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Inside the Mind of a Tattoo Apprentice

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Every artist starts somewhere and these days, IF you want to be a legitimate and respected practitioner in the field, that means earning your right to a tattoo machine through a tattoo apprenticeship.  For every apprentice out there trying to do it the right way, there are hoards of unethical & untrained hacks more interested in short cuts then they are in getting better, (or in the best interests of those they are scratching up, generally speaking.) You see, tattooing didn’t start with reality television. It’s a time-honored tradition. The art & craft of tattooing is something that has been passed down for hundreds of years from trained masters to eager young artists who can show they have what it takes to make an actual contribution to the industry.  For the professional tattoo artist, finding someone who brings this sort of grit and potentially something new to tattooing can be extremely exciting, as every great artist once began at the bottom of the tattoo totem pole. That being said, Ana Nasuro of House of Color Tattoo in Bay Shore, New York, is here to share her voice on the life of an aspiring tattoo artist. “I knew that I wanted to tattoo since I was in high school. It was something I had always loved and been fascinated by. But it wasn’t until I got my first tattoo at 16 that I decided that it was what to do for the rest of my life!”  Like many artists in the industry, ... Read More »

Perseverance Japanese Tattoo Exhibit Video3 w/Drew Flores

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Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition focuses on the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists –Ryudaibori (formerly Horitaka), Horitomo, Horishiki, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken – inspired by the Japanese tradition of tattooing and heavily influenced by the traditional Japanese arts ofcalligraphy and ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking. Specially commissioned photographs of work by each artist will be displayed alongside tools and relief carvings, as well as a recreated Torii. A companion book of the same title features additional photographs and writings, and is published by the Japanese American National Museum. Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition is created, designed and photographed by Kip Fulbeck, and curated by Takahiro Kitamura (Ryudaibori, formerly Horitaka). *Please help SUPPORT the VMFA’s efforts to elevate tattoo and tattoo art — Follow the VMFA on FaceBook:   Related Articles: Introduction to “Perseverance” by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Japan’s Complex Relationship with Tattoo Perseverance Tattoo Exhibit VIDEO #1: VMFA w/Kip Fulbeck Perseverance Japanese Exhibit VIDEO #2 w/L.A. Horitaka Perseverance Japanese Exhibit VIDEO #3 w/Drew Flores Read More »

Japan’s Complex Relationship with Tattoo

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Japan’s Complex Relationship with Tattoo When visiting Japanese Tattoo: Perseverance, Art, and Tradition, on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond, Virginia until September 27, you’re struck by the pure artistry. Photo after photo of intricate, mesmerizing designs, breathtaking colors, and symbolic imagery, one interwoven into the other, which would be difficult to render on canvas, much less flesh. There’s a passion and a reverence in these galleries that is almost palpable.  That’s why it’s almost inconceivable that Japan, which has been so instrumental in elevating tattooing to an art form, has also pushed this art form into the shadows, even condemned it for centuries. To understand the seemingly conflicted relationship that Japan has with tattooing, you must carefully unearth the deep roots of Japan’s tattoo culture, which date back to the Jomon Period (roughly 10,500 to 300 BC). That’s when the first evidence of tattooing in Japan was recovered from tombs, in the form of clay figurines with faces painted or engraved to represent tattoos. Fast forward many years later to the Edo Period (1615-1868) and Japanese authorities began using tattoos to mark criminals. According to “Japanese Tattoos: From Yakuza to Artisans, Aesthetes” in the Wall Street Journal, “…convicts were branded with penal markings such as bands on the arms, or the kanji character for ‘dog’ on the forehead.” While this criminal stigma would prove difficult to shake for many centuries, tattooing enjoyed a significant reprieve from the negative connotation at the end of the ... Read More »

Trippy Eyeball Tattoos that are looking back!

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EYE CAN SEE YOU! – Eyeball Tattoos are all the rage these days – BAM!! “LOOK AT ME!”, they seem to say, but there’s also an eerie sense that they are looking back at US! A well executed tattoo of any sort commands our attention and Eyeball Tattoos are flipping freaky to look at…when done well. They SNAP us into the moment. In many philosophical circles this is THE defining characteristic of ‘Art’. To cause us to pause, however briefly, from the endless, running commentary in our heads and in the midst of that momentary ‘confusion’, remind us again of the Mystery of life and our place in it. Art is powerful. And it can change us. It effectively slaps us OUT of our wandering thoughts and forces us to take notice of something other than ourselves (& our own inner dialog); something that has this sort of visual power opens us again to the wonders of the universe. Hand made tattoos by artists who want to help us ‘see’… Thanks to all the artists and Instagram submissions we’ve been getting! MORE COMING SOON! — ARTISTS: tag us and use # tattooartistmagazine on IG to submit YOUR best work! 1) tattoo by @gordonptattooist 2) tattoo by @paulsmithtattoo 3) tattoo by @otzistattoostudio 4) tattoo by @eduardolascano 5) tattoo by @mikeylotattoos 6) tattoo by @john_laurent 7) tattoo by @jessem_tattoos 8) tattoo by @nesotattoo 9) tattoo by @xecutionstyle 10) tattoo by @pedrotattoovz 11) tattoo by @tomas_garcia   12) tattoo by @ [we lost this ... Read More »

