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Posts tagged “deb yarian

What’s In a Name?

By Deb Yarian

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By Don Yarian

The first thing out of my mouth when a couple says “We’ve decided to have a baby” is usually “Congratulations,” not “What happens if you get a divorce?”

I wish as many obstetricians counseled their patients against having babies using the same reasoning as some tattooers do when they advise their customers against getting a partner’s name – “What happens if you break up?”
Well, what happens if you break up is that you, having made an adult decision to show your devotion to someone by getting their name tattooed on your skin must now also make another adult decision and learn to live with it, cover it, or change it.

A ludicrous comparison, yes – but the name tattoo (a foolish choice only in retrospect) seems far less permanent when compared with the really permanent – living child.

This sort of counsel is a particular pet peeve of mine… I think that when a person, for whatever reason , wishes to commemorate their love and devotion to another person by choosing to get that person’s name tattooed on their body, then that is their adult decision and they don’t need my opinion, other than possibly font or calligraphic design choice or placement.

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photo 4 Redo of “Carlita” by Deb


I’ve heard so many tattooers respond to name requests with such negativity. With mocking responses ranging from “That’s a sure way to end a relationship!” “You sure you want to do that?” To ridicule or refusal to do the name tattoo.
But why should any couple coming in to get name tattoos from me or any other tattooer have to validate anything other than their legal ability to get tattooed? Since when did the tattooer become the priest and rabbi and moral counsel of their customers?

During my 35 years of tattooing there have probably been hundreds, even thousands of tattoo designs that I have been asked to do that I, myself, would not have chosen to get. In my opinion many more ugly or foolish design choices have been made than choosing to get the name of a loved one.

I am speaking solely on my opinion of a person’s decision to get another’s name – not the aesthetics of it.
Certainly, if the aesthetics of type interferes with the look or design flow of a larger tattoo then when asked for my artistic opinion I would give my honest one. However, if asked my opinion  as to whether someone should get their partner’s name – how could I answer that?

I feel that it’s only my responsibility to advise on design choice and placement and to try and do the best job that I can regardless of my opinion of someone else’s choice of what to wear on their body.

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By Don Yarian


20 Great Female Tattoo Artists in History Tattooing Over 20 Years

By Dawn Cooke

In honor of women’s history month I have compiled a list of women in the history of tattooing. This is not a complete history by any means. There are hundreds of women throughout time who have contributed to the art form and trade of tattooing. Unfortunately a lot of them have gone unaccounted for.  I have tried to find some of the lesser-known women to highlight here however some of the well-known artists have also been included. I have included women with at least 20 years under their belts. I was overwhelmed with the response to my idea to write this article.

Some of the women earlier on in history who paved the way for us included several sideshow performers. Betty Broadbent and lady Viola are among the most well known. In the 1930’s Mildred Hull was one of the few women tattoo artists working on the bowery in NY.  The beloved Cindy Ray from Australia, tattooed into the year 2007. These ladies have set our roots and our history is being made as we speak. But here are 20 women, most of whom are tattooing still, who deserve recognition for their contributions! These women tattooed long before social media and Reality television. They may not be masters at social media but they are masters of their craft. Take the time too look into these great artists! (In no particular order.)

1.Madame Chinchilla http://triangletattoo.com

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2.Loretta Lue http://leufamilyiron.com

3.Pat Fish http://www.luckyfish.com

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The Evolution of Tattooing on TV – As I See It

By Deb Yarian
http://www.eaglerivertattoo.com

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I grew up watching TV- I loved it!

I’m past middle age now, so I was a child when TV was still fairly young and I still remember when television was broadcast only in B & W. I also remember when there were only 7 channels (and this was in NYC), the three major networks, three local networks and the public broadcast network. They came on early in the morning, ran programs and commercials throughout the day – but ended sometime after midnight, culminating with a picture of a waving American flag, the playing of the national anthem and then dead air and static, literally static- till they resumed broadcasting in the morning.

When the weekly TV guide came out, I would plot my viewing for the days ahead- first searching for my favorite shows, then looking for any specials or movies I wanted to watch and then i’d adjust my schedule for time conflicts.
This continued, to a degree through my teens, when other interests like REAL LIFE got in the way of my television viewing habits.

Fast forward thirty- years… I’ve changed- tv viewing has changed.
I still enjoy watching a few series that I have set to record. I still love watching movies and can do so on any of the many movie viewing options available – in color, high def etc, and so goes the evolution of my tv watching.

