Series Review: Hannibal

Our guest blogger is hobbyist film and TV series reviewer and writer Harry Casey-Woodward. This is the first in a series of posts in which Harry will be sharing his opinions on things he has watched. First up is his review of Hannibal

Hannibal, 2013- , cert 18, 2/5

American TV shows tend to annoy me. Of course there are exceptions and this is not going to be a rant about how everything produced by America is pig slop compared to the firm upholding columns of British art, because I enjoy more American films, book and music than such things from my own country.
However, it’s the way the ‘hottest’ US dramas are shoved in your face constantly while someone’s screaming ‘YOUR LIFE WILL NOT BE COMPLETE WITHOUT THIS.’ And when you bully your busy consciousness to pay attention to them, you realise that under all the hype, the glossy technical sheen and pretty actors, there’s not a lot going on.
‘Hannibal’ is no exception. For those not in the know, this series now in its third season is about everybody’s favourite cannibalistic psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter and is set way before ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and even before ‘Red Dragon’, the first Hannibal story.

In the show, Hannibal is somehow not yet suspected of being a serial killer (despite an overly sinister performance by Mads Mikkelsen) and he is asked by FBI man Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) to be psychiatrist for Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), a special consultant for the FBI who’s ‘too unstable’ to be an agent and is revered for his ability to fully emphasise with serial killers.
There have already been two films about Will Graham. In both ‘Manhunter’ (1986) and ‘Red Dragon’ (2002), Graham is presented as a brave, intelligent individual, battling his own demons. Hugh Dancy portrays him as a toddler constantly on the verge of a tantrum. He’s this fragile genius who everyone must dance around or he’ll snap and slaughter them all. Unfortunately the suggestion that someone who looks as threatening as a teddy bear can have a dark murderous heart isn’t very convincing.

His ‘gift’ is overblown too. In the films, Will simply sees the crime scene through the view of the killer, using psychology to pick out clues. In the show, Will can not only fully re-imagine the crime but also re-enact the whole thing, thus causing further annoyance when he pretends to be some big bad psychopath every episode. The replaying of the murder is impressive the first few times, but it gets a bit old when it’s done every episode.
The tendency to over-do things lets this show down big time. Every shot has to look sensuous and glamorous, whether it’s Hannibal’s cooking or a dismembered body. As impressive as the hallucinogenic scenes and perfect lighting is, every episode is an assault to the senses which gets exhausting. Yet under the flashy imagery, the dramatic emotions and heavy dialogue on psychology and murder, the show isn’t saying a lot. All it does it cater to society’s sick obsession with serial killers, of which there are a hundred other shows and films doing the same thing.


Every episode attempts to outdo the one before in terms of gore and violence. Every episode, Will and Jack are investigating a new killer in their local area, which just feels unrealistic. So does the amount of violence perpetrated by the killers. We’ve got killers building sculptures out of bodies, turning bodies into instruments or using them as fungus gardens. While the films attempted to be realistic and in depth with the psychology of their killers, the show just uses outrageous gore for gores’ sake, which feels shallow and sick.
The one thing that could have had more spice was Mad Mikkelsen’s performance of Hannibal. It’s cool to see a cold, restricted portrayal of the character, but Mikkelsen shows so little emotion in every episode that he gets a bit wooden. I still find Hopkins’ performance more chilling. He may be tongue in cheek but he demands your attention, whereas Mikkelsen comes across as a bit lazy.

But maybe I shouldn’t be complaining about something that has been written primarily for entertainment and I should just accept the fact that I do enjoy it for the nonsense that it is. However, what gets my goat is that it tries to be some deep philosophical drama when there’s not much substance under the style. And as for being a horror show, it’s not very scary. While the films went for the classic tools of suggestion and atmosphere to creep you out, the show just throws gore in your face. But if sensual overload is your thing, this show has a lot to offer visually, and Hannibal’s cooking did make me hungry…

What do you think? Do you agree with Harry’s review? 

