Baxter's Tattoo Blog's Daily Blog

Way Cool Geometric Tattoo Designs


Poking around the Web can be a good way to kill time and, sometimes, a great way to discover what’s happening at the far-out fringes of the tattoo phenomenon. I’m not sure where most of these tattoos come from (I do recognize Directory member Cory Ferguson‘s work. He’s from Oakville, Ontario, Canada.), but I don’t think the others are from the U.S. Maybe Eastern Europe… or France? Sorry if I’m just guessing, but I’m sure you’ll let me know, if you have some info on the innovative artists who inked these eye-catching images.

Note: Click images to enlarge. 

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Written by Baxter

September 29th, 2014 at 9:39 am

Posted in Gallery

Brand New Tattoo & Gallery—Ewing, New Jersey


I’m Mike Clugsten, owner of Brand New Tattoo & Gallery, in Ewing, New Jersey. I started tattooing 17 years ago, at the age of 25. I worked at studios in New Jersey and in Virginia throughout my 17 years as a tattooist. I have also owned a tattoo studio in Lynchburg, Virginia, which is still open but under new ownership. I decided to open Brand New Tattoo after leaving the last studio I worked at after a falling-out with the owner. When designing the studio here, I wanted to do something a little different with the layout and present a more welcoming atmosphere than the other studios I have visited or worked. I wanted to offer private tattooing booths separate from the waiting area, as well as a clean, friendly environment. The studio opened its doors in March of 2013. We here at Brand New Tattoo pride ourselves in the fact that we go above and well beyond compliance with state and local tattoo regulations. We are a 100 percent all disposable tattoo studio. I personally specialize in fine line, custom lettering and black & gray

Jason Sieracki has been working for us from day one. Jason and I worked together at the last studio I was at, and decided to follow, when I opened Brand New Tattoo. Jason has been tattooing for 9 years now and specializes in just about everything. His preferred style is realism.

Dave Klama started with us in September 2013 as an apprentice. Dave is an extremely talented artist who learned very quickly. His artwork speaks for itself and he is producing high quality tattoo work at this stage of his apprenticeship. Dave is also a graffiti artist who is very well known in the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area as well as countrywide.

—Mike Clugsten, Brand New Tattoo & Gallery, Ewing, New Jersey

Note: Click images to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

September 26th, 2014 at 3:54 pm

Rob Rodriguez, Murda Ink 3—West Babylon, New York


By Rob Rodriguez

I started tattooing in 2009 after having a two-year apprenticeship. I always worked hard and was excited with almost every tattoo I did. As a child, I always wanted to learn about as many things as I could get my hands on. That attitude and way of thinking followed me into my tattoo carrier. In 2012, I had an epiphany.

photo 4 (1)So many people would come into my shop and tell me how wonderful their tattoos were, and that I was the best. Deep down I knew that they were only saying that because they were just happy with the end result. I couldn’t sit and convince myself that I really was the best just because my customers said so. I felt the need to push myself further and decided to test my metal. I attended the first United Ink Tattoo Convention on Long Island. Not knowing what I was doing really, I didn’t know what to expect.  At the convention, I started an eight-hour tattoo on a long time customer,  to compete in Tattoo of the Day. I had no idea how hard it would be. I didn’t win, of course, but I was still very proud of myself for being able to start and finish, an eight-hour session at a tattoo convention. The tattoo came out great and she loved it. Also, that day, another customer that I had tattooed earlier in the year, entered his tattoo in Black and Gray Medium. We actually won third place! My customer gave me the award and we took pictures. That night I said to myself, maybe I am looking at this all wrong. I was trying to run when I don’t even know how to crawl.

