Black Out Tattoos:

Black out tattoos have been growing in popularity over the last few years, with some people even getting full body suits in this style.

Sleeve and chest piece by 3Kreuze at Ruin Your Life Tattoo in Germany
Negative space black out work by Hoode Tattoos at Black Vulture gallery in Philadelphia

Black out tattoos are exactly what they sound like, large amounts of black ink as the subject, sometimes covering older existing tattoos.

Heavy black out work by Dekalcomanu in Toulouse, France
Fresh black out sleeve by Lukasz Melcher at Stygmat Tattoo

Some black out tattoos also feature some geometric style work mixed in, or white ink over top of the black.

Geometric black out work by Guy Le Tattooer at Sigue Sigue Sputnik
Geometric black out work in progress by Kenji Alucky at Black Ink Power in Berlin

Many black out tattoo collectors do it in part for the experience of getting the tattoo, as a full blackout (especially as a coverup) can be very painful, creating an almost spiritual experience for the person getting tattooed.

Black out sleeve with white ink flower by Miguel Vanacore at Black Club Tattoo
Black out half sleeve by Xiao Lun at Hailin Tattoo studio in Los Angeles

Most artists who do black out tattoos specialize in it, as it’s not actually all that easy to make a full sleeve or torso look even in its blackness, especially when the piece is done in multiple sessions.

Full black out sleeve by Joe Larralde at Historic Tattoo in Portland, Oregon
Black out sleeve around some existing work, by Kalle Koo at Paradise Helsinki

What do you think of black out tattoos?

Sak Yant Tattoos:

Sak Yant tattoos are well known to tattoo lovers as a mainly Thai Buddhist form of tattooing. “Sak” means “to tap” or “to tattoo”, and “yant” comes from the Sanskrit word “yantra” which has many meanings. Usually referring to a “machine”, “instrument” or “apparatus”.

Bodysuit done by ajannookanpai.yant in Thailand
Ajannookanpai.yant blessing a finished tattoo in Thailand

Most people who have heard of Sak Yant tattoos are familiar with them because of their tie to Thai culture, but this specific form of tattoo actually comes from the Khmer people of Cambodia.

Healed work by ajannookanpai.yant in Thailand
Back Sak Yant done by Chai at Adikt Ink Lexembourg

Sak Yant tattoos are very closely tied to religion and spirituality, mainly Buddhism. Most Sak Yant tattoos are performed by Buddhist monks at a temple where they can bless the tattoo properly. But the Sak Yant designs are becoming so popular that tattoo artists are doing them, just without the blessing or spiritual connectedness that accompanies the tattoo when done by a monk.

Back Sak Yant done by Oj Jo at 113ink Tattoo in Thailand
Back Sak Yant done by Ken Tip at Yant Studio

Much of the script featured in Sak Yant designs come from Buddhism and are meant to be a chant or a mantra. This is why it’s important to research what kind of Sak Yant you would like, as they all carry different meanings.

Back Sak Yant done by Sebastian Lydford at Love and Light Tattoo
Back Sak Yant done by Arjarn Fluke in Thailand

While Sak Yant pieces can be for anyone to wear, it’s important to understand the religious and cultural significance of the piece, and make sure you are getting the tattoo in a respectful way, including the placement of the piece. Since Sak Yant’s are largely Buddhist, it can be seen as highly disrespectful to tattoo the design anywhere below your waist, particularly if it includes a design featuring Buddha.

Back Sak Yant done by Arjarn Fluke in Thailand
Finger Sak Yant done by Kike in Barcelona

Edited by Harrison R.

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Artist of the Month: Hattie Rich

Hattie Rich is an artist working out of Rose of Mercy in London, England. Her work is mainly filed with old school traditional work, but she also does great ornamental pieces. 

classic swallow and rose
Bold crab lady on the neck

Hattie has lots of flash to choose from, both old school and ornamental, or you can also bring your own idea!

Elbow spider-web
Black and grey swallows and flowers

Whether you like bright and colourful, or black and bold, you can be sure Hattie will have something you’ll love. In her flash you’ll find lots of lady heads, flowers, dragons, animals, and more. 

