Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

No Class Tattoo in Colorado

July 29th, 2014 by

I don’t like to keep addressing the same issues on this blog, so I really try and make a concerted effort to keep things mixed up and different all the time.  I guess only you people out there reading this can tell me if I’m succeeding at that or not, but sometimes things pop up repeatedly that just need to be addressed.  So with that in mind, you’ll forgive me for going on once again about unlicenced, DIY tattooing.

Make no mistake about it, DIY tattooing is a bad idea.  I mean, it’s kind of just beyond bad.  It’s a really, really terrible idea.  Normally I can just deal with the fact that it exists because anyone who truly loves tattoo is not happy to see DIY morons running rampant and tattooing from their grandmother’s couch.  The people who truly love tattoo just keep pushing on, doing what they do.  I can get down with that, but I often have trouble biting my tongue when I see something stupid.  Today I came across this article from Vice about a place in Colorado that is calling itself No Class.  The basic premise around No Class is that a bunch of skaters got together and after smoking weed and drinking beer, decided to start tattooing themselves.  This quickly developed into a sort of trasher lounge, where friends and acquaintances come by, hang out and tattoo themselves.  The rules are simple: you have to be at least half wasted when you start in on your tattoo and you have to do the tattoo entirely yourself.  Beyond that, it’s free of charge for anyone who wants to give it a go.  The end results are predictably shit and that’s exactly what the guys at No Class are going for.


Obviously these guys aren’t the only people out there doing this sort of thing.  I mean, people buy tattoo machines off the internet all the time and try their hand at giving themselves 4th rate, utter crap tattoos.  I think what probably irritates me more than anything about this is Vice giving it coverage as though it’s novel and edgy.  Vice has always been a publication that thrives on being contrary.  If something is going on out there that is contrary to the norm in a way that most people would object to, Vice is all over it.  This concept made Vice kind of gritty and enjoyable about a decade or so ago, but now it all just comes off as what it is: a bunch of boring hipsters, desperate to irritate, shock or otherwise piss people off.  Vice’s motto should be “If you think it’s shit, we’re automatically going to think it’s amazing.”  So no, Vice, this isn’t cool or interesting or funny.  It is the complete antithesis to all that.  All crap like this does is encourage other people to do the same thing, thereby adding to the problem of DIY tattoo and worst of all, it ends up perpetuating the stereotype of tattoo being for shitmunchers and trash who take no safety precautions or are otherwise society’s reprobates.  It’s a big middle finger to all the great tattooists out there who have elevated tattoo to the genuine art form that it is and it’s even more of a big middle finger to the legitimate artists out there who are working hard every day, trying to get some respect and make their way up in the industry.

The bottom line in all this is that Vice is of course, free to write or report on whatever rubbish that they want to.  In the past, Vice has actually featured short documentaries on the best tattoo artists in the world, which were excellent, so I’m not really sure why they thought it would be a good idea to basically diss all those artists in one fell swoop.  Oh wait – yes I am sure why: Vice is so edgy.


These guys in Colorado?  Whatever, if they want to waste their time picking cat hair off needles and drawing horrible tattoos on their bodies because they have nothing better to do with their lives, there’s nothing I can do about it.  I just think it’s even more proof as to why tattoo needs to be regulated.  Until it is, real tattooists won’t get the universal respect they deserve.  Because when one of these Colorado skaters comes out to the media and says he got some ugly disease off a tattoo machine, it won’t be the DIY trashers or the guy on Ebay who sold it to them who suffer for it, it’ll be the professional industry as a whole… Again.

Tattoos in Film

July 28th, 2014 by

Okay, so these aren’t actually real tattoos per se, but I’m drawn to this video because I thought it was kind of cool to see a compilation of all the different tattoos that have appeared in film.  This list is by no means complete, but it gives you a bit of an idea of how often tattoos have appeared in classic and contemporary cinema.  Take a look and see if any of your own favourites are included.

Scott Sylvia Interview

July 28th, 2014 by

Hello all, hope everyone is doing well and having an excellent summer.  Today I’ve got a MASSIVE interview with one of the greatest tattoo artists in the world, Scott Sylvia.  Sit back and enjoy it all.