Images from Sky

Tattoo inspired art: Alisha Murray

Alisha Murray is a 28-year-old freelance artist from Metro Detroit, Michigan. We chatted to Alisha to find out more about her tattoo inspired illustrations, her own tattoos and she has also created an original piece inspired by Things&Ink magazine.  

Do you have a background in art? Yes, I have been doing art since a very young age. It evolved as I got older and better, and even branched into crochet and the culinary arts. Ultimately, traditional artwork is the most rewarding to me. Most of the techniques I’ve learned over the years are from trial and error, but I also learned some of the fundamentals through elementary to high school, but I never went to college for it.

Where do you get your inspiration? Inspiration comes from all places. Lately tattoos both modern and traditional have been a great source of inspiration. I  get a lot of inspiration from the walls of tattoo shops. I have always been drawn to flash art since I was a kid. My grandfather had some ink from the Navy and it always fascinated me and made me want to create similar pieces. As I got old enough to get tattooed, I really paid attention to details of pieces whether American Traditional or Traditional Japanese pieces. They are both styles I admire very much.

How would you describe your style? Most of my newer pieces are a fusion of tattoo flash and hand gestures. I really enjoy making hand gestures that aren’t very politically correct, but still have beautiful tattoos. It’s amazing how much people accept and appreciate some of my more obscene pieces. It makes me happy to know people are just as weird as I am. There are many tattoo artists that create beautiful hand gestures on flesh and I hope I’m doing them right on paper.

Are there any artists that you admire and that influence your work? There are so many amazing artist out there that I admire, such as Bryn Parrot and Liz Clements. Others such as Garth Hixon, Daniel Cotte, Iris Lys, Drew Linden, Anna Sandberg, and Gareth Hawkins have inspired and impacted my work immensely. Every day I see new work from these amazing tattoo artists and I can’t help but be inspired. Their talents make me want to better my work and my knowledge of the tattoo culture.

What medium do you use? I use many different mediums, but I mostly use pen and ink mixed with digital for my hand gestures. I line everything out and finish the background on Photoshop to give it a clean solid colour. Once in a while I’ll use ink and nib with liquid acrylic and watercolour to practice my line work.

Do you have tattoos? Do they have a personal meaning to you? I have many tattoos. I can’t really count them any more. I’m completely solid from my neck to my knees with traditional Japanese pieces. From under my knees down I have some American traditional pieces that I have created or my artist has. I’ve always wanted a full body suit and I’ve been working on it since I turned 18. I always embraced my grandmothers Japanese heritage and was raised learning some of the traditions. Most of these pieces I have are based on Japanese folklore monsters. I always loved the stories behind the mythology of Yurei and how each Provence has different adaptations of them. I knew it was taboo to get ink and be completely covered in tattoos, but I can’t imagine anything more beautiful that someone could do to their own body. It’s definitely the only body enhancement I will partake in. I also have matching tattoos with my husband of our two dogs that I designed. Definitely the biggest matching tattoos I’ve seen. Garth Hixon of Village Tattoo in Romeo, Michigan is the artist behind 99% of my existing body suit.

Where can people buy your art? My art can be purchased at a couple of online stores such as society6.com/alishaannredbubble.com/people/aamurray, and my very own website, scoobtoobins.com. Society6 and Redbubble also carry my work on apparel, bedding, and more.

Ilaria Pozzi – tattooed model and muse

Ilaria Pozzi is a model, a muse and so much more. In photographs we see her portrayed as a woman, who is obviously tattooed, but that it not what stands out the most. The way that she can show her audience more than one person, more than just one facet in a two dimensional photo, is inspiring. The emotions that Ilaria can project hits the observer in so many different ways, meaning that she can be numerous people at any one time. 

Our Italian contributor Ilaria chatted to her about the tattoos on her body and the emotions connected to her photo shoots…

Which photo would you choose to introduce yourself to those who do not know you? The one above. Titled ‘Almost Blue’ by Francesco Tretto. 

