By Marisa Kakoulas
The discussion of NYC’s gentrification is nothing new, but it still stings every time I learn of another institution of art, music & grit close its door to make way for mega-store or “luxury” anything. One living institution, who has had a profound effect on NYC’s tattoo scene, is documentarian, fine artist and tattoo artist Clayton Patterson. And, as the NY Times reported this weekend, Clayton will be shutting his Outlaw Art Museum and leaving NY’s Lower East Side with his wife Elsa Rensaa, explaining, “There’s nothing left for me here.”
In a time where our own tattoo community feels gentrified — complete with “celebrity” tattooers working in glass cages — it’s understandable why Clayton and Elsa are leaving town and heading for Bad Ischl, in Austria, where, for almost 15 years, he has collaborated with the Wildstyle Tattoo Convention.
Wildstyle is one of the many projects Clayton has worked on for tattoo artists and collectors. In 1986, Clayton and Ari Roussimoff started the Tattoo Society of New York (TSNY), with the assistance of Elsa, and the group was instrumental in working to overturn the NYC tattoo ban in 1997. When asked by Vice, what about the role of TSNY, he explained:
“It was difficult to learn to tattoo in the city, but the TSNY changed much of that. Those interested in art and tattooing gathered at the Society meetings. The whole 1990s New York City new wave came out of the TSNY. The magazines came to the Society meetings. It is through the Society that Debby Ullman, who had worked at Outlaw Biker and Tattoo Review, moved over to Pat Rusians of Pink Coyote Designs, who was looking for an editor to start a new magazine. I introduced her to Jonathan Shaw, and they started, International Tattoo Magazine. At that time there were not that many photographers on the tattoo scene. Early on, there was Charles Gatewood. Then Steve Bonge started taking photos in the mid 70s. He was instrumental in getting photos of tattoos into Biker magazine. He became the lead photographer for International Tattoo.”
To read the rest of this article, visit: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/04/clayton-patterson-leaves-nyc.html
The Bowery really was electric on Friday evening, standing amongst a crowd of family and friends honoring an inspirational man: Mike Bakaty, who passed away at the end of January. It was a farewell (nay, celebration) to a tattoo legend, hosted at his favorite neighborhood bar, Bowery Electric, and attended by friends and loved ones. Even some biker buddies from DC were in attendance.
We stood to raise a glass, to cheers, to find the silver lining in his passing, or as Bakaty dubbed it, the”upshot.” We spoke from the heart, we embraced, we laughed and we cried because this man – a pioneer in the world of tattooing and an icon on the Lower East Side – is no longer with us.
One of Mike’s sons – Mehai Bakaty stood with two of his brothers and spoke resounding words to an audience bound by one man.
Here is Mehai’s soulful speech and some pictures from the event.
“They say you’re not really dead until the last person has spoken your name so I think our goal is to let that be a while before that actually happens.”
Mike, we have your voice, your laughter, your wisdom for all to hear, and of course, our memories. It will be a while.
The upshot is you will always be with us.
By Carroll Gardens
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.
By David Gonzalez
Visitors to the cluttered studio inside Thom DeVita’s Victorian house marvel at the artwork that covers the walls, his drawing table, even his hands. The images reflect not just his interests, but his skills, which he honed as a tattoo artist on the Lower East Side for some 30 years; a storied era to aficionados. The accomplishment was all the more remarkable because it was illegal in New York City at the time.
Nowadays, it seems everybody has a tattoo. If there is someone to thank for the art’s increased acceptance and visibility, it might be Mr. DeVita. Every month, Chris Grosso brings admirers up to visit the old master, in Newburgh, the upstate town where he has lived since leaving the Lower East Side in the early 1990s.
“He is one of the founders of modern tattooing,” said Mr. Grosso, who befriended Mr. DeVita two years ago while filming a documentary about him. “It’s not what you see on reality television, but something that only he and seven other people in the 1960s started, from purely a love for the art form. He wasn’t from a sailor or biker background, where tattooing comes with the territory. They appreciated the great Japanese masters, the people from Samoa. Thom was at the forefront of that.”
Growing up in East Harlem, the son of Italian immigrants, Mr. DeVita did not set out to be an artist. After high school, he worked at various jobs, from factory hand to messenger. He recalled how his parents used to refer to some people as “bohemians,” and how he warmed to the idea.
