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

Film Review: Jurassic World

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

Jurassic World, 2015, cert. 12A, dir. Colin Trevorrow, 2/5

‘Jurassic World’ confuses me. It’s a bad film but somehow it was awesome. It made me cheer along and cry big fat tears of nostalgia as well as grind my teeth in frustration.

The reason for my eroded teeth was how much this new film has dumbed down the franchise. The first film was also made for entertainment, of course, but it at least had some good science that the characters weren’t afraid to discuss. This might have been because Michael Crichton wrote the screenplay – and also wrote the original novel, which was even heavier on the science and chaos theory. The film was also a bit scary…

The new film tries to be scary. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it an effort. So scientists have created a new super predator that gets out of their control? How refreshing! For something that’s meant to be scarier than the T-Rex, the new Indominus Rex (created because the public are getting bored of average dinosaurs) doesn’t even look interesting. You could have given it horns, wings, anything!  What also doesn’t help is that the Indomimus and all the other dinosaurs were rendered purely with thoroughly unimpressive CGI (computer-generated imagery). I don’t remember seeing any animatronics. So, somehow, the painstakingly crafted animatronics and limited CGI the 90s film had, look more realistic and scary than anything Hollywood can do now. Hooray for 21st century filmmaking.

So along with dumb effects and plot, we get dumb characters setting gender representation back several decades. Everyone has fallen in love with Chris Pratt and he is fun to watch, but his character is a one-dimensional action man. He’s the rugged man of the wilderness who can do no wrong. Next to him, we get Bryce Dallas Howard playing the female lead. She plays a capable character who can act on intuition. However, she is presented to us as a woman too obsessed with work and profits to spend time with her nephews and only becomes a more positive character when she opens up emotionally, usually through tears, which Chris Pratt never shows. She is also meant to be laughable because she doesn’t know how to cope in the jungle and Pratt does. She is also the most sexualised heroine in the franchise. Sure, Laura Dern runs around in shorts and loses her shirt in the first film. But she doesn’t run around in high heels, chest heaving and glistening with sweat, clothing getting more dishevelled, while Pratt’s remain intact. Does this say something about the declining presentation of women in film over the last two decades, or the trashy nature of sequels?

I also got fed up with the amount of nostalgia we were expected to swallow: the classic score blasted out at every opportunity and the constant needless references to the better first film, which only reminded you that you could be watching it.

Yet despite all this tripe, I came out of the cinema bouncing with excitement like I’d dropped ten years. Although my inner voice was screaming that this was not an accurate representation of dinosaur behaviour, the whole film was still one big thrill ride. The action is impressive and even quite bloody at times, which made me wonder if it was suitable for the families who doubtless flocked to see it, or are kids more desensitised these days?

Nevertheless, it was still exciting to see what a working dinosaur theme park would look like and clearly the makers had fun imagining it. Although I hate to admit it, the plotline of a new super predator dinosaur being created just to keep the public interested is believable, as is one character’s belief in the military potential of the dinosaurs. Furthermore, although the film’s message is nothing new and it’s still about people running away screaming, at least it did some things different, such as making the ‘raptors capable of training, so they could be good guys for once.

It was never going to be as good as the first film. There are several things wrong with it, but it could have been much worse. Don’t expect much, but do expect a lot of fun. And dinosaurs.

Images from Empire Online 

Bulimia Charity Gives Game Characters Makeovers

Bulimia ’a resource dedicated to providing information and treatment options to men and women suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and other types of eating disorders‘, have altered the images of infamous female game characters to represent a more realistic body image.

They argue that:

If video game creators are going to pride themselves on accurate digital representations, then it’s time for them to get real about women.

The charity explains how the changed images are based upon the average American female body, but is this enough? Do the changed images reflect average women? The new characters are more relatable to women, certainly, but they are still operating within a realm of fantasy.

What do you think?

Carey Fruth: Redefining ‘American Beauty’

Photographer Carey Fruth based in San Francisco has created a series of images titled ‘American Beauty’ featuring 14 women who are redefining the American idea of what beauty is. The images have been inspired by the 1999 film American Beauty and the rose petal fantasy scene in which Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) renders Angela Hayes (Mena Suvari) powerless with his male gaze.

The women pictured lie naked in a bed of lilacs and are of all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities. Unlike the film the women pictured are reclaiming their power and do not fit into the media-created body shape ideal, instead they are embracing their bodies just as they are.

Katie Edmunds Illustrates Things&Ink

Fashion illustrator, Katie Edmunds from London, was inspired by Things&Ink magazine and created the original illustration (below) of blogger Yanin Namasonthi, who she has followed for a while and loves her style. 

We chatted to Katie about her artistic style, where she gets her inspiration and of course tattoos. Katie has also recreated a few of her favourite previous Things&Ink covers… 

Do you have a background in art? Yes I’ve always chosen related art subjects through education and I’ve just recently graduated from London College of Fashion.

