Tatau Art Exhibit – Wish I Could Go!!!

THE centuries-old art of tattooing is celebrated in an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Tatau is the Polynesian word for “tap”, referring to the traditional method of inking by tapping sharpened bones into the skin.

Guest curator Loketi Nuia Latu said she hoped the exhibition would give people a glimpse of the cultural meanings of Pacific tattoo designs – including the rules that surround them.

 

via St Kilda tattooist exhibits his work – Arts & Entertainment – Lifestyle – Port Phillip Leader.

H.H. Little Sky Ph.D

I was sauntering around the Tattoo Convention in July when I very literally felt a shift of energy. No, I wasn’t high. Not that I’d tell you if I was, but I wasn’t. I found myself in front of a booth, much like many others surrounding it, but when I looked at the book on it’s table, I discovered that this was much, much different.

I really wanted to speak to the artist, but he was clearly busy and I’m shy, so I ran away sheepishly, as usual. But I did take his card and I did not forget what I had seen. Look at this card:

Tattoos!!

Cool card. Click to go to his site.

Seriously. Have you ever seen anything like that?? Now let me give you my very amateur impression of H.H.’s work. I feel it is unburdened somehow, very colorful and bright, spiritual in a purer sense than many artists I’ve encountered (that’s artists in general, not just skin art) and humorous. All at the same fucking time!! He’s young and he’s got this amazing energy that sure pulled me in and made me very interested in seeing more of his work and to definitely save some real estate for him to ink at another time. You must check out his site, and please tell him that Mama sent you. The video is beyond charming, but my favorite section is the sketch book. He’s based in Colorado, but he clearly travels and I think that’s awesome.  I also love that his name reminds me of H.R. Puffnstuff.  But again, I’m not high.

Here are a few pieces that I truly love, but I don’t do justice to them.  You should see the site.  Links on each picture!

Tomorrow I’m going to tell you all about how I got hurt yesterday! For now, I’ll leave you in suspense and admiration on how I could sit and do this post whilst in agony.  🙂  Night Night!!

 

And We’re Back….

Where We Spent Too Much Time!
Holy shit. I had such a great time in Lake George (when the reenactments of various battles that had played out there had ceased between my sister and my husband).

What a beautiful place – mountains, the lake, trees everywhere you looked, and best of all, the hotel pool. I love hotel pools!! That to me is vacation 101. Maid service is just as nice and magical, I must admit. We had a refrigerator in our room which we fully stocked with water bottles, juice thingys and beer. I mean, what good is a balcony if you can’t drink beer on it?? Oh wait, we never did that. We just drank in our room! The bed was huge and super comfy. Of course, Kiddo slept in the middle for most of the vacation, but there was STILL enough room on either side that we weren’t constantly wondering if we’d end up on the floor. I’ll take it!

My sister kind of spazzed out the other night while walking out onto the balcony. I so wish I had filmed it for you. It would be an instant viral classic. She slid open the glass door, and then proceeded to kick down the sliding screen door. All the while, she’s going “oh! oh! oh!” and her hands were fluttering like helpless little butterflys. But her feet were trompin that shit like she was a skinhead at some kinda hate rally!!!! I swear to god, it was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life.

So wanted to go here...but didn't get to!

 

One night we were laying in bed (Man, going to bed early on vakay sucks!!!! But such is life with a 6 year old!) and we were watching tv. Now, some of you may be familiar with the phenomanon called “Honey Boo Boo”, but I wasn’t. I was not prepared for this mini train wreck. Oh. My. God. Really?? Slicing up roadkill that was named by your child to eat so you can save money for more pageant stuff. To eat to stay alive and feed your family in hard economic times? Oh yes, I understand that. But THIS??? How long until someone calls CPS?

