Winnipeg Artist 15: Jennah, Main Street Tattoo Collective

Jennah works out of Main Street Tattoo Collective in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She has become well known in the city and throughout Canada as a must see artist for anyone who loves anime, cartoons, video games, or comic books.

“Fight like a girl” Sailor Moon themed piece
Brilliant Miyazaki leg sleeve.

Jennah mainly works in new school or neo-traditonal styles, but also does brilliant black and grey.

Some water type Pokemon for the gamers.
Shenron from Dragon Ball/Dragon Ball Z.

If you’re a lover of the nerdier things in life, Jennah is a must see artist. Her own love of cartoons and anime shines through in her exquisite attention to detail in the characters she recreates.

Beautiful Inuyasha piece with cherry blossoms.
Batman/Joker piece inspired by Batman’s “Death of a Family.”

Jennah does brilliant large scale pieces such as full arm or leg sleeves, but happily does small one-offs such as singular characters and creatures.

An in progress Disney sleeve.
Super Smash Bros and Legend of Zelda sleeve.

What’s your favourite anime?

An adorable Baby Groot from The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Adventure Time’s Lumpy Space Princess in all her lumpy glory.

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Iron Maiden “Eddie” Tattoos:

Black Sabbath might have invented heavy metal but Iron Maiden certainly helped shape it. The British legends have 16 studio albums and 12 live ones (as well as numerous singles, EP’s, and compilations), and still shred as hard today as they did when they first formed in 1975.

Eddie from the self titled 1980 album, done by Dan Gagne at Mortem Tattoo, Montreal
Eddie from “Somewhere in Time” done by Sardu Tattoo.

The band was first formed by Steve Harris, bass player and one of the primary song writers. Maiden achieved great success in the 1980’s with brilliant albums such as The Number of the Beast, Powerslave, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son to name a few.

Black and grey Eddie from “Piece of Mind” by Alexabdros Adamidis.
An alternative black and grey Eddie done by Kadu Tropeco.

The group has gone over several line-up changes, but managed to stay one of the most popular metal bands in the world with over 100 million records sold and well over 2000 shows played worldwide, all despite little to no mainstream media attention.

Black and grey Eddie from “Fear of the Dark” done by Alexksandr Zbarskyi.
A colourful Eddie from “Powerslave” done by Kevin Adrian at Sacred Rites Tattoo.

For all you Maiden fans, Eddie is an easily recognizable figure. Eddie; the bands mascot, is seen on all of their studio albums (most singles), merchandise, as a robot or stationary figure at concerts, in music videos, and even in video games such as Ed Hunter and Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast. According to Steve Harris, the name Ed or Eddie came from the fact that he was initially called simply “The Head” which, with their strong East London accents sounded like “Ead.”

Eddie from “Piece of Mind” done by Emily Hefley at Cosmic Tattoos, Charlotte NC.
A black and grey Eddie head from “Powerslave” done by Lucas Martinelli.

As a tattoo, most Eddie pieces are done in a realistic style, made to look like the albums with more of a neo-traditonal style, or American traditional. Since Iron Maiden has so many albums all with different versions of Eddie, there are many variations to choose from.

Black and grey Eddie pilot from “Aces High” done by Sanndro Martins.
Black and grey self titled back piece done by Marioart Tattoo at Hideout Tattoo

What is your favourite Iron Maiden song?

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Tattoo History 12: Hong Kong

Hong Kong, a fascinating city with an equally fascinating history and culture. Tattoos are becoming more and more popular as they enter into the mainstream, making it hard to walk around the downtown area without spotting a tattoo either on a tourist or a local. But for a long time tattoos were seen as something only for criminals, mainly the triads (the Chinese mafia that also operates in Hong Kong and Taiwan among other places).

Tattooist James Ho, Hong Kong, 1961. Photo by Burt Glinn from vintage tattoo archive.
U.S. Navy officer getting a dragon tattoo at Ho Gee tattoo shop near Fenwick Pier, Hong Kong, September, 1957. Photo by Hank Walker from vintage tattoo archive.

