active in many ways

Bastian already provided us with some relevant info on legislative changes regarding ‘non-traditional’ forms of body modification in Arkansas but here is another article showing that body artists can and should cooperate with legislators to change the industry for better and educate people on the subject of body modification. Also from Arkansas, a local artist’s take on scarification.

Definitely interesting: body jewelry and piercings in American prisons.

One of the great of the industry, Mark Mahoney, still doing strong!

One of more popular tattoo artists, Ami James, in Ireland.

‘Meaningful’ tattoos are usually associated, and kinda mocked because of it, with Miami Ink show and even though there is something to it, this Australian article on tattoos and the process of grieving shows that tattoos may really help deal with a loss.

Popular tattoo culture reflected in an article about a new tattoo magazine focused on ‘tattooed urban models,’ a slide show presenting tattoos in hip-hop and a text about an app which brings both Zombie Boy and Dermablend back to life (so to speak).

A little more about the project ‘Bled for Boston.’ Also related to running is this article from Runner’s World on temporary tattoos as heart monitors (not a new topic but I like it when the Bible (a.k.a. RW ;)) mentions tattoos.

Fitness and tattoos combined – Bob Harper discussing his tattoos. He’s one of the most tattooed personal trainers out there and even though he seems to be a tattoo guy only (you never know, though), his example shows that a fit, modified body is the (only) way to go for those who want to adorn their ‘temples.’

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Tattoos and brain: Dr. Mark Benecke. Not the best article ever but he’s always worth to be mentioned.

A very interesting exhibit focused on Native American pride: Iroquois tattoos. Here’s some more info on Hiawatha Belt, a frequent tattoo motif for modern Iroquois.

Two tattoo artists, different modi operandi: Tyson Pederson of Divinity Tattoo and a guy called Czarny Tulipan who is presented as if he worked underground.

book review: Don Ed Hardy, Wear Your Dreams. My Life in Tattoos

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When the Great Ones of the industry speak out, I can only rejoice! And an autobiography of Don Ed Hardy is simply great!

The book does not disappoint at all! Hardy turns out to be as very down-to-earth and focused on art as you’d expect him to be (after all, he isn’t, and has never been, one of the ink celebrities plastered all over the Net, his own name aside that is). The language he uses in the book is straightforward, down-to-earth (again) and sounds more like his own voice than him shaped by his co-author, Joel Selvin.

The book is chronologically oriented and Hardy shows us around his life/ world right from the beginning which was Corona Del Mar, CA in the 50’s to his crazy years in San Francisco to his experiences  and encounters in Japan to his (mis)adventure with Don Ed Hardy merchandise to his current life between San Fran and Hawaii.

It all started for him with a few tiny tattoos on his childhood friend’s father and the rest is history. He really did start as early as 10 years old even if his first tattoos were just temporary stuff painted on his friends’ skin. As he proudly admits, though, he and his friend Len always made sure that their ‘clients’ had their parents’ permission to get a ‘tattoo’ from them.

The street credit is never enough, so Hardy went to an art school to develop his skills and hone his talent. He’s honest enough to admit that he ‘didn’t have an original thought in his head about [painting]. I tended to imitate somebody that I admired. I’d done that all the way through. When I got into Goya, I did a self-portrait a la Goya. I wanted to be like these people. I wanted to mind-meld with them by looking at their work and imitating it.’ When he went to Japan (and his Japanese adventures are fascinating to read and again, he’s very honest as he discusses not only the good but also the bad about Japan for him), he discovered how codified and stiff rules of traditional Japanese tattooing actually were despite its wonderful colors and themes. But it took a creative genius of his to combine both so successfully and give us all a new quality to derive from.

Hardy is well aware of his tremendous influence on the tattoo world and mentions it a few times. He never really boasts, though; it’s more of stating the facts and he never forgets to acknowledge the people who came before him or lived along him and also managed to shape the tattoo scene. He’s proud but also humble and that’s a great combination.

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It’s his book, of course, so he takes a central place here but he never misses an opportunity to mention and praise Sailor Jerry, Bert Grimm, other important Western tattooers or Japanese tattoo masters. Hardy knows the history, he knows that we wouldn’t be the subculture we are without our past and he appreciates it a lot. His short portraits of people are very to the point and show us the big industry names from a new perspective. It’s certainly a big history lesson when he discusses the old tattooists, the old school tattoos, the sailors and soldiers who were the primary recipients of tattoos back in the day and how they used to ‘sterilize’ the tattoo equipment decades ago. It makes you smile, ponder and cringe as you go on with reading and there’s not even one single boring page in this book!

