Sheldon Shares Two Tattoos

One of my tricks for locating tattoos is to walk by the Borders on Penn Plaza and see if anyone's reading tattoo magazines.

On Thursday, I spotted Sheldon in the store in the checkout line. He had two sleeves worth of ink, but I am trying to steer clear of big, wrap-around pieces, because I don't think I can give them a lot of justice in a blog format. There are exceptions of course (here and here, for example), but one generally needs a little more time to do it right.

Anyway, I settled on the left inner forearm (above) that had two distinct pieces.

The top piece was inked in Pensacola, Florida, when Sheldon was in with the Marines. It is a design of a Native American looking out off of a cliff.

The one below it is a King of Spades, but will skulls instead of faces. A friend of his had the Jack of Hearts, so he went with the King of Spades.

He credited this tattoo, along with all his other work (the Native American piece, excluded) to a custom artist in Japan named "Augie". Sheldon was stationed there with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and had a lot of work done before being deployed to a different theater of operations.

Most of his work on the right arm is traditional Japanese design. He started initially with the forearm and then went from the elbow up over the shoulder and onto his chest. He said is was a "yakuza design".

Sheldon told me that Augie didn't have time to finish the left arm, due to his re-deployment, but that he hopes to return to Ginowan, Okinawa to finish up his sleeve.

Thanks again to Sheldon for sharing his ink with us here at Tattoosday!

Disfigured Boy

Say cheese !

Sigh Star

Am I missing something ?

Production Notes: May 29, 2008

I often find myself wanting to discuss ink, but don't always have the photos to accompany a post.

Despite a slow start yesterday, I ended up photographing three subjects (as of this writing), the third was on the N train.

I also provided reading material for two other tattooed people on the same train. One guy had a forearm piece with Latin words traversing his hand and extending onto one finger.

The other individual sat down net to me and had "To thine own self be true" inscribed on her right inner forearm. I was showing her the printout from this post, and she told me her inscription came from NYC Adorned.

I'm hoping both of them (hint, hint) contact me so we can feature them here on Tattoosday!

Tattooed Punk

Graveyard in his head ? Brain dead ?

Virgin "No Eyes" Marry

She looks like a DJ, doesn't she ?

Bad Teeth Family

Sorry for the picture quality (which is still better than the tattoo's one)

Two Fists for Tattoosday

I spotted these tattoos on the plaza outside of Borders Books at Penn Station.

He was in town visiting family and he certainly had a lot of tattoos to offer. "Thirty-nine," he answered, without hesitation when I asked him how many he had. His arms were fully-covered and he had others on his neck.

We settled on these, because it seemed easiest, and Tattoosday has never presented fists before.

All his work was done at Bayou II Tattoos in Picayune, Mississippi. He credited all his work to Chip, and said the art on his hands was custom-designed.

Thanks to the guy from Florida for sharing his work with us here on Tattoosday.

Whoah, norks!

You could take your eye out on those things, John Fitzgerald.

Whoah, norks!

You could take your eye out on those things, John Fitzgerald.

Twice is Nice!

Keith Ciamarello does Gil Elvgren. Twice.

Twice is Nice!

Keith Ciamarello does Gil Elvgren. Twice.

Funny how? How Am I Funny?

Claire Reid just cured my fear of clowns!

Funny how? How Am I Funny?

Claire Reid just cured my fear of clowns!

Bleeding Hoot Baby

Robert Jarrett

Dogs on Hoot

Sam Rulz

Hoot In My Mouth


John's Other Three Tattoos

Last week, I posted the "after" version of a tattoo I spotted early last Fall. The host, John, e-mailed me the updated photos after I spotted him in at the grocery store.

He also sent me shots of his three other pieces, posted above and below.

Via e-mail, John gave me the run-down on the tattoos, all inked at Body Art Studios in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

"The tattoo with the knife through the heart is a memorial tattoo for my grandmother who passed away in 2000. I drew it and Peter [Cavorsi] tattooed it. It took me a few years to get it because I wanted to get the tattoo done on her birthday... October 13, but I wanted to wait for a Friday the 13th 'cause that was her lucky day."

"As for 'Cheech,' it is another memorial tattoo for my Uncle Patty, my grandmother's brother. That is why it is in red, so it looks like the blood dripping from the knife [that] wrote out his name. He got the name 'Cheech' in World War II. It was his nickname, which is weird, because we are Italian and 'Cheech' in Italian is a nickname for Frank. Both of the tattoos are on my left forearm...".

The black and gray piece is a Chinese character [kanji] with ... fire. The symbol means 'art as a skill' and the fire around it represents my passion for the art, as I am practicing to be a tattoo artist myself. It first tattoo, inked by Peter in 2002/2003".