While tattoos of course existed in the area long before the 1940’s, the first official tattoo shop wasn’t opened until 1946 by the famous James Ho (father of Jimmy Ho). James Ho was a Shanghainese marine engineer in the navy in 1940 and was sailing on a ship in the Indian Ocean when it was hit by a Japanese torpedo. James was lucky and survived by clinging to wreckage and was picked up by an American warship and brought to Calcutta where he first came in contact with tattoos; hand poked tattoos to be specific. James brought his new passion home to Shanghai where he made a machine from bike chains and other spare parts. He fled Shanghai towards the end of WW11 because of political conflict and went to Hong Kong, where he opened the first shop; Rose Tattoo Studio. James had seen mainly old school tattoos on sailors, so that’s what he brought back both to Shanghai and Hong Kong, and why old school Hong Kong tattoos follow similar tropes of hearts, flags, pin-ups and more, all with thick bold lines and vibrant colours. The shop did very well, mainly working on those in the Navy during the Korean and Vietnam wars. Along with these American designs, tattooers in Asia were adding imagery such as dragons, koi, and tigers, among other culturally significant iconography.

A full back piece done by Jimmy Ho.
Jimmy Ho still tattooing, from 2016.

To keep up with the high demand, James took on four apprentices; Ricky Lo, Pinky Yun, Benny Tsoi, and Swallow, and later eventually his own son, Jimmy. Jimmy started officially working for his father at the age of 14 after already tattooing clients after hours from around the age of 12. His mother didn’t want him working there but he insisted, and when he showed his father James the earnings, he was finally gifted two tattoo machines of his own. Pinky eventually moved to the US in the 70’s and became very popular after first working with Ricky at “Ricky and Pinky Tattoo”, Benny has a shop still in Hong Kong run by an apprentice (his daughter also tattoos and runs her own shop), and Jimmy’s shop is also still being run by an apprentice in Hong Kong.

Marcus Yuen dragon on the left, based on Ricky’s design on the right.
A Ricky chest piece from the 1970’s. Photo from Marcus Yuen.

When business declined for all tattooers in Hong Kong after the Korean and Vietnam wars, tattooers were working more and more with triads. Only a “大佬” or, “boss” could get tattooed then, and some of the main designs included dragons on the arms or back, or eagles on the chest. Now triads are tattooed less and less, similar to the yakuza in Japan. But when they do opt to get tattoos they are more likely to get them in mainland China where they are significantly cheaper.

Unfinished eagle around 1975 Ricky and Pinky’s shop, picture from Marcus Yuen.
An old sign from Rose Tattoo. Photo from Marcus Yuen.

Apart from gangsters, the most common people getting tattooed from the 70’s-90’s were construction workers and truck drivers. These developed their own kind of style which consisted of only an outline without any shading, often because they would run out of money. As long as you could tell what the design was supposed to be, it was good enough.

A Hong Kong protestor piece done by Samantha Fung.
Rose Tattoo that unfortunately no longer exists. The area is now all shopping malls. photo from Marcus Yuen.

Hong Kong style is also compared to Japanese, particularly for full bodied work with backgrounds such as waves and clouds. This is largely due to Japanese tattooers visiting Hong Kong, and vice versa. For example, James’ son, Jimmy Ho was visited numerous times by Horiyoshi in the 1990’s. Jimmy then borrowed Japanese ideas of tattooing but made them his own.

A dragon by Dave Ryo Lau.
A dragon done by Samantha Fung.

Today, artists such as Marcus Yuen and Samantha Fung, both working out of 59 tattoo alongside other great artists, and Dave Ryo Lau working out of The Company Tattoo, are all keeping Hong Kong style tattoos alive by continuing to tattoo in the unique style. Marcus in particular works hard to keep Hong Kong style tattoos alive by also sharing information about the old legends, and many historic pictures on his Instagram account.

An eagle by Dave Ryo Lau.
A tiger done by Marcus Yuen.

Have you been tattooed in Hong Kong yet?

To read more about Hong Kong’s tattoo history check out https://zolimacitymag.com/not-just-for-triads-hong-kongs-unique-style-of-tattoos/ and https://www.the4thwall.net/blog/2016/8/13/hong-kong, where a lot of my information came from. Special thanks also to Marcus Yuen for sharing information and photos and to Samantha Fung for pointing me in his direction.

