VOTE FOR YOUR FAVE TODAY!
ON THE DIRECTORY
Greg James was one of the first tattoo super stars I met, way back when I first became editor-in-chief of Skin&Ink magazine, in 1997. Greg was top dog at Sunset Strip Tattoo, in Hollywood, California, the ink lovers’ hot spot owned by Robert Benedetti. Even back then, Sunset Strip was the trendsetter, a wellspring of talent that fanned the flames of an art form just beginning to sweep Southern California and the nation. Combining Old School sensibilities (inspired in part by Greg’s brother, the late, great Tennessee Dave James) and the elements of Oriental design, Greg became a torch bearer for irezumi, the Japanese tattoo style introduced to the U.S. by Don Ed Hardy.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was Bugs, the innovative Rocker transplant from England, who ultimately took over R.J. and Dottie Musolf’s Taboo Tattoo in Mar Vista. While Greg interpreted timeless Oriental themes, Bugs ventured into Cubism. Rather than emulate Sailor Jerry Collins, Bugs favored Picasso. Bugs was non-traditional. An authentic wild card.
Years have passed and Greg and Bugs have changed course. Greg, after seemingly forever with Benedetti, has opened Greg James’ Tattoos Deluxe, a shop of his own, while Bugs leaves a shop he owned to work for Greg. A dramatic switcheroo. Always looking ahead, Greg expanded the team. bringing along his son, Dave, plus Cbass (Chris Bass) and the youngest of my trio of tattoo artist sons, with fifteen years in the business, the inimitable Noah Baxter.
There’s some powerful tattoo dynasties in Southern California. Big names with big talent. But Greg James has not relinquished his iconic status. Young and old, traditional and esoteric, Tattoos Deluxe is at the top of the list, featuring a talented combination of artists that spans the spectrum of creativity, which, even in the stomping grounds of several heavy-duty local legends, is pretty hard to beat.
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Not a lot of qualified entries (several arrived from folks who can’t draw), but the prizes are terrific, so we’re forging ahead. The voting booth will be open for two weeks (closes on Friday, November 28th). Tell your friends, tell the guy with the funky anchor tattoo that lives in the apartment next door… vote today! Vote once, but vote! It means a lot to these flashers to get your support.
• Derek Dufresne, Fleshworks Tattoo, Victoria, B.C.
• Max Tucker, Natchitoches Tattoo Shop, Natchitoches, Louisiana
• Norbert Lopez, Tattoo Club Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
• Patrice Pamphile, Murda Ink 3, West Babylon, New York
• Capt. Don Leslie, The Great Sideshow in the Sky, Tattoo Heaven
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I spent the weekend of October 9—12 at the Paradise Island Ink Fest, in Carolina, Puerto Rico, for the biggest tattoo convention in the Caribbean. From the moment I stepped off the plane, I realized Puerto Rico was like a totally different world. The air, the water, the overall atmosphere was breathtaking. I arrived a day before the tattoo convention to enjoy the sites, the food and the people. I wasn’t surprised to see how free spirited and friendly everyone was, and I got a sense that I was finally home. Checking into my hotel, I was greeted with smiles and pleasantry. The room itself was airy and comfortable, but I could not sit still. I wanted to get out and experience everything. Traveling just three blocks from the hotel, I had seen various restaurants I wanted to try, and even a cool beach. Before I knew it, night had fallen. The streets were so lively I was tempted to walk around and drink in the nightlife. I visited bars, clubs, and restaurants, each one being uniquely different from the last. Time escaped me and, before I knew it, the clock read 4 a.m. Even though I wasn’t tired, I forced myself to sleep because I had such a huge day ahead of me.
The next morning, I awoke early and realized I had a few hours to kill before the convention started. I walked the streets some more and, to my surprise, found a small tattoo shop, Wiz Tattoo. I couldn’t help myself, I went inside a met a tattooist by the name of Julio, who was both friendly and hospitable. I also met the owner of the shop, Nick, and even their piercer, a sweet girl named Stephanie. When I told Nick I was from New York and was going to be at the convention, he asked me questions about my own work. After talking for what seem only a few minutes, we got to the point of my possibly doing a guest spot for his shop, at his booth, inside the convention. I was humbled and honored. How could I refuse? When I walked into the tattoo convention held at the beautiful Embassy Suites Hotel and Casino, I was instantly blown away by the sheer magnitude of the place. It was huge. They even had a pond with foliage right there in the middle of the hotel.
