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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 »

Horihide still practices the dying art of hand tattoo

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Hand tattoo artist Horihide is one of the few tebori practitioners who remain, as body ink carries a stigma in Japan and young apprentices are few. GIFU, Japan — Hidden away in the backroom of a modest apartment in this central Japanese city, one of Japan’s last remaining hand-tattoo masters is preparing his tools. Over the last four decades Oguri Kazuo has tattooed notable geisha and countless yakuza, members of Japan’s notorious mafia. Today, the 79-year-old artist, known professionally as Horihide (derived from “hori,” meaning “to carve”), is working on a client who is a little more subdued. Motoyama Tetsuro has spent hundreds of dollars, traveled thousands of miles and waited more than three decades for a session with Horihide. The Japanese-born American software manager wanted the master’s ink in his skin — a living legacy for a dying art. With old masters passing away and young apprentices lacking the patience to learn the painstaking craft of tebori (hand tattooing), many followers believe its days are numbered. “If you know the master, why would you want to work with someone else?” asks Motoyama, 62, who first received the outline of a dragon by Horihide on his right shoulder in the 1970s. Motoyama lost touch with the master — who works only by word-of-mouth introductions in backdoor locations — before the work was complete. Last November, after a 30-plus year search, he finally located Horihide and traveled back to Japan from his home in Cupertino, Calif., to finish the piece. Japanese tattoos are steeped ... 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 »

Traditional Japanese Tattooing with Chris O’Donnell

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Alex “Kofuu” Reinke Horikitsune

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Photos and interview by Ino Mei Source: www.heartbeatink.gr Alex “Kofuu” Reinke Horikitsune, the only apprentice of Horiyoshi III apart from his son Souryou Kazuyoshi and part of Horiyoshi III family, spoke exclusively to HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine about the path in tattooing, the “Shu Ha Ri” learning system, the highly importance of the design and the “limits” of tradition. How were you first introduced to tattoo? When I was twelve years old I started Martial Arts. As a kid, from a really young age I was constantly drawing. So when the Martial Arts came into the picture, I started drawing Asian themes and especially Japanese; like dragons and all sorts of stuff. When I was fourteen, we were on a trip with my family to San Francisco and by chance I walked into “Tattoo City” which is Ed Hardy’s tattoo shop. Of course I had absolutely no idea about it. I bought Ed Hardy’s yellow “Tattoo Time” and Sandi Fellman’s “Japanese Tattoo” book and then I was drawing out of those books all the time. I was crazy for them. At that age, I had many older friends and when we returned to Germany after San Francisco, they asked me to design some tattoos for them because they liked my drawings and they couldn’t draw themselves. So I drew some designs for them and they went and got them tattooed. I kept drawing and drawing tattoos until I finished high-school and went for my A – levels. At that time I started tattooing. It was 1995 ... Read More »

The Canvases Walk in the Door: A Brooklyn Tattoo Parlor Popular with foreigners

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By Carroll Gardens Source: www.nytimes.com The brownstone-lined streets of Carroll Gardens may not seem like much of a tourist destination. But brand Brooklyn is ascendant these days, and foreigners come to idle at farm-to-table restaurants and browse in fanciful boutiques.And farther south, where affluence gives way to aluminum siding and Smith Street dead-ends under the din of the Gowanus Expressway, visitors come for a more permanent souvenir: authentic Brooklyn ink. On a recent Thursday, Yossy Yoshino, 35, a tattoo artist from Japan, lay face down on a massage table at Smith Street Tattoo Parlour while Dan Santoro, 31, inscribed a pig in a bikini on his back (“three tops, one for each set of teats,” Mr. Santoro explained). The words “Weird World” floated above the pig’s head. Mr. Yoshino, a teardrop tattoo dripping from his eye, said he had traveled thousands of miles from his home in Okinawa to get a “New York tattoo.” Just what makes a New York tattoo can be a bit difficult to pin down. The shop’s owner, Bert Krak, 35, described the parlor’s style as traditional American, with a bit of Japanese thrown in. Read More »

Body Tattoos By Shige

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By Martina Source: www.koikoikoi.com SHIGE (Shigenori Iwasaki) is a famous tattoo artist, born in 1970 in Hiroshima. After being a mechanic for Harley-Davidson in Yokohama, he taught himself how to tattoo since 1995 and pursues original Japanese Style with a traditional inspiration. Read More »

