By Nicki Kasper
“In that moment, I realized that instead of trying to be inspired, I was going to try to inspire people.”
I recently ordered two copies of Jeff Gogue’s DVD, “tattoo as I see it”… Jeff is one of my closest and most genuine friends and I wanted to support his project, something I know he and put a lot of work, time, money, energy and heart into. I bought a copy for myself, and one for a close friend of mine – an artist I thought could use some inspiration. I didn’t know exactly what the DVD would be like, but I know Jeff, and I knew it would be inspiring, as well as very giving with valuable information and advice to tattooers… I just now was able to find the time to sit down and watch it, and it doesn’t disappoint.
I know Jeff in a couple different ways… We’re friends; I know him on a personal level, and he’s fun, open, genuine, kind, generous, and hilarious. I’m also one of his clients, so I know him on that level. I know how much he cares about his clients, about the pieces he puts on our bodies, about the pain we’re feeling, etc. I know how much heart he puts into every single piece, and I’m grateful and fortunate to be covered in them. But in addition to being a friend, and a client, I’ve also had the pleasure of working with him on side projects.
I know from experience that nothing Jeff Gogue does professionally or otherwise is half-assed. He cares about the details. If he decides he’s going to do something, he wants to give all of himself to it. If it has his name on it, he wants it to be the absolute best he has to offer at that time and place. He never thinks he’s reached his full potential, which is why we see his work changing and evolving over and over. I can relate to him in many ways, which I think is part of the reason we became instant friends so many years ago.
“You’re either a taker, or you’re a giver.”
He wants to inspire others, and that is the point of this movie. It will inspire everyone who watches, artist or not. He’s honest and open about his process, what he wants, his strengths and weaknesses. It’s real, and humble and people can always relate to that.
If you’re an artist, you will be blown away at how generous Jeff is with information that will help you from laying out a piece to tips on using contrast in your work to mixing colors. It’s invaluable information that he’s learned by trial and error over the years and he’s sharing it all with you. But if you’re not an artist, and you just want to be inspired about believing in yourself and making shit happen for yourself… About not accepting failure, and instead being driven by it, you need to watch this film.
To Jeff and Ryan Moon – You guys did an incredible job on this, and now I wish I hadn’t been such a chicken about being interviewed for it! I’m proud of you both!
Shot by Estevan Oriol.
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 womenwithtattoos.co.uk, 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.
Shot by Estevan Oriol
By Brian Tremml
We’ve all been there. One day you have a moment of clarity over your morning coffee and come to the realization that you just don’t like dolphins anymore. There’s only one problem: that beautifully detailed, multi-colored and not-at-all-cartoonish representation of a dolphin you got tattooed on your arm during your rebellious phase of college. So, what’s a girl to do?
No need to worry, because Nekkid Nate and all of the other employees of Liberty Tattoo in Atlanta “can fix that,” by providing cover ups for any and all of the ill-informed decisions of your youth. Watch their hilarious advertisement above. The ad features Mastodon guitarist Brent Hinds, who apparently is interested in running for public office now. He’s got our vote.
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.
By Estevan Oriol
By Anni Irish
A recent animated film featured on Vanity Fair’s website in their “Through the Decades” series showcases artist Nick Hooker’s tattoo inspired interpretation of the 1940s. The short four minute film highlights several historical events from the 1940s and is done in an Americana tattoo style. The film opens with a shot of a vintage radio that is placed next to a bottle marked “xxx”. In the background there are various tattoo inspired images which are framed. The radio is on and we hear what seems to be a speech FDR being given in regards to World War II. Over the radio address the sound of a tattoo machine buzzes and the camera pans out to a reveal simple sign that says “tattoos”. The shot widens and various flash tattoo designs become visible and the room is transformed into a tattoo parlor. An Uncle Sam type tattoo artist is tattooing sparrows onto a patron who has a larger ship and American flag scene on their stomach and chest. The image quickly shifts again. Within this shot the framed flash tattoo designs become the object of focus. It is within the confines of the framed tattoo images where Hooker’s depiction of the 1940s comes to life.
