with this agreement Seret and her Partners at Work BV company had an agreement with the Dutch government to provide employees for museum, under which its main function was to give employment to reformed criminals and “underprivileged” individuals… Due to the nature of the Seret’s company she received financial backing from the local government.


Based on this agreement, Partners at Work BV claimed to invest 1 million Euros in the ATM…

*Housing was sought and found in the building currently in use at the Plantage Middenlaan 60-62 in Amsterdam.

Last Sparrow Tattoo Interview with Todd Noble

Tattoo As I See It, The Movie

By Jeff Gogue


I call it a movie simply because it’s moving pictures as opposed to non moving pictures. I make my living making pictures, but they don’t move. I think my goal with anything is for it to actually “move” people. Pun intended. This dvd or video or whatever you want to call it is moving. My hope is that your soul would be moved and your mind would be engaged with your heart to search yourself and discover or rediscover why you do what you do. Whether you tattoo, paint, make music, or have any other creative outlet, be it business, art, management or anything else. When you stop and think about it “creativity” is just thinking outside of convention or routine; it’s coming up with a solution to whatever is perplexing you that is outside of the norm.

“Tattoo as I see it” is my message, which starts with my story, my “why” to what I’ve done in my life and what I do with each day. It presents my beginnings, my intentions and my resolutions after attaining the goals I set out for. Along the way I have learned to be an artist. I’ve learned to be a professional at expressing things visually, and I’ve discovered that the door has been opened to a wide world that goes beyond what I thought was there.

This project was not my idea, or my vision, at first. When Ryan Moon, (Film Director, director of photography, designer, and co-producer) approached me with the idea of a tattoo instructional dvd, I was of course not into it. I don’t want to be another guy trying to capitalize on the tattoo frenzy, but after talking and mulling over ideas, I was convinced to just be myself and say what I feel I need to say. After a year and a half of talking, tattooing and wondering, I am pleased with what has transpired. It’s a well rounded presentation of both ideals, and practical application of what I believe to be foundational and fundamental principles of both tattooing in general and artistic understanding that’s applicable to any medium, all of this mixed in with honest, real experience and reflection on an art based life.

The (pre sale) dvd is available currently for $39.00 plus shipping world wide with the official release date being Friday, November 29th when the price will be $49.00 plus shipping. We are also planning on releasing a limited edition collector’s edition with two DVDs, one being Tattoo As I See It, and the other containing my home videos of seven trips to Japan for a full back piece from the renown Shige, of Yellowblaze, Yokohama. I filmed over the last three years documenting my experience, all of this is the backdrop for my candid story of who Shige is to me and what the experience meant and how it affected my life. This edition will be signed, numbered and limited. I had hoped to have them out sooner than this but doing it ourselves, we of course came up against lots of hurdles and costs.

The final stages of the project were completely made possible by our sponsors, Fusion Ink, Cheyenne Tattoo Equipment, Sullen Art Collective, and Tattoonow, and Off the Map Tattoo.

I started my own art production company called Unicycle Brand in order to fund this project and all the time invested in the cameras, the computers, the filming and editing over the last year and a half. Unicycle brand will be launching over the next year, our contributing artist lines of prints by Jason Butcher and Lianne Moule of the UK, Markus Lenhard of Germany, Derek Noble, USA, and Shige, Yokohama Japan. I envision this being the start of great things to come for art and tattooing.

Special thanks to Tattoo Artist Magazine for the years of support and for keeping it real for tattooers in this ever-changing world.

Please visit to view the Trailer and order your (pre sale) copy now.

Also please visit our sponsors’ sites:


Sullen- Tattoo as I see it, t-shirt available soon.


Check out the trailer…

Last Sparrow Tattoo Interview with Scott Sylvia

Get TAM issue 10 with an interview on Scott Sylvia:

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Amsterdam Tattoo Museum: Two-Year Anniversary


From Annemarie Beers to all the ATM followers, supporters and Blue Bone Society members,

Yesterday, two years ago we opened the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum. With help from a lot friends from all over the world we managed to start a great museum and realized Henk’s dream. Opening day and night was one to remember forever! Unfortunately we had to end this in a bad way due to our “financier’s” incompetence. We were kicked out of OUR museum on Nov. 12th 2012, Henk’s collection was kidnapped in the museum. On April 1st, 2013 the museum closed its doors…

Thanks to our dear friends, followers and tattoo fans we raised enough money to pay lawyers, get the collection back and start the Pop Up store for our staff to continue in the name of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum.

hank-atm lousie-atm


I hope we’ll have a new museum by 2014. All of you that contributed in any possible way, THANK YOU!!! The positive part of all this was that we realized how big our loving and supporting family is! Thank you all again… ATM FOREVER!


dan2 dan1


All Photos by: Bobby C. Alkabes

Reblogged from:

Tattoo Culture Issue 4: AVAILABLE NOW!!!

