This incredibly creepy tin woodsman was sent in by kornik who credits Marcin Liana of Alien in Dąbrowa Górnicza, Poland as the artist.
I got this from Brandon, mentioned in the previous entry, who owns Foolish Pride in St. Petersburg. It’s a flyer that he found on the street in front of his shop — I’ve censored the studio doing it because I don’t want to drive any business to them. That said, it is an interesting idea, offering an environment where inexperienced people can tattoo each other — I can think of many situations where this could be desired, for example, parents who want their child to tattoo them (which is certainly quite common among children of tattooists, and regular customers or shop friends), or people who want to tattoo or be tattooed by their partner. But to overtly advertise for it? And to do it with this particular wording seems like a recipe for creating legions of kitchen scratchers. What do you think? Great idea? Terrible idea? Good idea done wrong?
I got a message from Mike Hill at Broad Street Studio (broadstreetstudio.co.uk) in Bath, Somerset, UK telling me that they’re looking for a new tattoo artist at their studio and asking me whether I’d be willing to post a job ad for him… I told him I couldn’t really do that, but if he could find something interesting for me to post, well, as they say, “one hand washes the other”… So he got me some pictures of a recent scar he did on Tam Smith. Unlike most skin removal scars over tattoos, this is over a Japanese sleeve, rather than over blackwork, and the negative-space it creates interacts with the tattoo rather than standing solo. At first I’d assumed this was a tattoo on a fishing enthusiast, but it’s actually a flesh hook as Tam is part of the suspension community.
If you’re a tattoo artist looking for work (or perhaps even a long-term working vacation in beautiful Bath), get in touch with Mike on Faceobook, or via their shop website. To give you an idea of the sort of shop you’d be stepping into, here’s some work done by Fil, another one of the tattooists that call Broad Street Studio home — that’s Mike’s head top-right (you may recognize it, because Rob featured it back in 2010). Click for a giant look.
I love this Madballs tattoo that Nicky B had done by BobbyT — an old BME friend that some of you may remember from back yard BBQs at the old Queen/Bathurst Toronto BME HQ — at Sleepy Hollow Tattoo in Welland, Ontario. Nicky got this done because he was a big fan of the toys as a kid — each of the Madballs toys came with an official painting (that reminds me a lot of Ed Roth “Rat Fink” hotrod art), and this is one of them.
An incredibly disturbing video — probably the most offensive tattoo video to date — is currently doing the viral rounds. In it, the tattoo artist (whose face we never see), tattoos what appears to be a small “666″ on a toddler that screams in pain and terror while he’s doing it. A woman that I assume is the mother is holding the child down the whole time. Since there is parental consent in the process, it is 100% legal. Arguably this isn’t any worse than the doctors that have have cut off the ends of millions if not billions of baby boys’ penises to satisfy their parents religious or cultural leanings, and of course there are indigenous cultures (many of them idolized by the “modern primitive” movement) all around the world that do a wide variety of heavy mods on babies and children… But wow… I don’t think I could bring myself to be involved in something like this, either as the artist or the parent. But I wonder — how many of you who are willing to denounce this video are also willing to denounce the tribal cultures who do similar things in much larger quantities and to a more horrific extent, or even denounce circumcision which is still commonplace in America (although not many other Western nations at this point as the cruelty and needlessness is recognized)?
YouTube pulled the video — click here to download our backup or play it here:
Update: If I had to guess [edit #2: this is now confirmed, and if you listen in the video you can hear them say that the child is now "blessed by Jesus"], I would say these people are followers of Jose Luis de Jesus of Growing in Grace. Followers of this fringe religion often get 666 tattooed one them as a part of their faith. The question is, do you believe in freedom of religion? Where is that line drawn for you? This group even has billboards around Toronto where I live — this isn’t just some isolated event. Below are some other similar tattoos done by their followers:
Update #2: Trying to find examples of tattooed children in Western culture, I was hoping to dig up an old story in BME’s old newspaper archive of historical mod stories because I remembered one about a father taking his identical twin sons to a tattoo artist in order to get a beauty mark tattooed on one of them as a way of telling them apart more easily. Anyway, I couldn’t find the actual article I was searching for, but I did find another from the October 19, 1899 Twin City News which mentions how an increasing number of parents are tattooing their children with a hidden ID mark (I believe this was in the midst of abduction paranoia).
