December 30, 2011

The Proust Questionnaire: Orrin Hurley

Back from the holiday daze and looking for some fun, so I roped in Orrin Hurley of Daredevil & Fun City Tattoo studios in NYC to take our Proust Questionnaire for Tattoo Artists. At the shops, Orrin tattoos in all styles but is particularly known for bio-organic and painterly work, taking clever approaches to playing with the form of the body and using a wide color palette. That said, the "bold will hold" traditional ethos is ever present throughout his portfolio.

You can see more of his tattoo work on Facebook. For a look into this personality, here are his answers to the Q&A:

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?  A world without art and music.

What is your idea of earthly happiness?  To reach my full potential as an artist, father, and human.

Your most marked characteristic?  Being unpredictable and well rounded.

What is your principle defect?   I have a habit of focusing so hard I lose the big picture.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?  Dexter, Hannibal Lecter -- for the workings inside their mind, not their murderous tendencies.

Who are your favorite heroes in real life? Be your own hero. Blaze your own path.

Your favorite painters?  Robert Venosa, Dali, Flemish painters, Chris Mars, Femmke.

Your favorite musicians?  My music taste is so out there. Anything with musical value. I've been a Drum and Bass DJ for years so Electronic is close to my heart. Hardcore, Metal, Death Metal as well.

Who are your favorite writers?  I dont have a fave,  just whatever I'm reading at the time.

The quality you most admire in a man?  Consistency of character.

The quality you most admire in a woman?  Consistency of character.

Your favorite virtue?  Empathy

Who would you have liked to be?  No one but me ... my journey in life is mine to live.

Where would you like to live?  Maybe Japan, Portland OR, or somewhere in Cali.

What are your favorite names?  My son and daughters names:  Kai Maynard and Aeris Jane

What natural gift would you most like to possess?  I'd like to take the ones I have to the next level instead of trying a new one. I was born to do this.

How would you like to die?  Something epic that makes everyone remember ... like some crazy 15 min long Family Guy skit type thing. A massive fight with a giant chicken.

What is your present state of mind?  Clear. Perfect clarity.

What is your motto?  Ride the wave of life.

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Mandala Tattoos

From the Sanskrit for ‘circle’, mandala is the term used to describe beautiful circle designs.  A circle is a symbol of unity, eternity, perfection and completeness and it is an important symbol in all cultures.  The basic mandala form consists of a four gated square within which is a circle with a defined centre point.  Mandalas have a spiritual and ritual significance in many eastern cultures, especially Buddhism.  They can be used to focus the mind in order to achieve deep meditation or assist in promoting a state of deep trance which allows for one to access the deepest levels of the consciousness in order to experience a sense of unity with the universe.  In more modern usage a mandala is often referred to as being any geometric pattern that is a reflection of the cosmos.  It is an illustrated form of expressionism that has existed for centuries across all art forms.

Native American Mandala

Used to discover the deepest meaning within our hearts and uncover the drive behind our motivations, Native American mandalas showed the connection of man to the universe.  The creation of each mandala is a personal experience and from beginning to end a journey of discovery.  To wear this journey on the body, in such an indelible form as a permanent tattoo is to honour the journey and respect, honour and understand the connectedness of the Universe.

The inclusion of feathers in a Native American mandala design represents ascension and spiritual strength, as feathers were traditionally worn by tribal chiefs to symbolise their communication with spirits and express their celestial wisdom.  The inclusion of a labyrinth in the design is a symbolic representation of life’s journey.

Celtic Mandala

Celtic mandalas are symbolic of growth and expansion.  They are a tool for initiating contact with our origins, visions and desires and contacting our divine ancestry.  By focussing our thoughts upon the Celtic mandala we let our rigid, logical side step back to allow our intuitive side to take over, this lets us attain a state of higher awareness and discover where we may have lost balance in our lives.  To display a Celtic mandala in the form of a tattoo is to show that we are grounded, centred and at one with both our past and our destiny.  A Celtic knot mandala is a representation of our own lives interacting with those around us.  It illustrates how our decisions in life can alter the path of our lives, and bind us together with others.

Personal Expression

The process of visualising and designing your own mandala tattoo, whether a simple design or an intricate one, is a journey of self expression and a kind of personal therapy.  The choice of shape, colour and size are reflections of how you have progressed on your journey through life.  No one will ever wear the same tattoo; it will be as unique as you are.  Creating the design is therapy for the mind and soul and the transference of the design to your skin completes your therapeutic journey so wear it with pride.

December 27, 2011

How to Become a Tattoo Artist

A future in body art is not something that any school or college career officer will actively promote.  It can therefore be difficult to find the information needed in order to get yourself on the right career path.


Tattoo artist training is usually done via an apprenticeship which can last for around 2 to 3 years.  This means that you will need approach some artists directly, and ask them if they are willing to take on an apprentice.  To gain an apprentice position a potential employer will need to see proof that you have some creative ability, so have a portfolio of design work available to show.  Artists come from all kinds of backgrounds so any artistic experience would be good, whether it is in the form of graphic novel design or another genre.

Once in a position you will be expected to supply your own equipment and sterilising kit, some businesses may pay you whilst you are with them, others may not. Over the course of the apprenticeship you will gain the knowledge, skills and experience that will allow you to work unsupervised.  When you reach the end of your time as an apprentice a license to practice will need to be obtained from your local council.

A license will not be granted unless you have proven experience of working in the tattoo business, which is why a good apprenticeship is important.  If you are found to be working without a license you are liable to prosecution and will incur a substantial penalty.  And the end of your apprenticeship you should be confident to work on simple designs progressing onto the more complicated patterns as you gain experience.  Many professionals agree that an artist is considered truly qualified after five years of full time work experience.

Skills Required

Tattooing is a very specialised job and you should show that you have the following skills and personality traits: creative flair and a talent for design; an interest and understanding of alternative cultures and lifestyles; good communication skills; an eye for detail and most of all a steady hand.


You should be prepared to take responsibility for the cleanliness and sterilisation of all tools and equipment, whilst being up to date on all health and safety issues relating to the industry.  Keeping abreast of the latest trends and influences in tattoo design and using any spare time to design your own work is advantageous.  You will also be interacting with clients and suppliers so a professional image is important.


The majority of tattoo artists are self employed and income can vary as it dependant on the amount of trade that passes through the doors.  Whilst a trainee tattoo artist may start on approx £12,000 a year an experienced artist can expect to earn anywhere between £18,000 and £30,000 a year.  An artist that owns his own business and employs other artists has the ability to earn over £50,000, by renting out space to other tattoo artists.

December 24, 2011

The Backpiece Has Begun

Marisa and I are in the annual, last-minute scramble here at the N&S Bunker in preparation for the holidays, so posting will probably be a little light over the next few days.  That said, I will also refrain from spreading holiday cheer in the form of back-slaps, firm hugs and butt-squeezes because I go in for another session on my dragon backpiece tomorrow.  Don't ask me why I scheduled it this way... I enjoy sitting at Christmas dinner.

Two weeks ago, I handed my back over to Mike Rubendall of King's Avenue Tattoo and, because we're a bunch of blogging dorks, I've decided to chronicle the experience at Bodysuit To Fit.  I'll be doing my best to chronicle the sittings in words and photographs (read about Sitting 1 here and Sitting 2 here) and will try to refrain from twitteresque posts like "Oh god, all I wanna do is scratch my ass."

So, please - give it a read!

[FULL DISCLOSURE: Some of these pics are kinda NSFW.  Nothing frontal, just my narrow little butt]

Prison Tattoos

The creation and display of tattoos within a prison environment is often used to signify gang membership or advertise an inmate’s standing within the criminal community.  Used as a form of code amongst inmates they are often filled with hidden meanings and symbols.  Because of the information that can be relayed in a tattoo the law enforcement services have compiled an extensive prison tattoo database.  Tattooing in prison is not an ideal environment as the artists often lack proper equipment or any form of sterilisation for the tools that they do have, making having one a risk to a recipient’s health.  The act of providing or receiving a prison tattoo also carries with it the risk of further punishment if caught.

Resources and Payment

Whilst it is illegal in the United States to receive a prison tattoo it doesn’t stop the process occurring.  As inmates do not have access to the necessary approved equipment they have become extremely inventive in crafting what they need from materials that they do have access to.  Prison authorities in the United States have confiscated tattooing equipment made from mechanical pencils, staples, radio transistors, paper clips and even guitar strings.

They also need to manufacture their own ink.  Where the ink from a disposable pen may seem a reasonable stand in, inks have also been concocted from soot mixed with shampoo, melted plastic or Styrofoam cups.  The prison tattoo artist takes a huge risk providing this service for his clients and whilst cash is not always an option, they will often receive payment in the form of cigarettes, tobacco or phone privileges.


Many gangs incorporate numbers and symbols in their designs as reflections of the gang names and networks, whereas motifs like spider webs and teardrops can be used to represent the length of their sentences and the family they leave on the outside.  Teardrop shaped droplets of blood are often used to symbolise the number of lives an inmate has been responsible for cutting short, or the number of charges against them.  Religious beliefs are often displayed in the form of a tattoo, especially by those belonging to the more extremist groups and cults by the use of swastikas or a simple ‘100%’ tattoo which is popular amongst white supremacist groups, believing it is their indicator of racial purity.

