When I was in Germany last week I had the pleasure of spending some time with my dear friends Nancy and Marco. Also meeting their friend Robin de Goede, who took these really great photos. *the hands in the one photo, are Nancy’s and I got to do a very special tattoo on one of them “Bratt Pack” in honor of her special relationship between Marco Bratt and herself. Im honored to have done this tattoo and to call both of them friends.
Every once and a while a intelligent client finds his way to the shop and asks for the kind of tattoos I like doing, and in my opinion the way they should be done, bold and set to last the test of time. Tattooing in itself is its very own art medium, and classic bold tattooing is the foundation of this tattoo medium. Just as oil and acrylic painting have their boundaries, so does the art of tattooing. Over the years young ambitious art kids have came into tattooing with out proper apprenticeships, not having a real apprenticeship, they never learn from the “trial and error” that a master tattooer has been through and would have taught them, they get extra fancy, impressing the uneducated and the young with out knowledge of the tricky tattoos fate. My point is in 10 years put a real tattoo like this one next to a fancy no out line lily and see who has more happiness and pride with their tattoo. Bold will hold and fancy will fail. #proven
Positive mental attitude!
Look in my eyes
Tell me what you see
No trace of ignorance
Inside of me
Free from guilt
Proud of the friendships
That I’ve built
Think positive PMA!
Live positive PMA!
Act positive PMA!
Positive mental attitude!
Fun foot tattoo today. Swallows are one of my favorite birds to tattoo, and roses are my favorite flower to tattoo, either are a classic and look great if done right.
The meaning of a swallow tattoo. The one meaning I have always heard, and chosen to believe, was that they signify for a sailor a doing a certain miles at sea. A sailor with one swallow had travelled over 5,000 nautical miles, and a sailor with two swallows had travelled 10,000 nautical miles. Traveling these great distances was extremely difficult and dangerous in the early days of sailing, so one or more swallow tattoos denoted a very experienced and valuable sailor. It is also legend that if the sailor drowns, the swallows will carry their soul to heaven, representing freedom and hope.
Another coined term in the UK for the swallow tattoo on the hands is a symbolism of a prison sentence from an ex-con to the meaning of “done your bird, done your time”.
Did this Koi Dragon tattoo today, I love tattooing these, body of a koi, and the transforming head of a dragon. perfect. still have to add background to make it feel complete, but its a good start. to be continued…
A version of the Koi/Dragon Myth
In the wild, koi are cold water fish who gain strength by swimming against currents. It seems they have captured the imagination of fish fanciers for centuries. Many years ago, in a time before recorded history, a huge school containing thousands of koi swam up the Yellow River. The colors of their well muscled bodies flashed in the sunlight making them seem like a million living jewels. All was going well until the koi reached a waterfall. Immediately, a large number of them grew discouraged and turned back, finding it much easier to simply go with the flow of the river. Yet, a determined group of 360 koi stayed on. Straining and leaping, each koi strove to reach the top of the falls. Again and again they flung their bodies into the air only to fall back into the water. All this splashing noise drew the attention of the local demons who laughed at the efforts of the struggling koi. Adding to their misery, the demons sadistically increased the height of the falls. Still the koi refused give up! Undeterred, the koi continued their efforts for one hundred years. At last, with one heroic leap, a single koi reached the top of the falls. The God’s smiled down in approval and transformed the exhausted koi into a shining golden dragon. He joyfully spends his days chasing pearls of wisdom across the skies of the vast and eternal heavens.
A phonograph is a record player introduced 1877 by Thomas Edison in his lab in New Jersey. Phonographs make great tattoos, they have such a cool look if done right and it doesn’t hurt to pair one with a rose or two either. I got to do this one on my friend and triple OG Ames AKA Amer the Gamer.
Thanks Ames its a honor to tattoo you big homie. #SMT follow Ames on Twitter
During this trip to California I put a little tattoo on CM Punk in our friend Toby’s office up in Los Angeles. CM Punk was the last member of the LYD- Crew (our crew started in NYC last year after the 6 of us went to see “Into the Abyss” one night, I personally didnt love the movie, but I love the message we took from it ) to get his tat. The circle is now complete.
Our #LYD- Crew = Seth aka Goon, Myself, Toby, CM Punk, Jere, and Jake #PMA #OLOC
What is LYD <
The “Sugar skulls” or “Calaveras de azucar” are one of my personal favorite tattoos, I love that they can be done in so many ways, Full of color, designs and life. (The Sugar Skull tattoo was ague-ably first done or at least first made popular by my friend and tattooist Freddy Corbin from Oakland California, Temple Tattoo)
The sugar skull tradition-
Sugar art was brought to the New World by Italian missionaries in the 17th century. The first Church mention of sugar art was from Palermo at Easter time when little sugar lambs and angels were made to adorn the side altars in the Catholic Church. Mexico, abundant in sugar production and lacking money to buy fancy imported European church decorations at the time, learned quickly from the friars how to make sugar art for their religious festivals. Clay molded sugar figures of angels, sheep and sugar skulls go back to the Colonial Period 18th century.
Sugar skulls represented a departed soul, had the name written on the forehead and was placed on the home ofrenda or gravestone to honor the return of a particular spirit. Sugar skull art reflects the folk art style of big happy smiles, colorful icing and sparkly tin and glittery adornments. Common ingredients for making sugar skulls include powdered sugar, egg white, corn syrup, vanilla, and corn starch. Typically, sugar skulls need to dry overnight or for several hours. Sugar skulls are labor intensive and made in very small batches in the homes of sugar skull makers. However, these artisans are disappearing as fabricated and imported candy skulls take their place