Tagged: Things and Ink

Freedom Tattoos: Turning prison tattoos into something beautiful

Freedom Tattoos is a new charity project set up by by Poland’s Pedagogium The College of Social Sciences and ad agency Isobar Poland.

To erase the stigma of prison tattoos.
On Creative Social Rehabilitation.

They want to help ex-cons to return back to society by covering tattoos they got in prison with professionally created ones. The cover-ups tend to be better looking, perhaps more colourful and of a higher quality than their prison ink. The emphasis of the charity is not on the mistakes they have made in their past, but more on their own personal growth and rehabilitation.

The emotional video below follows two women as they get their old prison tattoos covered, so they can move on with their lives:

Quote and video from Freedom Tattoos

Part Three – Mindful Wanderlust Vegan Travel Diary

Our guest blogger is Giselle, creator of Mindful Wanderlust – a travel blog about responsible travel, tattoos, and following a vegan lifestyle. This is the third of many posts to appear on th-ink, telling of her and her husband Cody’s travelling tales. If you have missed their previous travel posts catch up and read Part Two and Part One

 

We made it to Tokyo! Before we even booked our flights to Japan I knew it was a country I really wanted to get tattooed in, so I spent some time back in Canada researching different artists.

After taking a look at their consistently beautiful bold artwork, I decided on American traditional for the design, I chose to go with the guys at Inkrat Tattoo in Tokyo. Rei is the owner of Inkrat Tattoo, and has been tattooing for over 22 years.  His shop is covered in art, new and old, and original flash from the 1950s hangs on the walls.

  I couldn’t stop picking out all of the pieces I wanted.

Prior to arriving at Inkrat I decided on a geisha and left the design up to Rei. I thought, “Other than a Sumo wrestler, what’s more Japanese than a geisha?” It’s the perfect souvenir from Japan.

I learned something very interesting and new about Japanese tattoo etiquette (or at least Rei’s tattoo etiquette) at the shop that day. Before arriving for my tattoo appointment, I was asked where I wanted the tattoo, and I said on the outside bottom of my left leg.

On the day of, Rei walked over to me to fit the design on my leg and it didn’t quite fit properly. I said “it’s ok, we can do it on my other leg” But Rei didn’t really respond, he just told me he would make it a little smaller so it would fit. A regular customer sitting across from me said that where I asked for the tattoo is where I am going to get it. The reason for this, is that the artist doesn’t want to inconvenience me, as I already chose the placement and he wants to respect that.

That came as a little bit of a surprise to me. I would have been perfectly fine with the tattoo on my right leg, but just hearing that he refused to put it on my other leg out of respect made me smile a little.

Respect – and integrity – seems to be an extremely important thing in the tattoo world among tattoo artists. It is something that really resonates with me, as integrity is hard to come by these days. I have a lot of respect for people who have a lot of respect for people. Go figure.

On top of my excitement over visiting and getting tattooed in Japan, arriving in Tokyo was a sensory overload. My senses were pulling me everywhere. The colours, the lights, the droves of people, and the, sometimes, disapproving stares from some of the locals.

Although tattoo shops are legal in Japan, the long history and mentality of tattoos being only for criminals and misfits has not yet dissipated.

The earliest signs of the Japanese getting tattooed date back to 5,000 BC. By the 7th century the Japanese adopted much of the same mentality that the Chinese had for tattoos, seeing them as barbaric and using them as a punishment for crimes committed.

In the middle of the 18th century Japanese tattooing was popularised by a Chinese novel with several of its heroes covered in tattoos. This novel influenced all Japanese culture and arts, but the yakuza also became interested in tattooing, further making it a tasteless form of art and self expression to many. The yakuza felt that because tattooing was painful, it was proof of courage, and because it was illegal, it made them outlaws forever.

Finally, tattooing in Japan was legalised in the 20th century, but to this day it is still taboo. People with tattoos cannot enter into any hot baths, so unfortunately we will not be visiting any onsen (hot springs) in Japan.