Health Risks

Without the proper equipment or means of sterilisation the prison tattoo carries with it a high risk of infection.  Diseases like HIV/Aids and hepatitis can be passed from one client to the next through the practice of sharing needles.  The very poor quality of the makeshift inks used can sometimes cause permanent scarring, even blood poisoning.  Those inmates found to be in receipt of a new tattoo, which is characterised by redness and swelling of the skin at the site of the tattoo are processed and charged, whilst those individuals found to be in possession of tattooing equipment receive punishments like solitary confinement, loss of privileges and confiscation of equipment.

December 19, 2011

Kim Jong Il Tattoo

Reading the news of Kim Jong Il's passing this morning, I wondered if The Supreme Leader had already been immortalized on skin. And that wonder lasted less than a minute when Google pulled up this stop motion video of a Jong portrait being created by Cody Brigan of Ghost Dog Tattoo in Cloquet, Minnesota.

I then pondered that oft-asked question when viewing a tribute to a dictator of divine birth:  Why? I found the answer on Deviant Art, of course. There, Cody explains that he wanted to attempt a portrait (he's only been tattooing since last year), so he offered a free tattoo to the client, but on the condition that he could tattoo whatever he wanted. And there ya go.

But this isn't the only Il ode. Google served up another portrait as well. Sadly, it didn't yield the same results for Vaclav Havel.

Tattoos as Rites of Passage

Rites of passage differ between cultures; they traditionally mark the transition of a person from one state of being to another.  Often marking out life’s milestones like puberty and marriage, such rites illustrate the values and beliefs that are held as important within a culture.  The tattoo has been used throughout history to mark such life changing occasions.  Mummified remains have been discovered all over the world with still visible, highly detailed tattoos which have enabled anthropologists to map out social hierarchies and tribal life across the centuries.

Filipino Tattoos

When Spanish explorers discovered the Philippine Islands they named them “La Isla de Los Pintados”, which means the “Islands of the Painted Ones”.  In the Philippines tattoos were seen as marks of status and high rank.  The ink on the chests and heads of the tribesmen marked their standing as great warriors.  The women wore intricate tattoos on their arms and wrists, others on their chests as marks of beautification.  In both sexes though tattoos were earned for accomplishments and marked the passage of their lives from one state of existence to the next.

Maori Tattoos

As tattooing of the head caused the run of blood towards the tattooist, it was considered to be the most sacred part of the body.  Those who went through their lives without a tattoo were considered to lack any form of social standing and all high ranking tribesmen were heavily tattooed.  Beginning during puberty when the young men would be developing their hunting skills, tattooing accompanied many rituals and ceremonies that marked the occasion.  It was also a widely held belief that being tattooed made you more attractive to the opposite sex.

Women were traditionally not as heavily tattooed as the men, though they would usually have their upper lips outlined in a deep blue.  The most popular tattoo amongst the women was the chin moko which served a purpose much like an identity card, making their status and role within the tribe easily identifiable.  The male facial moko covered the entire face and was split into eight distinct areas signifying their ancestry and rank.

The Rikbaktsa People

Also known as ‘canoe-people’ the Rikbaktsa live in the Amazon Rain Forest.  Whilst the men of the tribe traditionally marked their passage with piercings; the nose at age 12 and the ears at 15 to signify their passage from child to adult, the women of the tribe were traditionally give facial tattoos to signify their transition into womanhood and their availability for marriage.

Traditional Tattooing Methods

Traditionally tattooing implements were made from animal horn, bone or wood, delicately carved to measure about 10cm in length and an unbelievable 2mm thickness.  Needles were then attached to this tool and the tattoo was made by tapping the needle into the skin with the aid of a small wooden hammer.  The ink used was made from a mixture of soot and tree resin and was rubbed into the wounds left by the needle.

December 16, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Adha Zelma Jewelry

Seductive, feminine, and most definitely rock-n-roll. Adha Zelma jewelry are true statement pieces that, like tattoos, command attention for unique and sexy adornment. And for this reason, we just had to include these Brooklyn artists, who have an international following, in our gift guide.

Creators (and best friends) Sheanan Bond and Cherise TrahanMiller hand-craft each line, which they say "centers on bringing elements of indigenous art and culture into our contemporary world." They approach each piece as sculpture for the body. Sheanan and Cherise say that they're inspired by "the organic shapes found in bone, shed antlers and shells -- along with the incredible colors and graphics seen in naturally molted feathers, the texture of skins such as stingray and the rawness of rough stones."

I'm particularly in love with one of the richly layered pieces I have from their Solstice Collection, with its mixed metals, gem stones and plumes. The line is described as evoking "the night sparkle of NYC and a little Mad Max." And I do feel likeTina Turner rockin it.

Hit up their online store for a full array of their collections and sale pieces.

Even sweeter, they're offering a special 20% off if you put in the code: Needles&Sins at checkout. The promotion ends 12/23/11.


December 15, 2011

Pep Williams Photography

Legendary DogTown pro-skateboarder and photographer, Pep Williams, may shoot for fashion, sports and music glossies but it's his portraits of tattoo life that have garnered particular acclaim for their penetrating intensity and soulfulness -- a quality that comes from the photographer's own experiences in the community and respect for the craft. 

The subjects of Pep's tattoo-focused imagery reflect his Los Angeles upbringing, and largely include black & grey inked bodies and faces. He also captures intimate moments in the tattooer's chair, which have powerful solemnity to them.

Pep will be on tour shooting street culture and skating in Brazil, Dubai, and Australia. Next month, he'll be releasing limited edition prints available for purchase. Updates will be posted on his site and Shockmansion blog.

For more on Pep, check Jinxi Boo's great interview with him.


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Toy/Clothing Drive at Sacred Tattoo

Do a good deed for the holidays and help someone less fortunate!  This Friday, December 16th, from noon until 8pm, our friends at Sacred Tattoo will be holding a toy and clothing drive for Coalition for the Homeless.  Bring in any new toy or new/gently-used winter clothes/blanket/jacket and you can get a tattoo from the flash sheet above for just $50!  Don't feel like getting tattooed?  No problem!  The donation box will be at the front of the shop all day.

Tattoos are roughly 2.5 inches in size and are valued around $150-200 each.and will be subject to a "limbs only" rule (arms and legs) in order to keep the machines humming along quickly.

Sacred Tattoo is located on the second floor at 424 Broadway between Canal and Howard.  Take the J/M/Z/Q/R/W/6 train to the Canal St station.

Holiday Gift Guide: Antiqued Brass Skull Pendant

Our friends at Father Panik Industries have clothed and bejeweled me for over a decade with their hand crafted badassery, and every year they keep coming up with more designs to put on my wish list.

The latest in their jewelry collection is this anatomical skull pendant in antiqued brass with 18" chain. [The skull measures 5/8"x1/2"x7/16" (17mm x 12mm x 10mm).] According the the Panik peeps, "The skull spins around slowly as you move, so you get to enjoy the skull 360 degrees. The wax model for this was carefully hand carved after studying human skull anatomy, then cast in brass in NYC. Each one is hand polished, antiqued and assembled here in Brooklyn USA."  The brass pendant sells for $48 and you can also purchase it in sterling silver for $116.

Also be sure to check out their long standing favorites like the knuckle tattoo gloves (which I'm modelling here), their brass knuckle rosaries, and their towels, tees and hoodies, among others.

You can also find Father Panik online at Etsy. To catch them in person, check their events listings, which include NYC independent artist markets as well as tattoo conventions throughout the US, throughout the year.

December 13, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide: Seven Acre Toys Matching Tattoo Memory Game

Have a small child you one day hope will follow in your tattoo footsteps but aren't sure how to plant the seed when they're so young? Or are you itching to do a long-term sociological experiment with family members' kids to see if they'll get tattooed when they turn 18, or maybe even make a homemade rig from that old VCR up in the attic before they're even of age? The Matching Tattoo Memory Game from Seven Acre Toys might be just the thing to get started.  
Seven Acre Toys was founded by Chris and Hannah Blackburn (married master woodworkers turned toy company entrepreneurs) with the goal of creating better wooden toys that promote creativity and imagination. The Tattoo Game features six classic tattoo images, all drawn up by Chris himself (who recently visited Brian Mullen at Art Freak Tattoo in Providence for a full sleeve of dogwood flowers).
Here's more on the Seven Acre philosophy from Chris:
It's funny, one of our competitors has something on their About Us page that says something like, "Each product is made by hand and usually all the wood is surrounded by cups of tea, laughing children, and disco music, so each product will come to you infused with love and bliss!" We thought about countering that with something that says, "We have tattoos. We drink pale ale, listen to a lot of psychobilly, punk rock, and folk music. We make each toy awesome, it's up to you to continue that." However, drunk, loud, and arrogant might not be the best image for a maker of eco-friendly children's toys.I tend to disagree and am hoping Drunk, Loud, and Arrogant will be the name of any future toy endeavors. Even better, Seven Acre Toys uses only FSC certified hardwoods that promote responsible forestry practices. Now, you'll have a clear conscience when you're one-upping all those other parents and their crappy non-green, made in China toys when you see them at the Knitting Factory's Mommy 'n' Me classes, or whatever the hell goes on there in the mornings.

Happy Holidays!

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Keeping it in the Family

Photo taken from the real London Tattoo Convention by EPA, posted on The Telegraph.

I often use the term "tattoo community," and just as often, I get called on it. Is there a true community today when the explosive popularity of the art form has brought in so many who come to it, not out of passion, but for cashing in?

In the past few days, I've seen action that answers this question, and that answer is resoundingly Yes. It's action with the stated goal to protect this community from corporations wanting to take a piece of the profits from those who have dedicated their personal and professional lives to tattooing before the onslaught of pop culture "tattoo cool."

