beautiful and banned


‘Divergent’ still going strong and since it’s a real pleasure to see interesting tattoos on fit bodies (no perv feelings here, mind you! Just pure aesthetics!), let’s play with it some more: behind the Four’s tattoos and a slide show from the movie.

Quite an interesting interview with an editor-in-chief of the German tattoo magazine on tatoos in movies and how they usually appear on negative characters (worth noting, however, how it changes, too – who doesn’t like Lisbeth Salander after all? The Divergent/ Dauntless pack will also help with the image).


Some more on ‘Bled for Boston.’

Also, more articles on the Perseverance exhibit in Los Angeles! One of the artists quoted in here noticed: ‘There is pain, but then you heal and the art remains’ which is both simple and profound ;)

Modified charity: helping raise awareness of kidney diseases and autism awareness.

Dress code: ‘can a company ban tattoos at work?’ and new U.S. Army groom rules – tattoos are a big no-no now!

Do parents with tattoos make for bad role models?’ some food for thought although do not expect intellectual fireworks from this one. Also thought-provoking is this one called ‘tattoos are corny and degrading’ (and it’s not as bad as it sounds ;))

Very interesting: a new academic book on tattooing traditions in North America and a Russian inventor who is able to read tattoos as sheet music.

times change, and so do the tattoos

Interesting articles about a book called1000 Tattoos’ by Henk Schiffmacher and Burkhard Riemschneider. Originally published 25 years ago, it’s been in print ever since.

My tattoo artist has his own, very dog-eared copy of this book and I managed to secure a copy for myself back in 2008 during my stay in Oslo, Norway. My edition is abridged and in German but it’s still interesting and a nice souvenir!


a table of contents:


a few pictures from the book:


It’s a good starter for everyone interested in tattoos and their fascinating history through time and space! :)

walk to freedom

Since this blog is about reading and there’s no man who fought more bravely and with bigger courage and determination that Mandela, let me recommend this book:


In a way, it is related to body modification as so many modified people say that we can’t be judged by the color of our skin (even if it’s red, blue, orange or insert-your-pick-here). The main difference, however, is that – when it comes to your race and skin pigmentation - you’ve never had a choice  while with tattos it’s *almost always* about free will. Mandela fought for the better world with no prejudice, stereotypes or limits imposed on you by the way you look and where you come from and there’s a big lesson to learn from him.

The book is a real beast (751 pages of text plus pictures and Index) but it’s worth reading and some thinking.

book review: A Brief History of the Evolution of Tattoos


To be exact, this book(let) is very brief and concise but presents the history of tattoos in a simple, easy to understand language, gives its reader a comprehensive and relatively broad (even if superficial) overview of the subject and contains a very short bibliography list (which is not that obvious in this kind of publications).


  • very short but pretty detailed (it’s barely 25 pages) <– a possible downside for those who prefer ‘bigger’ books;
  • available in Kindle format, so you can start reading it right away (even if you don’t have your own Kindle, you can still download a Kindle application for PC or a mobile device);
  • cheap ($2.45);
  • might inspire you to read more;
  • the cover (one of the Maori Kings) is a good start to read on the Maori King Movement and thus expand your knowledge on the cultures and peoples around the world.

To sum it up, even if this book is tiny and superficial, it still might be a good beginning for something bigger. There is no such thing as a bad book, there are only weak readers ;) (credits for a paraphrase should go to one and only Bill Bowerman).

Nicholas E. Efstathiou, A Brief History of the Evolution of Tattoos, Kindle format.

book review: Inked or Tattoos and Their [as in people's] Stories


Sometimes good things happen totally by accident and that exactly was the case with this book. I came across this one while browsing Amazon, searching for some good or at least decent books in German to buy and read (as a means to keep my German alive). It’s obvious that this book was originally published in English (as ‘Inked’ in 2008) but the German edition isn’t bad.

The main person behind it is Carey Hart. For some he’s a damn good motorcycle racer while for others he’s Pink’s husband. In this book he speaks up for himself and let me say that he has some interesting things to share. Credits for the way this book looks should also go to Chris Palmer, Bill Thomas and – last but not least – to all the people connected one way or another with Hart’s business, ‘Hart and Huntington Tattoo company.

The idea behind this book is not new and we have seen it before in other books but is there anything wrong about letting people share their minds and feelings? Tattoos have had very bad press for a very long time, so the more we hear, see and read about the positive/ bright side of tattoos, the better for all of us.

The book starts with a foreword by Hart himself in which he shares his life story and tells the readers about his life-long passion for tattoos. Many of us can relate to it and that’s why he sounds convincing. The same motif of love for art and self-expression appears in many of 42 portraits/ profiles of tattooed people shown here. These people are as different and interesting as their tattoos – dancers, limo driver, bank employee and tattoo artists gathered around the Hart and Huntington shop(s). They are all different but they also have something in common – they love life, beauty and Las Vegas.


Besides the people’s profiles there are also short texts focused on history of tattoos (it starts with Oetzi and ends with Hart’s achievements which is both Hart-centric and humorous!), inside info on tattoo business and many good pictures of people and their tattoos.

