AotD: Completely! And that’s really fucked up. I don’t know why it’s different and even I’m on the younger side of why I should feel that it’s different. It just is. I can’t really explain it to you. Tattooing is not like the other things. It’s separate. It’s different. And it’s not to be lumped in with the other ways you can express yourself. I don’t want it to be that. Yes, I do other stuff artistically as well as tattooing. I paint a lot. I draw. I knit shit like I’m doing right now. I ineptly and ham-handedly make things out of textiles. I’m not really good at it, but I enjoy it, but ultimately I’m a tattooer and the other things are sidelines for me. It’s just peculiar to think- I just can’t imagine that people would tattoo and do other stuff and that tattooing would come in second. I just don’t understand how that works. ~excerpt from my interview with Alice of the Dead.
Issue number four of Atonement Books BEST INTENTIONS is now available! My contribution to this issue is a whopper of an interview with Alice of the Dead, but there’s a lot of really amazing content that’s worth checking out.
230 pages (twice as thick as before) full colour tattoo magazine including interviews from –
Dan Sin on shunga
Artwork and tattoos by –
Studio visits –
Big Trouble Tattoo San Diego
Purple Sun Tattoo Brussels
Cover by Alex Renke.
*****Please note: to calculate shipping in Europe please select Germany******
When it comes to the old prints in my archives, some, particularly the ones that came from sources other than the ones who donated them to me, come with very little context or information. I try to use due diligence to put the pieces together, emailing tattoo friends from the old days who might be able to fill in the blanks with a name, location or time period, but even those connections are starting come fewer and further between.
Three of the four photos in this update, for example, came with no context other than a few familiar faces and (not pictured) a photograph that featured a button noting it’s wearer was at a tattoo convention in Knoxville, TN. Recognizing my friend JD in one of the prints I sent off an email and found that it was the 1986 Knoxville Convention. He was able to put names to faces in a group photo (not pictured) and add some personal stories about the gents in it. History is a communal effort.
Large photo: Unknown.
Top Right: JD. Knoxville 1986
Middle Right: Randy Adams, Knoxville 1986
Bottom Right: Shotsie Gorman, Knoxville 1986
In the late 1980s/early 1990s, Charles Gatewood’s FLASH VIDEO label was responsible for a series of documentaries focusing on subcultures that, at the time, rarely had any uncensored media attention. Charles, with his camera in tow and anthropology degree on his wall, could have easily been another predatory voyeur who set his sights on outlaw communities- bikers, S/m clubs, body modification- to return to the safety of academia or the art world with impersonal artifacts from his perceived slumming. But Gatewood was, at heart, an outlaw himself. Having collaborated on books with William Burroughs and Spider Webb, Charles had a genuine love for fringe groups he met with in his photos and Flash documentaries, which unfortunately never made it en masse into the digital age.
I’ve been archiving and cleaning up select titles from my archives- most of which aren’t really appropriate for Occult Vibrations- but this clip from his ‘Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing Vol 5’ VHS fits perfectly. Charles, at the Meadowlands tattoo convention in the early 1990s, speaks to (then) SF resident Avery Badenhop who shows off his mind-blowing full head tattoo by Tattoo City’s Daniel Higgs, as well as work from Bill Salmon, Greg Kulz and Filip Leu.
Scanned from a 3×5 print dating back to approximately 1986, this photo features Gary, Indiana’s Debra Cooper with tattooing by Royboy. I’ve sorted through stacks of pictures taken at this convention and with about 10 more in queue to scan I have yet to find a single photo that makes reference as to where it was hosted but I’m thinking Tennessee based on nothing more than an educated guess. Either way- any time I come across photos of Debra I make it a policy to post it.
Do only good.
The latest episode of Scott Harrison’s MIRROR CAVE podcast features a 30 minute chat with Electric Tattoo’s Robert Ryan. The episode’s focus is on Robert’s connection with Eastern religion, experiences with Ayahuasca and his first visit to India; while not directly connected with tattooing it’s a great insight into his aesthetic output.
The folks over at Featherproof Book are offering a deluxe bundle of Robert Ryan’s INBORN ABSOLUTE this Holiday Season, featuring the hardcover book, Raking Light Productions seven color letterpress print of Robert’s PURUSHA AND PRAKRITI (edition 100) and a t-shirt available only through Featherproof.
These are only available until 25th December or as the inventory lasts. You can find out more information at Featherproof‘s website. I’m working on getting a proper review up for Inborn Absolute by the end of the year, but needless to say most OV readers should know that it’s a must have. From the press release:
The Inborn Absolute collects the artist’s past five years of Eastern deity paintings, mandala studies, and even an unfettered glimpse into his sketchbook. It also includes interviews with iconic performer and artist Genesis P. Orridge and legendary tattoo artist Freddy Corbin that serve to contextualize Ryan’s work and his progression as an artist. Ultimately, The Inborn Absolute is a celebration of an artist’s masterful blend of skill, tradition, and a knowledge which can only be passed down through oral traditions and ancient practices.