Was your first love tattoos or photography? What is the relationship/connection you see between the one and the other? They both are two forms of art expressed through images, the mean of communication with which I have always had more affinity. They are often linked artistically but in my opinion their relationship is, above all, a huge historical and cultural value. The first memories I have are about photography. I remember that my grandfather took pictures of me in his garden.

 Mira Nedyalkova

Beauty is fragility. Beauty, however, is also strength. What is your concept of beauty?  For me, it’s uniqueness. I usually find beautiful what is outside the box, that is not how it should be or as you do not expect.

What emotional impact does getting a new tattoo have for you? How do you feel after a photo shoot? I choose to get tattooed because it makes me feel good. I am happy after every tattoo. After a photo shoot I feel different emotions, depending on the type of work and the team. I can be excited, stressed, calm, etc.

Ilaria’s favourite photo by Mira Nedyalkova

In many of your works we see you are almost or completely naked. What is your idea of intimacy? To me the moments of my private life are intimate, my thoughts and my feelings. As those who wear a uniform at work, I can be naked or I wear clothes that I will not use in my private life.

You cannot separate the body from the soul. True or false? False. There are two distinct realities: the physical one, which has a structure inherently mathematical, determines every physical process, chemical or biological. And there is psychic reality, that generates feelings and thoughts and that transcends the laws of physics.

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

A photo, a memory, can often become a tattoo. Those who photograph you also capture your life and your memories. How does this make you feel? I believe that, whenever you portray a tattooed or not tattooed person, you always capture their history, life and memories, etched on the face, the body or in the eyes. Yes, I can feel vulnerable, but if I have faith in who is behind the camera, that doesn’t happen.

Which are the tattoos you are more connected with? And the artists you admire the most? I am attached to all of them, because they were made by friends who are also artists I really admire. Here are some: Stefano Prestileo (who also tattooed my back piece) Carlo FastColors, Krooked Ken to name just a few.

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

How do you feel when it’s you behind the camera? I like to be able to observe and capture what I see as I see it. In a simple yet direct way, I can create an image from my point of view, always having a lot of respect for who or what I’m observing.

Do you have any ideas for your next tattoo? I should colour the snakes on my head, done by Stefano Prestileo, and I was also thinking to get a duck on my left foot!

Share Your Air by Mira Nedyalkova

Interview with tattoo artist: Johnny Gloom

Johnny Gloom is a 23-year-old tattoo artist who works out of a private studio in Paris. Here at Things&Ink we are memorised by Johnny’s simple, yet elegant style and her sophisticatedly seductive women have captivated us. We chatted to Johnny to find out how she became a tattooist and what inspires her…

How long have you been tattooing? One year.

How did you get into the industry? Do you have a background in art? Not really, I was studying communication and advertising in Paris, but it was the wrong direction for me. One day I fell in love with tattoos. I now find myself here in the world of tattoos.

How would you describe your style? I don’t know actually. Minimalist and black.

What inspires you? Absolutely everything inspires me, but mostly emotions. I’m very sensitive to my own emotions. We are all humans and we have common emotions, if it’s about me, someone else too. Love, hate, violence, passion, sex.  Love is the burden of humanity, everyone recognizes it.

What is it about women that means you to chose them as a subject?
I love women, they are the most beautiful things I think. I particularly like Parisian girls, I find them very elegant. I love watching them, their positions, their hands, how they smoke cigarettes, and when they are sad.

Do you admire other artists? Are you influenced by any? I admire lot of artists and tattoos artists. But I try to be influenced by artists who don’t create or have tattoos,  for example photographers Helmut Newton, Steve Klein and Guy Bourdin. They make things that are different.

Do you have any guest spots or conventions planned? Maybe, I have planned nothing. I salvage and I love my freedom.

