b/c Nature likes balance

A quick and short one today because I’ve been very busy lately (a long weekend ahead, so I’ll catch up):

A spelling mistake in Rihanna’s tattoo caused quite an uproar: her artist downplays the error while the Sanskrit scholars have a piece of advice to tattoo artists (and let’s not forget about the prospective tattooees who should do some research before they venture for something permanent).

Ed Hardy clothing line was already mentioned here; here’s an interesting article that discusess not only the newest addition to the ‘brand’ but also offers some criticism on the subject: ‘Ed Hardy wines.

A short article about the opening of the ‘skin&bones’ exhibit in Philadelphia.

Tattoos in Munich’ feature a local German tattoo artist and offer a nice selection of images of tattoos.

Speaking of tattoo artists and their shops, here’s the news from MO where Rigg of the Rob Zombie *in*fame is opening his tattoo parlor (with pics of the interior).

Finally a tattoo artist (quite a famous one at that) as a preacher: ‘tattoo artist spreads self-help gospel.

simply: a long post

A good rapport between a customer and their tattoo artist/piercer doesn’t appear out of nowhere but rather keeps growing over months or years; some of us are lucky enough to have actually found a great artist who also became a good friend. Sometimes you get to read about it in a newspaper, too: ‘me and my tattoo artist’ is about such a close relationship.

Good artists are usually in good shops, so it’s essential (no matter how often you get to hear that!) to choose a good reputable place and even then just take your time and look around. This article from Austria discusses a recent survey about the local shops; turns out, many shops don’t meet the basic requirements.

On another serious note, an article from TX discussing ‘tongue piercings and serious dental distress.’ And here’s something I came across in a book I’m reading at the moment (‘Freaks of the storm’ by Randy Cerveny): ‘the BBC of London in 2003 reported that a woman became temporarily blind and badly blistered by a lightning strike that seemingly was centered on her tongue stud’ (p. 68). Fortunately, the book is focused on bizarre weather anecdotes and such misfortunes don’t happen often.

Fakir Musafar and the modern piercers in an article from RI: ‘Thayer St. shop pierces the spirit’ – focus on the piercers’ general attitude and the intensive courses taught by Musafar in CA.

Another interesting article from Gizmodo: ‘Bare conductive ink turns your body into handy extension cord’ with a few cool pictures.

Misspellings in the celebs’ tattoos in ‘this is why I won’t get a tattoo’ (the news spread fast, so here’s about it in German).

I’ve just added a new category for scarification as now and then something actually appears on the subject; here’s two articles: from Australia and the UK; the Australian one is more in depth!

Medical tattoos’ from India and a silly discussion on tattoos in ‘Point/ Counterpoint.’

To end on a funny (and weird) note, ‘Joel Madden was asked to cover tattoos for flight.

common denominator

still a little behind but slowly catching up and reading cool articles. Today’s selection includes:

Two interesting exhibits: ‘Just for Kicks’ in Canada (what happens when you give some sneakers/ shoes to a couple of tattoo artists?) and ‘Skin & Bones: tattoo in the life of the American sailor’ in CA. I wish I could visit both events!

Law-related news from WA where the ‘Wash. Legislature OKs body art measure.

An interesting, although pretty typical, article in German about Germans, their tattoos and jobs: ‘marked for life.’

On a brighter note (and related to German, too): ‘the tattooed have more sex partners’ (Mark Benecke, who’s quite heavily tattooed himself, is mentioned in this one).

It’s not strange these days to see university classes on body modification; at the Alfred University you can also attend a workshop focused on tattooing. Hopefully it won’t result with an outbreak of DIY job in this area.

mod mish-mash

Just a few this time but they’re interesting and show mods from different perspectives:

First tattoos are YouTube material’ is kind of controversial and makes one question the whole idea; many people love being in the spotlight these days, though, so maybe there will be many volunteers after all?

Speaking of the spotlight, politicians seem to bask in it and sometimes it happens to their families, too: this one German politician’s wife just got a tattoo done and journalists got a new topic for the headlines.

Finally something pretty ‘high-browed’: ‘Artist’s Life: Cut, Nip and Tuck‘ is about a group show called ‘I am Art’ that shows body art in a different light. The great Orlan is mentioned here which is a very good clue about this sort of body art.

not always what it seems

Westcoast Tattoo Culture Show takes place this weekend, so here are a few articles on the subject. In a similar vein, news about tattoo conventions from Argentina and Australia (looks like the first-ever such event in Sydney was a success).