An important element to Hooker’s representation of the 1940s is his emphasis on the history of tattooing. Hooker showcases this by making the link between tattooing and sailors as well as their presence within freak show and circus culture. Tattoo artists such as Professor Charlie Wagner, Sailor Jerry and Cap Coleman are referenced which is is important. Another key detail to Hooker’s telling of the 1940s is his foregrounding of the tattooed lady through Mae Vandermark. Vandermark a former stenographer turned tattooed lady becomes the darling of Hooker’s short film. In an “Behind the Scenes Interview” about the film, Hooker and it’s co director, Drew Christie talk about the “illustrative qualities” of tattoos. It is the “illustrative qualities’ of them that both Christie and Hooker note, which capture their interpretation of this decade. It is also interesting to note that This American Lifecontributor and author Starlee Kine, wrote and narrated the piece. This talented group of artists came together to create a compelling, alternative representation of this infamous decade.
What is significant about this animation for me is how an alternative narrative of history is told through tattoo culture. In many ways, tattoos came to encompass the 1940s. This occurred through the presence of the War and the various sailors and soldiers who documented the experience if it on their bodies to the tattooed ladies and various “freaks” of circus culture. Christie and Hooker are narrating a social history which often goes overlooked. This animation is raising larger issues surrounding the social history of tattooing within the United States while also giving insight into it. It is being done in an unconventional medium through one of the most popular publications out today. As a result, a new generation is learning about this alternative historical narrative which is incredibly important.
Given the fact that it is such a short film, only a portion of this history is being told which encompasses a larger time span. While I do not want to take away from the work that I feel this animation is doing, it is only a tiny piece in this larger social puzzle. There are many other elements that construct America’s tattoo history. People such as Margot Mifflin, Amelia Klem Osterud, and others are actively working to help recuperate this larger history but there is still much to be done. Being mindful of this wider framework and the issues “The 1940s” raises perhaps it will inspire the next generation of tattoo artists and tattoo historians to begin their own investigation.
**Anni Irish is a writer and researcher who holds an MA in Performance Studies from New York University and an MA in Gender and Cultural Studies from Simmons College. Her work focuses on the representation of bodies, fetishism, and the social history of tattooing in America. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.2015 |Candidate The Draper Program, NYU|
Check out this amazing instructional video Jeff made about drawing finger waves. His new DVD, Tattoo as I see it is available for pre-sale now on http://www.unicyclebrand.com.
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 http://www.unicyclebrand.com 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…
Get TAM issue 10 with an interview on Scott Sylvia:
By Sanctioned TV.
By Marisa Kakoulas
Last week, a site called jesustattoo.org came across my radar in which there is a video (shown below) of an actor, with a bad wig and faux facial hair, who plays Jesus as a tattoo artist. Tattoo Jesus transforms tattoos that say “useless” and “outcast” to “brave” and “purpose.” The big reveal is when he takes off his shirt, and we see that the negative marks are now on his body.
Even as a heathen, I thought it was a nice concept, but I just couldn’t get past the fake hair and cheezy production, so I decided not to post it. BUT, when I learned of the “outcry” against the jesustattoo.org billboard in Lubbock, Texas, well, that to me is newsworthy because it’s a reminder that many still view tattoos as “blasphemous,” and people take the tattoos of others — no matter what the subject matter — as personally offensive to their beliefs.
Also interesting is that the evangelicals behind jesustattoo.org are really digging the backlash. According to Vibe, media relations coordinator for the organization, Ashleigh Sawyer, stated: “Certainly, like with all deeply personal relationships, not everyone approves of the image of Jesus with tattoos, but we welcome the controversy because we understand that a dialogue on the issue is the best way to spread the message.”
Well, the message is out. Even I ended up posting it.
Doc Ink is a brazilian web series of short episodes featuring some of that country’s most respected tattooers. It was introduced to us by São Paulo-based tattooer Nico Acosta. Enjoy episode #4!
Doc Ink is a brazilian web series of short episodes featuring some of that country’s most respected tattooers. It was introduced to us by São Paulo-based tattooer Nico Acosta. Enjoy episode #3!
By Kris Richter
My Name is Kris Richter and this is Beyond the INK…
Last year I traveled North America, speaking at tattoo studios and tattoo conventions. I developed a seminar that is about 45 minutes long, and covers everything someone needs to know, or consider before they get tattooed. I am humbled by the positive response it has received within the tattoo community and beyond.
Now, I am ready to take Beyond the INK to the next level.
I am asking for your help to raise $50,000. With that I plan on doing three things… Please watch this video and show your support by donating on ourGoFundMe campaign page.
Huge congratulations to Henning from your friends here at TAM!!!
*Video by Lars Stig Moller