Artist of the Month: Joey Ramona

Joey Ramona is a tattooer working out of Under My Thumb Tattoos in Toronto. They do old school tattoos while taking lots of inspiration from Jewish culture.

Gorgeous florals in old school colours
Jewish lady head from Joey’s flash

Joey strives to make a welcoming environment for all who wish to get tattooed, regardless of body type, skin tone, gender, etc. They are a fierce defender of Queer folks and also do their part to call out anti-Semitism, particularly in sub cultures of tattooing and alternative music. You can read an interview that features Joey and other Jewish artists here.

Bad ass Jewish heroine, Judith
Jewish lady head and flowers from Joey’s flash

When you check out Joey’s instagram (linked above) you can expect to see lots of flowers, (Jewish) lady heads, and Hebrew script intermingled with classic old school tattoo designs.

Spider lady and flowers
Ketubah-inspired flowers

Now (August 2020) Joey also makes face masks with other local Toronto artists, and has flash, shirts, tote bags, and more available on their Etsy.

Sofa and radio with a cassette around the corner
Healed cow girl, flowers, and dice

Be sure to check them out if you live in Toronto or are passing through!

“kindness” in Hebrew
hand drawn flowers

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Tattoos For Pluviophiles:

Pluviophile (n)- A lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

Storm clouds by Shannon Mcfarlene at Iron Lotus in Winnipeg
Realistic black and grey storm clouds by Marcin Sonski

As a pluviophile myself, I love anything related to rain and storms. The sight, sound, and smell of rain all make me feel happy and at peace. Some of my favourite art is inspired by storms and rain, and that includes tattoos.

Storm clouds by Mel Mauthe at Iron Lotus in Winnipeg
Skeleton enjoying the rain by Madar Norbert at Knuckle Up Budapest

As a tattoo, some common rain themes include rain clouds, storm clouds with lightning, umbrellas, and people in the rain.

Dot and line work rain by Masi in Nürnberg
Umbrella and storm by La Maison Hantée

Common styles include black work, American traditional, realism, dot work, and black and grey.

Black work piece by Julaika at Vienna Tattoo
Rainy day window by Pixie Cat at Art Lab Tattoo Studio

What is your favourite thing about rainy days?

Dot and line work skull and umbrellas by Jay Baldwin
Angel and rain by Rat at Imperial Tattoo Toronto

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Tattoo History 11: Tattooed Ladies

Pictures courtesy of Vintage Tattoo Photo Archive.

For over 100 years, “The Tattooed Lady” was an attraction not to be missed at circuses, carnivals, and freak shows all around the world. While men also performed and showed off their tattooed bodies, women were what people wanted to see. Pick a time in history, or modern day, and sex and danger sells. Thus, tattooed women sold tickets wherever they went, and attracted tourists and locals alike.

Some of the most famous tattooed ladies of the 1800’s and 1900’s also had fabricated back stories to make themselves seem more interesting. What’s more interesting (especially given the times); “woman tattooed by force after capture by ‘savages'”, or “woman gets tattooed by her common-law partner?” This was part of the fabrication and later true story of Nora Hildebrandt.

Betty Broadbent April 4th 1938, Australia

Nora Hildebrandt is known as the first professional tattooed lady. She was tattooed by her common-law partner, Martin Hildebrandt (some people refer to them as father and daughter but more evidence points to them being romantic partners rather than father and daughter). Martin Hildebrandt is a hard person to pin down due to the amount of traveling he did. But according to numerous reports it looks like he eventually settled in New York in the 1850’s. Nora Hildebrandt began performing at sideshows in 1882, with over 365 tattoos all over her body. This number helped her fake back story of being captured by “Indian savages” and forcibly tattooed one per day for a year (which she later admitted was false and just helped sell tickets). Nora most famously performed with Barnum and Bailey’s circus in the 1890’s as their main tattooed lady.

Nora Hildebrandt 1880’s

Artoria (Anne) Gibbons is another well known tattooed lady. She worked for over 30 years in circuses and sideshows in the early 1900’s including Barnum and Bailey’s, the Ringling Brothers, and others. She met Charles “Red” Gibbons, an already well known tattooer, and the two eventually married. After being married for 4-5 years, Red started tattooing Anne, and she became almost like a business card or canvas to showcase his work. She was apparently so beautiful, and the tattoos on her body so well done, that she stole the show wherever she went. In an interview in 1934, Anne said that she was often asked if she was born that way (seriously). From medieval times to the mid 1900’s many people believed in the “mark of impression,” that something the mother had done or seen would leave a physical mark on the baby. Doctors legitimately thought that her mother had watched too many movies while she was pregnant with Anne and that’s why she was covered in images.