 

Kiddo was weird for a good bit of the vacation and was kind of afraid of everything. Moms, have you encountered this, or is it unique to Kiddo? Was afraid of the indoor pool. Was afraid of the slides at the water park (she’s been on similar ones with no issue). Afraid of the go-karts at the Fun Spot until she went in to the mini one where she could drive herself. It was her against a Hassidic family, and I swear to God, she came ALIVE in that racetrack!! The kids were so adorable and so friggin funny!!! I’m yelling “watch out for this boy behind you!! He’s got the need for speed!” He says “I apologize, but I’m going to beat your daughter!” I”m rolling, seriously! He couldn’t have been more than 7. His dad and I were in hysterics. She did that about 3 times. The second time it was just her and a little French Canadian boy that she kept bumping with the kart. I’m like “Yo! Danica, slow down! You’re not supposed to be bumping!” but she just kept chewing her lip and letting this boy have it! Again, ultra nice people. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I had any asshole encounters in Lake George at all! Maybe I should move there…

The Go Karts!

After we all did the go karts, we tried laser tag for the very first time. Now, why I have not tried this before is beyond me. They set my family against these 3 teenaged boys and one little girl. I ran smack into one of the boys at least twice. I could NOT stop laughing. I was yelling things to them and shot at them and it was hilarious. When we left I heard the boys saying “that lady was a total riot! She was SO funny!”

The Laser Tag!

I did see tattoos, lots of them. But many were tribal and that’s not my favorite type. I did stop in at one shop, but they were busy and I split. It must be lots of tourist trade with flash work, but I don’t really know for sure. The best was seeing what I believe was a Shaker family looking in the window of a tattoo shop and later seeing them by the bead store. Teenaged girls in handmade dresses down to their ankles. I wonder how they feel when they’re away from home. I smiled at them and the big sweet smiles I got back made my heart feel warm.

We did the obligatory cruise thing on the Adirondac ship.  That’s where I encountered the one bitch I met during the entire vacation.  She’s one of those SEATgulls.  We got up for a second and she swooped in on our seats.  (there were open seats, but she didn’t want anything but ours!)  I handled that.  LOL

That’s it for now. Glad to be home! Hope you had or are going to have a little break this summer.  Tonight I will return with one more really interesting artist I came across at the convention.  Here’s a taste of the work that I really loved! H.H. Littlesky.

See you later!!

 

 

Tattoo Convention…Part 2ish

Okay. So where was I?? Ah yes!

Brandon Bond:

Well, I want to start with the story of Brandon Bond, of All Or Nothing Tattoo in Smyrna, Georgia. He owns one of the fifty one pit bulls that were rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting disgrace. Something truly so horrible that I can’t picture it or conceptualize it, it’s like a demon that I can’t let have the space to mess with my psyche, morphing into something unbelievably pure and beautiful.

I became aware of Brandon’s film from 2009 at the convention. It’s available on DVD and it tells this remarkable story. You can get it here – Vicktory To The Underdog. Kinda perfect, wouldn’t you say?? Also, if you’re in Georgia, please check out:

I knew nothing about his work with dogs or all of the various charities he’s involved with, and I’m very happy to have learned that despite all the bad news and awful shit we hear, there are people like Brandon who is as compassionate as he is talented.

Here is his website for the tattoo shop:  All Or Nothing Tattoo.
Amy Nicoletto:

So I told the people at her little booth that I had tried to get in touch for a possible tattoo, which I mentioned before. They pulled me inside, they checked everywhere, but could not find the email and thus the reason they never got back in touch with me. Her manager (I assume he’s her manager) asks if I can come back tomorrow. He asked if I could email him the photo/s of what I wanted. I told him I had no firm plan to come back, but that I certainly could if she could make time for me.

Came home, scanned the pictures, emailed him, didn’t hear back until around 2PM on Sunday when he said “Are you here?” in response to what I sent. Told him no, asked what was up, never heard back. Oh Fuckin Well. I can still swim for the rest of the summer. 🙂

Voodoo Tattoo / Ken Kile:

Have you heard of Ken Kile?? Holy shit – this guy is SO incredibly talented. I got in touch with Voodoo and they told me that I could use some photos as long as I give him credit. Dude, I give him all the credit in the world! He’s out of Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. I’ll give you the link below with the photos. Seriously, check these out and tell me I’m not crazy. How detailed and amazing is this work?? There’s nothing further to say, so I’m posting a slew of photos – they do the speaking for me!