Fashion Pearls of Wisdom: New Tattoo Blues

Our guest blogger is Natalie McCreesh aka Pearl, a fashion lecturer,  freelance writer and creator of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom. This is the second of many posts to appear on th-ink.co.uk, in which Natalie will be telling us about her life in tattoos. Read the first in the series here

I woke up with a deep crushing regret for the tattoo I’d gotten the day before. Thoughts of laser removal and cover ups running through my mind. Don’t get me wrong it was an utterly beautiful tattoo by a talented artist, it just wasn’t the tattoo I thought it was going to be…

These thoughts and feelings weren’t all that alien to me, nor did it seem to others too. Only days before my friend had confessed that details of her latest addition had been lost in translation with an Italian artist. I too bore in mind the first large and highly visible tattoo I had, a rooster stretching from ankle to knee. Bold and unapologetic, dark against my pale skin. It was something on me, rather than part of me. Yet as it healed and settled into my skin, became smooth to the touch, my eye grew used to seeing it everyday, my body and gaze accepting it as part of me.

Cockerel by Max Rathbone 

As the day went on I found myself going through a series of emotions, I felt like I was betraying my artist by admitting my concerns, whilst feeling ashamed of myself for ending up in this position. Why hadn’t I put across any specifics that I wanted to the artist, before letting someone etch this onto my skin for the rest of my life?

In truth I was exhausted that day. It was the third time in a week I was getting tattooed. For the past few months I’ve gotten tattooed on average 2-3 times each month. You could say I’d become a bit blasé about the whole thing, when you have most of your body covered in tattoos another small one really doesn’t make that much difference – or does it?

I’d decided on the design based on the artists flash and asked her to do something similar. I didn’t see the design till the night before, again nothing unusual – in fact for all my other tattoos I’d not seen the design until right before it was to be tattooed. I choose artists because I like their work and I trust their judgement. But of course you are the one who will carry this art on your body for the rest of your life (possibly). I’ve never been too specific in my tattoo requests, I’ve given indications  and let the artist get on with it.

So why was I so upset about this tattoo? This was the first tattoo I’d gotten which had meaning, real meaning on a personal level.I have a Japanese bodysuit on the go and lots of Western traditional tattoos so yes of course in the symbolical sense all my tattoos have some meaning, however this one held personal meaning. It was my heart on a plate that I couldn’t explain away. It was my soul laid bare in a great big heart on my thigh. I realised I wasn’t worried about explaining the tattoo to anyone else.

Tattoos by Kelly Smith, Holly Ashby, Max Rathbone & Paul Goss 

No, the shock was in admitting to myself what I had actually done. This tattoo I got because of my boyfriend, not for him, not a gift, not an unyielding declaration of my love. He knows that without the need to permanently mark it on my body. I got it for myself. As a reminder not to run away when things get tough.

Now the swelling has gone down, the blood and plasma washed away, my new tattoo somehow fits.  I like to trace the tattoo with my finger whilst it’s still raised. If I had the chance to alter it now to what I’d previously imagined it to look like, I can safely say I wouldn’t – a tattoo that would have sat alongside my others, small and hidden, no that doesn’t seem right now. I adore this tattoo, its mine, its part of me. It might not have been the tattoo I first expected, but it’s definitely the tattoo I needed.

Post script: My tattoo is now healed and I utterly adore it, the overly emotional state passing in two days leaving me puzzled at how I could ever question such a perfect tattoo. I think we underestimate our bodies sometimes and the endurance we put them through in life. My advice, if you choose an artist whose work you adore and you trust them you can’t go wrong. Getting a permanent addition to your body is a big deal, let yourself be emotional about it but also give yourself time to adjust to it.

You’re never too old to get your first tattoo

You’re never too old to get your first tattoo and this bad-ass grandma proves it… 

79-year-old Sadie Sellers skipped her care home to join her granddaughter, Samantha at a tattoo studio in Londonderry, Ireland. The grandmother and granddaughter got matching small heart tattoos on their arms. It was a way for both of them to complete an item on their bucket lists: Mrs Sellers said: “You know, when you get to my age, you just have to live life to the full every day.”

The Belfast Telegraph reported that:

Afterwards when asked what her family would think of the tattoo, the grandmother of 11 reportedly left customers at the parlour shocked by retorting: “I don’t f****** care.”

