Anyone that follows the ever competitive and advancing field of tattooing has no doubt come across some of the amazing realistic portrait work that is constantly growing in popularity. I myself am a huge fan of this beautiful style.
Tattoo’s used to consist of old school two dimensional designs usually reserved for sailors, bikers, and criminals. Well, it is certainly a new age in tattoos and tattoo acceptance where everyone from doctors to congressmen are sporting at least one tattoo.
The work of today’s top tattoo portrait artists rivals that of the best painters in the world. Tattoos are finally gaining acceptance as a viable art medium and tattoo exhibits as well as tattoo award conventions are completely dedicated to this wonderful art form, and attended by thousands of tattoo enthusiast every year. The attention to detail that goes into these tattoo pieces is second to none and don’t forget a tattoo artist’s “pencil” has no eraser.
Specialization In Tattoo Portraits
Don’t get me wrong, there are hundreds of top tattoo artist in the world and I can not possibly showcase them all in this small article, but here are some of the top names in realistic tattoo portraits working today. Don’t be upset if your favorite artist didn’t make the list, I can only write an article so big.
Nikko Hurtado – A Californian tattoo artist who has distinguished himself as one of the worlds best portrait tattoo artist with his dramatic use of color and shading that brings his pieces to life. Nick Hurtado has one of the strongest dedications to his craft in the tattoo world, always striving for the best and even he will admit, he is his worst critic. Nick can be found tattooing in his Apple Valley tattoo studio, Ignition Tattoo or traveling the tattoo convention scene.
Moni Marino – Originally from Germany with just under 20 years of tattooing under her belt Moni Marino has risen to the top of the tattoo portrait niche. Her intense use of color and attention to every detail makes her pieces stand out as though they were oil canvas. Your best shot of getting a piece by Moni Marino is to get a passport and start paying attention to the tattoo convention scene. Her work is world renowned and there is likely a few people already ahead of you.
Liz Cook – If you know your tattoos, you can instantly spot a Liz Cook portrait. Liz is an American tattoo artist hailing from Dallas, Texas. Her intense use of color and precision makes her pieces one of a kind. Each face seems to jump off the skin as though you caught it in mid motion. Liz can be found touring the world offering her skilled services to anyone with an appreciation for awesome tattoos. You might want to get a hold of her prior to showing up though, I’m sure you aren’t the only one that wants to be drilled by Ms. Cook.
Cecil Porter – A regular on the tattoo convention scene, Cecil Porter’s work is sought after by tattoo collectors around the world. His tattoo portraits show a love of art and detail that is unrivaled in the tattoo field. He can regularly be found inking on tour or if you are lucky enough to catch him in his private studio in Temecula, California you too could have a portrait that looks so real you swear it breathes. Cecil’s work is sought the world over for his incredible portrait skills.
Mike Devries – Another California tattoo artist, but arguably the best portrait tattoo artist in the country. Mike Devries has won well over 100 awards for his gorgeous color portrait tattoo pieces. In many cases his tattoos look better than any picture you have seen of the subject. Mike Devries is very sought after for his style and approach. If you want work by him you should start checking the tattoo convention schedules and make some calls, becasue there is always a line to Mike’s tattoo chair.
Why Should I Waste So Much Money?
I hear this all the time. “Why should I drive all that distance to get an expensive tattoo when I could just go down to Joe’s Tattoo downtown and get it for a fraction of the price?”
My advice to you is that if you want something awesome on your skin, don’t just look at what Nate Beavers tattooed yesterday and expect your local tattoo shop to replicate it perfectly, It’s just not going to happen. Never forget, “Good Tattoo’s Aren’t Cheap, Cheap Tattoo’s Aren’t Good, And Great tattoo’s are downright expensive.
Want To See More Works From The Top Tattoo Artists In The World? Click Here
Tags: Tattoo · Tattoo Styles
Since I recently started my backpiece tattoo, I have been reintroduced to the lovely feelings of healing. A tattoo is a controlled abrasion and it wants to heal just like a brush burn on your knee. If you would allow it, it would create a large thick scab over the entire tattooed area, just like when you were a kid and wrecked your bike.
As you can imagine having a large scab is not really good for your tattoo. As tattooed people we do everything we can to prevent a scab from even forming in the first place, but it does happen even to the most diligent of us. The key to avoiding scabs is to keep the tattoo moist while it heals. This can be done with any number of items although in my experience coco butter works the best. Be careful using products that contain petroleum (ie. A&D, Vaseline, Bacitracin) as they can pull out color depending on the type of ink used. Also be careful to read the ingredients list of anything you use and make sure there isn’t something you don’t want hiding in the middle of the list. I recently had some off brand coco butter that had alcohol hiding in the list, let me just say, “OUCH!”.
