I first saw Emil Gundelach in Charles Gatewood’s Erotic Tattooing & Body Piercing V. His tattoos- decades old and sun faded were amazing; old pieces by Raven and DeVita and a host of oldschoolers who’s names were lost with him. He was a friend of a friend and though I never had the pleasure of meeting him I occasionally find photos of him in my archives from the tenure of his friendship with Jack Yount.
Our friends at Yellow Beak just rolled out the pre-order for their latest volume in the Lost Love series- 232 pages of vintage tattoo flash and never before seen photos. Scott and Kayla are adding special goodies to the first 200 pre-orders (a photo print of Cap Coleman, a flash print, and a Lost Love themed enamel pin designed by @timbecktattoos) so get in early and secure what’s sure to be one of the best tattoo books of the year!
We’ve reached a point in tattoo history where it’s really impossible to say that someone is the best at a particular style; every time you settle on who-does-what the best you’ll log into Instagram or Tumblr (or maybe even Occult Vibrations) an discover a tattooer who’s upping the ante and blowing everyone away. These days I think it’s much safer to say who I’d get tattooed by based on what remaining skin I have left open, and when it comes to Lady Heads- classic but deceptively difficult to nail- Chelsea Shoneck would be my go-to tattooer. Her work is clean, inventive and shows respect with the past while adding her own aesthetic. Definitely an artist to watch.
You can contact Chelsea via her website for appointment information or to pick up prints and original art: https://chelseashoneck.com/
You can follow her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/chelseashoneck/
The amount of time I spend on tumblr, caught in a web that takes me deeper and deeper with every click listening to SLEEP, OM, ALL OF THEM WITCHES and THE COSMIC DEAD is probably something I shouldn’t be proud of; Tumblr is the land of the outraged, of the exhibitionistic and of the omnipresent ‘funny ‘cat video. It’s also usually the first spot where I see the latest paintings from my friend Alice, who last appeared on Occult Vibrations in December of 2015: Alice and the Tower.
Her most recent work has been trending to the psychedelic; mashups of mushrooms and Scyphozoa and skulls- Psilocybiology would probably be a good word for it, with each new painting looking like it came out of an 1800s zoology folio curated by Timothy Leary. Truly inspiring vision.
Alice is currently on the road- her adventures (as well as appointment information) can be found on her tumblr page: http://aliceofthedeadtattoo.tumblr.com/
Robert Ryan’s “The Inborn Absolute” is available for pre-order.
From the publisher:
Coming in at just under 160 pages, this 12.25” by 10.75” cloth hardcover contains over 70 pages of full-color paintings; 30 pages pulled from his personal sketchbooks; and essays and interviews with art and music luminaries Genesis P Orridge, Freddy Corbin, and Andrew Berardini, all discussing the esoteric origins and subject matter of Ryan’s incomparable body of work. With early roots as a musician and painter, Robert Ryan’s work reveals a deep mastery of the American tattooing tradition while creating a mystical and fantastic world full of unique takes on Eastern religious iconography.
I think for every tattooed person there is a moment where we come to the understanding that we’re going to end up heavily tattooed. A personal big-bang of understanding that we can get whatever we’d like tattooed on us as long as there’s someone skilled enough to translate the idea; for me one of the main nodal points in my own tattoo history was discovering Guy Aitchison in the pages of Outlaw Biker’s Tattoo Revue magazine some time in early 1990. I had gotten tattooed before finding Guy- A biker named Darnelle Hoen, Bill Hannong from Ancient Art in Florida and Bill Liberty at Liberty Tattoo in Sacremento had all worked on me but I was directionless. I wanted to be tattooed but the kind of imagery I wanted wasn’t really available. Even my first tattoo (by Darnelle) was a custom tattoo- a near line for line tracing of the terribly drawn (embarrassingly enough Rollins inspired) Sun that I brought in and in all of it’s blown out glory it was a reminder to me that sometimes you just have to get what you get.
When Chicago poet Lori Jackson submitted the first of two articles- defining articles that without a doubt propelled Guy into the spotlight- I finally found someone who was close to my age who was doing tattoos; someone who read the same comics I read and watched the same movies and who took those influences and created tattoos that were previously unthinkable. The first article- No Tasmanian Devils Allowed– was a game changer. The second- a punkasfuck travelogue chronicling Lori & Guy’s 1990 roadtrip that found them traveling the US gave me a list of people to learn more about- Fred Corbin, Eddie Deutsche, Dave Lum… the list when on and on. Inspired by his work I began a correspondence with Guy who was always more than generous with answering my geeky fanboy letters and even offered to fit me into his appointment book when visiting Florida for Daytona Beach’s infamous BIKE WEEK.
Guy was an unlikely artist to be working the event; his whole appeal was how different he was than the standard biker tattooist archetype of the time but even that turned out fortuitous. In 1992 I would finally get tattooed by him- and through that appointment went on to meet quite a few characters who’re still very much part of my life; John Himmelstein (who sleeved my left arm and a big chunk of my left leg) Mike Wilson (who was still an apprentice but went on to tattoo my back piece, right foot, right shin, fingers and sides of my hand) and Annette LaRue all worked at the shop in one capacity or another (artist, apprentice and guest) and have remained people that I’m very thankful to call friends.
Over the years Guy’s work has evolved from the more Giger influenced biomech to his own fractal/organic and as I’ve evolved as a tattoo collector my personal aesthetic has moved away from the imagery that appealed to me in my younger days, but without Guy I wouldn’t have had that portal into truly personal tattooing and will always count him as a major influence.
These photos were taken from 1991 to about 1994, 35mm scans from my collection. If there is an interest I could probably have my arm twisted to transcribe Lori’s Tattoo Revue articles and post them here for you folks- let me know in the comments.
Issue #2 of BEST INTENTIONS magazine is now available. I have an article in it, so any review would be biased; but if you like the stuff we post here on OV you’ll dig it.
120 pages full colour tattoo magazine including interviews from –
Claudia De Sabe (Seven doors, London)
Dave Fox (Studio One, Philadelphia)
Curt Baer (Iron Mountain, California)
Patrick Kitzel (Tribal tattoo magazine)
Articles by –
Rosie Vans tattoo travels journal
Mr Gordo Instax view of Seven Doors
Shawn Porter’s Occult Vibrations
Artwork and tattoos by –
Cover by Claudia De Sabe. Includes logo sticker designed by Joseph Aloi JK5.