Gomineko Creatures Publication: Call For Submissions

Heikegani Tomomori Ukiyoe

  Heikegani (Samurai Crabs) These are the rad crabs  popular with Kuniyoshi that feature the face of a samurai on their shells. Really cool little guys. They are a product of the Gempei war, a conflict between the Taira and Minamoto Clans. During the battle of Dan- no-ura Yoshitsune and his chief retainer Benkei defeat the Taira clan. These crabs are believed to be the reincarnated spirits of the defeated Heike warriors, who,  following their leader Tomomori, jumped into the ocean to their deaths in shame from their defeat. Their fierce spirits however would not surrender and instead infused into the crabs living in the bay. Because these crab hold the spirit of their ancestors Japanese people do not eat them, so now they are quite common in that area. Read More »

Irezume: Japanese Tattoo Art Exhibition

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Horiyoshi III & Shige: Gypsy Gentleman Episode 7

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The seventh in a series of films chronicling the travels of the gypsy gentleman. A travel documentary profiling the world’s greatest tattooers and the world’s most fascinating places. www.gypsygentleman.com live now!!   Read More »

*New* Photos Added To The Gallery

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Tattoos by Horimasa http://gominekocrew.blogspot.com Japan   Read More »

Crystal Morey: Horibenny (Part II)

By Crystal Morey Horibenny is one of my favorite monsters. Odder than bacon with legs, he oozes with creative zealotry and possesses an indiscriminate passion for life that is contagious. Benny is one of the first round-eyes to be given and to complete a formal tattoo apprenticeship here in Japan, and by this I mean, he cooked, fetched and lived for his sempai for over four years… A far cry from the ‘two week a year drop in to study and pay money’ apprenticeship awarded to many gaijin deshi these days. Benny is an accomplished painter, his tattoo work is delicate yet powerful, it often embodies the Japanese tenet that less is more, and his earnest demeanor only lends to his accomplishments as an artists. Ever the student, Ben works his ass of on a daily basis to learn more and push himself further and I’ve had the pleasure of watching him make significant artistic advancements over the past few years. He is not unlike one of those wind-up toys you point and they take off pointedly in one direction… only Ben’s nose is pointed at the moon and with his passion it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he got there… (Click here to read Part I) Read More »

Crystal Morey: Horibenny (Part I)

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By Crystal Morey Horibenny is one of my favorite monsters. Odder than bacon with legs, he oozes with creative zealotry and possesses an indiscriminate passion for life that is contagious. Benny is one of the first round-eyes to be given and to complete a formal tattoo apprenticeship here in Japan, and by this I mean, he cooked, fetched and lived for his sempai for over four years… A far cry from the ‘two week a year drop in to study and pay money’ apprenticeship awarded to many gaijin deshi these days. Benny is an accomplished painter, his tattoo work is delicate yet powerful, it often embodies the Japanese tenet that less is more, and his earnest demeanor only lends to his accomplishments as an artists. Ever the student, Ben works his ass of on a daily basis to learn more and push himself further and I’ve had the pleasure of watching him make significant artistic advancements over the past few years. He is not unlike one of those wind-up toys you point and they take off pointedly in one direction… only Ben’s nose is pointed at the moon and with his passion it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he got there… Read More »

Photos of 19th-Century Tattooed Japanese Mail Runners

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By Alison Nastasi (Article originally appears at Flavorwire.com) Who runs around wearing a loincloth, covered in tattoos, and delivers mail on a stick while managing not to look like an absolute fool? Japanese mail runners during the 19th century, that’s who — and they put modern bike messengers to shame. During the Edo period, tattoos became a popular form of art, and these guys are sporting some fantastic ink… Read More »

In Japan, Tattoos Are Not Just For Yakuza Anymore

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By Nathalie-Kyoko and Jake Adelstein (Original story appears on the Japanese Subculture Research Center’s (JSRC) website.) Tattoos are as Japanese as sushi, samurai and yakuza but in recent years with the crackdown on organized crime (the yakuza), tattoos have become increasingly socially unacceptable while many younger Japanese and people living abroad have embraced tattoos as a fashion item. In December last year, the government of Saitama Prefecture submitted a bill to revise local ordinances to prohibit tattoos under the age of 18. A fine of up to 500,000 yen will be levied on the violators of the law. If a space is provided to tattoo on young people under 18, there is a fine of up to 300,000 yen for the tattoo parlor owners. If the law is passed it will go into effect February 1st, 2013. Japan has waged many fruitless wars in the past and the latest war is a war on tattoos. Kicking it off was the mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, the son of a yakuza boss, who as most yakuza are, was probably heavily tattooed… Read More »

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