"...Last is the one on my left calf, which in Chinese means "fear no evil". I got that in 2002-2003, as well. It was tattooed in Body Art, but was done by someone who worked for Peter at the time. I think his name was Sig or Zig...".

On a side note, the guy who worked for Peter did my first tattoo, and he went by the name of "Sickie". I think we're talking about the same guy.

Thanks again to John for coming through and sending me the photos and the back stories on his tattoos!

Editor's note: John's comments are 99% verbatim. I took a little editorial liberty with some punctuation and spelling, along with an occasional edit, for the sake of clarity.

Tattoos from the Blogosphere: More of Mat's Ink

Back in April, I posted an incredible back piece that was sent to me by a comrade in the blogosphere, Mat Giordano. Revisit it here. Totally worth it.

Shortly after sending me the elephant pictures, he sent me these, to add to the mix. I thought it was time to be a good blogger and share. Full disclosure: these are in Houston, photographed and sent by someone I've never met, but have spoken to on line.

Nonetheless, it's amazing ink, and Mat is a multimedia designer, so his work is pretty interesting.

So, what's with this flower? Here's an excerpt from our chat (edited and abbreviated):

Me: What's the flower?
Mat: Sort of a mutation of a hibiscus
unrealistic color scheme
but what was in my head;
I just didn't know it until I saw Travis' stencil.
Me: did you do the design or was it a collaborative effort with Travis [the artist]?
Mat: I never design my tattoos
just ideas
I realize my place as a designer
I'm not a tattoo artist
lots of designers make the mistake of designing their own tattoos and being very adamant about what the tattoo artist should do
instead of letting them fly at what they are best at
Me: Agreed
Mat: I say "I'd sort of like this"
and say "tattoo what you think belongs there".
This was a special one for me
Me: Why special?
Mat: It was the pink-to-red gradient of the hibiscus plants that I planted in the driveway of the first home I had with ... my little boy Jack
whose name you can see on my wrist at the end.
Every morning when I'd be leaving to go create things for a living,
I'd see it open in the driveway
one on each side
so past that, being in Houston now, it's nice to look at it and remember
I was there this past weekend and all those feelings came rushing back like a tidal wave
Me: The hibiscus (maybe all flowers) can carry such emotional weight as symbols of places...I grew up in Hawai'i where the hibiscus is the state flower and to me it just represents home
Mat: Wow, so you can sort of relate how I feel about the relations of a flower symbolizing comforts of home
or symbols of anything that carry emotional weight, I suppose
Me: Absolutely, especially when they are so significant to a specific time and place.

As you can see, interesting discussion about the emotional weight behind tattoos as symbols of not only the abstract (the idea of 'home'), but of concrete places as well.

Later on, Mat elaborated : "I couldn't really understand, beyond the fact that Travis is a great friend of mine, why my mind immediately wanted those colors [in the hibiscus] he predetermined right before we started, until I realized the weight of what they meant in my subconscious, which fortunately made its way through a pretty muddy network to my conscious so I could relay it to the artist. Thankfully, Travis can read me pretty well, in turn cutting plenty of my mindless stares and utters out of the time frame."

Mat has communicated about tattoos with me on a level more cereberally than anyone I have met since Tattoosday began. He's above and beyond the "I-liked-the-art-on-the-wall" mentality, which is fine for many people.

Below is a shot of Travis Stanley, the artist at 713 Tattoo Parlour, in Houston, Texas, working on Mat's flower tattoo.

And finally, a cool shot of Mat's wrists:

Jack, as mentioned above, is his son. The name was inked by Marc da Sharc at I-Drive Tattoo in Orlando, Florida. Marc da Sharc also did the other piece, but at the aforementioned 713 Tattoo Parlour. For those unfamiliar with the design, it is the symbol for infinity. Mat specifically wanted to clarify that the placement of that symbol on his wrist "by no means was a decision based on how long he thinks he'll be around".

Thanks again to Mat for sharing his tattoos here!

Ian Jones Has Thirteen Tattoos. Here Are Four.

I saw this hannya mask outside of Penn Station and went up to talk to its host, Ian Jones, a Long Islander waiting for a train.

Despite a light rainfall, we chatted for ten minutes or so about his tattoos and the stories behind them.

Since the advent of Tattoosday, participants' reactions to the project range from total disinterestedness to moderate amusement. Ian, however, took it a notch higher, to the point of downright enthusiasm. He sounded sincere in his appreciation for the blog (and the idea behind it), and I got the impression that he would have let me take pictures of each tattoo, had time and weather permitted.

The big piece that first drew my attention was the colorful half-sleeve on his left bicep. The hanyya masks are traditional elements in Japanese tattooing styles, and he has two masks representing good and evil.