Even if you can avoid scabs on your entire tattoo, you can’t stop peeling. Peeling is a result of the top layer of skin, which is dead from all that needle work, dies and falls off to make way for the fresh healed tissue. Peeling doesn’t hurt but it certainly itches. If you have ever had a bad sunburn, I’m sure you can relate.
Peeling doesn’t start for several days after the tattoo has been applied. You can stop applying lotion after the tattoo peels although if you continue to keep it moist you will be much more comfortable.
Although your tattoo is going to itch, you don’t want to scratch it. Scratching the tattoo could remove ink or create scratches on the tattoo that will scab. Instead of scratching your new tattoo, slap it. Slapping the tattoo will remove the itch temporarily just like scratching, but it will not damage the tattoo.
To keep the itch to a minimum continue to keep the tattooed area moistened with the proper product. A moist tattoo is a happy tattoo.
After all that itching and slapping your tattoo should be well on its way to healing. After about 2 weeks of discomfort you will stop noticing the new ink. After a month it will be about 90% healed but it takes about 3 months for it to get back to it’s natural texture.
Your tattoo may lose some of it’s original luster if you don’t take care of it properly. If 90% of your ink is still intact, chances are you messed up that other 10%. Good tattoos need good aftercare
Tags: Tattoo · Tattoo Care
I turned 30 this year and finally made the big decision of what to put on my back. Since your back is the only large flat canvas your body provides, this was a long thought out decision.
I settled for one of my fuzzy friends. I own several endangered tarantulas, one of which is a Mexican Fire Leg (Brachypelma boehmei). I have been a spider lover for many years and this beauty is by far the favorite in my collection. She is a mean girl and a ferocious eater. When you get in her cage she shoots venomous barbed hairs from her ass that if you get in your eye, you will wish someone would take out your entire eye. She’s just like me. haha.
My spider is a female and likely to live another 20 years. I’ve made the commitment to her, I just figured it was time to make the commitment to myself.
I went to my tattoo buddy with an idea. I wanted a Giant Tarantula in an attack position. I wanted it to be anatomically correct and the correct species in a photo-realistic scene. He threw the idea around in his head for a few months and finally when it was tattoo day, he showed me a few sketches. One of them was exactly what I wanted. I have never even seen a picture in this position so the pose just floored me. He even gave me hell because this pose doesn’t exist. I laughed and jokingly told him to do his job.
The first session has been the worst so far. I laid down for the entire appointment, which in hindsight I think was a bad idea. Laying down for the tattoo made me squirm. I am not the best at sitting for a tattoo. I have a high tolerance to traumatic pain, but not so much for the constant burn of a needle I can easily move away from. Anyone that tells you tattoos don’t hurt, has never been tattooed somewhere that hurts.
The first session was all basic black work. Outlining the basic form and some basic black shading. I took a 4 hour first session and was more than ready to get off the table by the end of it. I apologize for the poor first tattoo session pics, they were taken by myself through an old mirror.
Later there will be a skull added under the spider and webs on black to form the background.
The second tattoo session was not nearly as bad (painful) as the first. For the second session I sat up for the entire tattoo. All work was concentrated to my left shoulder and mid back. I actually fell asleep twice while getting tattooed, the pain was not overbearing. I notice that on myself the pain from a tattoo doesn’t start until it is below my ribs.
This session added the first color and started the cover up of my very first tattoo, a tribal piece I was far too young to be getting at the time. Although the tribal tattoo is black it will be completely masked in color by the time the tattoo is complete.
My tattoo artist has express that he has never done a backpiece in the manner this tattoo will require. He says it needs to be worked out like an oil painting, building textures from the bottom up. What does that mean to me? It means, there are quite a few more sessions in front of me. If I finish this piece within 2 years I will be very happy.
I will continue to give step by step updates as more tattoo work is complete. If you have any questions, ask away.
Tags: About Me · Tattoo
November 16th, 2011 · 2 Comments
If you have ever started stretching your ears it doesn’t take long to realize that they smell of death when you take them out. Or if you ever went to nibble on your significant others ear and caught a nasty whiff. This only gets worse as you go up in gauges.
What is Ear Funk?
We know it smells, but why does it smell? What is ear funk and how can we deal with it?
It’s a lot like ear wax, only grosser. By stretching your ears and keeping them gauged you are creating the perfect environment for bacteria. It is warm and moist, and there’s really nothing you can do about that. The environment alone doesn’t cause the stink, but it certainly doesn’t help either. The majority of your ear funk is actually dead skin cells. There is also some dirt and other odds and ends that could possibly accumulate in them, but the majority is all dead skin cells.
