Category: Art

Forever More The New Tattoo

Modern-day passion, tangible tradition, and striking creativity: trace how tattooing continues to evolve in the follow up to Forever.  

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Art on the body is painful to acquire, arduous to own, and intimate to produce, and as such may be the best refection we have of the soul of modern life.

Matt Lodder, Preface

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Forever More covers the best of the ever-changing contemporary tattoo underground. Bold tribal motifs and gritty stick and pokes bask in a resurgence alongside the fluidity of watercolours and the deviance of Art Brut. From traditional sessions in parlors to traveling artists, Forever More celebrates tattooing’s unsung heroes and contemporary celebrities.

Forever More tracks the scene’s inventiveness and originality as tattoos continue to emerge from subculture obscurity. Just as the needle infuses the skin with ink, the artists profiled infuse life into current tattoo culture. In a scene where artists travel the world, often organizing appointments exclusively via social media, tattooing can be a lifestyle and a way of life. Featuring Miriam Frank, Duncan X, David Schiesser, Grace Neutral, Fidjit, Isaiah Toothtaker, and many others, Forever More explores their unique stories and iconic work whilst creating a comprehensive narrative of this dynamic and enduring scene.

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#Plantlife featuring Celebrity Hair Stylist Sapna Bhavnani

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She grows out of the forest of love
Yearning for something more
In this world full of desire and pain
She doesn’t seek acceptance
She just wants to be free.
She is Sapna…

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PhotographyRustylicious
Styling: Gary Robert Walling
Hair & Make UpKiran Rao Medhora
Model: Celebrity Hair Stylist Sapna Bhavnani
Photo Assistants: Vijay and Parmesh
Featuring pieces from Deme by Gabriella and Source

Interview With Hannah Westcott

We chat to tattoo artist Hannah Westcott, who works at Hales Street Studios in Coventry, UK about her neo-traditional style, her very first tattoo and plans for 2018…


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How long have you been tattooing? I have been tattooing professionally now for almost eight years. I started a couple of years prior to this just from home originally; practicing on myself and friends, before obtaining  a job as a junior artist/apprentice in Melton Mowbray. I’ve since been based in Leicester, Coventry and until recently, Redditch, Birmingham. I’m now back in Coventry!

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What drew you to the world of tattoos? I remember first becoming drawn to tattoos when I started to learn about the alt scene; the alt music scene was a big part of it, seeing musicians I loved with cool tattoos. I remember designing tribal tattoos for myself when I was a kid in school, I’m a kid of the 90s and I’d only really seen tribal work at that time! I’ve drawn ever since I was a kid and would copy stuff that I was drawn to.

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When did you get your first tattoo and what was it? I got my first tattoo when I was 18. It was a classic rose on my should blade and it was a little sketch I made in biro, based on a rose I’d seen whilst researching online. I’ve since had that tattoo reworked/covered up as it began to look older than me!

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How would you describe your style? I guess I would describe my tattooing style as neo-traditional. I mostly enjoy neo-traditional work, along with Japanese and anything in colour. Although I do enjoy Black & Grey work too and have a few large scale dot work pieces on the go. I’d say I’m pretty varied in the types of work i do. My favourite things to tattoo are animals, birds in particular and anything based on nature. I draw a lot of inspiration from the natural world. I also really enjoy ornate work and colour will always be my favourite type of work to do. I also specialise in cover ups.

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Do you have any guest spots or conventions planned? I currently don’t have any conventions confirmed for next year yet but I will be looking to travel around and do some guest spots around the country at my friend’s studios. I find it’s a lot nicer getting to hang out in their lovely studios than the stress of dealing with setting up at conventions and the hustle and bustle of it all. I need to pull my finger out and get in touch with everyone to make arrangements! I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring!

Give Away & Interview: Stuart Gardiner Design

We chat to Stuart and Sam, a husband and wife duo producing design-led, British made home-wares and founders of Stuart Gardiner Design. Check out our Instagram for details of our giveaway (you could win the oven gloves in this photo!)

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When did you set up your business? What did you do before? I set up on my own in 2008 leaving behind a job in the music industry designing album covers etc, which after a few years seemed to be a dying business. Going alone seemed like the only option for me, and after that and I had lots of ideas. Sam is a textile designer by trade and she worked at Laura Ashley HQ for 14 years, designing fabrics and wallpapers, but has always had a hand in the business. I used her colour skills from the beginning.

What inspired you to do so? How did it all come about? My degree course was in Graphic Information Design, so this was the info graphic direction was the format my first designs took.