“It seemed like a nice life to live, being with artists,” he said. “It didn’t seem like they went to work. Then I realized when I got to the Lower East Side, I was 30 years too late to be a bohemian. But I caught the tail end of the beatnik era and the beginning of the hippie era.”
His own entree into the art world was improvised, when a potential girlfriend asked him what he did.
“I had to be something, so I told her I was an artist,” he said. “So I became an artist. I had to show her I was an artist, so I started doing some artwork.”
He decided to become a tattoo artist when the city banned tattooing in 1961 (the ban was lifted in 1997). He figured business would be good, since the law drove out his competitors, and the police on the Lower East Side had more pressing concerns than outlaw skin art.
Mr. Grosso said that Mr. DeVita created new designs incorporating nontraditional elements, such as Pueblo Indian iconography and even the rose from the Lord & Taylor shopping bag. He said he admires him for his restless creativity, even if — at 81 years of age, with hands trembling from Parkinson’s disease — he no longer does many tattoos.
Instead, Mr. DeVita resorts to rubbings, stencils and stamps, making montages of old tattoo designs on recycled wooden crates, paper, cutting boards and even ancient ledgers. He signs them with his surname, rendered in snakelike letters that would be the envy of any graffiti writer.
“He paints on everything,” Mr. Grosso said. “Maybe if he had seen graffiti he would have been a tagger. He just doesn’t stop. It has to be a compulsion.”
Mr. Grosso can understand. After making a documentary on Mr. DeVita, he set up a website to sell his work. Now he visits him monthly, to give him cash from the sales and pick up new work to ship. He is often accompanied by a friend or two who might want to learn about tattoo history firsthand, like Fernando Lions, a tattoo artist from Brooklyn who recently accompanied him on a trek.
The two young men peppered Mr. DeVita with questions, and asked to see some classic designs or snapshots from his time on the Lower East Side. Depending on his mood, he may or may not comply; pictures he had told Mr. Grasso never existed magically appeared during this visit. At one point, Mr. DeVita took out some panoramas he had painted in bold, black brush strokes.
“These are beautiful,” Mr. Lions said quietly.
“You know how they’re done?” Mr. DeVita asked. “The paper is scrap I cut off bigger pieces. I paint on them with whatever is left in the ink pot.”
Before they are sent off to customers, Mr. DeVita packs a slip that reads: “Any Imperfections Will Add to Its Beauty.” He first saw the phrase when he bought a china closet, and liked it so much he appropriated it.
“All my art is imperfection,” he said. “I dwell on imperfection. I’m constantly pulling things out of the fire.”
November 1, 2013
For further information:
1610 Old Country Road
Westbury, NY 11590
Lark Tattoo, Westbury, NY, auctions art to help Long Island’s stray and abandoned animals, via League for Animal Protection of Huntington.
Lark Tattoo, since openings its doors in 1993, has been committed to creating incredible custom tattooing and piercings. Lark Tattoo hosts over a dozen highly skilled professional tattoo artists along with a full schedule of guests artists from around the world. The crew has been published and awarded by numerous national and international organizations, and built its reputation on fine custom tattooing and exceptional customer service. As a client of Lark Tattoo you will always experience a level of respect and gratitude seldom seen in the industry.
A tattoo shop might be the last place you might look for a group of empathetic, big-hearted, animal-loving, “softies,” but then again, Lark Tattoo is not your typical tattoo shop. The artists of Lark Tattoo are committed to not only making a difference in the tattoo and piercing community, but also the local communities the artists live and work in. Animals are a huge part of the artists’ lives and when the possibility of helping stray and abandoned animals presented itself, the artists jumped at the opportunity. But how could a bunch of artists help? The answer would require the team to put their heads together!
Eureka! Heads! The answer was staring them in the face. Lark Tattoo’s artists could customize ceramic skulls, auction off the skulls, and donate all of the money to the League for Animal Protection of Huntington. A fast phone-call to the League for Animal Protection of Huntington, and the project was off and running! While each artist at Lark Tattoo is well versed in a variety of art styles for their tattooing, each artist has a style he or she enjoys doing for themselves. Each artist was given the same type of blank ceramic skull, with no instructions or boundaries for creating the end products for the skull auction. What resulted was some of the most awe-inspiring, unique works of art, each with its own style, flair, and specialized artist’s touch. From mixed media to traditional Polynesian markings; from stipple dot work, to traditional roses, each skull is different, and as distinct as the artists who created the skull artwork. Clients of the shop, tattoo and art enthusiasts, and animal lovers alike will all have the opportunity to bid and win a skull, which will not only be a statement piece for the home or office, but it also represents a donation to the League for Animal Protection of Huntington. The full amount of the winning bid will be donated to the League for Animal Protection of Huntington–that’s right 100% of the money is going to the League for Animal Protection of Huntington. Open your hearts and your wallets and help the abandoned animals of Long Island.
