Yesterday, the 17th Annual NYC Tattoo Convention kicked off at the iconic Roseland Ballroom, and there were some amazing works of art walking around the show and being created by the stellar line-up of tattooers in attendance. This is the last time the convention will be held at Roseland before it sadly gets demolished, although the show will be back in new location. Because this convention has held so many great memories in this venue, I'm just taking it all in while I can.
I'll continue to be signing my books today through tomorrow, and also Tweeting and taking pics, which I'll post to Instagram and Flickr. Meanwhile, I'll leave you here with some photos from yesterday, including Kevin Wilson of Sacred Tattoo modelling his hand tattoo by Peter Walrus (shown above). It was also cool to watch Brent McCown create Pacific Polynesian inspired work by hand, including this piece on Charles Boday's forearm (shown below).
More coming up!
NYC Tattoo Convention
Tattoo above by Roxx of 2Spirit Tattoo.
In my Women's Ink post last week, I gave y'all a heads up that Margot Mifflin and I will be moderating the panel discussion "Women's Ink: Tattooing in the New Millennium" at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn, tomorrow, Thursday, March 6, from 7-9 PM.
Today, I wanted to just spotlight the work of the inspiring artists who will be on the panel: Roxx of 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco, and NYC's own Virginia Elwood and Stephanie Tamez of Saved Tattoo. In addition to discussing the particular issues of being women artists in the tattoo industry, there will also be a show-n-tell about certain select pieces from their portfolios. Towards the end of the talk, we're opening up the floor where those in attendance can ask questions and share their experiences.
And if you don't have it yet, Margot will be signing her must-have book, Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo.
For more on Women's Ink: Tattooing in the New Millennium, check our Q&A with Cool Hunting, and Margot's talk with Inked.
Tattoo above by Stephanie Tamez.
Tattoo above by Virginia Elwood.
The meteoric media attention to tattooing is making a lot of people, a lot of money. And many of those people don't have a single tattoo. When tattoo polls make claims like "one in five U.S. adults has at least one tattoo," that's a significant market to be tapped.
We are passionate about tattoos. We get excited to view beautiful work and pissed off when the art is denigrated. This passion = $$ in the eyes of those seeking "eyeballs" for their websites, TV shows, magazines, and sales outlets.
Back in October, we talked about tattoo "Like farms." Those are often the tattoo "fan" pages with the billion "Likes" on Facebook, where you'll find beautiful tattoos but without any information on the artist, photographer, or collector. The tattoos are used to draw us in and then throw ad links to merch, apps, and services.
The flip side to this is what I see as the "Dislike" hook: tricks like "click-baiting," with headlines such as "Tattoos are Corny and Degrading," designed to drag us in, make us angry with asinine writing, and provoke us to comment on the article, defending something that is personal and important to us. It brings more clicks, more time on the site, and more interactivity. Editors and advertisers just love how much we hate it.
Back in my early days of blogging (over 10 years ago), I used to call these articles out, and even comment on them in the hopes of trying to change someone's mind with, what I believed to be, rational thought. I no longer do that. Because, in the history of the Internet, no one has ever won in a comment war.
Which brings me to the old Internet adage: Never read the comments. We already know all the tattoo cliches that are out there, so we don't need to lose faith in humanity with a constant reminder. The Washington Post has a great article on getting rid of comments sections. Alexandra Petri writes:
"We have this mistaken idea that some things are up for debate that frankly are not actually up for debate. People may disagree on them, but the only reason that they disagree is that, well, some of these people are wrong. You do not have to give people who are objectively incorrect equal time."This is not only true for science articles, but for any article that entices small minded people and their prejudices to interrupt serious discourse within a community.
We got rid of the comments to this blog a while back and moved the discussion to our Facebook group and my Twitter feed, where there's less anonymity, and thus, greater civility. I love thoughtful debates and sharing of ideas, which is what makes social media so great. But let's keep it on our terms, and ignore the mass media comment forums and clickbait.
Screen cap above from the Don't Read the Comments Twitter feed.
My two great passions, food and tattoos, are the focus of the book Eat Ink, a fantastic collection of stories from top tattooed chefs across the country as well as their signature recipes. The only way this could make me happier is if George Clooney whispered the ingredients in my ear.Vanilla Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Eat Ink is a joint project by author Birk O'Halloran & photographer Daniel Luke Holton, who explore the connections between tattoo and kitchen culture, from food-inspired tattoos to the stories behind them. For example, when Ed Witt, of 8407 Kitchen Bar in Silver Spring, MD, talks about giving his tattooer artistic freedom in creating his body suit, he draws these parallels with his own work: "I think the whole thing is of the same mentality. Chefs have this at a certain point. If you sit there and you aren't picky, you'll eat better. If you sit there and you trust an artist that is tattooing you, you'll end up with a better tattoo."