For a whole month I studied my styles and found that my style of cartoon comic tattooing is the strongest. Mario Barth’s Inked Out New Jersey 2012 was going to be my mark. I drew a custom style biomechanical rip-thru on a customer’s rib. She was able to take five hours of tattooing the night before the contest and, when the day came, we were ready. I will admit I was nervous. At least twenty people had been entered in Best Color on a Female. I saw many bright, colorful tattoos. When the judging was finished three people were called onto the stage, my customer being one. I was so happy that I could not stop smiling. Third place was awarded and I was confused, it didn’t go to my customer. Then second place was given to another person. Finally I realized I had gotten first place! I was so very proud. To have Mario Barth and Philadelphia Eddie among others judging my tattoo and giving it first place beside so many others was a great honor. I even got a little emotional, when no one was 1

As the year went on I competed in many other contests, but never forgot my first place win at Inked Out New Jersey. I just had to do it again the following year. This time however, I wanted to do something different. I always loved doing tribal style tattoos. With deep-black saturation in the skin, the smooth lines and sharp edges are a test to any tattooist basic skill. When Inked Out New Jersey 2013 came I was ready. By that time I had already won thirteen contests, but Inked Out New Jersey is where I felt I truly belonged. I brought two people with me and there were more than just a few great tattoos in the contest. Once again I placed first, but this time third, as well.  That night I went to bed with a feeling I haven’t had in a long time: accomplishment. I also felt that all things come to those who work hard for them, as my grandfather once told me. All I could think about was getting back to the shop and studying. I was excited to see how much better my tattooing was going to get, and it did. The harder I studied the better my work had become.

Inked Out New Jersey 2014 was finally here. My boss told me that I was a “runaway train” and to “keep up the good work.” My teacher and mentor, the first person who ever tattooed me, all of them telling me how proud they were of me. This year was going to be the year that I showed people. Yes I proved that I can win awards, now I had to prove that I deserve them.

During the past year, I experimented and started drawing flash designs. I never entered them in contest, but after winning third place at Bob Baxter’s Tattoo Road Trip, I realized that I really liked drawing flash.  By this time I had twenty-six awards under my belt. I had to return to my home at Inked Out New Jersey.  I brought eight pieces with me this time: one black and grey, one color, three tribal and three flash design sheets that I had custom drawn. I stayed the whole weekend, Interacting with many talented artists. They were great, fun people. I watched, trying to learn and expand as an artist and as a person. I didn’t win this time for black and grey or color. Still, I wasn’t going to let that get me down. I was proud of my customers and my work, and my customers loved the tattoos I had done for them. Sunday arrived. I had put so many hours of work into the designs sheets that I almost forgot about the tribal contest. I was able to take home first and second place in Tribal. This would now be the third year in row I took first place. To my surprise, and among 20 amazing designs, I was awarded third place for Best Design Sheet. They didn’t just like my designs, the judges said they loved them. My Idea was an American Traditional superhero design sheet and it wasn’t just a drawing, it was a part of me. After taking pictures with my customers and hugging and thanking them for being a part of this moment with me, I finally went home.

At home in the shop, I placed the three awards in my trophy case and stepped back. Twenty-nine awards. Twenty-nine times I worked and studied and struggled. Twenty-nine times my customers have bled for me to compete. Twenty-nine times we have not only tested ourselves but celebrated our tattoos together. Looking at the awards I realized that my customers are not just customers, not just canvases, but family. They bare the marks on their bodies forever and have shown me a truth that has always escaped me. They say I’m the best not because I am, but because they believe in me. For that I will always strive to be better. I can’t wait to see what I will learn in the next year, before Mario Barth’s Inked Out New Jersey.

—Rob Rodrigues, Murda Ink 3,  West Babylon, New York

Note: Click images to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

September 24th, 2014 at 9:15 am

Fallen Owl Tattoo—Lakewood, Colorado


Got an email today from Adam Rose, at Fallen Owl Tattoo, in Lakewood, Colorado. Lots of photos from Adam and his crew: Angell Dominguez, Chris Hamilton, Freddie Arroyo and Sherley Escribano. A member of the Directory since January 15, 2013, Rose uses our blog to promote his artists and share their tattoo artistry with our readers.

Note: Click images to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Tattoos at the San Genaro Festival 2014


-11Love it or hate it, the annual Feast of San Genaro is the quintessential New York City Street Fair. It all happens on one stretch of Mulberry Street. In past years, Mulberry Street was the heart of the original Italian community, “Little Italy.” And yeah, the neighborhood, like much of Manhattan, has changed. The original Italian immigrants are long gone. Chinatown is just to the South and the Chinese Community has slowly moved in. And there’s a McDonald’s on Canal Street. But somehow, much had managed to stay distinctly Italian. Like there are lots of food specialty stores that have been there forever. People drive in to load up on stuff you can’t get anywhere else. I get my fresh pasta from a place that served the Pilgrims when they arrived and the cheese store next door was in business years before that. Ask anybody.

