Tagged: New York

Collab: Convicts and Tati Compton

Tati Compton is an L.A based stick and poke tattoo artist with some serious adventure stories about her days travelling the world in a van and busking. New York based digital media brand Convicts collaborated with Tati to create a profile and original video exploring her art, outlook on life and love of cuddling…



I really like tattooing naked ladies and kind of cultish things. But people know me for my delicate wrist work and stuff. Stick and poke is really organic feeling. You can tell that somebody has made it with their hand, it has a really personal feel to it. Once it’s on your skin it feels like it’s been there forever. So, my style is hand poked.

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Dude, I worked every job under the sun forever. I’ve painted houses. I’ve been a housekeeper. I’ve been a bartender. I’ve been like all that stuff. I was managing a vintage clothing store and I had a breakdown at lunch one day and was like ‘I can’t fucking do this anymore. I’m just going to go crazy. I have to do something else.’

When I quit, I saw that there was like a niche for tattooing small tattoos at a cheaper price. Mostly for girls who were too intimidated to go into a tattoo shop and ask for a tiny tattoo and pay a lot of money. I was like ‘I can do that.’

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Read Tati’s full interview here and watch the video below to find out more about her tattoos…

For more music, art, style and travel videos check out Convict’s Instagram and Facebook.

Interview with Anka Lavriv

30-year-old Anka Lavriv owns and works out of Black Iris Tattoo in Brooklyn, New York, where she creates beautifully delicate illustrative style tattoos. We chatted to Anka about her style, inspirations and her distorted female figures… 


How long have you been tattooing? I’ve been at it on and off since I was 15, but I have been tattooing full time for about three years. Opening our studio Black Iris Tattoo last December was so life changing and taught me so much, it still feels pretty unreal.

How did you start? What did you do before? I didn’t have a traditional apprenticeship, so it took me a while to get to the point where I was able to build a personally acceptable portfolio and feel confident enough to get into a shop. A friend of mine got a tattoo from John O’Hara (who is now my business partner at Black Iris) and that friend put us in touch. I interviewed at the shop he worked at and basically begged the owner to give me a chance! Before that interview I bartended in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I also did illustration work on the side. I still worked at the bar part time through my first year of tattooing as I was building a clientele but it took me a little while before I felt comfortable enough to go into tattooing full time.


Do you have a background in art? I am originally from Ukraine and my mom was an artist and font developer in The Soviet Union, so we had a bunch of art supplies and books when I was growing up. I was always interested in drawing and drew obsessively at times, but I never imagined I’d be able to make a living out of it. I am self-taught and don’t have any formal art education.

What drew you to the tattoo world? I’ve always been drawn to mediums that are lasting and non-erasable – ink, ballpoint pen. Tattooing is the ultimate form of this idea of permanence for me. When I know I don’t get a chance to make a mistake and start over, I get into a hyper focused state – I love the feeling of it. Tattooing is a craft that needs constant practice. I’m really grateful for coming up through the industry in such an interesting time when tattooing is a lot more accessible and socially acceptable.


How would you describe your style, has it changed? When I was starting out, I didn’t have the execution skills, but I did have great imaginative concepts that came to me very freely. As I got to practice more and more, I started catering to my clients and now I’m trying to find the balance between producing work that is relevant while staying true to my aesthetic.

What do you like to tattoo and draw? I mostly draw distorted female figures adorned with symbolic and natural elements. I use female characters to tell a particular story or to just to give the image a certain feel. I love to tattoo animals ( cats cats cats!), botanicals, anything organic. I’m always down for a good old 17th century type of etching design too.


What inspires you? My emotional state plays a huge role in the creative process. I like to think of inspiration as a reaction to the outside world and my inner experiences, sort of a filtration system. It can be anything really, for the most part other people’s work in any medium that emotionally affects me. The sensation I get from a particularly effecting piece of art becomes a part of me. I think about how it makes me feel and then draw based on that feeling. It’s pretty different with tattooing cause I mostly do custom design work and it’s more of collaboration process. I take my clients’s idea and illustrate it in my style.

