Dragon Panel


I found this photo when I was going through a stack of old prints from the collection of Sid Diller; Sid usually kept pretty detailed notes about the subjects in his images but this one was blank, so I’m not sure on the year, shop or artist behind the piece.

It has a really gnarly 1970s vibe to it, though, and the dragon is kicking ass.

Palm Sunday: Royalty in Exile


I still shiver a little bit when I think back to having my palms done in 2008; kindly Thomas Hooper sitting me down and explaining that no tattoo I’ve ever gotten will properly prepare me for just how… unique.. the sensation of having your palms tattooed can be. The other artists at the shop were looking at me with a mixture of amusement and pity as I had the stencils applied and I received an unusual amount of pats on the back and words of encouragement which only added to the general ‘what am I getting myself into vibe’ of the afternoon.

Seven years later and yeah. I still remember every second of it and I’m glad, so very glad, that I’ll never have to experience that again.

Thomas has since moved to Austin, Texas which is, by pure coincidence, where my buddy Nic Lynds did these killer palm tattoos earlier this afternoon. It’s been a while since I’ve done a ‘Palm Sunday’ post, so… here you go.

My wife and I originally met Nic when we took a Halloween trip to Austin a few years back. We had wanted to get something done to commemorate our trip (and our relationship) and we were referred to Nic who, having only heard the basic idea of what we wanted from a mutual friend, had the design waiting when we got to the shop. He set us up with a pair of really killer tattoos and we left with a new friend in Austin.

Nic is working at Diablo Rojo in Austin where he specializes in traditional American and Japanese tattoos.
Look him up here: for appointment information and visit his Instagram here:

Traditional Tech

Instagram @himmelworks

Instagram @himmelworks

I’ve already seen the hashtag #nophotoshop popping up on my social networking feeds, with tattooers drawing a line in the sand between traditional drawing techniques and computer aided drawing. In the right hands it can be a valuable tool; Thomas Hooper used Photoshop to quickly lay out the mandala design he put on my fingers, Guy Aitchison and his ‘bio-mech collective’ participants make use of Wacom tablets and 3D modeling for laying out complicated drawings and light sources. In the wrong hands it can turn tattooing into graphic design and breed a generation of tattooists who know more about fonts and kerning than they do hand lettering.

It’s potential for abuse shouldn’t automatically mean it’s bad. Time will tell.

That has absolutely nothing to do with this 3D model of a Mike Wilson painting by his old co-worker John Himmelstein. John has been interested in computer animation/drawing since the 1990s and is bridging the gap between 2D illustration and fully three dimensional models. As 3D printing becomes more affordable, ‘studies’ like this could help artists with more realistic drawings and light sources.

It’s also pretty damn cool.

(Personal anecdote: John drew the original design for my Wilson backpiece. Mike was having a hard time conceptualizing what I wanted, so John did a quick sketch to help lay everything out. The two worked together in the early 1990s in Daytona Beach.)

Des Devils are the Bes(t) Devils


Well, of course there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Pete, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail, and he carries a hay fork”

Flash sheets by Dayton, Ohio’s Jacob Des are usually packed with so many rad designs that it’s hard to process it all without repeated viewing. A ship here, a row of ducklings there,  the Infernal Majesty himself popping up with a creepy baseball player mentoring a young boy in the fine art of swinging. You’re usually left with a wondrous sense of what the fuck am I looking at, followed by the realization that everything you’ve just seen would make a hell of a strange tattoo.

I’ve mentioned it before, but Des is on the very short list of tattooers I’m saving my remaining skin for. If you’ve got open space and want a killer tattoo you can find Jacob at: