Should Chola style really be that fashionable?

Growing up in the 90s in the UK, we all remember the girls at school who would spend hours gluing  their kiss curls and baby hair down to their foreheads, after rounding them into a precise spiral formation with the use of a pencil… but why we used to ask ourselves?

Lana Del Rey in her music video/short film, Tropico

The Chola style originates from a Mexican American subculture, often associated with gangs and hip hop. The look consisted of a crop bra top, baggy trousers, which were usually Dickies, jeans and,  to top the look off, a plaid shirt with only the top button done up exposing the midriff. Gold bamboo earrings were an absolute must, along with the black winged eyeliner and a nude lip, lined in a dark brown.  There is something about this look that is appealing to so many… maybe down to the nonchalant “I don’t give a shit” attitude that has been played out in movies and music videos over the last few decades. The truth of the matter is that we all love a bad girl and this look personifies that raw edge while still looking ‘sexy’ and ‘glam.’

Nicki Minaj in her music video, Senile with tattoo artist Mr Trigz to her right who was sadly shot dead after the making of this video.

Gwen Stefani in her music video, Luxurious

Rihanna dressed as a Chola for Halloween

But Chola is more than a look and it actually relates to many people’s historical and geographical backgrounds.  The journalist, Julianne Escobedo Shepherd describes Chola in terms of her ancestry: “it was part of our inherited and ancestral culture. Historically, the term was used by European colonisers to refer to full or mixed indigenous populations in South and Central America. But in the 1960s was reclaimed in the US by working-class Mexican Americans and the Chicano Power movement as a way to flip and empower a term that had historically been used to denigrate us.” Shepherd then goes onto discuss the trend in terms of those who can afford to buy into the look that the fashion industry is selling, “privileged people want to borrow the ‘cool’ of disenfranchised people of colour, but don’t have to face any of the discrimination or marginalisation that accompanies it.”

FKA Twigs for ID magazine

Singer, Brooke Candy

Steven Meisel‘s photoshoot for Vogue Italia entitled, ‘Haute Mess’ which caused controversy down to its ‘racist ethnic stereotypes.’

So is it suitable for celebrities and fashion designers alike to be “ripping off” a look that actually holds great cultural significance for so many?  Recently a festival in Canada banned attendees from wearing Native American headdresses with one of the festival organisers stating on their Facebook page, “they have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated. Bass Coast festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people.” Pharrell Williams had to publicly apologise last year for wearing a headdress on the front cover of Elle magazine, so maybe times are changing with cultural appropriation becoming frowned upon. Can the same can be said for the Chola trend?

 Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy A/W 2015

Stylist, Anna Trevelyan wearing designer Nasir Mazhar

Suds and Smiles Samantha Fortenberry

Photographer Samantha Fortenberry has created a series of photographs titled Suds and Smiles to encapsulate the joy of bath time. The collection explores the relationship between people and objects with vibrant colours, kitsch accessories and humorous staging.

Samantha also introduces  ideas of body positivity and gender equality, as she shoots both male and female nudes, all exuding a beautiful confidence.


Eva Laflamme, editor of The Tattoo Tourist, asks what is the perfect age for ink?

Around the world, and especially in the West, tattooing continues to pick up steam on a near daily basis. The notion that having  tattoos makes you appear rebellious or edgy is rapidly disappearing as more individuals from all walks of life make the decision to permanently mark their bodies. Acceptance is a good thing although some feel a pang of regret at the loss of the insider status having tattoos once conferred on the wearer. If everyone is doing it then how is it unique?

Of course, tattoos are as varied as the people who choose to wear them, and high quality tattoos always stand out from the crowd for their quality, clarity and ability to age well. Speaking of aging, now that it appears everyone has a tattoo, certain demographics previously underrepresented are jumping into the fray. I am talking about the very young and the very old, and the prospect of getting inked at an age that raises eyebrows.

What IS the perfect age to get tattooed? That is about as easy to answer as “what is the perfect tattoo?’. Everyone is different and comes to this decision for their own reasons – good, bad or otherwise. Can you be too young or too old for a tattoo? Not likely but each end of the spectrum has its own special considerations.

