law, work and exotic

Law-related ones go first: ‘tattoo law could help blood centers’ in IL, more regulations in Sacramento, CA and the age and permission issues in ‘tattoo permission measure clears House.’

Work-related: ‘eye of the beholder – can employers discriminate on physical appearance?’ and ‘tattoos at the workplace.’

A touch of exotic in articles about tattoos in Thailand, Malaysia and India plus one mediocre one (but it’s from Namibia which makes it interesting enough) asking if ‘tattoos are a religious statement or a rebellious trend.’

NonEnglish: one about using traditional Filipino calligraphy in Spanish and one in Polish about ear tattoo trend.

book review: black tattoo art

This review is long overdue for which I apologize to my generous friend/Santa, Bastian.

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 I’ve never been a fan of black solid work in tattooing, so even though I noticed, and posted on here about, the news about a new book by Marisa Kakoulas, I wasn’t thrilled about it enough to add it to my collection of the books on the subject. When it miraculously was added to it anyway, it took me a while to browse through it and then to actually read and experience it. My final thoughts on it? This book is great!

Ms. Kakoulas is not new to the international tattoo scene, of course. Her articles on law, published on BME in its good, ol’ days, were always fascinating to read and easy to comprehend; her posts on her blog (first, later were always light in tone and yet informative and thoughtful, so one could expect that her new book, on a subject that she literally wears on her skin, would be at least as good as things she’d already done.

Everything about this book is impressive, from its size (it weighs close to 4kg! and is packed up with excellent quality photographs of tattoos in various styles) to her own thoughts on the subject to quality of the interviews she conducted with the artists to the references for the curious and willing to learn more.

Ms. Kakoulas never tries to impose her presence and expertise on us; she’s always there to assist us while listening to the interviewed artists (interviews with Leo Zulueta, Daniel DiMattia and Colin Dale are wonderful in their lack of pretensions, with a great touch of humor and a light, simple but still serious tone in approaching the subject while her interview with Yann Black shows a still new but gaining more and more fans tattoo style in a (again) simple and unpretentious and also very informative way.

There’s a great concept behind the way the author shows the black tattoo art. Very tribal and traditional as it is, Ms. Kakoulas started with a very modern, Westernized version of the black tattoo to gradually take us to a more avant-garde direction within the style to finally touch the subject of tattoo traditions in various cultures and the part of the book devoted to ‘traditional revival,’ describing ‘Filipino Tribe’ and presenting tattoo artists practicing traditional ways of tattooing is, in my opinion, the most interesting one in here.

One can’t forget, however, that in this work not only the text itself is important. The photographs of the tattoos by many great artists play a very important role here as well. Pictures of the tattoo pieces by Leo Zulueta, juxtaposed with traditional, ‘exotic’ settings create a feel of serenity and simplicity while pieces by Xed Lehead may fascinate with their complexity and spicing monochromatic works with controlled splashes of color.

In a way, ‘Black Tattoo Art’ was a sort of revelation, showing me, again and again, that in the hands of a talented and imaginative artist one color can be a powerful tool to create a real art that is, cliché as it may sound, definitely more than only skin deep.


Marisa Kakoulas, Black Tattoo Art. Modern Expressions of the Tribal, Edition Reuss, 2009

questions, wow’s and party times

Here a few I got to fish out to start a week:

An article from Canada: ‘how old is old enough to get pierced?

Another ‘important’ question is ‘are tattoos and piercings unattractive?’ I must admit, however, that the author of this post really is to something as it’s pretty amazing how many people perceive body art in an ‘old way.’

Facial tattoo shown not as a huge obstacle to get a job in ‘the vintage tee-shirt dealer with a tattooed face.’

Ever since I got my own tongue split, I love articles about them (even if only to see how much of re-growth others got;)), so here’s a short one from Asia: ‘invasion of body mods.’

Party time in Australia (‘Hot Ink Tattoo Party’) and in Germany (a slideshow of tattoos spotted in a few German nightclubs).

This one is good: ‘Penguin Inks Series’ with book covers designed by tattoo artists. I’m one of those who’d prefer to see a different book selection, though!

ideals, cliches and glitter

Another bunch of quite interesting ones:

Straight Edge lost its edge, as it seems, but the ideals behind it are noble and for some they still mean a lot hence a short article about ‘straight edge [seen as] lifestyle with punk roots.’

Lots has already been said about the *in*famous Christian Audigier; here he discusses his new clothing line.

Another one all about glitter, show and money in an article about ‘Musink Tattoo and Music Festival.’

Rybnik is all about tattoos’ is in Polish and describes quite amazing phenomenon: how is it possible that in a middle-size town in the middle of nowhere a few talented tattoo artists not only managed to establish thriving tattoo shops but also get noticed in the international scene!