Also, I mentioned above that the parents were “100%” legally in the right (although not ethically in my opinion), but I should point out that there have been cases — for example, this North Carolina mother arrested after allowing her 11-year-old to get a tattoo of a small heart on her shoulder — that suggest the opposite. However, courts in America are very unlikely to call the actions of an established religion “child abuse”, so don’t expect to see Jews being jailed over circumcision any time soon.
Yesterday I was mentioning how amputees often use their unique anatomy to get great tattoos that only their body is truly suited for — here’s another superb example, Jason’s tattoo done by Yancy Miller of World of Body Works in Lafayette, Louisiana. Of course this is a design that has been done on plenty of people with complete limbs, but a mechanical anatomy tattoo is somehow much, much more effective when its design echoes the prosthetic limb right next to it!
There’s debate-inviting interview up on the 2KBT clothing blog that I have quite mixed feelings about — an interview with a 15-year old covered in tattoos. Tattoos that unlike those you’ll find on most 15 year olds, are at least slightly above scratcher level, although still far from the quality level I’d wish on anyone — I was going to ask how he affords this level of tattooing, but I doubt they were costly. I admit I started getting tattooed about that same age, but it’s hard to compare the experience directly since in the 80s it was a different world, one that began with me and a hand-poked needle and was followed by being tattooed out of his apartment by an artistically-minded friend who’d just gotten out of jail and ordered himself a Huck Spaulding kit. As you can imagine, those tattoos have almost all been covered up. Even if I had access to better quality tattooists, I’m not sure that at fifteen I had enough perspective on my life to choose tattoos that I’d be happy with today. Very few of us have the same tastes at fifteen as at thirty or forty. Of course, I wasn’t a whole lot more mature at 18 or 21 either… I don’t think it was until I was maybe 23 that I personally had the maturity to choose appropriate tattoos for myself and my life — which is part of the reason I waited until I was thirty to do my face tattoo. For some people that age is higher and for others it’s lower… But I doubt for many people it’s as low as 15.
Still, I dislike ageism as much as I dislike all forms of prejudice — I don’t like the idea of strangers in some government office telling me or anyone how old they have to be to be able to manage their life. That kind of misguided protectionism has often resulted in kids who are handed responsibility at 18 and rush into it, just as incapable of handling it as they would have been at 15, but with a whole lot more self-righteousness. Well, as I’ve said elsewhere, people get the tattoos they deserve. All we can do is continue publishing information on what good tattoos should look like and how to find a good artist — that information is widely available and any kid with basic internet access and a modicum of self-respect is perfectly capable of doing the research these days… All that said, if I was a tattoo artist, I don’t think I would be ethically comfortable tattooing someone at fifteen that I didn’t know extremely, extremely well. A sleeve to the wrist is starting to cut off some options in life — I wonder what would happen if the kid decided he wanted his face or his neck tattooed? It’s not a big step in today’s world for a kid to think that might be a cool thing to do. Even without worrying about tattoo-bigotry, it’s a very big load to put on someone — if their tastes change, a sleeve and a chest is a lot to steal from them.
I don’t think there’s any easy or definitive answer here — I don’t think there’s a universal age where someone is mature enough for tattoos, and personally, the less the government sticks its nose into body modification the better. Responsible artists, a community that strives to educate newcomers, and a general culture of self-respect seems like the right way to tackle this issue.
The tattoos by the way were done by Mike Casale, I believe of Unity Tattoo in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I have no idea what their local laws are or if this interview will come back to bite them in the ass — they seem to be part of that grimey lower-echelon of tattoo shops that prey on less discerning customers, at best a stepping stone for learning artists, but unlikely a home to artists whose work is likely to get much press beyond this sort of shocked “can you believe this crap” coverage…
Click the photos to jump to the interview.
A few days ago I posted about the third “double canvas tattoo” that Marc (Little Swastika) had completed. He has quite a few of these in progress — he tells me there are four on the go at present — but this one is particularly unusual because the mirroring only works in this very peculiar configuration, a sort of psychedelic bodmod yin-yang.