Eyeball tattoos strike again; the title says it all: ‘bizarre eye tattoo proves to be an eyesore.

Tattoos versus piercings’ doesn’t say anything new and conveys a pretty typical point of view on this matter. Elayne Angel in her “Piercing Bible’ presents a much better and very different point of view and I think she’s quite right here (to quote her: ‘tattoos are comparatively straightforward; healing is rapid, and there are seldom complications. The same is not true of body piercings. Piercings require special attention during a prolonged period of healing plus regular maintenance once they are healed.’)

In the risks department: ‘could earrings like Kate Moss’ make you a real fashion victim?’; it’s well illustrated and described step by step; delivers the point quite well.

Finally, a cool and touching story about the tragic past and much better present: ‘tattoos from Auschwitz horror bring late-life joy.’

dripping with glamour

After the last post, focused on not so glamorous and yet so fascinating tattoo underworld, let’s move mainstream again:

Ink-TV revisited in the articles about Corey Miller, Kat Von D (interview in Dutch – I found it nicely different although, let’s be honest, a vast part of Kat Von D’s interviews is pretty much the same) and ‘ten of the most talented celebrity tattoo artists’ (mixed feelings about this one, really, and funnily enough the title is quite telling!).

In an interesting contrast to the ‘tattoo celebs’ here’s an article about tattoos in Nagaland where a local tattoo artist tries to revive the traditional body art and combine it with modern influences, too.

News from South Korea: ‘ubiquitous ink spreads into the KBL.Focused on athletes.

‘Infinitink’ going mainstream, too – here’s an article about a PA shop testing it at the moment.

Dermatographia and making skin a real, although temporary, canvas in an article about ‘Human Etch Sketch’ and, in a kind of similar vein, ‘inner message ring’ about a new jewelry invention that actually tattoos its wearer.

To end this post, a small overview of this year’s Bloodapalooza in this photo gallery.

Mark of Cain: movie review

Russian prison tattoos were mentioned here at least a few times. Thanks to Bastian I could watch a documentary about them and now share my impressions with you.

The title, ‘The Mark of Cain,’ becomes obvious soon after the documentary starts. Cain, a biblical character, is remembered as a killer of his own brother and in the ‘Mark of Cain’ it’s the killers that get the most of the spotlight although we also encounter and get to hear people charged with robbery, hooliganism and assault. To make it broader and show the main subject covered deeper, people from the opposite side of the bars are heard, too: criminologists, ex-prisoners, directors of penitentiaries and family members of the prisoners.

It’s this juxtaposition, replayed on several levels, that seems the most interesting one to me: the prisoners talking and being talked about by the people who watch them closely; people deprived of freedom right next to those who this freedom have and yet every day return to prisons to do their jobs; rules/law-breakers discussing the laws they founded and decided to follow.

Obviously, the most important element of this film, this symbolical ‘mark of Cain’ that the stereotypes still want to associate with transgression, deviation, cruelty and lack of morals, is tattoos and they are shown here well.

Tattoos are discussed by both prisoners and their supervisors and criminologists and both sides agree that prison tattoos served as a powerful language of symbols, hidden meanings and order. Once upon a time it was enough to look at someone to know, right away, what crimes he committed, how long he served, what was his social position behind the bars, what were his interests and tastes. The key element is the past tense here, however, as both sides agree that the time of tattoos is actually over now; with so many changes over the last two decades, with the New Russia and the New Russians having been born and still growing, with new people coming into the Russian prisons, the old-timers, heavily covered and knowledgeable on the subject, insist that ‘those times have passed’ and that ‘with new youths [come] new tattoos’ and these new tattoos don’t carry enough symbolism with them to actually mean anything.

This relation, or rather lack thereof, between the old (filled with history and meanings) and the new tattoos (‘you have money, you have tattoos’) is another good example of how this documentary shows tattoos on different levels as exactly the same phenomenon, (growing popularity and easier access to tattoos stripe them off of their symbolism and mystery), takes place in the ‘real/free’ world. As quite rightly remarked one of the interviewed prisoners: ‘the zone is kind of model of a state, only the relations of people are exaggerated!’

The bigger part of the film focuses on male tattoos, showing and explaining the most popular/common symbols used, meanings behind them and the process of tattooing itself (as far from being sterile and safe as possible!) and just when you may start thinking that prison tattoos in Russia are only a male thing, the director takes us to a women prison and gives us a chance to see similarities and differences between the tattoos on men and women.