Info-Graphic: The Truth about tattoos in america

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A very cool info-graphic found on www.Nerdgraph.com ! Read More »

Bad-Ass Geometric Tattoos and the Artists Who Create Them

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Some geometric tattoos represent ancient symbols and a oneness with nature.  They often depict an optical illusion that nothing is as it seems and that all things are continuous.  Geometric design brings together common shapes in an uncommon order.  The geometric tattoo is purely decorative, it is neither male or female and not typically associated with a life event.  They are indeed a very pure form of art.  Some people are taken in by the symmetry and beauty of the shapes, while others feel a connection to sacred symbols and history through geometrical images. The tattoo work for a powerful geometric piece is tedious and precise. It is an exercise in patience and perfection.  If one line is too heavy or to too thin it can throw off the entire piece and the visual illusion being sought fails to register in the viewer.  The gallery below showcases just a few highly talented artists with advanced technical skills in the geometric style.  This images are standouts in a sea of other tattoos. Amazing work by LewisInk in Switzerland. Lewis states he has always been passionate about geometry, shapes and space. Each piece is captivating and seams endless. DotsToLines is artwork by Chaim Machlev from Berlin, Germany.  Chaim is known for expressing his work with a seamless connection between  the laws mathematics and organic styling. Paul Davies reputation proceeds him. His designs are symetrical and fluid.  Each piece looks as if it was meant to be exactly where it is. From Japan, Kenji Alucky is a master with black ink and ... Read More »

Top Six Father’s Day Gifts on sale from TAM

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Look no further for the a perfect and unique Father’s Day gift for the tattoo enthusiast Dad in your life. Chris Treviño – Gods and Warriors ON SALE NOW — SAVE 60% — This is a fitting title for Chris Trevino’s first book. His tattoos often depict themes of ancient war and hidden images in his full body work. Chris is a master of Japanese tattooing and this book has more than 200 pages of backpieces, body-suits on tri-fold pages, and some amazing art. Plus an intro by Ed Hardy– Great coffee table book or perfect for your waiting area. Shop Now               Old Timers TRADITIONAL Set: A collection of the most popular issues of TAM SAVE 50% and Get lost of in the works of old masters in the days before tattoos were mainstream. Study the techniques of artists like Mike Malone, Pinky Yun, Bob Roberts, Dave Gibson, Thom DeVita, jack rudy, Chuck Eldridge, Scott Sterling, Hanky Panky, Tony Polito, Eric Inksmith, and more! Shop Now   Original Art and Sketches From the TAM Memorabilia Collection! For the exclusive and discerning collector, our selection of one of a kind, original works is a fine addition to anyone’s tattoo art collection. See original art, flash, stencils and photos from legendary artists including: Sailor Jerry, Mike Malone, Ed Hardy, Pinky Yun, and MORE. Shop Now Tattoo Culture Magazines The perfect gift for new tattoo fans. Tattoo Culture Magazine is a digital magazine available for immediate download. Create ... Read More »

Skin Book: practice sketchbook w/synthetic skin [video]

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Everyone wants to be a tattoo artist these days, but how can someone learn to tattoo without practicing on real people? No one wants to be the guinea pig, and for good reason- these things last forever! Well, a Brazillian ad agency has released this video on the net, and it’s going viral! The Skin Book video is making quite a ‘mark’ on the internet the last few days. It features artists who are simply amazed by a handy, Moleskine-esque little sketchbook designed for aspiring tattoo artists to practice on. The thing is, as far as anyone knows for sure, it isn’t real! Created by an Brazilian ad agency for their client, Tattoo Art Magazine, (not Tattoo ARTIST Magazine), the Skin Book promo is making waves. We’ve been getting tons of emails from people wanting to BUY one for themselves, their friends, their neighbors. I guess no one realizes that practice tattoo skins have been around for quite some time, now. I know plenty of artists who have used them in the past; some for learning and some just for creating art. But why doesn’t this product exist? And could it? Well, yes, it could…but it wouldn’t look anything like the prop in this video. Practice skins are thick and spongy, designed to mimic the look and feel of human flesh. Some are made really, really well (like the company Pound of Flesh’s products) and some are cheap plastics that don’t even hold ink well, but any of these options ... Read More »