Thankfully the mentality of tattoos being only for criminals is dying out with the old generation and new generations are embracing their rich culture of the art of irezumi.

 It is an ancient craft that should be appreciated and respected for what it is, not looked down upon, because it is misunderstood.

As Japan tries to reclaim all of the beauty and positivity of this ancient art of expression; I feel honoured to be able to collect an original piece from a country so steeped in the tradition of tattooing.

Follow Giselle and Cody’s travels on their blog and Instagram

My tattooed body

In issue 9, stripped back, we asked the Things&Ink team how they feel about their naked bodies, now that they’re tattooed…

We got in touch with blogger Rachel Bradford, creator of Illustrated Teacup, to discuss how she feels about her body now that it is beginning to be covered by tattoos…

“You don’t have to go far on the internet or on social media to find a debate of body positivity or body confidence. A particular area of contention is tattooed people, especially women, and even more so, anyone who has an extensive collection of tattoos.”

“Apparently it isn’t attractive to have lots of beautiful images on your body. It takes away from your ‘natural beauty’. It isn’t ‘ladylike’. It’s not ‘pretty’.”

Green lady  by Dani Green at Dragstrip Tattoo, Southampton

“Obviously this isn’t everyone’s feelings, or no one would have tattoos, but I’m here to explain why I think tattoos are a good thing for body positivity.”

 

“Take a look at Things&Ink Issue 9 for some examples:”

 ”I see my colourful tattoos before I see the shape of my body, and then I notice the gaps. I get lost in the ideas of what would fit where and the work I could collect from other tattooists. With tattoos you are never truly naked, they are one thing you can never take off, and I love that!”

Editorial Assistant Rosalie Woodward (Page 5)

“I like to think of my tattoos as ‘permanent accessories’ and they make me feel very glamorous when I’m in the nude”

Beauty Editor Marina De Salis (Page 5)

“I feel like I’ve created my own body, rather than just being stuck with the one I was given”

Columnist Reeree Rockette (Page 5)

 

“Three talented, smart ladies, with tattoos, who feel better about themselves and their naked bodies because of their tattoos. And quite frankly, what is wrong with modifying your body if it makes you happier? That is what we all want isn’t it? To be happy with our bodies?”

Cat and compass by Saranna Blair at Urban Image Tattoo, Bournemouth

“Personally, my tattoos have boosted my confidence no end. My confidence and happiness with my own body, comfort on my own body, grows with every tattoo. It’s an experience in itself. My tattoos distract from the things I dislike about my body. And fill me with happiness every time I see them. They catalogue my life so far, and remind me of my journey. I feel like I wear my life on my body, miniature pieces of artwork carried around with me all the time.”

“To me, I am enhancing what I was given, and making my body my own, rather than it just being borrowed for a little while.  I think that is the most important part of body confidence. Being comfortable in your body, making it your own.”

 Belle by Dani Green at Dragstrip Tattoo, Southampton

 

 

‘Bagel Head’ Body Modification

What’s your party trick? Can you create a doughnut in your head for a night? Well people taking part in the underground modification scene in Japan can! Here’s how…

 

To create a bagel like shape on your forehead up to 400 cc of saline solution is injected under the skin.  The insertion can take up to two hours and the indention is created by the practitioner placing their thumb onto the middle of the saline bubble.

This modification is only temporary and lasts up to 24 hours, as the saline is absorbed into the body and the forehead returns to normal.

This body modification is regularly performed at parties, and it not only limited to the forehead but can be carried out anywhere on the body.

 

Images from National Geographic

Our pick of bird tattoos

We’re desperately hoping that spring is soon on its way and with sunshine comes birds…

Heres our pick of some bird tattoos we’ve seen flying around Instagram, see what we did there? Anyway here they are and don’t forget to share yours with us!