When a few weeks ago I reviewed Kat Von D’s new book, I pointed out how obvious, repetitive and too personal at times it was for me. Hardy managed to do something entirely opposite even though he also wrote about his life, achievements and dreams. And even though he broaches the subject of his private life now and then, he never crosses the line of TMI and remains discreet – we know he was married twice, he got divorced, his has a son who’s also a tattoo artist but there’s no unnecessary drama and too personal details uncovered for all.

He ends his book on a positive note. He knows tattoos are important to him but he also senses that tattoos are important to all of us, otherwise why we would either love or hate them but never be indifferent toward them? As classic as he is, he also remains an ordinary human who knows that tattoos don’t really have to be very meaningful (he’s not a Miami Ink kind of guy, eh? ;)). And, more importantly, the book of his life is not really finished yet and, deep within, he still is a kid eager to do art and live his life to the fullest.

 Don Ed Hardy, Wear Your Dreams. My Life in Tattoos, Thomas Dunne Books 2013

digital tattoos and quite a real Beckham

Do you like computers, smartphones, tablets and whatnot? Soon they may be a basic tool to appreciate art, also this body one: the Shifting Skin project and a tattoo viewable by phones only.

The City of Angels: a body piercer trying to find her place there, a review of the book by Kat Von D, a self-proclaimed L.A. girl and an article about an L.A.-based suspension group.

Ear stretching in OH.

Ground-breaking news from Austria on popularity of tattoos in this country. Meanwhile, in Arkansas, there are attempts to ban non-traditional forms of body modification (‘non-traditional’ being an interesting statement here).

Fit bodies and tattoos: yet another slide show of athletes in Moscow and David Beckham and his tattoos in H&M ad(s).

London Tattoo Convention coming soon!

Either you get it or you don’t!

It’s been a great treat to watch the IAAF Championship competitions in Moscow (on TV that is ;)); with the event coming to an end, here’s a slide show featuring some of the athlete tattoos. The question of athlete tattoos and copyrights is discussed here.

Also sports-related but on a sad note: the photo project ‘Bled for Boston.’

Nike’s been having a really bad luck this year – first their misfired slogan for Pistorius, then their failure with the Boston Massacre shirt, and now reactions to the tattoo-inspired apparel line also turned out not the way they expected! Obviously, it’s not about market and profits, eh?

People’s take on tattoos: a pastor devoted to (Iron) Maiden, a huge fan of the ‘Twilight’ saga, Larry da Leopard, tattoos at a more advanced age than you may think and another map tattoo.

Scott Campbell!

Para-medical tattoos.

Tattoos and their meanings!

People’s reactions to tattoos and one person’s replies – a pretty good and funny one.

From ‘Down Under’ an article about stretched lobes (reconstruction) and another one about tattoos at work.

to do or not to do … a tattoo?

A little more about risks hidden in moles covered by tattoos. Also, there’s an idea for temporary tattoos warning of coming to the dreaded ‘wall’ – even Sunday athletes know what it means.

A handful of Polish articles focused on tattoos – tattoos and jobs (the conclusion – if you’re tattooed, you come across as very unprofessional), tattoo underground (but we all should remember the saying ‘cheap tattoo isn’t good, good tattoo isn’t cheap’!) and some info on tattoo removal.

Something light in tone but with a good message – why you shouldn’t get a Chinese tattoo.

The ‘Breaking Bad’ TV show is coming to an end, so here’s some news related to both the series and tattoos devoted to the show.

A short article focused on traditional Maori tattoos. This one is a real gem – great old pictures of tattoo old timers and their work.

An interesting interview with a suspension group from GA, USA on suspension.org!

Modified charity: tattoos for cat lovers help animals!

Finally, the ‘Do or Die’ video by 30 Seconds to Mars with some band tattoos inside.

tattoos find their way(s)

Chinese foot binding and Kayan tribe’s body modification here while here you can see some traditional Thai ‘sacred’ ink. Also, from Hawaii, a short article on the rising popularity of traditional Polynesian tattoos (Keone Nunes mentioned).

Nike went for tradition, too and now has a sports apparel line for women with a traditional tattooinspired pattern. Is it good or bad?

A very interesting art project in Italy: Michelangelo’s David covered in tattoos.

Map tattoos here.

A bit more serious: tattoos may hide signs of melanoma.

A video of suspension show from New Jersey.

Tattoos still popular in Poland (and pretty much everywhere else, no? ;))

Finally, an interesting idea for very temporary tattoos: shadow body art.