Shot by Estevan Oriol
Shot by Estevan Oriol
By Marisa Kakoulas
So, you can take a minute and read the Gizmodo article first. Or not.
I first asked Anna what she thought were some glaring mistakes in the post. Here’s what she said:
ANNA: By the third sentence of this “article” I knew it was going to be a doozy. The problem with this statement, “That tradition continues today, just with a much smaller chance of infection” is a) it’s incredibly melodramatic and b) it’s just not true. Many (if not most?) traditional tattoo practitioners were acutely aware of the possibility of infection, one of the reasons why we perhaps see suspension mediums in traditional tattoo “ink” recipes like alium juice or even one of my favorite rare ones, human breastmilk, both of which contain natural antibacterial agents. Rest periods for people having undergone tattooing are common cross-culturally (presumably to let the body heal and lessen the chance of infection). And with the rise of “tattoo parties” and so much home-tattooing by amateurs untrained in proper safe practices with bloodborne pathogens, there is a huge risk of all sorts of infections in the contemporary era.
Re: the image of the “Pict” “tattoos”: had the writer just done a tiny bit of searching re: this image, he might have realized this image is a fantasy and does not represent tattoos. Scholars are still not sure if the descriptions of body art on the Picts were tattoos or just body painting (leaning toward the latter), but they definitely were not 16th century French-inspired floral designs in multi-color (they were described as woad-like, which is blueish in color). The image is also not attributed to the source, and I’m guessing when the owner (Yale University) finds out it’s been used without attribution, they will have it pulled. Here are some links to some of my posts on one of the other images from the same book (John White’s equally fantastic Pict images), which mention fantasy and have more elucidation of some of these problems: Image 1 (below), Image 2, and Image 3.
Matt also noted the misinformation on Picts and cited “The Pictish Tattoo: Origins of a Myth” by Richard Dibon-Smith for reference.
As for the “These days, it’s not just sailors and ruffians that get inked” line (and the whole paragraph really), read Matt’s attack on tattoo cliches.
Above: Lars Krutak with one of the last tattooed Kalinga warriors Jaime Alos outside of Tabuk, Philippines.
I’m also grateful for the extensive critique of the article that Lars offered:
LARS: Otzi is not the oldest evidence as this article seems to purport. The oldest is a 7000-year-old male mummy of the Chinchorro culture of South America and this man wears a tattooed mustache on his upper-lip, so the earliest evidence is cosmetic. [Actually, the cited Smithsonian article had several glaring errors and I never cite it - period! - even though I work at the Smithsonian! Dr. Fletcher stated that Otzi is the oldest tattoo evidence, but she is no doubt incorrect and I like mythbusting this oft-stated "fact."]
Gizmodo: The Inuit, for example, have been tattooing themselves in the name of beauty and a peaceful afterlife since at least the 13th century.
LARS – The earliest evidence of tattooing in all of North America is a Palaeo-Eskimo ivory maskette from Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada whose face is completely covered with tattoos and it dates to -3500 BP. This object most likely represents a woman. So the practice is much older than the author presumes. For “beauty” is pretty much horseshit – see my comments below. Much circumpolar tattooing aimed to repel the advances of disease-bearing evil spirits and there were multiple forms of medicinal tattooing to relieve painful rheumatism (a la the Iceman), painful swellings, facial paralysis, and even to increase the production of a woman’s breast milk.
Gizmodo: Similarly, in the the [sic] Cree tribe, men would often tattoo their entire bodies while the women would wear ornate designs running from mid-torso to pelvis as protective wards for a safe pregnancy.
LARS: I have never heard anything about safe pregnancies in relation to Cree tattoo, although I am aware of tattoos in other parts of North America to promote fertility or ensure that the first thing a newborn saw was a thing of beauty (eg, inner thigh tattoo, Inuit region). Indeed, Cree men (Plains Cree, Wood Cree) were tattooed on their torso, but only for war honors. These tattoos had to be earned so only successful warriors would have worn such tattoos. The author makes it sounds like every man had them, but this is simply not true.
To read this full article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/03/tattoo-history-myths-exposed.html
*Note from TAM – Unfortunately, the site that originally posted this list didn’t provide information on the artists who are responsible for these tattoos. If you happen to know who did one of these pieces, please feel free to leave a comment and let us and the rest of the readers know!
