Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing Tattoos:

The phrase “A wolf in sheep’s clothing” is a common one to English speakers, and its vivid imagery has led to some pretty amazing artwork, including tattoos. Regarding tattoo work, most people take it literally, having a wolf wearing a sheepskin, usually comprising of just the heads. Often these pieces are done in an American traditional or neo-traditional style, though black and grey and black work are not uncommon. 

American traditional back done by Pete Goerlitz at Greyhound tattoo
Some black trad by Medea Tattoo

Many people believe(d) that the Bible is where this phrase was first recorded, but Aesop’s Fables also explicitly mention wolves in sheep’s clothing, and are much older than any of the Biblical texts. 

Neo-traditional piece done by Marko at North Tattoo 3411 in Mexico
A neo-traditional back done by Jan Man at First String Tattoo in Winnipeg Manitoba

For those who don’t know, Aesop was a salve and a storyteller, believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 564 BCE. He created a collection of fables collectively called “Aesopica” which were passed down orally until they were written down about three centuries after his death. Fables are short stories that aim to illustrate a certain set of morals and provide a teachable lesson to children in particular. Often the stories are about animals or mythical creatures to better catch a child’s attention, such as the case of “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” 

American traditional piece with rose done by Nick Ackman at Wild Zero Tattoo in Morgantown, WV
American traditional piece by Róbert Erdösi in Budapest

The meaning of the phrase refers to a person who hides malicious and ill intent behind a facade of friendliness and innocence. George Fyler Townsend’s 1867 translation of Aesop’s Fable is one of the better known versions: “Once upon a time a Wolf resolved to disguise his appearance in order to secure food more easily. Encased in the skin of a sheep, he pastured with the flock deceiving the shepherd by his costume. In the evening he was shut up by the shepherd in the fold; the gate was closed, and the entrance made thoroughly secure. But the shepherd, returning to the fold during the night to obtain meat for the next day, mistakenly caught up the Wolf instead of a sheep, and killed him instantly.” 

American traditional chest piece by Matt Renner at White Lodge Tattoo in Glenwood Springs
Black trad rib tickler by Crimlay in Vienna, Austria

There are also various Biblical texts that mention wolves in sheep’s clothing such as the 1611 King James Version of the Bible, found in the gospel of Matthew, in verse 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”

Black and grey piece by Kaitlin Rose Bryant at Cardinal Ink
American traditional piece by Lewis Parkin at Iron Hand Tattooing

Edited by Harrison R.

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Tattoos as a form of protest:

Tattoos have long been a symbol of youth and rebellion, but people also get tattoos as a form of protest. There have been many individuals, groups, and cultures who have done this, so today we will look at the people of Myanmar and Hong Kong and the tattoos they’ve been receiving in regards to recent protest events. 

Masked and helmeted protestors by Samantha Fung
Hong Kong revolutionary by Samantha Fung

Hong Kong still struggles today to hold onto its independence from mainland China, but in the summer of 2019 the main island looked more like a war zone than a shopping and business dis-trict. Hong Kong and mainland police met hundreds of thousands of protestors in the streets over a period of months and the clashes turned violent quickly thanks to the police. Having been there myself I can attest to the fear people had of the police, but also the resilience, particularly in young people who didn’t and still don’t want their home to change for the worse. People in Hong Kong are especially worried to lose their freedom of speech. If they do that would mean people could no longer openly criticize the government and may even face being arrested for social media posts, particularly if they try to make their thoughts public. Because of the escalation in events, many have even fled Hong Kong, often to Taiwan, to escape Beijing’s reach. 

Gas mask and umbrellas by Cathy
Hong Kong Molotov cocktail by Cathy

Sadly, clashes have in fact stayed violent for a long time now; and specific protestors are being targeted even now by police, nearly two years later. Some are still taking to the streets, and even more to social media, but others are also getting tattoos. Some specific designs include protestors with gas masks and/or helmets, the iconic umbrella-turned-weapon, “free Hong Kong”, “Fight for Freedom”, Hong Kong flags, etc. Three artists (though there are many more) that are doing these tattoos as a form of protest are Samantha Fung at 59 Tattoo, Cathy at Star Crossed Tattoo, and Mike Chan at Lov-inkit Tattoo. 

