Thomas Hooper

Hooper Vs Peck(er)

Palm tattoos hurt. A lot.
When I try to tell people just how much, I think they think I’m exaggerating. I thought Thomas Hooper was exaggerating when he told me what to expect pain wise. He wasn’t. Coincidentally, the reason I sought out Mr. Hooper for my palms was because of a recommendation by Stewart Robson, who shot/edited this video featuring Thomas and Oliver Peck. Funny how things come full circle. You can see more of Mr. Robson’s videos on his ‘On the Shoulders of Giants‘ blog.

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

Hooper and O’Donnell collaborative tattoo update

Collaborative Tattooing: Sessions 2-8 from Taylor Toole on Vimeo.


Taylor Toole has updated the Hooper/O’Donnell collaborative back piece tattoo video over on his Vimeo page. I’m really digging the progress of this piece (the video seems to be sessions 2-8) though I’d like to see a little more sit down/talkie time with Chris and Thomas; though maybe they’re of the opinion that the work speaks for itself. Who’s to say.

For those of you who who don’t already follow Thomas and Chris:
Meditations in Atrament: Thomas Hooper.
Chris O’Donnell Blog.

Artifact Publishing Thomas Hooper Print Set

Just in time for the Holiday season (depending on which Holiday you celebrate; I’m going for Saturnalia this year) Artifact Publishing has released their first offering; a deluxe print set from Thomas Hooper in a hand stained/screen printed box. The prints are beautiful mandalas that have a very fractal/snowflake aesthetic, appropriate for a set that’s released on the Winter Solstice.

You can swing by Artifact Publishing for ordering information; this set is limited to 100 and won’t be reprinted.

From Artifact:

Thomas Hooper Winter Solstice (Black Mandalas Series:1) print suite.
Set of 28 individual 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ screen prints (white water based ink on black cover-stock paper). Prints are separated in groups of 7 and enclosed in 4 metallic gold heavy stock carbon printed envelopes sealed with gold foil stickers.

Envelopes are housed in hand stained, hand sanded wooden boxes with metallic gold screen printed cover, inside lid and raised floor panel with black satin Grosgrain pull ribbon.

Each box is signed and hand numbered by the artist on floor panel. Carefully packed with interlocking crinkled paper padding and shipped in a hand silk screened corrugated tab lock mailer sealed with a hand made craft paper sticker.

Color of box and wood grain may vary.

This is a limited edition of 100 and will not be remade.
Sorry, we can not meet any requests for specific numbers from the edition.

There are no returns, refunds or exchanges on this item.
This item will begin shipping the first week of January.

The opening of this edition marks the official launch of Artifact Publishing on the December 22nd 2011 Winter Solstice. The longest night of the calendar year. Our most sincere thank you for supporting us in our endeavors.

All packages are carefully packed to ensure safe delivery however we can not be held responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen packages. Customers must enter a valid and reliable shipping address. We highly suggest shipping this package to a destination where it will not be left outside. We also suggest selecting PRIORITY MAIL for fastest and most reliable shipping. Please allow additional shipping time for destinations outside the United States.

Finger Tattoo Healing

At just over a month my fingers are finally almost healed.
There is a little ‘bleeding’ of pigment in the tips that’s slowly being metabolized by my body, but otherwise things are pretty much settled. Thankfully the iguana skin of my last update is long gone and I no longer stick to things. That was un-fun.

The alpha/omega palm is coming up on three years old (in November) and was also done by Thomas Hooper.

Tomorrow I’m heading back to SAVED to get a little something from Scott Harrison while he’s in NYC. I’ve been getting tattooed a lot in 2011 and the Harrison piece should hopefully be my last new tattoo for a while. Give myself time to recoup.

I’m hoping to see some of my NYC friends while I’m in town, just depends on how grumpy I end up walking around with a fresh tattoo.

The Ugly Truth

I promised updates on the finger tattoos; for the sake of showing people the full healing stages I present you with this ugly truth- peeling, cracking skin and blown out lines.
Consistent with my palm tattoo healing but no less ‘icky’. There are still a few more weeks until they’re fully healed.

I’ve been calling them my iguana fingers.

Not pretty, but a reality check for anyone who wants palm/finger tattoos done the ‘proper’ way.

Sol Invictus


I’m updating via iPad with very swollen fingers from Boston; my birthday trip about to come to a close and my return to life’s responsibility a short sleep and a long bus ride away.

I visited Thomas Hooper at Saved on Wednesday 3rd August to do a little work on my fingers; bringing him abstracts and fragmented symbolism and asking him to work something up based on very little cohesive information.

To his credit Thomas was able to make something solid out of the more uncemented ramblings I presented him with and whipped up this piece and in no time flat had it on my fingers.

Despite the discomfort I left my visit happy; freshly tattooed and in the company of my sister and brother in law and en route to seeing an old friend who was visiting Boston. Thomas was kind enough to penguinize my hands to keep me safe from the elements…. Making subway and bus travel interesting to say the least.

Such and amazing few days that my current swollen finger situation prohibits me from talking about, but tomorrow I head home to  Bailey and will hopefully be able to make regular updates on the healing process of the fingers.