What would you love to tattoo? And what would you refuse to do? I love tattooing animals, anything that involves mashing concepts together and my own drawings. I usually refuse to do small symbols, lettering is definitely not my thing. I wouldn’t tattoo anything offensive.


Do you have any guest spot or conventions planned? I am guesting in Denver CO October 4-6 at All Sacred Tattoo and Portland OR at Scapegoat Tattoo (November 4-6). Hoping to get to Europe soon. I will be posting my travelling plans for 2017 on my Instagram pretty soon.

Can you tell us about your own tattoos? Most of my tattoos are done by my friends and I pretty much always get their flash/available designs. I’m happy that I was a wuss in my early 20s and didn’t get a bunch of bad tattoos so now I still have some good space available to get work done from the artists I admire.

Goldengrove Jewellery: Margaret Cross

Margaret Cross creator of Goldengrove Jewellery, Brooklyn, NY, designs and makes beautiful pieces inspired by antique momento mori jewellery. We talk to Maggie about how she started her business and her tattoo collection… 


Photograph by Maxim Ryazansky

How long have you been creating jewellery? I took my first silversmithing class in college in 2003, but I was creating jewellery for a few years before that.

How did you start, what inspired you? After taking a few classes in the jewellery department in college, I realised that I loved the process, it’s tedious, but there’s a lot of freedom for your mind to wander while you work, so I’m constantly filing, designing, sanding, etc. Jewellery was a sweet relief from the printmaking department in college where I majored. I’d hide up in the jewellery department casting and soldering human teeth and tiny animal bones for me and my friends to wear. My focus shifted to mourning-specific jewellery after the sudden death of my best friend in 2008. It was really traumatic. I bought my first antique mourning piece in memory of him, and made memorial pieces for each of his family members and began to wonder why something so seemingly important to the grieving process had become so obsolete.

I use his writing desk as my jewellery bench, with his eye glasses sitting on top, my daily memento mori. I still mourn him.


Photograph by Maxim Ryazansky

Did you take a course or study? I have a BFA from Pratt Institute, my scholarship program wouldn’t allow me to be a jewellery major (the materials are really expensive) so my electives were in the metal arts department, and I stayed an extra year to focus on jewellery. I still occasionally take classes independently to learn new techniques and skills.

12716759_1580785585493377_1880924051_nWhat inspires your pieces? I’m obviously inspired by antique memento mori and mourning jewellery, but I also draw inspiration from travel. Both of my parents are immigrants and I draw a lot of inspiration from their respective motherlands (England and Italy). After a trip I’ll usually come home and design a new collection with direct references to places, people or pieces I’ve seen. I see both cultures influence in my work. I still continue to make pieces in memory of my friend as well as pieces that might be comforting to someone going through the same thing today.

Where do you source your stones? Each stone is hand picked by me in New York City. Some stones are salvaged from antique pieces ruined beyond repair. My favorite stone dealer has been in the business for 57 years, he’s a WWII survivor and such a pleasure to see every week. He likes to say he “knows a little about stones”. He must be in his 90s, he’s great.

How would you describe your style of jewellery? Tough and pretty, having a future and a past.

Can you tell us about your tattoos? I started getting tattooed really young at shitty street shops in the city. I’d also let my friends practice on me and we’d give each other stick ‘n’ pokes, so I have lots of that stuff, little inside jokes and punk band references. I’ve become a little more discerning and now I only get tattooed at Rose Tattoo in Brooklyn. Mostly by my husband Mark Cross, but also Hillary Fisher-White and Frank William really appeal to my macabre sensibility, plus there are always great guest artists coming through.

Where can people buy your jewellery? You can shop the collection online at goldengrovejewelry.com, on Instagram and in store at a handful of shops around the US.