What is too young for a tattoo? Of course the law in virtually every western nation prohibits the tattooing of a minor (minor being  below 15 -18yrs depending on your location).  The logic is a minor could not properly consent to a permanent and potentially life-changing decision due to a lack of maturity, so the law protects them from making a rash or foolish decision (sort of like marriage).

Does that mean you will magically make sound choices once you achieve 16 years? Hmmmm think back to when YOU were 16. Do you still like all the same things you did back then? Love all the same people? Have all the same interests? Young people going in for their first tattoos are understandably excited and proud but also risk a potential poor choice due to a lack of life experience and perspective. (Of course this is not exclusive to the very young as any number of “bad tattoo” internet sites will attest to).

This doesn’t apply to every teenager but as more and more celebrities –  who are also in their teens –  sport ever more ink, it does drive a trend among the vulnerable youth market to follow suit. Will Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber still love their tattoos 20 plus years down the road? Will the thousands of kids who copied their favourite celeb’s ink feel the same?

My final thought on inking up early and heavy – what if your tastes change? Maybe not subject matter. You might be into skulls and roses at 16 and also at 36 but if you use up all your prime real estate early in the game what is left? And what if you develop an appreciation not just for ink but for top-notch ink from well-respected artists? Will you have any skin left? For the young I would say start small, space them out and be thoughtful in your choices. You plan on being around for a while, right? Tattooing will still be there for you when you are in your 20s, 30s and beyond.

What about way beyond? Can you be too old for a tattoo? I think not. Of course as we age the texture of our skin changes and this is something a skilled tattoo artist understands and takes into account.  Good artists know that skin quality can have a big effect on tattoo quality.

If you are getting on in years and things are getting a bit…wobbly…should that stop you? Oh hell no. But seek out a truly skilled artist who is well versed in their craft  and can give you realistic expectations as well as excellent results. But what about the stigma? In days past the site of a heavily tattooed older person meant they had lived a roustabout lifestyle.


Sailors, bikers, carnival and circus folk – they wore their feathered and faded tattoos with pride – a personal map of their colorful lives and with good reason. The old saw about “hating how your tattoos look when you are old” is something people who don’t like tattoos say. Elizabeth Weirnzl - legendary tattoo collector (who passed in 1993) and Lyle Tuttle – legendary tattoo artist (still alive and kicking ass) look amazing in their later years with their beautiful and yes…weathered tattoos telling their individual stories so well.

But what if you never thought about getting tattooed until you were past middle age? I myself jumped into the fray after a double mastectomy and the tattoos that covered my scars. Prior to that I had one tiny tattoo hidden from view that I had done in my early 20s. Now in my mid 40s I have sleeves, one shoulder and a laundry list of artists I hope to work with and prime real estate I hope to cover. My only concern? Not getting all the ink I want before I’m dead. I’ll keep going indefinitely – age be damned. The only social stigma you should be concerned with is being seen as the type of person who cares too much about what other people think.

Eva Laflamme


So even if you are a tender teen or a wizened senior citizen you can still embellish your body  – just think before you ink and always seek out a professional and experienced artist for the best results.

Want more tattooed thoughts? Visit Eva’s website 

Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector at the Barbican

Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector at the Barbican presents the fascinating personal collections of post-war and contemporary artists. Ranging from mass-produced memorabilia and popular collectibles to one-of-a-kind curiosities, rare artefacts and specimens.

The collections provide insight into the inspirations, influences and obsessions of artists, including tattoo artist Dr Lakra from Mexico – whose collection includes brightly coloured album covers from his record collection – and the renowned, and sometimes controversial, Damien Hirst – whose collection consists of human skulls and taxidermy.

Album covers from the collection of Dr Lakra. Photo by Dr Lakra Skulls on display in Damien Hirst’s house, Courtesy Murderme Collection



While some artists are connoisseurs, others accumulate hoards of objects, never letting anything go. Many make direct use of their collections and others keep them under wraps or in storage. Collecting objects for research and study is key to the practice of many artists in the exhibition. Presented alongside examples of their work, their collections help to elucidate their art.