Skulls will be listed on eBay starting November 20th, and run for 10 days. Winners can have their prized skull shipped, or pick it up in-person at Lark Tattoo, 1610 Old Country Road, Westbury, NY 11590.
For further information about Lark Tattoo, links to the auctions, and about the fundraiser, go to Lark Tattoo’s website www.larktattoo.com, and/or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/larktattoo. Lark Tattoo can also be reached for comments by phone 516-794-5844, or by email email@example.com. Information can also be found at the League for Animal Protection of Huntington’s website, at http://www.laphuntington.org.
By Maris Kakoulas
Reblogged from: www.needlesandsins.com
On Monday – P.Ink Day – a group of truly exceptional tattooers, exceptional in their art and in their spirit, dedicated their time to transform mastectomy scars of kickass women into beautiful life-affirming creations. Just taking a look at Gigi Stoll’s photos of what went down at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn that day, offers a glimpse into just how powerful and magical tattooing can be.
As I’ve posted here before, P.Ink or Personal Ink Project is an incredible resource that offers tattoo inspiration, ideas and info for breast cancer survivors. It also is a place where these women can research and perhaps even connect with skilled artists who can transform mastectomy scars into beautiful works of art. On Monday, P.Ink brought artists and survivors together in person, and picked up the tab via an Indiegogo campaign – that still needs help with funding.
To learn more about P.Ink and the transformation of mastectomy scars from the perspective of the tattoo artist and the client, check this HuffPo video featuring P.Ink’s founder Noel Franus, artist Joy Rumore and Megan Hartman, whom Joy tattooed on Monday (tattoo shown above). Joy also blogged about her experience, which is a great read.
For all the inspiration and beauty, thank you, P.Ink and the artists who made it all possible: Stephanie Tamez, Virginia Elwood, Ashley Love, Michelle Tarantelli, Roxx,Shannon Purvis Barron, Nikki Lugo, Miranda Lorberer, Jen Carmean, and Joy Rumore.
Check out TAM for more awesome interviews:
By Marisa Kakoulas
Reblogged from: www.needlesandsins.com
One of the most acclaimed tattoo gatherings – the NYC Tattoo Convention – has brought beautiful freaks worldwide to New York in spring time, as it has been held each May for 16 years. However, with the sad news that the convention’s venue, the historicRoseland Ballroom, will be shutting down in April 2014, I worried about the fate of my hometown show.
Thankfully, we’ll still be able to party in this iconic spot, if not for one last time, as the convention dates for 2014 are March 21st through the 23rd. While the news has been spread around social media, I’ve still been hearing people talk about making travel plans for May or even setting up appointments at that time, so I wanted to help get the word out there that the show will go on, but in March.
We’ll be there and hope to see you too! Check my bad camera phone pics from past shows on Flickr.
By Adam Guy Hays
A while back I decided I needed a new banner, as I’ve been using a shitty Kinko’s copy of one of my old ones for while now. I thought it’d be a good excuse to do another step-by-step of my painting process. I’ve included the photos of the references I used. I’m a big believer in having true life references for all projects.
I started with an image that my business partner Mike Bellamy drew and that has been our shop’s longtime logo. I wanted to keep the overall composition more or less the same but make my own version. I changed up the proportions, added a tiny RR logo , and gave the girl more Alphonse Mucha styled hair. I love that art nouveau stuff.
Typically when I’m sketching I like to use Prismacolor Col-Erase pencils on heavy vellum, which can stand a fair bit of abuse from erasing and sketching. The Col-Erase pencils are pretty good at staying where they’re put and not smudging too much. Some details in here are just plain pencil too.
By Marisa Kakoulas
Reblogged from: www.needlesandsins.com
In March, we wrote about the Personal Ink Project or P.INK, which is an incredible resource that offers tattoo inspiration, ideas and info for breast cancer survivors. It also is a place where these women can research and perhaps even connect with skilled artists who can transform mastectomy scars into beautiful works of art.
