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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