We last saw this movement in July with the efforts to boycott TLC's "Tattoo School" program, a show that made it seem that anyone can be a tattooist within two short weeks.

This weekend, the focus has been on boycotting tattoo convention companies and media outlets seeking to ride the coat tails of well established and successful events; specifically, it's a movement against the planned The Great British Tattoo Show, which would take place months before one of the world's best conventions, Miki Vialetto's The International London Tattoo Convention.

Michelle Myles of DareDevil & Fun City Tattoo studios has the details on her wonderful Devil City Press Blog. Here's an excerpt:

The Great British Tattoo Show is being billed as "A brand new show with a brand new artists.... blah blah blah.... yet another first for the UK tattoo industry.....blah blah blah..." As tattooing has gotten more popular more people have looked towards our industry to make a quick dollar. People who have no concern or love of tattooing only look for ways to exploit the tattoo industry and the success that's been created by others before them. After the first London Tattoo convention this person organized "Tattoo Jam" a show one month before the London show less than 100 miles away. He then went on to set up "Tattoo Freeze" another UK show a week before the Brighton convention.  I guess this could all be written off as coincedence and fair play in business but to make this drama even more interesting there is a webpage devoted to this guys business practices of not paying his vendors, bankrupt companies and an overall contempt for the rest of the tattoo world. Did I mention that this guy has not one tattoo (last I heard anyway)? 

Not only does this affect the people who run the original London show it also impacts all of the artists working at that show. [...] As artists, these are the people we should not lend our names to. It's important to be aware of who we support. I know that the show will probably go on. But I for one am not going to be a part of it.
Michelle's post -- as well as others from tattooists -- are making the rounds, urging other artists not to participate in these shows. I believe collectors should also take a stand by not attending.

Let's keep our support in the family.

Tattoo Conference at Vatican University

Tattoo conferences are held all the time in a number of different places, but the one recently held at the Vatican University was something no one had ever seen before. The title of the conference, “Into the Skin: Identity, Symbols, and History of Permanent Body Marks,” let’s you know right away that this particular conference will not be covering dragon tattoos and tramp stamps.

The Who

The Christian arts association and Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See were unlikely experts for a couple of reasons. First of all, Judaism completely prohibits tattooing, stating that it defiles the body as a sacred temple and divine creation. Second, the tattooed serial numbers that scar those who were affected by Holocaust, so tattoos of any kind tend to be painful reminders. Ambassador Mordechay Lewy even refers to the tattoos as “death stamps,” but understands that today’s tattoo trends are derived from a long and rich culture of tattooing.

Lewy’s interest in tattoos stemmed from reading and research that he did while on post in Sweden. There he read logs from Swedish travelers who had traveled to the Holy Land during the 17th Century. Each came back with a tattoo that marked the completion of their pilgrimage. While Judaism stands firm on its views of tattooing, Lewy pointed to the conference participants and declared, “there are a lot of tattoos here…they’re just not visible.” He even disclosed the fact that his own back is covered in them.

The Where

This particular conference was the first of its kind, and come together in a very impressive manner. The history and study of tattooing has actually become its own field of research and academics, but is still extremely new. The conference was held at Pontifical Urbaniana University of the Vatican, which sits right up from St. Peter’s Square.

The What

This conference at the Vatican was all about the history behind tattoos, what they were traditionally used for, what they meant, and how far they have come. Every presentation was meant to open people’s eyes to the fact that tattoos had a vast array of uses over time and that they were ever changing throughout history. Some of the presentations included descriptions of mummies that were found in Egypt, each with their achievements tattooed on them. Most of these tattoos had to do with who they were married to; making sure that their rank was known even after death.

Another eye-catching presentation was that of the 11th Century First Crusade Warriors who branded themselves with crosses (usually on their shoulder or forehead), to display support for their mission. Mystics have also used tattoos for religious purposes over time, tattooing themselves with the “stigmata.” These tattoos are created to mimic the wounds that Christ suffered.

The conference set out to show people that tattoos were more than just art or ink; Lewy describes them as, “…a tangible way of expressing the past.” His only disappointment is the fact that so much of the history of tattoos is still so unknown. He claims that once the tattooed skin has been buried, the whole practice just disappears. The goal of this conference was to share what is known, in the hopes that the history will be carried on and not forgotten.

December 10, 2011

The Significance of Henna: More than Just a Short-Term Relationship

Many people today look at henna tattoos as nothing more than an alternative to a permanent tattoo; they are one of those, “next best things.” They are fun to get, but you don’t have to be committed to it for the rest of your life and there’s also no blood involved, which is definitely a plus for some. What most people do not know, is that henna is actually a sacred ritual for cultures in India, and it has an extremely deep and personal meaning. Henna is not new, though many think it is, and its significance is more than you could ever imagine. Next time you get a henna tattoo, you will know exactly what you are getting; an ancient custom and a healthy dose of history.

The Beginning

The application of henna is called “Mehendi” in India and other parts of the Asian subcontinent. The Mughals introduced the idea in the 12th century A.D. At that time, the rich were the only ones with access to it, and they used it as a form of makeup. They decorated themselves with extremely intricate designs, and artists were often called to apply it.

Henna was also used in Egypt to stain the hands and feet of pharaohs before they were mummified. The belief was that forms of body art would ensure that they were recognized in the afterlife. The origins of henna can only be traced back so far, because travelers would take it from place to place, spreading the practice everywhere they went.

Significance Today

Henna is still widely done all over India today, and is a crucial part of any Indian wedding. Years ago (and often still practiced in some parts of India today), the bride and groom would never meet or even see each other before their marriage. When the bride was brought to the groom for the wedding ceremony, her face was covered. This meant that the only things exposed were her arms, hands, and feet. Of course, this meant that they had to be beautiful, so henna was applied; the more intricate and detailed the design, the better.

In India, even today, weddings are extremely extravagant and the bride especially is adorned with anything and everything to make her look even more beautiful; there is no such thing as too much. The wedding henna is the main part of the bride’s preparation for the wedding, and the process can take hours. The henna is applied from her elbows (and sometimes even higher up the arm) to her fingertips, and from the middle of the calf to her toes.

Because henna is also used for healing, the ritual is seen as a sort of blessing for the bride as well as she leaves her home and begins her new life. Depending on the traditions and beliefs of each family, the henna on the bride’s hands can also be blessings for health, happiness (specifically in marriage), spirituality, and fertility.

December 7, 2011

Artist Profile: Ed Perdomo

In the latest issue of Skin & Ink magazine (February 2012), I profile Ed Perdomo, who works his illustrative awesomesness in Gothenburg, Sweden at Heidi Hay Tattoo. Before settling in Gothenburg, the Columbia-born artist traveled the world to learn more about tattoo culture and improve his skills -- and of course have some fun personal adventures. Over time, he developed a style that reflects his personality: he is an eternal optimist, and his outlook on life is most evident in his bright, humoristic tattoo work.

In the article, Ed shares stories of his travels, how he developed as an tattooist, and highlights of his career. Here's a bit from that:

I had a collector from Germany who refused to look at the tattoo (on his back) until I finished. It was his first tattoo, and he traveled to Sweden for a 10-hour session. When we were done, he finally looked at it and then just broke into tears. He couldn't stop crying and laughing at the same time. When he caught his breath, he hugged me and thanked me for it. It was quite satisfying knowing that what I do makes some people really happy.
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Ed also discusses his first tattoos, done by his own hand:

Back in early '90s, maybe '92 or '93, I wanted to have a tattoo so badly, but I didn't know anyone who could do it, so I attached a little motor to a mechanical pencil and tattooed myself. It was a little tribal that I saw in a magazine. [It's gone now.] I did five tattoos on myself before I did any on friends. And that's how I got started. [...] It wasn't my plan to make my living out of tattooing. I was just trying it for fun, but rapidly the word spread, and at some point I didn't need to work at anything but tattoos. Eventually I fell in love with it.And as is stressed in the profile, Ed believes the key to creating better tattoos, is constantly bettering your drawing. He says that he continues to learn, adding humbly that he hasn't succeeded in where he wants to be artistically, but he won't give up.

I think his work is playful and bold and inspiring, especially to those with a particular bent towards cartoon-styled work. See more of his tattoo and fine art on and his Facebook page. You'll also find him working various international tattoo conventions.

Ed is featured in my Color Tattoo Art book, available for purchase in our online store.

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December 5, 2011

Disney Gone Wild

Walt Disney is a household name whether you are in the US or some remote island off the coast of nowhere. Disneyland, Disney Stores, Disney Movies, and the Disney Channel are just a few of the things that reign in Mr. Disney’s Empire. The Disney Channel has grown over the years to include more than just Mickey Mouse Cartoons. The channel offers all kinds of original television shows, original movies, and more young stars than you will find anywhere else. The stars of the Disney Channel shows often end up moving on to singing, movies, and apparently, tattoos. We’ve found just a few of the sweet little Disney stars who are going under the needle.

Vanessa Hudgens

While taking some time out to attend fashion shows in New York City early this year, Vanessa Hudgens decided to get herself a permanent fashion statement; a tattoo. For her very first (and so far only) tattoo, she debated between her ribcage and her neck. At first glance, you know what she chose; she has a beautiful butterfly tattoo on her neck.