This tattoo, about ten hours worth of work so far, was done by Kristen at Artful Ink Tattoo Studio, in Bohemia, on Long Island. He noted that it was also a cover-up of a "bad sparrow and flower".

Ian says he gets the most questions about his Volkswagen logo on the inside of his right wrist.

He explains why he got an automotive emblem on such a prominent spot: he's always loved German engineering and has always had VW vehicles. His first car was a VW Eurovan, but his second car, a VW GTI 2-door hatchback, was what cemented his love of Volkswagens for life.

Ian told me how he was in his GTI when he was in a horrible crash. The other vehicle was purportedly going 100 MPH and Ian is convinced that the VW's structural shell protected him from critical injuries.

As a tribute to the GTI, and as an expression of his love of Volkswagen, he had the VW logo inked on his shifting arm (he now drives a VW Jetta) as a reminder of his survival from such a harrowing experience.

His left arm sports two tattoos:

There is Long Island on the forearm and a star on his inner wrist. The star was inked the same time as the VW logo to provide balance, but it grew to take on a more important meaning. It's a reminder symbol about a friend of his who is in the Marines.

The VW and star were inked by his friend and bandmate Tony Coffins at Resonance Tattoo, also on Long Island (Center Moriches). Ian and Tony are in a band, Phoenix Rise, together. See their MySpace page here and listen to them play.

The tattoo of Long Island, which Ian admits is not done that well (although I would say at least looks like Long Island), is nonetheless, still near and dear to his heart. Ian was adopted when he was a baby, and he feels that he could have ended up anywhere, and Long Island was his home. He is proud to be a Long Islander, and thus wears this as a badge of honor.

Thanks to Ian for his enthusiasm for Tattoosday, and let's hope we see more of his ink here in the future!

A Hole In My Hoot

Meg McNeil

Red Hoot

Matt Shamah

Hoot Wave

Another Steve Byrne owlverload!

Even more nudity!

Again with the boobs, Tim Orth!

Even more nudity!

Again with the boobs, Tim Orth!

Rosey Cheeks!

Whoah, nudity! Thanks Tim Orth!

Rosey Cheeks!

Whoah, nudity! Thanks Tim Orth!

The Eyes Have It

More sterling work from Mike De Vries

The Eyes Have It

More sterling work from Mike De Vries

In The Shadow Of The Sun

Dan Hazelton keeps others in the shade. I love the white highlighting in this.

In The Shadow Of The Sun

Dan Hazelton keeps others in the shade. I love the white highlighting in this.

That's a Wrap!

Bandaged Bond. Brandon Bond.

That's a Wrap!

Bandaged Bond. Brandon Bond.

Have A Hoot

Danielle DiStefano

John's Koi: Then and Now

It was only a matter of time.

I wondered when, just buy the nature of my talking to so many tattooed people, I would approach someone about Tattoosday, having already featured them on the blog.

The answer: seven months.

Here's an excerpt from October 2007:

Does that look familiar? I wrote in October 2007:

The first piece is a classic koi tattoo, done on the front of the calf. There is a dragon on the back of the leg but it is not finished yet, as color still needs to be added.

The host, John, is from the Bay Ridge area and had his koi inked at Body Art Studios on 3rd Avenue. We know the artist, Peter Cavorsi, who also runs the shop, because he is responsible for one of mine and three of my wife's pieces. I strongly recommend his shop if you live in southwest Brooklyn. His shop is clean and he does very nice work, as you can see from John's koi.

Koi are a traditional part of Japanese tattoo, and are very common subjects n body art because they represent good fortune. Despite their being regular subjects, they seldom are ever one in the same. Like snowflakes, they tend to differ from body to body, and unlike tribal pieces, I don't think I could ever get bored of koi tattoos.

John estimated that this large leg piece, including the dragon on the back of the leg, not pictured and not yet colored, took 13 hours so far. A lot of people don't realize how much time goes into elaborate pieces like these. On shows like Miami Ink, a ten-hour project can be compressed to five minutes of screen time.

Well, last Sunday, I saw the finished work, not realizing that John had been here previously. I handed him a flier at the grocery store, and he reminded me who he was. He was busy with groceries, but he promised me he'd send photos of the finished work. He estimates that Peter had spent an additional nine hours on the piece since October, making it about 22 hours in total.

That's one thing about the whole "_____ Ink" television experience, the work is edited down so much that many people don't realize how much effort goes into the large quality pieces.

And of course, John came through with these updated shots:

Thanks to John for sharing his finished leg piece with us! Stay tuned!! He also sent me photos of his other tattoos, which will be featured in a later post.

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