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Posts tagged “tattooers

Local Tattoo Artists Host Lansing Fundraiser

By Juliana Moxley/The State News


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Local Lansing tattoo artists collaborated on Sunday evening for Artonica, an event meant to benefit the Greater Lansing Food Bank and Capital Area Humane Society.

But these artists weren’t focused on their typical work. Rather than creating artwork on skin, the artists rotated around 10 different canvases every 20 minutes and drew whatever came to mind with charcoal.

The pieces were sold at an auction later in the evening.

Monica and Greg Drake started Artonica three years ago as a way to give back to local charities.

Greg said the artists don’t get paid for the work because the night was just about giving back to charity.

The tattoo artists at the event were hand-picked by Greg for demonstrating exceptional creative skills.

“We look for custom shops,” Monica Drake said. “We look for artists that have the ability to actually be able to draw.”

The Drakes partner together to run Local Tattoo & Laser Co. in Lansing, a shop that only uses vegan ink for its creations.

The artists rotate to different canvases for a total of about two hours and once the artwork is complete, it gets framed and auctioned off to the crowd. Proceeds from the auction go towards the Greater Lansing Food Bank and Capital Area Humane Society.

Photographer Michele Hoffman heard of Artonica and the praise its artists received for their skills, so she came to the event in the hopes of finding artists that she could use for her own photography project.

VanGogh Tattoos artist Ian Wallace was participating in Artonica this year for the first time. Greg Drake got in contact with Wallace and invited him to the event.

“I’ve done a couple art fusions in the past with Greg,” Wallace said. “This is my first art fusion at Artonica.”

The artists at Artonica come recommended and display a strong passion for their work.

“I’ve always loved doing art and the idea of putting your art on somebody is probably one of the best things in the world that could possibly happen for me,” Wallace said. “You are leaving your mark on somebody and it’s going to last forever.”

Campfires & Carbon Episode 8: Justin Hartman


Campfires & Carbon’s mission is to have and promote real, unedited conversation with local tattooers.  Here’s their podcast of a conversation with Justin Hartman from Urban Art Tattoo in Mesa, Arizona…

Brandon Collins: “So you wanna be a tattoo artist?”

By Brandon Collins

Reblogged from:


With the invention of tattoo “reality” shows, the average un-tattooed or mildly tattooed person is led to believe that tattoo artists are superheroes: they can draw an entire back piece in 15 minutes, go out to the clubs all night and still come to work on time, able to tattoo whatever you want, wherever you want it.

That sounds awfully appealing to some kids–but it couldn’t be any further from the truth. Anyone who has spent time in a tattoo shop knows that most tattooers are your average hardworking dads and moms with mortgages, car payments and phone bills,not prima donna rockstars that get VIP everywhere and drive Lamborghini’s. Those TV shows make a mockery of our profession and because of them, our trade has been diluted by half-ass, mediocre tattooers. Not only have these hacks not paid their dues, but they pump out crappy $20 tattoos that the average joes doesn’t even realize are shit.

Before deciding you want to be a tattooer, think about this: Say my appointment for the day doesn’t show up, so that $400 I needed to pay rent and put food on my table will just have to wait. If YOU go to work and no one shows up, YOU still get paid and so you can afford to sit home home and watch “TATTOO SCHOOL” and say to your stoned roommate “bro, I can totally do that shit!”. You get breaks and paid holidays, insurance and an guaranteed paycheck every week. We don’t. We work 50-60 hours a week tattooing, drawing and painting with no medical benefits and no retirement funds.

Don’t listen to your family. That skull with the lightning bolts and a joint in its mouth you drew in the 8th grade ISN’T amazing. Your parents, close family members and friends are always going to tell you that you are a natural artist. Their biased encouragement will only give you the false confidence to go into a tattoo shop and get your feelings hurt. Tattooing isn’t a hobby or something just to pass the time. It is a profession and a sole mean of income, so if you think we will welcome you and your “tat guns” into our trade with open arms, you are sorely mistaken. Apprenticeships are meant to be hard–to weed out the undeserving. If you are lucky enough to get one (and I do mean lucky) you will be taught a skill that can carry you for the rest of your life and you are forever indebted to the person who taught you. There are those dip-shits that don’t have the balls to go into a tattoo shop and try to get an apprenticeship – or they did and were tossed out, just order some “guns” online and “do tats” out of their house. Not only is this completely disgusting, unsanitary and unethical, but also illegal. Don’t even think about doing that. Those fucktards can do some real and irreversible damage to someone not to mention potentially spread disease.

Most tattoo artists don’t make a lot of money. Tattooers get paid by the hour but that money isn’t dumped right into our pockets. We have to give a percentage to the shop and pay for supplies and what-not. In reality we only get a fraction of what we charge for your tattoo. So when you tell me, “Dannnng $100?… Thats a lot, you must be rich!” and I want to run a steel spike through your head, you will understand why. As I mentioned before, if an appointment doesn’t show up or you don’t have anything scheduled, you don’t get paid. Imagine going to your job at Home Depot or where ever and working a full day without pay.