@pacocasero

@pengitattoo

@hannahpixiesnow

@cubatattoo

@criscleen

 

@marcustattoos

@pari_corbitt

@valeriemodernclassic

@kate_selkie

 @nomi_chi

@tattoo_drew

Tattoo Inspired Furniture Upcycling

Here at Things&Ink we love all things tattoos! On discovering Taylor Made, a small business located in Fife, Scotland, which specialise in upcycled furniture inspired by all things tattoo, we had to talk to owner and creator Grace Taylor. 

How did you first start upcycling furniture? When my partner and I moved into our first proper home together we had to start from scratch. A lot of our second-hand furniture wasn’t completely to our taste, or was looking a bit sad and unloved, so I decided to try and transform it and give it a bit more life to suit our new living space. I started doing more pieces when I had to take some time off work for health reasons, and found that it was a great way to pass the time!


Have you got your own business? I never intended on this being a business and so far it has just been a hobby. However, I have had such a wonderful response from my facebook page that I am now currently in the process of turning this hobby that I love into something more. I have had lots of exciting opportunities arise from this so far and one day I hope to have my own quirky wee shop.

How did you learn how to do it? I am completely self taught, I started from scratch and hadn’t a clue about paints, techniques, decoupage, or different products you can use. I have spent countless hours and a small fortune trying to discover what is out there and what I like to use best. It’s been a fantastic learning experience, but also rather frustrating at times. I guess you have to start somewhere, so I started from the bottom. I am still learning – with every new piece I learn something more so it never gets boring.

Where do you find the materials? All over the place! I get my furniture from a range of different places. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s vintage or a modern reproduction. If I like it, I take it. I buy all my materials from all over the place, I pick up things on eBay, online shops, high street shops, charity shops and car boots.

What inspires you? I like quirky things and I have a passion for tattoos, so a lot of my pieces are inspired by old school tattoo flash, in particular Sailor Jerry. I use a lot of fabrics with skulls and I like to try and do something a bit different as opposed to the ‘shabby chic’ style of upcycling. I also love stags, so I uses a lot of stag designs such as fabrics, paper and stencils. I can’t stand boring, straight out of the catalogue home decor, so I strive to make things unique.


Do you have any tattoos? I have quite a collection! Though not nearly enough.
I have a half sleeve on my right arm, which is a beautiful portrait of my mum surrounded with flowers, in the style of our favourite artist, Alphonse Mucha. This was done by the awesome Marcus Maguire of Custom Inc/BathStreetCollective, who has also done a large, beautifully coloured peacock stretching from my hip to my knee. This is a tribute to my Dad, along with my of my other tattoos. I have a portrait of him on my other arm, my feet are covered in script with an old saying of his, ‘Far Out!’ done by Stephanie Scott of Old Town Tattoo, and I have two wee chicks on my ankle as he called my sister and I his chickens, by Jamie Adair of Crossroads Tattoo.

I have an awesome large mandala and stags head on my thigh by Ema Sweeney of Custom Inc/BathStreetCollective, and a cute wee bird with hydrangeas on my calves by the wonderful Amanda Grace Leadman, amongst others. I may also have an L and R on my thumbs, as I’m not the quickest with direction…

Do you have any tips for people who want to upcycle? Just go for it and have fun! Make sure you are prepared with everything you need before you start, and don’t wear your best clothes like I always do, or you won’t have anything decent left by the end of it. Painting a piece of furniture and transforming it can be such a therapeutic and rewarding thing to achieve, so don’t let yourself get stressed out. Sometimes if you make a mistake, it just adds to the overall character of the piece you are working on. Enjoy every moment of it!

Follow Grace on Instagram to see more of her tattoo inspired creations!

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Freelance illustrator and project manager Ruth Bridges, 30 from West Yorkshire is the creator of fashion illustration blog x+y=. She has exclusively drawn three unique illustrations for Things&Ink influenced by tattoos and fashion. 

Ruth was an artistic child!

 

What inspires your illustrations? I love slightly off-beat street fashion. Style has always been much more influential to me than trend. I find drawing people with striking faces really satisfying, especially edgy women. I’m not into overtly pretty things, much preferring a grungy feel – minimalism with a twist.  I do also have a soft-spot for slightly bonkers high end fashion – I’m a fan of Pam Hogg, Louise Gray and KTZ.

