Signatures of the Soul

Signatures of the Soul (1984)

Signatures of the Soul.

(the NZOnscreen videos can’t be embedded into WordPress at the moment and the site keeps returning a ‘technical difficulties’ error. Sorry!)

I spent most of last night listening to some really great music and talkin’ tattoos. The evening started with a conversation of Old Doc Webb which turned out to be pretty fortuitous- since Gemma got in touch to tell me that the entire documentary is now available to stream online!

Imagine my surprise when I realized that it was the uncut version; having only seen the Discovery TV cut there was footage that I had never seen. Despite getting home at 5:30am I kept myself awake watching it; and had that thrill of seeing something for the first time.

Here’s a little more info from NZONScreen’s website:
“Tattooing — “The world’s oldest skin game” — is the subject of this documentary made by Geoff Steven who scored a major coup when he obtained the services of Peter Fonda as his presenter. Shot in NZ, Samoa, Japan and the United States, it traces the history of tattooing from Ancient Egypt through its tribal importance in the Pacific, to a counter culture renaissance that began in the 1960s. Leading practitioners (including superstar Ed Hardy) are interviewed and observed at work, while their clients wince their way towards becoming living canvasses.”

This is part one of three- it features the introduction, Maori and Samoan tattooing and a visit to San Diego/Doc Webb.



Here in the U.S. some of us are celebrating Thanksgiving; a time for us to reflect on what
we’ve got (and hopefully what you offer) and how lucky we are to have it. That culminates in overeating and usually grumbles about how dry the stuffing is.

For me, I’ll be having a catered meal at Philadephia’s KNOCK along with my family then off to a night of work.

But as per tradition, here are the things I’m thankful for in 2011:

My girlfriend Claire accepted my marriage proposal, and in 2012 we’ll be husband and wife.
My creepy dog Bailey.
My family and friends.
My job.
Stability and Clarity.

I’m thankful for Occult Vibrations. I’ve been ‘blogging’ since we called them webpages/sites and used to publish ‘zines before that; and of all the projects I’ve ever done, OV is the most satisfying and personal.

So thanks go out to: Rick Lohm, Robert Ryan, Thomas Hooper, Deno and Scott Harrison for the amazing tattoos I’ve gotten this year. Thanks to Chad Koeplinger who’s going to hurt me in a few days. And thanks to every person who reads OV, takes the time to email or comment, and who helps encourage me to keep it up.

Today’s clip is from Signatures of the Soul; tattooist Mitsuaki Ohwada (Horikin) is prominently featured, though you can catch Horiyoshi III at the end.

Thanks everyone!


Ed Hardy is hard to classify.
I usually think of Japanese style tattooing when I think of Ed’s influence, but he’s certainly done his fair share to popularize/refine Traditional Americana, Chicano and Pacific/Polynesian style tattoo work. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Ed is the reason most of us get tattooed the way we get tattooed, regardless of what that way is.

This video, another excerpt from Signatures of the Soul, features Ed talking about the Japanese style. Personally, I like the ‘ol A12 black panther, but I certainly relate to his points about being able to get what you want.

The clip seems glitchy. The lack of videos on the OV blog lately has been in part due to faulty technology. My iGrabber (how I transfer vhs to dv) software has been twitchy; I need to invest in something better. It starts and stops recording on it’s own, which is very inconvenient and is making recording impossible.

Tech/mac nerds- any recommendations on video capture hardware for mac os?