You say you want a revolution

I’m sure some of you have heard of the recent legal troubles artist Shepard Fairey ( has been going through.  Regardless of that his art is still some of the most recognizable of this generation, including this piece of a revolutionary woman with a brush.  IAM: AStarOnFire had tattoo artist Ryan Hewell of The Big Easy Tattoo in Broomfield, CO tattoo this recreation of Fairey’s art on her arm.

A BMEBoy and his bike

You’ve seen his both his tattoos and scars on ModBlog many times before, but when it comes to getting in front of the camera, Gabor (IAM: Wyrd) can be a little shy.  Which is why this photo is such a rare treat, and a great way to end the day.

Help out the youngest member of the BME family. Get a limited edition 2012 BME Classic Logo t-shirt. Read all the details here.

The British Bulldog

Younger ModBlog readers may not get this reference, but anyone who has read anything on WWII knows that the original British Bulldog wasn’t a guy in tights.  Winston Churchill was famously nicknamed the bulldog during the war by the Russians for his dogged determination in fighting the Nazis.  Even when England was at it’s worst, he wouldn’t back down and with his ties to the US, was able to turn the tide and win the war.  This particular portrait of Churchill as a bulldog was done by Rich Phipson who works at Star Crossed Tattoo in Hong Kong.

Speak softly and carry a big stick

Teddy Roosevelt is known for a lot of things, being the first American to win a Nobel prize, getting the Panama canal finished, establishing the first national parks, and having his face carved into a mountain.  Well, he can now add having his face etched into skin thanks to Andy Johnson from Cap City Tattoo in Columbus, Ohio.

Working around the moles that are on the skin, Andy pulled off an almost charcoal-esque portrait.  You can check out more portraits in the portrait tattoo gallery, or if political tattoos are more your thing, then head over to the political and patriotic tattoo gallery.

El Che

The monochromatic image of Che Guevara created by Jim Fitzpatrick is one of the most recognizable portraits in the world.  However, that portrait was not the only image of Che and it is refreshing to see a portrait tattoo of him that doesn’t use the “standard” image.  Zoran from Tattoo Hard Core in Serbia added this image of Che to the political and patriotic tattoo gallery.  He made the interesting decision to use yellow and black as opposed to greyscale to craft the image, giving the tattoo the feel of a faded photograph.

A modified rebellion

There are some stories that as controversial as they may be, do need to be told.  Before I begin, it’s important that you know a few things about the subject matter of the post.  First off, the current Republic of Turkey wasn’t always a democratic nation.  The area known today as Turkey was home to one of the earliest human settlements.  Over the centuries many empires have risen and fallen, with the most notable being the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over 6 centuries until WWI.  Following the first world war, and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire a military commander named Mustafa Kemal Atatürk led the country to become a democratic and secular nation.  The Ottoman Empire had previously ruled under Islamic law, and when Atatürk became the first president of Turkey he moved towards the western style of democracy with the separation of Church and State.  In the years following the foundation of the new Turkey, Atatürk pushed through a great many reforms to every aspect of life in Turkey.  Civic courts replaced Islamic courts, women were grated equal status, and the official language was changed from Arabic to Turkish.

In the decades following Atatürk’s death, he has been acclaimed time and time again for his contributions towards cultural reforms.  As for the Turkish government, it continued on following in the footsteps of it’s first leader.  Over time the parties in power have changed, and currently the party in power wishes to revert the changes that Atatürk made, and return Turkey to an Islamic republic.  The conservative Justice and Development (AKP) party has presently put forth a motion for a constitutional referendum that would allow them to alter the structure of the government.

As for which side in the debate is right, it is not my position to judge.

What I am here for is to share with you the reactions that of some of the Turkish people are having to these proposed changes.


More and more Turkish people, from all walks of life and socio-economic standings, are emblazoning their appendages with the signature of the controversial Turkish trailblazer Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who made Turkey the secular nation it is today. The tattoo reads simply enough “K.Ataturk” in a scripted text.  The history behind the specific Ataturk signature that is used for the tattoos is as politically charged as the man himself. According to popular belief, it was the same signage that Ataturk used when he signed legislation to annihilate the Ottoman alphabet, which was in classical Arabic, in favor of a Latin alphabet that was in line with secular European nations.

The resistance to the AKP is so fierce in Turkey, that many tattoo parlors offer discounted prices for the Ataturk tattoo and some offer it entirely for free. Apparently the price for government-supported religious freedom is a price that some people are willing to pay for in blood.

I think this is the first nation-wide protest that I’ve heard of that is being spread through tattoos.  Whether you agree with the position that the protesters have or not, the key thing to remember is that these people are showing to the world what their beliefs are, in the form of a permanent modification.  As someone who has attended protests in the past, I’ve seen varying levels of commitment to the causes.  From extremists who smash window and light cars on fire, to grandmothers holding up a sign on a lawn.  I honestly can say I don’t think many of the people I have met are so passionate about their causes to have them tattooed on their bodies.

The thing to remember is that these tattoos are not just being done in protest.  Many of the people getting them feel that Atatürk was the man that brought their country to the place it is now, and for them, their national identity is as much a part of them as their own skin.

Like I mentioned before, this subject isn’t one I can comment on, but what I can comment on is the level of commitment these people are displaying.  Would you be willing to get a tattoo for similar reasons as these people?

No Need For Temples

Hoo boy, so, I was honestly just kidding yesterday when I mused about the possibility of Nelson Mandela being dragged through the mud by some commenters, but sure enough, it literally took only a single post before a political flame war broke out. Hey, fine. I guess Mr. Mandela is a more polarizing figure than I’d anticipated. But you know, I do so enjoy a challenge, and this gorgeous portrait of the Dalai Lama was too good not to share, but I’m curious now—what sorts of terrible, unseemly revelations will be unearthed following its posting? Did he buy an HD TV, but hasn’t yet sprung for an HD tuner? Has it been weeks since he’s emptied the dehumidifier? Is he hiding a Kenyan birth certificate? Don’t let me down, folks.

(Beautiful tattoo by Dave Allen at Preying Mantis Tattoo in Lakewood, Colorado.)

Tattoo Hollywood, BME’s first tattoo convention, is coming to Los Angeles from August 21-23, featuring contests, prizes and some of the best artists from around the world! Click here for more information.

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The Truth It Becomes You

Positivity parade! This expertly rendered Nelson Mandela portrait/inspirational bust comes all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, and more specifically, from Rob Turner at Freestylers Tattoo Lounge in said city. There’s a lot to like here; this is really lovely work of a figure who’s probably one of the players on the world stage least likely to tarnish his own legacy any time soon. That said, I’m looking very forward to the revelations in the comments that he sold poison milk to schoolchildren or uses leaded gasoline or collects Jonas Brothers memorabilia or whatever.

Tattoo Hollywood, BME’s first tattoo convention, is coming to Los Angeles from August 21-23, featuring contests, prizes and some of the best artists from around the world! Click here for more information.