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This Dragon Ball Z cartoon tattoo screams Kamehameha and certainly there is an inner Goku in all of us, we would love to discover our inner power and find out that it is so huge it can blow away valleys, mountains and stars! Portrait of Sarah Wolfe (without border) by Bryce WardAs I mentioned in my post on tattoos in the LGBT community, I'm featuring renowned tattoo artists in the community whose work I find inspiring.
Vice's VBS.TV will soon be airing a new series called Tattoo Age focusing on tattooers and their personal histories, and based on the trailer above, it looks like reality programming that is actually based on reality.
Tattoo Age profiles renowned tattooists and has them tell their own stories -- not the sob tales of clients that make up so much of tattoo TV today.
Photo of Cliff Raven Tattooing via Cliff Raven WineLate Friday night, New York became the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, making this weekend's NYC Pride celebrations fiercer than ever. Illustrating just how artful and interesting a family tribute tattoo can be is this sleeve (in progress) by the wonderful Stefano Alcantara of Paul Booth's Last Rites Tattoo Theater. Today, our friend Erik Sprague, aka, The Lizardman, unveils his new waxy doppelganger at New York's Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. Call it my obsession, but I've been following the Mike Tyson tattoo copyright (almost as intensely as Beyonce's career) because of its potential impact on the rights of tattooists to defend their art from others who wish to profit from it. Yesterday, in my post on the Ink-n-Iron show, I mentioned that so many tattoo conventions seem to have their own distinct personalities.
After a luxurious 12-hour trip, Marisa and I have finally arrived safe and sound in Long Beach, CA, just in time for the Ink-N-Iron Tattoo and Kustom Culture Festival.
In the latest issue of Skin & Ink magazine (August 2011), I take a look at the progressive work coming out of Brooklyn's own Tattoo Culture via resident artist Gene Coffey (whose work is shown here) and a host of international talent including Belgium's blackwork specialist Dan DiMattia, and France's avant-garde artists Noon and Loic [aka Xoil], among many others. The "weird" tattoos that Gene refers to are abstract pen and ink watercolor styled designs. Since that time, Gene has further explored translating his fine art on skin, but he's quick to note that he still employs traditional tattoo technique.
This past weekend, thousands of people showed up for the 15th Atlanta Tattoo Arts Fest, organized by the inimitable Tony Olivas of Sacred Heart Tattoo.The East Atlanta Patch did a good job capturing the action in the video above, complete with artist interviews and close-ups of some strong tattoo work. It also includes the artists commenting on one another, which I think adds another interesting dimension.
Inspired by it all, I've been looking into the history of tattooing within the LGBT community but not finding a significant amount of information, especially considering the prominence of body art in the community. The work is on native New Yorker Cesar who began the sleeve -- his very first tattoo -- with a reflection of himself being put together by demons (shown below) on the top portion of his arm. Tomorrow and Sunday, he'll be performing live outside of of the museum in Times Square every hour on the hour, from 12pm to 7pm, and posing for pics (most likely sticking out his forked tongue or running your long curly locks through his septum (I speak from experience).
For background, see my first post on it (with some general copyright info) here and the update here. As I predicted in my posts, these type of cases do tend to settle, and it was pretty clear that Warner Bros. Well, no greater proof of this are the videos popping up online from The 2nd Traditional Tattoo & World Culture Fest, which took place in Cobh, Ireland June 3-6.