Voodoo Tattoo – 332 E. Second Street – Bloomsburg, PA 17815 Phone – 570 387 5022

There will most likely be a bit more to this, but that will be worried about tomorrow…. Isn’t that what Scarlet said in Gone With The Wind?? I’ll worry about the tattoos…tomorrow!

My First Tattoo Convention!

It’s like a blur! I can’t believe how many shops, suppliers, magazines, removal units and Hells Angels were at the Nassau Coliseum today! I had so much fun, and I did it all by my lonesome!

I’m posting a few pictures that I snagged while walking around (and around and around). They were doing the classic stick and poke method of tattooing in the center of the Coliseum.

I took a picture of the sticker/poker.

I took a picture of the stickee pokee.

I will be writing much more in-depth about it all tomorrow (if I’m not back there, that is!) But I did want to drop in and say that I’m so excited about my blog, and I really do love the energy of creative people. It’s utterly stimulating and the only problem for me is that I’m ready to plunk down and get ink over and over and over again! But I didn’t today. If I do get work done tomorrow (by Amy Nicolletto), that’s the only inking until September. I SO want to stay in the water this summer, but if its my only opportunity, then I’m going to take it.

Oh the dilemma of Mama Tattoo!!

The Artists Of Beaver Tattoo

I cannot wait to go under the machine

Beaver Tattoo!

On July 6th I had the pleasure of travelling to Woodhaven, Queens to meet and interview the women who are Beaver Tattoo.  I had such a great time, and it was truly exciting to be in such a creative and strongly feminine environment.  I think they were a bit taken aback by my lack of visable tattoos, but in the end of course I showed off the work I have, while making my first appointment for more more more!

We did the interview, and sadly the recording did not work, but I recall much of what was said and done, and will relay it to you here as best I can.  I’m thrilled to tell you that I’ll be heading back in September for work with Natalia on my back or arm, and will correct and update anything I basically screw up herein!

Let me start by telling you about the women themselves.  They’re Natalia, Dorothy, Sharky and Jessica and each one is frankly ridiculously talented.  I have supplied a link on each of the artist’s photos to the gallery at www.beavertattoo.com so that you can see for yourself.

Sharky - yes, just as cool as she looks!

Sharky

I asked if they had ever tattooed themselves, and each of the artists has. Natalia told me that where she had apprenticed she was told she could tattoo no one else until she had tattooed herself.  She had also mentioned that she had already done some practice work on herself when her amateur lines were spotted by the owner of a shop.  He was so impressed that she was offered the apprenticeship on the spot.  Thank God people recognize talent!  I’ve been in the music business for so long that I thought that vision was washed out everywhere.  Anyway….

We also discussed non professionals (scratchers) who have tattoo machines, and how they’re readily available to anyone who has the cash and access to Craigs List or even certain major retailers.  It’s an enormous problem for the tattoo industry, and for the public as well.  It’s frightening to think about some idiot who doesn’t care if you’re of age, who most likely doesn’t properly clean and sterilize their equipment and doesn’t know how to prevent cross contamination.  Plus they usually operate out of their kitchen or basement, and that’s just nasty!  On a side note, my first two tattoos were done in the very early 90s and they were done in the artists’ apartment.  It was illegal, but she was 100% professional and I never had any issues with either tattoo.

Dorothy

We broached the topic of least favorite types of tattoos to do on people, and the answers from across the board were trendy tattoos, white ink and tribal. While on the topic, I asked also if there was a body part that they’d refuse to tattoo, as I know some artists are not keen on doing faces, hands and sometimes necks (plus many more intimate areas) but the answer was no, and I personally think that’s cool.  If you stumbled in drunk, yeah, you’d get a no.  But if you’re an adult, and you’re not looking for something that’s hateful, racist or generally evil,  you’ll get it at Beaver.

