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NEVER READ (OR POST) THE COMMENTS

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By Marisa Kakoulas Source: www.needlesandsins.com 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 ... Read More »

Paul Dobleman: Psychedelic Stories July’s Winner!

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By Paul Dobleman Once again more acid was taken, more mushrooms, more DMT… I’ve been in and out of consciousness and backed up on the winners, so how about this, here is another winner… Cosmo wrote: Dear Paul… When I was 13 a lot of Felix the Cat acid was being taken, they called it “illusion” I had been taking it here and there, Frying on Fridaze, Felix’s face only appeared every four hits, so I was determined to take the four… This was the first time I took 4 hits, I had the full face, and ran around and showed everyone as it soaked into my tounge. Haha! We used to hitchhike up Mt. Tam and trip out in the Miwok tree, it was a fairly safe place back then, and far enough from civilization. We were having trouble hitchhiking, no one was picking us up, there was also 7 of us, but the ACID was kicking in hard and I was starting to panic!!!!! Then all of a sudden my mom pulls up?! Fuck!!! She’s pissed!! She’s yelling and sounds like a dragon!!! She piles us in and drives everyone as she’s lecturing, her words become more and more warped, I sat in the car frozen, my friends not saying a word… She dropped everyone off, and continued to yell at me, I was sweating and freaking out in my mind, her voice echoed in every part of my soul! She decided to take me home, to see ... Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Never Take Each Other For Granted

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By Dawn Cooke This blog is about the intricacies of the client/artist relationship. It’s sort of like any other relationship, only usually interactions happen in relatively short bursts and there are just so many of them. I try to always value this relationship and interaction. I think it is a valuable life experience for both parties, usually… Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Jesse Stark Fundraiser

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By Dawn Cooke Let me tell you a little story about Jesse Stark. Jesse starting tattooing as a young man and like most of us had to struggle to learn the craft of tattooing. Jesse worked in Detroit for a while. When I say he worked in Detroit I mean in the city not the suburbs. He was shot at one too many times there and he left to work in the safer community of Ann Arbor… Read More »

Dawn Cooke: 15 Great Artists’ Pictures From Instagram

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By Dawn Cooke So I screen-shotted some of my favorite pictures from Intagram to share. My intention is to share some great work and give the artists every bit of the credit! I’m doing it to showcase what I consider to be some really great work. I hope you will all agree. One thing I want to make clear is that I am not trying to promote the idea of “stealing.” All artists are inspired by other artists. There’s a difference between being inspired and flat-out stealing. I think it’s important to know the difference. Most images in tattooing have been taken from other sources. It’s always good to know the source if you can, and try to be inspired by art outside of tattooing… and also by life and nature… Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Ask Not What Your Culture Can Do For You, But What Can You Do For Your Culture

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By Dawn Cooke I have been thinking lately about how important it is to support the culture and community of tattooing. It seems like a no-brainer, but I noticed that it doesn’t seem like people have any real criteria for the support they do give. It’s almost like people have an odd biased that is based on a “what can I get out of this” attitude. This makes sense since we have such a capitalist environment at play…  Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Freedom

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By Dawn Cooke I hear talk about freedom all of the time. As an artist, my first amendment right is pretty important. The fact that we can share our thoughts freely is something we often take for granted. It’s easy to do because we are taught to believe that we are entitled to be free and we can do or say anything we want in this country. The truth is, that’s not entirely the case. You have to go along with society’s laws and norms for the most part because if you can’t find a productive place in society for whatever reason, society will find a place for you and it might not be a place you would like to go…  Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Top 10 Ways to Balance Family and Career

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By Dawn Cooke In this fast paced, competitive world, how does a parent balance a career with the many other obligations of family and life? It’s not easy! It definitely requires planning and some sacrifice. There are so many things going on around any given person at any given time today in our world. It can be easy to become bombarded by media such as news, Internet and television. It can feel like the world is flying past you in fast forward while you are struggling to check things off of your list. Meanwhile your list of things to do grows and grows… But I found a few things that really help me manage all the tasks I have as mother, shop owner, artist, tattooist and wife… Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Laws and Money

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By Dawn Cooke Leave it to me to write about the less exciting things about tattooing. This might just be one of the more important subjects I could have the honor of making you think about. With more popularity for tattooing comes more attention from the government. This means laws and money. I can talk about Michigan specifically and explain to you all what’s happening here…  Read More »

Dawn Cooke: I Hate to Burst Your Bubble!

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By Dawn Cooke Lately, I have had some cynical views toward the state of tattoo culture and pop culture in general and I have had to apologize for affecting sensitivities. So I have been researching, writing and thinking about why I feel this way. The phenomenon of counter-culture becoming popular culture has been written about quite a lot. If you are interested in this topic the book, Nation of Rebels is a good one. What I see, is that we have an overly competitive narcissistic consumer culture that has really negative effects on individuals and on society as a whole. A person can get swept away by the tide if they aren’t careful. I have come dangerously close too many times personally…  Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Ladies, Ladies! Art Show 2012

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By Dawn Cooke I just wanted to tell everyone about a really cool art show you should check out if you are in NY or if you’re going out to the Convention. This should be really fun for both guys and gals to attend… Read More »

Dawn Cooke: The Tattoo Shop Environment

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By Dawn Cooke My tolerance for suffering and a small amount of self-loathing has always made me able to stand sometimes-intolerable environments. Also a drive and fight against resistance has always been fueled by passion to do my work. To everyday people some of the happenings and things said in the tattoo shop are not PC to say the least, in fact some people might be down right disgusted and offended at most of the things that are said and topics discussed within the shop atmosphere…  Read More »

Dawn Cooke: Why a Tattoo Is Not a Painting, and a Painting Is Not a Tattoo

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By Dawn Cooke This is actually a simple concept really, it’s because they are completely different mediums, if you even consider tattooing an artistic medium. The same way a sculpture isn’t a painting, a drawing isn’t a sculpture, needlepoint isn’t furniture making, a tattoo is not a painting and a painting is not a tattoo. Many tattoo artists have attempted to combine or blur the lines between the two forms of expression. While these attempts are very impressive to people who know little or care nothing about the tradition and history of tattooing, they can sometimes go against the spirit of the trade or craft of tattooing… Read More »

Dawn Cooke: What is a Tattoo? 6 Other Artists Who Get It!

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By Dawn Cooke Every day I ask myself this question. And if you think I always have the correct answer, I do not. Every tattoo that I do gets me closer to figuring out exactly what a tattoo is. Some of the first thoughts I have when I meet a client lead me to my conclusions about that particular piece. Each piece is different and every piece is a different answer to the question… Read More »

Dawn Cooke: 32 Great Tattoo Artists Everyone Should Know

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By Dawn Cooke This is for the guys… So I featured ladies-only last time and I didn’t want the guys to feel left out. So I sent messages to all the guys who I admire for their contribution to the tattoo community. Some of these fellows I know personally and some of them I do not but for some reason their work, ethics or both caught my eye… Read More »