If you remember back to high school health class, you may recall that you are constantly shedding skin cells. They are microscopic and hundreds fly off with just the wave of your hand. This is no different around your piercing jewelry. The only difference is that the jewelry is keeping those cells from falling anywhere, instead they build up gradually into a paste like funk. That moist paste of dead skin cells continues to decay due to the warm moist environment your jewelry creates. That decay is the smell you get from your piercings.
Sexy, isn’t it?
How Do I Control The Funk?
There is absolutely no way to prevent your stretched piercings from collecting funk. The shedding of old skin is a process that you can’t and don’t want to mess with. The only solution is control.
It takes a while for enough dead skin cells to accumulate and start to produce a smell. This isn’t a long time, but if you were to clean your jewelry and piercing once a week, the smell should be very minimal. Each cleaning should give you at least 3-4 days of fresh and clean before any kind of smell creeps in.
When cleaning be sure to clean both the jewelry and the piercing thoroughly, they are equally important. You want the jewelry to look just as clean as the day you bought it when you put it back in. Anything you leave on it will just start to break down immediately, which is counterproductive to your goal of fresh and clean piercings. You must be sure to clean the actual piercing as well. This is probably the hardest of the two. Be sure to clean both the inside and outside of the piercing. Regular old soap and water do well for this. I like to use paper towels or toilet tissue for this, so i can get rid of the funk right away. A good general rule when choosing a product to clean your piercing is… “If it works well on the rest of your skin, it should be no problem to clean your piercing with it”.
The longer you wait between cleaning your piercings, the worse the smell is going to get. There is no magic spray to eliminate the problem. You’re going to need to do all the work yourself.
How is it that no one claims to want a “bad tattoo”, yet you constantly see people with “bad tattoos”? The simple truth is that most people don’t do their homework before getting a new tattoo.
Anyone who takes a needle, dips it in ink, and inserts that needle into someone’s skin is, by definition, a tattoo artist. Since that general term covers everyone from the guy down the street scratching and scarring people in his basement to top tattoo artists like Paul Booth or Robert Hernandez, it’s hard to get a quality tattoo by just randomly picking a tattoo artist out of the phone book.
If you want a quality tattoo, you can’t decide to get a new tattoo on a random Saturday, visit a tattoo shop and get tattooed that day. Any shop that offers this type of in and out service is usually not of high quality. Good tattoo artists are booked days to weeks in advance and will give you a custom tattoo, not just some off the wall flash that 100 other yuppies have.
Don’t expect to get your new tattoo quickly. Many top artists are booked quite a ways ahead. There is also time required to draw your custom tattoo. Be patient and ask for the earliest possible appointment. Remember the more flexible your schedule is, the more likely you will be to get tattooed sooner.
When selecting a tattoo artist you always want to look at their “books”, or portfolio. Browse their works and ask to see photos of healed tattoos as well as fresh ones to ensure that the colors will hold once healed. Remember, if you don’t like what is in a tattoo artist’s portfolio don’t expect to get a better tattoo than what you see.
Always asses the cleanliness of the studio and tattoo area. Any good tattoo artist is extremely clean and sterile. This is perhaps the most important aspect of tattooing.
Verify that the tattoo artist always wear gloves and cover any chair surfaces with plastic. Ensure that the tattoo artist cleans the chair or arm rest with an antibacterial agent before you sit down for your session.
Ask to watch the tattoo artists work while you are in the shop. Watch him and make sure he is not touching unsterilized surfaces without changing gloves or anything else you deem unsanitary.
Make sure all instruments are sterilized and single use only. Ask questions, lots of them. There is nothing wrong with ensuring you are getting a safe and professional tattoo. It’s your body and it’s up to you to do your homework when getting a permanent tattoo.
The only person responsible for your bad tattoo is YOU!
I see this question asked time and time again, “What does it take to become a tattoo artist?” The short answer is, “A lot of hard work.”
Today we will look into what it takes to become a “real” tattoo artist and touch on the scams out there that claim you can be a tattooist in just a few weeks.
Throughout the United States there are a handful of tattoo schools that claim to give you everything you need to be a tattoo artist. Most of these programs last a few weeks to a few months and cost an exuberant fee. By the time you have completed the only thing you have to show for your $6000 is a pretty certificate you can hang on the wall.
If you take that pretty certificate to a reputable tattoo shop expecting to get work, you will likely be laughed out the door.
There are even internet tattoo schools that claim to teach you everything you could ever want to know about tattooing for just $69. The price alone should make anyone in their right mind run for the hills.
No “Tattoo School” or “Online Tattoo Training” can ever take the place of a traditional tattoo apprenticeship.
If you plan on becoming a professional tattoo artist, you almost have to get an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is when you study tattooing under a professional tattoo artists careful guidance and instruction. A good tattoo artist will teach you everything from sterilization to all the smallest nuances of tattooing.
