book review: mythical and spiritual tattoo design directory;

 Another part of the ‘’Essential Reference for Body Art’’ series from Chartwell Books Inc., also written by Russ Thorne, author of the Body Art Manual.

The goal of the series hasn’t changed and it’s all about providing the basics on the subject. It starts with such general things as what to do before getting a tattoo done, what to look for at a tattoo shop, and how to take care of a fresh tattoo. A very good point is discussing such common mistakes as getting a tattoo in a foreign language (which not necessarily has to mean what we think it does!); it also discusses spiritual and cultural appropriation which really should be taken into consideration before the whole tattooing process starts.

A strong point in this tiny volume is a short section on ‘global tattoo myths’ where a reader can learn how tattoos were perceived in different cultures. It adds an interesting dimension and shows what a complex and old art the tattooing really is.

The biggest part of the book is focused on spiritual tattoos; it’s divided into sections (scripts and symbols, classical mythology, mythical creatures, angels and demons, animals, world religion, magic and mysticism, nature, Celtic, tribal) and briefly discusses meanings behind the most common symbols used as tattoo designs. Russ Thorne seems to be a funny guy and tries, quite successfully, to spice his writing up with some sense of humor, subtle enough to just get noticed and make his reader smile.

As before, the biggest disadvantage of the book is the lack of any bibliography and advice what to read to learn more on the subject. Since in this book ‘’essential’’ means ‘’basic,’’ some pointers toward further reading would be greatly appreciated.

Tattoos are pictures on the skin and their brightness, crispiness of the lines, vibrant colors etc. play an important role in how people perceive tattoos both on themselves and the others. Sadly, in this book pictures of the tattoos are tiny and almost deprived of the color which takes away from the experience of reading about the tattoos. I think I’d prefer less pictures but of better quality and bigger size from many very small pictures with hard to see tattoos.

All in all, I’d say that as far as the text in this book is involved, it might be satisfactory but on the purely visual level, it could have been done better.

Russ Thorne, Mythical and Spiritual Tattoo Design Directory The Essential Reference for Body Art, Chartwell Books Inc., 2011

bad and good

Body modification and job market again: tattoos (and other modifications) a barrier to employment?

But, obviously, you can look at them as an artistic expression of yourself: ‘the art of body art’ which is a photograph exhibit in FL.

You can also try to earn some money using their popularity: maybe the first one in the worldtattoo hotel.’

Something in Dutch: Henk Schiffmacher organized a fund raising for Japan!

Growing popularity of tattoos (this one’s in Polish) certainly leads to perceiving tattoo artists as celebrities.

And you can also win a tattoo in a contest: a huge backpiece based on a computer game.

hope and candy

There’s still bad news coming from Japan but it’s pretty uplifting to see how people all around the world are organizing help for the Japanese. Here two nice examples of the modified charity: ‘pierce-a-thon’ and ‘tattoos for Japan.’

A documentary ‘Tattoo Jew,’ previously mentioned in this post, finally moved to the screening phase (here’s the website of the project). Hopefully it’ll be available to purchase somewhere online as I’d love to see it.

Local artists: ‘inked in to a new life’ and a tattoo apprentice about her learning process.

Museums and tattoos: an idea for a museum called International Lyle Tuttle Museum and a museum exhibit ‘body beautiful. ‘

What the placement of your tattoo say about you? If you believe in such things, check this one out.

An article about suspension, brought to me and you by Bastian, of course (whose love for and obsession with hooks is pretty well-known ;)).

Finally a nicely morbid eye candy: Zombie Boy in Mugler’s new ad campaign and he’s looking really good!

haunting people, generic words

Zombie Boy still hitting the headlines although this time it’s not only about his 15 minutes of fame but also about his softer, ‚human’ side which is definitely a bonus – no matter how credible his ‚mummy’ side is, at least he’s not labeled as a freak only!

Speaking of ‚atypical’ tattoos, Bastian sent me an interesting follow-up of the ‚mini’ penis tattoo – looks like certain German authorities are going to look closer into the case and fine the radio people.

Tattoos in a few different context: an interesting and meaningful one about tattoos of Tibetan refugees, a typical article on tattoos and teenagers (although some points of it are still valid!), tattoos in Toronto and eco-friendly tattoos?

History of the tattooing should be cherished and preserved, so here’s an article about Tattoo Archive based in NC, with some pics of the place (and here’s a link to the Tattoo Archive’s website!).

Finally, a nice gem for my Dutch-loving ear: a video about microdermals.

book review: body piercing. the body art manual;

 ‘Body Piercing. The Body Art Manual’ by Russ Thorne is another volume in a series of books about body modification published by Chartwell Books Inc.and labeled as ‘essential reference for body art.’

The book looks like two previous volumes of the series – hardcover, spiral binding, interesting images, good quality paper and basic information on the subject.

The ‘Body Piercing’ book is divided into a few sections. The main focus of the author is, of course, on various types of body piercings, preparation for the procedures, aftercare and possible risks. Both the author and publishers did what they could to avoid a threat of being sued, so you can expect here many warnings and ‘do-not-do-try-it-at-home’ advice. A reader can also find here ‘piercing directory,’ information on more extreme forms of body modification (branding, hybrid body art) and pieces of advice and tips from pierced people and professional piercers.

Two strong points of this book for me are very nice images showing both very popular piercings (ear, tongue, lip etc.) and quite rare ones (prayer or transfinger piercings to name just two of them) and two interviews with both respectable within the industry and famous body modifiers, Samppa von Cyborg and Elayne Angel. Both interviews focus on different topics and are definitely a very interesting read-up. 

It should be mentioned that the author did his homework and, even though briefly, he provided his readers with some cultural and historical background of the body modification scene (many important names are mentioned, i.e. Jim Ward, Doug Malloy, Lucas Zpira and his hactivism). Thorne also devoted a small part of the book to the future of body modification and, quite rightly, points out that the advance in the scene and the industry may be heavily influenced by modern science. Big thumbs-up, however, also for mentioning art performers Orlan and Stellarc who use their bodies and body modification techniques to push both their own and the society’s limits of what’s acceptable.

The book has glossary and index, which makes it reader-friendly. It also has piercing healing charts (reproduced from the Piercing Bible by Elayne Angel) and a list of dos and don’ts which may be useful to potential piercees reading the book. On the downside, there’s no suggested reading list and the only other books actually mentioned here are ‘Modern Primitives’ and The Piercing Bible.

The ‘Manual’ is supposed to serve as a guide to the subject and a tool to ‘educate and dispel myths’ and it fulfills these promises. With good quality images and a few interesting extras is even more than that and I’m definitely glad I’ve added it to my book collection.


Russ Thorne, Body Piercing, The Body Art Manual, Chartwell Books, Inc. 2010

slightly delayed but still interesting

Some delay caused by loads of work IRL. 

After the big earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, local body modifiers started raising money to help victims and many of those who survived and helped others in the rough time ‚right after’ decided to get tattoos done.

Also from New Zealand about Maori heads being returned to their homeland and a link to some info on the person who tries to bring the lost warriors home.

A few interesting articles about tattoo artists: Lyle Tuttle, Keone Nunes and a local Texan artist.

An exotic touch from Jamaica: the local piercing scene.

Zombie Boy resurfaces again and it looks like it’s his 15 minuts of fame; may it last longer than that!

Tattoos-inspired: new energy shot brand.

Interesting but not really posing a threat to tattoo artists: automatic tattoo machine.