The Official Blog for Tattoo Artist Magazine

Posts tagged “Japan

Traditional Japanese Tattooing with Chris O’Donnell


Alex “Kofuu” Reinke Horikitsune

Photos and interview by Ino Mei

Source: http://www.heartbeatink.gr

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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 and I was twenty-one. I bought a starter kit and I began teaching myself; I am self-taught. Pretty hideous, but what can you do? Then I went straight to the army, where I was also tattooing. Afterwards I met Horiyoshi III in Bologna at a convention in 1997. A few months later, in 1998, I went to Japan to start my body-suit. There I saw and realized that I could make a decent living from tattooing. Back then things were different and therefore I took a huge risk; in many people’s eyes it seemed “crazy” that I became a tattooist. It was socially “unacceptable” and perceived as “a step down” from my family; although they offered me the freedom to decide what I wanted to become. My dad is a surgeon and told me “you have to decide yourself about what you want to do for a living. When I am dead, you’ll still have your job and I don’t want to be responsible for you not being happy with your job”. He knew I was into tattooing, but he thought that tattoo was a phase. Like all kids go through phases. But this one stuck (laughs)!

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What happened when you went to Japan to get tattooed by Horiyoshi III?

I was totally into Japan, as I’ve previously mentioned, since I was a kid. I was also used to serving from being in the army; therefore I believe that the combination of those two resulted in me knowing my way around Japan quite well and I think that Horiyoshi III was taken by it, and we got along very well. At the end of 1998 Horiyoshi III came to Germany for the Berlin Tattoo Convention; he wrote me a letter asking to whether we could meet there and I took some time off in order to meet him. All of a sudden, I was the “organizer” for everything, because I could communicate with Horiyoshi III. It turned out really great. We had a great time together and we became friends.

How did your friendship “evolve” from this point onwards?

In the beginning of 1999 I went back to Japan to get tattooed again. I asked Horiyoshi III if he had a student, and he was like “no I don’t take any students”. Then, there was the Tokyo Tattoo Convention towards at the end of the same year and he said “you have to come again to Japan”. That is when I met the old-timers and many of the friends I have today like Lucky Bastard (Horiko), Mick from Zurich, Filip Leu, Luke Atkinson, Chris Garver, Marcus Paecheco; all super-great guys. It was a really important convention for all of us.

A couple of months after the convention, Horiyoshi III came to Germany again and I joined him on a trip to London to buy antiques. And Horiyoshi III asked me there, in London, in a black cab on the way to some antique shop, if I was still interested in being part of the Horiyoshi Family…

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To read the full article, visit: http://heartbeatink.gr/en/columns-features/artists-studios-columns-features/horikitsune/#!prettyPhoto[]/0/


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

By Carroll Gardens

Source: http://www.nytimes.com

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The owner of Smith Street Tattoo Parlor described its style as traditional American, with a bit of Japanese thrown in.

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.

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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.

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Body Tattoos By Shige

By Martina

Source: http://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.

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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.

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Irezume: Japanese Tattoo Art Exhibition

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Horiyoshi III & Shige: Gypsy Gentleman Episode 7

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!!

 


*New* Photos Added To The Gallery

Tattoos by Horimasa

http://gominekocrew.blogspot.com

Japan

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Crystal Morey: Horibenny (Part II)

crystal-morey-16By 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)

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Crystal Morey: Horibenny (Part I)

crystal-morey-16By 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… (more…)


Photos of 19th-Century Tattooed Japanese Mail Runners

mail1By 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… (more…)


In Japan, Tattoos Are Not Just For Yakuza Anymore

japanese-subcultrual-center-logoBy 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… (more…)


Bryan Burk Article Preview for Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #32


Cover By Byran Burk
Interview by Miguel Montgomery & Adam Warmerdam

Miguel Montgomery: On a little bit of a different note about your tattooing, I’ve seen some Japanese tattoos with American roses in the background. I haven’t seen too much of that. Did something spark that made you want to do that? Or did you just take it upon yourself, like ‘this snake needs a rose next to it’?

Bryan Burk: There were a few conversations I had when I was working with Bob about how we should try doing that stuff. And there were some kids that I had tattooed on, one was my friend Jeff, who’d gotten a bunch of tattoos and wanted to fill in all the space around them. So he was one of the first people that I filled in with roses and water around everything because it kind of fit in all these little spaces he had. On his it worked, and I think if you’re gonna do blue water with roses and some American stuff, it works. As long as you kinda keep it pumped up on the American side of town; color clouds and blue water with black behind all of that, like Eddy Deutsche, like Eddy meets late Sailor Jerry-type Japanese compositions, it’ll work. But I think if you’re doing black Japanese background with grey water, for whatever reason, roses look weird…  (more…)


Chente Rios Article Preview for Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #32

Interview by Kore Flatmo
Kore Flatmo: Yeah, and growing up, you must have seen a lot of Jack and Freddy’s work too.
 
Chente Rios: Yeah, my dad gets tattooed by Freddy, well, when they were young.
 
And Mike Brown from the 80s?
 
Yeah, all them. My dad has work from the Pike, Good Time Charlie’s. I’ve been around this since I was a kid; watching all of this unfold. I grew up in East L.A. right around the corner from Good Time Charlie’s…  (more…)

State of Grace Article Preview for Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #32

Crash: Okay, let’s start with a basic history of yourself and then I want you to talk about the shop and it’s crew.