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How long have you and Sam been together? How did you meet? Why did you decide to work together? Who is more creative?! We met at school about 25 years ago! We went off to different colleges/universities (me to Falmouth, Sam to Huddersfield). I got my first job in Bristol and Sam in London, so it was a few years before we lived in the same city again. By 2011 the business was growing, we’d had our first child and so after maternity leave Sam joined me in our studio in East London. We made the move out of London two years ago and Sam now works with me three days a week researching and developing new ideas, doing our social media and sales. I wouldn’t dare say who is more creative but it would have been handy if one of us was more business minded – we just have to wing that side of things!

What influences your designs? I grew up heavily into music and skateboarding, and still am, so the rich visual culture of both have had a massive influence on my design work. I’m very drawn to typography and graphic images/illustration in general which I think comes across in my work.

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You create a host of tattoo inspired products, do you have tattoos? What draws you to tattoo artwork? We don’t have any ourselves – as a designer I could never commit to having a permanent image etched onto myself – I change my mind too much. I also remember desperately wanting a Celtic band tattooed on my bicep when I was about 18. If I’d had it done, I would never get my arm out now! Saying that, I am very drawn to the graphic styles of tattoos, and I really love the work of tattoo artists like Mike Giant. Someone has had one of our designs tattooed on their leg though (see below)!

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What types of things do you sell? Do you design the illustrations? How are pieces created, what is the process? I never intended the business to be so focused on tea towels and oven gloves, that’s just how it’s happened! My first design ‘A Seasonal Guide to British Fruit and Vegetables’ was originally going to be a print to frame and hang on the wall. But I then thought a tea towel would be handier and always in the kitchen.  The design side is just down to me at the moment. We generally pick a food or drink related subject, research the hell out of it, and then begin an appropriate design solution. It can often take a long time as we try to be as thorough as possible, and we often don’t know much about the subject matter.

Do you do commissions? Where can people buy your products? We do occasionally work on commission and have done projects for Liberty London, the V&A, Selfridges, Friends or the Earth and Lurpak. We have just finished a commission for a new shop called Naiise, a print all about gin. Our products are sold all over the country from gift shops to delis and vineyards, but you can buy the whole range from our website and we ship all over the world.

Head to our Instagram to find out how you can enter our give away to win a whole host of tattooed oven mitts and gloves!

Natural History Museu​m ​of Los Angeles: ​Tattoo An Exhibition

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This November, The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles showcases an exhibition 5,000 years in the making. The art of marking skin with ink spans cultures, continents, and has evolved over time. We find ourselves with a mysterious fascination with both ancient and modern tattoo practices. Are they considered a part of sacred ritual or an act of rebellion? A sign of belonging or expression of individuality? In the special exhibit Tattoo, you’ll explore the history, technique, motivation, and sheer artistic genius that are connected to one another by ink.

19th November – 15th April 2018

The Natural History Museum, LA

Buy tickets here 

The exhibit will feature more than 125 images and objects, ranging from historical artefacts to intricate contemporary designs tattooed onto silicone models of the human body. Each tells the story of this unique and diverse art. The Museum will enhance the West Coast incarnation of Tattoo with objects from the Museum’s expansive collection, as well as features specific to the rich tattoo cultures of Southern California, from Ventura to Los Angeles to Long Beach and Orange County.

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Exhibition: Their Heart on Their Sleeve

Celebrated Australian visual artist Stormie Mills has teamed up with award winning photographer Frances Andrijich to present an exhibition that celebrates tattoos and the reason why people choose to get inked.

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A collaborative exhibition by Frances Andrijich and Stormie Mills

Opens 2 – 17 November

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49 Stuart Street Northbridge WA 6003 (08) 9228 4111

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While people have been opting to get ‘inked’ since prehistoric times, this number is rapidly increasing in Australia, yet reasons remain the same. It is the need to feel unique, fit in or stand out, a silent expression of a moment in time. 1 in 5 Australians has one or more tattoos with a further 1 in 5 of those getting their first tattoo aged mid 30s or older.

The idea of creating portraits of these individuals has inspired a very special collaboration between internationally renowned visual artist Stormie Mills and award-winning photographer Frances Andrijich. Now for the first time they bring their crafts together in a series of unguarded moments.

Frances has captured the essence of each subject through her lens. Stormie has then taken these images and painted a representation of the subjects’ internal portrait to create a striking work that connects the outside with the beauty within.

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“Their Heart on Their Sleeve” is an intimate insight into humanity from the perspective of ten people who until now were nothing more than strangers to one another before a love of art and a photoshoot brought them together.