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Pumpkin Tattoos:

It’s that time of year again, so here are 10 pumpkin tattoos to satisfy your halloween tattoo needs. So why do we carve Jack’O’Lanterns anyway? You can thank the Irish! This practice originates with a legend called “Stingy Jack.”

Charlie Brown’s Halloween Special done by Mandy Snyder at Lucky Monkey Tattoo
Black and grey pumpkin done by Margaret Arinne

According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. 

Full haunted house complete with pumpkins done by Tiffany Garcia at Black Raven Tattoo
Black and grey pumpkin and bats done by Matthew Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem Mass.

Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Pumpkin and bloody knife by Katelynn Rhea at Iron Age Tattoo
Trick R’ Treat pumpkin done by Steve Black at All of One Tattoo

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”

Creepy pumpkin done by Mark W. Richards at Pino Bros Ink
Happy pumpkin done by Shannon Mcfarlene at Iron Lotus

As tattoos, most pumpkin pieces are bright and colourful, with a trend to old school or neo traditional styles, though black work and black and grey can also make for nice pieces. Often paired with other spooky things like bats, knives, haunted houses, etc. Pumpkins are a perfect piece for those who love halloween.

Cute bright piece done by Kori Millhimes
An evil looking piece using black and orange done by Angelo Parente at Black Casket Tattoo

What are you carving into your pumpkin this year?

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The Exorcist Tattoos:

The Exorcist, directed by William Friedkin in 1973 is one of the most well known horror movies to date. In part because of the supposed curse, and the fact that it was the first horror movie to be nominated for a best picture Oscar.

Reagan and the iconic lamppost scene done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo
Another Reagan and lamppost scene, in black and grey done by Séb Otis in Paris

The Exorcist is based off of the book written by William Blatty, which is in turn based off of a real event involving the exorcism of a boy known through the pseudonym “Roland Doe.” Catholic priests performed an exorcism on the boy but had to stop when he broke free of his restraints, pulled a spring out of the bed, and cut one of the priests with it.

Black and grey lamppost scene done by Oliver Palacios at Magnetic Tattoo Studio
Reagan covered in vomit and lamppost scene done by Michael Kelly in Ireland

Many people believe the film to be cursed, including people who worked on the set. Many accidents happened, including a fire that destroyed what was supposed to be the MacNeil’s home before shooting started (Reagan’s room was untouched by the fire); Ellen Burstyn (Reagan’s mother) was injured in a scene when possessed Reagan throws her, and the scene was used in the film; the actors Jack MacGowran and Vasiliki Maliaros both died while the film was in post production (both of their characters also die in the film); other actors also had family members die while the movie was being made; Linda Blair injured her back when the rigging broke during a possession scene, and she also received so many death threats from people who hated or were afraid of the movie that she needed hired body guards; the son of actress Mercedes McCambridge (the voice of Pazuzu) killed his wife and children before killing himself, and finally, many people believed the actual film itself was cursed and that playing it would invite demonic possession.

Old school Pazuzu and heart done by Katy Bisby
Reagan in a ouija board planchette done by Calvin Von Crush at Lucky Soul Tattoo

That classic scene where Father Merrin stands under the streetlamp was based on a series of René Magritte paintings, and was so well shot that it was made the movie poster (and is tattooed by many fans).

Black and grey Reagan and lamppost scene done by Estock Ruiz Tattoo in Mexico
Pazuzu portrait done by Scully in Belfast

Other popular tattoos people get from the film include Reagan in her possessed form, Pazuzu, or a combination of any of these. Many people decide to get these tattoos in a realistic style, or old school or black work.

Creepy piece that incorporates Reagan, Pazuzu, and the lamppost done by Sherlane White at Sleepy Bones Tattoo
Pazuzu inside of a ouija board planchette done by Joel Dylan at Animalistic Bodyart

What is your favourite scene from the film?

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Child’s Play (Chucky) Tattoos:

Chucky is one of the most recognizable horror icons, from the franchise “Child’s Play.” The creator Don Mancini was inspired by the cabbage patch doll craze of the 80’s and wanted to create a dark satire showing how marketing affects children negatively.

