Tattoo History 2: Micronesian Tattooing

Micronesian tattoos date back as far as 2000 BCE. Clothing and jewelry acted as a secondary body adornment to tattoos. Tattoos were an extremely important part of growing up on the islands. For men it signified manhood, and attracting women, showing how much pain he can endure. For women it was a sign of beauty.

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Man and woman tattooed.

Tattoos were sanctioned by the gods; they would be called upon the night before to see if the tattoo should be undertaken. A tattooer’s inspiration was seen as a gift from the gods, and the initial drawing of a preliminary design would be done in complete silence.

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Tattooed woman.

Tattooing began with the chiefs and their wives before moving onto the common people. The chiefs would have large tattoos, including on their faces to hide wrinkles. The size and design of the tattoos depended on offerings made to the gods and payments made to the tattoo artist in food and mats. Tattoos on men would be placed on their chest, back, arms, shoulders, thighs, neck, face, and genitals, depending on the wearer’s status. For women, tattoo’s would be placed on shoulders, arms, and hands.

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Tattooed man.

Tattoos now can be very painful, but back then they were extremely painful. The tattoo was done by hand and took a very long time to complete. The tattoo itself would be made with chisels made of bird or fish bones. They would then be dipped in dye made of burned coconut sheathes mixed with water.  A chest or back tattoo would take approximately one month to complete. The skin would swell and medicine made from coconut juice and healing leaves would be placed on the open wounds. When the line work was completed songs with clapping and drumming would be played to help the wearer overcome the pain.

Information taken from Oxford History of Art : Pacific Arts of Polynesia and Micronesia, and larskrutak.com

Minimalistic Rose Tattoo

Minimalistic tattoos have been a growing trend over the last few years. Roses are an especially popular mini design, and look great on anyone. They can be done in blackwork, black and grey, and colour. In order for such a small design to look great, it has to be well done, so be sure to see someone with impeccable attention to detail if you plan on getting a miniature tattoo.

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Black and grey rose done by Evan Kim at West 4 Tattoo in New York City.
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All black tattoo by Johnny Gloom in Paris.
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Black and grey bicep rose by Jonathan Valena at West 4 Tattoo NYC.
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All black hand blaster by Kane Trubenbacher at Exhibition Street, Melbourne.
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Blue ankle rose by Nando in Seoul, South Korea.
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Framed black rose by René in Melbourne.
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Side of the hand rose by Spider Sinclaire at Two Hands Tattoo in AKL NZ.
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Collar bone grey rose by Sven Rayen at Studio Palermo in Belgium.
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Delicate pink wrist rose by Zihwa at Reindeer Tattoo Studio in Seoul, South Korea.
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Upside-down black and grey face rose by Emily Horstman at Avenue Tattoo in Santa Rosa CA.

Which one is your favorite?

Winnipeg Artists 1: Carly Montgomery

Carly Montgomery is a Winnipeg tattoo artist who works out of First String Tattoo. Carly has fantastic attention to detail, doing both colour and black and grey work, as well as fantastic script.

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Fun lazy sloth with script
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Hedwig and Hogwarts for Harry Potter fans
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Partially finished Japanese koi leg piece
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Bright and colourful peacock
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Wrapping crow
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Deaths hand moth and tree

Carly has done a number of my own tattoos, including these.

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Black and grey chest piece. Anchor, rose, and heart.
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Calf knight, bat wings, and tree.
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Carl from Pixar’s UP.
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Harry Potter quote and Deathly Hallows mark.

Be sure to check Carly out if you’re going to be in Winnipeg!

Artist of the Month: Ryan and Matthew Murray

Ryan and Matthew Murray are identical twin tattooers who do brilliant dark, blackwork tattoos in Salem Massachusetts working out of Black Veil Studio. Being in Salem the two are drawn to the darker side of life.

The two men do fantastic, realistic horror and death related artwork. Their pieces are brilliantly realistic and detailed.

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Nosferatu
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Frankensteins monster
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Dark snake
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Black widow spider
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Bat, wolf, cat, and spider
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A burning church
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Thestral from Harry Potter
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Bat
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hanging bat
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Dark woman and spider
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Ouija and spider
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Hogwarts and Snape vs Lupin in werewolf form.
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Rams head
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Crying woman with flowers

Be sure to see them if you’re going through Salem!

Fantastic Beasts Tattoos

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is a short book written in 2001 by J.K Rowling after the Harry Potter series. Written as a textbook for Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry, the book is “written” by magizoologist Newt Scamander. Proceeds of the sales of the book go to “Harry’s Books Fund” to help needy children in the poorest countries in the world.