Demi Lovato

Demi has a script tattoo on her right ribcage. When a picture of her in a bikini that showed what looked like a possible tattoo, nobody wanted to believe it. The back and forth arguing began instantly as everyone debated whether it was real. Demi revealed on her Twitter that it is, in fact, a real tattoo that reads, “You Make Me Beautiful.” While she is already beautiful, Demi says the phrase is from the song, “Beautiful,” by Bethany Dillon; a song that, “changed her life.” She later added a pair of feathers to the phrase.

She followed this up with tattoos on her wrists that read, “Stay Strong.” Her left wrist also has red lips on it; one she got with friends. She has also added a blue feather behind her ear and a small cross on her hand.

Miley Cyrus

Yes, we had to save the best for last. Miss Miley has not one, not two, but nine tattoos. Allow us to walk you through the Miley art gallery.

Her first tattoo was a script tattoo on her left rib cage that says, “Just breathe.” This tattoo was in honor of a close friend who passed away from cystic fibrosis, and two uncles who died of lung cancer. Next, she joined daddy at the tattoo parlor and while he got his own ink, she got “LOVE” tattooed on her ear. Apparently it’s about only hearing the good things and drowning out the bad.

Tattoo number three is a fairly large dream catcher on her right side. It’s the biggest so far, and is a drawing of an actual dream catcher that hangs by her bed. The four feathers represent her siblings and the protection that the dream catcher offers. Next was the anchor on her wrist to remind her of a, “safe port,” and that she always has somewhere to go home to.

After that, Miley apparently decided that her hand was boring, and covered each finger in a different tattoo. She has a heart on her right pinkie, a cross on the ring finger, and a line on her middle. The other side of her middle finger has a peace sign, and her index finger says, “Karma.” At some point, the line on the middle finger was turned into a peace sign, and she added an equal sign to her ring finger to symbolize marriage equality.

Miley was also recently seen outside of a tattoo removal office; which of the nine will be the first to go?

Tattoo Coloring Book #2

Our friend Phil Padwe - the talented illustrator who gave us the delightful children's book, Mommy Has A Tattoo - has launched a kickstarter project to help fund his latest work, the follow-up to Tattoo Coloring Book 1.  I'm a big fan of this kind of crowd-sourced funding, so break out your credit card so the rest of us can break out the Crayolas!

(And for a pledge of $25 or more, he'll send you - or your child - a hand drawn card on your birthday!)

December 3, 2011

Steampunk with a Tattoo Twist

"Dermobot" by Chris Conte.

Today on Wired's Underwired blog, Hugh Hart shares some images and information on the Mobilis in Mobili: An Exhibition of Steampunk Art & Appliance show at Wooster Street Social Club (yup, NY Ink headquarters). The exhibit runs through Jan. 14 and the work, like those shown here, are available for purchase.

Bruce Rosenbaum, "steampunk evangelist" offers more on the show:

Mobilis in Mobili:  features work from artists whose work fuses Victorian aesthetics and craftsmanship with salvaged vintage components combined with modern devices to create unique works of art. It showcases the spectrum of Steampunk art and appliance from drawings to entertainment systems. These pieces take an innovative approach, transporting visitors through time, yet maintain a firm hold on contemporary contours and comforts.
I'm particularly attracted the piece above by Chris Conte entitled "Dermobot (Skin Crawler)," which features a functional mini-tattoo machine. And I know Brian Grosz is loving the work shown below, "The Grand Experiment," by Steve Brock. As noted in the Wired blog, it's "a 1964 Norma guitar with turn-of-the-century noodle-cutter handle and solid-brass door plate from Detroit's Book-Cadillac building."

Also shown on Wired is the "Steampunk 'Back' Tattoo to the Future" piece by Bruce Rosenbaum and Ken Taylor. Bruce describes the work: "I found this 1918 hand-cranked gas pump and restored it. [...] The hose that had been used to deliver the gas now swoops down and behind where the tattoo subject sits. Out of this nozzle comes a webcam so that when you sit with your back to the camera you can see this monitor attached to the gas pump and watch the work as the artist tattoos your back." I want!

The fantastical and mechanical imagery of Steampunk can often be found in tattoos. Here are some excellent examples below.

chaudesaignes_steampunk_tattoo.jpgTattoo by Stephane Chaudesaigues by Nick Baxter.

For more on Steampunk art & culture, check the vast number of links on its Wikipedia entry.

Sullen Contest: Win a Free Carlos Torres Tattoo

Known for his exceptional black & grey tattoo work, Carlos Torres of Timeline Gallery in San Pedro, CA is one of the most sought after artists in the genre with an eager international clientele; so you can be sure that getting an appointment is a win in itself.

Now Sullen Clothing is not just offering a chance to jump in front of that appointment line, but to get five hours of tattooing from Carlos for free, as well as $500 of Sullen gear, a one-night hotel stay and a feature on Sullen TV. Sweet!

To enter to win, head to Sullen's Facebook page and "Like" them. No purchase necessary. The contest goes through the month of December and the winner will be announced the first week in January.

It's easy breezy -- except for Carlos who has a hard time explaining the contest in this video (which is pretty adorable). 

As a tease, I'm posting some of Carlo's work below. You can see more of his tattoo and fine art on his website and Facebook page.

carlos torres tattoo.jpg
carlos torres tattoo2.jpg

Barbie Visits the Tattoo Parlour

If you were ever a fan of Barbie when you were a kid it’s likely that you’ve seen her go through many transitions over the years.  She’s been a teacher, a princess, a doctor and even an astronaut – all things that a parent would be happy with seeing their child grow into you may think.  This is why the latest Barbie has sparked quite a bit of controversy, not just with fans of the doll but with parents too – the latest Barbie is tattooed!

Tokidoki Barbie

A few years ago Mattel – the creators of Barbie – released a version of the doll that came with removable stickers called ‘Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie’.  The manufacturers received a lot of praise for this doll and due to its popularity it’s hardly surprising that Tokidoki Barbie – our tattooed friend – is the latest creation by the brand.  Designed by Simone Legno, Tokidoki has a tattoo on her arm and further body art on her chest.

Punk Princess

Alongside the tattoos, Tokidoki Barbie also has bright pink hair and she is wearing a black sweater with a cute skull and crossbones design (the skull has been replaced by a heart).  Tokidoki also wears leopard skin leggings and a cute little mini skirt – she really is a punk princess and is set to be a big hit with kids around the world, or she would be if they were able to obtain one.


The media has recently suggested that parents of Barbie fans are outraged by the new Barbie design, however we fail to see why they are so uptight over it.  Many are… wait for it… saying that Barbie will have a negative impact on the mind of a child and many are concerned that children will start to tattoo themselves.  We think this is a bit of an over the top reaction and as usual, people will come together to back a cause that probably doesn’t even apply to them.

Limited Edition

Whether it’s due to the controversy surrounding Tokidoki or whether it was Mattel’s plan all along, the Tokidoki Barbie is only being released via the internet.  Mattel claim that the doll is purely for adult collectors and there will only be 7400 dolls released.  So, unless your kids know where to find Tokidoki online you needn’t worry about them forking out for a DIY tattoo kit just yet – she won’t be on the local shelves in Wal-Mart or anything!

Like we said above, this is not the first time that Mattel have released a tattooed Barbie so we are quite surprised by the controversy.  Aside from the tattoo it yourself Barbie that we mentioned above, Mattel also released a Harley Davidson Barbie back in 2008 which has a large pair of wings adorned on her back – we didn’t hear people getting angry then unless we just weren’t listening.

We think the new Tokidoki Barbie is pretty cool if you like that sort of thing, and definitely not worth protesting over.  What do you think?

November 30, 2011

Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed

We're thrilled to see the recently released "Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed" by Carl Zimmer blowing up with glowing reviews in The NY Times, The Atlantic, Publisher's Weekly, NPR 360 and so many more. For years, we've been fans of Carl's blog The Loom, and Science Tattoo Emporium -- sites that feature the science-inspired tattoos that formed the basis of the book.

The 288-page hardcover presents the best of the sites' tattoo submissions and is divided into 13 chapters, which include astronomy, math, chemistry, evolutionary biology, neuroscience among others. But it's more than just tattoo photos. The tattoo images are accompanied by insightful text from the renowned science writer that speaks to the subject of the work as well as the collectors' stories.

science ink zimmer.jpgPublisher's Weekly offers more on Zimmer's own story behind the book:

"Noting a colleague's DNA-inspired tattoo at a pool party, science writer Zimmer (A Planet of Viruses) wondered how widespread the phenomenon of the inked scientist was. He solicited pictures for his blog, The Loom, and, inundated with photos and stories from scientists and laypeople alike, quickly became a curator of science-inspired body art. Mary Roach's foreword lays out why, given the passion with which so many approach their fields, it should be no surprise to encounter this worldwide tribe whose obsessed love for every far-flung corner of science's domain was marked permanently on their bodies."

For a peak inside, check this slideshow of tattoos on The NY Times site as well Flavorwire's blog post and The Atlantic.

My one criticism of Zimmer's blog and the book is that not all the tattoos presented credit the tattooist. I hope that this will change on the site to complete an otherwise great project.

A Complex History of Tattooed Comic Book Characters

As I get into a car with two lawyers to see a play in Philadelphia about the effects of the Holocaust in Poland (yes, this is actually my life and, no, it's not nearly as interesting as it sounds), I would be loath to miss posting about this spectacular nerd-boner.  While I've long given up comic collecting for a more permanent hobby that doesn't require acid-free backing boards or plastic jackets, this is a great post for a man who lit a candle the day that John Buscema died.

Thanks to Nick Schonberger for pointing out the Complex History of Tattooed Comic Book Characters.

