Des in Chicago

I really wish I could make it out to the Chicago Tattoo Convention this weekend; the line up of attending artists keeps getting more and more impressive. Word has it that Jacob Des is going to be working it; and lord knows that Des always works it.

Getting tattooed by Jacob is in my 2012 ‘to do’ list….. you should do the same and contact him for an appointment: Jacob Des Facebook.


Kenneth Anger’s LUCIFER RISING lacks any of the cheeky irony presented in his earlier films; gone are the pop songs (replaced by a Beausoleil score, composed from Bobby’s prison cell) and homoeroticism that made him famous- Rising is a symbolic analogy of the Age of Horus and while dated belongs in the movie collection of anyone interested in Esoteric Cinema.

I was pleased to find this photo in my inbox this morning; a tribute to Mr. Anger’s Thelemic vision, tattooed on the fingers of one of the UK’s more impressive tattooers Simon Erl.
Daniel Abrigo did the tops of his hands, with the LCFR RISE lettering by Rich Hardy.

I recommend checking out the high def transfers of Lucifer Rising, but if you just want a quick fix:

Painted into a Corner

I’m finally home from my two day road trip. Four hundred twenty one miles in just under 36 hours, from Philadelphia to Bradley Beach New Jersey and then down to the D.C. area. I decided to do it all in one round; after my appointment with Robert Ryan at Electric I headed directly to the D.C. area, stopping at a Holiday Inn just outside of the city and recovering for the night.

Robert tattooed a few hours worth of Devil head in my left armpit. I’d been dreading it, but despite my fears it ended up not being as terrible as I’d imagined. Certainly not fun and absolutely something I’ll not be doing again any time soon, but by no means unbearable. I had every intention of documenting the tattoo; even packing up my Kodak HD and making sure it was fully charged. But by the time I got there and got into the rhythm of getting tattooed it totally slipped my mind. Robert and I even joked about spoofing Miami/LA/NY Inked by doing a touching video where I admit my interest in Satan came from my dead Grandfather. Still never managed to unpack the camera.

Being tattooed by Robert is a pleasure. As I’ve said before, he’s a combination of humility and humor; someone who appreciates a good story as much as he’s able to share one. I appreciate his willingness to tattoo a pretty horrible piece of real estate. Can’t be pleasant to have your hands in someone’s armpits for a few hours.

I’m sorry I have nothing to share, image wise. We didn’t bother taking pictures of the tattoo. After a few hours in the armpit my skin was swollen, already bruising and the texture of corduroy. Once it settles down I’ll try to snap a decent photograph of it.

From New Jersey I headed to Greenbelt, MD. The hotel was serviceable, very much suited for my needs. Despite being bandaged and taped (my normal method of healing starts with a hot shower and leaving it alone) I wasn’t in too much pain, so I headed back out for a late dinner. Following David Bruehl’s advice on post tattoo nutrition, I amped up my protein intake in the form of a large steak with a side of steamed vegetables and a full night’s sleep.

I had originally intended to return to Philly after visiting Robert and then head to Tattoo Paradise the following morning. My ignorance of D.C. driving conditions would have totally screwed us; it took an hour and forty five minutes to travel the sixteen miles from Holiday Inn to Paradise. Constant construction and aggressive drivers led to a hellish commute. I was glad to have made it after a full night’s rest instead of rushing to get there from home.

Shortly after arriving I met Deno; which like meeting Robert last month is atypical of my standard tattoo experience. Getting tattooed, particularly in a tender spot like the inner thigh, is stressful enough without having to ‘get to know’ the person who’s contact screw is half an inch from your crotch. Luckily Deno couldn’t have been nicer, and was able to translate my fairly loose idea into a workable tattoo. The other artists at the shop helped distract me from the discomfort (which, like the armpit, wasn’t as bad as I’d thought it was going to be) and before I knew it, we were bandaging everything up and saying our goodbyes.

After a quick dinner with my old friend Alyssa and her fella we hit the road and made it back to Philly in decent enough time.

Getting two fairly intense pieces that close together is something I’d normally try and avoid, but I was thrilled to spend some time with Robert and Deno; totally worth it in the long run. Next up is an August 3rd appointment with Thomas Hooper for more on my palm/inner fingers… apparently I never learn.

Collaborative Back Piece- O’Donnell & Hooper

Collaborative Tattooing – Saved Tattoo NYC from Taylor Toole on Vimeo.

The greatest side effect of cable networks exploiting tattoo culture has been a rise in ‘internal documentation’ within our community. The availability of inexpensive high quality video cameras, easy editing software like iMovie and a pool of really creative tattooers and collectors has led to a great grassroots backlash to the reality tattoo culture that’s spreading across social networking/video sites in growing numbers. I saw this video on Mr. O’Donnel’s fine blog (which you can find here and snagged it for those of you who might not have had a chance to see it.

Chris O’Donnell does amazing tattoos; (my sister has quite a bit of work from him) and Thomas Hooper never ceases to impress; the video features the start of a collaborative backpiece at the new Saved shop in NY. It’s nice to see the start of the process; hopefully each subsequent session will be documented to give a bigger picture view of both artist’s contribution.

The reality that we can be our own media is certainly nothing new, but with the aid of modern technology it’s certainly something I hope to see explored more often; it’s even encouraged me to attempt to document my next tattoo. (which is going to be my armpit. Nothing fun will come of this)