TCM Issue 4 available now!!

Paul Booth, Miss Arianna, Dong Dong, Tattoo Archive, Tattoo History, Debra Yarian, Sean Herman, Needles and Sins, Pep Williams, Bro Safari, Artist Galleries and more…

Available in the app store here:
For all other devices:
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Mike The Athens

Photos & interview by Ino Mei

Reblogged from: heartbeat


Humble, experienced and gifted with valuable knowledge of the classic Oriental tattoo, Mike The Athens gave Heartbeatink an exclusive interview about his 24 year-old career and his presence in the international tattoo scene.

How did you come up with the name “Mike The Athens”?

It came from a typographical error, which occurred in the 90’s in Miki Vialetto’s article, on Tattoo Planet. Instead of “Mike from Athens”, he wrote “Mike The Athens” and the nickname stuck (laughs).


When was your first contact with tattoos?

Since I was very young, I thought tattoos were alluring. I was excited by the idea of tattoo from a very young age. I started as a collector. Around the age of sixteen, I used to visit Jimmys’ studio, the only one that existed back then, once or twice a month, to decide which tattoo I wanted. At some point, I made my decision and just like that, I got my first tattoo. The next one I got was done by Bugs in Camden, who was then considered to be the best tattoo artist in Central London. We were a group of friends; one of them grew up to be the future Yorg. These were the days (the 80s’) of true originality. Back then the only ones who were getting tattoos done were the bikers, the rock ’n’ rollers and the greasers. No posers and new-school guys. It wasn’t a trend. Tattooing was quite underground, even misunderstood sometimes.

From then on, I really started getting into it. I got myself a tattoo machine and I “added” some elements on the first tattoos of my friends. Ever since I was a child I loved painting, my grandfather was a painter, plus I was interested in painting and designing as far as tattoos were concerned. Then, after that, I dropped everything. I quit my studies in English Literature at the University of Athens, where I studied and right afterwards I went to the  army in order to complete my “duty” there. I met a guy who had a home–made tattoo machine. From the moment I took it in my hands, I improved it with a rotring rapidograph that existed back then in order to use it as a tube and also used a bending fork as a base for the motor. The ink I used was of course rotring. That’s how they used to do it in jail, but of course I wasn’t aware of that; I was just guided by intuition and I was good at mechanics.I covered this guy up with tattoos, outlines only. He gave me some as well and that’s when I really started taking an interest in it.


When did you become a professional tattoo artist?

In 1989, after being encouraged by friends who wanted me to give them tattoos. I never went after it on my own. However, in the end I was mesmerized by the tattoo itself… I started with large cover ups and tribals. It’s really important to say that, at the time, there was no access to information when it came to tattooing. Everything was done either by books, or by visiting a tattoo place yourself, and of course there were no tattoo suppliers. I found Alex Binnie in a book; I had no idea who he was, I liked his tattoos so I sent him a letter (there was no email back then) to get him to give me a tattoo.

So, that’s how I tentatively entered “Into You” for the first time to get a tattoo done by Binnie, my first serious tattoo. We met and there was some great chemistry between us, he saw my work of the past six years, he liked it and he offered me a job as a guest (tattooer). He was planning to go to New York for a while and I would fill in for him in a way. So I moved to London and I became the main guest artist of Into You for two years. Ever since, I belong to the Into You tattoo family. There is a strong bond among us;it’s not coincidental that Tas (Danazoglou) works there now. Every time I go to London, the only studio I work for is Into You, and all of my friends and my tattoo family works there as well.

**Read the rest of this interview here:



Check out TAM for more awesome interviews:

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Forever, the Girl With the Unicorn Tattoo

By Louise Rafkin

Article from:


After more than three decades, the green unicorn tattoo on my right buttock has significantly paled. At least parts of it have. The flanks of the animal, formerly outlined, are now a dotted line. The horn droops.

Thirty-six years ago I was a college freshman and away from home for the first time. Whereas in my small Californian beach town nothing seemed possible, I’d landed in a groovy city where everything seemed possible. I could stay out all night, drink and smoke whatever, skip classes or take magic mushrooms — most of my cohort did.

But ditching my high school persona of stellar student and cheerleader was a hurdle. I wanted to run fast and loose but couldn’t bear to skip a class and found the after effects of drinking unbearable. I was naïve and prudish; the boy who took me on a “date” to a hot tub was sadly surprised to find, while groping in the bubbles, my one-piece bathing suit.

Yet I deeply wanted to be edgy and artistic. I read Henry Miller and Anais Nin and Jack Kerouac with the focus of a pirate reading a treasure map.

One night, munching popcorn in my dorm, I hatched the idea of a tattoo. It was the mid-1970s and a tattoo was not what it is today. Tattoos were for sailors, bikers and Janis Joplin. It would be 20 years before they were reinvented as fake tribal indicators of urban cool.


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