Chad Koeplinger


Right now, obstacles are something that are at the forefront of my mind and in my life.
It was the perfect time to come across this fresh Ganesha from Chad Koeplinger. It’s a reminder that obstacles can be removed (I worship the lotus feet of Ganesha, the son of Uma, the destroyer of all sorrows, who is served by the host of gods and elementals, and who takes the essence of the kapittha-jarnbu fruit) and that I need to meet up with Chad, work on my panther and just have the therapy that comes with spending a few hours with him.

Last Sparrow: Chad Koeplinger

One of the best things about getting tattooed by Chad Koeplinger is being able to sit around and bullshit with him. Sure you’re going to end up walking away with a rad tattoo, but you’re also going to have spent a few hours shooting the breeze with one of the nicest gents in the business.

Scott Sylvia sat down with Chad at the Bay Area Tattoo Convention October of 2011 for this must see interview.

Chad is currently ‘on the road’- if he makes a stop at a shop near you… get tattooed.

And if you’re not already a Last Sparrow member… LST.

Robert Ryan- Mandala

I came across this post by Robert on tumblr and, with his permission, am reposting it here on OV. This is a great primer on the whys/hows of using symbols; don’t just stop with mandalas/hex signs… look into the deeper meaning behind the designs and you’ll get much more out of them.

Robert Ryan tattoos at Electric Tattoo in Bradley Beach, NJ.

Mandala Sheet 2012. Robert Ryan Electric Tattoo -2012

Lately many people have asked me how I started painting and tattooing these images. For me it began with “Hex” signs of the Pennsylvania Dutch that I had seen as a child at my Grandfathers farm, Later in my teenage years I began to study the Vedanta, (Vedic Hymns) I began to notice similar patterns used in the Hindu tradition known as the Yantra. Then seeing them in Tibetan Buddhist mandalas , Then again in the Islamic tradition in the decoration and structural designs of the Mosque. Finally as I began my tattoo apprenticeship I started finding many traditional tattoo designs that had mutated from compass roses into these emblematic star and flower clusters. This thread runs deep. Early on in my career I saw a tattoo that Brooklyn tattoo master Mike Perfetto did on NYC bar owner Deb Parker which incorporated Pennsylvania dutch folk flowers and traditional swallows I was floored!

Later that same year I met tattooer Daniel Higgs and was blown away that he was also using this powerful visual element in his own work. From that point I was convinced. I began working with many different patterns from various cultures and time periods. This study was so important to my life because it brought me to an understanding of sacred geometry which I believe is the formulaic system of all living things. Now these images has become very popular in modern tattooing which was inevitable, They resonate on so many levels with artists and collectors . Its refreshing to see but sadly I have noticed many tattooers using them carelessly, arbitrarily adding them to the long laundry list of designs to make things “mystical” or weird for weirds sake. The shame of it is that we can all benefit from the proper use of these symbols, Tattooer and client alike.

Study of the mandala can be employed for focusing the minds attention, a spiritual teaching tool to establish sacred space, and as an aid for meditation and trance induction. Most importantly mandalas can teach us balance to create wholeness in our lives . These images should be pursued with respect and reverence for it’s development and purpose . I think it is important to note the works of Tattooers like Thomas Hooper, Jondix, Tomas Tomas, Xed Le Head, Steve Byrne, Chad Koeplinger, Tom Yak , Greg Christiansan as well as many who have taken the time and effort to properly understand and apply these designs with incredible results. When manifested with the correct amount of love these talismans may bring endless joy to many. -RR


All things tallied, 2011 has been a very kind year to me as far as tattooing is concerned.
This year saw the creation of OV, which has helped me be more proactive about archiving classic tattoo videos as well as being able to spotlight tattooers that I respect and hopefully encourage other people to check out their work. It’s also seen me getting tattooed more in one year than I have in the last few years combined. With a few weeks left in 2011, I’m healing up a new piece by the always impressive Chad Koeplinger. It’s just under a week old and it’s on it’s way to settling down.

I’ve been dreading the stomach; horror stories abound when it comes to stomach tattoos, from people who’re considerable more covered than I am. I went to Tattoo Paradise in D.C. prepared for the worst, calmly accepting that I was going to be in agony and that’s just how it was.

Luckily that wasn’t the case at all. This was my first time getting tattooed by Chad and it was a breeze. It hurt; of course. It’s a tattoo and all tattoos hurt. But it wasn’t agony. Conversation flowed fairly solidly, and before I knew it we were done with session one. I couldn’t have asked for a more efficient and enjoyable afternoon. Chad’s a well traveled dude and that comes with amazing anecdotes that really take your mind off the tattoo. If he comes to your neck of the woods, and there’s a pretty decent chance that he will; book some time. You’ll end up with a damn nice tattoo.

This is a little snippet of my stomach tattoo; It’s the incarnation of Christ/Krishna with Vishnu’s Panchajanya. There’s a lot going on in the design that’s not really apparent, but we put a lot of thought into it and I’m lucky to have Chad interpret my more abstract needs and turn it into something honest and awesome.

Chad Koeplinger print/original art for sale

From Mr. Koeplinger:
“Prints for sale. Limited to 35 singed and numbered. 100 dollars, shipping included, unless where you live costs a fortune, then I may add a bit. PayPal is There’s about 20 left as if now, and they are going fast. No reprints. And, the original is 1200 if you want it.”

Really cool piece.
You might want to check with Chad to make sure there are some available before you purchase; these seem like they’ll go pretty quickly.

Ron Henry Wells


“I was dicking around on Facebook one afternoon and I stumbled upon a photo that Chad Koeplinger had just uploaded. It was a picture of a tattoo he was about to start. A snake and mongoose and roses as a full back piece. I believe he drew most if not all of it on. I ended up just staring at it like a freak for a few minutes when something hit me. That’s the exact same feeling I got when I listened to Bad Brains for the first time when I was 15. I was immediately blown away, and genuinely inspired. I felt the need to work as hard as I could so maybe, some day I might do something that makes someone else feel that way.

I was inspired by something that literally just happened that in tattooing. Not something that happened in 1935, of 48, or 74. Something done by someone who is a current tattooer working very hard in tattooing RIGHT NOW. For some reason I thought about just how often that happens to me on a daily basis in regards to tattooing. The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that yes, I definitely missed out on some amazing things that happened in tattooing based on when I got involved in the craft, and even more amazing historical events just due to date of birth, and as much as I love those reading about those things, and hearing the stories, as much as I feel like I missed out on some serious history, I realized that I am INCREDIBLY LUCKY to be a tattooer in this day an age.”

Laughing Hyena.

Jump on over to Ron’s blog to read the rest of this- it’s very much so worth the read.