Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

High Voltage Fire

October 30th, 2014 by

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.

Tatoué (That’s French)

October 29th, 2014 by

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.

Carl Grace Tattoo Techniques

October 28th, 2014 by

Hey everyone, this one’s for the tattooists out there – not saying you need them – but here’s some techniques from tattooist Carl Grace.

Theo Mindell at London Tattoo Convention

October 28th, 2014 by

Interview with Theo Mindell!  This dude’s the real deal.


Face Off

October 27th, 2014 by

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:

Best of the Month Vol.2

September 30th, 2014 by

Best of the Month Vol. 1

September 30th, 2014 by

Turkish Ban On Tattoo

September 29th, 2014 by


Tattoos are so common place now that most of us (myself included), take for granted how easy it is to get one and have it plainly visible for others to see.  For the most part, those of you reading this blog right now don’t live in a society that makes having a tattoo a criminal act.  As much of a tendency as I have to write all kinds of stuff on this blog about the injustices that tattooed people face on a day to day basis, we tattooed people actually have the right to get tattooed in the first place without having our lives completely altered.  There are numerous societies around the world that say no to its citizenry having tattoos.  Some do this out of a strict religious observance, others do it because of what is commonly felt to be a moral superiority over those who deign to be tattooed.  In these places, there is no consideration of an individual’s right to be tattooed or of tattoo as a valid art form.

A recent decision by Turkey’s government has now made it illegal for students in all schools to be pierced or tattooed.  Students could be punished with reprimands, suspension or expulsion merely for having a tattoo.  Other infractions have been added to the no-go list as well, including dyeing one’s hair or growing a beard but nothing is as unreasonable as a student not being permitted to have a tattoo.  I’m not talking about denying a student the right to get a tattoo if they want one – which is wrong as well; I’m talking about the extremely shortsighted decision to ban all tattoos from schools without considering the effect that this will have on students who are already tattooed.  I mean, what are these kids supposed to do – undergo costly tattoo removal procedures simply because the government decided it was going to stick its nose where it didn’t belong?


For the record, this is not the first time that the Turkish government has issued insane demands to its citizenry.  Anyone who is up on their current affairs will know all about the crack down on students and activists two summers ago when the government in Istanbul decided that they wanted to destroy one of the last remaining green spaces in the city in Gezi Park for the creation of a shopping mall.  There was massive resistance to this plan and the government used brutal and repressive means to crack down on the protests.  I had the good fortune of visiting Turkey last winter and saw first hand the wanton and awful nature of the Turkish government.  The Turkish people are kind and  friendly people and they do not deserve the current corrupt government they have, lead by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Can you imagine being a student in university and being told that you are no longer allowed to have your tattoo(s)?  Neither can I.  At present time it is not known how those who already have tattoos are going to be dealt with under this new ban, but if the callousness and general disregard of the Turkish government for its people is any indication, things will not bode well for the already tattooed.  All I can say is that I hope this ban is lifted soon and I hope the Turkish people find the freedom that they so desperately need and deserve.

Employers Who Like Tattoos

September 27th, 2014 by

I know that lately I’ve been talking a lot about the issue of employers rejecting potential employees based on tattoos.  Yes, it’s something that irks me – to say the least – but I’ve been seeing so much more about it in the news the past few weeks that I’ve had to comment.  The last time I wrote about this issue, I thought I was done with it for a while.  But I was wrong.  (Don’t be shocked, sometimes that happens.)  The reason that I am going to bring the issue up one last time (for a while) is that today I came across an op-ed that gave an interesting perspective on the whole issue.  Have you ever considered that it’s the worst employers who don’t allow their employees to be tattooed?  I’m not talking about what you or I may think of these employers on a personal level.  Of course I don’t like employers who don’t allow tattooed employees, but I’ve never actually considered that working for them in general would be a thankless task as a result of their opinion of tattoos.


In this op-ed by journalist Alice Bell, she takes the issue from precisely that angle.  Maybe these anti-tattoo employers are just bad overall employers.

I’ve worked in different jobs in different industries, and the harder an employer clung to this out-dated anti-tat attitude the worse it was working for them.

When I worked for a high street games retailer tattoos were positively encouraged, since a lot of the customers had them, and everyone got on together and we had a great laugh! Hooray! This carried over to working at a games magazine.

Journalism isn’t a front facing industry and the company was smart enough to realise that forcing employees to adhere to unnecessary appearance policies would not make said employees more enthused to come to work.

By contrast, two other high street retailers had a strict ‘cover up’ policy, and were infuriating to work for. They had non-existent employee benefits or bonuses, and one in particular seemed to approach retail from approximately 1985.


When you seriously consider this point of view, it does make sense.  Obviously, those employers who don’t have any problems with or who actively encourage tattooed employees are progressive, open-minded employers.  Naturally these are the type of people that most of us would want to work for.  It stands to reason that if your employer can be good to you when it comes to judging you on your abilities rather than your appearance, then they are the type of people who can use logic in dealing with problems that so often pop up in the work place.

I know that lots of people would argue that simply because an employer allows their employees to be tattooed doesn’t mean that they are automatically great to work for, but I really do think it’s a start.  Apple is a corporation that tends to treat its employees relatively well (not the ones who work in the manufacturing factories in China – that’s another story altogether) and this I feel, has a lot to do with the fact that Apple understands its employees are young.  They are a different generation and many of them have tattoos.  The world is changing, the work place is changing.  The employers who acknowledge this change and the inherent diversity within it are not only the ones who stand to prosper, but also the ones worth seeking out.

London Convention Kicks Off

September 26th, 2014 by

Incase you didn’t know, this weekend London, England plays host to its annual tattoo convention.  The convention is huge and is widely hailed as one of the best tattoo conventions in the world.  If you’re like me and can’t be there (yet again), you’ll just have to live vicariously through the tweets and photos and videos that will inevitably pop up online.  For now, why not take a look at some of what went on at last year’s convention?  I know, I know, the host of this video is more than a little irritating, but she does talk to some supremely talented folks.  Check it out…

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