thinking doesn’t hurt or so they say

An Australian article ‘think twice about tattoos, body piercings’ certainly is a case of net hiccup after the whole ‘star girl’ thing; and so is another Australian text, ‘Aussies reveal tattoo horror stories.’ Learn, people, learn! 😛

As much I’d love to quit the ‘star girl’ for good, this one I can’t leave alone: fragments of the interview with Rouslan Toumaniantz; and even though he doesn’t say anything new or mindblowing in this one, I love the human side he’s showing here!

Which nicely leads me to this UT ‘indirectly related’ article about bikers that are ‘just regular guys’ despite their tough image. Amen, eh? Another one fitting here is also this NC article about a local artist featuring not only his profession but also his passions outside of tattooing. So no matter how scary or weird people look, there’s always something both interesting and familiar about them!

Sometimes the ‘normal’ ones come up with strange ideas, too: an interesting case of a high school newspaper and principal’s reaction to it from CA.

I think we all knew it was coming and so here it is: Michael Jackson tribute tattoos.

The last interesting one for today is an interview with a Native American who made it to ‘Tattoo Highway’ show.

ha! English only!

There’s a nice load of interesting links to post tonight:

Shops: ‘Parlor makes mark on the road’ from CO reminds of ‘Tattoo Highway’ but it’s not being made into a reality TV; ‘first tattoo parlor coming to Aiken county’ from SC shows the legal side of the enterprise (and it’s not easy over there!) and finally something from GA where ‘local tattoo artists welcome regulations, aim to clean up industry’s image.’

Quite important news from TX where it was decided that ‘defendant’s tattoos could be used as evidence.’

Women get tattoos as statement’ claims this short OH article and who knows, maybe there’s something to it?

I think I’ve already linked to this but a small, reassuring reminder won’t hurt: ‘tattoos do not lead to skin cancer, several studies show.’

Nor do they lead to eternal damnation and burning in hell, hopefully, so here’s an interesting article about ‘religion and tattoos.’

A local tattoo parlor in IL is about to open a tattoo museum; sounds like an interesting and cool idea!

An interesting ‘indirectly related’ one is an interview with a corset maker; corsetry is considered a form of body modification and Fakir Musafar actually practices/d it (as many others interested in modifying their bodies).

Two ‘dumb’ ones to end this post: ‘dumbass tattoos’ and an article about tattooed fish.

tattoo regulations and some more

A demand for more regulations for the industry coming from Belgium (quite understandable now but well, how you can save people from themselves?) and a small wave of articles about the need of industry regulations and risks posed to and by minors in three articles from Singapore: ‘tattooists: regulate industry!’ ‘if parents find out, I’m dead!’ and ‘too scared to remove tattoos.’

Another case of teens and regrettable tattoos but in a more positive and even sensible light from CA where ‘young Hispanics erase tattoos to begin a new life.’

An odd piece of news from TN: ‘tattoo parlor tosses personal info

Tattoos and sport again, not NBA though: playing ball aside, sometimes it’s also a ‘battle of tattoos’ on tennis court.

Something ‘indirectly related’ and recalling a discussion Bastian and I have going at times: body building and body modification.

‘tell us lies …’

The ‘star girl’ strikes once again, this time admitting she lied about her falling asleep while being tattooed (in English, German and Dutch). I hope this Dutch article is yet another joke on the subject – she allegedly got offered a job at a rival shop in her town (strong work ethics and being truthful will come handy, eh?).

News from Australia: ‘piercings stretch the imagination’ about microdermals and ear lobe stretching and another one about attempts to regulate ‘backyard body shops.’

After having read optimistic articles about the industry booming even in the times of the global crisis, time to see the other side of this coin: San Fransisco’s ‘tattoo parlors feeling pinched by rising fees.’

Beauty comes with pain’ is a really interesting one as it recounts a little girl’s experience of getting pierced with a piercing gun – the author of the article doesn’t seem to see anything wrong about it!

Since I like articles from not that often mentioned online countries, here’s an article about tattoos from Bulgaria.

And finally ‘awesome amputee tattoos’ with two interesting links.

tattoos, piercings, ads, fashion and more

According to a Dutch blog, the star tattoo girl is a hoax (in English); before we all start saying ‘I knew it!’ though, let’s try to learn something from it, for example how important it is to think beforehand and then choose a good shop. The article ‘tattoos are permanent, folks – that needle can be ‘dangerus’’ sums it up nicely, not to mention that it deals with the whole tattoo spiel in a nicely humorous way!

