Shattered Faith

On Tuesday, I met Shawn in Penn Station. He and a friend had visited to New York City from Albany to catch the band Shattered Faith last Monday night at a Brooklyn venue called Club Europa.

The band is not familiar to me, despite the fact that they are an Orange County-based punk band that has been playing since the late 1970s. They grew out of the same scene that spawned the great L.A. Punk scene in the early '80s, but they never made my radar.

According to Shawn, this was their first U.S. tour, so he was glad to catch them live on the East Coast.

Shawn has about a dozen or so tattoos, half of which are band logos. He had a sweet X tattoo on his right forearm. The piece featured above is the Shattered Faith logo and was inked by Jack Kowalzyk at Primal Graphics Tattoo in Albany.

Check out Shattered Faith at their website You can listen to some of their music in the audio section. You can also check out their MySpace page here.

Another benefit to writing (and reading) Tattoosday is the fact that I am occasionally is educated about bands that had been prevoiusly unknown to me.

Thanks to Shawn for taking the time to talk to me and helping introduce Shattered Faith to Tattoosday readers!

Bonus: A YouTube video featuring Shattered Faith performing in 2006:

A Year Ago Today, Tattoosday Was Born

When, on July 31, 2007, I posted my first installment of the weekly Tattoosday feature on BillyBlog, I didn't know what I had started.

Had you told me then that, a year later, Tattoosday would have spun off from BillyBlog, that it would have set a personal best in July '08 with over 13,000 hits, and that I would be posting daily, I would have been skeptical.

Nonetheless, that's what has happened. And, although I expect a drop-off in visits as summer ends and shorts and tank tops give way to jeans and long-sleeve shirts, I am pleased with how Tattoosday has progressed.

I want to thank everyone who has visited and contributed to the success of Tattoosday. It's still a little baby blog by blogosphere standards, and its stand-alone self (apart from BillyBlog) doesn't celebrate a full year until September 8, 2008, which is BillyBlog's 3rd anniversary.

The lingering question is this: will Tattoosday surpass BillyBlog in traffic by then? As of July 31, Tattoosday had just over 48,000 hits in a little less than 11 months, whereas BillyBlog is at 63,500 hits just a month and change shy of 3 years. Check back on September 8 to see what happens.

Inkily yours,


Mona's Pocket Watch Honors her Grandfather's Memory

On Monday, I ran into two hair stylists walking west on 23rd Street. Both were inked, and both graciously agreed to share one of their tattoos with us here in the blogosphere.

The photo above is one of three pieces that Mona has. She currently has a sleeve in progress. This pocket watch will eventually be part of a unified sleeve, but Mona explained how this stands apart from the rest of the design.

She identifies the pocket watch with her grandfather, who she always remembers had one on him at all times. His surname was Baltazar and, despite being adopted, she shares his family name. The (time) piece is dedicated to him.

This tattoo was inked by Regino Gonzales at Invisible NYC.

Thanks to Mona for sharing her tattoo, along with her memories of her grandfather, here on Tattoosday.

See below (or here) for her friend Kara's tattoo.

Kara's Astrological Ink

In the post above (or here), I met two hair stylists this past Monday, who both had tattoos. The photo above is of one of three tattoos on Kara.

Kara is a Pisces, born on March 3, and she found a design that she liked to represent that aspect of her.

This tattoo was inked about six years ago at Allstar Tattoo in St. Louis, Missouri.

Thanks to Kara for sharing her tattoo here with us on Tattoosday!

Knuckle Tattoos

Just a production note, one of my June posts has been picked up by a site devoted solely to knuckle tattoos. Click on the title of this post to check out the site here. I exchanged e-mails with Nathan, who runs the site, and he had kind words to say about Tattoosday. Should I run across any more knuckle ink in the future, I'll be sure to send them his way.

These Are a Few of Her Favorite Things

This is a continuation, of sorts, from a previous post here.

Claire showed me the above trio of tiny tattoos on her left hand. She explained that they represented her three favorite things.

A strict literalist would interpret this as diamonds, martinis, and cash, but one could be more general and call them alcohol, jewelery, and money. Or, if one wants to be alliterative and hip, "booze, bucks, and bling".

She doesn't remember the shop, but she had these three tattoos inked somewhere in Jersey City, NJ.

Thanks again to Claire for participating in Tattoosday!

Heather's Salute to the Flora and Fauna of North Carolina

As I approach a year of writing Tattoosday, I like to think that, within the first fifteen seconds of talking to an inked person, I can tell whether they are going to be interested in sharing, or are going to politely (or impolitely) decline.

When I first stopped Heather last week, on Seventh Avenue near Macys, I guessed it was a futile attempt. Her tattoo spread from her back over to her shoulder and down her right arm. There was a layer of clothing covering parts of the piece. Generally, these tattoos are tough to capture on film, and subsequently, I end up disappointed.