It’s a good read for everyone interested both in tattoos as art and tattoos as a part of pop culture. It also gives a fascinating insight into people’s lives and what drives them to change their bodies and fight (altought not overly vehemently in Sin City) for their right to be who they want to be.

Carey Hart, Tattoos und ihre Geschichten, h.f.ullmann Publishing 2013

popular, so (un)cool


Tattoos still going strong in the mainstream pop culture as this pic from a Victoria’s Secret show shows (it’s from 2012, mind you but seeing how active some celebs/ models are in this department, it’s still valid).

New ink reality TV shows also profit from popularity of tattoos although they seem to be turning in the ‘think before you ink’ direction: ‘Bad Ink’ and ‘Undo Me’ (which is going to cover much more than just bad tattoos).

Eyeball tattooing in Jamaica – in this case it really is better to think before, especially if you’re going to hit the DIY way.

Memorial tattoos became very popular thanks to the Ink TV but this one is worth reading, it’s a part of a bigger work (a chapter from ‘American Afterlife. Encounters in the Customs of Mourning’).

Modblog seems to be a lil better than its usual boring post-Shannon self; an interesting post from there about an upcoming documentary about Marc a.k.a Little Swastika (the website of the makers here).

Tattoos try and fail to reclaim swastika symbol’ offer much food for thought. Is it really possible to change the associations we have had with this symbol ever since the Nazi times? Is it worth fighting for?

The 21st century is an amazing time to live in – ‘people may be the next step in technology’ and e-whiskers.

‘the subculture of body suspension’ from New Zealand (thanks to Bastian who’s going to the hot climates right now ;))

Some Q&A with one of my fav body modifiers, the Lizardman!

New rules in the German army were also brought to my attention by Bastian. Here also a little bit about new rules in the American army,way  less draconian than in Germany.

Finally, a very harsh treatment of a tattoo artist in Iran. No radicalism is good!

tattoo concept(s)


We can still make it [tattooing] as renegade as we want’ says Kate Shanghai Hellenbrand in an interview during a tattoo convention in Minneapolis, MN (here’s another interview with her in the Inked magazine).

Other tattoo artists featured in this week’s online world: a Texan who tried to break a Guinness world record for the longest tattoo session, a versatile tattooer called Mr. Peanut and a Polish tattoo artist, Marek Pawlik.

A tattoo museum in a tattoo shop in NYC.

A more traditional approach in a text about sak yant tattoos while here you can read about tattoos of the future.

Books: chefs’ ink featured in this book while here we have a Polish book on tattoos. I’ve just ordered it and I’m quite excited as, weirdly enough, it’ll be my first book on tattoos in Polish ever! Hopefully it’s a good one!

Body piercing in Islam.

Finally, a pretty cool video about the Tattoo Week in Rio de Janeiro!


so behind on the updates but a lot’s been happening! Let’s get started, though, shall we?

The biggest news was certainly Mandela’s death! It was coming, of course, but still, it’s one of these great people who changed the world for better! Soon after, people started getting Mandela tattoos – that’s how the pop culture works!

Mandela did change South African political system and kept trying to change the way people perceive those who differ from them but even in other countries it still matters – race and tattoos in advertising still have a negative impact on people! Unless you are a Rihanna who shows off not only her tattoos but also a lot more, here her new fragrance ad.

In Australia partial ban on tattoos in the police force.

Tattoos in Iran.

When I came across this article about writers and their tattoos I was quite interested. After feeding my Kindle with the books (they are, luckily for me, quite cheap!) my excitement somewhat subsided as the novel and stories proved to be just mediocre romances with tattoos used as accessories. Sure, there some attempts at making it good – multiple POV’s, setting in New Orlean and references to the impact Katrine had on the people living there, there was also one breast cancer survivor trying to reclaim her body, quite a strong BDSM motif etc. but still, there are way better novels about tattoos out there!

The first clip of the upcoming ‘Divergent’ movie. The ideas behind the faction tattoos are pretty cool; too bad soon there will be loads of faction tattoos in the real world! ;)

praise, don’t condemn


More posters for the upcoming ‘Divergent’ movie have emerged and they look quite interesting. As for the book itself, I got to read it and must say it’s ‘one-time read’ for me – an interesting idea but overall it won’t beat such dystopian classics as ‘1984’ or ‘The Brave New World.’

November 13 is ‘Reclaim the Swastika’ day across the world thanks to tattoo artists who want to reclaim the symbol and also celebrate ManWoman. Here’s their FB page.

Human Rights Tattoo Project in South Africa.

Some tattoo history and trivia in these pieces on American and Japanese tattoos.

A slide show of religious tattoos and an article about a tattooed Lutheran pastor. From Turkey news about fatwa issued against tattoos.

Polish articles about tattoos at work. Same old, same old, I’d say, though.

A cool tattoo idea for creative and easily bored people: a blank comic stripe. Also, Chaim Machley, a tattoo artist based in Germany, and his tattoos.