A bit of entertainment in two slide shows (Body Art Expo and tattoos in Bundesliga) and an article about a fashion and suspension show. Looks like these days suspensions are not for spiritual reasons but rather to entertain random people eager to taste a morsel of the alternative edge/whatever. Fine with me but it’s a bit sad, too – if things get that common, we won’t able to experience them in a very intense way anymore.

And a tad of history of ‘Piercing Pagoda’ brand no less; interesting to read but also scary as it seems that time stopped right there and piercing guns are still a way to go (which they are not!).

Tattoos and other marks used for soft biometrics in two articles on the subject; quite interesting, I must say.

Tattoos and money in ‘tattoo advertising’ and ‘fashion’s tattoos on clothing’ (pretty nice pictures in this one).

What’s the point of tattoos?’ doesn’t say anything new about tattoos per se but I like how it shows how far the current norms of beauty force us, esp. women, to change our appearance and physicality to fit. When you discard the boring part about tattoos, the rest makes a decent food for thought.

‘What’s the point of tattoos?’ can be easily answered, though, if you’re  a balding man and wanna hide this fact! ‘Hair tattoo for the balding man‘ is a new thing, isn’t it? and how meaningful at that!

convention report: Tattoofest 2009

I’m the first to claim that attending one tattoo convention is like attending all of them – always about the same thing (tattoos), always the same people (clad in black, pretending to have an ‘alternative’ edge to them and living this certain ‘lifestyle’ that is more of a myth than anything else), always the same style and climate (heavy metal music making you almost deaf (provided you’re not deaf yet from having listened to heavy metal music for years before) and skull images staring at you from every corner of the place). But even though all tattoo conventions are pretty much identical, there is always something different to them, too – people you’ve met before and are going to meet again, new pieces of body art to see, even if it’s either to admire or scorn, some precious good time with friends ahead.

4. on the floor of the convention

This year’s Tattoofest was my third one and I went through the ‘yet-another-convention’ phase to ‘yeah-kind-of-cool’ to ‘let’s-have-fun’ phases in a pretty short time. It felt different this year simply because the convention was moved to a new location – bigger, much better lit and with more space both to exhibit the body art and to stroll down the aisles and gawk at people, portfolios and artists at work.

The new location proved to be both good and bad; good for the artists, visitors and performers as it gave them a much needed space and light to present themselves at their best; and bad because many of us were staying at a nearby hotel, so there were moments when we felt more like just lazing around, sneaking out of the venue and napping in our rooms (I do admit I did it a few times) instead of focusing solely on the event.

The first day of convention was slow for me. There were only three tattoo contests scheduled for the day, later in the afternoon, and everyone was only starting to build a proper display at their booths, so I decided to spend some time in the city centre (Cracov is a very beautiful and old town and there’s always something cool going around) with friends. This way I missed a few things from the schedule but was right on time to see the tattoo contests.

The contests seem easy from the outside but they look way different from the inside. The core of the jury, Slawek Fraczek (one of the very first tattoo artists in Poland and, on a more personal level, someone who changed my own way of perceiving tattoos and taught me a lot), Junior (a member of the second wave of the Polish tattoo artists and a guy who definitely grasped the free-market concept of body art; a master of self-promotion but modest when he thinks it fits) and Dagmara (a piercer and tattoo artist from Gdansk; a nice addition to the jury as, sadly, women are usually a part of decorations in this industry) were quite efficient and determined to spot and reward the best pieces presented to them.

The stage was small, so contestants had to enter it gradually, in a few turns during each contests but the whole spiel was going on quickly – the judges looked at, discussed, selected and then discussed some more before fishing out the winners. The audience cheered and stared, the contestants sweated (hot!), trembled (how long you can hold on your breath to hide the beer belly, eh? ;)) and were patient and, probably, hopeful, too.

To speed things up and make the whole process of judging, choosing and rewarding easier, the rewards were handed in right after announcing the winners (and here women as just a decorative addition come into play again!), so the audience got their treat and didn’t have to wait for the results.