A Glimpse Into Mario Barth’s World

July 25th, 2014 by

Some of you out there might love Mario Barth’s tattoo work and some of you might hate it.  The bottom line however you feel is that Barth has been around for a long time and during this time he’s learned a lot.  In this video, he shares a bit of insight into his black and grey shading techniques…

Monthly Artist Shout Out Part 2

June 30th, 2014 by

Monthly Artist Shout Out Part 1

June 30th, 2014 by

Auckland Introduces Tattoo Bylaw

June 30th, 2014 by

The debate over regulating tattoo has raged on and on for a very long time now.  Opinions on the subject are divided, to say the least and I have taken to this blog on numerous occasions to weigh in with my own opinions.  In case you haven’t read any of those previous blog posts, I’ll just state right here and now that I am for regulation.  I think the art form can benefit from regulation, but only if it’s done properly – and by properly I mean if only the tattooists themselves are listened to and understood as a particular case, not glommed on to other concepts of “health and beauty”.

It seems that the most recent country to weigh in on this debate is New Zealand.  The Auckland city council has recently introduced a bylaw that will require all tattoo studios to be licensed.  The bylaw doesn’t specifically target tattoo studios, but focuses instead on any commercial services that risk breaking, burning or piercing the skin.  Since tattoo falls under this umbrella, it is now required by law to be licensed.  Other businesses that are included in this bylaw are tanning clinics as well as hair or nail removal services.


While health ministers and the like are cheering this recent change and while it does indeed have its good points, overall I fear that it likely isn’t a good move for tattooists and their respective places of work.  Tattooing is not even in the same stratosphere as hair and nail removal or tanning.  This move lumps tattoo in with beautician services and seriously undermines tattoo’s place as a genuine and credible art form.  From a health standpoint, it is always good to see laws in place that ensure that those who will be tattooing the public are licensed professionals.  However, the needs and requirements of tattooists are nothing like those of beauticians.

If tattoo is going to be regulated and licensed, then it needs to be done properly and separate from all other forms of commercial business.  A sub section needs to be created within the health boards of various municipalities and it needs to be staffed by those who are familiar with exactly what it is that tattooists require to do their jobs.  This would by no means be a small undertaking, but I feel it is the only way that tattooists could feel that the regulations they face are based on actual understanding of the industry that they work in.

For what it’s worth, moves like those of the Auckland city council are perhaps a step in the right direction, but unfortunately they also serve to show the public that there is a long way to go before tattoo is given the respect and understanding that it surely deserves.

No More Tattooing Pets in New York State

June 29th, 2014 by

There are so many reasons for a person to get a tattoo, from showing solidarity with an ill family member to commemorate the death of a loved one, to immortalising a specific date or event in your life.  The reasons for tattoo are as varied as the tattoos themselves.  If boiled down to its core however, there is typically one constant behind the reason for tattooing your flesh and that is because the tattoo you are receiving means something to you.  A tattoo is and forever will be the personalising of a particular event, place, ideal, etc.  The key word here is “personal” because that is what tattoo always is.  I think we can all agree on that, right?

That personal aspect of tattoo is exactly what causes me to voice my disgust with people who feel it’s necessary or cute or justified to get their pet tattooed or pierced.  It might sound like some sort of obscure incident, but lawmakers in New York state passed a law this past week that makes it illegal to tattoo or pierce your pet.  The fact that the need for this law has come to the attention of the state of New York indicates that tattooing pets isn’t as obscure or rare as we might think it is.  As I said, tattoo is a personal act, as is piercing.  Taking on body art is a decision that a person makes on their own and only when they have reached the legal age to do so.  No sane person would take a child to a tattoo studio without the child’s consent and have them tattooed or pierced.  The same goes for animals.  An animal cannot give its consent to being tattooed or pierced and furthermore, it is not being tattooed or pierced with something it has selected through its own free will.  If you get your pet tattooed or pierced, make no mistake about it: you’re a first class scumbag.


This isn’t a difficult concept to understand: respect the lives of others, whether they be a kitten or a small child.  Everyone has the right to their own life.  Obviously this practice of tattooing animals has something to do with filling some disgusting niche market out there for people who think it’s cool or cute or whatever to get a pet that has a little something different about it.  If you want a little something different about your pet, maybe your own life needs to be more exciting.  Animals are not blank canvases for you to alter as you see fit.

Enough said.

10 Questions With Paul Dobleman

June 27th, 2014 by

Short but sweet insight into the life and work of wonderful tattoo artist Paul Dobleman…

Paul Dobleman London Tattoo Convention – Tattoo Artist Magazine from Luke Holley on Vimeo.

Alex Binnie & Duncan X: The Art of Pain

June 26th, 2014 by

Pssst!  Hey kids, check this one out:

Alex Binnie and Duncan X: The Art of Pain — Forever: The New Tattoo from Gestalten on Vimeo.

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