Horitaka Kitamura: Sure man, basic story… Well I was born in Japan and my parents moved to America when I was a few years old. My parents were bilingual so they taught me Japanese as well, which opened a lot of doors for me later on… So I grew up here and probably had a very similar interest in tattooing like many of my generation, I was a skater, turned punk rocker and liked tattoos from my junior high school days. I do recall liking the tattoos in an old Japanese TV show, “the tattooed magistrate” where the hero shows his cherry blossom tattoos before he kicks ass at the end of every episode. So I guess I’ve long had an affinity for tattoos. I know in high school I had already decided I wanted a body suit, didn’t know what the hell that meant or what was good but I just knew that I wanted tons of tattoos! (more…)


TAM News: One Million Reasons to Say ‘Thank You’

By John 
As many of you know, we started this little TAM Blog less than two years ago after I “convinced” Crash and Kent to hire me full-time to spearhead the digital media nerd moment that is sweeping the world-over… So, I am happy to announce that this week the TAM Blog has surpassed the 1 million page view mark already! This amazing accomplishment is greatly due to all of our contributors, writers, followers and sponsors that have helped us grow and build a digital space for tattooers and enthusiasts to share stories, ideas and events, not just with the tattoo community, but the entire globe…  (more…)


Crystal Morey: Tanuki (Japanese Raccoon Dog)

By Crystal Morey
One of the three most famous Henge (shape-shifters) the tanuki is a round jolly little fellow with an enormous scrotum who usually has a sake bottle in hand. He is a Dionysian spirit, devoted to self gratification possessing a head full of tricks to get his hands on rice wine, rich foods and warm ladies. Not malicious in spirit, he’s portrayed as a fun loving character whose exploits backfire as often as they succeed… Undaunted he moves on to the next. For tanuki life is an adventure. Tanuki’s supernatural powers are strong and he’s believed to be more adept at shapeshifting than even the kitsune… (more…)


Adam Hays: Tsuchigumo Progression

By Adam Hays
This might be of interest to a few of you who like to paint in watercolor. It’s my preferred medium as I suck with most others. I did a painting of the giant Earth spider Tsuchigumo recently for the Gomineko book project of Japanese creatures. It’s from it’s moment of death when the belly of the beast was sliced open spilling a lifetime of skulls along with hundreds of baby spiders. Cool story…  (more…)


Owen Williams: Crystal Morey Interview

By Owen Williams
Anyone who has been to a tattoo convention of late, from Milan to Sydney may not have actually seen, but definitely would have heard the whirlwind that is Crystal Morey. Usually holding court at the Gomineko Books stall (an invaluable source of Japanese tattoo culture reference and hard-to-find, out-of-print rarities) while simultaneously translating and taking bookings for her Japanese tattoo cohorts. Aside from kicking butt, taking names and rolling dice at convention time, what is it that goes on in the life of the pint-sized Texas Tornado and number one Tiger Mama(more…)


Dave Allen: Kannon, Goddess of Mercy Art Show & Auction

By Dave Allen
Last year’s devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan deeply affected everyone in our industry. It would be hard not to be. More than 20,000 dead and 100,000’s left rebuilding. As a community we banded together and raised money for relief efforts. After a full year it is still apparent that people in Japan could use our help… (more…)


PBS Off Book: Tattoos, The Permanent Art (VIDEO)


Courtesy of PBS Off Book: It seems that no matter how far we advance into the digital age, our bodies remain a place where we want to express ourselves. In this episode, we talk to three tattoo artists of differing styles. Vinny Romanelli embraces pop culture, tattooing detailed portraits of entertainment idols, Kiku works with the traditional Japanese form, and Stephanie Tamez embodies an eclectic mix of influences, with the occasional use of nice typography… (more…)


Signatures of the Soul – Tattooing Today: Video Project Fronted by Peter Fonda (1984)

Courtesy of NZ On Screen: We have just added to our website Signatures of the Soul, the 1984 documentary fronted by Peter Fonda (directed by New Zealander Geoff Steven) that tracks the art of tattooing from New Zealand, through Samoa and the East L.A. and San Francisco scenes (including interviews with Ed Hardy and Bob Roberts) and on to Japan.

Click this link to watch full video: http://www.nzonscreen.com/title/signatures-of-the-soul-tattooing-today-1984  (more…)


Sailor Jerry: Chris Trevino Hold Fast (VIDEO)

 
Courtesy of Salior Jerry: Chris Trevino is an expert in traditional Japanese tattooing who earned the nickname “Horimana” after studying for five years under the legendary master Horiyoshi III. His elaborate, full-body representations of Asian symbology remind us of the later works by Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins aka Horismoku. Trevino now runs Perfection Tattoo in Austin, TX which was founded by Bob Moreau in the late 70s… (more…)


Crystal Morey: Owen Williams Interview

By Crystal Morey
I’m gonna just start this whole interview with a disclaimer… I love Owen dearly and really want to do this interview, but he’s one of my best friends and partner in crime so this is bound to get real messy, real fast. That being said I do think, for the record, that he’s über talented. Each new piece he does leaves the last in the dust… Sucking its thumb and crying for its mother. While he is without a doubt one of the loudest people in the industry, he is also incredibly modest and hard-working. His artwork is insane, be it portrait work, Japanese inspired pieces or pin-ups – the end result is always jaw-dropping. I think he’s a bit of an idiot savant…  (more…)


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