From a University Lecturer to an award-winning Mixologist, an Architect, FIFO worker and Furniture Maker, the one common thread these people share is the fact they have become a human canvas, choosing to carry a piece of Stormie’s artwork with them wherever they go.

Ronit Baranga: Clay Sculpture

Israeli artist Ronit Baranga creates unique clay sculptures which combine traditional ceramic items such as teapots with  grotesque body parts. Her creations cross the border between the living and still life with their gaping mouths, grasping fingers and tattooed babies. Ronit’s art is displayed in museums and galleries around the world, follow her Instagram to see more…

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Young Saigon: Ans Pham

We chat to creative developer Nick Jones about his role at Rice, the Young Saigon film series and tattooing in Vietnam…

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Rice was founded in late 2014 by a group of filmmakers who wanted to promote other young, talented filmmakers and give them the freedom to produce films. Since then, we’ve produced over 100 videos on subjects in and around South East Asia. As creative development I get involved and guide everything to do with the creative process, like concepting, shooting, editing etc.

The above film is part of a series called Young Saigon, which is about young artists working out of Saigon (musicians, dancers and artists), though this one is the only tattoo-related film in the series. The artist in this film 29-year-old Ans Pham, who works at Saigon Ink, which is probably the most well-known tattoo studio in Vietnam.

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A tattoo by Ans

We decided to make the film after a friend of mine had a tattoo done by him. Tattooing is something quite alien to me (I’ve been mulling over my first tattoo for a while) so I really wanted to explore a couple of things. Firstly what makes a tattoo artist tick, and to try and understand what goes on in Ans’ head when he’s working, and secondly, the perception of tattooing in Vietnam. Here tattooing is often seen as a taboo by older generations, but in contrast, tattooing among the younger generation has exploded. So I wanted to ask a working artist what his feelings were about the changing tattoo culture in Vietnam and his place in the middle of this change.

Like what you see? View the rest of the films here.

Interview With Prof. Nicholas York

Our guest writer, digital marketing executive and traditional tattoo fan 21-year-old Poppy Ingham, talks to Nicholas York about his humble beginnings and the work he does out of Dark Age Tattoo in Denton, Texas…

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21-year-old Nicholas York is customarily cited as Professor York, in a nod to the likes of Samuel O’Reilly, the dubbed King of the Bowery tattooers, who adopted the “professor” epithet. He has been tattooing since he was 15 and although this might not be the licit way of entering the tattoo world, Nick received his first tattoo machines two months before starting high school. Coupled with a power supply purchased with his earnings from a part-time job, Nick began tattooing classmates and anyone who was willing. 

Fast forward five years, give or take, Nick is now embodying the definition of “world class electric tattooing”, producing nostalgic tattoos and paintings that ring true to the early 1900s. 

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What first inspired you to take on tattooing, especially at such a young age? I was in eighth grade at a school for kids with behavioural problems, and I started seeing some of the kids in my class get small tattoos. After I saw that you could get tattooed underage, I got my first tattoo at 14. The tattooist who did it was different from the guy who was tattooing the other kids, he approached me at the public library and asked if I wanted to get tattooed. Just a of couple days later I was in his apartment after school getting a tribal design that I had drawn.

I started tattooing a couple months after my first tattoo. In between the time of my first tattoo and the first tattoo I did, I had gotten my neck and my chest tattooed and started working on my arms. I was 15 when I got my throat tattooed. The throat tattoo was what made me start thinking about pursuing a career in tattooing. I knew I had found the job for me, when I found out that all you had to do was buy a kit online and do it out of your house. I started getting good and I was starting to feel hopeful about my choice.

My mom always knew about my tattooing and watched me do my first couple the day I got my kit. She was always supportive, because my dad was a tattooist, although I didn’t grow up with him (he went to prison when I was two). Over the years, he’d send drawings and paintings, but at the time, I was too young to realise they were tattoo designs that he had tattooed on people in prison.

My dad tattooed before he went to prison in the 1990s in downtown Dallas. He painted cars before he was a tattooist so it was a natural transition. Then he met my mom and stopped tattooing for a bit. He picked it back up when he went to prison a couple years later. I’ve seen a lot of his work and I hold onto all the paintings he sends me now. He is, in my honest opinion, one of the best black and grey tattooers out there. He does extremely smooth tattooing with a 90s twist. He really hasn’t gotten to see just how much tattooing has evolved since he has been locked away, except for the tattoos that he sees on me when I visit him.