Gas mask and helmet by Mike Chan
“If we burn you burn with us” by Mike Chan

Myanmar has been facing a military coup since early February (2021), and a group of young people from the Intha ethnic minority organized an all-day tattoo event to raise money for the CDM or Civil Disobedience Movement. This military coup began when democratically elected members of the country’s ruling party were deposed by Myanmar’s military which has stated the results of the November 2020 general are invalid. The military has used tear gas, flash bang grenades, rubber bullets, and in some cases even live rounds against protestors. In the first couple weeks at least 54 people were killed, mainly young people and teenagers, and at least 2000 were arrested, charged, or sentenced by the military. 

Hunger Games tattoo, photo by Robert Bociaga for CNN
Aung San Suu Kyi tattoo, photo by Robert Bociaga for CNN

Eight tattoo artists worked on dozens of protestors during the all-day event. They kept designs small and from flash tattoos already pre-made. The small pieces were designed for speed and to convey a message of unity. The options given were: the face of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the words “Spring revolution,” the phrase “Kabar Ma Kyay Bu” (which references a protest song and means “we will not forget until the end of the world”) and the well known “three-finger salute,” from “The Hunger Games” movies which has been adopted in Myanmar and Thailand as a symbol of protest and rebellion. The finger salute is often used at protests as well, but the most popular tattoo design here is the outline of Suu Kyi’s face.

Aung San Suu Kyi tattoo, photo by Robert Bociaga for CNN
Aung San Suu Kyi tattoos, photo by Robert Bociaga for CNN

Edited by Harrison R.

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Artist of the Month: Ryan Cooper Thompson

Ryan Cooper Thompson is a well-known tattoo artist based in Portland, Oregon. His work is a highly recognizable take on classic American traditional, using only black, red, and green in his colour palette, and taking direct inspiration from greats such as Percy Waters, Bob Wicks, and George Burchett. 

A beautiful rose/butterfly lady
A bold back of the head lady head

Ryan’s lady portraits in particular are highly sought after, and his instagram feed is full of them for good reason; his ladies range from heads to full bodied nudes to butterfly ladies, and are wonderful to look at whether they’re palm sized or full backs. 

Dragon lady thigh piece
A bold knee design

If you’re getting your own RCT piece you can choose to have something custom designed, a piece of flash made by Ryan, or a flash piece based on older artists work that often date back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. 

A beautiful nude portrait and some butterflies
A gorgeous dragon lady back featuring butterflies

Along with ladies you’ll find lots of flowers, dragons, butterflies, and other animals in his portfolio and on the walls of his shop. 

A bright and bold peacock
A classic panther and rose

Ryan tattoos everything from hands to backs, large and small, one session to multiples. So whether you live nearby or are just passing through you’ll be able to get yourself a timeless piece. (Though he is only tattooing people in the Oregon and Washington area during pandemic times). If you can’t make the trip to get a tattoo you can also buy prints of his here.

Lady and the moon
A beautiful vase of flowers

Edited by Harrison R.

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Mastectomy Tattoos:

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 1 in 8 Canadian cisgendered women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives, and 1 in 33 will die from it. In 2020, 25% of all cancers in Canadian cisgendered women was a form of breast cancer, with approximately 27,400 women diagnosed and 240 cisgendered men also diagnosed. 

Peony flower by Justin Dunwoody at Eastern Pass Tattoo Co
Black and grey bird and rose by Emma at True Love Tattoos in Norwich

Breast cancer is unfortunately quite a common form of cancer, and mainly affects cisgendered women. Often a breast cancer diagnoses leads to a mastectomy. A mastectomy is a surgery that removes part or all of the breast. There are 5 kinds of mastectomy surgeries including; “Simple” or “total” mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, radical mastectomy, partial mastectomy, and subcutaneous (nipple-sparing) mastectomy. 

