I’ve said it time and time again, but it bears repeating: Good tattoos aren’t cheap. I’ve also not hesitated to criticise and condemn scratchers for the harm they do to people and the harm they do to the craft of tattooing as a whole. If both of these statements are new to you, then you should seriously consider taking fifteen minutes out of your day and watching the video below. Actually, everyone should take fifteen minutes out of their day and watch the video below – it’s a great reminder.
Art that adorns the flesh…
Okay, my last post was a little short, so I’m going to more than make up for it here with this MASSIVE interview with tattoo artist extraordinaire, Aaron Coleman. Might want to sit back with some popcorn and a beer for this one…
Okay, so this isn’t that long, but it’s always nice to hear people talk about their tattoos, don’t you think? I think so. Check out comedienne Margaret Cho as she talks a bit about her tattoos and what they mean. I promise you’ll learn something.
I admit that I’m not a huge Kat Von D fan and that I haven’t really kept up with much of what she’s been doing with her life and career. I don’t have anything personal against her – although let’s face it, her reality TV series LA Ink went from vaguely interesting in its early seasons to a staged, over the top Hollywood nightmare by the end of its four year run. I think she’s a talented tattoo artist, but the Hollywood glam and glitz kind of overshadowed the tattooing and it all just made me completely lose interest in her as a tattooist. That being said, she did do a lot to get tattoo into the mainstream, so take from that what you will.
At any rate, despite what you or I may think of Kat Von D, she has had some rough times in the last few years. The disintegration of her terrible reality TV show was no loss, but her house burned down in 2010 and her cat died in the fire, which is a tough thing for anyone to go through. Most recently though, a fire blazed through the West Hollywood strip mall where her famed High Voltage Tattoo studio is located, causing damage to the shop itself.
About 50 firefighters battled the blaze, which was reported just after 4 a.m. in the 1200 block of North La Brea Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan.
Firefighters removed valuable items from the tattoo shop and neighboring building, which was also damaged in the fire.
The cause of the fire remained under investigation.
Bad luck for Kat and the other artists, as I’m sure that High Voltage is more than just a place of work for all of them. The worst part about all this is that the media was on site to record Kat’s reactions to the fire. Obviously any normal person would be stressed and upset over something like this happening. Unfortunately, the media thrives on finding people – especially celebrities – stressed and upset about anything. Kat asked them to leave her alone and got frustrated and knocked the hat off of a camera woman who refused to comply with her wishes. The end result is that the media turned around and produced sensationalist headlines like “Kat Von D Flips Out On Reporters After Tattoo Shop Fire” and “Kat Von D Attacks Reporters After Tattoo Shop Fire” and “Kat Von D Assaults Journalists After Tattoo Retailer Fire”. Give me a break. Please. Anyone who has seen the video can clearly see that no attack took place, no assault took place. She asked them to leave, swore at them and knocked the baseball cap off a camera woman’s head. That was all. Second of all, referring to anyone at TMZ as a “journalist” is more than a bit of a stretch.
For what it’s worth, I hope that the damage to High Voltage wasn’t too bad and that Kat and her crew are able to get back to work as quickly as possible. I hate sensationalist media who distort facts, so I just felt that I wanted to do my tiny part to step up and say that Kat was justified in being distraught. Her reaction to a fire and being pestered by hack paparazzi wasn’t shocking, nor was it assault or an attack.
Like it or not, technology is a major part of our lives now, more so than it ever has been at any other point in human history. With this increased dependency on computers, we’ve seen so many things change at a really staggering rate. To be honest, I’ve never really given much thought to the possibility of technology affecting tattoo in any particular significant way. There doesn’t seem to be that much that it could really offer, and furthermore, most tattooists are very protective of the traditional methods for creating their art. Based on these truths alone, I’ve always kept tattoo and technology somewhat separate in my mind.
Oh but how unpredictable is this little dance called life. It seems that a group of smarty pants students at Paris design school ENSCI les Ateliers have set their sights on plain, old fashioned tattoo as being badly in need of some hi-teching up. In order to do this, they took a 3D printer and altered it with a tattoo machine. The end result is a 3D printer that can accept any image and tattoo it directly on to a person’s skin.
‘The needle replaces the part of the printer that would usually extrude melted plastic to make objects, and has been adapted using bespoke 3D-printed parts. A sensor reads the surface of the skin of the user, meaning the needle can respond to changes in skin texture and the dimensions of the limb.’
So how does this make you feel, dear reader? Personally, I think the idea is kind of interesting, but I can’t really see the practical applications for it. The article itself fails to elucidate on what exactly is the greater goal of this device. Do they honestly believe that it will create an alternative to being directly tattooed by a human being? Or are they hoping that this will eventually be accepted by tattooists as a tool in their arsenal? If it’s the latter, I can’t envisage any future scenario where I would be more interested in getting tattooed by a tattooist who feeds the design into a printer than by the hand of the tattooist themselves. That being said, maybe that is exactly what the future of tattoo will hold. I’m doubtful that this will be the case, but how the hell do I really know? Twenty years ago I never would have thought people would prefer Kindles to reading actual books. Things change, people change.
Until that happens however, I’m content to not really worry about technology encroaching into tattoo. The machines may be setting their sights on taking over, but they haven’t completely done it yet.
Hey everyone, this one’s for the tattooists out there – not saying you need them – but here’s some techniques from tattooist Carl Grace.
Interview with Theo Mindell! This dude’s the real deal.
I’ve never been big on tattoo removal. My way of looking at it is that you shouldn’t get a tattoo in the first place, unless you’re truly certain that you want it. After watching this video however, I can see tattoo removal in a different light. There are always going to be different circumstances surrounding someone’s desire to part ways with their tattoo. Here is just one of those circumstances: