Tattoo Blog

Art that adorns the flesh…

What is Acceptable?

February 15th, 2011 by

If someone says the name “Google” to you, chances are that the first thing that you think of isn’t tattoo.  That would be the normal reaction of course, but the truth is that aside from aiding online searches all over the world for images of tattoos and portfolios of artists, Google is also at the forefront of changing what’s considered acceptable in terms of an employee dress code.

What does this have to do with tattoo?  Well, as much as I’d love to say that the days of missing out on a job because you’re tattooed is a thing of the past, it really isn’t.  Most recently a sheriff in Florida issued a ban on tattoos for officers serving on the Broward County police force.  Banning tattoos in the workplace is certainly nothing new, though it’s still entirely too common.

Which is why Google’s approach to workplace attire and appearance is a refreshing and sensible breath of fresh air and hope for a more tattoo friendly future.

‘At Google’s Canadian headquarters, a strict dress code is enforced: employees must wear clothes.

The laissez-faire policy, emphasizing productivity and ideas over appearance, heaves a water balloon at more traditional guidelines requiring workers to conform to such austere standards as wearing shoes — which, incidentally, are optional at the search-engine’s offices.

A spokeswoman describes the approach as a total success.’

The article goes on to explain how this somewhat libertarian approach to dress-code is receiving mixed reviews elsewhere and that by allowing employees to dress how they wish for work, too many complications arise such as sexual harassment of female employees who tend to dress more provocatively.

As far as I’m concerned, Google’s approach is the future.  If a person understands how to do their job and they are good at their job, little else matters.  As a matter of fact, Professor Sandra Robinson at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business puts it best when she says:

‘”If management really has to change this level of detail in their employees’ behaviour — shoes and lipstick colour — they have a more serious problem than dress code.”

“Effective companies . . . hire people that have the attributes they need, managers model appropriate behaviour on a daily basis for those at the next level down, and they make what they care about a central part of the actual culture of the business. They don’t need manuals.”‘

Well, Google revolutionised the internet search, let’s see (and hope) if their way of doing things can spread amongst modern, forward-thinking businesses everywhere.

What’s in the Ink, Homes?

February 14th, 2011 by

Perhaps getting a tattoo all seems pretty simple to you.  I mean, aside from deciding what it is that you want tattooed and which tattooist to trust with the actual work, there’s not much else that might pose a challenge except maybe the cost and of course, depending on your threshold, the pain.

If however, you happen to follow the vegan lifestyle – that is, no animal products whatsoever in your diet or your life – then getting a tattoo can actually be quite challenging.  The problem?  Well, the problem lies with the ink.  Most tattoo artists don’t use vegan friendly ink and for someone who doesn’t want anything to do with animal bi-products or products, this can all be a little bit challenging.

Jason Wynn, a UA graduate and employee of Scapegoat Tattoo, an all-vegan tattoo parlor in Portland, Ore., said most tattoo ink is considered vegan, but there are certain colors that are by-products of animals.

“Black is a tough color because it is often derived either from burnt bones or from the resin of shellac bugs,” Wynn said.

He also pointed out that most tattoo parlors use soaps or ointments in the treatment of tattoos that contain animal by-products. Even if customers were able to use vegan-friendly ink, such as ink of the brand Starbrite, they would still have to be cautious about what to use to treat the tattoo.’

That problem has found its solution in Starbrite ink, a tattoo ink that is 100% vegan.  Or has it?  Some tattooists shy away from Starbrite, as it’s believed that Starbrite’s pigment quality is not the best that it can be.  Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but yet another problem that faces not only vegans but the customer in general is that when it comes to ink, there are no laws that force ink companies to list their ingredients on the bottle.  To me this seems kind of crazy, given that people can’t just be expected to blindly accept what is being manufactured and pumped into their flesh.

I’m sure all of this will change in the near future, with more and more demands from customers for ink that is animal friendly and from tattooists who want more accountability from their ink manufacturers with regards to the ingredients that are being used.  But for the time being, if this is the type of thing that you are concerned about, the best thing you can do is ask around until you find an artist who is using the ink that you want.  It might not be easy, but unfortunately it’s the only option you’ve got.

Meet Jamer!

February 13th, 2011 by

I’ve been hearing this guy’s name a lot lately.  I mean, here I am, just trying to mind my own business and everywhere I turn I’m hearing “Jamer, yeah that guy who tattoos from Victoria.”  So being the inquisitive sort, I decided to check into this guy from Victoria, Canada, who tattoos.  Yes, I was pleased when I saw the work that the man called Jamer pulls off.

