Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from Tattoosday!

Here at Tattoosday, we're celebrating Halloween by posting the spookiest tattoo seen in the last month or so. Well, maybe not the spookiest, but certainly the most holiday-related tattoo:

This was offered up by Robert, who I met in Borders Penn Plaza last month. And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is Frankenstein driving a Chevy (that's the stick shift he's gripping). Robert credits Adel at Addiction NYC with this tattoo.

Thanks to Robert for helping us celebrate Halloween here on Tattoosday!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ashlee Channels Snow White

This work in progress is on Ashlee's arm:

The tattoo features Snow White at the top of the arm, with the witch's hand proffering an apple, wrapping around the arm:

Ashlee explained that the tattoo is commenting on how superficial the world is and how the idea of Beauty was the downfall of the title character, at least until she was rescued from her poison-induced slumber.

The tattoo is the work of Eric at King Pin Tattoos in Harker Heights, Texas. Work from Kingpin appeared previously in August 2008 on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to Ashlee for sharing her work with us here on Tattoosday!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nesting Dolls and a Zombie, Courtesy of Kristin

Last month, I ran into Kristin at the Penn Plaza Borders store.

She has ten tattoos, but the piece on her shin was the first one I spotted:

These Russian nesting dolls represents the friendship Kristin has with her friend Kyle (thus, the merging of their names into "Kryle").

It was tattooed by Bret from Electric Tattoo in Pasadena, Maryland.

Kristin also shared another tattoo, one certainly more appropriate for our current season. Check out this amazing tattoo:

This cool zombie piece was inked by Kike Castillo at Timmy Tattoo in Huntington, New York.

Kristin says that Kike is one of her favorite artists and she is happy for him to provide her with great body art. "He needed someone," she told me, referring to this particular tattoo, and "I'm always game". Tattoo artists love clients that let them do their thing, and you can tell with this great piece of art.

Thanks to Kristin for sharing her cool tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Amanda's Phoenix

Amanda has two tattoos, one of which she shared with me at the end of August in the Penn Plaza Borders store.

This is the tattoo she designed:

Amanda was inspired by the "compelling mythology of phoenixes" and had Bobby at Modern Age Tattoo in Nanuet, New York, translate the design into the final product.

The quote, in Latin, "post tenebras lux" means "After darkness, light". This mirrors the life cycle of the mythological phoenix who dies, bound in flame, only to be reborn from the ashes. Clicking here will display the vast array of phoenixes that have appeared on Tattoosday previously.

In other words, even when things appear their darkest, affirmation is just within reach.

Thanks to Amanda for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gary's Three Knuckles Speak Volumes

I spotted Gary standing at the top of some escalators in Penn Station. As I passed him, I noticed he had knuckle tattoos so I stopped to ask him about them:

Gary explained that they are Korean characters

that translate to "Soo Bahk Do," or "The Way of the Striking Hand".

Soo Bahk Do is a form of martial arts that originated in Korea.

This unassuming gentleman has studied the form for seventeen years and is a third degree black belt. Gary studied at East Winds Karate in Port St. John, Florida.

The tattoo was inked at a shop on Eight Avenue in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Thanks to Gary for sharing his "striking" tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Tattoosday Book Review: Kat Von D's The Tattoo Chronicles

You can say a lot of things about Kat Von D. She is arguably one of the most well-known tattoo artists in the United States, if not the world. This fact, to old school tattoo enthusiasts, is not necessarily a good thing. She is the star of the hit "reality" series, L.A. Ink, has her own make-up line at Sephora, and on October 26, her second book, The Tattoo Chronicles, is being released by HarperCollins Design. And whether you love her or hate her, it's hard to argue the fact that this book, like its predecessor High Voltage Tattoo, is a lovely effort that looks and feels amazing.

Like her first book (reviewed last year on Tattoosday here), Kat Von D lets you into her world, with glossy detailed photos of her work and clients. But whereas her first book shows mostly her public persona, the new effort gives us an inside look at the inner thoughts and feelings of someone who is portrayed very much as a "character" on her television show.

It is L.A. Ink that has brought her fame, yet also the scorn and scrutiny of her detractors. The new book lets us peek behind the scenes and, if you didn't realize this already, the Kat Von D you see on the show is not the whole package. Through a diary/journal format, the reader is granted greater access to Kat's true emotions and feelings. We finally get to peek behind the character Kat Von D and meet the person.

It was on Page 44 where I first felt the facade truly come down. She talks about getting booed in the shop by "fans" who resent that she won't drop what she's doing to pose for photos for them, and there is the matter of the stalker who freaked everyone out in the shop. Granted, these are consequences nowadays for success of her order, but you certainly believe that such consequences were not anticipated when she headed down the road to fame.