Breast Reconstruction Process: Carrie

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Each month we a feature the inspirational and transformative Stories of few post-mastectomy cancer survivors and the artists & ink that help change their lives. Please support these Warrior Women by sharing their stories with those you love! It’s all these women ask. And remember- schedule your exams, ladies! -TAM Warrior: Carrie Artist: Shane Wallin Shop: Garnet Tattoo Studio, San Diego, CA Here’s Carrie’s Story: Hello, My name is Carrie.  I am a 2 time cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with Hodgskin’s Lymphoma 25 years ago when I was 26 years old and did chemo and radiation to my chest wall. In 2013 cancer reared its ugly head again in the form of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma aka Breast Cancer. After 4 chemo treatments I endured a double mastectomy with reconstruction. The reconstruction process has several steps, my 1st set of implants were problematic with one implant actually flipping over so they needed to be replaced. The final process of reconstruction is the tattooing of the areola’s which was done in a hospital setting by the plastic surgeon. Give him credit for a try but the areola tattoo that he did was a flat flesh colored circle…no definition!!  I thought “this is it? after all that I have been through???” I was extremely disappointed in the results. In my desperation to feel complete I started to research 3D tattooing and I became hopeful. In my search process I saw the group P.ink (Personal Ink) on Facebook and in looking into what ... Read More »

“Ladies Ladies” Art Show & Fundraiser, opens June 11

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by Dawn Cooke: Some of the top Ladies of tattooing bring you the  “Ladies Ladies” art show, happening again this year as it has for several years now. As always it’s a great representation of female artists in trade of tattooing. There are emerging and well established artists included in this show. The work is fantastic, done by some of the most skilled hands in our trade. This show is worth going to if you are anywhere in the area. It’s not just that these are great women artists but they are just great artists who are amazing contributors to our craft with ground-breaking ideas and techniques. Work will be on display and for sale so go forth in support of great artist in the trade of tattooing and be inspired. Show opens June 11th from 7-11pm at Forget Me Not Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY. – This year the show is also a benefit fundraiser for Charlene Gibbons, daughter of the famous Artoria and Charles “RED” Gibbons! LLAS 2015 will raise funds to help Charlene with her book project about her parents’ life. Charlene will be present at the opening. Many contributions from tattoo artists worldwide include original artwork, autographed pictures, acetate stencils, flesh and prints for sale. Some will be up for silent auction the night of the opening. – Once again the artists line up for the show is stellar, and includes names like Deb Yarian, Dawn Cooke, Judy Parker, Jill Bonny, Virginia Elwood, Telisa Swan, miss Mikki, ... Read More »

Interesting Tattoo Trends Among Women

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  It’s not just twenty and thirty-somethings who get tattoos these days. Baby Boomers, especially women, are increasingly shelling out big bucks for their first tattoos. About 15% of Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, have tattoos. This is an interesting finding because in the 50’s and 60’s when most boomers were growing up, tattoos were reserved for troublemakers, sailors and bikers. A lot has changed since then, and apparently boomer attitudes have also shifted with the times. You’ve no doubt known business professionals, teachers and doctors with tattoos. Perhaps even your pastor has a tattoo. Despite how tattoos might have been viewed in their younger years, women in the boomer generation are increasingly open to tattoos. However, many have them placed where they can be covered up. Women in the boomer generation like tattoos that are pretty, are remembrances of their children, grandchildren, mark important turning points or spiritual symbols. However, it’s not just boomer women who are getting more tattoos: a 2012 Harris Poll of 2,016 adult respondents revealed that women were slightly more likely than men to have a tattoo, with 23% of women to 19% of men. The 2012 survey results were especially interesting because it was the first time in ten years of the survey where women were more likely than men to get tattoos. The numbers were attributed to television shows about tattoos, which may have helped permanent body art become more acceptable. It’s also possible that more men already had ... Read More »