The film adaptation comes out November 18th, 2016, and fans of Harry Potter around the world could not be more excited!

The book and film feature many strange and”fantastic” beasts from the wizarding world, including the acromantula, ashwinder, augurey, basilisk, billywig, bowtruckle, bundimun, centaur, chimaera, chizpurfle, clabbert, crup, dementdemiguise, diricawl, doxy, dragon, dugbog, elf, erkling, erumpent, fairy, fire crab, flobberworm, fwooper, ghoul, glumbumble, gnome, goblin, graphorn, griffin, grindylow, hippocampus, hippogriff, horklump, imp, jarvey, jobberknoll, kappa, kelpie, knarl, kneazle, leprechaun, lethifold, lobalug, mackled malaclaw, manticore, merpeople, moke, mooncalf, murtlap, niffler, nogtail, nundu, occamy, phoenix, pixie, plimpy, pogrebin, porlock, puffskein, quintaped, ramora, red cap, re’em, runespoor, salamander, sea serpent, shrake, snidget, sphinx, streeler, tebo,thestral, troll, unicorn, werewolf, winged horse, and yeti.

Since we don’t know what the majority of these creatures look like yet, there are a few that tend to get quite a bit of attention in the tattoo community. The elf, particularly Dobby, the thestral, the hippogriff, particularly Buckbeak, dragons, dementors, and the phoenix, particularly Fawkes.

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Buckbeak the hippogriff, done by Dan Molloy at Bold as Brass in Liverpool.
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Dotwork thestral by Emily Ann in a private studio in Sydney.
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Blackwork thestral by Jim Ordie.
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Neo traditional thestral by travelling tattooist Jonathan Penchoff.
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Adorable Dobby the house elf by Jared Mcfarland at LG Tattoo in California.
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Sirius Black in his animagus form, by Jim Ordie.
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Blackwork dementor by Jayden at Sacred Skin Tattoo in Brisbane.
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Basilisk by Jayden at Sacred Skin Tattoo in Brisbane
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Hungarian Horntail dragon on top of Gringotts by Jayden at Sacred Skin Tattoo in Brisbane.
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Fawkes the phoenix with hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry by Jayden at Sacred Skin Tattoo in Brisbane.
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Phoenix by Mike DeVries in California.

As the movie is set to be very popular, i’m sure there will be many more magical creatures being tattooed soon! All of these creatures make a potentially cool tattoo, and many people have taken it upon themselves to carry them on their skin forever!

Artist of the Month: Paul Acker

Paul Acker has been described many times as the master of horror when it comes to tattooing. He specializes in realistic horror themed tattoos, and does an amazing job of it.He owns The Séance Tattoo Parlour in Bensalem, PA.

Paul has been tattooing since December of 2000. As a kid he loved Tales from the Crypt and fangoria, which developed into a love of horror as he grew up. When doing his horror themed work, he focuses on the lighting within the tattoo, much like an actual horror movie does, to give the piece depth and contrast. Here are some of my favorites of his.

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Mad Max remake
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Christian Bale’s American Psycho
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Stephen King’s It
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Michael Meyers and his home, from Halloween
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Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs
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Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th
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Bloody wolf
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Decaying zombie
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Frankensteins monster looking as sad as ever
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The Evil Dead 2013 remake
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Jaws
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Edgar Allen Poe with raven and black cat
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Iconic Marilyn Manson
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Freddy Krueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street
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Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family
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Angry little Gollum from Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings

Paul Acker only does tattoos that he is interested in doing. Better make sure you want something cool so you can get a brilliant piece from him!

Clown Tattoos

Love them or hate them, clowns have been around a long time. As court jesters in medieval times, to circus performers, theatre actors, street performers, to movie stars, great Cirque Du Soleil acrobats, and children entertainers. Clowns are meant to be a happy, exuberant, silly performer, but lately have been much more active in the horror department. From books and movies like Batman’s “Joker” character, Stephen King’s “It”, Rob Zombie’s “Captain Spaulding” and “31”,and  American Horror Story’s “Twisty, clowns are now pretty terrifying. Some pop culture horror clowns are unfortunately based on real people who were killer clowns, such as John Wayne Gacy. Now, in 2016, North America and parts of Europe are experiencing what the media is calling “killer clown attacks”, where people are dressing up as creepy clowns and chasing, staring at, and harassing people all in the hopes of scaring them, or in some more serious situations, worse.

Whether you think clowns are funny or scary, they make some great tattoos.

Clown tattoos are usually done in American traditional, realism, and black and grey styles. They are either happy, fun clowns, sad, crying clowns (often done as “tramp” clowns), or horror clowns.