An old school Chucky done by ICTATTOO in Nanjing China
A realistic Chucky portrait done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo Parlour

It took 11 different people to control the Chucky doll in the original films, as the majority of scenes used a real animatronic puppet rather than CGI. While Chucky was mainly animatronic, some scenes were also filmed using actor Ed Gale in costume, making the sets 30% bigger to make Chucky look regular sized. Some notable scenes with Ed Gale include any with fire. These shots would take 45 seconds to shoot so Ed would’t be injured by the fire, but he was injured when he was pulled up a fireplace and then accidentally dropped. Alex Vincent’s little sister was also used to film one scene as Chucky running down a hallway (probably because Ed looked too big and the animatronic couldn’t move well enough).

A detailed black work Chucky done by Marilyn Blxc
A cute new school Chucky done by Roxy Ryder at Little Kawaii Workshop

Chucky’s real name (Charles Lee Ray) is based on three real killers; Charles (Manson), Lee (Harvey Oswald), and (James Earl) Ray.

A bloody Chucky done by Khobe José
Chucky portrait within a knife done by Steffen Brevik

Tiffany is another favourite character in the franchise, making an appearance later in Bride of Chucky where Chucky’s old girlfriend ends up in the same situation as him, and resurrects him again. One of the most memorable scenes featuring the devilish pair is the doll sex scene where the two voice actors improvised dialogue and noises.

Tiffany portrait done by Chris Topher at Onix Tattoo Company in Hull, UK
Matching Tiffany and Chucky portraits done by Hayley Broughton in Manchester

As tattoos, Chucky is the most popular character to be tattooed, usually as some sort of portrait mainly in either a realistic or old school style.

Chucky portrait done by Steve Ramsden
A murderous Chucky done by Shauna Masters

Which of the franchise is your favourite?

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Artist of the Month: Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts is a tattoo artist working out of Grizzly Tattoo in Portland, Oregon. His style is mainly old school with a tendency towards darker imagery such as horror movie icons, weapons, and the undead, but you can catch him making more Japanese inspired pieces such as flowers and dragons as well.

Wolf head and skull/drinking horn
Plague Doctor (fitting for the times)

Mike is the perfect artist to feature in October, as much of his work consists of the macabre; everything from wolves and spiders to medieval torture devices and undead warriors that give me strong Evil Dead and Army of Darkness vibes.

Gory devil stomach piece
Mouth of Sauron for all you Tolkien nerds

But don’t worry if you can’t make it to Mike in October, he’s tattooing spooky pieces all year round, doing both large scale pieces and one offs. Grizzly Tattoo is a must stop shop if you live in Portland or are passing through.

Crow and roses
Awesome medieval looking dragon on the ribs

What’s your favourite horror movie?

Bloody knight
Bloody guillotine
‘Tis but a scratch! Monty Python piece
centipede and spider both done by Mike

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The Crow Tattoos:

The Crow, directed by Alex Proyas and starring Brandon Lee (son of Bruce Lee), is most famous for the unfortunate death of Brandon on set. The film is based on the comic books written by James O’Barr in the 1980’s which in turn were based on two real life tragedies. James’ fiancee had been killed by a drunk driver and this was one way he tried to cope with the loss. The other tragedy was something he had heard about: an engaged couple murdered over the ring. These two events helped him think of the plot for The Crow, “That became the beginning of the focal point, and the idea that there could be a love so strong that it could transcend death, that it could refuse death, and this soul would not rest until it could set things right.”

Brandon Lee as Eric Draven done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo
Quote and graveyard done by Chemzz 182 Tattoo

Brandon Lee died during a freak accident on set when his character, Eric Draven, was shot by Michael Massee’s character, Funboy. Michael fired the prop gun which had earlier been loaded with dummy cartridges filled with real brass caps (for the shot), bullet, but no powder. After filming the initial scene with the gun, the props master fired it to get the cock off, which in turn knocked the prop bullet into the barrel of the gun. It was next used by Michael Massee on set during a scene where he was meant to shoot Brandon as he entered the room. Fake shootings usually contain extra gun powder to make it extra loud and authentic, but with nothing in the barrel. Since the fake bullet had become lodged in the barrel earlier in filming, it was fired at Brandon much like a real gun, killing him on set.