The classic American style is a style that has grown immensely in its appeal to me as time goes on.  Each time that I see a tattooist whose classic American work really sticks out from the rest, my appreciation of the style increases tenfold.  So much so in fact, that I’ve decided with my birthday approaching to get a new tattoo and I do believe that I am going to go with a classic American tattoo.  Which is why it’s encouraging to know that there are talented classic American artists like Jamer nearby.

horse tattoo government street tattoo

Unfortunately, there isn’t a particularly lot of info about Jamer available online.  Oh, there’s plenty of stuff on his tattoo work as well as the studio where he works in Victoria, Government Street Tattoo, but as far as the bio stuff is concerned, not too much out there.  What I do know is that I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend the opening of an art show this past Friday in Vancouver in which Jamer was attending and exhibiting his own work.  The good news is that the exhibit runs for one month at antisocial skateboards, and that Jamer will also be attending the forthcoming West Coast Tattoo and Culture Show, to be held in Vancouver on the weekend of April 15th.

Maybe then I’ll get the chance to see his work in person.

Larger Than Life

February 10th, 2011 by

I like to try and keep up to date on at least some of the new tattoo studios that have been opened in the last little while or that will be opening soon.  For those of you in Illinois – particularly in the Waukegan area – you might want to consider taking a trip down to the newly opened (and superbly named) Dinosaur Studio Tattoo.

Tattooist Mark Hoffmann has worked at various studios across the US, from Seattle to Memphis to Chicago.  The continuous demand for his work has finally lead him to listen to all of those who at one time or another told him to take the plunge and open his very own studio.  On January 29th, 2011, Hoffmann opened the doors to Dinosaur Studio Tattoo.

So far things have been going great for Hoffmann and his studio, with the official opening and ArtWauk scheduled for March 11th.  And although opening your own business can be a little daunting, Hoffmann seems to have gained an abundance of courage from an interesting source…

‘One hint of where Hoffmann found his drive to succeed can be spotted near his paintings: a plaque containing the Boy Scout ranks he achieved on the path to Eagle Scout.

“It taught me to take the bull by the horns,” he said of Scouting. “I’m not sure I’d be here today if it weren’t for being an Eagle Scout. I wanted to get paid for my art, and that’s essentially what I’m doing.”

If you’re interested in booking an appointment with Mark, you can do so by calling 847.599.TATO or heading over directly to Dinosaur Studio Tattoo and booking one in person.  At the moment there is no website for DST, but you can join the DST Facebook page here.

‘…My goal with my business is to show people a different side of art. Dinosaur Studio will host art gallery shows. We look forward to working within the art community of Waukegan to promote the local artist, whether it be painting, sculptures, photography, or any other medium of the artist choice. Again, Dinosaur Studio will be a destination for art, therefore bringing in new visitors to downtown Waukegan and Genesse Street.’

Best of luck to you, Mark!

Words of Wisdom From Marky Mark

February 9th, 2011 by

You know what really gets me?  I mean really gets me?  I’ll tell you.  What really gets me is when people who have tattoos finally decide to have their tattoos removed, only to turn around and lecture people about what a bad idea that tattoos are.  This is annoying enough when it’s just a regular Joe doing the preaching, but when it’s a celebrity, it gets particularly nauseating.

Enter Mark Wahlberg: producer, actor and former male model and (ha-ha!) hip-hop star.  At one point in his life, Wahlberg had a few tattoos, including this gem, but the Hollywood star has finally reached a point in his life where he no longer wants to be tattooed.  Because of this, he’s undergone laser removal surgery to get rid of those pesky reminders of when he was young and oh so foolish.

But wait!  It’s apparently not enough for Wahlberg to rid himself of his tattoos, he has to bring his kids into it and force them to see why his mistakes will ultimately become theirs should they ever choose to get tattooed.

‘The star first went under the needle when he was just 11, but the one-time bad boy has since transformed himself into a family man and wants to remove his skin art in a bid to set a good example to his four kids.

He recently said, “I just don’t want my kids to think tattoos are cool.”

And Wahlberg admits he’s taken to more extreme measures to ensure his daughter Ella, seven, and son Michael, three, are well aware of the consequences of getting tattooed.

He says, “I started getting the tattoos removed initially to do The Fighter, because I didn’t want make-up to cover them up all the time. First time I got them, they all had meaning to them…

“When I started removing them, they said it’d take five to seven visits. I’d been 20-something times and I took my two oldest to watch because it’s like getting burnt with hot baking grease, there’s blood coming up, it looks like somebody welded your skin, there’s these welts that come up like a quarter of an inch. Hopefully that will deter them from getting (tattoos).”‘

A) Having tattoos has absolutely nothing to do with one’s ability to be a father and a good “family man”.