Artoria Gibbons and her famous last supper tattoo in 1920

A third well known tattooed lady was Betty Broadbent. She was born in the early 1900’s and at the age of 14 went to work for a wealthy family in Atlantic City as a nanny. It was there that she came across the heavily tattooed man, Jack Red Cloud on the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. He was performing as a Tattooed Man and was happy to talk to her about tattoos and art. Betty started her body suit after being introduced to Jack’s friend, the famous Charlie Wagner. She spent her life savings tot ravel to New York City to and start being tattooed by Wagner. She was also tattooed by another New York artist named Joe Van Hart, and eventually collected pieces from Tony Rhineagear and Red Gibbons. The process took about two years and included 365 individual pieces, varying in theme. They covered her arms, legs, back, and chest. Pieces included historical figures such as Queen Victoria, religious figures such as the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus. Though one of her most notable pieces is a huge eagle that spreads from shoulder to shoulder. When asked about it she reportedly said “it hurt something awful, but it was worth it.”She joined the circus in 1927, working with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s. Betty was also one of the few well known Tattooed Ladies who didn’t use a fabricated story about her tattoos.

Betty Broadbent, April 4th in38, Australia

The last Tattooed Lady I looked at is Maud Wagner. Along with being a Tattooed Lady, Maud also performed aerial acrobatics and was an accomplished contortionist who travelled with multiple circuses. She was born in 1877 in Kansas. Maud met her husband, Gus Wagner at the Louisiana World’s fair in 1904, and learned how to do hand-poked tattoos from him. She would become America’s first known female tattooer, along with her work as a performer in the circus industry. The couple had a daughter, Lotteva, who learned the family trade at the age of 9 and continued tattooing throughout her life. Maud’s tattoos included patriotic art, and animals mainly.

Maud Wagner 1907

It is often assumed that men dominated the tattoo world, but through research it’s clear to see that women have been just as important in shaping tattoo culture. Tattooed Ladies brought tattoos to the forefront of underground society, and helped make them “more acceptable.” Tattooed Ladies were able to make a name and living for themselves for over 100 years, from the late 1800’s to mid 1990’s through circuses and carnivals, and now are able to through websites and magazines.

Who is your favourite historical tattooed lady?

https://www.cloakanddaggerlondon.co.uk/history-tattooed-attraction-betty-broadbent/

https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/05/05/maud-wagner-known-as-the-inked-woman-was-the-first-female-tattoo-artist-in-america/

https://www.tattooarchive.com/history/gibbons_artoria.php

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Anti-Police Tattoos:

June 2020 and the world (largely the Western world, particularly North America and England) has started to open to their eyes to the reality that the police are not “the good guys.” First some statistics from Canada and The United States before we get into the history of police.

Burning cop car by Caitlin Carter at Blackbrush Tattoo Studio.
ACAB cop skull by Matt E at World Tattoo Studio and Scrimshaw.

In the US, police kill more than 1000 people a year. Black people are 3 times more likely to be killed than white people, and are 1.4 times more likely to be UNARMED during these killings. In Canada the numbers are harder to find, though police have killed close to 500 people that we know of since the year 2000, and the number has been climbing yearly.

New School pig cop by Fatyna Tattoo.

Looking specifically at Toronto, an Indigenous person is 10 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than a white person. While Indigenous people are persecuted by police in Canada at a larger percentage than any other race, black people are also targets for police violence. Again looking at Toronto, 18 black men and one black boy were among the 52 people killed by police in Toronto alone from 2000-2017. Of those cases only 7 police officers faced charges and only 1 was found guilty.

ACAB tattoo done at The Black Drama in Toronto.

As of 2015 the US makes up only 5% of the worlds population, but 21% of the world’s prisoners. Land of the free? Not even close. Black people in the US are incarcerated at more than 5 times the rate of white people. Black women do twice the amount of time in prison than white women for the same crimes. Click here to learn more about incarceration in the US.

Cute protester by Vonmal21 in Toronto.

Meanwhile in Canada, Indigenous people make up only 4.5 precent of the population, but make up 25% of the male prison population, and 35% of the female prison population.

Sign language ACAB by worms.tattoo at Studio 344.

Now let’s look at where police actually come from. Spoiler alert, they have never been there to “protect and serve.”

1312 gap filler by Saskia Santa Sangre

In the US, the institution of slavery and the control of minorities and immigrants are the two biggest reasons why police exist in America today. Slave Patrols and Night Watches were both created to control BIPOC. These date back to 1636, and possibly earlier. These were groups of men who would search for escaped slaves, and were meant to protect colonizers from the Native Americans they were murdering at an alarming rate. These groups built on oppression and racism later became official police in the US during the 1830’s and were/are still extremely violent, particularly towards minorities, including BIPOC and people from the LGBTQ community.