Realistic black and grey sleeve done by Manuel Clementoni
Dark portrait done by Matthew Murray at Black Veil Tattoo in Salem

According to Michael Massee, 12 years after the accident he still had nightmares about accidentally shooting Brandon. People interested in “cursed” films often refer to The Crow, and the Lee family curse, as Brandon’s famous father, Bruce, also died due to “mysterious circumstances.”

A more old school portrait done by Nae Pier Nebula
Half sleeve done by Carlos Freeze Gonzalez Ferrer

The makeup used for Eric Draven is loved by all who watch the movie, and it was apparently inspired by a marionette mask that James saw painted on a theatre in London.  “I thought it’d be interesting to have this painful face with a smile forcibly drawn on.” It reportedly took between 35 minutes and up to an hour and a half to get the makeup right each day on set. Another set fact is despite the title being “The Crow”, no crows were used in the filming of the movie, but ravens instead. The ravens had to be trained to fly at night, in rain, through a wind tunnel, and one had to be specially trained to sit on Brandon’s shoulder.

Quote and portrait done by Eric Hex
A brighter take done by Anna Gabrielle

As tattoos, most fans of the movie opt to getting some sort of portrait of Brandon, as well as quotes from the movie or comic, and sometimes depictions from the comic, as well as crows or ravens.

A trash polka portrait done by Paul Talbot
Bloody quote and portrait done by Monikyna Tattoo

Do you prefer the comic or the movie?

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Guillermo del Toro Tattoos:

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican filmmaker, author, and actor who has also worked in special effects makeup. While he has an extensive portfolio, his two most well-known films are Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water, both of which have won numerous awards.

The Faun from Pans Labyrinth, done by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo
The Pale Man from Pans Labyrinth done also by Paul Acker

Though he is well known for a specific style of darker film making, he has worked in various genres, from Pacific Rim, to Hellboy, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and even cartoons like Trollhunters.

Amphibian Man and Eliza from The Shape of Water, done by Evan Olin at Powerline Tattoo
The Pale Man also done by Evan Olin

Guillermo is heavily influenced by horror such as Nosferatu, Frankenstein, and most notably, Creature From the Black Lagoon, which inspired The Shape of Water.

A neo traditional Faun by Nate Wilson

He is passionate about fairy tales and monsters, and the way he talks about them is quite beautiful. “In fairy tales, monsters exist to be a manifestation of something that we need to understand, not only a problem we need to overcome, but also they need to represent, much like angels represent the beautiful, pure, eternal side of the human spirit, monsters need to represent a more tangible, more mortal side of being human: aging, decay, darkness and so forth. And I believe that monsters originally, when we were cavemen and you know, sitting around a fire, we needed to explain the birth of the sun and the death of the moon and the phases of the moon and rain and thunder. And we invented creatures that made sense of the world: a serpent that ate the sun, a creature that ate the moon, a man in the moon living there, things like that. And as we became more and more sophisticated and created sort of a social structure, the real enigmas started not to be outside. The rain and the thunder were logical now. But the real enigmas became social. All those impulses that we were repressing: cannibalism, murder, these things needed an explanation. The sex drive, the need to hunt, the need to kill, these things then became personified in monsters. Werewolves, vampires, ogres, this and that. I feel that monsters are here in our world to help us understand it. They are an essential part of a fable.” -Guillermo del Toro

The Angel of Death from Hellboy done by Lucifernanda Rotten Tatuadora no Planet Needle Tattoo Studio Americana- SP Brasil

As tattoos, the most popular of his characters come from Pans Labyrinth and The Shape of Water (though people have of course gotten others as well). They are mainly done in a realistic style to portray the details that go into making them, but can also be seen as more old school or neo traditional designs.

The Pale Man done by Claire Jackson at Artium ink, Exeter, Devon
Mr. Burns and Smithers as Pans Labyrinth characters done by TRASH HAUS Elliott- Cheltenham, UK

Which del Toro movie is your favourite?

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