When I first became aware of tattoos, as a teenager in the 70s, and started tattooing, I was also acutely aware of the absence of tattoos and tattooing on TV.
Tattooing was still an underground art then and tattoos just did not fit in to everyday, mainstream American life… there was little, if any, mention or presence of them on TV or in the movies with the exception of a couple of movies: The Illustrated Man,1969 and Tattoo, 1981 as well as an occasional documentary or the very rare appearance of a tattooer on TV.
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Flattery, Thievery, Or Just Plain Business?

By Deb Yarian

http://www.eaglerivertattoo.com

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Almost daily, people come in to my shop with drawings or illustrations that they want tattooed on them.
More times than not they get them on line- Pinterest or another source, without a clue as to who the original artist is.
Now I am not speaking of a photo of an existing tattoo done by a known to you, or unknown to you tattoo artist.
My question is – as a tattooer, is it my responsibility to search for the artist, contact them and ask for their permission to do a tattoo based on or directly from their artwork?
I ask this question because i’ve read a few blogs and articles on the subject of plagiarism recently regarding tattoos, and it started affecting how I do business…
Case in point- a girl came in to my shop to make an appointment- she has with her a line drawing of flowers surrounded by Victorian scrollwork. It’s a lovely design that I would enjoy tattooing. I ask her if she drew it? To which she replies, “No, I found it on Pinterest.” So I delve deeper. I ask if there was a signature or credit given to an artist?  Was she able to track back to an original post? But she had no idea who drew it, if it was drawn to be tattooed (which it looks like) which would lead me to believe that it was drawn by a tattooer.
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Now, I have in my mind that to tattoo this image as is, would be plagiarism. So I say to the girl  “I can draw something similar to this drawing, something original for you.” To which she replies, “No, I like the drawing I brought to you, I want the tattoo to look exactly like the drawing that I brought to you!”
So do I or don’t I tattoo the image?
Do I refuse to tattoo images that are of unknown origin to me?
Do I seek permission of known artists, in order to do tattoos of their illustrations?
Is it a lesser offense to do tattoos from the designs or illustrations of non- tattooers than it is from the designs or illustrations of tattoo artists?
I consider myself a shop tattooer, a draftsman- though I often draw “custom” tattoo designs for people, this is something that has developed over the past 10 or 20 years. Prior to that I tattooed mainly flash, or derivations of flash, and designs that people brought to me – which I may have had to alter to make more tattooable.
But over the years , which tattooist hasn’t tattooed an image of Disney’s or Merrie Melodie’s? Or of Frazetta or Boris?
What about a tattoo from one of Gil Elvgren’s or Vargas’s or Olivia’s pin up illustrations?
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Perhaps it’s ok if the artist, whose design you want to do as a tattoo is no longer living, like Michaelangelo, DaVinci, Maxfield Parish, Mucha, Freida Kahlo – just a few of the hundreds of artists- whose work I’ve seen as tattoos?
Is it okay if I go to the library or purchase a book and tattoo an image from the book? Copyright laws clearly state otherwise.
With millions of images accessible on line. How do you decide or police ownership of an image that you can use as a tattoo?
But I am speaking ethically, not legally.
Obviously there is no one, clear cut answer. Like with any rule, people will arbitrarily decide when it should be used, when to appy it and under what circumstances they’ll ignore it or bend it. I guess we’ll each make a decision when the time comes and we’ll each have an opinion of one another based on the decisions we make.

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.
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So You Wanna Be A Tattoo Artist?

By Deb Yarian

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My recent, internationally distributed book (ha ha), “So You Want To Be A Tattoo Artist?”- Helpful hints on getting started in an exciting career as a tattoo artist, with little or no training or skill, caused quite a furor in the tattoo world.

Both seasoned and novice tattooers alike, voiced outrage and indignation at what started out as a joke between my oldest son and me and then evolved into a satirical corporate style handbook.

While I understand that people are protective about what they are infatuated with, involved in and devoted to, I was still surprised and amused at the anger expressed by my critics.  Fortunately, there were far greater positive responses and most of my friends and peers, those whom I respect, got it and appreciate the humor.
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Lessons From Ink Smith & Rogers: Week 2

By Deb Yarian

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In my last installment of Lessons from Inksmith and Roger’s week 1, I explain that I had the pleasure of sending my second son, Nick, having just finished up an apprenticeship at our family shop in Alaska, to the world famous Inksmith and Roger’s Tattoo in Jacksonville, Florida for what many would consider a chance of a lifetime and a great opportunity for a brand new tattooer.
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Lessons from Ink Smith and Rogers: Week 1

image copyBy Deb Yarian

As a young tattooer I didn’t have a formal apprenticeship. Like many of my contemporaries, I went to work too early, as the means for another’s source of income. Through fortunate circumstances though, I formed a lifelong friendship with Eric Inksmith, and was blessed to have Paul Rogers, as a dear friend and mentor.