Grace Garcia Illustrates No Cure Magazine

Spanish illustrator Grace Garcia  has created a series of drawings for Issue 7 of No Cure Magazine, an Australian indie art culture publication.

GIRL POWER is 84 pages devoted to the many kick-ass, talented chicks out there creating cool shit for those of us who appreciate cool shit.

Grace’s illustrations perfectly capture this notion as the women are covered in self-made tattoos and doing a whole host of sporting activities.

Cultural appropriation and tattoos

Our guest blogger is psychologist, freelance writer and creator of the blog Dream Electric, Ally Richards. In this post she considers cultural appropriation and tattoos. 

Heritage often acts as a source of inspiration for tattoos. It’s also equally common for tattoo collectors to adorn their bodies with representations of other cultures – perhaps memories of places visited or finding inspiration in another population’s practices.

By Carlos Torres

When getting a tattoo referencing a culture that is not your own, issues can arise. We cringe at the (often misspelt) Chinese character tattoos that attracted popularity in the 90s and the use of other cultures as “exotic” or “edgy”. Beyond these examples is the possibility that the tattoo will provoke offense in members of the cultural group referenced and the wearer may be accused of “cultural appropriation”.

What is cultural appropriation? A quick google quickly evidences the controversy behind the term – angry voices making claims of racism and further angry voices proclaiming freedom of expression. In brief, cultural appropriation refers to a majority group who adopts the symbols and signs of a minority group. A power dynamic is inherent; the privileged group (often white and western) takes from an oppressed and marginalised group. This differs from “cultural exchange”, in which the trading between groups is mutual. The power lies in the hands of the majority group – they get to choose which symbols they take on and stand to benefit from this appropriation. This “accessorisation” trivialises and erases the oppression experienced by the minority group.

But I’m not racist, I just think it’s pretty…

Headdress by Ben Klishevskiy

A recent example of cultural appropriation is the wearing of “Red Indian headdresses”, which have become popular accessories. The headdresses (known as warbonnets) have a deep spiritual significance in Native American culture. Native Americans are also a minority group who have a history of oppression and suffering at the hands of Americans. The wearing of the headdresses encourages stereotypes and when worn with skimpy festival-wear it promotes the sexualisation of an ethnic group which already has a high level of sexual assault perpetrated against them. This year Glastonbury banned the sale of the headdresses at the festival for these reasons.

Mandala by Jonathan Toogood

But what about tattoos? Unlike a culturally insensitive costume, a tattoo is usually carefully considered and a lifelong commitment, not a trend to be picked up when convenient. However, by the above definition, cultural appropriation is very common in tattoo culture. Many white people sport tribal blackwork designs inspired by Maori culture. Mexican “sugar skull” designs and mandala tattoos inspired by Hindu and Buddhist practices have become increasingly popular. All of these designs come from cultures that have been historically (and in many cases still currently) oppressed by white people. Is this problematic?

Skull by Mike Harper 

You are free to present your body in whichever way you choose, and your tattoos are your own choice. However, others also have the right to be offended and express this. If you decide to get a tattoo representing a minority culture, you should be prepared for this possibility.  Although your intention is not to be racist, others may see it as such.

If you are in the white majority, it is not for you to decide what is and is not offensive to other groups. Inform yourself of the history and significance around your chosen design and discuss this with members of that community. You may find it helpful to speak to a tattoo artist from that culture. It may be possible to incorporate the aspects of the symbol you find appealing into a more culturally respectful tattoo. Above all, regardless of the eventual choice you make, being thoughtful is key. A tattoo is for life and you don’t want to be spending your later years defending it! Careful consideration of the cultural context around your tattoo may avoid unintentional offense and embarrassment in the future.

 

Peacock Tattoos

Peacocks are such beautiful birds, what with their colourful plumage and regal air, also we think they make even better looking tattoos. Here’s our pick of some of the peacock tattoos we have seen recently…

@charlotteross_tattoos

@tattooer_nadi

@simone_clare_tattoo

@magda_hanke

@mattadamson

@marialavia.tattoo

@hlctattoo