Tattooed Pig Heads

For his latest collection titled Pigs, New York photographer Peter Garritano asked tattoo artists to decorate real pig heads with designs of their choice as part of a project to show the relationship between tattooists and skin. Peter got the pig heads from a butcher in Brooklyn who sources animals that lead happy lives on local family farms. He wanted to show off the talent of tattooists in New York, the creativeness, strangeness and difference of the tattooing scene.


Mehai Bakaty


Anderson Luna


John Reardon


Kenny K-Bar


Sue Jeiven

New York: Museum of Tattoo History

Daredevil Tattoo studio in New York have been fundraising to create a tattoo museum, we chatted to tattoo artist Michelle Myles who works at the studio to  find out more… 

Who tattoos at the shop? I work at the shop full time and my business partner Brad Fink is based in St.Louis at Iron Age studio. He gets to New York as often as he can. Our other full time artists are Diego Mannino, Chilly Pete and Lara Scotton from Milan.

How long has the studio been open? We opened Daredevil in 1997 when tattooing was legalized in New York after a 30 year ban. Two years ago we moved from our original location on Ludlow Street to our new space on Division in Chinatown.

Can you tell us about the New York tattoo Museum you are creating? Our new space is larger and incorporates Brad’s extensive historical tattoo collection. Our new location is also just down the street from Chatham Square and the Bowery, the birthplace of modern American tattooing. We are very excited to be able to build a space that pays tribute to the early roots of modern tattooing in the same place where it all began.

How did the fundraising page start? In December we were able to buy the storefront that the shop is located in but it really wiped us out and we were anxious to finish the work needed to bring the rest of the collection into the space. We saw the fundraising campaign as a way to finish the work on the space and also to let people know about the museum and to get people involved in it. Probably the best part of the campaign was the amount of support we got from the tattoo community and really having a sense of people believing in the project and wanting it to come about.

What do you hope to achieve? These days with so many small businesses falling to high rents and being pushed out our goal has been to build a permanent home for tattoo history in New York City that is open to everyone and is a global destination for the tattoo community.

Why is the museum needed? New York City of all cities needs a tattoo museum more than any place else because of the history it gave us.

How much have you raised? The kickstarter campaign raised $36,000

What’s next? Right now we’re working on getting all the rewards out to all the people who pledged for the campaign and finishing the projects in the shop that the campaign will be paying for. The main projects are the front display case that will hold the Thomas Edison engraving pen along with other artifacts, the signage out front that can go up when the work is done on the facade of our building and getting the crushed penny machine working that we got from Lyle Tuttle.

You can see the progress of the kickstarter campaign here


Dina Litovsky: Under the Needle

Brooklyn based photographer Dina Litovsky has created a series called Under the Needle, in which she captures the serene and painful moments of people being tattooed. The photographs were taken earlier this year at both the Empire State Tattoo Expo and the New York City Tattoo Convention.


Tattoo Artist Eva Jean’s Response to the Personal Tattoo Machine

Our guest blogger is Eva Jean a 31-year-old tattoo artist who works at 8 Of Swords Tattoo in Brooklyn, NYC. Our editorial assistant Rosie had noticed Eva’s Instagram post where she ranted in response to Jakub Pollág’s, a Royal College of Art graduate, who has developed the Personal Tattoo Machine. We chatted to Eva to find out more…  

The reason I’m expressing my opinion on this new ‘DIY’ “tattoo kit” created by Jakub Pollág was because I was asked to.  Let me preface this also by making it clear that I am not the be all-end-all of tattooing standards- BUT I have been in business for 12 years adhering to a strict set of health codes and laws.

At home tattooing kits that involve breaking your own skin or another’s, is just not satisfactory.

Regardless of provided provisions (the gloves, the sterile needle,the instruction manual included [I have not read it]).  I can not sit by in passivity and say that this seems like a decent idea. There are professionals for a reason.  Dentists, mechanics, salon stylists, etc. they have all attended the appropriate tutelage and exist under an umbrella of certain (professional and legal) standards.

