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Art and Tattooing: Tradition and Post Modernism

Colin-Higgins

by Colin Higgins “I prefer drawing to talking. Drawing is faster, and leaves less room for lies” – Le Corbusier Ever since I can remember I loved to draw. As a kid I drew continuously on anything I could get my hands on. From my love to draw came my love of art in general. As a kid I loved comics, and aspired to draw as well as the artists who filled their pages. As a teenager I continued to collect comics. About this time period I also gained in an interest in tattoos. Before the 90′s were done I was getting tattooed and loving it. After I graduated high school I worked construction for some time before making the decision to go to university and major in studio art. I had no real aspiration to use the degree I was working towards as a gateway to a career of any kind, I just loved drawing and wanted to learn how to draw better. School opened my eyes wide, as I learned techniques and tradition when it came to drawing, painting, and printmaking. I also minored in art history and gained a broad appreciation for the greater history of the visual arts. Once I graduated I got back into construction as a means of making money and continued to paint and draw in my spare time. I always liked tattoos, but more specifically loved art and drawing. So in 2004 I managed to land an apprenticeship at a tattoo shop. ... Read More »

P E R S E V E R A N C E

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Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014 Source: www.janm.org About the Exhibition Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World explores the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices in this groundbreaking photographic exhibition. As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice. Although tattooing is largely seen as an underground activity in Japan, Japanese tattoo artists have pursued their passions, applied their skills, and have risen to become internationally acclaimed artists. Through the endurance and dedication of these tattoo artists, Japanese tattooing has also persevered and is now internationally renowned for its artistry, lineage, historical symbolism, and skill. Curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip Fulbeck, Perseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind. Perseverance will explore Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints. This exhibition will also examine current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan. Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, ... Read More »

Japanese Tattoos as Fine Art

By Liz Ohanesian Source: www.laweekly.com On Saturday afternoon, four tattoo artists went to work inside Little Tokyo’s Japanese American National Museum for the opening of “Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in the Modern World.” They spent hours taking ink and needles to flesh, adding to the large, detailed illustrations that already marked their client’s bodies. Crowds gathered and dispersed throughout the day, watching with interest. Most seemed unfazed by the buzz of tattoo machines. Many of the onlookers here have gone through a similar process. Some had tattooed sleeves that crawled out from under t-shirts. Others had art that peeked out above collar lines or below hems. Instead, it was two of those tattoo artists working in silence at their stations who could provoke a wince from the crowd. They were practicing tebori. That’s the traditional Japanese way of applying tattoos. In other words, they were using equipment that wasn’t motorized. The artists dipped their instruments into ink before poking repeatedly at patches of skin on their clients. One lay on his back, an arm crossed over his eyes. His stomach moved with breaths that grew deeper as the prodding persisted. Another remained still on his stomach. From certain angles, you could catch the tension creases form on his face. Tebori is an old-fashioned way of tattooing, but it’s not antiquated. Takahiro Kitamura, known as Horitaka in tattoo circles, is the curator of “Perseverance.” He notes that there are still plenty of tebori practitioners at work. Many of them choose to ... Read More »

Molly Skobba: Pacific Soul Tattoo

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By Molly Skobba Man, Pacific Soul has it all: personality, style and most of all talent. Steve and Paulo can tattoo everything from American traditional to Japanese to what they’re most famous for, their Polynesian tattoos. in addition, they’re located two blocks from Ala Moana beach in Honolulu, Hawaii… Read More »

Molly Skobba: Pacific Soul’s Renowned Paulo Manabe

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By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura and Molly Skobba I was really excited for Molly to meet Paulo and Blaise Manabe and even happier that she wanted to blog about my Hawaiian braddah! Paulo is an amazing artist, and an even more amazing person. I always work with him when I am in Hawaii and am continually impressed with his tattoos. He is a true master of the Polynesian-style (though he would never let you call him that) and is constantly working to improve his work. He is a great father and has the coolest kid ever. You can find him at Pacific Soul Tattoo or at Zippy’s… -Horitaka Read More »

Horitaka: Give ‘Em A Hand Project

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By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura When I think about good tattooing, I think of art executed by skilled craftsman. In an era of chain stores and mass production, it is always refreshing to see something hand-made. I met Jamie from RePop through my good friend Chris Yvon. Chris told me about Jamie and RePop, and the hand-made goods they produced. The product certainly lived up to the hype! Rings, buckles, wallets and more, all with old world craftsmanship, with some weight -no cheap materials, and a great retro feel… Read More »

Steve Looney of Pacific Soul Tattoo Chats with Horitaka

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By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura I’m a regular guest artist at Pacific Soul Tattoo in Honolulu, Hawaii. Visiting tattooers and working at other people’s shops is a great way to see the world, meet new people, learn new things and expand your horizons. Working with Steve Looney and Paulo Manabe is a great experience, they are both amazing people, both as tattooers and as friends. Steve has a very unique history and specialty and I wanted to sit down with him and talk about the often misunderstood Polynesian tattoo. Read More »

Tattoo Artist Magazine California Road Trip

By Crash

By Crash I’m too old for this shit, but damn, what an adventure! I thought I could write something short to share the TAM Road Trip journey and give TAM Blog a little more content. I believe the potentials we have with the TAM Blog are pretty evident, and given enough time, can be fashioned into something powerful, entertaining and educational… Read More »

Danny Boy Discusses New Amsterdam Tattoo Museum with Horitaka

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By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura Tattooers love to travel… I recently got to catch-up with Danny Boy as he was running up and down California. His wife was getting tattooed by Horitomo at my shop and they crashed at my house for the night. We chatted a bit over coffee and I was especially eager to ask about the New Amsterdam Tattoo Museum. This project is the brainchild of Henk “Hanky Panky” Schiffmacher, a living legend of tattooing and one of the world’s leading tattoo historians. The opening is scheduled for later this year… Read More »

Pinky Yun (RIP) Tattoo Artist Magazine Article Preview Issue #26

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By Horitaka and Horiyuki [*Note from Editor* We’re sorry to say that Pinky passed away December 2nd, 2010. We’re leaving the story as originally written, when Pinky was still with us.] Pinky Yun may be one of last great strong holds of a bygone era. His career began in Hong Kong tattooing sailors for the mob and his life’s journey led him to opening a shop in Japan and later multiple shops in California. His flash continues to inspire generations of tattooing and he is best known for his definitive interpretation of tigers, panthers, dragons and of course pin-ups. The most well known pin-up he designed was his famously iconic Suzy Wong, which was popularized by Sailor Jerry… Read More »

Ben Grillo Talks Tiny Tats with Horitaka

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By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura I recently had my friend Ben Grillo come visit to hang out and make some tattoos. Most of you may know Ben for his incredibly detailed single-needle masterpieces, and I thought it would be fun to do a little TAM Blog interview with Ben… Read More »

Tattoo Industry’s Leading Talents Design Shirts to Support Japanese Relief Efforts

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By John Niederkorn As the dust settles from the earthquake and tsunami that shook Japan to its foundation, tattoo artists including Jeff Gogue, Mike Godfrey, Horitaka, Chad Koeplinger and Japanese resident, Shige, have come forward to donate their time and artistic talents to help raise money for people of Japan. Read More »

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