 How would you describe your style? I love illustrating people’s expressions through portrait drawings. I have a realistic style, which I tend to juxtapose with playful, and colourful elements through use of watercolours, adding a raw quality to my work.

What medium do you use? Pencils and watercolour. I like the precision and detail of the pencil and the unpredictability and possibilities which stem from watercolour and ink on paper.

Where do you get your inspiration from? I’m hugely inspired by female empowerment. My illustrations tend to play upon women who control and employ power over the male gaze, but with a tongue-in-cheek approach.

Do you have tattoos? So far I only have one, it was in the spur of the moment with my friend during St Patricks day in Dublin- a small celebration of a shamrock on my wrist. I keep illustrating different designs but as an illustrator I keep altering and changing what I want.

Are there any artists you admire? In terms of tattoo artists I really admire Keely Rutherford, like my own work hers is very colourful. I like her use of pastel colours and the way in which she translates that into tattoo art. I also like her fantasy aesthetic; it reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

What drew you to Things&Ink? I was drawn to Things&Ink magazine as I feel it takes a look at both tattoos and the wider tattoo culture. Being an illustrator I really respect the artwork of tattooists so I love that it profiles the very best tattooists and shines a light on their illustrative skills. My work really focuses on feminist ideals so I was drawn to the strong women that are represented in Things&Ink magazine.

How did you decide which covers to draw? The first cover I chose to illustrate is my favourite of all the issues so far, issue 11 The Fruity Issue to me perfectly represents female empowerment. I love the bright and colourful aesthetic, which is something which I try to achieve in my work and I’m also really drawn to portraiture so I always tend to illustrate detail in faces.

 Can people buy your art? Yes,  I also do commissions and can be contacted by email katieedmundsillustration@gmail.com
Follow Katie on Instagram and Twitter for more art work

Interview with a tattoo artist: Schuyler Abrams

Celebrate all things fruity with the recent release of The Fruity Issue. Here at Things&Ink we love discovering new tattoo artists who also share our love of fruit and fruity tattoos. We chatted to 29-year-old Schuyler Abrams who works at Savannah Ink in Savannah Georgia to find out more about his spooky and fruity bat tattoos that he has become known for…

 

How long have you been tattooing? I’ve been tattooing since July 2013, so I just hit my two year mark! I’ve still got a lot to learn and room to grow in this industry.

How did you get into the industry? I’ve always considered a career in the art world but it wasn’t until late 2012 that I actually started giving tattooing a serious thought. I was working multiple jobs and doing a bit of freelance artwork at the time. One day I came across an internet post from a good buddy of mine who had recently become a tattoo artist himself. His post was a picture of his tattoo machines with the caption: “my job is better than yours.” I figured, “he’s probably got a point”, so I got a portfolio together and asked if his shop had an apprenticeship available. He talked it over with the owner, Duke, and got me an interview. Duke took one look at my artwork and gave me the apprenticeship on the spot and the rest is history.

Do you have a background in art? Aside from a high school art class and hours of Bob Ross videos, just about all aspects of my artwork is self-taught. I’ve done a few cool freelance jobs doing band posters and album artwork, but that’s about the extent of my professional art career.

How would you describe your style? My style is something that I’ve been trying to cultivate for years. It’s a bit of new school with some touches of old traditional. I love taking weird/macabre subject matter and juxtaposing it with bright colors and bold lines. The way I draw is constantly evolving the more I learn.

Where do you get your inspiration? I get most of my inspiration from 60s and 80s horror, Saturday morning cartoons, anime, and dad jokes. Jamie Hewlett’s work on the Gorillaz really changed my life as well.

 


What was your first tattoo? First tattoo I ever got takes up the length of my left forearm. It’s a drawing I did of an octopus jack-o-lantern (Oct-O-Lantern as I like to call it). I got it tattooed by Johnny Theif of Seppuku Tattoo back in 2007. I was hooked instantly!

Who would you like to get tattooed by, are there any artists you admire? There are so many great tattoo artists out there these days! I’d really love to get pieces from Kelly Doty and Timmy B. Their attention to detail and the smoothness of their techniques is outstanding! I really admire a lot of local tattooers as well, including Cory HandCorey Steverson and Josh Hilliard just to name a few. All rad dudes who do rad tattoos.

 

We love your fruit bats how did these come about? The fruit bats actually evolved from an idea that Michael Ferrera had. He came to me asking for a tattoo. When we were discussing ideas, he described  ”a strawberry with bat wings! …fruit bat! Get it?!”I loved the idea so I made a mental note as he rambled off other tattoo concepts. I drew it up, but when he came to get tattooed we ended up going with a completely different design. I held onto the fruit bat drawing for a few months until one day my co-worker’s sister came into the shop. She took one look at the drawing and fell in love with it. It was a slow day at the shop and I was really itching to tattoo it so I zapped it on her as a favor.