Amazing, isn’t it? The 3-D tat almost appears carved! It’s so perfect, we’d be tempted to “knock” on it, just to see if her leg was not in fact wooden.
You might think, what.. is this really inked? The 3-D tat is so realistic, until you notice it’s on this guy’s bicep! No one is messing with him, his tat is likely to start a conversation rather than a fight.
By Molly Kitamura
We are back!! After a couple months break, Knives and Needles Blog is back! Sometimes even bloggers need a break to recharge with new material!! And what better way to get back into things than with Jairo Acevedo!!!! He is one talented and tattooed chef, so read on and check out his food and tattoos….. You will not regret it!
Molly: Tell us a bit about yourself, please include what you are doing now
Jairo: I’m a 27 yr old chef from Boston Mass. I’ve been here in Los Angeles for about 6 months now and I am currently the Personal Chef for Athletic Gaines, a professional athlete training group. The Head Trainer, Travelle Gaines, trains the athletes and I make their meals certain nights a week if not every night. Right now we are in the middle of a 8 week training camp for The NFL Scouting Combine. It’s been an absolute blessing to be able to move out here to California on a limb and be where I am.
M: What got you into cooking?
Shot by Estivan Oriol
Ever wonder what Spock or Princess Leia would look like with a full sleeve of tattoos? The Tumblr site Shopped Tattoos adds gallons of ink to everyone from AC Slater and Wonder Woman to Grace Kelly and Bette Davis. There’s even a few presidents in the mix.
Mario Lopez as AC Slater
Tiffani Thiessen as Kelly Kapowski
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman
Katy Segal as Peg Bundy
Stand By Me
Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused
The Graduate‘s Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman
Jackie and President John F. Kennedy
Kate Middleton and Prince William
By Kevin Miller
Tattoo by Russ Abbott at Ink & Dagger Tattoo in Decatur, GA
Tattoo Snob: Since the beginning of 2013, you’ve been working on a sleeve that you just posted. Before we start talking about the specifics, can you share your thoughts on larger pieces such as sleeves, back pieces, torso pieces. How do you approach them? Do you prefer to do these over smaller pieces?
Russ Abbott: Well, from my perspective as the artist, I feel most comfortable doing large-scale work, specifically arm sleeves, although I am doing more torso work than ever before. But with the sleeves, I love the unique challenge of designing around a cylinder. I also love that the work is such a serious part of the collectors life. Obviously, arm tattoos get seen by a lot of people in day to day interactions. I like to think about how the piece will be viewed by the world outside of tattooing. I ask myself, “Will this be the tattoo that changes someone’s mind about tattooing?” Hopefully in favor of it. Haha! But I do really love when client’s tell me stories about members of their family going from tattoo critics to true fans after seeing the work I do for them. I’m sure every tattooer gets those stories.
TS: Let’s talk about the concept of this sleeve. How did it come about?
RA: I met the collector, Chris a few times through mutual friends. He didn’t have any tattoos a couple of years ago but he’s gotten covered up fast! When he talked to me about doing his sleeve I was pumped because in just a short time, he had already managed to collect nice work from amazing artists like Timmy B, Kelly Doty, and Ryan Thomas. Chris had already proven he could sit for long sessions and his skin tone is ideal for the full range of colors. Plus he seriously doesn’t seem to have any concern about what he’s getting. I would try to check with him about my ideas for colors and such and he would just be like “Whatever dude, I don’t care. I trust you.” He just had this concept that was perfect for me. If you look at the photos of the sleeve, the concept he pitched me is exactly what you see. He’s into photography so he wanted a camera, a model, and the resulting photographs. He also requested that the model be in a flapper costume and suggested I fill space with my signature ornamental scrollwork. I loved that his concept would give me the opportunity to showcase two distinctly different styles of my work, black and gray realism, and illustrative color.
TS: You made all of the stops in preparing this sleeve, including models and photographers. Can you tell us about that process?