What medium do you use? Nearly always pencil, with paint, colour and photography occasionally collaged in digitally.

Do you have a background in art? Yes – I studied Fashion at BTEC level, then went on to complete an Art Foundation and, after taking a gap year to travel, a Degree in Fine Art for Design. I’ve always known I wanted to work in the visual arts but until now the time hasn’t been right. I’ve been freelance for about 3 months now, and so far it’s going well.

Where can people see and buy your work? I have a website - www.xplusyequals.co.uk and I also occasionally contribute to Amelia’s Magazine and Guys and Girls Directory. Since going freelance, I’ve mainly been working on commissions so I don’t have prints on sale at the minute but I’m looking for opportunities to exhibit. I’m currently working on a collection of drawings that complement each other that I can sell as limited edition prints.

Have you been published? I’ve been featured in digital magazines for a while now but have just been included in a published collection of illustrations and articles, published by Amelia’s Magazine called ‘That Which We Do Not Understand’ – it’s out any day now.

 

We love kewpies

As you know, we are kewpie crazy here at Things&Ink… so here’s a little history about the kewpie, first published in The Love Issue of Things&Ink #3.

Words by Kelli Savill. 

Rose O'Neill 1907 Rose O’Neill 1907

 

Rose O’Neill first illustrated Kewpie dolls to be featured in the Ladies’ Home Journal, and they swiftly became extremely popular. Born in Germany, their name derived from the word “Cupid”, the Roman God of love.

Original kewpie

 

Shortly after Rose was 19, she moved to New York city alone with only sixty drawings. Within three months, she had sold them all. She was shocked by their popularity. She began illustrating children’s books and was highly successful, appearing in many popular publications including Harper’s Bazaar and Good Housekeeping. She drew over 700 cartoons for the humour magazine, Puck, which was a predominantly male-centric title at the time.

Her career was unparalleled and she truly demonstrated the traits of a strong woman. During her success, she sent her earnings home to her father, who converted their two-bedroom cabin in Missouri into a 14-room mansion. Rose also bought homes in New York, Connecticut and the Italian Isle of Capri. In a time where women could not even vote, she was truly supporting her family and allowing them to live a life they were not previously accustomed to.

Kewpie by Lauren Winzer

 

Rose took inspiration for her work from many different areas of her life. Her Kewpie dolls came to her in a dream. Rose O’Neill had a dream of little cherub-like elves jumping on her bed, one night in 1909. When she woke, she hurried to her drawing desk and sketched the first Kewpie. From there, her love of the small creature never faltered.

Kewpies took their doll form in 1913, manufactured in Germany, designed byJoseph Dallas. They were five inches tall, with jointed arms, painted eyes and a distinctive moulded face. They became highly collectable, and in 1939 a Kewpie doll was entered into a time capsule in New York’s World Fair. Early dolls now raise thousands of dollars, and are highly collectable by men and women of all ages. But they were not only captured in celluloid and plastic, Kewpies were immortalised in colouring books, stationery, cups, plates and poems. More recently, they have been commonly eternalised in tattoos. Many artists now tattoo the dolls in different outfits and styles, but always keeping to the distinct Kewpie characteristics Rose O’Neill designed.

Kewpies were popular in tattoo flash around the time of their conception, but faded out by the 1950s, being seen as old-fashioned. Today, they are almost as famous in tattoo flash as other bold traditional designs, such as the pin-up girl. Many artists are known for their amazing renditions of these cherub-like children, including Kim-Anh Nguyen, Lauren Winzer, Jemma Jones and the late tattoo legend Mike Malone whose work is notoriously not online or republished. ❦

Kewpie by Lauren Winzer

One year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

A year in the Things&Ink world – 2014, some highlights

The first issue of 2014, was The Modification Issue, issue 6 of Things&Ink. And we shot our amazing cover with space elf Grace Neutral in January 2014 at the London Film Museum. The magazine was released at Brighton Tattoo Convention in February 2014.