The last, and definitely very moving part of the film, is about regrets! As it turns out, the prisoners are not only perceptive enough to notice the relation between historical changes and their own lives but also be aware of obstacles their tattoos might pose for them in the future. Many of them regret their decisions and feel ashamed of their tattoos, sharing with us their fears, doubts and tips for DIY tattoo removal.

I would say that ‘The Mark of Cain’ approaches the people and their choices with a lot of respect and attention. The authors tried to stay objective and show the people and their lives from as many perspectives as possible. Tattoos are portrayed very well, both when it comes to their close-ups to see the details and when it comes to discuss what they really are about. It’s about the real thing and real people, so there’s no artificial, TV-stained glamour about it and there’s no wannabe stars in here (the ‘artist’ portrayed here has a tired, flawed face and hands stained with soot and yet he’s fascinating when he talks about his strategy for surviving in prison and when he expresses his pride of making good tattoos). After this whole ink-TV buzz, it’s nicely refreshing, authentic and informative.

The Mark of Cain, directed by Alix Lambert, March 2008;

no rest for the tattooed

Despite it being an Easter weekend, there are quite a few new articles on the subject to link to:

With the first-ever tattoo convention going on in OR, here’s two articles about it: ‘tattoo buffs turn out’ discuss strict regulations according to which out-of-state tattoo artists can’t tattoo in OR; ‘no ink? No problem…’ is a short and quite interesting review of the event.

Times sure change and we get to hear and read about it pretty much all the time; here’s another on the subject: ‘veteran tattoo artist marvels at ubiquity of body art.

Two articles about the industry regulations: ‘no rule to be inked on tattoos’ about the lack of clear regulations and, on the other side of the spectrum, ‘regulate tattoo industry? Some artists agree on the point.

News about the exhibit of Scott Campbell’s art work was posted in the last post; another article about it with a few sentiments I actually agree with.

More info on ‘Neuma Hybrid tattoo machine.

Risks of oral piercings’ strike yet again (which should remind us that an experienced and skilled piercer is a way to go).

Sad news from TX: ‘tattoo parlor owner shot and killed while protecting customers’ (more on ‘The Police News’).

A tattooed politician probably wouldn’t have too high of a chance to win elections but seems like it’s an entirely different thing to use temporary tattoos while running for an office: this article says about ‘tattoos being the new buttons.’

art, shows and fitness

The ‘more conventional’ art inclinations of tattoo artists in articles about ‘Viva Siempre’ exhibit in CA and ‘Make It Rain’ in Miami, FL (art by Scott Campbell); another one using tattoos in the art context is ‘tattoos surface as art of the people.

A few articles about tattoo shops: ‘two millimeters under skin’ is in German, ‘hybrid tattoo shop straying from norm’ from OH (an interesting idea indeed; makes me wonder how long it can last) and ‘Club Tattoo’ from NV.

Yoga and tattoos? Not mutually exclusive as you can read in ‘ChakraVibe yoga tattoo contest.

Otzi appears again in an article briefly discussing his tattoos and mysteries and questions around them (in German).

Neuma Hybrid tattoo machine’ describes a new type of a tattoo machine.

Dress code at schools hasn’t resurfaced for some time now; here’s something interesting in this department: ‘charter school student loses battle over piercings’ and a comment about it by a local college professor: ‘dress codes are meant to crush students’ creativity.

With the spring at full swing by now and the summer approaching fast, I guess we can expect more and more tattoo shows; here’s a small selection of these in the nearest future: ‘Tucson Tattoo Expo,’ ‘West Coast Tattoo Culture Show and Oregon first-ever tattoo show.

I’m having my own fun now as I’ve just added some colors to my right sleeve and pierced/stretched my ears.

around the world

Today’s post is just how I like it – international.

From Australia articles about ‘tattoos and maternal instincts,’ first-timers getting awards at a local tattoo convention and a pretty interesting article about ear reconstruction (stretched piercings not mentioned here, though).

And while speaking of the east side of the world, an article about China and tattoos: ‘taboo removal: in China, tattoos make a comeback.

South America represented by an article about ‘tattoos in Venezuela.

News from the US: ‘geeky tattoos,’ ‘Chuco Art Project book’ to commemorate a late tattoo artist and an interesting article about a local Detroit shop offering both tattoos and tattoo removal (and let’s mention Allen Falkner’s enterprise also focusing on tattoo removal).