On October 21, 2013, that connection will be made when 10 tattoo artists will tattoo scar-coverage or nipple-replacement tattoos on 10 breast cancer survivors at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY.
You can help make this event happen by being a part of the crowd-funded project for as little as $10. There are also tons of perks for those who can give more. For $50, there’s digital swag and temp tattoos. For $500, you get an art print of one of the tattoos you helpedg fund.
And the art is guaranteed to be stellar considering the line-up:
- Virginia Elwood from Saved Tattoo
I’ve had the pleasure of working with the P.INK team, in a small way, on this event. P.INK is a “nights-and-weekends passion project” of a handful of employees at the Boulder-based ad agency CP+B who had been affected by cancer. Their goal is to see this project expand, including more P.INK Days should this first event be a success.
Learn more about the project from the video below.
By Danny Reis
My name is Pierre Botardo I’m currently living in Brooklyn New York and I am age 34. I grew up in Virginia Beach, Virginia and I was interested in tattooing pretty early, I guess. When I was in junior high, I was already doing stick and pokes on myself with a sewing needle and some ink. I remember trying to convince my friends to do it. That didn’t really work out because they weren’t into the idea of a tattoos, but I was proud if it. It was fun and painful; but that’s what drew me to tattooing because it was a kind of “club”. The pain is a part of the whole experience. Even to this day, I still see it that way. You have to “put up or shut up”. Also, around this time, tattoos weren’t very popular. It was still considered to be an “outsider” sort of thing; which I loved.
I honestly didn’t think about tattooing as a career until maybe 2007 or 2008. Around the first time I moved to Brooklyn. It was through a friend who suggested it. I was dead broke and I thought for some reason, it was something that would force me to focus on a path. I had a friend who was showing me a few things here and there out of the apartment. Good habits like setting up and breaking down the station and sanitation of equipment. After struggling with finding regular work, I thought it was time to actually pursue an apprenticeship and take things seriously. I wanted to learn more. What’s crazy is that I had invested so much money into my own equipment that I shouldn’t have been spending but I chose to anyways. It took me about a year to actually obtain any kind of apprenticeship.
School of Visual Arts presents “The Pond, the Mirror, the Kaleidoscope,” an exhibition of emerging and established artists who graduated from SVA and are working in the Symbolist tradition. These “neo-Symbolists” make mythological and dreamlike pictures that challenge prevailing assumptions about narrative, subjectivity and figurative painting itself. As the exhibition title suggests, subjects may be environmental (“the pond”), societal and cultural (“the mirror”), or a post-apocalyptic, futuristic mash-up (“the kaleidoscope”).
The exhibition is curated by Thomas Woodruff, chair of the BFA Illustrationand BFA Cartooning departments, and features work by alumni of that program as well as the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay Department, which is chaired by Marshall Arisman.
“Like the Symbolists, today’s neo-Symbolists are arguably eccentric and obsessive, and they use low-tech methods to tell new stories to new audiences,” says Woodruff. “They make art that is intellectually surprising, brimming with visions of the world as it is—or how it could be. And like the Symbolists, they are sometimes dismissed as ‘mere illustrators’ because they work in a figurative tradition.”
More than 30 paintings, drawings and sculptures are on view at the Visual Arts Gallery from August 20 through September 14. Exhibiting artists are SVA alumni from the BFA Illustration or MFA Illustration of Visual Essay departments: Jean-Pierre Arboleda, James Bascara, George Boorujy, Michael Combs, TM Davy, Steve Ellis, Scott Harrison, James Jean, Mark Lang, Sakura Maku, Alison Moritsugu, Timothy Okamura, Mu Pan, Matt Panuska, Rachel Pontious, Lane Twitchell, Martin Wittfooth and Jason Bard Yarmosky.
School of Visual Arts has been a leader in the education of artists, designers and creative professionals for more than six decades. With a faculty of distinguished working professionals, dynamic curriculum and an emphasis on critical thinking, SVA is a catalyst for innovation and social responsibility. Comprised of more than 6,000 students at its Manhattan campus and 35,000 alumni in 100 countries, SVA also represents one of the most influential artistic communities in the world. For information about the College’s 31 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, visit sva.edu.
SVA Chelsea Gallery
601 West 26th Street
Tattoos by Adam Lauricella
Graceland Tattoo, Wappinger Falls, NY