The 304-page book, with nearly 200 photos, features 60 chefs, including James Beard Award winners, Top Chef competitors, Food Network stars and more. Some of the more notable chefs are Duff Goldman, Rick Tramanto, Marc Forgione, Seamus Mullen, Mike Isabella, Justin Warner, Andy Ricker and Dominque Crenn.
The book is divided into food categories: Hoofed, Finned, Winged, Rooted, and Sugar. It also includes some vegan recipes, so there's something for everyone. While not all the tattoos shown are exceptional, the recipes certainly are. I've included one below from Lisa Higgins, Sweetpea Baking Co., Portland, Oregon.
You can buy a signed copy of Eat Ink here or on Amazon.
Yields 4 (4") coffee cakes, ramekin-size, or 1 (9") coffee cake
For Batter: Combine dry ingredients (including sugar) and margarine in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and mix until margarine is in pea-size chunks. Add wet ingredients and mix until a batter is formed, about 30 seconds.
Ingredients for batter: 2 cups all-purpose flour; 3/4 cup sugar; 1 teaspoon flaxseed meal; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1/4 cup vegan margarine, slightly softened; 2 teaspoons vanilla; 1 cup soymilk; and 1/4 cup water.
For Cinnamon Filling: In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until the mixture resembles wet sand.
Ingredients for cinnamon filling: 1 tablespoon vegan margarine, melted; 3/4 cup brown sugar; 1/4 cup sugar; and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
For Streusel Topping: In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. With a pastry blender or fork, mash the margarine into the flour and sugar until small balls of dough begin to form.
Ingredients for streusel topping: 1/2 cup vegan margarine; 1 cup all-purpose flour; and 1/2 cup sugar.
For Powdered Sugar Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar with 2 teaspoons of water, adding more water by drops as needed until the mixture is a thick, pourable consistency.
Ingredients for powdered sugar glaze: 1/2 cup powdered sugar; 2 teaspoons water, plus more if needed.
To Complete: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" round cake pan, or 8" square baking dish. Spread half of the Batter into the bottom of the pan with a spatula; then spread a layer of Cinnamon Filling 1/3 to 1/2 cup) on top. Place small dollops of the remaining Batter over the Cinnamon Filling and spread carefully with a spatula. Cover the top of the Batter with the Streusel Topping and add any extra Cinnamon Filling if desired. Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes (25 minutes for the 4" ramekin size), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze, and serve warm. Store in a covered container up to 3 days; warm in oven if desired.
One of the reasons I love traveling to tattoo conventions is meeting artists and getting excited about all new kinds of work that I haven't seen before. At the last London Tattoo Convention, one artist whom I fell in love with is Lore Morato -- not just for her beautiful tattoo work but for her generosity of spirit. After many years tattooing outside her native Brazil, particularly in Germany, Lore has returned home and is opening her own tattoo atelier Golden Times Tattoo in Belo Horizonte. She took a break from building her shop to talk to us about her fascinating life and work.
When did you first dream about becoming a tattooist?
Since I was 16, when I used to hang out with friends and sketch their tattoos on paper.
What were some of the most important moments in your path to fulfilling this dream?
When I went to Europe as a 20-year old, I was already dreaming of being a tattooer. I arrived with no money at all. I was a punk seeking adventure. I had no idea what would happen to me, but it was better not to think too much... hehehe. So in the beginning it was really hard because I had no home. I used to live in squats in Barcelona and eat recycled food out of the trash ("freegans" you know? Hehehe). I needed to work really hard in small jobs, like babysitting or handing out flyers on the streets, in order to get money to buy my first used machine. The path was long, but I knew that good moments would eventually come.
There were so many important moments for me, for example, when I finally found a cool lady: Petra Kempka, who helped me a lot and got me a job in my first good tattoo shop in Germany. Or when I finally started tattooing only what I really love; and also when people write me telling me they are so happy with their tattoos, and I see that I can help them with my machines... like when they go through an important moment or when they need to heal wounds from the past, and they want to transform this in tattoos and choose me for that! This is the best part.
Your distinct style of tattooing blends Neo-traditional with the spiritual. Could you explain your approach to this work?
My mother and grandmother back in Brazil raised me in a very spiritual way, teaching me about magic stones, plants, making wishes and believing in the universe. My mom always said we women are powerful witches. Their teachings are the greatest source of inspiration for my work. Since then, I started studying and celebrating the Divine Feminine, the magic and mystery about being a woman: worshiping different goddesses, seeking the balance between male and female. My work is part of me, is part of what I believe. It's all together, all in one.
You have very strong female archetypes represented in your work. What are your influences and inspiration behind them?