Tattoo apprenticeships can vary in conditions and time as each artist makes his own schedule. Some tattoo artists require a payment for the apprenticeship while others will just make you work for free.
You might be nothing more than a janitor for the first 6 months before you are allowed to put needle to skin. You will start by giving free tattoos to your buddies who agree to let you put your mark on them. Slowly you will work up to half priced tattoos and eventually full price. This progression could take as long as five years, depending on your teacher and his individual schedule.
Great tattoo artists don’t let their apprentices go until they are satisfied with their work. Anyone they teach will always reference them as their mentor. The tattoo community is a small world and negative press is never wanted. Any artist worth his ink would not want a student who hasn’t progressed to a professional level, to claim him as his mentor.
Tattoo seminars are regularly offered at tattoo conventions the world over. These seminars are not meant to teach you “how to tattoo”, but “how to tattoo better”.
These seminars are usually hosted by top tattoo professionals, often catering to a specific niche like “black and gray” or “photo realism”.
Just like apprenticeships, these seminars can be either free or several hundred dollars, depending on who is presenting them. Some may think this is quite an expensive price for some “pointers”, but time and time again people pay the price. So, those tidbits of knowledge must be worth the price of admission.
What You Need To Do
If you want to become a professional tattoo artist, and are serious about it, there are several things you can do to start the process.
1. Start Drawing – A prospective teacher is going to want to see how well you can draw. This will certainly be the first thing he or she ask for. Draw everything you can think of, not just your favorite style. Not everyone wants your style for a tattoo. You will need to be versatile.
2. Hang Out At The Tattoo Shop – Most apprenticeships spawn from being a pest. Taking on a student is a big responsibility for a tattoo artist and persistence is the key to convincing someone to teach you. Go to the local tattoo shop. Then beg, plead and cry for an apprenticeship. When that doesn’t work, do it again.
3. It Isn’t Cheap – Between supporting yourself for 6-12 months before making any money at all, and/or the price of apprenticeship, you will need to plan ahead. You should have money in the bank before you start your journey into tattoos. If you aren’t financially prepared, then you should start looking for a part time job to pay for your tattoo education.
The steps involved in becoming a professional tattoo artist may seem difficult but the first day you make a paycheck doing what you love, it will be well worth the wait.
March 30th, 2011 · 1 Comment
There seems to be a new trend in the rap world revolving around facial tattoos. These days it seems like anyone who is in the mix needs some fresh facial ink. The list of currently facially tattooed rap stars includes Gucci Mane, The Game, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Soulja Boy, Yung L.A., Nipsey Hussle, Diamond, Tyga and Wiz Khalifa. As you are reading this article there might very well be another rapper getting the newest in tattoo trends.
The face tattoo trend seems quite new and is growing like wildfire. Years ago, the only person crazy enough to tattoo their face was Mike Tyson. These days, hardly a week goes by before I read another news story about a prominent or underground rapper getting free publicity for inking their face. Some rapper like The Game and Yung L.A. even go as far as to cover up existing facial tattoos with even more prominent designs.
Established rapper 50 Cent weighed in on facial tattoos in a recent issue of VIBE International by saying, “That’s the craziest thing. Not necessarily Gucci, but to tattoo your face says that there’s not a possibility that you can actually walk into a legitimate establishment without makeup covering your face every day. That does not work. It creates a separation. It says, “I’m an artist.” That’s it. That’s the statement you make when you go and tattoo your face…But know that the public will not have interest in you as an artist for life. You have to be phenomenal. Talk to the best that do it and they will tell you that it will take more than you being an artist. It takes marketing, maneuvering to generate for that long. When you got 40-year-old rappers in the game, those guys have maneuvered and survived.”
Do You Want A Facial Tattoo?
Although this is an increasing trend, it is still difficult to find a tattoo artist that will agree to tattoo your face. Many professionals have a strict policy of not working on faces.
Think before you ink! Facial tattoos are forever. They are also prone to fading and stretching just like any other tattoos. Take a picture of yourself from 10 years ago and compare it to today. You can visualize how much a tattoo could change in just a few years time.
You might think that discrimination laws will protect your future job prospects, you should think again. Unless you plan on working at the carnival the rest of your life, facial tattoos will not help you climb the corporate ladder.
If you think you can just get tattooed and remove it later when it starts to fade or you tire of it, wrong again. Due to the texture of the skin on your face, it is more susceptible to scarring from the initial tattoo. This means, once you laser off the tattoo there will still be a faint outline of the tattoo in the form of a scar that will never go away.
A tattoo isn’t going to make you a better rapper. Don’t trade 15 minutes of publicity for a lifetime of regret.
Tags: Celebrity Tattoos · Tattoo