Cute FTP and ACAB matching tattoos by Gem.tattoos

In Canada, the story is almost exactly the same. Canadians might like to think our country has less racism than the US but both our countries were built on it, and both are still suffering because of it. Like the US, Canadian police came from groups of people much like the Night Watches and Slave Patrols in the US. At the time Canada also had slaves, and was also in the middle of the mass genocide of Indigenous peoples. By the 1830’s these groups turned into official police forces, and though slavery was abolished in 1834 in Canada, black and Indigenous people were already associated with crime in the white eye. Meaning simply existing as a BIPOC put you at risk of police and white brutality in Canada just as much as the US.

Burning cop car by Natasha at All Sacred Edgewater

Tattoos have long been an underground art form, being made illegal numerous times throughout history, and is still illegal in some countries today. While in the West and North America in particular, tattoos are becoming more and more mainstream, they are still most popular in alternative scenes, and particularly with people who generally lean farther left politically (of course there are exceptions). Therefore anti-establishment and anti-police tattoos have existed for a long time, and will continue to exist.

Cop beatings by Vasiliy Stadler.

Anti-police tattoos are most often done in American traditional style, black work, or ignorant style.

Ignorant style anti-police tattoo by Janky Doodlez

To read more about the history of police oppression and violence in North American please click here, here, or here.

Love Mom Hate Cops by Kim Bendig

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Feel free to link any other readings below.

Artist of the Month: Nick Oaks

Nick Oaks is a tattooer working out of Bait & Schlang Tattoo in Montreal. His work is as classic as it gets. Filled with big bold dragons, lady heads, roses and skulls.

Classic Sailor Jerry monkey.
Bright and bold back piece featuring a dragon and classic lady.

He takes inspiration from greats such as Sailor Jerry, Tony Polito, E.C. Kidd, and more.

Tony Polito cowboy skull.
Black traditional E.C. Kidd dragon.

Whether you’re looking for black traditional or bright and colourful, Nick can take care of it for you.

Bright geisha head.
Pharaoh’s horses on the stomach.

His Instagram is full of both small one off designs, and large scale work such as back pieces.

Classic lady head.
Panther and snake in battle.

Nick has lots of flash to choose from, and lots of paintings for sale as well.If you’re in Montreal, or going to be, click the link above and check out his Instagram where he has his contact information.

A beautiful tiger, ready for a scrap.
Healed lady head and tiger on the ribs.

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Artist of the Month: Bert Krak

Bert Krak is a tattoo artist working out of Smith Street Tattoo in New York City.

Full back done on model Cat Mcneil.
An Ed Hardy inspired full front piece.

Bert is a highly sought after tattooer for collectors of classic American traditional tattoos.

Panther and stars by Bert. Butterfly and dice by Chad Koeplinger.
Full dragon back piece.

In addition to tattooing, Bert also makes finely crafted tattoo machines.

Back of the head banger.

He has been collecting antique tattoo flash since he started tattooing, and uses these pieces of history to influence his own designs.

Healed chest and fresh butterfly.
Classic battle Royale back piece.

While sticking close to traditional iconography, Bert still has a distinct style in terms of colour palette and heavy lines.

Tiger head on the hand.
Matching peacock calf pieces.

If you’re passing through New York, or live nearby, be sure to set up an appointment with him. You can check out his work at his Instagram here.

Healed eagle, wolf, and panther. With a fresh Polito cowboy.

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Golden Age of Disney Tattoos

In this blog post, the Golden Age of Disney refers specifically to Disney’s animated films and does not include live action.

Snow White by Jordan Baker.
Thumper by Camille Gualtieri.

The Golden Age of Disney spans from 1937-1942 and includes Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi.

Jiminy Cricket by Nicole Zulianello.
Black and grey Snow White by Piotrek Taton on Grace Neutral.

Despite the name “Golden Age” this was actually a quite unsuccessful chapter in terms of financial gain, other than Snow White and Dumbo. In fact, Dumbo was originally supposed to be a short film but was made longer to make up for the financial losses suffered by Fantasia.

Dumbo by Silvia Damiano.
Figaro the cat done by Emilia Rose.

The films created in this time were all overseen by Walt himself, and helped cement Disney as a leader in animation.

Bambi and Thumper by Jordan Baker.
Dumb and his mother by Mason Stoner.

While Disney films are generally regarded as mainly happy and upbeat, these films all tell quite dark stories and actually contain some quite frightening scenes, especially for the young audiences they were aimed at. I know scenes in Snow White and Pinocchio certainly scared me as a child.

Poison apple from Snow White done by Eugenios Simopoulos.
A creative Thumper portrait by Nicole Robinson.

As tattoos, Disney animation are almost entirely done in new school style, with some realism and more experimental styles also making the cut.

Pinocchio transforming into a donkey done by Gold Marie.

I found no shortage of tattoos from this era of Disney, other than Fantasia, of which I only found tattoos from the newer 2000’s version which will be seen in a later post.

Dumbo and his mother by Mae La Roux.