As I said before, all the goddesses that I worship are sources of inspiration, but mostly I draw on the archetype of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna, my favorite goddess and also my guide. She is the queen of heaven in the Sumerian mythology and goes down to the underworld to face her sister, who is also her own darkside at the same time. She learns to embrace her shadow in her journey, and when she does it, she goes back to heaven as the queen of both heaven and hell. I am fascinated with this story!
What are your thoughts on being a woman tattooer -- do you believe there are still obstacles women in the industry must overcome today? What have been the more positive aspects of being a woman artist?
I believe there are still obstacles for we women in many places around the world, not only in the tattoo industry but in most other jobs as well. This is so sad and something we can't deny, even when we think it's 2014! There is still a lot of things to fight for. As one of my favorite singers, Melissa Auf Der Maur, says in one of her lyrics : "As we stumble together, we fall alone". So if we want to overcome sexism or any other "ism" that diminishes us, we need to stand together as artists, as workmates, as sisters.
The most positive aspect of being a woman artist is just the fact of being a woman! We were all born powerful, and when we start to realize it, the tattoos we make will become more than just tattoos, they will become tools for healing.
Tell us about the creation of your new studio. What are your goals for Golden Times Tattoo?
This a dream coming true for me, and in my own tropical country. Can you imagine a "tropical new-traditional tattoo shop"? Hahahaha! My boyfriend and I are the owners and we expect to bring some artists from Europe and the rest of the world to work with us as guest artists. The new-traditional scene in Brazil isn't that strong yet, but people are always curious and very excited about it, so interest in neo-traditional here is definitely growing. We are also an art gallery, and every month we will have space for artists to make exhibitions, not only tattooers but all kinds of artists we want to support. Our goal is to make this place a place for dreamers, for inspired people to give and receive inspiration, a place that people feel good and at home.
What conventions/guest spots do you have planned for the new year?
I will be in Europe from August to the middle of October: I will be at the London Convention (26 to 28th September) and at the Stockholm Ink Bash (29 to 31th August) also making some guest spots in Zurich (Switzerland), Leeds (UK), Berlin and Cologne (Germany). Dates and shop names will be in my page very soon: Facebook.com/goldentimestattoo.
What is it you most want to accomplish in the new year?
I want to paint more oil and watercolors and do other projects besides tattooing, and dedicate this year to enjoy my shop here. I also hope to continue following my spiritual path since I am now back in Brazil, which is my home.
If there is one thing you'd like people to know about you, what is it?
That it doesn't matter where I am and what I am doing, I will always believe in dreams and magic; and that my tattoo equipment are healing tools for me, I do my job from the bottom of my heart. If you get a tattoo from me, it will not be "just a tattoo," we will be doing magic together!
What do you love most about your life?
The fact that I can travel a lot while doing my job, because I looooove traveling so much!
Today, we have fascinating guest blog post from Pamela Shaw, who shares her experience receiving traditional Japanese hand-tattooing -- tebori -- from renowned artist Shinji Horizakura. Here is Pamela's story in her own words:
By Pamela Shaw
Being very green to the tattoo world, having only one other tattoo, it seemed to me that getting this tattoo was a mix of a boon and not quite deserved; though I feel that way about my first tattoo experience, and expect to feel that way with each of the artists whose work I have the pleasure and honor to have on my body. Still, Shinji Horizakura's work had been in that category of "one day maybe I'll get lucky enough to have work from him." This "one day" thought slowly turned into a lust of sorts.
I became more and more enthralled with tebori after reading the Munewari Minutes blog, the plethora of information and photos generously posted by tattoo artists and collectors online, and Takahiro Kitamura's "Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in the Japanese Tattoo" book, to name but a few sources. I love the dedication to maintaining tradition, the influence from all forms of art (literature, mythology, theatre, fine art, music, religious iconography) and keeping things handmade in this ever machine and technologically influenced world. At this rate, how could I not not get a tattoo from Shinji Horizakura? I adore his bold use of color, there is such solidity and strength within the aesthetic.
Knowing full well that I most likely was not going to get a tattoo from Shinji Horizakura any time soon, I called NY Adorned to put my name on his list. Shortly thereafter, I found myself happily, surprisingly, feeling like I won the lottery: making a consultation appointment. I cannot find any other rational explanation given the "bird with plant
matter/branch/flower on my left thigh" subject matter description and Horizakura's long wait-list as to how this happened. From what I imagine, this is not what Shinji usually does with his time, though I could be wrong since I picture him working tirelessly on much larger tattoos, day in and day out. I feel very lucky and grateful to Shinji, the folks at NY Adorned, and to the tattoo gods who have been smiling on me for giving me this opportunity.