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Have you always wanted to tattoo in the traditional style, or did you experiment with a number of styles before settling on it? When I first started tattooing, I was doing a very new school style and everything was extremely colourful and cartoony. I was hanging around with an old tattooist named Sneaker and he had a big influence on my style and technical application. Over the years, my tattooing evolved into a more neo-traditional style thanks to a guy I worked with named Rene. He did some of the best neo-traditional tattoos I had ever seen up until that point. Rene told me I needed to simplify my designs and stop using so many colours. He told me I couldn’t do traditional tattoos because I always complicated my tattoos so much, so to challenge him, I did a traditional tattoo. From that one tattoo I realised that I was missing out on what I was meant to be doing.

Thinking along the lines of Rock Of Ages, Belle Of The Plains etc, what are some iconic pieces of art that you never get tired of recreating? Easily one of my favourite iconic images is the Rose of No Man’s Land. I always love seeing renditions of it. I also really enjoy dragons; they’re always big and impressive. And, of course, the Rock of Ages is always a classic.

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Do you find that younger people (our age) are aware and appreciative of traditional tattooing, or do you feel like there is more demand for other styles? I think young people really dig the designs of classic traditional tattooing, but I don’t think they care for the history. The history posts I make [on Instagram] never get as many likes as the flash posts. I understand, though – not everyone has the attention span or appreciation for history.

Who, in particular from the past, do you admire and why? I’m a big fan of George Burchett. He encompasses everything I love about turn-of-the-century tattooing and has some of the best paintings I’ve ever seen! When I started tattooing in the style I do now, George Burchett was a big influence. My stuff doesn’t look like his that much, but if you know your stuff you can see small hints of it. I’m also interested in the early Bowery tattooers of New York. Samuel O’Reilly and his contemporaries have a certain mystery about them. We only understand a small fraction of their life, while we have a decent amount of George Burchett’s history.

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Where do you gather information and history on the tattooists of the past? I get all my knowledge of tattoo history from books I buy, websites like http://www.buzzworthytattoo.com and just speaking to and being friends with as many tattoo historians as I can. I am no historian myself, and I don’t add any unknown insight and I have not made any new discoveries, like some of the other historians that I look up to, I’m just a big fan of history and love to learn as much as I can about my craft. I do happen to have a good eye and have found many great bits of history in photographs that have been looked over before.

For people wanting to explore authentic traditional tattoos in 2017 and beyond, can you recommend any modern-day tattooers who you applaud? There are too many to name but those are just a few that come to my mind and I think they each are very true to the essence of traditional tattooing. I’m extremely proud I can call all of these tattooers my friends and contemporaries:

Six Snake Tattoos We Love

Our guest writer Katie Houghton shares a nest of snake tattoos…

Some may be ferocious. Some may be poisonous. Some may be the stuff of nightmares. And some may be a two-headed force of freaky nature. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s that snakes look great as tattoos. I never thought I ever wanted one before, but the fluidity of the lines and the eccentric patterns have made me go full circle this year, and I’m hoping I can get a little bit of blue blood before 2017. With that in mind, I went on the hunt for six of my favourite snake tattoos, from the delicate to the deep.

Illegal Bodies, Germany

This guy might be the smallest on the list, but he’s ultimately the cutest. Brought to you by Germany’s Illegal Bodies (a handpoke and henna artist), I love how delicate and plotted the design is alongside the dainty star additions.

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Jess Brown, Salem MA

This is the most colourful addition to the list, but it’s one with the most depth. Hailing from Massachusetts, Jess Brown uses deep tones and rich shading to add an almost cutesy appeal to this sword creeper.

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Matilde Masi, Italy

Snakes are intricate animals, and not just because of their ability to trick you into biting through the apples of Eden. Brought to you by Italy’s Matilde Masi, I not only love the position of this piece, but the attention to lines and spacing are second to none.

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Martín Funcasta, Barcelona

If you didn’t know you needed a tattoo of a smoking snake before, you do now. Courtesy of Barcelona’s Martín Funcasta, the cutthroat lines, harsh edges and thick shading add a stark originality to the design.

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Mirkosata, Milan

One of the biggest names on this list, Mirkosata is no stranger to snake designs, as they’re practically all he tattoos. Clearly detailed to the extreme, his work is clean, it’s elegant, and it’s putting these blue blooded babes at the forefront of everything.

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Cheyenne Gauthier, Montreal

The final tattoo on this scaly list- Cheyenne has blackwork that will have you scrolling his Instagram for hours. With depth and almost a sad tone to the work, this snake piece is elevated by the shading and the coffee branch.

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