Which Golden Age film is your favourite?

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Artist of the month: Josh Sutterby

Banjo frog playing a tune.
Geisha and umbrella.

Josh is an artist specializing in American traditional style tattoos, working out of Love Tattoo Parlour in Melbourne Australia.

Classic dragon
Spiderweb belly button filler.

Josh bases his designs on classic old school art, with a focus on American traditional work. He also creates tattoos with a Japanese influence, done in American traditional style.

Battle Royale back piece.
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Based on Japanese classic, Kintarō wrestling the carp.

Currently (April 2020) Josh (and the rest of the world) is not tattooing, but you can commission paintings by him by sending a DM on Instagram

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American traditional flowers done up in a vase.
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A classic chest ship.

If you’re a fan of old school classics and want your own piece from Josh, whether you live in the Melbourne area or are stopping in on a trip, make sure to set up an appointment with Josh.

A sad hobo clown.
Sweet heart love tattoo.

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Black Metal Tattoos:

The very name “black metal” conjures up images of corpse paint, dark forests, and burning churches.

Behemoth “Evangelion” album cover by Damien Counihan.
A neo traditional burning church done by Alex Dörfler in Germany.

Black metal is a genre of heavy metal that started in the 1980’s with bands like Venom, Bathory, Celtic Frost, and Hellhammer. Coming out of England, Venom’s first two albums “Welcome to Hell” and “Black Metal” are often called the first black metal albums made, especially as Venom coined the term. Bands like the above mentioned formed the first wave of black metal, with the second wave coming out of the 90’s.

Celtic Frost album cover “Morbid Tales” by Mike Roberts at Port’s End, OR.
Gaahl portrait done by Uncle Allan in Berlin

The first wave of black metal was full of satanic words and imagery in their album art, music videos, and merchandise. Basically anti Christianity at its core. The second wave of black metal that came around in the 90’s was much more influenced by Norwegian black metal artist “Euronymous.”

Bathory Goat done by Georgia O at Southern Scars Outlaw Tattoo.
King Diamond portrait done by Ick Abrams.

Darkthrone became one of the most influential death metal bands coming out of the 90’s, despite their first album arguably being death metal. Their sound quickly developed and changed, and they were able to help put Norwegian black metal on the map.

Realistic burning church and skull done by Benjamin Trübner.
Black metal lady head done by Ice Abrams.

Norway is famous for black metal not only because of the music, but also because of what happened in Norway supposedly because of the music. In the 1990’s Norway became famous for the extreme music coming out of the country, and the mayhem its listeners carried out. This included the burning of traditional wooden Norwegian churches called staves. In June 1992 the first church was burned in the name of black metal, followed by three more churches being set ablaze that summer, and over 20 burnings over the course of 4 years by either black metal band members, or fans. Then in 1994, Varg Vikernes of the influential one man black metal band “Burzum” was found guilty of burning down Åsane Church and Stortveit Church in Bergen, Skold church in Vindafjord, and Holmenkollen chapel in Oslo. He was also found guilty of killing Aarseth, but claimed it was self defence.

Burning church by Renko Edge at Clan of Tusk Tattoo in Bruge.
Black metal shadow puppet done by Stephanie Cuevas Lost Harbor Tattoo Shop.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, atmospheric and ambient black metal started becoming more popular thanks to bands like Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, Drudkh, Panopticom, and Alcest.

Darkthrone logo by Benjamin Toner at Hand of Hope Tattoo in Stockport.
Black metal lady and burning church done by Uncle Allan in Berlin.

Black metal has a very particular sound, and the different sub genres and waves of black metal have at least some of them in common. Much of black metal is known for its lower quality production, giving it a very DIY sound. Particularly the early stuff coming out of Norway. They tend to have heavily distorted guitars, lots of reverb, and low end bass (the sound not the instrument). Most black metal also has harsh guttural vocals, and fast pounding drums that are heavy on the double bass and snare.

American traditional burning church by Sebastian Berthe in Regensburg, Germany.
Arch Goat art done by Robert Z from Slovakia.

Some of the most popular black metal bands today (not necessarily still vatic bands) include Behemoth, Darkthrone, Burzum, Bathory, Immortal, Enslaved, and Cradle of Filth.

Portrait of Nergal from Behemoth done by Raul Khasanjanov.
Cute black metal portrait done at Tattoo Eternal Ink in Sweden.

Because black metal in general is either pagan or satanic in its themes, the imagery that comes with it often is too, including tattoos. Popular black metal tattoos include black metal band members, burning churches, skulls, goats, devils, and other pagan or satanic symbols.

Black metal corpse paint by Jose Daniel Valencia Giraldo at Black Lines Matter Columbia.
Burning church by Drew Gäben Hibler tattoo artist at Old Soul Tattoo. Gallatin, TN.

What’s your favourite black metal band?

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