I asked Shinji for a dark-eyed Oregon junco, a bird I first saw in Northern California on a trip with my herbalist school program and a bird I have seen since here in New York with slightly different coloring. On the day of our consultation, I had a few color photos of the bird in question, and a couple of other examples of art prints with
birds as well. We discussed placement, and plant material. I had my heart set on a pine branch, but Shinji advised against it and said that he'd come up with something else. I got a rough marker sketch on my leg, and booked my appointments.
When the first appointment finally rolled around, he had a beautiful stencil drawn for me. The peony was a lovely surprise, and I have to say, it is gorgeous. After giving the okay, we got our first session started. I loathe having line-work done, and that last half hour of tebori felt like bliss by comparison. I also am a rather huge wimp, and take an herbal tincture to get myself through measly two-hour sessions on my thigh so I could be relaxed and not twitchy and tensed up. During my last session, I almost fell asleep; though that could have been the herbs talking.
Tebori is obviously quieter than the machine, and to me, it is less jarring and painful -- dare I say, enjoyable. Now, my long-term tattoo plans are being reconsidered, so as to incorporate more of Shinji's fine tattooing.
I absolutely love my junco and peony and cannot thank Horizakura-san enough. Every time I look at this tattoo, I am reminded that I am indeed a lucky woman!
Cover-up tattooed by Tim Kern at the Evergreen Tattoo Invitational.
This morning, my tattoo news alert was blowing up with mainstream media coverage of tattoo events across the US. This past weekend, three major conventions took place: the Evergreen Tattoo Invitational in Springfield, Oregon; the Motor City Tattoo Expo in Detroit, Michigan; and the West Texas Tattoo Convention in San Angelo, Texas.
The Evergreen Tattoo Invitational received a lot of local press coverage, particularly for a first convention, which was organized by Joshua Carlton and Riley Smith. The more extensive coverage came from The Register-Guard, which posted this video (below), as well as some photos from the convention floor. You can also find a slideshow from Evergreen at Komonews.com.
Tattoo above by Randy Engelhard, winner at the Motor City Tattoo Expo.
The Motor City Tattoo Expo celebrated its 19th year as Michigan's most popular convention. The Detroit News covered the event, as did MLive, which also has a sizable slideshow of images from the show. As with other convention coverage, there was an emphasis on the tattoo TV reality stars in attendance.
For the West Texas Tattoo Convention, K-San news offered this video, featuring a quickie interview with Oliver Peck.
I'll be covering my hometown NYC Tattoo Convention, March 7-9.
A couple weeks ago, while at a bar chatting with a friend, I felt a tug on my arm and then, without warning or even a word, my arm was being twisted and turned for inspection by guy who, not only felt it was his right to grab a stranger, but who was rather shocked when I took my arm back and told him that what he was doing wasn't cool. He became indignant that I wasn't flattered by his attention, saying, "What's wrong? I like your tattoos," as if his artistic approval of my work gave him a right to touch. I then took his arm, twisted it as he did to me, and asked him if he liked it. Then, completely accidentally, his own fist wound up in his own eye.
My non-tattooed friends were pretty shocked that some random stranger would grab me to look at my tattoos. I wasn't shocked at all. In fact, most of you reading this won't be shocked. It's something we talk about a lot -- how our skin becomes an interactive museum exhibit. This is particularly a common experience for tattooed women.
This discussion of our bodies as some kind of public space, as well as other issues experienced by tattooed women (and men as well), will be shared on March 6, 2014, on the panel discussion "Women's Ink: Tattooing in the New Millennium" at Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. I'm honored to be moderating the panel with Margot Mifflin author of one of my most favorite tattoo books, Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo.
The panel is inspired by the third edition of "Bodies of Subversion," released by powerHouse Books a year ago. [I interviewed Margot at that time about the new edition.] The book was the first history of women's tattoo art when it was originally released in 1997, exploring the stories of tattooed women from as far back as the nineteenth-century. So many years later, it remains the only book to chronicle the history of both tattooed women and women tattooists.
The experiences of women tattooists are particularly fascinating, and there are so many questions that arise: Do women tattooers still feel any form of discrimination from colleagues and clients? How do they feel about their representation in the media? How do they see their role as business women as well as artists? ...
These questions, among many others, will be addressed by a phenomenal group of artists: Roxx of 2Spirit Tattoo in San Francisco, and NYC's own Virginia Elwood and Stephanie Tamez of Saved Tattoo
We'll also open up the discussion to all. The panel, which will take place from 7-9 PM, is the day before the NYC Tattoo Convention -- it'll be a fun way to kick off the tattoo weekend celebration. I really hope to see you there.
More details on the event via the Facebook invite.
That the blog will be closed today due to the passing... OF ONE MORE YEAR AROUND THE SUN FOR MARISA!
(Don't worry. She's still only 21-years-old... again)
We shall resume with your tattoo-related goodness on Monday.
[painting of Marisa by Shawn Barber]