By Kiri Westby
When I first heard there was a tattoo convention in Kathmandu, Nepal I was astounded!
I lived in Nepal as a college student, worked there as a human rights activist during the recent civil war and have spent a lot of time studying Nepali language and culture. I also married a tattoo artist seven years ago and have been on a crash course of American tattoo culture ever since. Nowhere in my mind did the tattoo scene that I had come to know and the traditional culture of Nepal mix. But there it was, website and all, and I was instantly fascinated.
My friend Eric Inksmith, a veteran of American tattooing, challenged me to take him to Kathmandu, having never really left the U.S. before. Like a butterfly suddenly wondering about the storms it’s own wings have produced, Eric was curious to follow the trail that he himself had blazed. I was honored to be enlisted for the job and to have the chance to experience alongside him what tattooing on the other side of the world has become.
At almost 70 years old, Eric recalled stories from the National Convention in Philadelphia more than 30 years ago. As I listened to tales of rival biker gangs fighting on convention room floors and people being thrown from hotel room windows, I tried to imagine how the kind, soft-spoken, Nepali people have embraced and come to celebrate tattooing. And not in a subtle, underground way either, the convention was being held at the famous Yak & Yeti hotel, one of the most iconic establishments in the Kathmandu valley.
As these things go, friends were recruited, word of the adventure spread and we soon had a posse heading East from the U.S., including: Mike Wilson, Mac Bibby, Robert Ryan, Jae Connor, Phill Bartell and Chad Koeplinger. Eric handled the longest flight of his life and no one killed each other on the way over…in fact, from the beginning, everything felt pretty magical.
Kathmandu has changed significantly since 2007. Corruption and an inefficient, newly-Democratic government have left city services under-funded and unattended. Half-finished construction projects leave gaping holes and exposed power lines, not to mention the electrical brown-outs and water shortages, which have left things feeling chaotic on the streets. But the upside to Nepal’s new political landscape is that there is also more public art and individual self-expression, and many people I spoke to were hopeful and optimistic for Nepal’s future, a far cry from my time here during the war in 2003. Part of this new self-expression has manifested in a relatively fresh and exciting tattoo scene.
By Andrew Fingerhut
A – It was more difficult to wrap my mind around the process then physically make the art. I still find it hard to believe anyone figured out this process for print making . I loved working on Stone . It was incredible. The texture is like no other . I was destroying the tips of the grease pens ! Your basically using the softest of tools on the absolute hardest of surfaces.
What elements of the print were created in the studio with the printer and which were able to be created at your studio?
How much of the piece was planned out before starting and how much was improvised?
Was the lithograph process of working layer by layer to craft a single final print image difficult or easy to adapt to?
Did your tattoo background help or influence your work with the lithograph medium? If so, can you give an example or two?
When can we expect to see the next lithograph print from you?
The untitled piece is a single edition of 30 and was recently published by Raking Light Projects. It is available for purchase on the RakingLightProjects.com website.
We are now offering Giclee prints on www.TattooCultureMagazine.com. Printed and shipped to you by our friends over at Rebelreprints.com. Rebel Reprints is a fine art printing company that is owned and run by tattoo artists. So this is something to benefit everyone involved cause we are supporting within our industry, and art scene. Rebel Reprints started this to take something back from the BIG business printing companies and give you a higher quality product that someone knows about and cares what your final print looks Like. (more…)
In honor of Tattoo Age’s Thom deVita episode, VICE is holding an art show and sale at Mike Rubendall’s Kings Ave Tattoo shop in NYC from January 11th-13th. Thom’s one of a kind creative rubbings from tattoo stencils, art boxes, signed books, and more will be available for purchase. The legendary artist himself will also be present to talk about his art and Scott Harrison will be tattooing Saturday and Sunday… (more…)
In the final part of Thom deVita’s Tattoo Age series we have to cover a lot of ground. So please sit back and prepare to go from the days before tattoo artists wore gloves while working to Thom’s current life as an artist. Enjoy. [More info on expanded page]
In the new episode of the Thom deVita Tattoo Age series we explore the neighborhood in which Thom live and worked, the Lower East Side of Manhattan. We also go into the types of tattoos Thom did, and what it took to talk someone into getting tattoos that were a little out of the norm. [More info on expanded page] (more…)
In part three of Thom deVIta’s epic Tattoo Age series, we take look at his personal history and how he came into tattooing. We also hear from tattoo legend Angelo Scotto on the history of tattooing in New York City… [More info on expanded page] (more…)
In the second part of the Thom deVita Tattoo Age series we focus on the touching and often hilarious relationship he has with Nick Bubash. Thom and Nick met in the early 1970s and soon after Thom started to tattoo Nick, he also started to teach him how to tattoo. Over the past 40 years their relationship has gone way beyond tattooing, or even art for that matter, but they still continue to create together… [More info on expanded page] (more…)
Thom deVita began tattooing in the late 60s in New York’s Lower East Side, when the practice was illegal. He quickly began to forge his own styles, drawing influence from Puebla Indian designs to Lord and Taylor shopping bags. In this episode, we hear from Ed Hardy, photographer Clayton Patterson, Nick Bubash, Scott Harrison, John Wyatt, Angelo Scotto, Bubba Reeves, Robert Ryan, and more, as we unfold Thom deVita’s epic story…. [More info on expanded page] (more…)
NEW *Digital TAM Issues* Added! #22-#24 Featuring Thomas Hooper, Robert Ryan, Thom deVita, Dan Dringenberg and more!