Sleeping kewpie and rose
Hand of glory

The ornamental work currently on Hattie’s Instagram will remind you of delicate lace patterns, and can be made to fit most parts of the body.

Ornamental hand piece
Geisha and dragon

If you can’t make it all the way to London from outside of the UK you can also purchase merchandise and flash from Hattie here. But if you’re in the area or live nearby be sure to get a cool piece from Hattie at Rose of Mercy.

Black and grey Coleman lady
Classic lady and spider-web

Edited by Harrison. R.

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Witch Tattoos:

Witches have been around for hundreds and hundreds of years, and span across all cultures in various forms and with different names, but we’re all familiar with them, and they’re more popular than ever (in Western culture at least).

A witch being burned at the stake done by Uncle Phil at Wolf and Dagger tattoo, UK
A witch and her staff done by Moira Ramone Rotterdam, Netherlands

Witches and witchcraft have had many different meanings over the years, but traditionally it refers to women (often portrayed as old crones) practicing some kind of dark magic that often involves spirits and/or satan himself. Throw in some cannibalism, a pet familiar, and other ghosts and ghouls and you’ve got yourself a party.

A neo-traditonal witch being burned at the stake done by Renae Haak at Diabolik Tattoo in Newcastle, Australia
A witch being burned at the stake by Bex Priest Tattoos

Wicca is a predominantly western movement whose followers “worship” nature, and base the religion upon pre-Christian traditions of mainly Northern and Eastern Europe. Some important celebrations for Wiccans include Halloween, the summer solstice, winter solstice, and vernal equinox.

A witchy woman done by Ryan Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem MA
A witchy woman done by Matthew Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem MA

Witchcraft and witches have become so mainstream today that even businesses such as Sephora, Urban Outfitters, and others sell products like tarot cards, witch-themed makeup, Ouija boards, crystals, and more.

A witch being burned done by Nikos Tsakiris at the Golden Goat Tattoo
A more American traditional witch done by Alice Burke at Highwater Gallery in Swansea, UK

As a tattoo, many people choose the more “classic” witch look; pointy hat and all. Blackwork, American traditional and black and grey are some of the more popular styles for witches, and many folks choose to get witch burning tattoos, witches haunting places, or witches with their broomsticks or familiars.

An adorable witch head done by Amanda LaForest at Momentum Tattoo Florida
Black and grey witch/plague doctor done by Julianna Menna at Gristle Tattoo in Brooklen, NY

Do you have a witch tattoo?

Scream (movie) Tattoos:

Scream, first released in 1996, written by Kevin Williamson, and directed by the great Wes Craven, has turned into one of the most popular horror franchises around, spanning four films from the 1990’s to 2010’s, with a 5th on the way.

Line work Ghostface done by Jen at Fall Back Down Tattoo
Black work Ghostface in a heart done by Nate Laird

Scream was pretty groundbreaking in its day, being a slasher film that successfully moved into the mainstream through its use of comedy and self awareness. The first film was written by Williamson in just three days after he got the idea for the film during a scare he had a few days earlier in which he heard a noise while watching tv, and noticed that the window was open, which he hadn’t done. He reportedly called a friend while grabbing a knife from the kitchen. His friend apparently started asking him about scary movies to distract him, and the opening scene of the first Scream was born. The idea for the film overall was also loosely inspired by a series of real murders committed by serial killer Danny Rolling, AKA the Gainesville Ripper. 

Ghostface and his iconic knife done by Andrew Scott at Chronic Ink, Toronto
Ghostface ice cream cone by Ross Purvis at Primrose Tattoo Parlor in Orlando, Florida

Wes Craven actually wore the Ghostface mask once during filming, in the opening scene between he and Casey (Drew Barrymore), and also made a brief cameo as a janitor. Drew Barrymore’s tears were real, as Wes Craven told her real stories about animal cruelty in order to “keep her upset and crying.” Drew was also using a real phone, and the props master JP Jones had forgotten to unplug it, leading her to call 911 for real while filming.