It is also fascinating to read Kat's frustration with the onset of another season of L.A. Ink. If you're looking for validation that the only thing real on the show is the tattoos, it's here. I was reminded of Charles Bukowski's strong aversion to poetry readings. He despised them, yet they were often necessary as sources of income. The spectacle often outshone the poems. Similarly, L.A. Ink's forced drama often swallows up the tattoos, yet the drama drives ratings, which lets the series continue to showcase tattoos, which is why many of us tune in in the first place.

Whereas I found her journal entries fascinating, as I am sure most readers who are fans of the show will as well, there are still pages and pages of photographs featuring her work (drawings, sketches, and of course, tattoos) that are breath-taking in their beauty.

Viewers of the show  know that this book has been in the making for a while and it has found its way into plot points as well. Fans will also note that the author's relationship with Nikki Sixx, bassist for Mötley Crüe, runs throughout the volume (as it has in the reality series). However, 2010 has been a tumultuous year for the couple, having broken up, and then, quite recently, reportedly gotten back together. All that said, it's very interesting to read about the relationship with a future perspective.

Or, it isn't. If you're not interested in Kat's "personal" life, then perhaps you should pass on this book. I can see her detractors poring over the text, looking for evidence that reinforces their negative image of the artist, one that has been honed by the one-dimensional portrayal of her reality show and the tabloids.

For fans however, and the followers of Kat Von D's career, The Tattoo Chronicles, will be a treat, to be savored, an all-access pass to a window of her life, with a stunning visual guidebook to pore over, with evidence enough to back up her on-air claim of being so busy all the time.

My one criticism would be that we don't see enough of her tattoos, which is really what she is all about. I mean, sure it's interesting to see a full-page shot of her stuffed albino squirrels, but is it really necessary? I would have rather seen more art that she created, rather than collected.

However, in the end, I was delighted with the book. It really adds dimensions to one of the more dynamic celebrities in the tattoo industry. I doubt that it will turn detractors into fans, or fans into detractors, but it certainly provides those who admire Kat Von D for her art, a little more validation that she is a talented, complicated individual that can not only create amazing body art, but knows how to wow us with her pen, as well.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Missy's Initials, Illustrated by Gorey

I met Missy on the corner of 23rd and 7th back in the beginning of September and she shared her two tattoos, on both biceps.Her right arm bears this piece:

and her left shoulder hosts this cool image:

These images may seem familiar, because they are based on Edward Gorey's Alphabet.

Missy has the two pieces representing her initials, M and N. The right arm represents "M": 

And the left arm represents the "N" for her last initial:

Missy got these tattoos in Santa Cruz about ten years ago.

Thanks to Missy for sharing her cool Gorey tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Heart Not Time

"I do not like the concept of linear time," Fredrika said to me, "moments and feelings should be more important".

This was her thought behind this tattoo:

I met Fredrika in Penn Station last month and she was kind enough to share this tattoo on her forearm.

She has a lot of ink, but this is her favorite piece.

Fredrika hails from Hamburg, where she is lead singer for a band called Jaguar of My Dreams.

Thanks to Fredrika for sharing with us here on Tattoosday!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rune's Viking Reflects His Cultural Pride

On a Friday last month, I ran into a couple from Denmark near Herald Square in the pedestrian median between Broadway and 6th Avenue.

The gentleman had a lot of work done on his legs, so I approached and introduced myself. Rune was kind enough to not only share a tattoo, but to pull up his shorts a bit to reveal this tattoo that ran from his mid-thigh down to his calf:

Rune explained that this Viking tattoo reflects the pride he has in the old history of the Norsemen that inhabited Scandinavia in the earliest part of the last millenium.

Rune credits Frans at Hugo Tattoo with this wonderful work.

Thanks to Rune for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shauncey's Pantherabbit

Last month in Penn Station, I ran into a gentleman who was covered with tattoos and was happy to share one with us here on Tattoosday.

As luck would have it, he was a tattoo artist himself, up from Florida, biding his time as he waited for his train to arrive.

As tattooists generally have a lot of work to share, it is always interesting to see what one piece they will offer up, and Shauncey Fury, of Ocala Tattoo & Piercing in Ocala, Florida, shared this whimsical piece:

Your eyes do not deceive you, that is a bad-ass panther wearing bunny ears.
Shauncey explained that he went to Mike Wilson, an artist at Inksmith & Rogers, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, who is known for, among other things, his panther tattoos. They thought they'd "mix it up a bit" and added the rabbit ears for comedic effect. The result is a whimsical tattoo that is certainly a conversation piece!