Many years ago I went to beauty school.  I thought it would be a great career for me, but what I discovered was that I was not comfortable being in such close proximity with another person, and touching them for an extended period of time, especially as a career.  So I asked about the tattooing intimacy factor, and how that felt, constantly touching skin, being so close to that other person and talking about things that are potentially incredibly personal.  And just like anything else, if the person is cool, then it’s helpful to the work.  Obviously it’s not as comfortable when the person is, well, ya know.  They are so focused on their work and on their art that it all works well together.  Plus there’s a real chemistry between the artists themselves that it probably breaks up any temporary discomfort, but that’s just me projecting!

Click to see Jessica's work
With regard to style, each artist has her own specialty/style.

Sharky’s would be American Traditional, Lettering (her lettering is absolutely beautiful!!!!) and cover ups.  I believe that she’s comfortable doing anything however because she’s a tremendous artist.

Dorothy works with bright, vibrant, beautiful color and creates images that I can’t believe are on skin.  She uses vegan inks, and she told me that she gets amazing color results with those.

Natalia is a queen of black and gray.  I’ve never seen such expression and detail as I have with her work.  What does she prefer not to do? Color!

Jessica is an illustrator.  She can do anything you like, and she has such crisp clean lines and brilliant sense of humor and honesty in her work!

I asked about the relevance and importance of Tattoo Conventions and Expos.  The response was unanimously positive, and that these gatherings are vital to keeping the art and the artists fresh and seeing the work as being more and more without boundary.  It’s an exciting proposition, and I can’t wait to dive into the one that will be very close to me in the near future.

We also spoke about the effect of “reality” tattoo television.  Crock of shit should sum it up.  “Let me draw this up for you.  Have a seat for five minutes” – on a huge, intricate piece.  And then, the customer naturally leaves in what looks like an hour later with a complete tattoo all wrapped up.

Often when I’m reading interviews with male tattoo artists, they’re asked about their feelings on female tattooers.  So I turned the tables.  On working with male artists, I discovered that it’s no different than working with men anywhere else.  Drama Queens!  LOL.  Some are great artists, great to work with, and then there are those who’ll step outside for a cigarette to vent about another guy in the shop.  Natalia said it’s part of why she’s created an all female studio.

Sharky and Jessica spoke to me about the freedom of working in an environment that is free of competition, and that each artist supports the others.  However Sharky said there is no comfort zone in tattooing, because you never know what will come through the door and make you stretch your skills and talent.  Sounds like the most perfect work environment, right??

There’s something that I’ve often wondered.  I would see people with truly spectacular work, but when I’d speak to them or I’d see them in action, the first thing that would go through my head would be, what an asshole!  I’d feel bad for the artist who had to work on this douche for what was clearly hours at a time on numerous occasions.  I got the chance to ask about that, and it was clear that everyone has had the unique opportunity to tattoo something beautiful on someone awful.  Knowing that your art is walking around on a person you wouldn’t want to spend another minute with must be tough.

I apologize for the lack of quotes – my fault entirely!  I hope to get the chance to update this and clarify anything I’ve missed in September (or before if I should hear from any of the artists who gave me their time).  To sum it all up, I’d be proud to be tattooed by any and all of these artists – they are truly inspiring.  My appointment in September will be the first of many, I’m sure!!

Rumble At Trinity Lutheran PreSchool

I promised to tell you all about my incident at my daughter’s preschool last year, and here it is.  I’m going to pull photos from various sources to illustrate this in a way that only I can do! (That means sorta pathetic)

It was the year end party where the kids got all their things together for us to lug home, and we brought in all kinds of goodies and drinks.  I was having a particularly good time being the butt of all the jokes that the kids were playing and chasing them around the room to peals of laughter.  I can’t recall if I was wearing the dreaded capri type pants or if I was wearing something else kind of short, but my ankle tattoo was visible.