Before and after nipple recreation by Eric Eye in Seattle
Breast cancer awareness ribbon and flowers by Kerry Soraci in St Louis

For years now people who undergo various forms of mastectomies have turned to tattooing to either cover the area after it is healed, or in some cases recreate what they looked like before the mastectomy. 

Black and grey flowers by Clara Welsh at Evil From the Needle in Camnden, UK
Pastel flowers and nipple recreation by Lita Edwards at Boobs and Tattoos

Many tattoo artists even specialize in mastectomy tattoos, either covering the whole area with an image, or nipple and/or breast recreation. Many people who decide to get tattooed after a mastectomy opt for some form of cancer awareness piece, such as the breast cancer awareness ribbon with flowers or a butterfly, or something that they find beautiful to help them deal with the trauma they’ve been through. 

Breast cancer awareness ribbon and flowers by Sabrina Cruz at Skin Elixir Tattoo
Water colour style rose by Michelle Gómez in Guadalajara Mexico

Some tattoo artists also offer to do mastectomy tattoos for free if they have some sort of personal connection to it, but those who specialize in this type of work always do a great job.

Breast cancer awareness ribbon and water colour tree and birds by Louisa Kleinert at Blue Bird Inked
Breast cancer awareness ribbon and flowers by Erin Mathews at Canvas Tattoo in MN

You can donate to the Canadian Cancer Society here.

Edited by Harrison R.

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Spider-Man Tattoos:

Spider-Man remains one of the most popular superheroes ever created, thanks to writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko. Fans have been enamoured with Spider-Man ever since Peter Parker was first bitten by a radioactive spider in 1962, and today, many are even getting Spider-Man tattoos. 

Spider-Man half sleeve done by Richy Price at Dark Souls Tattoo in Birminham, UK
Simpsons meets Spider-Man by Chelsea Matthews at Bold as Brass Tattoo in Liverpool

Spider-Man had a humble beginning as a comic book character and has since been in cartoons, live action and animated movies, video games, and even a Broadway musical. Spidey’s movies are probably the most well known and currently consumed amidst pop culture out there (aside from possibly Batman), and he’s been played by Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland in the live action films, and was voiced by Shameik Moore, Chris Pine, and Jake Johnson as various versions of Spider-Man in his most recent animated film. 

Spider-Man by Blanca Secco in Spain
Comic book style Spider-Man by Zineb Slaimi in Cambodia

The first villain in the comics was the Chameleon, but other villains include Dr. Octopus, Venom, Electro, and one of his main arch-nemeses the Green Goblin. 

Spider-Man and New York’s skyline by Tom Osvath at Ink and Iron in Chicago
A cute cartoon spidey by Danny Elliott at Rebel Muse Denver

While most folks ship Peter with Mary Jane or Gwen Stacey, his original love interest was Betty Brant, the secretary at The Daily Planet. 

Miles Morales by at PMA Jay
A hyper realistic Spider-Man by Lui Color Tattoo at Bunte Tinte Tattoo Dresden

Peter Parker is the most well known version of Spider-Man, but other versions within the spider-verse include Miles Morales, Spider-Ham, Miguel O’Hara, Mayday Parker, and Gwen Stacey (as Spider-Gwen) among others.

Miles Morales by Yeray Perez
Comic book Spidey by Joäo Paulo Matos

Which Spider-Man movie is your favourite?

Edited by Harrison R.

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Fukushi Masaichi “the skin collector”

Fukushi Masaichi (1878-1956) was famous for his interesting and macabre collection of human skin, specifically tattooed human skin. Dr. Fukushi was a Japanese physician, pathologist, and professor of Nippon Medical School in Tokyo. He was studying moles and movement of pigmentation in human skin, which is how he became interested in tattoos; more specifically Japanese bodysuits. This interest led to him collecting tattooed human skin after people died (with their permission).