Much to my joy there was not Art Fusion this year (cool concept as it is, somehow I find it kind of boring and definitely not as original and challenging as it used to seem!); instead, we got to watch Tattoo Battle – artists working in pairs on a given subject, this time it was ‘film’. The artists worked in pairs, usually on separate limbs of one ‘victim’ which seemed strange at first but there must have been ‘victims’’ agreement beforehand, so nothing to worry about here. The tattooing process had to be strenuous for some, though, as I got to see a guy close to blacking out during the tattooing process. There was medical assistance on the site, though, so organizers took care of the event even in this regard.

21. the Fins' show

After ‘Best of Day’ contest late in the evening there was time for something I’ve been waiting for throughout the whole day – a show by Bobo’s Loco Carneval, a freaky performance team from Finland. I saw them for the first time last year and they made a huge impression on me back then. I approached it in a cynical way a year ago (‘so what are you gonna show me, eh?’) and did it this time, too. At first, when I saw them painted and clad in exactly the same manner as a year before, I felt a sting of disappointment but fortunately soon enough they proved me wrong.

The Finnish trio does not present or perform anything new as pretty much all of their tricks were and still are performed by many other such groups around the world. There are these cool echoes of the old firebreathers/eaters and sword swallowers about them and there are traces of medieval markets with a crowd of peasants gathering around a circus group to be amazed and get something to talk about during long winter months ahead; there are bits of the old comedy del’arte in their shows and there’s a rough and ordinary feel of a heavy metal show to them, too; and finally, there’s also a bit of the ol’ good freak show stuff here. Right on the surface one gets to feel and know that there’s nothing new about the group and their show and yet the Fins spin their magic and one suddenly finds themselves engulfed and entangled in their show, gasping, laughing, staring and just taking part in the show.

25. airborne

They showed a few tricks I’ve already seen and then went on to the new ones, among which the straight jacket one and the tennis racket one were the most memorable, methinks. Sure I thought how cool and funny it would be if they stapled to their bodies not black latex gloves but pink ones (playing not only with their bodies and the audience but also with stereotypes?) and how both awesome and kind of symbolic it would be if the straight jacket was not this typical white one but maybe done in black, with a heavy metal band name on the front to make us think about freeing ourselves from our oh-so-original ‘scene’ uniforms) but well, it was their show and their moment and if I’m so ‘innovative’ in this regard, maybe I should found my own freaky group?

I got to talk to the Fins on the next day and, surprisingly, they don’t seem to see in their shows these ‘archaic,’ ‘distant past’ elements I see but maybe they do it on a purely subconscious level, using archetypes floating around and bending them to their needs? Or maybe I am ‘pseudo-sophisticated’ and get to see something that’s not even there? Doesn’t really matter anyway as living in the postmodern times means that both sides can be right and wrong at the same time and there is not one valid interpretation of the things we see and participate in.

Day 2 of the convention was more packed with the events and attractions and the Fins showed up on the stage yet again, this time to offer suspensions to random people willing to try. Just like last year I amused myself with timing the suspensions and pretty much all of them were very short and lasted 5min. at best. A shame but also quite understandable as the whole convention show had to go on and there was no time for hanging around for longer than the schedule allowed. I felt pangs of jealousy while watching people suspending but I also knew that 5min. on the hooks is not something I would go for!

More tattoo contests that day allowed me to see, with some satisfaction, that people finally are getting more original and brave enough to choose something that’s not ‘fashionable’ or popular.  My least favorite category, black and grey tattoo, didn’t bring too many skulls, aliens or monsters; instead there were many subtle tattoos playing with shades and gradations of colors. Not all presented tattoos were placed in the right category and there were contests that were missing from the schedule (no ‘tribal’ category, probably much to everyone’s relief but also no ‘crazy tattoo’ category which is a shame) but – as a whole – the contests showed both well and poorly done tattoos and that’s what matters here.

16. better view

Right next to tattoo booths there were jewelry and ‘alternative’ clothing displays – more than last year. There was a Wildcat stand and another German seller, Go2, also displayed their jewelry. As someone who recently got to re-pierce and then stretch her ears, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to take a look at the jewelry and even added to my growing jewelry collection. The clothing lines presented the usual skull-and-other-horrors style but what one can do if the people wills it?

Was Tattoofest 2009 a good event or just so-so? After talking to the organizers and a few random people on the floor and then after taking some time to think about my own feelings and impressions, I would venture the former option. The new location gave people more space to enjoy their interest; more light and booths let show what the industry has to offer to those into body modification; growing presence of tattoos and other forms of body modification in the media encouraged people not involved into the scene to come and see what’s all about. Seems like people enjoyed their time at the convention and that everyone could find something interesting there. I know I did and could!

good choice, no regrets

The case of ’56 stars instead of 3’ deal is still on online; here are two articles related to it: ‘professionals get more tattoos than ever’ from Australia show rules many artists impose on themselves as far as facial/hand tattoos go while ‘stricter tattoo regulations’ from Belgium briefly discuss the changes proposed by the Belgian minister of health after the ‘56/3’ affair.