Heather is proof, however, that it doesn't hurt to ask, and that my instincts can be wrong. Not only was she accomodating (she untied the outer shirt to unobstruct the piece), but she was friendly and talked freely about her work,

So, here it is, from back to front:

Heather is a wildlife biologist, born and raised in North Carolina, and she has a themed sequence of tattoos going, that she hopes to build some day into a full sleeve. All of the elements are species native to her home state of North Carolina.

Beginning with the back, and detailed in close-up at the top of this post, is a ruby-throated hummingbird.

The bird is fluttering about a flowering plant of coral honeysuckle. This plant wraps from her back onto her upper right arm. There it mingles with some sourwood.

Heather was clear to point out that it was an artist's representation of sourwood (aka the Sorel Tree), and not true to the actual species.

All of her amazing ink was done at Blue Flame Tattoo, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Two artists there were responsible for her work, Mark and Christy.

Later, when I was looking back at the photos, I noticed a black star in the middle of the sourwood. I hadn't seen it initially, and I was curious about it so I e-mailed Heather for some more details. Her response is below:

The star is actually my first tattoo. I got it on my 18th birthday, June 13th 2000. I thought I was really tough. Ha ha it's funny to think about now. The tattoo only took 40 minutes, but I passed out. Word to the wise: always eat before a tattoo. So that is that.
Thanks to Heather for sharing her beautiful tattoo(s) with us here at Tattoosday!

Hoot-ndreth (sorry) Owl!

Owl Tattoos is now 100 posts old. Aww...

Tim Victim

Never in Hoot.

Awesome stuff from Russ Abbott

Hoot Salad

A couple of random owls, as seen on DeviantArt.

Claire's Sugar Skull Celebrates Her Grandmother's Life

I met Claire last week, a couple of buildings down from where I work in Manhattan. I first noticed some script pieces she had on her inner wrists, but she unveiled this beauty of a sugar skull for Tattoosday.

She had this inked on the inside of her left bicep as a memorial to her grandmother, who had passed away. One of her favorite Catholic holidays had been the Day of the Dead, and Claire saw this design as a fitting tribute to her. Although sugar skulls come from Mexican culture, their root is in Catholicism.

People see sugar skulls in many different ways (see previous sugar skulls posted on Tattoosday here), and Claire sees them as celebrations of life, which made the piece so fitting as a memorial.

This was inked by Alex Franklin at Brooklyn Ink. See other work from Brooklyn Ink on Tattoosday here.

Claire is a talented photographer whose work can be seen on her website here.

This is just one of 17 tattoos Claire has. See three more "small" pieces she has here.

Thanks to Claire for sharing her work with us here on Tattoosday!

Damien's Pistol Star Nebula Tattoo is Out of this World

Sorry. Couldn't resist that title.

I ran into Damien near Fashion Institute of Technology earlier in the week, and her bright, colorful tattoo just jumped right off of her in the sunlight.

She explained to me that it is based on a photograph of the Pistol Star Nebula, as seen from the Hubble telescope:
She stumbled upon the photo on the NASA website and loved the shape of it. Anyone who has seen the photos from the Hubble, which are in the public domain, should agree that they are spectacular visions from beyond our world.

The book designer and novelist Chip Kidd coincidentally posted this past week, on his website about a new book for which he had designed the cover (here), the images on which were from the Hubble eye on the universe.

This piece was inked by Chris Kowalski, a tattooist in Toronto at Abstract Arts Tattoo and Body Piercing, and is one of seven tattoos that Damien has.

I noticed after the fact, while glancing at her website, that the tattoo is inked above a pre-existing piece, as evidenced in this photo from her site:

Aside from the symbol for infinity and the arrows pointing out from all directions, I cannot speculate on the meaning of this earlier tattoo, but am hoping she will offer up an explanation at a later date.

Thanks to Damien for sharing her galactic ink with us here on Tattoosday!

Dara's Fragment

I was hesitating whether or not to ask Dara Zad about her tattoo that wraps around her left ankle.

I am glad I did.

She has the word "Fragment" inked above her foot and, whereas a passer-by might dismiss it as a band name or a random word, the piece carries a depth of meaning about which Dara is clearly passionate.

She spoke quickly, so her quote may be abbreviated a bit, but she said:

"Everything is a fragment if it's taken out of context. Like in natural history museums, if you look at one thing by itself, a spoon for example, it is regarded as an artifact, but it is irrelevant by itself, it is only a fragment of a larger group of items. My leg is a fragment of me and I am a fragment of the universe."

Dara is a video artist, whose website here has some samples of her work. Check out, for example, her short film "The South Maple Bridge". It's pretty cool and worth a few minutes of your time.

This tattoo, one of four she has, was inked at a shop called Lunar Tattoo and Piercing, in Hadley, Massachusetts. The artist was Mark Bode.