Here’s some behind the scenes footage of the shoot, which really gives a feel of how impressive the photo shoot venue was and how beautiful Grace is. 

The Modification Issue also featured one of our most moving shoots to date. Therapist and model Laurence Moniasse tells the story of her tattoos and scarification, and how they link to her past and her family. During the emotionally charged photo shoot where old family photos were projected onto the background, Laurence shed tears as she remembered her grandmother. It was a beautiful moment and a stunning editorial feature.

In February 2014, our most popular blog posts were: SHORT FRENCH FILM REVERSING GENDER ROLES and CELEBS WITH TATTOOS #SHOPPEDTATTOOS

Issue 7, The Identity Issue, was launched in May 2014, and starred Wendy Pham on what is – surprisingly – our most controversial cover to date. She looks strong and powerful in the image we chose for the cover, however some readers commented that it was too “sexual” and were shocked that it wasn’t a “typical” Things&Ink cover. We like to divide opinion, and get people talking. But it also reminded us that all our covers are collaborations between us and the artist who is featured – they choose how they are portrayed too. Their personality is represented and so is the ethos of Things&Ink… what do you think of the Wendy Pham cover? We would love to know.

Things and Ink identity Wendy Pham

In June 2014, our most popular blog posts were: WOMAN TRANSFORMS HER FACIAL SCARS WITH TATTOO INK and MUM TATTOOS HER 12 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER.

September 2014 saw the launch of The Illustration Issue, starring tattoo artist Danielle Rose. On the cover she becomes one with her artwork – the artist becomes artwork, the illustrator becomes the illustrated. This cover was one of our most collaborative and the results are simply breathtaking. This issue also marked a change in our identity, instead of our tagline: Embracing Female Tattoo Culture, it was Independent | Tattoo | Lifestyle that was printed underneath our logo on issue 8. We had occasionally been criticised for being a “female-only” magazine (which we actually never have been, we set up Things&Ink as way to portray art and not objectify the person wearing it), so we wanted to clear this up in our strapline and allow as many readers as possible to enjoy reading the magazine.

In September, we also celebrated our two-year birthday with a charity exhibition of post card sized artwork by over 100 of the world’s leading tattooists. The opening of ‘Miniature Ink’ was electric – readers even queued outside Atomica Gallery from 3pm in the afternoon (the exhibition opened at 6) to get their hands on a tiny piece of art. We were even lucky enough to get a special guest appearance from tattoo artist Cally-Jo and her friend, supermodel Cara Delevingne. The night was incredible and the exhibition ran throughout September and during the London Tattoo Convention, with all profits from sales going to the charity Sarcoma UK.

Supermodel Cara Delevingne, tattoo artist Cally-Jo and editor Alice Snape at the launch of the Miniature Ink exhibition

 

Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice Editorial Assistant Rosalie and Editor Alice at London Tattoo Convention September 2014 – we LOVE conventions and hope to do even more in 2015

 

Throughout September and October 2014, we also worked really hard on issue 9, as it was the last issue of the year, we wanted to do something extra special. S0 we created three extra special covers for you to choose from – including a woman, a man (for the first time ever) and a couple. Flo Nuttall, Brian Wilson, and Yann Brenyak and Delphine Noiztoy were all a pleasure to photograph and each of their personalties shines through.

 

2014 has been an incredible year for Things&Ink and we want to thank everyone who has made it possible: readers, writers, contributors, photographers…  – we are sure 2015 will be as full of surprises… we can’t wait to share it with you. What has been your highlight of 2014?

“stripped back” beauty photo shoot starring El Wood

“I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful, a faery’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.”

– from La Belle Dame Sans Merci by John Keats 

Full “stripped back” beauty photo shoot in issue 9, Things&Ink.

Art Director – Marina De Salis
Photographer – Philip Rhys Matthews
Makeup, Hair & Styling - Adrianna Veal
Model – Elena Wood