Finally, something indirectly-related: ‘common tattoos’ discusses the girl with the dragon tattoo movie. I’ve been reading the last part of the Millennium Trilogy for last few weeks but I’m blaming it more on the lack of time and loads of things to do than the quality of the book. The whole cycle is worth checking out!

a quick one

A small bunch of interesting links:

News from Italy: ‘body piercings and tattoos: awareness of health-related risks among Italian teenagers.’

Tattoos helping the police or not? ‘the NYPD has seen your tattoos’ and ‘increase in tattooing making it tough to track gangs down.’

People: ‘Mike Tidwell talks tattoos.’

Rare stuff and not even a gem: ‘the ancient art of human suspension’ in modern settings.

And tattoos for a good cause again: ‘tattoo-a-thon to help a children’s hospital.’

talk away, I’ll still love it!

One would think that living in a democratic country would allow us to express ourselves and live our lives the way we want to but obviously it’s not the case if Prime Ministers take it as a priority  to tell us what they think about tattoos on women (although commenting on tattoos on men would be equally inappropriate!).

Sure tattoos can be a huge obstacle in your career (especially if you wanna become a funeral director!) but hopefully not that many people get their tattoos done when they’re drunk out of their minds.

For some tattoos mean good luck! Fashion both ostracizes the real, permanent body art and exploits it whenever it finds it useful and profitable.

With such a heavy going back and forth in the mainstream world, one must admire the real tattoo enthusiasts’ consistency and the tattoo artists’ generosity and willingness to help when it’s needed (as show these two cases of help for Haiti).

Something entirely different to end this one: ‘augmented reality tattoo’ (another one). Even if it’s not real, it looks quite cool!

interesting news in obscure languages

For most Canadians it’s probably mainly about the Winter Olympic Games now but in Calgary there’s a serious action going against unlicensed, home-based ‘tattoo businesses.’ It seems to be supported by local licensed tattoo artists. It’s not only a Canadian problem, though, as shown in this article from IN, USA.

Dress code issue in Denmark – ‘no biker tattoos for prison guards.’

Interesting interviews with tattoos artists: the famous Kat Von D and a local Polish tattoo artist, worth checking out, though.

Tattoos may be still associated with bikers and criminals but they also get featured in museums, not only in the form of exhibits: ‘Maori mask making workshop at Swansea Museum.’

Self-injury is a controversial subject; here a very brief article about self-injury as seen by American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistic Manual.

Ever met a modified person who didn’t have a problem with showing off their modifications? It’s pretty common, I think, but – as these two short texts in Dutch show – it might also be dangerous, especially if you have no problems with showing off your genital mods in public places.

Making the most temporary tattoos’ in AZ.

I’m aware that Polish is not that widely known and used a language but since I’m (surprise surprise) fluent in it and this one is kind of funny in this ‘amazingly twisted’ way, check out an article about a heavily modified Pole whose modifications don’t really make me floored but the way they are described makes me laugh pretty hard.

interesting and bizarre

A very brief one today but with a few interesting links:

Big thanks to Bastian for sending me this one about tattoos in Thailand; it’s in German but worth checking out!

Another cool hint is also from Bastian – an Australian sword-swallower (video and short text about him).

And here’s a piece of news from the Netherlands claiming that the latest body modification trend is ‘clear lens facial piercing.’

depraving, scary and still enticing

Who knew that gays and tattoos always go hand in hand? Apparently, it’s a secret known only to the Southern gentlemen and one of them decided to reveal it to all other people out there: ‘Chambliss: if gays will serve, there will be tattoos’ (more). Senator Chambliss was heard by many and people’s responses were quite interesting. On a side note, here’s a very tiny article in Polish stating that in the Polish army tattoos are not a problem (most of the time).

The ‘job market’ argument against tattoos sounds reasonable (‘Starbucks employee claims he was fired because of his tattoos’) but maybe it’s just a question of good mimicry skills (‘Scotland’s scariest teacher’). Now let’s just wait and see if this Scottish teacher’s openness won’t bring any bad consequences for her.

Times change and an approach toward tattoos changes as well (which is obvious, of course). A pretty interesting article about a kind of ‘new wave’ of well-educated people in the tattoo industry shows it quite well.

An interesting article from United Arab Emirate describes the tattoo underground there!

Finally, something lighter: popularity of ‘Prison Break’ came and went but its fans can revive it with a little help of a new game based on the show.

changes, sometimes for free and for the better

It’s not new by now that tattoos are not what they used to be but it’s nice to remember that tattoos undergo ‘demographic changes.’ Which is even more obvious when tattoos enter museums – here a request from the Riverside museum!

Celebrating ‘the Greensboro Four’ and civil rights with tattoos  was already mentioned here but here’s a little more info on the event. Another interesting article about modified people doing something for others and not expecting anything in return in ‘Activist slackers.’

An odd article from New Zealand about a guy whose last will, tattoo-related, was not fulfilled!

Finally some eye candy: ‘skin art, hot tattoos at the Super Bowl 2010 players.’