So next time you have the urge to be like Kat Von D or whatever rockstar tattooer is the flavor of the week… remember this: Countless hours of work for minimal pay and no benefits is the life that we have chosen and will defend with extreme prejudice. Do yourself a favor: keep your day job, and leave our profession alone.

Brandon owns and works at Nightmare Studios in Reno, NV.

Trippin’ Balls Art Show: Toronto, November 28th

Trippin Balls features paintings and print work by Toronto tattoo artists Alex Snelgrove, Kyle Hollindrake of Okey Doke Tattoo shop, and illustrator Paul Jackson. The exhibit features over a dozen bold and bright coloured vintage graphic designs, and vibrant psychedelic painted scenes pulled from the artists’ imaginations. We’d describe the works as nothing less then AWESOME!.
HUNTCLUB will be displaying and selling original paintings, custom prints, and temporary tattoos.
The opening reception is November 28 from 7pm – 11pm. The exhibition will remain on display from 1pm-7pm on weekdays until December 8 .
About the artists:

Alex Snelgrove has been tattooing since 2009. She has an extensive illustration background and continues to make art outside of the tattoo shop.

Kyle Hollingdrake has been tattooing since 2001. He loves tattooing tigers, dragons, wizards, unicorns, motorcycles, buxom ladies, muscle bound warriors and anything else thats awesome.

Paul Jackson is Toronto based illustrator and painter.

For any inquiries regarding the show or gallery, contact Darlene Huynh at

709 College St. W
Toronto, Canada

Bill Baker Interview: Part 2

By Andrew Goodfellow

Reblogged by:

Read Part 1 here:


Like the effect on the skin?

“Yeah, the way the work was going in. And, again, there was no internet. So I had to go the fucking library, go to the reference library, lookup needle manufacturing companies all over the world, write them a letter, by hand “Dear Sir or Maddam’ and hopefully get a sample. And sure enough, samples did come. Sometimes I would get a letter back that would come and say ‘You need to buy the samples. They cost this much’. And I would go and do that. And I would get the needles and solder them and tattoo with them. And I began to see, like, oh man this really makes a difference.”

“So I began to get excited about the potential. So I went and registered the company name, and I realized that I could probably make needles myself. Buying them was hit-and-miss. They would come and some of them would be measured in a weird way. I would get some that were big and short tapered. And I’d get some that were big and long tapered. And I’d get all different types. But if I could get stuff in between, it seemed reasonable that I could make a better needle. These are just sewing needles! They’re just getting thrown at me. I’m just doing what I can with them. So that’s when I started to believe that it was possible. I registered the name and started thinking about what potential there was there, and what it might cost and what it might not cost, and what that would mean.”

“So, before I left, I had said to people, I really wanna become a better tattooer technically and mechanically. I really want to understand what the fuck I’m doing. Cause I felt bad. The same way I felt like I was a jerk cause I never even had my grade 10, I felt like I’m a jerk cause I’m making a lot of money and people think I’m doing real good, and I am just flailing away. I got no fucking idea what I’m doing, you know? And I thought I really owed it to everything that came before me and I owed it to myself to try and master the craft, and that was part of it for me. For most people, there were other reasons. They were doing their best, or whatever. But for me, it wasn’t enough to be successful and have money – that stuff didn’t matter to me. I didn’t understand why certain needles were doing certain things. I couldn’t even wrap my mind around it.”

“So going to the South Pacific was the other way that I figured like maybe I won’t have to come back and deal with this fucking crazy thing that I’m thinking about. And, you know, I thought and thought and thought, and drew the logo, and thought why are those needles doing that? And the other part of the thing about the South Pacific, is they had been tattooing there for thousands of years. And I kinda figured, well those tools must have developed the same way the imagery did. Like I’m sure they made them bigger and smaller and tried every fucking thing that they could come up with, and this was the best. Like there’s no way, in my mind, that I could believe that the way they made those tools was not the fucking best.”

“So when I got connected to the guy in Samoa, closely, I paid him to make tools so that I could watch how he did it. And I watched and took pictures and measured things with a measuring eye-loop and figured out, goddamn, the points on those tools were like twice the size of what we were using for needles, and blunt, like BLUNT. They called them a comb. We were using like a sewing needle or a beading needle. And the stuff he was using, he was just cutting little teeth into it. It was just like a little saw-tooth. The point was super short compared to a needle. Yet he was tattooing super solid, solid black into people. And that just blew my mind! And I was like, okay, fuck, whatever. That proves to me that a lot of what we’re doing has just been dragged along because – because we have sewing needles and because they work. Okay. So that was part of the thing for me with the South Pacific.”