RA: For the way I tattoo, I always need to find the best reference material available. I could have probably found a decent reference photo for the camera and maybe even the girl, but to hit the jackpot and find multiple poses of the same girl in the right costuming? Not likely. But I did start with a Google search to see what I could dig up. No dice. Then I contacted a few models to see if they had any photo sets that might fit the project. Several beautiful girls sent me photos but I still didn’t find anything that felt right. In the process of seeking out models, a friend suggested I talk to a local model named Brittany Michelle aka Ladee Danger. Luckily, she was stoked about the idea and even offered to handle her own costuming, hair, and makeup. We met at the shop one day and spent several hours taking photos. Mary D. helped out with the photos and the lights. Thanks Mary and Brittany! I couldn’t have done this without your help.
TS: Do you prepare for every sleeve, back piece, and torso piece in the same way?
RA: Full on photoshoots are not required for every piece but I do put in quite a bit of work on the front end of a big project. There’s no substitute for great reference. I recently completed a Battle of Gettysburg sleeve that required me to hire Civil War reenactors.
TS: How many sessions did it take, and do you know what the total amount of time was?
RA: Chris’ photography sleeve? I’d have to guess because I don’t have accurate records but I would say maybe 8-10 sessions. 40-50 hours.
TS: You worked on this sleeve throughout the entire country, at various shops and at various conventions? How did that come about?
RA: Chris lives in Ohio or Kentucky I think so traveling was a big part of the process. He came to my studio in Decatur, Georgia for most of the sessions. But he also loves going to conventions so we met at both of the Hell City conventions and also Ink & Iron in California. Again, he’s a totally dedicated collector and I can’t thank him enough for all he went through to make this tattoo happen. Most clients don’t think they deserve much credit for having great work. But to me, they deserve way more credit than they think!
TS: Nobody really saw pictures of the progress of this sleeve as it was progressing. Was this on purpose? Do you prefer this versus posting pictures during every session?
RA: Yeah, I used to post a bunch of in-progress work because I’m not one of those artists who finishes a new tattoo everyday and I wanted to still be a part of social media everyday. But after careful consideration, I decided it was better to post quality over quantity so I made a conscious decision not to post as many in-progress pieces. That’s funny you noticed that. I guess that’s kind of your job though. Ha.
TS: You just posted a layout of a new sleeve that you did with Manga Studio. What exactly is that? Are you preparing more pieces like this?
RA: About a year ago, I purchased a massive digital drawing display made by Wacom. (Cintiq 24HD) I’ve been learning to use it ever since and I’ve found all kinds of useful drawing programs. Manga Studio 5 by Smith Micro is my new favorite though. It’s just a really natural way to draw digital art. It’s tools and interface are simple to use but extremely powerful. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
TS: What do you have lined up for 2014 in regards to large tattoo projects? Outside of specific projects, what do you have planned for 2014?
RA: That digital sleeve design you were just referring to was actually a really exciting experiment for me. I came up with the concept and did the entire design without a client to get the tattoo. I wanted to see if I could post a sleeve drawing and sell it online. I posted it up on Instagram and Facebook, and a girl brought me a deposit and set her first appointment 2 days later! So at it turns out, I think I will be able to control the ongoing direction of my work by doing custom artwork and then finding the client. I’m still not technically accepting any new clients on my waiting list so really picking one of these ready-made designs will be the fastest way to get tattooed by me. All I ask is that people show me the respect of not stealing these designs that I’m posting. Like I said, it’s an experiment.
TS: Any last words?
RA: I just wanted to thank Tattoo Snob for helping raise the standards of tattoo related media. I know you guys do this work out of love for tattooing and you incur a substantial financial strain to travel to shows, not to mention all of the time you put in. You guys always seem to put the spotlight on incredible artwork from all over the globe. You’re doing great work. So thanks!
Shot by Estevan Oriol
By Joey Knuckles
Tattooing is all about progression. We learn from our mistakes and we grow every day; we should all approach it with humility and respect for our fellow artists. True tattooers want to continue to grow, and to become the best tattooers, artists, and people that they can be. To do this we must get rid of the negativity. I can tell you from my own personal experiences over the past couple of years that there are already enough things to bring you down.