Shauncey has been tattooing for five years and gravitates toward portraits and American traditional-style tattoos. You can see a sampling of his work here 

Thanks to Shauncey for sharing this cool tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waiter, There's a Marlin in My Cactus!

Believe it or not, I still have a couple of lingering pre-September tattoo encounters to write about, one of which is this bizarre tattoo I spotted two months ago today:

This tattoo on Michael's right ankle is one of three that he has. He explained that it is an interpretation of a painting that hung in Flaco's Cuban Bakery in Gainesville, Florida where he played in the house band, Michael Claytor & His Friends.

The band played there for two years and, as a tribute to the experience, Michael had this tattooed to honor the experience.

This was inked by Mike Salay at Anthem Tattoo in Gainesville.

Thanks again to Michael for sharing this cool and unusual tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

And a little Michael Claytor bonus:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Joey's Señorita

I met Joey on the subway one afternoon last month after spotting this cool tattoo on his left forearm:

He told me that this Mexican girl, a señorita with a jug of alcohol, was a way of incorporating his wife's Hispanic heritage into a traditional pin-up tattoo. I asked Joey if this resembled her in any way and he said it didn't, however he still appreciates the symbolism, along with a little drop of humor.

The tattoo was created by Johnny Truant at Lotus Tattoo in Sayville. Click the Lotus tag below to see other work from Lotus that has appeared on the site.

Thanks to Joey for sharing this lovely tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Amy's Skelanimal

I met Amy outside of Madison Square Garden and she chose this, of her 20+ tattoos, to share with us here on Tattoosday:

This is one of the many "Skelanimals" (click to see more). I believe this one is Dax the Dog, which is Amy's favorite one.

Why's she get it? "Just because..." she grinned.

The tattoo was inked by the artist that does all her work, Michelle Haspel at Fat Kat Tattoos in Keyport, New Jersey. Work from Fat Kat on Tattoosday can be seen here.

Thanks to Amy for sharing her Skelanimal with us here on Tattoosday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Jess Shares Her Colorful Rooster

I met Jess last month and, still using a loaner camera, managed to get a shot of one of her three tattoos, located on her right forearm:

Aside from the fact that the picture is not ideally crisp, one can still see how beautiful and colorful this tattoo is.
The inspiration came from a book of Chinese propaganda posters.

Jess noted that she asked the artist, John Reardon at Saved Tattoo, to give the rooster a "gentler eye" which she hoped would "embrace [its] masculinity while poking fun at it". Reardon's work has appeared previously on Tattoosday here and here.

Thanks to Jess for sharing this lovely rooster with us here on Tattoosday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Zoe's Tattoo Makes the Cut

I spotted this superbly-done tattoo on Zoe's upper left arm last month in the New Jersey Transit waiting area in Penn Station:

Straight up and simply, these scissors represent Zoe's tat-tool of the trade - she has worked as a hairstylist for two years.

She credits Mike Lucena at Fly Rite Studio in Brooklyn for the tattoo.

Thanks again to Zoe for sharing her scissors with us here on Tattoosday!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly-Scheduled Program for a Word from a Tattooed Poet...

Those familiar with Tattoosday know that April is dedicated to the tattoos of poets, in honor of National Poetry Month. It only seems fair that, six months on the other side of the calendar, we let one of our contributors from this past April share her newest tattoo.

Theresa's original post can be seen here.There you will also find links to her beautiful online literary magazine The Holly Rose Review, which combines poetry and tattoo art. Sadly, Holly Rose has ceased publishing, but Theresa remains a lovely supporter of Tattoosday, and her new tattoo is quite fetching. Let's take a look:

Photo courtesy of Theresa Senato Edwards
I would also like to acknowledge that there, on her other leg, is a tattoo that says "life" in pink, with the ribbon representing breast cancer awareness acting as the "l" in life. Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it seems doubly fitting to share this photo here, even though the post is more about the paisley design.

But I'll hand the explaining over to Theresa:

It took quite a few months before I finally found the right tattoo artist to do my new tattoo: a ¾ calf, color, black, and grey shading of paisleys, thorns, and teardrops. And without naming names, I approached quite a few artists, either by phone, e-mail, facebook, or in person. Some said yes but then decided it wasn’t a tattoo he/she wanted to attempt, or said the tattoo would be limited because of price, or yes but, oh, the shop only takes cash. Or yes, but maybe hold off from getting the grey shading...