Latino Art Collection: Tattoo-Inspired Chicano, Maya, Aztec and Mexican Styles

An inspiring collection of 250 illustrations created by 90 tattooists fill the 300-page hardcover Latino Art Collection: Tattoo-Inspired Chicano, Maya, Aztec and Mexican Styles, another tattoo tome published by Edition Reuss and authored by Edgar Hoill, aka OSOK. [Edgar & I co-authored Black & Grey Tattoo last year.]

The renowned artists, from LA to Mexico City to Hong Kong, include Jack Rudy, Chuey Quintanar, Carlos Torres, Nikko Hurtado, Pint, Indio & Melissa Reyes, Boog Brown, Wa-Wang, Tim Hendricks, Antonio Mejia, Goethe, Luke Wessman, Dr. Lakra, Yushi Takei, Pedro Alvarez (who did the cover art), and so many more.

You can purchase the book for $160 + shipping here.

I was honored to write the introduction and the pages noting the various symbolism in the works. For an overview of the book, an excerpt from that introduction is reprinted below:

carlos torres painting.jpg Painting by Carlos Torres.

Latino art is as vast and diverse as the cultures it represents. There are, however, popular themes, aesthetics and symbolism that make it an identifiable artistic genre--one that is vibrant and exciting, and reaching far beyond just the Latino community. Latino artists celebrate their cultural identity in contemporary culture as well as their ancient Prehispanic roots. Catholicism's religious iconography dominates so much of this art, whether it be on canvas, walls, cars or the human body. Personal struggles and the hardships of street life are laid bare; it is, for many, a cathartic expression of loss and redemption. And, of course, reverence for beauty and sexuality is omnipresent. This book is a collection of paintings, drawings, and tattoo flash that represents the soulfulness of this genre. Its goal is to present the many incarnations of Latino, Chicano, and Mexican art and to inspire countless other works.

Most of the artists featured are tattooists, and it's particularly interesting to see how their tattoo styles translate in their fine art. For example, black & grey tattoo motifs--from manifestations of Mi Vida Loca to sexy cholas--are prevalent and even composed in similar shadows and tones as works displayed on skin. There are also interesting cultural fusions where traditional Americana technique, with its thick black outlines and bold colors, is used to convey traditional Mexican and Chicano imagery like sugar skulls and Aztec gods.
boog art.jpgIllustration by Boog Brown.

In addition to the book, also check Egar's OSOK online store for his prints and apparel.

Artist Spotlight: Travis Broyles, Sunken Ship Tattoo

Tattoo lovers in Everett, Washington and beyond will enjoy pouring over the portfolios of the artists at Sunken Ship Tattoo & Piercing for an array of tattoo styles, from smooth black & gray to color portraits and animated tattoo work. In this artist spotlight, we focus specifically on the work of Travis Broyles.

While our profiles usually feature long-time tattooers, Travis's tattoos have an eye-catching vibrancy developed in just five years in the industry. On his site, Travis offers some background on the evolution of his work:

I apprenticed under William Addams in Indianapolis, IN. William taught me the basics as to making a great tattoo. Bold lines, solid color, and consistency - however my career has developed since then. I have had the privilege to work with many great artists in this journey and have learned a lot of the tricks of the trade so to speak. I feel that these things are what make me a strong artist. I strive to provide clean, bold, yet solid line work, bright colors, dark blacks, and smooth grey wash. I find myself favoring American Traditional, Neo-traditional, Illustrative, Cartoony, Realism, as well as Black and Grey - but that does not mean I am limited to doing those tattoos, and only those tattoos.

travis broyles2.jpgtravis_boyles_tattoo.jpgTo see more of Travis's tattoos, check his site and Facebook page. You can also find further news and tattoos on all the artists at Sunken Ship on their Facebook page as well.

Inked Icon: Don Ed Hardy

In the Dec./Jan. issue of Inked magazine, you'll find my Q&A with the inimitable Ed Hardy, a man who inspired fellow artists and tattoo collectors to move beyond the tattoo "menu" on shops walls and pursue custom, personalized art. For those outside the tattoo world, his name is associated with everything from trucker hats to condoms, and because of his Ed Hardy clothing line and merchandising deals, the Californian native was able to retire with a sizable nest egg and fully return to painting, ceramics, and other mediums after 40 years of tattooing. Of course, Hardy remains connected to tattooing, largely through his Tattoo City studio in San Francisco, Hardy Marks Publications, and the occasional tattoo souvenir for a lucky fan.

In this interview, Ed talks about the documentary "Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World" [recently released on DVD], the tattoo impulse, his fine art, and he briefly addresses the haters. Here's an excerpt:

Do you think the whole popularity of tattooing will dissipate?
No, I don't think it will ever go away. My standard points are: I don't know why people get tattooed. I don't think there's a good answer. It's like, Why do you like art? It's just something that's a total mystery. That's part of the attraction. I think that for whatever reason, it's an impulse for our species--not for everyone, but certain people are just Bam!

Almost like a tattoo gene?
That's exactly it. Knowing how science has advanced over the centuries, maybe they'll figure it out, and at some point go, Yes, this is what it is. But right now, the best we can do, and what we all have done, is emphasize the positive aspects and put it into a better social context. That's much more important than who is the best tattooer. We have to look at the bigger picture. Of course, that's important too-people striving to further the art and do stuff that's going to be more interesting.

It's interesting how the Ed Hardy brand and unexpected commodification of tattooing has freed you up to do fine art. It's seems at odds with commercialism in some way.
Before Christian Audigier, I was approached by two guys who had a cool business; their whole thing with clothing was introducing an Asian feeling to their casual garments. They actually responded to an article about a painting show that Bob Roberts and I had at Track 16 in Santa Monica. I don't remember if it was 2003 or 2004, but they had seen the paintings and dug the Asian references in them. So I got into it, and that's how it started. Then Christian saw it and just went ape shit. He said, "I must have this license!" He's really from a different world. [Laughs] He said that he'll make this huge thing, and of course I was like, Right, take me to the moon. And then it went. But he did have that genius eye to recognize that people would respond to it strongly. Really, all the stuff we were using was essentially classic flash. A lot of the images I originated and a lot were reused from old classics. It was just like that bold, beautiful, well painted, heavy shaded, Sailor Jerry aesthetic thing. Everything that makes classic tattoos cool or makes them appealing to a wide body of people. Then of course I started getting shit from all kinds of people. I loved hearing it.

What kind of shit?
Well, "Hardy's really sold out." I'm like, What do you think this is, the Sistine Chapel? Relax. Get some humor about it--as long as things are being presented right. We had some problems when my designs got screwed with for a while and some legal things about that. Essentially, it is just a facet of my art, and I'm proud of all the flash and all the classic tattoos I did.
Read more in Inked.

A Thanksgiving Tattoo Tribute

Tattoo by Gunnar.

With the Thanksgiving upon us, I found it fitting to search for tattoos that mark the holiday's icon:  the turkey. It wasn't easy picking images that would appeal to carnivores and vegetarians alike, but I think crazed butchers and vengeful vegan designs should do the trick.

While surrounded by controversy in the US, Thanksgiving to me is largely a reminder to indeed be thankful for all the good in my life. Anyway, according to the NY Times, gratitude will make us healthy. One thing I am truly grateful for is your support and general fabulousness. Thank you.

Vengeful-Vegan-(Large).jpg Tattoo by Jesse Smith.

turkey20tattoo.jpgTattoo by Joe Capobianco.

All three artists are featured in my Color Tattoo Art book, still available for purchase at the reduced rate.

Cyber Monday: Indie Tattoo Greeting Cards

Today is Cyber Monday, a day in which the masses are encouraged to shop for online deals, largely during work, and dodge knockoff scams. Instead of leading you down the path of faux Fendi's, our Cyber Monday encourages secure purchases from independent artists and craftspeople with a tattoo twist.

I promised myself that I'd do some old fashioned letter writing this year and send out cards that will actually arrive before the holidays. So I spent (too much) time on Etsy and found these gems. Check 'em.

First up are the tattooed lady and man cut-out card packs (shown above) by artist Crankbunny, who also makes cool Victorian tattooed paper puppets. You can purchase a set of ten with either "Miss Suzy" or "Sir Craig" or get the set with 5 of each of them. As noted in the description: "Personalize each set too -- choosing what cut-out paper object each character holds. Choose between a huge candy cane, a gift present, a dreidel, or gold star that is each detailed with festive glitter!" Yeah, glitter! Each set is $20 plus shipping.

sugar skull card.jpg
Next, I'm diggin' the handmade Tattooed Sugar Skull cards by Vickilicious Designs in the UK. The snowflaked skull is "printed onto a silver mist card, pale blue/white dusted with silver finished with ice blue jewel." Yeah jewels! It's blank inside and comes with the envelope. Customized cards are also available. Each one is 2.60 GBP(approximately $4.15) plus shipping in the UK & internationally. 

matryoska card.jpg
I also love this "Pierced Blue Matryoshka" greeting above by Alexandra Winthrop, who offers this design & tattooed goddess giclee prints on her Etsy page. Yeah tattooed goddesses! The 5x7" "Pierced Blue Matryoska" card is "made using matte finish, 55lb, acid-free cardstock and archival pigment inks. It comes with its own envelope & will ship in an acid-free cellophane sleeve for added protection." Each one sells for $3.50 plus shipping.

tattoo lady holiday card.jpg
Finally, my long time favorite, Sugar Beet Press's Tattoo Lady Holiday Card, with the words "Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men" illustrated within the backpiece. Yeah goodwill! They are A2 size (4 1/4" x 5 1/2"), printed on heavyweight watercolor paper, and are blank inside. Red envelopes are included. Each card is $3.50 and a ten pack is $22.50 plus shipping.