Dr. Fukushi worked for a long time at the Mitsui Memorial Hospital in Tokyo, which mainly helped the poorer and lower classes. At the time, these classes were largely the kind of people who were also getting tattooed in Japan such as gangsters, construction workers, and other day labourers.

The doctor had such a fascination and interest in tattoos that he even paid for some people to get full bodysuits, or to finish existing work on the condition that he could harvest their skin when they died. 

This fascination also lead to him forming friendships with his tattooed patients, and helped form the Tattoo League of Japan. The League would meet in public bathhouses to show off their body art to each other and the doctor.

Don Ed hardy is one of the few lucky foreigners to have seen the collection in 1983 at the invitation of Dr. Katsunari Fukushi, Masaichi’s son, who also continued the collection. At the time there were over 3,000 photographs of tattoos, over 100 tattooed human skins, and notes and records from Masaichi. 

Edited by Harrison R.

Information from: Don Ed Hardy, Remains to be Seen, in Tattoo Time, Volume 4: Life and Death Tattoos, (1987).

Vice Magazine, June 29 2015, Simon Davis. Human Pelts: The Art of Preserving Tattooed Skin After Death

https://www.eikondevice.com/blog/tattoo-histories-skin-collector-fukushi-masaichi-1878-1956

Artist of the month: 더니들스 (redlip tattooer)

더니들스 (redlip tattooer) is an artist working out of The Needles in Seoul, South Korea. 

Classic Death Before Dishonor
Willy Wonka

She tattoos in a hybrid style of old school and new school. Her old school techniques consist of thick bold lines and the classic colour scheme, with an added almost cartoon-ish look.

Mickey and Minnie meets Ice Cream
Maui, Hei Hei, and Pua

Lots of her work features cartoon characters from popular Disney movies and shows like Mickey and Minnie, Moana, Mulan, and more. Her Instagram is also full of old school classics like swallows, reapers, skulls, pinups, and lady heads.

Mulan, Mushu, and Cri-Kee
Grim Reaper on holiday

Much of the work she does can be done as smaller pieces if you’re a tourist in the area, and she also puts together fantastic larger pieces such as full sleeves.

Party shark
A beautiful red cardinal

If you’re traveling in the area be sure to send her an email and get yourself an appointment, or if you live nearby add a few new pieces to your collection.

A classic swallow and rose on the neck
Daria’s Jane Lane

Edited by Harrison R.

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Addams Family Tattoos:

The Addams family have been creeping people out and making them laugh since 1938 when the kooky family first appeared in Charles Addams’ cartoon in The New Yorker. Since then, they have also appeared in the 1960’s sit-com that ran for two seasons, a cartoon show in the 70’s that also ran for two seasons, a live action feature film in 1991 and a sequel in 1993, and a cartoon feature in 2019.

Addams Family quote by Meg Lewis at Stallions and Galleons Tattoo in the UK
Morticia and Gomez by Max Puga

As tattoos, the character “Wednesday” is probably the most popular for fans, followed by Uncle Fester and Thing. Quotes and other characters also make for great tattoos. The most prevalent styles are black and grey, realism, and neo-traditional. 

Hyper realistic portrait of Uncle Fester by Sólyom Dániel at James Tattoo Gallery in Budapest
Thing by Emma Maris at This Dark Horse Tattoo in Manchester, England

Wednesday Addams has long been a fan favourite, but like the other characters, she didn’t have a name until the 1960’s show. She was named after the nursery rhyme called “Monday’s Child”, detailing the days of the week, with Wednesday being described in the rhyme as “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.” In the original cartoon she is pail, dark haired, and has an obsession with the macabre. In the 1960’s show she is much sweeter and kinder, though her favourite hobby is raising spiders. The 1990’s films made her much darker again, and it’s this version of Wednesday that usually makes it to tattoos. 