A highlight for us is discovering that pop art king Andy Warhol is as big a fan of kitsch as we are…

Cookie jars formerly in the collection of Andy Warhol. Image courtesy the Movado Group




If you love quirky collections and finding out more about the artists’ creative process, this exhibition is for you. It runs at the Barbican in London from 12 February 2015 – 25 May 2015, more info at


Photos from Huffington Post

The battlle over tattoos in the U.S Army hits a new phase

A new policy has been introduced within the U.S Army that will no longer limit the size or amount of tattoos a soldier can have in a bid to encourage more recruitment and retain those already listed.  In a press conference last week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno stated: “as part of the regular process that we go through in reviewing regulations, covering the wear and appearance of the Army uniform, and the appearance of our Soldiers, we will be releasing in the coming weeks, an update to that policy, and the most notable change is going to be the change in the tattoo policy in the Army.”

Tattoos on the face, neck and hands are still forbidden, along with any tattoos referencing racism or hate, but the amount on a person’s torso, arms or legs are no longer restricted.  “We have listened to the Soldiers,” Gen. Odierno said. “I’ve talked to our sergeants major and our non-commissioned officers and some of our officers and frankly, society is changing its view of tattoos, and I think we need to change along with it.”

War Ink also coincides with this new law and is a series of short films showcasing veteran servicemen and servicewomen talking about the relationship they have with their tattoos in correlation to the duty they undertake for their country.  War Ink is a partnership between the Contra Costa County Library, a collective of California’s libraries, and Jason Deitch, a former Army medic and military sociologist.

Savage Beauty

The critically acclaimed exhibition, Savage Beauty has turned everyone’s attention back towards the incredible talent that was Alexander McQueen. All of the team at Things & Ink love embracing differing opinions on what the conventional beauty standards are and no better example of this was on the catwalk of McQueen’s shows.

With the incredible talents of world famous makeup artists, Peter Philips, Val Garland and Pat McGrath, the makeup created for these shows was truly out of this world.

Savage Beauty runs until July 19th 2015 at the V&A Museum in London


Mårwåne Pallas: This Is My Body

This Is My Body is a series created by self-taught Paris born artist Mårwåne Pallas. The composed self portraits hauntingly explore physical anatomy and the damaging ways we manipulate the human body. The collection also looks at ideas of sexuality and physical status connected with the Bible.

In The Flesh

The Making of Eve 

My Body is a Temple

This Is My Blood

Amy – official trailer and your Amy Winehouse tattoos

 Amy reveals an intimate glimpse in to the life and death of Amy Winehouse, who tragically passed away in 2011 from alcohol poisoning after a long battle with alcohol and drug addiction. Her music, look and persona has lived on and the BAFTA award winning film maker, Asif Kapadia has captured the true essence of her tempestuous life in a film that is sure to prove why she was and still is adored by so many.

Check out the trailer on YouTube.

Amy Winehouse has become such a cult figure that many of us are adorning ourselves in memory to her with portrait tattoos, replicas of her own tattoos and personal designs that keep her memory alive on our skin.

Gray Silva from Rampant Ink in Nottingham

Lauren Winzer from Hunter & Fox in Sydney

Unfinished by Aaron Wickham from Horsham

Jocke JP Petersson from Pistolero tattoo in Sweden

 Roberto Euan

 Nico Lavoratori

3D Tattoo

Tony Booth who owns Dabs Tattoo in Southport UK created this incredible 3D geometric tattoo, which took multiple sessions over 18 months and was completed at Tattoo Tea Party a few weeks ago.

The futuristic layered piece won Tony Best Blackwork award at the convention in Manchester, since then the tattoo has gone viral, being shared by the likes of street artist Banksy. The intricate geometric pattern creates a layered effect, that some have found unnerving, while others have been impressed by the commitment to such an impressive piece.



Matching tattoos

The latest celebrity couple to get matching tattoos in honour of their love for one another is Ellie Goulding and Dougie Poynter. ‘Skullin ell’ was the phrase Poynter used on his Instagram account to show the world his new ink.

Here are some of our readers matching tattoos with their loved ones.

  Matching flamingos by Bob Done from The Lookout, Worthing 



By Vicky Kostick from Baby Boy Tattoo, Bishop’s Stortford 


By Erik Dyum 

  Matching tattoos drawn be their son