More Holiday Gift Guide goodness coming up later in the week! Yeah!

Artist Spotlight: Darcy Nutt, Chalice Tattoo

In Boise, Idaho, Darcy Nutt of Chalice Tattoo has a loyal clientele, who trust her for large scale work -- in almost all tattoo genres --  as well as for smaller personal tributes. But it's the process of composing the big work that's particularly interesting to watch, and thanks to Luke Holley, we can. Luke has been documenting each session of a large-scale backpiece Darcy is creating and sharing those videos on Vimeo.

Here's the first session below, where you can see Darcy work, from stencil to tattooing.

There are five videos so far following the progression of this work. The last one, which was posted two days ago, shows how just how beautiful the East Asian iconography is coming together on one very happy, and tough, client.

In addition to the videos, you can see more of Darcy's work on Facebook and on the Chalice Tattoo site.

darcy nut tattoo.jpg

Tattoo Spelling Disasters

If you missed a lot of school when you were a kid and never passed a spelling test in your life, you may want to spell-check your tattoo choices before having them permanently placed on your body. This becomes an extremely important consideration when you are deciding where to have your tattoo done; a cheap tattoo artist does not always equal a good tattoo artist.

While misspelled tattoos are pretty hilarious on someone else, you may not be laughing when your own masterpiece turns you into the laughingstock. Here are some of the most commonly misspelled tattoos to help you avoid any tattoo mishaps of your own. We’ve also included a few of the misspelled tattoos we found particularly hilarious.

Most Common Misspellings

Aside from the typical “your,” and “you’re,” confusion, there are several commonly tattooed words that show up misspelled more often than not. The word “awesome,” gets spelled incorrectly far too often, which is unfortunate, since walking around with “I’m awsome,” tattooed down your arm only lets people know that you are in fact, not awesome when it comes to spelling.

“Judge,” is another word that people use for tattoos they feel are deeply profound. “Only God shall juge me,” is not really inspirational and one can only hope that you are not being judged on your spelling abilities (or the lack thereof).

Somewhat tragic (and slightly ironic) is the misspelling of the word, “tragedy.” When young people who feel that their lives are completely lost, the tattoo “Beautiful Tragedy,” comes up a lot. But what many of these despairing kids end up with is, “Beautiful Tradgedy.”

Celeb Tattoo Mishaps

One thing that may be comforting to those suffering from a misspelled tattoo is that you are not alone. Even those glamorous, paparazzi avoiding Hollywood stars have their own share of misspelled tattoos. Hayden Panetierre wanted to tattoo, “vivere senza rimpianti, across her torso. Translated, it means, “to live without regrets.” What she does regret is that her “rimpianti,” has an extra “i” in it.

Sanskrit tattoos are very common, even among celebrities. Sadly, there are several of them with misspelled or misinterpreted Sanskrit on their bodies. David Beckham wanted “Victoria,” tattooed in Sanskrit. What he ended up with is “Vihctoria.” Rihanna wanted a Sanskrit tattoo that read, “Forgiveness, Honesty, Suppression, and Control.” Unlike Beckham, hers at least says what she wanted it to, but is spelled completely wrong.

Along with Sanskrit, phrases in Chinese characters are also common; as well as commonly misspelled. Britney Spears can attest to that, since she wanted the Chinese character for “mysterious,” and ended up with the character for “strange” instead. That one may have just been fate.

Misspelled Tattoo Award Winners

As promised, here is a list of the misspelled tattoos we found to be eye-wateringly hilarious:

An attempt to have his trip to China Town inked as a permanent memory across his throat, one unfortunate guy ended up with a painstaking tattoo that said, “Chi-Tonw.”Attempting to tattoo her nickname on her lower back, one young woman ended up with a tattoo that says, “Sweet Pee.”One person tattooed an entire Abraham Lincoln quote on their arm. If they had hired a proofreader, they could have avoided the, not one, but three misspelled words within it. At least they spelled Mr. Lincoln’s name right.A quick Google search will allow you to find a picture of a young man who clearly thinks he’s hot stuff. He has a gigantic tattoo across his chest that was supposed to tell everyone how extreme he is (or thinks he is). Instead, the tattoo reads, “Exreme.”

November 29, 2011

Celebrity Tattoos – Lindsay Lohan

Troubled teen star and jail bird Lindsay Lohan has a handful of tattoos – all of which (surprisingly!) she got inked whilst out of jail.  Her latest tattoo is from the lyrics of Billy Joel’s classic ‘I Go to Extremes’ on her ribcage.  Reading “clear as a crystal, sharp as a knife, I feel like I’m in the prime of my life” we can only wonder whether Lindsay is living by the lyrics or on the verge of yet another break down.  One thing is for sure, Lohan and Joel will be together forever now, whether he likes it or not.

Another significant inking was unveiled back in 2008 when Lindsay and then girlfriend Samantha Ronson, got matching tattoos to signify their relationship.  Like most celebrity relationships, this ended up going sour, and Samantha Ronson has recently announced plans to cover her tattoo up with a skull and crossbones design to remove the reminders of their romance – there’s nothing like going a step too far in the celebrity world.

Celebrity twin inks seem to be all the rage nowadays though, and even Lilly Allen got in on the action back in 2009 when she visited an LA ink parlour with Lohan at 2am in the morning.  Both women emerged with the scribble ‘shhh’ inked on their index fingers.  Although they may have found it hilariously funny at that time in the morning, it’s hardly original… especially as Rihanna beat them both to it!  It was clearly a moment of madness, and we wonder whether Miss Lilly regrets it now or not.

Other tattoos on Miss Lohan’s body include a small heart between the index finger and thumb on her right hand, a small red star between the index finger and thumb on her left hand, a black outlined star on her wrist, and “la bella vita” on her lower back with the ironic meaning ‘life is beautiful’.  Apparently it was inspired by her late grandmother though, so this is somewhat forgivable.

Of course we should also mention the tattoo on her right wrist which says “breathe”.  Thought to be inspired by a John Lennon quote, Lindsay then did herself no favours by admitting that she needed reminding to breathe… because it’s quite easy to forget you know?  Seriously!  Luckily for her, it is hard to notice unless you are very close to her, which is unlikely unless you end up in a jail cell for rich kids.

As well as permanent inkings, Lohan has also sported a number of henna tattoos at points during her career.  These are a much safer method and thankfully easy to forget about.  She has mentioned a few times in the media that she loves tattoos so much that she will probably start her own tattoo parlour up at some point if she can find a partner or an investor to join her.  Whether she will or not remains to be seen, quite like her life in general really.

Chinese Military Relaxes Rules on Tattooed Recruits

China’s People’s Liberation Army has changed the rules on who may apply to join its ranks.  Previously, people were not allowed to sign up if they had tattoos on their face or neck, however this rule has been changed in a bid to attract different sorts of people into military service.  Recruits to the People’s Liberation Army are now allowed to have facial or neck tattoos, as long as they do not exceed 2cm in width.  Although this is pretty small, it is a big step from the past where tattoos were regarded as highly undesirable.

In addition to this change in policy, they are also now accepting individuals who are thinner or fatter than before, opening up military service as an option for many more young Chinese people, and they are offering grants to university students who choose to take a break from their studies to serve.

The reasons for these changes are interesting.  China is one of the few countries that does not have any trouble recruiting young people into the military, and in fact, although from a technical perspective national military service exists in China and is compulsory, it is almost never used because the People’s Liberation Army is able to find enough voluntary recruits to keep their 2.3 million strong military forces going.  So, why relax the rules on who can enlist?

It is believed that the changing of these rules is a strategy to attract better educated young people into the People’s Liberation Army.  With modern warfare being ever more technological, they believe they need to attract the most intelligent, educated people rather than just produce masses of well trained bodies.  Tattoos are popular among hip young people in China, particularly university students, and these are exactly the kind of people the People’s Liberation Army want to bring in, which is probably the reasoning behind the relaxation of the rules about visible tattoos.

It is interesting to note that one of the most famous stories in Chinese military folklore actually involves a tattoo.  In the 12th century, a young general by the name of Yui Fei deserted the army because his field marshal had left, and he felt the battle was unwinnable.  On returning home, his mother was outraged and punished him by tattooing on his back the words “loyalty to the nation”.

Suitably berated, Yui Fei went back to the battleground and ended up becoming one of the most famous and revered Chinese warriors.  Sadly, he was later set up by an enemy and executed, but still, it was his tattoo that inspired him to greatness.

It is unlikely the People’s Liberation Army is expecting swarms of potential generals, all with tattoos done by their mothers to apply, but it is still interesting that a nation, and particularly an army, once known for discouraging individuality is now accepting that it could in fact be of benefit to them to have it within their ranks, and is yet another sign of the way China is adapting.

White Ink Tattoos

White ink tattoos have seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the last few years.  At first sight, a white ink tattoo looks like a scar, which is part of the appeal of them for many people.  Differing from the traditional tattoo process which involves stencilling and outlining the tattoo in black ink, these are (surprise, surprise) completed in white ink which gives off a ghostly feel when completed.  They really are a unique tattoo design and can look very distinctive depending on your natural skin colour.