But for these two weeks every year, everything changes. I think I once described the Feast as what Marti Gras would look like if it was produced by the Sopranos. OK, that still holds, only it seems to get bigger and more over the top every year. First off, we are talking about over a million folks who will cram into this narrow street before the final pizza is sliced. Then there are a hundred of booths selling every possible variation of Italian street food. For the more fastidious eaters, restaurants set up tables out on the street. Booze flows and it is one of the few City events that allow it to be carried and consumed legally as celebrants wander. For those who suffer from an overloaded wallet, there are “games of chance” to help lighten the load. There are rides for the kids. There is stuff to buy to take home, look at and wonder why you bought it.-21

Crowds make it impossible to move at anything faster than a crawl, which is what some partying patrons are doing by mid-afternoon. At some point, here is a cannoli-eating contest. Smoke form grills and frying makes it difficult to see very far. Every song ever recorded by Tony Bennett and Dean Martin is played over the P.A. systems. Endlessly. People get lost. And found. New friends are made. One lovely lady asked me to take her photo. Then she told me she thought I was very attractive. Then she told me she had been drinking since 9:00 that morning and wandered away.

Oh yeah: I shot a few snapshots and, as always, had a great time!

—Maury Englander (

Note: Click images to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

September 16th, 2014 at 9:47 am

Tattoos in the Workplace


Alexander C. Kaufman/The Huffington Post

Starbucks baristas who’ve long been forced to hide their tattoos may soon be able to show off their ink. In an internal email to employees last week, Starbucks said that it’s reviewing its dress code, including its long-standing policy forbidding workers from displaying their tattoos. The move comes as baristas  mobilize against the coffee chain, demanding the freedom to let their tattoos be seen. A petition to overturn Starbucks’ tattoo policy has gathered nearly 23,000 signatures since Aug. 20.

CaptureKristie Williams, a 25-year-old mother who works at a Starbucks in Atlanta, started the petition because covering her tattoo caused constant discomfort. Williams has a tattoo of her 2-year-old daughter’s name, Summer Blythe, written in cursive up her left forearm. When the air conditioner in her Starbucks went out in the middle of the Georgia summer, she had to suffer the oppressive heat in her long-sleeved shirt.

“The day I buy my first short-sleeved shirt will definitely be a great day,” said Williams. “I know personally I could work better and faster if I wasn’t sweating and fussing with my sleeves all the time at work in order to hide my tattoo.”

Starbucks requires its workers to wear black or white collared or turtleneck shirts with “professional” black or khaki trousers, shorts or skirts, according to copies of the employee manual posted on the blog Starbucks Melody. Hair and nails must be kept clean. Facial hair must be neatly trimmed. Perfumes and aftershave aren’t permitted. Earrings are restricted to a maximum of two per ear, and all other piercings are banned.

In July, a Starbucks in suburban Detroit reportedly threatened to fire a five-year employee if she didn’t remove the outline of a heart tattooed on her hand, according to Fox affiliate WJBK. It is unclear whether the woman, identified only as Kayla, was fired.

Starbucks did not respond to a request for comment.13coff.1.600

Sara Frandsen, a 25-year-old who worked at a Starbucks near Amazon’s campus in Seattle, said she had to wear long sleeves to cover a tattoo of roses on her right arm and one of characters from the video game “Legend of Zelda” on her left arm. The outfit choice was unsanitary, she said, because the cloth shirt soaked up milk and syrup as she worked.

“It looks really unappetizing when you’re helping a customer and your arms are covered in milk, but you can’t roll up your sleeves because, heaven forbid, they see your tattoos,” she told HuffPost in an interview on Friday. “You’re never going to make everyone happy, but I feel like most customers don’t go into coffee shops expecting robots to serve them.”

coffeetattooFrandsen quit last October after seven months with the company. Soon after, she started a new job as a barista at a mom-and-pop coffee and ice cream shop, where she said tattoos and piercings are the norm among her colleagues.

“It’s expected today for baristas to be young, hip, alternative-looking kids,” said Frandsen.