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Matching American traditional clowns by Dan Santoro.
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Crying traditional clown by Jonathan Reina in Gran Canaria, Spain.
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Creepy American traditional clown by Kujo at Clipper Ship Tattoo in Atlanta, GA.
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Sad traditional clown by Josh Adams in Canonsburg, PA.
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Outline of a happy looking clown by A. Perry at Gentlemen Tattoos in Youngstown, Ohio.
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All black crying clown by Jason Donahue at Liberty tattoo in Seattle.
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Creepy black and grey realistic horror clown by Ukix Asmirantika at Luxury Ink, Bali.
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Menacing Joker tattoo by Andrey Stepanov in Russia,
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The Killing Joke, Joker by Sophie Adamson at The Projects Tattoo in Plymouth, UK.
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Realistic black and grey Joker by Tom Caine at Holy Mountain Tattoo in the UK.
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Realistic Rob Zombie’s Captain Spaulding by Alex Wright at Grindhouse Tattoo Productions in the UK.
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Realistic Stephen king’s “It” tattoo by Sam Barry in Belfast.
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Realistic American Horror Story’s “Twisty” the clown by Evan Olin at Powerline Tattoo in Cranston, RI.

Do you love them or fear them…?

Ghost (Band) Tattoos

Ghost is a popular metal band from Sweden that formed in 2008, and quickly became popular around the world. The bands macabre theme, costumes, lyrics, gothic sound, and artwork make for the perfect Halloween band. The vocalist “Papa Emeritus” is dressed as a Satanic Pope, and the instrumentalists all wear black clothing and devil masks, and go by the name “the nameless ghouls”. Adding to the band’s theme is an air of mystery. No one knows exactly who any of them are. Even when signing autographs, the vocalist signs with his stage name, and the nameless ghouls use stamps with their individual alchemical symbols, allowing people to focus on the art instead of them as individuals.. Despite their dark and often satanic lyrics, members of the band have stated that they are religious in some form, and have said in interviews that they are all “tongue-in-cheek”, it’s all for the entertainment and artwork.

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Realistic Papa Emeritus by Paul Acker at Seance Tattoo Parlour in Bensalem PA.
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Black and grey photo realistic Papa Emeritus by Salva Navalon.
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Another Papa Emeritus by Micke Bayman at True Heart Tattoo in Sweden.
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American traditional take on Papa Emeritus by Vince Genois in Quebec.
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Adorable cartoon version of Papa Emeritus by Stacey Martin at Golden Age Tattoo in Texas.
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Creepy caricature of Papa Emeritus by Ver Rou Ven in Berlin.
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Surrealist Nameless Ghoul by Ron Russo at 570 Tattooing Co in Wilkes Barre, PA.
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Black and grey Nameless Ghoul by Tim vonEvil at Evil Eye Tattoo in Stockholm, Sweden.

What is your favorite Ghost song?

The Simpsons, Treehouse of Horror Tattoos

Since its first episode as part of second season in 1990, the Treehouse of Horror has been a huge hit with Simpsons fans. Dark, witty, and chalk full of pop culture references, Treehouse of Horror is always sure to be a spooky addition to your Halloween festivities.

Many episodes are based loosely off of various monster movies, horror, and thriller movies and books, such as; Nightmare on Elm Street, Frankenstein, Psycho, Amityville Horror, Twilight Zone, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, The Shining, The Monkey’s Paw, King Kong, Night of the Living Dead, Dracula, The Raven, Clockwork Orange, and more.

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Bart trick or treating as an executioner by Jason Ochoa while guest tattooing at Flying Panther in San Diego, CA.
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Good old Flanders/Satan by Jeff Ortega at Evil From The Needle in London.
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Smilin’ Homer J. by Joshua Davis at Wicked Inklination in Muswellbrook.
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Grim Reaper Bart by Justin Dion at Sovereign Tattoo.
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Hyper realistic, murderous Krusty the Clown doll by Mike DeVries at Redemption Tattoo in Northridge CA.

Three little bangers by Sara Eve at Artisan Tattoo in Pittsburgh PA.

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Dotwork zombie Homer by Sebastian Camargo.
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The Shining Homer by Wes Pratt at New Tribe Tattoos in Toronto.

The Treehouse of Horror episodes also often feature a fun alien duo, Kang and Kodos, who are always up to some sort of mischief.

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Kang and Kodos by Omar Powers at Trader Bobs Tattoo Shop in St. Louis.
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Kang or Kodos in a traditional rose by Drew Cottom at Amillion Tattoo.

What is your favorite Treehouse of Horror episode?