A little advice: about two years ago, I stopped listening to news/media/political arguments. I also fought off some personal demons, such as drinking, anger, and depression. Not only have my anxiety and stress levels dropped drastically, but also my thought process has been liberated and I’ve been able to focus on what truly matters. Separating yourself from all the negativity and drama in your life, and surrounding yourself with people who support you is so important. The people in my life, including my wife Tori, my ever loyal Philadelphia clientele, my continuously growing Columbus clientele, and my brothers everywhere, are what keep me going and continuing to progress and to further my understanding of the past, present, and future of this craft. I can wake up in the morning, work on some sketches, and just be happy and honored to be part of the tattoo community.
We are the few and the lucky to be “true tattoo artists.” We must understand that we are all folk artists responsible for handing this craft over to the next generation with integrity and intelligence. If we ever want to progress as individuals and as artists, we have to understand fully what builds a true “traditional tattoo.” Not that everyone has to work in a “traditional style,” but everyone should understand and be able to accomplish the fundamental tattooing techniques. We must understand the tools involved in this trade, and resist relying on shortcuts such as tracing other artists’ work, Google images, and using programs like Photoshop to create graphic images that are unrealistic in the tattoo world (never mind Photoshopping tattoo pictures to create colors and vibrancy that do not exist in nature). As the saying goes, “Don’t confuse the menu with the meal.” People in the beginnings of their careers in this industry are learning these days with rotaries right from the start, without taking the necessary 5 to 10 years needed to master working with coil machines, among other aspects of tattooing. It seems everyone is rushing into fame without absorbing the knowledge required to become a “tattoo master.” So let’s take this note from one of our forefathers in tattooing, which has been a personal motto of mine, so that maybe we can all treat each other, and our craft, a little better: “I ‘Joey Knuckles’ am in the business of rendering a service to this community for the small group who choose to have their bodies decorated in some way or another…I choose to pursue my profession with intelligence and skill, wishing not to offend anyone, but instead with my love for mankind do what good I can do before I die…” —Pledge by Stoney St. Clair.
Joey Knuckles has been tattooing since 2003. Beginning his career in Columbus, Ohio most notably at High Street Tattoo, where he honed his tattoo skills in a fast-paced environment under his mentor Giovani. He then moved to Philadelphia in 2008, working in legendary shops like Philadelphia Eddies, Olde City Tattoo, Art Machine Productions, and Black Vulture Gallery, over the past five years. He has now returned to Columbus full-time, after inheriting High Street tattoo from his good friend, mentor, and High Street Tattoo founder Giovani. Joey prides himself on being a well-rounded tattoo artist specializing in anything ranging from cover-ups, custom lettering, floral work, to large-scale illustrative designs.
By Marisa Kakoulas
The meteoric media attention to tattooing is making a lot of people, a lot of money. And many of those people don’t have a single tattoo. When tattoo polls make claims like “one in five U.S. adults has at least one tattoo,” that’s a significant market to be tapped.
We are passionate about tattoos. We get excited to view beautiful work and pissed off when the art is denigrated. This passion = $$ in the eyes of those seeking “eyeballs” for their websites, TV shows, magazines, and sales outlets.
Back in October, we talked about tattoo “Like farms.” Those are often the tattoo “fan” pages with the billion “Likes” on Facebook, where you’ll find beautiful tattoos but without any information on the artist, photographer, or collector. The tattoos are used to draw us in and then throw ad links to merch, apps, and services.
The flip side to this is what I see as the “Dislike” hook: tricks like “click-baiting,” with headlines such as “Tattoos are Corny and Degrading,” designed to drag us in, make us angry with asinine writing, and provoke us to comment on the article, defending something that is personal and important to us. It brings more clicks, more time on the site, and more interactivity. Editors and advertisers just love how much we hate it.
Back in my early days of blogging (over 10 years ago), I used to call these articles out, and even comment on them in the hopes of trying to change someone’s mind with, what I believed to be, rational thought. I no longer do that. Because, in the history of the Internet, no one has ever won in a comment war.
To read the rest of this article, visit: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/03/never-read-or-post-the-comments.html
Some Quality Meat collaborated with Fitzroy Amsterdam to organize their annual new year’s bash. Kim Papanatos Rense made six classic nautical designs that are now placed on Fitzroy’s office walls, dishes and pig legs. The night ended in a huge party.