But we made it back in one angry piece.It was our first time at this monster convention aboard the legendary Queen Mary cruise ship and on its dock, which was blanketed with shiny kustom kars, vendors, and a stage that rocked with a serious line-up of bands including Buzzcocks, Fishbone, Skatalites, The Sonics, The Vandals, and other legends.
The Airstream shared dock space with a cigar lounge, beauty salon tents, beef jerky vendors, among many others.
Updating the blog from my iPad is proving to be quite a chore, but if you're in Southern California, you already know that this convention is the place to be this weekend (I'm particularly excited about tomorrow's band line-up with Fishbone taking the stage at 3pm, followed up by the Skatalites, The Adolescents and then The Vandals).We'll be back to bringing you tattoo goodness and a full recap on the convention next week.
In fact, owner Chris Budd acts as a "tattoo concierge," helping tattooers from outside New York find places to stay, procure temporary permits, and build a local fan base.
One of my favorite tattoo projects is the backpiece above on my dear friend Sarah Wolfe, who documented the tattoo on her fabulous Evolution of a Backpiece blog. He later moved to California where he founded the Tattoo Works studios with his brother Bob--one studio on Sunset Strip in LA and the other in San Francisco. The work then moves down to his forearm with a portrait of his 6-year-old son (above), to be followed by another portrait of his other son. This post looks like my final update on the case because, yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter published the news that a settlement had been reached between Missouri tattooist, S. Again, I fully believe in a balancing of these rights between client and artist -- or have those rights hammered out in advance between them, especially with celebrities -- but in this case, Tyson himself was not at issue. Consider the Fest the hippie cousin of the tattoo world.Last year, we had such an amazing time (read my redux here) and were bummed we couldn't make this year's gathering.
It was all done up big and badass -- from buxom pin-ups to car club bruisers to bold backpieces on many, many beautiful people in various states of undress.See photos on Brian's Ink-n-Iron Flickr set. Something for everyone.Beyond the jerky, what makes a convention for me is meeting up with friends who we haven't seen since the last show in our traveling circus of a subculture. While Tattoo Culture is a full-service custom shop where clients get tattoos in a variety of styles, the focus of the article is the more controversial work that push the definition of what a tattoo should be. They agreed on the drawing, and after it was permanently inked, they both loved the result. He retired from tattooing in the early 80s and, from that time, ran a rare and used bookstore, Raven's Books, until his passing in 2001.
Backpiece by Tommy MontoyaWhen we arrived at the convention, a queue of hundreds lined the dock waiting to get it.
No matter how big the show and all its attractions, the greatest lure remains the growing family of tattoo freaks who have become just as much a part of our lives as the tattoos we wear.
Here's a bit of that discussion:[Gene] credits the roster of guest artists at Tattoo Culture for his artistic growth. It's still a tattoo, just different imagery."Beyond the weirdness (and Gene himself is a strange egg), Tattoo Culture has a relaxed friendly vibe that seems to stand in contrast to the cooler-than-cool attitude of their Williamsburg neighborhood, also known as ground zero for hipsters. For more on Cliff's life in tattooing, check excerpts of an interview with him on the Tattoo Archive.
It was a sea of parasols and pomade and it hit me that many conventions worldwide do have their own distinct personalities.

She moved to San Francisco and learned how to tattoo while also working as an artist for Tower Records. The book is a personal diary that chronicles Steward's life as a tattooist for 18 years, in which he went by the name "Phil Sparrow." He also kept a daily journal for the Kinsey Institute, offering volumes to sex research on gay and fetish experiences as well as the sexual motivations behind getting tattooed. You can also view some important (albeit shaky) videos with Cliff on the fabulous  Occult Vibrations YouTube Channel. The 496-page hardcover -- which is graced with artwork such as those shown here -- will be available for the reduced rate of $150.
And in the footage below, well, there's some man-on-man foot action in the form of synchronized hand-poking on the soles of two tattooists' feet. Photo by Tommy B.If you have your own photos from the show and wanna share, send me the links.
Phil Sparrow and Cliff Raven [notice the bird names] are just a couple of artists who have paved the way for top LGBT tattooists today, and in the next few days, we'll be highlighting the work of a number of artists in the community. The video was taken by Peter Schachner of Lard Yao Tattoo (who specializes in Thai tattooing by hand). Tons of eye candy, a light and sexy vibe, and less tattoo snobbery (although we embrace that kind of thing). I'm generally not a fan of promotional tattoo giveaways but Nikko is an exceptional artist and this is an opportunity to book some of his limited time for free.
As a side note, if you ever want to gauge "trends" in tattooing, tattoo competitions are the best places to do so. I'm a fan of Sullen's The Collective apparel line with its designs from top tattooists including Nikko.
There were tons of young girls with tattoos that stretched along the sides of their lithe torsos. Nikko has a very distinct flavor to his color realism, often exhibiting a cartoon and comic edge. And I particularly love the ethereal backgrounds that give his portraiture a flow with the body. Sketchy's Anti-Art School (LA club) took over with live drawing and attempt at a record to have 1,000 people sketch a host of posing models. Tattoo by Tim McGrath of 13 Roses Tattoo, AtlantaOn the decks below, tattoo artists from all over the world filled three levels with non-stop buzz.
Being SoCal, the work was heavy on the black & grey but all styles were repped with a top notch roster of artists.
Despite my incessant eye rolling and head shaking, Brian decided to continue his quest to get his toes tattooed, asking great artists to perform general dumbassness.

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