Ghostface and his knife by Matt Stasi
Sexy Ghostface done by Shelby Sawyer at Tried and True Tattoo

Originally the Weinstein brothers approached directors George A. Romero and Sam Raimi to direct, but they both turned it down. Wes Craven initially passed as well, but when he heard Drew Barrymore was originally set to play Sidney Prescott he signed on. Of course Drew changed her mind, and Neve Campbell became Sidney, and did a great job in the role for years to come.

Ghostface and Casey done by German Ferreiroa at True Black Tattoing in Dublin, Ireland
A more old school Ghostface with knife and trad flowers done by Kristopher John in Los Angeles

As a tattoo most people choose to get some form of Ghostface, usually in a black work or American traditional style. Knives with Ghostface superimposed within are also quite popular. Do you have a Scream tattoo?

“What’s your favourite scary movie?” Done by Erin Sullins at Monolith Tattoo in Nashville TN
A cute lil strawberry Ghostface done by Skylar Skylord Rose Wasserman in Florida

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Cthulhu Tattoos:

Cthulhu is a fictional entity that was created by horror-fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft and was first seen in 1928 in his story The Call of Cthulhu. Its physical appearance is supposed to be so horrible that it destroys the sanity of anyone who looks at it. It is described as “a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.”

Mostly black and grey piece done by Chloe Smith Tattoo
Cool Cthulhu done by María Roca in Madrid

Cthulhu is a priest or leader for “the Old Ones” who are a species that came to earth from space well before humans came to be. The Old Ones lay dormant and their city was buried under the earth’s crust, beneath the Pacific Ocean. They were more or less forgotten about by the majority of humans, except for certain “uncivilized” groups of people who remembered Cthulhu and the Old Ones and worshipped them in horrible rites and rituals.

Black and grey piece by Sarah Walsworth
Cthulhu and the moon done by Lucy Harrington in Dublin, Ireland

H.P. Lovecraft is regarded as one of the most influential and well-known horror-fantasy writers, having influenced modern horror writers and directors such as Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro, Junji Ito, Matt and Ross Duffer, Matt Ruff, Misha Green, and countless others. He is also known as the creator of the sub-genre of horror known as “Cosmic Horror”. 

A more neo-traditional piece done by Kelly Gormley
Super cute new school Cthulhu by Mychaela at The great Wilderness Tattoo

Despite Lovecraft’s wide reach, he was also extremely racist, and people like Matt Ruff and Misha Green (Lovecraft Country) have worked to expose that while still recognizing the cultural relevance, particularly of Cthulhu and other creatures. By the early 1930’s he was defending white Lynch mobs and praising Hitler in letters to friends, and short stories such as “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, and “The Horror of Red Hook” made non-white folks out to be primitive and less than human. 

To be or not to be, that is the question Cthulhu asked… Done by Jack Vegas in Lviv, Ukraine
Creepy black and grey piece by Anubis Lok at Phycho Pomp Tattoo in Hong Kong

As a tattoo, many people choose to get Cthulhu in a more realistic style, although neo-traditional and new school are also popular. What is your favourite story featuring Cthulhu?

Dotwork piece by Mammoth Tattoo
Terrifying black work piece by Markus Blanchard in Salem MA

Edited by Harrison R.

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Halloween Flash:

It’s October which means Halloween flash from many artists!

Witchy black and grey flash from Shannon Mcfarlene at Iron Lotus Winnipeg
Comic book style flash from Mike End in Paris

Many artists have deals on flash throughout October, or at the very least have themed sheets with ghosts, goblins, and ghoulies.

Deadly warriors by Mike Roberts at Port’s End, Oregon
Cute flash from Cloud Hamilton at White Lotus Body Arts in Ventura, CA

Most artists who do sheets like this are old school artists, but you can also find black and grey, hand poked, black work, and more!

Classic spooky flash from Renee Strong at Art and Soul Tattoo in Winnipeg
Disney flash from Kelly McMurray at Good Luck Tattoos in Santa Cruz, CA

As with most flash, pieces will be available either only one time (for one person to wear), or with small changes made to give you an original piece that is similar to others.

spooky Kewpie dolls by Sam Murphy at Black Sheep Bristol
Serial killers from Dan Gagné at Mortem Tattoo in Montreal

Some tattooers go for cute halloween themed sheets like Disney characters, cartoon characters, or cute horror icons, but I’ll take the real creepy stuff!