In August, Starbucks vowed to change its scheduling policy to give workers more regular schedules and prevent them from having to work back-to-back closing and opening shifts. Workers’ groups, however, said that the changes would not do enough to help struggling parents.

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Written by Baxter

September 13th, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Commentary

Ft. Worth’s Zoey Hunter Wins Backpiece Contest Voting!


Zoey Hunter

Zoey Hunter Backpiece


Paul Nolin Backpiece

With an enormous surge of votes in the last couple of days, Heart & Soul Tattoo‘s Zoey Hunter (Ft. Worth, Texas) pulls off the win and is awarded a  Micky Sharpz “Hornet” tattoo machine. Paul Nolin from Physical Graffiti (Linden, New Jersey) was second and nabs our latest, 300-page, 7½-pound coffee table book,  “Tattoo Road Trip—The Best of the Southwest”. Patrice Pamphile from Murda Ink 3 (West Babylon, New York) was close behind and will get a copy of Fip Buchanan’s fabulous “Drawing and Designing Tattoo Art.”

Many thanks to those who entered and especially those who voted from all over the U.S., Canada and beyond. The quality of the entries was phenomenal and goes to show that tattoo art keeps getting better all the time.

The winners can be found by clicking their shop names in blue, which will take you to their contact information. By the way, it was encouraging to see that all twenty finalists are members of our Tattoo Shop Directory!

To see all the finalists’ backpieces, click HERE.

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Written by Baxter

September 13th, 2014 at 8:59 am

Posted in Contests

Terrible Tattoo Customer Service

Thumbs_Down 3

Click for List


Thank heaven it’s rare, but in response to being hung up on, treated like swine over the phone and generally experiencing rude, arrogant and inept shop-owners, artists and various other hangers-on that shouldn’t be within a hundred yards of the general public, we are initiating a new sidebar icon on the sidebar of our pages.. Look for the thumbs-down symbol. The list is small now, but, after all, we’ve only been adding names for a few weeks. Peace.

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Written by Baxter

September 12th, 2014 at 10:37 am

Posted in Announcements

101 Most Influential People in Tattoo—(No. 6) The Leu Family Iron


Tattoo by Filip Leu


While he experienced ill health in his last few years (Don Feliz was taken by cancer at age 58) and not able to travel as much as he would have liked, Don Feliz was the man of the hour at the First International Tattoo Festival, Raiatea-Tahiti, in April of 2000, and continued to keep up a lively correspondence with fellow tattoo artists and aficionados worldwide. Thanks to his frequent letters and family photos, Don Feliz had, more than once, inspired us to excellence. It is with great joy and humility that we share a May 2002 interview with the legend himself.

—Bob Baxter

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Written by Baxter

September 11th, 2014 at 5:01 pm

9/11—Remembering the Fallen


Jim Leahy-101

Police Officer Jim Leahy

Until the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, you could look South along any of the Avenues of my neighborhood and see the Twin Towers. When the first plane hit we all could see it clearly, including 2 officers from the 6th Precinct riding in their patrol car. One of them was Police Officer Jim Leahy. According to the story his patrol partner later told, even though the site was out of the Precinct, they immediately took off downtown. They went so fast and hit so many potholes and curbs that by the time they got there, all 4 tires had blown out.

When they arrived in the midst of that horror, Jim saw a firefighter struggling with a load of air tanks. He jumped out of the car, grabbed some of the load and the two of them took off into the building. That was the last his partner saw of him.

As many of you know, I have been an Auxiliary Police Officer of the NYPD for many years. My precinct, the 6th, is located in Greenwich Village. I knew P.O. Leahy as a street cop. It is almost a cliché to describe a fallen hero cop as being “well liked,” but in Jim’s case it was true. Folks in the neighborhood knew and liked him. He was a good guy.

In the year that followed, Jim’s family printed memorial buttons with his photo. I am honored that they gave me one.

Every year, we hold a brief memorial service in front of the Precinct house. We assemble in dress uniforms, mourning bands around our shields and read off the names of the 23 NYC Police Officers who died that day. At the time the first plane hit, there is a moment silence. I have been proud to be there each year and to wear Jim’s photo on my uniform on that day.

—Maury Englander (

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Written by Baxter

September 10th, 2014 at 5:20 pm