A large portion of why tattoo parlours exist is for hygienic purposes.  The few excuses that Jakub has listed as a selling point (making the tattoo meaning more personal and bringing democracy into the hands of enthusiasts) is quite sad. To me it seems that this reasoning is an offensive ploy,  an attempt to further encourage the idea that this home-kit is something that should be available to the true adventurer.

Not so. Would you like to create some physical damage and potential serious harm to your own body?  How about your friend?  Better yet- if significant and ugly scarring isn’t enough of a risk factor for the adrenaline junky- how about we bring the light of potentially spreading infectious disease to one another? Sounds like a party now, doesn’t it? No!  It does not!

Whether the tattoo-desiring individual craves something of a high detailed creative project (like the cat portrait suggested by Jakub) or a singular dot.  The bottom line is this:  you get what you pay for. This especially for clients to be.  If you’re so concerned with making your tattoo personal and individual…put some thought into it. Do your research.  Allow yourself time, do not rush into buyer’s remorse, but ensure that you will get what you want, and nothing more.


Read Eva’s original Instagram rant below: 

Okay. I do not often “rant” on social media, but this particular article (featured on deezen.com) does make me raise my eyebrows big time. Okay deep breath. For a while now I have been grappling with the over popularization of tattoo-inspiration stemming off from websites much like Pinterest. I have just over 16K followers on my account here, which I am blown away by and flattered over. I would like to think that this has something to do with the fact that I sincerely do help try to push people and encourage their taste in a one of a kind, original tattoo.

That is done in a PROFESSIONAL, clean, and safe environment. That doesn’t make me an elitist or a tyrant. The attempted selling point of “bringing democracy” into the hands of tattoo-enthusiasts is pitiful and really just a far and sad reach to hopefully sway ignorant (look up the definition it’s not meant to be a slam it is a literal term) hopeful and excited individuals into believing that they have the right to poke themselves. They absolutely do. But wouldn’t you rather go to someone with 1. Years of experience who will safely and happily deliver your tattoo idea; who can make it look “jailhouse” if you so please? 2. Your original idea that is not a direct, carbon-copy of someone else’s already in existence tattoo?

Tattooers like myself are so happy to help you guys take your idea and make it into something that is not only just your own, but also you’re helping to keep a true art form and craft alive. I am worried that this public kit for sale will end up at drunk enough parties and where ever else one feels like whipping a needle out. This screams danger and cross contamination. I am maddened over this company’s audacity to speak out against tattooers in a voice which alludes to us keeping things out of the “well deserving hands of the public” You know what? Unless you study and in some states take a safety course, you’re not allowed to drive a car. So just because you are a car enthusiast you should be able to drive without a license? There is nothing wrong with a tattooer not wanting to hand over their machine to just anyone for good reason. The end.

Email Tattoosbyeva@gmail.com for appointments and follow her on Instagram for more tattoos

Ladies! Ladies! Art Show

Ladies! Ladies! Art Show, curated by Miss Elvia, Emma Griffiths and Pat Sinatra, promises to be extra special this year (it is now in its fourth year). It recognises generations of women tattooers, and a portion of the profits will go to a great cause.

Art by Miss Elvia


Here’s what Miss Elvia had to say about this year’s LLAS:

This year especially we made an effort to contact a few more women who have been tattooing 20+ years, such as Vyvyn Lazonga, Debra Yarian, Jennie Peace, Debbie Lenz, Miss Roxy, Judy Parker, Bev Robinson (aka Cindy Ray), Shanghai Kate Hellenbrandt and more. Along with them, works by other well respected names in tattooing include Jill Bonny, Hanna Sandstrom, Monica Moses, Virginia Elwood, MaryJoy, Megan Kargher, Anna Waychoff, Miranda Lorberer, Sabine Gaffron, Titine Leu — and more, including new upcoming talents.

We are also very excited because this year’s art show is also a fundraiser to help Charlene Anne Gibbons — daughter of the famous Charles and Artoria Gibbons — raise money to publish the book about her parents true story. We will have many prints priced to sell, as well as originals, and other items for tattoo collectors, for example, […] original Sailor Jerry acetates, courtesy of Kate Hellenbrandt. So this is a chance to get together, meet some of the artists, view and buy tattooers’ art and support a cause!