A devilish Wednesday by Peter Granite Crowell at Lighthouse Tattoo Club, in Auburn, CA
Wednesday and poison by Kim Cauchi at Modern Tribe Tattoo Studio

Creator Charles Addams was known for having somewhat macabre interests and hobbies, hence his ability to create such fantastic characters and stories. His house was apparently filled with medieval weapons and torture devices. He had a particular love for crossbows and even admitted to fantasizing about shooting an intruder or robber with one.

Uncle Fester by Kyra Leigh at To The Grave Tattoo in Lexington, KY
“Stay Weird” Wednesday by Brianne Sienkiewicz at No Man’s Land Tattoo in Middletown NY

Angelica Huston (Morticia Addams) apparently grew up reading her parents’ book of Addams Family cartoons and even pretended she was Morticia. It is interesting how she ended up playing the character in the movies 30 years later. She also had to go through a daily routine of fitting into a metal corset that created the cartoonish figure of Morticia. This included gauze eye lifts, neck tucks, and fake nails. 

Cartoons Wednesday and Pugsley by Toni Mazuranic at Tattoo Hardline in Zagreb, Croatia
Wednesday and the house by Uncle Trashcan in Orlando, FL

Who is your favourite Addams Family character?

Edited by Harrison R.

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The Office Tattoos:

The Office (US) is the immensely popular series based on the UK series of the same name. While both shows are popular, the American version has seen much more popularity worldwide, while the UK version receives most of its praise within the UK. The British version came to be (mostly in part by Ricky Gervais who also acts in it) and ran for two seasons. The US version was created in 2005 and ran for nine seasons, has been nominated for a total of 193 awards, 51 of which it won, and has one of the most loyal fan-bases in television, leading to many hardcore fans getting tattoos dedicated to it.

“Identity theft is not a joke, Jim!” Done by Ryan Ashley DiCristina
“Hello, Clarice…” Done by Erin Davies at La Belle Tattoo Studio

As tattoos, many people opt for getting the more popular characters, usually Dwight or Michael; but any and all of them can be found. Direct quotes and images based on quotes also make for popular tattoo designs; such as Michael’s infamous movie ”Threat Level Midnight.” 

Threat Level Midnight by J. Partylord at Bona Root Tattoo Parlour
Matching “Nard” dogs done by Robin Patel at Timeless Tat2

The Office has become such an integral part of North American pop culture that psychologists have even explored why people are so obsessed with it. Many people have even continuously binge watched it on Netflix, on repeat (myself included). Reasons for peoples’ need to watch and re-watch the show seem to all be about comfort, such as relieving stress, dealing with trauma or heartbreak, and even coping with mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. 

Pam’s drawing of the office done by Karina Aroca at Evilvink Studios
“We need a new plague.” Done by Landon Lewis at Black Thorn Gallery

Some fun facts that you may not know about your favourite show include: the temperature on set had to be kept at a cool 17 degrees (64 F) because actor Steve Carell has active sweat glands that could ruin a shot. Jim and Pam’s proposal scene was the most expensive shot of the show, costing around $250,000 (US) because the backdrop of the storefronts were built for the show. Rainn Wilson (Dwight) auditioned for the role of Michael Scott, Seth Rogen auditioned for the role of Dwight, and Adam Scott auditioned for the role of Jim. Clearly, the casting director made the right choices (no offence to Seth and Adam). And speaking of casting, Phyllis Smith (Phyllis Lapin-Vance) was initially an assistant casting director for the show, but the producers were so impressed with her reading of lines for those who were auditioning that she was asked to act in the show instead. 

Prison Mike done by Pierre Gwood at Deerhound Studio in Ottawa
Kevin’s famous chilli done by Shawn Patton at Trustworthy Tattoo

For many of us, The Office is a favourite that makes us laugh over and over, and can be an immense source of comfort in dark times. It’s a show that’s such a big part of our lives that some even opt for immortalizing it on their skin forever.

Dwight portrait done by Dillon Robertson
Jim’s present done by Tom Hall at Seventy Two Street Tattoo

Do you have an “Office” tattoo?

Edited by Harrison R.

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To see more Office tattoos check out Dunder Mifflin Tattoos here.