So it was with great pleasure, and some nostalgia that I sent my second son, Nick to Inksmith and Rogers in Jacksonville, FL for a month long visit and learning experience after he finished his apprenticeship with me, his father and brother at our family shop in Alaska.

I couldn’t help but to think, what a great opportunity for any young tattooer and it made me wish I was a 20 year old new tattooer again!

I spoke to Crash about somehow chronicling Nick’s experience there and I spoke to my son about that prospect. The conversation went like this- (more…)


Knives & Needles: Tattooer Deb Yarian

brynne-profileBy Brynne Palmer
I have been so fortunate to meet some amazing people in the tattoo industry, and one of them I really look up to is Debra. She’s been tattooing for longer than I’ve been alive, and her accomplishments in her work and family life are truly impressive. Her demeanor is so sweet and comforting, when she tattooed me at the last SFO convention I felt like we were just old friends having a lunch date! When she told me she would like to contribute to our blog, I was so excited to get more of a glimpse into her life and family, and how she seamlessly balances the two. Deb, thank you for sharing with us; and for doing all you do as a tattooer, wife, mother and grandmother!  (more…)


Debra Yarian Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #33 Interview Preview

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(Interview by Dawn Cooke)

Dawn Cooke: What was your first tattoo?

Debra Yarian: I wish I could remember the name.  It was a name on an older Mexican man’s hands, at a flea market in Phoenix, Arizona.  We were on our way back to California and he had a step van there that he had converted into a tattoo shop.  At the time people would set up on the weekend and tattoo at this flea market.  I mean, Peter’s Tattoos – who was Peter Poulos, a legitimate shop – would set up at the flea market too…  (more…)


Matt Cunnington Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #33 Interview Preview

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(Interview by Chad Koeplinger)

Chad Koeplinger: What about stylistically? The way that you tattoo is pretty fucking unique looking, I think. You can tell it’s one of your tattoos. You have a certain look to them. I know the magazine does like to talk a little bit about technique so we can get into that. But first things first, is there or was there someone’s tattooing that you saw that was maybe the light bulb that clicked for the way you’ve developed your style? Was there some influence with anyone, or was it just kind of something that happened and you went that way?

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Alex de Pase Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #33 Interview Preview

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(Interview by Jeff Gogué)

Jeff Gogué: So you started the Worldwide Tattoo Conference. Can you explain what that is?

Alex de Pase: When I thought about the Worldwide Tattoo Conference, I thought about what’s really needed in the tattoo industry. There are many kinds of conventions but I would like to something where you could exchange experiences and exchange knowledge with the best tattoo artists in my opinion. I think when you tell your story people can understand much more than they can by just watching you work. That’s why I thought about the Worldwide Tattoo Conference being different from the normal seminars. I wanted to bring the artists together and have the audience listen to them. In this way you can exchange more ideas and you can have more input. When I saw the feedback of the people who went to Chicago or Rome it made me very proud and very happy. My hair stood up like this because these people really kept what I had in mind before I started the Worldwide Tattoo Conference… (more…)


Molly Skobba: Brynne Palmer

By Molly Skobba
I have not known Brynne Palmer for a long time, but I feel like I’ve known her for years already. I attribute that to her sweet and open personality. Her sunny disposition immediately puts you at ease and any intimidation seems to melt away. Brynne has been tattooing for almost eight years. She started out at Tattoo Mania in L.A. and currently works at Gold Rush in Costa Mesa, California(more…)


Dawn Cooke: 13 Female Tattooers You Should Know About

I have been making contact with other female tattoo artists. And before you groan, like, “Oh geez… Not another feminist rant… boo!” Give this a chance because I think you might be at the very least slightly impressed or inspired by more than one of these women, I sure am! Please bare in mind the truth that there was a time when it was far more rare to see a woman tattoo artist who could lay down a solid tattoo. These days we are luckier than those who came before us and paved the way. Plus, there have always been terrible male artists also, but they never got that much attention anyway. So the focus seems to have been harder on the ladies. Attitudes toward the sexes are ever-changing…

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