Now, before I tell you what happened, let me just explain that I adore Ganesh, the obstacle removing elephant headed God in Hinduism.  I’ve always wished I was Indian, loved Indian food, you name it.  I was and have been a wannabe for longer than I can remember.  One of my besties is Indian.  She believes me to be fully insane! LOL

I had never really thought of getting a tattoo before, but woke up after having a dream of Ganesh and knew I needed to have his image on me permanently. Another of my besties found a wiccan woman who was a tattoo artist on a Sunday.  I caller her on Monday and was being inked the next Saturday.  Left ankle, beautiful work from a post card I’d gotten from India.  This, my friends, was probably 1989 or so.

Now let’s jet back to the much closer past, where I’m in my mid forties at my only child’s preschool graduation party in my town, which is now largely Indian.  Clearly, this is not an issue for moi.  So, on that day – here’s a picture of my emotional state:

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Photo credit: Cyn74 from Flickr

This, however was not to last.

A woman was scowling at me.  Her daughter was a friend of a kid who had tried to bully my child (4 year olds – seriously??) but I had put the kibosh on that and all was well with the pre-K world.  I sat down to take a break from the crazy kids, and she was now glaring at me. Kind of like this:

That captures the vibe.

Credit for the photo: mmmcclendon on Flickr

Now I have nothing against vampires, or angry women or Indians, but being so totally open at that moment, playing with children and truly loving every minute of being there, being aware that my child was proud that I was playing the clown made the realization that she was staring at me with an intense hatred into a sort of Twilight Zone episode.  I was not prepared.

I smiled at her.  I thought, maybe she’s having a shitty day.  Her response? “What do you have on your ankle?”  I frowned.  I thought there was a bug on me or something, but no.  It was Ganesh.  “Oh!  Ganesh,” I said.  And just as I was about to tell her how dearly I love Ganesh, she shouted at me “And how would YOU like it if I had a picture of your Jesus tattooed on my body?”

Being a sensitive person, and as I said, having been in such a wonderful emotional place just seconds before, I kind of stammered. See, I felt like this:

But I said something to the effect of “Well, it’s a free country and since Jesus does not belong to me, and even if I were a Christian, I would certainly have no problem with you having….” But she cut me off.  She shrieked at me, said something about “you people”, grabbed her (previously unknown why she was so) miserable child, and left.

I was shaken to the core.  I felt so weak, so beaten up.  Ugh.

And then I kind of felt like this:

I stayed for a while longer and played with the kids whose parents couldn’t pick them up early.  We had a great time, and I’ve never seen that bitch again.  🙂

Night night!!

Flash! Sunday Night / Monday Morning…

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Wait, wasn’t it The Specials who said “I go out on Friday Night and I come home on Saturday morning”…. Jeez that was a long time ago.  And I loved the Specials.  So there – we got my age-drop out of the way, again!

I was trolling around tonight and found some great art from a tattoo shop in Queens.  It’s an all girl shop and I was just so excited to see what they have and what they do.  I’ve emailed them asking if I can share their work.  I’ll let you know what they say!

In the meantime, I’ve reached out to Gin at Timmy’s and I’m SO hoping I can set up an interview this week with her.  Then I want to set up an appointment.  I like my tattoo ideas very much and am so excited to get them permanently “installed”.

What do you guys think of flash?  The below pictures are from oldtimertattoo.com, and they capture perfectly the work I used to see in the late seventies and early eighties.  The top picture is what I presume was on walls for the ladies!

I’m thinking of flash because when I got my Ganesh tattoo 20 or 21 years ago, I had to find a picture that would translate perfectly because no one really knew who Ganesh was.  But now I see him on flash.  And lots of Buddha pictures too – and they’re not bad at all!  But I really don’t ever want anything that I may see on someone else, you know? I want my own unique piece, and I hope I can manage to do that with a really talented artist.

I’m gonna go do something else now.  But tomorrow I’ll be back with a story about my Ganesh tattoo and my daughter’s nursery school.  It was a rumble yo! LOL  Night night!

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