Things You Need to Know

If white ink tattoos sound like a cool idea to you, and you are considering getting one, there are a few things that you need to know first:

Due to the ability of white tattoos to bleed off surrounding colour, they should be placed far away from any colour tattoos that you currently have.White ink tattoos look best on pale, unfreckled skin.  Freckles can cause the tattoo to look uneven, and dark skin can make the image look transparent – not a good look!As said above, white ink tattoos look more like scars or brandings than tattoos.  This is due to the colouring being thicker which gives the tattoo a raised appearance.Touch ups may be required to keep white ink tattoos looking as good as new.  They fade much more quickly in the sun than normal tattoos and can turn a dirty blonde colour if not looked after properly.If you later decide that you do not like your white ink tattoo you may have trouble removing it.  Multiple laser treatment sessions are not uncommon.

Choosing a White Ink Tattoo Design

When it comes to choosing a white ink tattoo design, simplicity is the key!  You should keep in mind when selecting a design that the ink will be white, which makes the tattooing process much more difficult.  Plus simple designs will look a lot better when complete and really will look like a unique branding on your body.  Trendy options include Chinese and Japanese characters, stars, writing, dragons, basic tribal patterns and hearts.  However literally anything is possible so long as it is simplistic in its design.

Choosing a Location

Due to white ink tattoos fading easily or becoming discoloured when placed in direct sunlight for extended periods of time, you might want to choose a location for your tattoo that is covered by clothes for the majority of the time.  Popular locations include the shoulder and ankle but anywhere that will be shielded by direct sunlight is a good idea.

Risks Associated with White Ink Tattoos

Although some people do have allergic reactions to black ink, these do tend to occur more often with white ink.  To prevent this from happening you may want to ask the tattooist to perform a small test with the ink on your skin so that you know whether you will be one of the unfortunate people who is allergic to the ink or not, plus you will feel more confident when you have the final tattoo done!

Are Tattoo Removal Creams Safe?

If you have a tattoo that you really dislike, you have probably spent some time researching the numerous tattoo removal methods.  The cheapest method and the least invasive is using a tattoo removal cream.  However, with so many different brands on the market it can be hard to know which one is best and more importantly if the one you choose to use is safe.

Consult a Specialist

Before buying or using a tattoo removal cream, your first course of action should be to consult a dermatologist or a specialist in tattoo removal.  Every person’s skin is different and just because a friend of yours had no problems with a specific removal cream it doesn’t mean that you won’t.  Certain creams will only work on specific skin colours, and specific tattoo colours too and a dermatologist will be able to advise you further.

Visit the Brand’s Website

Due to the popularity of tattoo removal creams, there are now hundreds of people selling these products individually.  Although the creams may sound safe you should be aware that many people will do anything they can to sell the product and they may not list the possible side effects on their website.  In these cases you should visit the official website of the tattoo removal cream of your choice for further information.

The official website will give you information regarding the ingredients of the tattoo removal cream, as well as any possible side effects.  They may also have an FAQ page or further contact information so that you can obtain further information before going ahead with your purchase.

Ingredients in Tattoo Removal Creams

If your dermatologist has given you the go ahead to use a tattoo removal cream, you will want to know what ingredients the creams contain.  The most popular tattoo removal creams such as Tat Be Gone and Wrecking Balm include a chemical which works its way under the skin where it is applied and dislodges the tattoo ink.  This then works its way to the surface of your skin where it can be removed with an exfoliator – these are known for being the safest types of tattoo removal creams.

However, some brands on the market contain a product known as Trichloracetic Acid which is basically a form of chemical dermabrasion.  These creams work by burning away the top layer of skin until they get to the tattoo.  Whilst they can be effective they can also cause some serious scarring and have caused some very bad scars over the years.

Even more worryingly perhaps are the creams that include hydroquinone.  Used to lighten acne scars, freckles and age spots, hydroquinone is often included in tattoo removal creams to lighten disliked tattoos.  However research has since shown that this has been linked to cancer, especially when contained in high quantities.  With tattoo removal creams including a 2 to 4% dose of hydroquinone, it is unknown as to what the risks are and although the FDA has proposed banning it, the jury is still out.

Wedding Ring Tattoos

Do you love wedding rings, but hate to wear them?  If you find them uncomfortable or can’t afford to buy the real thing just yet, you might want to look into wedding ring tattoos.  They are a superb way of showing the world how committed you and your partner are to each other and they can be completely unique in their design.  There are an infinite number of designs to choose from, although you should be aware that tattoos are on the whole permanent and it will take some serious time and money to remove them at a later date if, unfortunately, your marriage doesn’t last.

Religious Wedding Ring Tattoos

If you and your partner are both religious people, you may want to look into a religious wedding ring tattoo.  This is a great way to show people how much your faith means to you as well as your partner.  Popular choices include small crosses that go around the finger, and even numbers that signify bible passages.  One that is specifically good is EPH 2:25 which is a bible verse from Ephesians which states “husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church and give yourself up for her”.  Not only is this a beautiful sentiment but it is thought by many to be the key to a successful marriage.

Celtic Wedding Ring Tattoos

Celtic wedding ring tattoos are striking and simple and can even be designed to look like a piece of jewellery.  They are designed so as not to specifically draw attention to themselves but to be a simple statement of a couples love and commitment to each other.  People who choose to go down this route tend to have matching tattoos, and these can be covered up quite easily by a normal ring should the couple wish.

Modern Wedding Ring Tattoos

Modern wedding ring tattoos are becoming increasingly popular with people in their 20’s and it is not uncommon to see these anymore.  Generally they are designed to be a coloured band that doesn’t look like a traditional wedding ring.  The concept behind modern wedding ring tattoos is that the couple still want to show their commitment but they don’t feel the need to wear the traditional ring.

Dated Wedding Ring Tattoos

This is a great option if you are marrying someone who struggles to remember your birthday or any other important dates.  Dated wedding ring tattoos generally include the date of the wedding either around the ring finger or along it and the font face for the numbers can differ depending on the couple’s tastes.  Not only will your significant other never forget your wedding date, but they will also be reminded of the most important day of their life every time they look at their hands.

These are just a few ideas for wedding ring tattoos, but literally anything is possible.  However, due to the high divorce rates please make sure that you are completely committed to your partner before considering any of the above, unless you want to risk a painful and costly removal process in the future.

Tattoos to Avoid

Tattoos are a deeply personal thing and a choice only the person wearing them can make. There are plenty of seasoned inkers out there who know what they’re doing and are comfortable choosing their designs and sticking with them. However, there are also plenty of us out there who are just dipping a tentative toe into the world of tattoos and perhaps need a little guidance. Beyond the obvious safety considerations (make sure you know and trust your tattoo artist!), there are also a number of things to take into account when choosing the type of tattoo you want to go for.

Many people make rash decisions with their tattoos and have to live with the consequences. After all, tattoo removal can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. So read on to find out the main types of tattoos that newbies should probably avoid to make sure they won’t regret the decision soon after getting inked!


It might sound obvious, but getting the name of your current love interest tattooed across your forehead may not be the best idea. Joking aside, even long-term relationships can come to an end, so a name tattoo could be a painful reminder of a failed relationship that you would rather forget. If you must go for a name tattoo, it’s far safer to opt for a family member – someone you can be sure you will love unconditionally forever! This can be a wonderful tattoo option that is highly unlikely to go bad in the future.


Even if you really are lovin’ it, a company logo tattoo that looks fab now could look dated and awful in years to come. Do you remember what some 80s logos looked like? Logos get updated, modified, even replaced altogether which could leave you with a dated logo that doesn’t really mean anything anymore.

If you wish to represent a company or team, try going for something else that characterizes it, You might end up with something really interesting that stands the test of time far better than a logo might.


It can be tempting to get the image of Marilyn Monroe tattooed on your thigh but think about it: how often do you see face tattoos that really look like who they’re supposed to? Even the best tattoo artists can’t promise to do justice to that face you love so much. If you go for a face, be prepared for a lifetime of ‘Is that… who… what?’. Plus they can be excruciating due to the sheer detail required to create a face!

As we’ve said, tattoos are deeply personal choices and you may well disagree with the above. But it’s always safer to err on the side of caution and make sure you and your tattoo have a long, satisfying relationship!

And remember: always choose to have your tattoo in a place that can be easily covered up for jobs or similar situations that might require a more demure approach! Popular locations include the back, arms and upper legs.

DIY Tattoos – Would You Do It?

Tattoos are currently more popular than ever and with the instant availability of DIY tattoo kits in numerous stores and online, it is even possible to tattoo DIY style.  Whilst no official figures exist for the numbers of people who are taking tattooing into their own hands – literally – tattoo artists have reported an increase in recent months of people asking for help to cover or change their botched tattoo designs.  Professional tattooists and hepatitis support groups are now encouraging people to look into the risks before they go ahead with DIY tattoos.

Cheap and Cheerful

DIY tattoo kits can be bought online from tattoo shops and more worryingly eBay for as little as $20 but many people who buy the tattooing kits are unaware of the risks that come with these kits, most notably the risk of HIV and blood poisoning.  It is also more likely that DIY tattoos will lead to an infection as most people who are choosing to tattoo themselves are unaware of the way to take care of a new inking in the way that a professional tattoo artist is.  With so much information available online, there is no way of guaranteeing that the advice you are reading is correct.  However, with the DIY tattoo kits being available at a fraction of the price of a professional inking it is a trend that is set to continue unless it is banned.

What’s the Law?