B)  Just because Marky Mark’s tattoos weren’t cool doesn’t mean that tattoos in general aren’t cool.

Yes, Whalberg does insist that his tattoos all had meaning to him when he got them done, but what he’s ignorant of is assuming that his own situation is the same as anyone elses, or that it will be the same as his children’s future situations.  Come on man!  Your kids are going to grow up and live their lives as they see fit, just as you did.  Don’t be such a dick.

Anyway, I had to get that off my chest.

Behind the Music

February 8th, 2011 by

Where would we be without music?  I don’t know for certain, but I do know that I wouldn’t want to find out, either.  Several times before I’ve written about the impact of music on tattoos and that concept shows no signs of ever disappearing.  It actually seems that the more popular tattoos get, the more news I read about people with music related tattoos.  There’s a different sort of intrigue with music tattoos than with any other type for the simple reason that music means something very different to everyone.  A song that might remind one person of nothing more than drinking beer and partying could potentially be another person’s wedding song, just as someone who loves Bruce Springsteen enough might think it’s the greatest thing ever to have a portrait of The Boss wearing 3D glass on their calf.  You just never know.

Which brings me to my second point: finding out why people get the musical tattoos that they do is to me, more interesting than finding out why a person gets any other sort of tattoo.  First of all, who isn’t interested in what kind of music that their friends listen to?  I’ve always believed that you can tell a lot about a person based on what sort of music they listen to.  So finding out why a person gets a tattoo of a particular band or musician can not only tell us a lot about the person wearing the tattoo, but we’re also typically provided with an interesting story or two.

The British newspaper The Guardian has managed to put together a short piece in which people with music relevant tattoos are interviewed and their tattoos are explained.  This makes for some interesting reading, especially with the part about Ryan Duffy’s aforementioned Bruce Springsteen in 3D glasses tattoo.

‘That said, most folks love the tattoo, but some people seem to think it’s the guy from Loverboy, which is OK too, because its a nice litmus test. If you can’t tell the difference between the Boss and the guy from Loverboy, you can fuck right off. Do I regret getting it done? No, I love it.’

- Ryan Duffy on his Bruce Springsteen tattoo

Bruce Springsteen tattoo

Cheer Up, Tony

February 7th, 2011 by

When you’re writing a tattoo blog, you need to do the best that you can at keeping up with the most recent news that exists within the tattoo world.  Sure, makes perfect sense, right?  Well, sometimes there isn’t a lot of news to be shared and sometimes, the news is just as simple as a dude with a lot of tattoos.  Yup, that’s what I’ve got for you to start the week off: a dude with a lot of tattoos.

In all seriousness, Australian Tony “The Face” Cronin is pretty old school.  At age 54, Cronin has made a life out of covering his body with tattoos, having received his first tattoo – a skull with the number 13 – at the age of 13.  And he’s still not finished what he started so many years ago.

‘Tony reckons he has spent at least ”half a house” worth of money on his body so far and hopes that in another year or so he will be completely covered.

“It’s just about full now. I’ll be glad when it’s all done. I love doing it, but I do want to finish it.”’

Caption

It certainly is an achievement to spend that many years and that much money building up your tattoo collection, working toward a point that you had so long ago envisioned for yourself.  And while I wish Cronin all the best of luck in completing his tattoos, I also think he should reconsider his current opinion about other people’s tattoos.

‘Tony hates the tattoo culture of today. He thinks it’s a craze gone wild.

He says he got his ink for a reason in the old days, but nowadays he thinks there is no story behind most tattoos.’

Aw, come on Tony.  It’s not all that bad, is it?  I think that if anyone takes the time to find out, they’ll see that there are plenty of stories behind most of today’s tattoos.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that there are more stories behind the tattoos of today than ever before.  Call me crazy, but judging from what I’ve seen, it’s the truth.

Meet Simone Pfaff!…and Volko Merschky?

February 6th, 2011 by

Maybe I’m a fool who tends to get easily confused, but the wesbite that Simone Pfaff shares with fellow tattooist Volko Merschky seems just a little bit…well, confusing to me.  First of all, there’s the the tattoo work – which to be blunt, is brilliant.  I would say that it reminds me a little bit of Yann Black’s work, though it puts its own entirely different spin on everything, resulting in tattoos that are faintly bizarre and dark.  They’re jigsaw puzzles of tattoo goodness.  But that’s not the confusing part.