Campfires & Carbon Episode 4: Jeff Wright


Campfires & Carbon’s mission is to have and promote real, unedited conversation with local tattooers.  Here’s their podcast of a conversation with Jeff Wright…

Bill Baker Interview: Part 1

By Andrew Goodfellow

Reblogged by:


 There are very few tattooers working today that can lay claim to over 30 years of experience. Fewer still are those who can truly be said to have changed the course of tattooing. Bill Baker – artist, icon, entrepreneur, and now part owner of Pearl Harbor Gift Shop – is among those storied few. 

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect of my meeting with Bill when he agreed to speak with me for Swallows & Daggers. Highly regarded yet notoriously reclusive, Bill casts something of a mythical shadow over the tattoo community in Toronto. Though Pearl Harbor is among the city’s premiere shops and receives constant acclaim, he is rarely glimpsed by the clientele and is extremely selective in taking on new work. Having been tattooed there on a number of occasions, I had yet to catch sight of him even once.

Little wonder, then, that I hadn’t any notion of what my afternoon with Bill would entail. What followed was an incredibly candid and fascinating tour through Bill’s 32 year career. Part raconteur, part machine technology and tattoo history teacher, Bill has managed to remain humble and utterly genuine in his love for tattooing. I learned more from him in the course of two hours than I had in the last two years of my own pursuits in the tattoo world.  I only hope that I can convey our conversation in terms that do justice to the man himself, the immense scope of his technical achievements, and to the work he has crafted since 1981. As recorded in the legendary environs atop Pearl Harbour – known simply as ‘The Hut’ – it is with tremendous respect that I relay his words to the readers of Swallows & Daggers:

“Okay, well let’s see…if you want to bust it down, I guess I’ve been tattooing 32 years. I started in ’81. So then there’s the first part, where I was learning and did my apprenticeship in Calgary.”


Campfires & Carbon Episode 2: Timo Sanders


Campfires & Carbon’s mission is to have and promote real, unedited conversation with local tattooers.  Here’s their podcast of a conversation with Timo Sanders from Fifth Estate Tattoo in Gilbert, Arizona…

Campfires & Carbon Episode 1: Clifton Carter


Campfires & Carbon’s mission is to have and promote real, unedited conversation with local tattooers.  Here’s their podcast of a conversation with Clifton Carter who works in San Francisco and Tempe, Arizona…

Knives and Needles: Jeff Gogue

By Molly Kitamura

Reblogged from:


I had heard Jeff Gogue was a foodie through my husband. So imagine how excited I was to hear that Jeff had agreed to have a chat with me about food. This was the first time I had ever gotten the chance to sit down with Jeff one-on-one, and I have to say that he is very genuine and very nice. His humble attitude is almost shocking as he is one of the most talented tattoo artists out there today and could have every right to be not as nice as he is.

We mostly spoke about food, what Jeff’s favorite things to cook and eat are. We also spoke about his love of fishing. Jeff grew up fishing around Lake Tahoe but now lives in Grant’s Pass, Oregon. It sounds scenically stunning and really chill, have to make it up there one day! Just imagine the seasonal foods you could forage in the abundant wildlife up there! Jeff and his wife recently took a fishing trip up the Puget Sound where he caught some pretty impressive-looking salmon. The trip sounded fun and like a real adventure with the crisp sea air and ice-cold sea!

Jeff likes cooking (and eating!) fish in pretty much any way you could think of preparing it. He also loves a good pork chop or a rare steak on occasion. But he really tries to stay on a healthy diet and exercise regime. His favorite lunch at work consists of a young coconut filled with berries and Chia seeds. That actually sounds amazing and I will have to try it out myself! When he does have a cheat day, he loves to chow down on a burger with peanut butter. While that may sound strange, I think it is reminiscent of Thai beef with peanut sauce. Very innovative! Anyone have a good recipe for either?

An interesting fact about Mr. Gogue is he actually wanted to be a chef at one point in his life and had even taken a cooking class on one of his trips to France!

Here are some photos of Jeff, hope this inspires you to get tattooed or get in the kitchen!!


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Thank you Jeff!!!!  You can catch more of Jeff and what he’s up to at any of these fine places:


If you have food tattoos, recipe or are a tattooed chef or foodie tattooer- we want to talk to you!

Hit us up at @knivesandneedles or

DOC INK #4: Julio Casagrande

Doc Ink is a brazilian  web series of short episodes featuring some of that country’s most respected tattooers. It was introduced to us by São Paulo-based tattooer Nico Acosta. Enjoy episode #4!