Other reputable tattoo artists were recommended to me, and, hey, I’ve met a lot of great tattoo artists online because of Holly Rose Review, but, honestly, I didn’t want to schlep too far from home.

My oldest son, Richard, told me to check out Graceland Tattoo in Wappingers Falls, about 20 minutes from Poughkeepsie—yay! no schlepping! I went to the website, checked out the artists’ work, saw that they were very decently mixing color and grey shading, went to the shop.

Long story quick—the shop was clean, bright, and bouncy and Shane behind the counter was great. But when I talked to tattoo artist Diego Gonzalez about the tattoo I wanted, that’s when I felt confident that I had come to the right place and that he was the one to do it. He was non-judgmental and very helpful.

And throughout the entire experience: tattoo prep/design—discussion of what I wanted, where, and why (both in person and e-mail)—and both tattoo sessions, Diego was patient, kind, and very professional.

Much respect and thanks go out to Uruguay-born Diego Gonzalez, who has been tattooing 12 years, 9 years professionally, the last 3 out of Graceland Tattoo; who also enjoys watching Syfy movies and Science channels; and who feels that “nature is the greatest muse.”

Photo courtesy of Theresa Senato Edwards

Theresa sent me an excerpt from what she e-mailed Diego prior to their sessions, which gets closer to the core of the idea behind the tattoo:

"...just wanted to tell you why i'd like to get this tattoo. maybe this will help you as you finish drawing it. to celebrate turning 50, an age that i didn't think i would like too much, but i do. in india the paisley symbolized a time of harvest, and for me it is a positive symbol of a fruitful transition. yet the thorns are to show the pain that comes with life and what we endure before we learn and change, the tears (tear drops) to show the emotions. but tears and thorns both spill into those paisleys: that "hope" in which outweighs any despair. the art should say beautiful yet brutal--not necessarily a pretty, frilly tattoo but one that's pretty with touches of "darkness," if that makes sense...”

We were originally going to run this in August but, as Theresa best can explain, "Being a perfectionist that I tend to be (not always a good thing), I realized after getting this tattoo that the pink just wasn't bright enough in the bottom paisley. So I e-mailed Diego to ask him if he could touch it up. He kindly said yes and did a great touch up of that bottom paisley, free of charge, no less. Now it's perfect!"

Thanks so much to Theresa for sharing her lovely new tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rebecca's Memorial Butterfly

I met Rebecca a couple months ago in Penn Station and asked her about her tattoos.

Of the eleven, she shared this one from her leg:

This beautiful, yet battered, butterfly is a memorial to her unborn child. She lost the baby when she was just nineteen. The cherry blossoms are often symbolic of the fleeting nature of life.

The tattoo was completed on October 13, 2007 by Nate Hudson when he was at Virginia Beach Ink. He now tattoos at Folk City Tattoo in Suffolk, Virginia. As today is October 13, I've been hanging on to this post, not only to correspond with the day the tattoo was finished, but also the due date of the baby that was lost.

We here at Tattoosday truly thank Rebecca for sharing, not only this poignant tattoo, but also for allowing us to relate the emotional story behind this butterfly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Madison's Classy Bicycle

I met Madison last month on the 59th Street subway platform in Brooklyn.

She has "9 or 10" tattoos and selected this one to share:

I don't generally describe the people who volunteer their tattoos here, but it's worth noting that Madison is petite, which ties into this tattoo. She rides a bicycle, although the one pictured here is more of a vintage-style two-wheeler.

When I asked why it says "stay classy," she laughed and said, "I'm a tough little chick, but I stay classy".

This tattoo was inked by Victor at Studio Enigma in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Thanks again to Madison for sharing her classy tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marilyn Hangs Ten

I met Jenny last month in Penn Station and was thrilled when she allowed me to photograph her half-sleeve, which is one of her fourteen tattoos:

How cool is that? This piece represents about twelve hours of work. Jenny had the basic idea and went to Jonathan Leonhardt at Something Wicked Tattoo in Roseville, California. The rest, as they say, is history.

The concept behind this is simple. Jenny is a surfer and she loves Marilyn Monroe. Why not combine the two to create a unique tattoo to make a statement? This is such a cool piece, I was honored to get tp share it with everyone here at Tattoosday.

Thanks to Jenny for sharing her amazing work with us here on the site!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

William's Museum of Art

I met William on the A train one Sunday morning. He was covered with tattoos. When I asked him how many he has, he replied that he had "never counted".

As many of my subjects can attest, when I meet people with a lot of ink, I ask them which one they'd like me to post on the site. William offered up a tattoo he has of Marilyn Monroe, as seen by Andy Warhol. But, as such a tattoo has appeared here before (see Nina's ink here), I asked for something else. He let me choose this piece, a tattoo of the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat:

A closer look:

This is based on Basquiat's artwork, which is most recognizable from its appearance on the cover of a Maya Angelou children's story.