The confusing part is that none of the numerous tattoos on Simone Pfaff and Volko Merschky’s website give credit to either artist, making it very difficult to determine which work can be credited to whom.  Do they work together?  Does one artist take on half the work while one does the other half?  I doubt it, but I do have to say that such a work process would be quite unique and interesting, just like the tattoos themselves.

I guess not knowing who did what isn’t the end of the world and that if you’re like me, then you’ll most likely just safely agree that the work being done at Pfaff and Merschky’s Würzburg, Germany based Buena Vista Tattoo Club is all just…well, brilliant!  That being said, all the photos of the tattoo work that you see in this post are credited specifically to Simone Pfaff.

I assume that this is the sort of thing that only very talented tattooists can get away with.  Had the work that Pfaff and Merschky have on their site not been so impressive, I wouldn’t be writing down praise for it.  In fact, I wouldn’t be writing anything at all.  Thankfully it is impressive, which means that I’m simply left being confused.  Confused, but impressed all the same.

A Weekend in Philly

February 3rd, 2011 by

If you’re like me and happen to live in a place that isn’t particularly warm around this time of year, you might find that February is the month where winter really sticks it to you.  It typically seems like February is the month where winter has seriously overstayed its welcome and all anyone wants is for it to go away so we can get into spring and ultimately summer.  Depending on the level of winter that your city experiences, there tends to be much staying indoors and not a lot going on.

Well, this weekend if you happen to live in or near the City of Brotherly Love (that’s Philadelphia for those of you who don’t know), there’s a great tattoo convention going on that will get you up and out of the house and into a weekend of tattoo related madness.  It’s a tattoo extravaganza!!…okay sorry, that was lame.  But seriously, it’s going to be a great time and probably shouldn’t be missed.

The Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention will take place this weekend (February 4th-6th) at the Sheraton Philadelphia City Center Hotel.  There will tons of bands, performances, seminars, contests, vendors and certainly many, many tattooists like Chris Nunez, Dan Henk, Myke Chambers and Scott Sylvia.  Plus the Philadelphia scene is well represented and it’s all shaping up to be one hell of weekend.

If you plan on traveling into Philadelphia for the convention, you can get set up with a discounted room for $146 per night at the Sheraton if you mention the convention when you book.  Other than that, tickets for the convention are $20 a day or $40 for the weekend.  There will also be plenty of tattoo magazines on site, so you could potentially get your own tattoos photographed and put into print.

Now isn’t all that much better than sitting at home this weekend, playing XBox?  Check out all the info here.

Orlando’s Stigma

February 2nd, 2011 by

I’ve never been to Florida.  I will go one day, but it’s the winter in particular when the urge to go some place warm really kicks it up a notch.  Sure, the weather is fine in Florida and you can spend some quality time at some great beaches.  You can also visit the home of a zillion dollar mouse and most recently the Harry Potter theme park.  But if you’re more interested in what’s going on tattoo-wise in Florida than what theme park is up and running or what beach is getting the best surf, then maybe a trip to Orlando’s Stigma Custom Tattoos and Body Piercing is right up your alley.

Judging from the info that I’ve checked out regarding Stigma, it’s something of a theme park in its own right.  I mean that in all the best possible ways, of course.  Not only can you go there and get tattooed by Stigma owner Welsy, tattooist Gamy, or pierced by Michele Renee, but you can also pop into the onsite bar and get yourself a $2 can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, if you so desire.  Not into drinking?  Well, how about a pole dancing class?  Stigma offers pole dancing classes on one of their six poles.  Six poles!  They’ve got six poles in this place!  Also cages and chains!  When the pole dancing classes aren’t being held, there are also professional pole dancers keeping things lively.  Oh yeah, and Wednesdays are beer pong nights.

This is the kind of studio that has its good and bad points.  On one hand, the pole dancing, chains, cages and the onsite bar – I mean, it’s all a little much.  In a time when tattoo is trying to somewhat shake its sleazy reputation (however unjust that reputation may be), a place like Stigma can perhaps only add fuel to the fire to the argument that tattoos are crass and grungy.

Yet on the flip-side, I think that it’s pretty cool to see tattoo studios taking risks and doing something different with the environments that they exist in.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if 5 years from now tattoo studios become more of a place where people can go to relax and hang out as well as get a tattoo if they so desire.  It’s a way of making things more accessible, I suppose and that’s a pretty positive evolution in the grand scheme of things.

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