Japanese style horror classics from One Man Riet at Red Nimbus Tattoo Club
Women in horror flash from Monica Amneus at Sants and Sinners Tattoo

What’s your favourite scary movie?

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Artist of the Month: Alexandra Fische

Alexandra Fische is a tattoo artist working out of 9th Realm Gallery in Salem, MA. Alexandra is the perfect artist to feature during October, as 30 seconds on her Instagram will show you. 

Black Philip from The Witch
Neo-traditional werewolf

Alexandra’s main focus of work is cute neo-traditional and new school Halloween and horror themed pieces. While spooky themed work is what you’ll mainly see on her page, Alexandra is also known to do watercolour, black and grey, and some more realistic work.

Salem themed grave
AFI’s All Hallow’s E.P album cover

You can tell Alexandra is passionate about horror and Halloween from the incredible care and attention to detail she puts into every piece. Her takes on classic horror icons, creatures, and monsters are one of a kind and really showcase her unique style.

Lock, Shock, and Barrel from the Nightmare Before Christmas
Vlad the Impaler portrait

Alexandra has brilliant flash to choose from, as well as the ability to draw up something original.

Creepy black cat
Barbara and Adam from Beetlejuice done up as The Lovers Tarot card

If you’re in the Salem area Alexandra is a must see artist. What horror movie do you want a tattoo from most?

Adorable new school Baphomet
Creepy carousel

Tattoo History 18: Bert Grimm

Bert Grimm was one of the most influential American tattooers of the early 20th century, getting started in the tattoo business at the age of about 15. Grimm first started hanging out at tattoo shops in Portland, Oregon, but his first job was working at the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. After working and traveling with sideshows he secured his first apprenticeship in the early 1920’s with Sailor George Fosdick in Oregon, and later he completed a two year apprenticeship with Sailor Charlie Barrs in Los Angeles.

Astraea painting by Bert Grimm and posted by Bert Grimm Official
Leo Lipe tattooed by Bert Grimm. Posted by Vintage Tattoo Archive

Throughout his 70 plus years of tattooing Bert worked in Chicago, Honolulu, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Long beach, St Louis, Portland and Seaside Oregon, and even in China. He also worked with some of the other greats of the time such as Domingo Gulang, Charlie Barr, Tatts Thomas, Red Gibbons, Walter Torun, Bob Shaw, Percy Waters, William Grimshaw, Col Todd, Owen Jensen, and others. 

Bert Grimm tiger by Darren Quinn at Sang Bleu Tattoo in London
Ed Caldwell and Bert Grimm, posted by Vintage Tattoo Archive

Bert’s World Famous Tattoo was a historic shop that he ran in Nu Pike in Long Beach, CA from the 1950’s through the 60’s where hundreds of sailors were tattooed before shipping out. 

Bert Grimm’s Sundancer
Bert Grimm suns by Hans Blue Arms at Blue Arms Tattoo in Oslo

Bert was inducted into the Tattoo Hall of Fame which was located at Lyle Tuttle’s Tattoo Art Museum in San Francisco. He retired in Seaside, Oregon but continued to tattoo out of a small shop in his home, doing around 10 tattoos a week according to a letter written to Paul Rogers.

Ed Caldwell’s back tattooed by Bert Grimm and posted by Bert Grimm Official
Crucifixion back by Bert Grimm on Jack Flux and posted by Bert Grimm Official

Some of Bert’s most well known pieces include the Sun Dancer, the smiling sun, and Lyle Tuttle’s Duel in the Sun. Other popular designs from him include tiger heads, ships, and patriotic pieces for those in the military. 

Sailor Larry’s Homeward Bound back done by Bert Grimm posted by Bert Grimm Official
Lyle Tuttle’s Duel in the Sun by Bert Grimm

Do you have a Bert Grimm Tattoo?

Blog post edited by Harrison R.

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