Hosted by Skin Magazine, the event was jam packed with the island’s best and brightest tattoo artists such as Julio from Wiz Tattoo, Jake Noury from New England Tattoo and Raphael Contreras from Fetishes Boutique, among many others. Everywhere I turned there was something else to look at, someone new to talk to, and time seemed to stand still. By the end of the first day I was exhausted, yet pumped up for the rest of the weekend. I found it hard to believe what an amazing time I was having, and my trip was not even halfway over. I spent a lot of time meeting amazing people, getting great advice to become a better tattooist myself, and admiring all types of tattooed artwork. The rest of the weekend was spent tattooing customers and I was even given a chance to give a nice young lady her very first tattoo. My trip to this convention was an experience that I am truly grateful for and I plan on going back next year. Very special thanks to Nick of Wiz Tattoo, Fetishes Boutique Inc., the boys at Tatu Nator Ink and Jamie of Skin Magazine. I am looking forward to seeing everyone again next year, thank you for having me.
—Rob Rodriguez, Murda Ink 3, West Babylon, New York
ON THE DIRECTORY
Fallen Owl Tattoo Studio is looking for a full-time artist in the Denver, Colorado, area. We are a fully custom shop (no flash). Must be able to draw. We pride ourselves on cleanliness and customer service. Must have strong portfolio, no drugs, no drama, no rock stars! All our artists are consistently booking anywhere from one to six months out. Looking to fill the position around the first of the year. We can make room sooner if need be. Willing to wait for the right artist, if relocating. Anyone interested please call Kasja at (303) 232-1350.
—Adam Rose / Fallen Owl Tattoo Studio
Aside from pushing ink, Adam and his crew have been proactive in protecting the wild animals that live in the Colorado area and beyond. They recently hosted a fund-raiser with $25 tattoos and 100% of the money going to the cause. Click HERE for a cool video that features Adam talking about the event and, hopefully, putting a bug in your ear, all you shop owners out there, about having a similar event at your place of business. Check it out… it will make your day.
Most of us have a variety interesting clients with great ideas. Occasionally, if the ideas are vague or difficult, we still enjoy the challenge of the new and unknown. We sit down with our clients and discuss the possibilities and different ways to make their ideas “tattoo-able.” Of course, we want the end product to be satisfying to the client and we also want it to look good in our portfolio when we engage future customers with challenging ideas. We can say, “This is how I approached THIS idea. Maybe we can redraw your design in this manner.” We end up with a portfolio that boasts a variety of solutions instead of a having reputation around town for being a snob and turning down clients that present the slightest hint of difficulty. In essence, most of us give it “the old college try” while others turn up their noses, snorting out that this is “beneath their artistic nobility.” Sorry, buddy… it’s just not cool enough for me. … MORE
SHOW US WHAT YA GOT!
What’s with the artists out there! So much talent, but when it comes to exhibiting their flash, it’s like pulling hen’s teeth to get entries for a flash contest. The same thing happened years ago, when I edited Skin&Ink magazine. We promoted the blazes out of a flash contest and, even though we had terrific prizes, only a couple entries trickled in. They were amazing entries, I’ll give you that, but our mailbox was virtually empty. Maybe it’s because artists don’t want to publish their flash and so others can’t steal their ideas. I understand that. But surely there’s an old sample of artistry sitting in a drawer, a piece of art that’s hasn’t seen the light of day in years. Enter that. Or just send in one drawing. Whatever, we have enough for a contest already, but it would be so cool to showcase more examples and publicize the artist’s name and shop (we post all that with the entries). In any case, tell your friends and tell your artists to send their fabulous flash to email@example.com. Prizes include a Flip Leu designed hoodie, a terrific book of Horihide paintings and box of tattoo greeting cards from TattooedStuff.com. For full contest rules, click HERE.
I ran across a news clip this morning and, in case you missed it, thought you might want to take a look. It seems that Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda, got a new tattoo to commemorate her late father, Robin, including the beloved funnyman’s birth date, 7.21.51. She had it inked on her right hand, so when she reaches out to someone in handshake, her dad is part of the greeting. Click HERE for more.
ON THE DIRECTORIES
Jamie Corpes’ The Inkuisition features tattooing, piercing, and tattoo removal. The studio is located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. Nestled in the suburbs of Atlantic City, this artists’ haven has an innovative method for tattoo removal. Tatt2Away is a fairly new process offered by tattooists who have a wealth of knowledge for pigment within the skin. Accompanying Jamie are Lexi Perez, Vinny Ferragame, and Dominic Cordoba. The crew is well established, with a vast client base, looking to expand the quality of work in the area. Jamie suggests stopping by to view the upscale environment and ask about a custom design for your future tattoo. Be sure to visit The Inkuisition booth at the AC Tattoo Expo, November 7-9.
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