A few months later one of the Savannah Derby Devils saw the strawberry fruit bat tattoo and commissioned me to do a grape version. Little did I know that that was the beginning of the fruit bat trend. Since then it’s become a team initiation of sorts for the Savannah Derby Devils to get a fruit bat tattoo. I’m currently up to seventeen different fruit bats with more already on the way. This weird trend I started doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Hopefully I don’t run out of fruits to draw!

 

Offline Dating Film

‘Offline Dating’ is a short film created by Bafta-nominated filmmaker Samuel Abrahams, which shows actor Tom Greaves in Hackney, London, attempting to persuade women to go on a date with him. His advances receive a mixed response and the film shows how women respond differently to a unknown man approaching them in public.

 

The film acts a social experiment, showing how social media and online dating have affected how people interact in everyday “real” life. The differences between online personas and how we are in real life are highlighted as the film supports the idea that we edit how we chose to present ourselves in a world of social media.

Watch the film below, what do you think? Has the online world ruined real life interactions?

Interview with a tattoo artist: Holly Astral

We chatted to 31-year-old tattoo artist and jewellery maker Holly Astral from Hertfordshire about her painting style, her inspirations and the art shows she has been involved in. 

Do you have a background in art? I studied art at school and college before doing a degree in model making and special effects. With regards to painting and drawing I’m self taught, just figuring things out as I go along.

How did you get your apprenticeship? Why did you want to become a tattooist? I am trained as a model maker, and spent the first ten or so years of my working life prototyping toys and products for manufacture. To cut a long story short, I realised I wasn’t in love with what I was doing any more and decided to make a change. I love to paint and draw, and I had been thinking about expanding this. I wanted to learn to tattoo for years, but it was always a kind of distant far away dream. It occured to me that the only way to learn would be to make that dramatic change and immerse myself fully into learning to tattoo. I was working for myself at the time, so I stopped saying yes to model making jobs, closed my toy making company and got cracking with finding an apprenticeship!

How long have you been tattooing? Just over a year, but it’s gone so quickly! This year has flown by. I am loving every minute of it!

What kinds of things do you like to tattoo? I love tattooing animals and flowers the most so far! Flowers look so lovely flowing across the body. I am still just working on smaller, simple pieces right now.

How would you describe your tattoo style? I’m still just getting started, so my style is still very much in the developing stages. I’d say it’s pretty girly and some times cute but not too cutesy-poo. And more spacey, dreamy and magical when it comes to my art. In terms of painting I love to paint spacey pin up style ladies, and I hope my tattooing takes me in that kind of direction once I’ve built my skills up further to do larger pieces.

What mediums do you use? Oil paints mostly, sometimes acrylics. I always add some gold leaf to each painting, too. I like a bit of sparkle

Where do you get your inspiration from? Magic, nature, films – I love fantasy films and anything with ghosts or aliens in it. I am also really inspired by the vast loneliness of space, it kind of depends on how I’m feeling that day. Usually I start by sketching away in my sketchbook, I draw every single day, and then I see which ones start to flesh out and feel real to me on their own. My favourite part of any drawing is adding all the tattoos and long swishing hair.

Can you tell me about the gallery shows you have been involved in? I’ve exhibited at galleries in Europe and the USA, including The Sho Gallery Wales, Forbidden Planet London and the Japanese American National Museum in LA.  A lot of the shows in the states I sent my work over, but I always prefer to go to the show and getting to meet all the other artists involved. My art has taken me all over the place, all around England and Wales, and LA. I used to run my own line of collectible plush toys called Cavey, I produced a small numbered run of them each month in a different design, a bit like beanie babies. For Cavey’s birthday each year I would put on an art show where other artists and toy designers would contribute their own interpretation of the Cavey platform. The show was held at a pop up location each year in London, but one year I put the show on in LA. That was a lot of fun!

In April I put on my first solo show at Toycon in the UK and I’ve also curated shows at pop-up locations in London and LA.

Were the pieces you created for the galleries based around themes? Often the show will have a running theme that the artists are encouraged to work to, and I really like to work this way. Having a little bit of direction as to what to produce really gets the creative juices flowing!

A favourite show of mine was ‘Dragons’ which took place in Wales. Each artist was given a blank plastic dragon toy to customise, and everyone made their own interpretation of he platform. I made mine in the image of Falcor from The Never Ending Story. It was such a fun night!

Where can people buy your art?  I have a small online shop where I sell my silver jewellery. My artwork is available to purchase privately by emailing me at hollyastral@gmail.com

Holly is currently doing guest spots in Hertfordshire, if you’d like to get tattooed by her email: hollyastral@gmail.com

Follow Holly on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr for more artwork and tattoos.