The Importance of Social Media on the Career of an Artist

By Mauricio Tadashi


With social media being so popular these days, many artists are taking advantage of it by creating a huge following and promoting their work on-line.
Most of the tools available today are free, making it easier for the artist to showcase their art and have an instant feedback.
Some of the tools most commonly used today are: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
A few things have to be considered when starting a profile.
*Make sure you give credit if you post something you didn’t make.
*Consistency is key.
*Update your feed regularly.
*Keep it professional but show that you are human, posting pictures of your work is fine, but people like to know about their artist too!
We had a little talk with Brad Anderson, founder of @Art_collective with over 240k active followers on Instagram, he was kind enough to share some of his experience and will give some tips on how to make the most out of the app.
MT- When did you start @Art_collective? 
AC- November 5th 2012.
What motivated you to create the page? 
Art Collective was inspired by the efforts of The ISI Group “Industry Supporting industry” Created/Owned by my brother/partner Dana Anderson and Phillip Limon Owner of Cornerstone Art Gallery in Las Vegas, NV. Focusing on Low brow art & art shows with live paintings, music, etc… These efforts have brought so many artists from all over the Las Vegas Valley together to celebrate the one thing they all have in common, love for art and the community.
I saw the opportunity within Instagram to reach out further to supporting artists on a global scale by creating a social media based gallery. Art Collective meaning “a collective of efforts” brought into one.
What is your goal with it? I’ve seen you are collaborating with other brands on merchandise do you plan on turning Art Collective into a Brand?
Main goal is and will always be to support art and the industry. Art collective is now officially a brand owned and operated by myself and wife Launi Anderson. We have reached out to many brands Such as RSI Apparel, Out Of Step Books, our now partner Original Urban Style (Mauricio Tadashi) and of course The ISI Group.
Now also working with many charities, utilizing the growing popularity of Art Collective to reach out to needy families supplying their children with art supplies… We hope to continue these efforts with the support of the art community.
We recently released a calendar with Out of Step Books and have many more great art/artists supporting projects to come in the near future.
Working on merchandise with The ISI Group and Original Urban style.
What are some tips you have for artists starting out on Instagram?
Well there are many tricks to Instagram. Take the time to like and comment on fellow artists posts, this only takes a few seconds but will greatly increase your exposure. Small things like angled images, pen, pencils, paint brushes (what ever your medium) in the image greatly helps by the added charm and very important with realism as solidification that it is not a photo. Also “wips” (work in progress) shots will not only help keep your feed active but are very intriguing to enthusiasts/collectors.
As far as Instagram goes it’s important to treat it differently then other social media outlets as it is a completely different animal. Being imagery based or as I call it “ADHD” friendly! Instagram users are logged in to be wowed by images not to read, the more writing and visible tags the less activity you will receive on that particular post. Advise here is to simplify your captions and add tags in as a comment. Adding tags as a comment allows them to be hidden after 4 other comments are made.
Biggest advise… Interact positively as the growth of Instagram and other social media has brought on more and more “competition” within the industry… There is no longer room for ego.
Do you believe there are etiquette when posting online? what are the “do”s & “don’t”s you would point out?
Yes I think there is definitely a etiquette! Like I said before there is no room for ego. A simple thank you to your “fans” goes a long way.
What do you look for in artwork to feature on your page?
Honestly I am looking to be inspired. I can not feature a piece that doesn’t inspire me as my hope is to inspire others. Quality of work, charm, concept and over all attitude.
Art Collective personal note: 
First of all I would like to thank you guys for your interest in our efforts! We will continue to promote artists with the sincere approach that was implemented from the very beginning, with the continuing growth “trend” of “art assistant” pages on social media it’s very important to us to uphold the highest standard in keeping these efforts pure and done for the right reasons. We as a brand share art/artists from around the globe because we truly love to do so. These efforts are much more then just throwing a art piece on a page in hopes to gain attention and popularity, this is and will always come from our love for art and the industry. Thank you again! Support Art!
Thank you guys for taking the time to read this.
Feel free to drop me a line with your comments and feedback about this post.
Follow @OriginalUS & @Art_Collective

Irezumi Japanese Tattoo Art Exhibition

Check out the IREZUMI art show at Space 15 Twenty in Hollywood, CA.  The show is up until October 20th.

IREZUMI is a group art show featuring original Japanese Tattoo art works from around the world. Artists include: HORIYOSHI 3, BOB ROBERTS, HIROSHI HIRAKAWA, MUTSUO NAKABAYASHI, GANJI, NAMI CHANG, MIKE ROPER, MIYAZO, BRIAN KANEKO, SMALL PAUL & more!



TATTOO STORIES Episode 1: Trigger

By Santioned TV

Tattoo Artist Magazine Issue #26 Teaser Preview

Tattoo Artist Magazine #26 will be going out to subscribers in two weeks! This amazing issue features Cory Norris, Pinky Yun, Xam, Isaac Fainkujen, a new Step by Step article on color theory, and a great article on Marcus Kuhn’s The Gypsy Gentleman documentary… [Pictures on expanded page]