The law varies from country to country however you may want to think again before you start using a DIY tattoo kit on friends.  The law in most countries states that it is completely legal to use a DIY tattoo kit to tattoo yourself; however it is illegal to tattoo anyone else unless you are supervised and in a licensed premises.  There are also health and safety guidelines which must be followed if you tattoo anyone else which includes that both the tattooist and the person being inked must both be over 18 and that sterile equipment must be used to prevent the risk of disease of infection.  Of course, from a non-legal point of view, there will be consequences for people who tattoo a friend if the tattoo goes wrong or if the person who has received the inking doesn’t like it.

What do You Think?

Although health support groups are trying to warn people about the risk of DIY tattoo kits, many people are speaking out about the benefits.  When done safely and correctly, the only person you are effectively harming is yourself if something goes wrong.  As an individual you are completely within your rights to DIY tattoo although you should be aware of the risks and the consequences should something go wrong.  Many people are also speaking out about the artistic freedom that comes with a DIY tattoo kit.  Others have spoken out about the pain threshold being lower and others have said that they feel completely confident in their designs, which is not how they feel when their designs are inked by a professional.

Whichever side of the fence you are on, we highly advise being aware of the risks.  The extra money that it costs to pay a professional tattoo artist is worth the price in our eyes.

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Designing Your Own Tattoo

One of the most satisfying things that a graphic artist or designer can experience is designing something which is later turned into a tattoo.  Seeing your artwork on either your own body or someone else’s is a truly filling feeling.  If you are contemplating designing your own tattoo either for yourself or a friend, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind.

What and Where?

The first thing that you will need to decide is what sort of tattoo you want to design.  This could be anything from a Celtic armband to a small butterfly to a tattoo that is large enough to span the whole of your back.  When deciding on the tattoo you want to design you will need to think about the aesthetics, and work with these in mind.

Secondly you will need to determine where you would like to place the tattoo.  Depending on the area of the body that the tattoo is planned for, you will have a set amount of space to work with, and this will influence the design.  For example you may plan an illustrious dragon tattoo which would be great for your arm, but would the tattoo still look as good if it was placed across your torso or would you need to alter the design to make it fit better?

Skin Types

If you are thinking about designing a tattoo that includes anything other than black pigment, you will also need to keep in mind the skin colour of the person who will be having your tattoo.  People with fair skin do tend to be allergic to coloured ink (although not always), and if the same tattoo is placed on a person with dark skin, the vibrant colourings that you were hoping for may not work at all.  If you are designing a tattoo for someone else you might want to talk to them about this and listen to their opinions.

Consult a Tattooist

If you have never designed a tattoo before, you might want to think about consulting a professional tattooist after you have a few ideas on paper.  Mock up a few designs and take them in to a tattoo parlour to give your tattooist an idea of the style that you would like.  Not only will your tattooist be able to tell you whether they are suitable for converting into a tattoo but he should also be able to make improvements on your designs or draft up some more sketches for you to look over.  Many tattooists are happy to unleash their artistic nature and you could find that you come up with something great when you work together.

Designing a tattoo either for yourself can be a great way to really show off your creative talents, but there is more than just a nice design to keep in mind as we hope we have shown you.  When done correctly however, the right design can be something that you are proud to display for life.

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July 1, 2011

Mike Tyson Tattoos : See in the Hangover Part II trailer

Did you know you can copyright an ill-advised tattoo design? Neither did we. Whoever owns the rights to “pouting Tasmanian Devil” or “yin yang symbol with a rose draped over it” should know they could have a lot of money coming their way, now that Mike Tyson’s tattoo artist is suing Hangover Part II filmmakers for using his design without permission. Thank goodness “crudely-drawn dragon” isn’t a copyrightable image, or else everyone in our high school would be completely bankrupt by now.

As you can hilariously see in the Hangover Part II trailer, Ed Helms‘ character awakes to find himself branded with Tyson’s famous face ink, an homage to the boxer’s cameo in the first movie. Now tattoo artist S. Victor Whit-mill, who gave Tyson the tattoo in 2003, is suing Warner Bros. for violating his copyright. In addition to an undisclosed amount of money, Whit-mill is attempting to prevent the film from even showing the design. Doesn’t he realize the more people see it, the greater the chance that some drunken frat will collectively decide to get it etched into their face as well? And you know what that mean. Cha-ching! Get that hideous tattoo money!

June 30, 2011

Tattoos : Everything You Need To Know If You Want To Get Inked

Think About Placement.

The folks who choose to get tattoos on body bits that are absolutely impossible to conceal with clothing are making choices about their careers and lifestyles by altering those body parts – and they know it. Face, hand, and throat tattoos are relatively uncommon for this reason. But arm, ankle, wrist, and neck tattoos can also be challenging to mask, and the vast majority of tattooed people will want to disguise or downplay their ink under certain circumstances.Your placement choice should make sense in conjunction with your chosen art, but consider your potential concealment-related work-arounds if you put an image on some fairly public skin.

Understand Your Art.

Asian language characters are very popular tattoos with non-Asian-language-speakers, because the characters themselves are beautiful. This is true of Hebrew, Arabic, and several other languages with elegant glyphs. But unless you read and speak a language that utilizes logograms, you may be unaware that some characters represent several words or ideas depending on context. If you don’t read or speak Japanese, how do you know that the Japanese character for “truth” doesn’t also mean “chicken pot pie”? And if you don’t read a given language and are choosing a character from a wall of flash art, how do you know it means what the parlor says it means? You can’t control how people will interpret your tattoos, but you can control what those tattoos are. At the very least, make sure that you understand your own art.

Do A Background Check.

There are crappy, sloppy, irresponsible tattoo artists out there, so do your research. You can get scarred and/or infected if you end up getting work from a sub-par artist, so it’s worth your while to do some digging.

Ideally, you should get a recommendation from a friend or acquaintance who’s had a positive experience working with a local artist. Otherwise, consider group review resources like Yelp where you can read about the experiences your peers have had in great and gorey detail. Play detective for a while before calling around or making appointments.

Be Patient, Be Collaborative.

Most artists insist on a consultation before the actual tattooing begins, and if that initial meeting isn’t offered up front, insist. You want to talk with this person, see if you click, discuss your art, placement, the artist’s plan for execution, the amount of time it will take, the fee. If you only have a vague idea of what you want, you need to brainstorm. If you’ve got an image or word already selected, you still need to consult with the artist about color, shading, and any alterations to it. You’re going to be eager to dig in, but try to be patient. You want this done right, and that means careful planning.

Insist On Seeing Sterilization Equipment And Sealed Gear.
Now that you’ve found a great artist, planned out your piece, and shown up for your appointment, your final dealbreaker should be equipment cleanliness. You may have noted overall tidiness (or lack thereof) during your initial meeting, but you need to get more in-depth before the inking actually begins.

Most artists will offer up this information without being asked and in some states, tattoo parlors are required by law to walk their customers through the facility’s sterilization equipment and procedures. Regardless, before your artist digs in, you need to be shown that the tools are completely clean and safe for use. You don’t need to know all of the nitty-gritty details involved in prepping a tattoo station, but you do need to be shown an autoclave, sterilized needles, fresh latex gloves, and all necessary ink and equipment laid out on a clean work area. The artist should remove all sterilized equipment from its packaging in front of you. If that doesn’t happen, ask. If you’re refused, or feel uneasy about what you’re shown, walk away. Not worth the risk.

Yes, It Will Hurt.

How much it will hurt will depend on placement, size, complexity, and your own personal pain threshold.

Tattoos placed over bones and tendons (spine, neck, back of ankle), on body parts with relatively little padding (feet, hands, joints), and anywhere with loads of nerve endings (nipples, fingers, face) will be the most painful. Your decision about placement is on par with your decision about art, so don’t chicken out just because your chosen area is a sensitive one. The best tattoos are the ones that work organically with the contours of the body. Just be aware that some bits will be more pain-prone than others.

Obviously, larger pieces will hurt more since they will take longer to execute. As you may have heard, the outlining process is generally more painful than the filling/shading process. Most tattoos are outlined in black, and the initial process of setting the outline down will, inevitably, make you grind your teeth.

Everyone has different levels of tolerance for pain, and yours will play into how difficult it will be to endure the tattooing process. In my opinion, the pain of receiving a tattoo is unlike any other pain. It’s not sharp, but it’s not dull either. It’s a bit like getting an absolutely epic sunburn on a very small area of your skin. And then letting someone take a toothpick and poke around on the sunburned area for a while. It’s tolerable, as pain goes, but decidedly not fun.

Leave It Alone.

All five of my tattoos were done by different artists in different studios and I have received five different sets of care instructions for healing—everything from keep it covered for several days to unwrap it after several hours, rub with ointment twice a day to keep it clean and dry. But the common thread: leave it alone. Do not poke, pick, soak, or otherwise molest a healing tattoo. It is a wound and needs to be dealt with gingerly. No matter how much it itches, don’t scratch. No matter how much you want to fondle it, don’t touch. It’s yours for life. Don’t mess with it while it’s healing, and remember you’ll have until the end of your days to admire it.

Now that you’re sufficiently terrified, allow me to say this: I love my tattoos. I love them as much as I love my carefully-curated wardrobe, and for many of the same reasons—they make artistic, visual, highly personal statements about my inner life. I tell people things with my tattoos before I ever tell them anything with words, and that gives me such a thrill. But I think it takes a certain personality to commit to and adore something as permanent and statement-making as a tattoo. Piercing holes heal and hair can be re-dyed, but tattoos are just about as “forever” as it gets, so be sure before you bedeck your bod. But if you’re ready to get inked? You’ll have access to a rich, unique, and highly addictive vehicle of self-expression.

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