RIP Isobel! Most tattooed senior passes away

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I remember seeing pictures of Isobel early in my tattooing career. World famous for the amount of total body coverage and photographed in every major tattoo magazine at the time. RIP, you trendsetter!   Guinness World Records has learnt with great sadness of the passing of Isobel Varley, world record holder for Most tattooed senior citizen (female), who died yesterday at the age of 78. An iconic figure within the body modification community, Isobel had an incredible 93 per cent of her body covered with tattoos. Born in Yorkshire (UK) before eventually moving to the south of England as a youngster, Isobel was surprisingly something of a latecomer to body art, having had her first tattoo when she was in her late 40s. A visit to a tattoo convention at London’s Hammersmith Palais in 1986 saw her go under the needle for the first time, kicking off an obsession which saw her have an incredible 200 pieces of body art inked over a ten-year period. During that time Isobel estimated she spent over 500 hours having her body decorated. Explaining how her interest in body decorations developed, Isobel said: “Originally, I was only ever going to have one – a small bird – but I fell in love with it, and developed an addiction.’ “The only areas not completely tattooed is my face, the soles of my feet my ears and some area on my hands.” A regular at tattoo conventions around the world, she entered her first competition in 1989  “for ... Read More »

Patty: “I didn’t want the scars to be all I saw”

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Each month we feature the inspirational and transformative Stories of few post-mastectomy cancer survivors and the artists & ink that help change their lives. Please support these Warrior Women by sharing their stories with those you love! And remember- Get your exams, ladies! -TAM Warrior: Patty Artist: Shane Wallin Shop: Garnet Tattoo Studio, San Diego, CA Here’s Patty’s Story: In 1991 my father was diagnosed with breast cancer.  That was a shock since we didn’t realize that men could get that particular form of the disease.  Over the next seven years he underwent a mastectomy and many rounds of chemo before passing away in 1998.  In 1997 my sister Robin was also diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and went through many rounds of both chemo and radiation as the disease metastasized.  Robin passed away in 2004. After speaking with her oncologist I decided to see some experts.  One genetic counselor and many doctors later I had a prophylactic double mastectomy and reconstruction.  My surgeons were fantastic and things went very well but after 2 1/2 years and two serious infections the implants had to be removed.  By 2014 I had undergone two more surgeries and received new implants. Every time I looked in the mirror I would have very mixed feelings.  I didn’t want the scars to be all I saw everyday but these were scars that I chose, and that I would choose again.  My father and sister didn’t have that choice. I started looking at ... Read More »

10 insane, hyper-realistic 3-D & Portrait Tattoos: w/Karol Rybakowski

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NEW PHOTOS ADDED! Every now and then we find some hot new tattoo artist who has submitted photos to our InstaGram account, and they blow us away! Karol Rybakowski (of Ink Ognito Tattoo in Poland) did just that! Here’s just a taste of his AMAZING 3D, Portrait, and hyper-realism Tattoo Work! * If you’d like us to consider sharing YOUR tattoos, tag us on InstaGram @tattooArtistMagazine and use #tattooartistmagazine to submit your work!     Wow! A superb combination of black and grey technique with a truly stunning photo-realistic color blood-red rose! Hyper-realistic Chameleon tattoo. One thing I really like about Karol’s work is the use of focus and fuzziness in his work. In this image you can clearly see the technique called ‘reserve’, i.e.- reserving sharp focus and high detail for the specific focal point of the piece, while others seem to fade in both sharpness and detail. This is an artistic trick used to mimic the way our eyes naturally work. This Pit-bull tattoo seems to leap off the skin! Amazing full color animal portrait, with minimal background. Notice the use of deep background colors to PUSH the foreground subject forward toward the viewer. It not only establishes depth, but also a clean frame for the portrait, without the use of an outline.  The highlight on the tongue is particularly impressive to me, as an artist. Ahhh, here we have an incredible Portrait of actor Jean Reno in Luc Besson’s 1994 classic Hit-Man movie, “Léon: The Professional”. One of ... Read More »

An Interview with Dennis M Del Prete

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By Nicki Kasper Let’s start with who you are and where you work… Dennis M Del Prete and I work at my shop, Providence Tattoo in Providence, Rhode Island. Tell us about your shop… how many artists work there, and what kind of shop is it…? Custom work? Walk-ins? etc… I have had my own shop now for about 8 years. We do custom work and walk ins. The five guys I work with now are some of my favorite tattooers and best friends. Nick Pellegrino, Rick Lacapria, Pete Toatley, Andy Reach, and John Gorman. They are what my shop is made up of and I am lucky to work with them. What was your art background like? Did you like drawing as a kid, or did that come later? I liked drawing. I have always been drawing. I Have no formal art training. I buy a lot of books and read them and study them. What made you want to start tattooing? I wanted to stay off the beaten path ( Ironic now, I know). I wanted to work with my hands and make something art related. It just seemed fucking cool, it still does to me. Tell us how you got into tattooing… Who do you credit for teaching you the trade, and how long have you been in it? I found out Ken Johnson, a local shop owner and tattooer was going to be making machines so I contacted him for a pair. He was kind enough ... Read More »

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