A small reminder of how important it is to choose a good shop from Canada where one of the local shops showed how *not* to run the business: ‘little tattoo shop of horrors’ (more – note the ‘autoplate’ in this one and reused needles which is totally horrifying!)

Islam and genital mutilation’ discusses female circumcision and actions WHO undertakes.

To change the subject for something more pleasant:

Art exhibitions of various sort in ‘Death Unto Our Enemies,’ ‘The Art of Tattoo at the Portland Art Museum’ and ‘Forget paint canvases, substitute skateboards.’

And a ‘indirectly related’ one from Bastian: Beth Ditto and Gossip – feeling good in one’s body no matter what!

wake up, wake up!

The biggest piece of news is a girl who got her face tattooed not exactly the way she wanted. I got to read about it in English, German, Dutch and Spanish (Bastian drew my attention to it first!)  and there will probably be an internet hiccup about it in days to come. The Belgian and Dutch articles seem to be more detailed than the whole rest (like the one where the artist discusses the whole thing and says that it’s a good ad for his studio after all and that he’ll cover half of the tattoo removal cost!) The whole thing seems a bit fishy but I’m all for ‘live and learn,’ so let’s try to draw some conclusions out of it, kids, shall we?

A good fit for the news above is an American article about ‘tattoo experiences presenting surprises, both good and bad’ – kind of true although when one uses their brain during the whole process, the risks should be minimized!

Not overly detailed but making one think is an article from CA” ‘body art becomes norm, not rebellion’ and it also makes a point about getting tattoos that actually mean something to us – the more the meaning in our mods, the less the regrets, perhaps?

One of the things I totally love about my blog is that running it teaches me new things every day! This time I got introduced to a really interesting website called Sang Bleu thanks to reading an interview with its editor. Seems a really interesting stuff!

Serious subject with a local touch: ‘reactions to Mercer County ban on tattoos and piercings’ and ‘tattoo parlors go unchecked’ about health risks and lax regulations.

Freebies and a twisted online subworld in ‘TV’s tweeting tattoo artist offers free Twitter ink session.’

An interesting idea to end this post: tattoo/graffiti art on leather in the ‘Inkorporated Skin.’

back on the track

A small update after the weekend:

Tattoo conventions: Valencia, Spain and Liverpool, England.

Law-related: ‘tattoo artists should lobby for regulations’ from AZ and somewhat related from CT where ‘man seeks OK to open tattoo parlor and art gallery.’

I’m a traditionalist myself when it comes to work on tattoos and I like an exchange of ideas face-to-face but apparently there’s also another way: custom tattoos available online on CreateMyTattoo website.

With the summer fast approaching, all tattooed people should consider going on holiday to Italy where we could score an awesome hotel price deal – in one of the Italian hotels it’s way cheaper when you have tattoos.

behind bars and in front of the screen

My fascination with prison tattoos is still on, so here’s a short German article about prison tattoos and efforts of the German police to create a tattoo database (not new an idea but quite useful nonetheless). And since it’s obvious that tattoos and other forms of body modification make our bodies unique and thus easy to identify, one isn’t surprised while reading such articles as ‘severed leg identified by tattoos.’ In a somewhat related vein a Swiss article about Mara Salvatrucha and tragic stories that are pretty often hidden beneath the crimes: ‘Mother, forgive me my crazy life.’

Another interview with Thomas Pendelton of ‘Tattoo Highway’ fame. I’m cynical enough to think that the modern medias love playing on our sentiments, so my feelings about ‘reality TV show helping Las Vegas woman find her birth son’ are pretty mixed.

The industry keeps expanding and that’s not a mindbreaking piece of news; what’s interesting in this one is the place (India) and the people getting genital tattoos and piercings (women).

Another Polish accent on here in a pretty average article about tattoos and jobs and a more interesting article on the same subject from Canada: ‘visible tattoos okay on the job, Quebec judge rules.’ And that’s quite unusual!

I’m attending a tattoo convention this weekend – pictures and a review will be posted on here soon.