William also let me take a picture of his name on his hand, which appeared in Ina Saltz's Body Type 2:

William credited the Basquiat tattoo with David Sena at North Star Tattoo in Manhattan. Work by David Sena appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to William for sharing his tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, John...

On what would be John Lennon's 70th birthday, we'll pay a tribute with this tattoo I spotted back at the end of July:

This tattoo belongs to Julia, who I met on Penn Plaza outside of Borders near Madison Square Garden.

This is her first tattoo, and it is based on John Lennon's artwork, one of his self-portrait sketches.

Julia is named after the Beatles song "Julia," which Lennon wrote about his mother.

The tattoo was inked at Tattoo Seen & Body Piercing on East Tremont in the Bronx, New York.

It seemed appropriate to hang on to this post until John's birthday, as a special way we here at Tattoosday could honor the great musician's memory.

Thanks to Julia for sharing this tattoo with us and allowing us to honor the memory of the Great John Lennon on what would have been his seventieth birthday!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Jackie's Bouncing Lyrics

At the beginning of the week, I posted Jackie's beautiful tattoo and didn't include some work on her wrists that I also photographed:

These lyrics, "What are dreams for anyway/without the guts to live your life that way," are from the song "Highway Kings" by The Bouncing Souls, from their 2003 album Anchors Aweigh.

Thanks to Jackie for sharing her tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jessica's Floral Half-Sleeve

A trip to the Fairway market in Red Hook last month was not only remarkable for the experience with the cheese monger, but because I met Jessica, the owner of this beautiful tattoo:

I love the variety of flowers, colors, and textures:

Jessica credited this work to Greg at Planet New York Tattoo in Poughkeepsie.

Thanks to Jessica for sharing this beautiful tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Melanie's Phoenix Helps Her Rise Above

I met Melanie in Penn Station and had to stop her to ask about this colorful phoenix on her back:

She originally had just the Yin and Yang tattoo, but expanded the work to include the legendary bird rising through the ashes. To Melanie, this represents being "better and stronger" after picking up the pieces from life's challenges, overcoming difficulties and rising above everything.

The tattoo was inked by Rick Schreck at House of 1000 Tattoos in Middlesex, New Jersey.

Thanks to Melanie for sharing her cool phoenix tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sew You Want a Cool Tattoo? Check This One out from Vicky...

I met Vicky back in August outside of Penn Station and marveled about the colorful vibrancy of this beautiful tattoo:

Vicky explained that she is a seamstress for a new company called Cupcake Provocateur. Check out their site, it's pretty cool. Vicky's boss, Cynthia, is the brainchild behind the business, designing all of the aprons and other housewares, as well as making the cupcakes. There are several tattoo-inspired apron designs on their site, including this one, which would make a great holiday gift, no?

But back to the tattoo, Vicky hopes to grow this tattoo into a half-sleeve, and it started out as a design that she had Angelique Houtkamp design for her. "It wasn't drawn exactly the way I wanted it," Vicky explained, so she took it to Sunday Dawne-Marie at Skinflower Cosmic Arts in Phoenecia, New York and, she continued, "Sunday went with my basic idea, an antique sewing machine in a cameo, and re-drew and re-designed the entire thing."

I am most familiar with Sunday's work at Lark Tattoo on the poet Adam Deutsch.

Thanks to Vicky for sharing her amazing tattoo with us here on Tattoosday! We look forward to seeing the sleeve grow in the future!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Jackie's Vintage Postcard

I caught up to Jackie after she passed me in Penn Station and I was delighted when she agreed to share her tattoo with us:

It's a truly remarkable piece, and I was thrilled to hear it was tattooed by the amazingly talented Amanda Wachob at Dare Devil Tattoo in New York City. She is well-known for an amazing eye for detail for tattoos that appear as if they were just painted on. I mean, look at this delicate touch on the back side of the piece:

Jackie explained that the tattoo is inspired by art in a book of vintage, early 1900's postcards that she found from Pleiades Press. She credited S. Solomko as the artist who created the original piece which inspired this tattoo.

She loved the vintage appearance of the original and Asked Amanda to recreate that feel.

She also loves, from an artistic perspective, the female form, and the sensuality of the peacock feathers fanning out at the bottom of the tattoo.

Again, I can't help but marvel at Amanda's artistry and how she paints on a tattoo:

Thanks again to Jackie for sharing her amazing tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!