Video Download for TAM issue #23: Thomas Hooper.
Get ready, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering is this week!
Tattooers, apprentices, collectors and the curious have been registering for the Paradise Tattoo Gathering which is coming up September 13-16 in Keystone Colorado. Hotel rooms and Condos are being booked, and seminar registrations are coming in every day. Jeff Gogue’s seminar only has 15 spaces left out of 100, so don’t snooze on registering!
This years lineup is truly amazing: Tattooing, workshops, seminars and live painting are being led by the likes of Bob Tyrrell, Adrian Lee, Tommy Lee, Nick Baxter, Jeff Gogue, Tom Strom, Chet Zar, Damon Conklin, Nikko Hurtado, Alex De Pase, Big Gus, Shawn Barber, Jo Harrison, BJ Betts, Megan Hoogland, Cory Ferguson, Seth Ciferri, James Kern, Jason Kundell and many, many more. We hope to see you there! (more…)
Robert Ryan: So what are some things that could distract a tattooer in the application of a tattoo? And drain power from the image?
Adam Shrewsbury: Again, there are several different things. It could be the environment being real hectic, or the music could be really terrible, or maybe the customer has come with a friend who is putting off terrible vibes, or maybe the customers themselves are putting you off… I guess, probably, the biggest thing for me is when the customers themselves don’t trust you. You know? And they question every action, and every time you’re about to put red in, they’re like, “Uhhhhhh, let’s stop. Let’s not do that.” And they question you with every step. So really, I guess I feel that if a tattoo doesn’t show its strengths, it’s because the relationship between the tattooer and the customer has sort of floundered a bit…
Don’t miss out on these events at the Paradise Tattoo Gathering: http://www.tattoogathering.com/events.html. Registration for seminars is still available.
Guest speakers include, Chet Zaz, Shawn Barber, Chris Dingwell, Workhorse Irons, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter, Teresa Sharpe, Joe Capobianco, Larry Brogan, Robert Ryan, Tommy Lee, Kim Ripley, Velvet Panther Insurance, Alex DePase, Rob the tattoo shop accountant, Craola, Mario rosenau, BJ Betts, Bez, Liorcifer, Hunter Spanks, Gunnar, Bob Tyrrell, Big Gus, Nick Baxter, Tom Strom and Jeff Gogue.
For more info please go to the Paradise tattoo Gathering site: http://www.tattoogathering.com/
By Takahiro “Horitaka” Kitamura
It’s already August, and the tattoo convention I throw with Roman Enriquez (Strong Tattoo/45s Forever) is coming up soon! This year the convention in scheduled for October 21-23 and we are returning to the SFO Hyatt Regency. Even with last year’s power outage on Sunday, the hotel is perfect for us and we look forward to a great weekend. Here are some highlights of this year’s show…
Interview by Robert Ryan
[More info on expanded page]
Well, my New York trip was a little hectic. I managed (with lots of help and cooperation) to get around 10 interviews filmed in four days, while having a pretty good time in the process… (more…)
This is the first installation in a series of videos that my good friend and musical crime partner Michael Sternbach is working on. All the performances and interviews are shot on location at my studio space known as the 3rd Degree in Asbury Park, New Jersey U.S.A. [Videos are on expanded page] (more…)
Get a limited, signed edition of TAM 23 from Thom deVita for $60!!! This price includes shipping in the U.S., overseas is $14 extra for the slower USPS shipping method and ALL proceeds go to Thom deVita (not TAM).
Thom will sign your issue AND add some creative ‘censoring’ to the interior of the issue as well. Thom will do these individually as they are ordered, so you must be patient. (more…)
Something I’m very aware of is that I get to do a lot of work that the client didn’t ask for. I get away with doing tattoos on people that might be a good idea from a certain point of view (mine!), but I have to talk them into seeing what I see and make them believe it’s going to be great. The amount of self-confidence required for this in any other case, I would consider as arrogance, but it’s this firm belief that what I am trying to do will look good that allows me to get my ideas into their skin, so I’m left with the question, what am I? Artist, asshole or both? (more…)
Initiation: You enter the shop and auditory impressions hit you right away. The tattoo machine is humming it’s in a distinct key, the sound you are hearing took a long time for the person who is using the machine to figure out how to perfect. A good tuned machine will resonate perfectly. No chatter or rattle just a smooth sounding electro-harmonic frequency. Years of technical information has been passed down to have this strange awkward device sound the way it does let alone perform such an complex task consistently. (more…)
Who’s Thom deVita? The guy you should know about… (more…)
To continue with my list of highlights from the SF show… It’s always a treat seeing Thom deVita and, as usual, finding him in the hotel lobby every morning by 7a.m. (He and I are commonly the only people stirring at this hour). Sitting with Thom and listening to a few of his stories each morning was a real treat.
The first morning I asked him what he was doing…”Are you people-watching?”
“Lady-watching,” he said, with a wry grin.
DeVita also sold some of his art (which we will soon be featuring on the TAM site) and he did several tattoos on some devoted tattooers over the weekend. (It was the first time I’d seen him wear gloves!)