The opening is on 11 June and takes place Forget Me Not Tattoo in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, from 7 to 11pm. It’s free and open to all. The works will be on view and for sale every weekend until mid-July. For more information visit their website.

Frida Kahlo Mirror Mirror…

New York art gallery, Throck Morton is showcasing a rare collection of photographs taken of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in a variety of settings.  Some show the true love that her and Diego Rivera shared in what look to be private moments captured candidly on someone’s camera.  Others show Frida in the garden of her Casa Azul, where she was born, grew up and eventually lived with Diego. We also get a glimpse into the pain that Frida was experiencing on a daily basis due to her poor health and how her pets gave her great comfort and joy in what must have been a difficult life.

Frida With Caimito de Guayabal, 1943

Frida With Itzcuintli Dog, 1949

Frida Winking, 1933

Frida And Diego Kissing, 1933

Frida And Her Ducks, 1948

Frida Wearing Tehuana Dress, Coyoacán, 1940

Frida Seated With Globe, Puente de Alvarado Studio, 1937

Frida On The Rooftop, New York, 1946

Frida Wearing Plaster Corset, Which She Decorated With Hammer And Sickle (And Unborn Baby), Coyoacán, 1951

Frida In San Francisco, 1940

Frida With Pink And Green Satin Blouse, Coyoacán, 1938

The exhibition will run at the Throck Morton fine art gallery in New York until September 12th

Dolly Donshey Monstruosité

Dolly Donshey creates spectacular hats inspired by the macabre, and as her new collection is modelled by tattooed women, we had to talk to her!

You can see her latest collection on the Nolcha Fashion week catwalk in New York. Nolcha Fashion Week takes place this September and showcases independent fashion designers to a global audience. Over the past five years the award-winning event has established itself as a platform of discovery, promoting innovative fashion designers.

Tell us a little bit about your brand Monstruosité, how did it form and how has it evolved?

I learned the art of hat making in 2010 by studying under Jan Wutowski, alumni of the Melbourne School of Millinery in Australia. After I returned from my training, I started my independent millinery brand, House of Donshey. After discovering my brand aesthetic and bringing on new team members, I re-branded and that’s where Monstruosité was brought to life. Monstruosité means “monstrosity” French, and I thought that really captured the essence of my line. Every human has a monstrosity within their lives and a deep story to tell, so the name was perfect for the dark feel of our brand.

What is Nolcha fashion week and how did you become involved? Have you showcased your designs there before?

This is our first time showcasing at Nolcha and we couldn’t be more excited. We were drawn to Nolcha because of their reputation as a leading platform for independent designers.

On your site you explain that your collections tell a story, what is the story of your current collection? 

Our Spring/Summer 15 collection is called “The Rise of Ostara.” Ostara, in the Pagan Religion, is the celebration of the Spring Equinox. Our collection is a journey from winter to spring that celebrates fertility and life. It is the “prettiest” collection we have ever done but also the most dramatic.

What draws you to tattoos?

I love tattoos because each one represents a part of someone’s history. Even if you got a tattoo one drunk night in Vegas, or you got a tattoo with your mother, both have importance and should be celebrated.

Why have you chosen to use tattooed models to wear your hats?

Since our brand deals so heavily with concepts and stories, tattoos are the perfect way to highlight this. When we shoot an editorial with a tattooed model, we are not only shooting the story of our work, but the model’s story silently on display as well.

Do you have any tattoos? Do they have specific meanings or are they purely aesthetic?

I have 6 tattoos, and they each have very important meaning. Most of them are in places no one can see like both upper thighs and my entire left side. I decided to place my tattoos in these obscure places because they were deeply personal and everyone’s favorite question when it comes to tattoos is, “Why did you get that?” I just hate having to explain my actions or my life story to total strangers.

To view Dolly’s stunning creations visit www.monstruosite.com

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