Thanks to Dara Zad for sharing her fragment with us here at Tattoosday!

X Files Tattoos

I am the biggest fan of the X-Files EVER and in anticipation of the movie I Want To Believe coming out tonight, I posted about X-Files tattoos on Fun Vampires (my permanent home for bad tattoo postings).

Hoot on Sight

Brandon Heffron

Sam's Lotus in Memory of a Friend Gone Too Soon

I ran into Sam outside of Rite-Aid in my neighborhood, and she let me take a picture of the tattoo above.

Sam has a handful of tattoos, all meaningful, but we selected this one, on her right shoulder.

The lotus has an interesting look to it. She had wanted it to have a distinct pastel appearance and is happy with the way it came out. She later had a different artist ink a corresponding lotus on her left shoulder, but the ethereal effect did not quite have the same result in blue.

Sam explained that she hails from a small town where, unfortunately, there's at least one suicide a year among the younger population. As troubling as this was, it never really hit her hard until one of her friends took his life and became one of the statistics. Complicating matters was that a handful of others followed suit, making the experience even more trying.

She helped her own healing process by getting this tattoo. More important than the lotus' meaning as a life-affirming flower, Sam, like many people, find that being tattooed is a transformational experience, relieving her stress and pain.

She hopes to build off of this lotus and eventually ink a larger piece, in the quarter to half-sleeve range. Any interested artists should e-mail me and I can put Sam in touch with you.

The lotus was inked by Monique at Lotus Tattoo in Patchogue. Monique, she understands, has left that shop and relocated somewhere in Brooklyn. The shop, as well, seems to have shuttered its doors as well.

Thanks to Sam for sharing her lotus with us here at Tattoosday.

Sal's Medicine Wheel Honors his Family

I was waiting for a prescription at Rite-Aid, on Thursday, July 17, which had already been a record Tattoosday. I saw a familiar-looking guy with the tattoo above on his forearm.

I asked him about it and he recognized me as the father of my two daughters who used to go to an after-school program where he had worked for a spell.

He was more than happy to explain this interesting tattoo to me. It is a Native American medicine wheel that he designed and brought in to Kings County Tattoo Company where the artist, Paulie, transformed it into a tattoo.

Paulie has been mentioned previously on Tattoosday here.

Kings County Tattoo has had work featured on this site here.

Sal explained that the outer part of the wheel is comprised of four colors: red, brown, yellow and white, each representing one of the races of humankind.

The crane features prominently in the piece because it is the symbol for the Baswenaazhi clan in the Chippewa tribe from which his father (and thus, he) is descended.

The thunderbird represents strength. The spiral equals life. And the arrows are emblems of Native American culture.

The 8997 represent the date August 9, 1997, the anniversary of his parents' marriage.

The entire piece is an elaborate tribute to Sal's family. I thank him for sharing his medicine wheel with us here on Tattoosday!

Bryan's Homage to a Classic Pulp Cover

I met Bryan last week outside of Penn Station. He has "7 or 8" tattoos, and he offered up this piece from his left leg.

It's a recreation of a pulp book cover that depicts a woman holding a photograph of a crime in progress, just as the man in the photo who is the perpetrator, is entering the room, gun drawn.

The woman appears to have just developed the picture and her face is wracked with frightened recognition of the fate that is about to befall her.

Bryan recalls coming across this image when he was a teenager. I have a distinct feeling that I've seen this image before as well, but I was unable to find the source material. If anyone knows the title of the book upon which this tattoo is based, please let me know.

Bryan also likes the core element of photography within the tattoo, as he has always been interested in that art form, and he still considers photography a hobby.

This piece was inked by Jason Goldberg at Olde City Tattoo in Philadelphia.

Thanks to Bryan for sharing this amazing leg piece with us here at Tattoosday!

Erik's Captain's Wheel

I ran into Erik at the laundromat and snapped this shot of one of his many tattoos. It is located on the inner part of his right bicep.

Erik explained that his grandfather and many of his uncles had been ship captains and this was a way to honor them with something significant from their family history. It also is a nod to Erik's love of pirates. You may recall, this is two weeks in a row I've snapped pirate-themed tattoos in the laundromat. The previous post is here.

This tattoo was done by none other than Joe at Brooklyn Ink. Previous Brooklyn Ink tattoos can be viewed here.

Thanks to Erik for sharing his cool tattoo here at Tattoosday!

From The Bottom Of My Hoot


Hoot Witness

Another reader submission, from Brenda Griner, tattooed by P.L. Serrano at Rockabilly Tattoo. Thanks!

Total Eclipse Of The Hoot

Phil Kyle

Turn Up The Hoot

Brooke Cook

Don't Go Breaking My Hoot

Annie Frenzel

Lorraine's Red Slider

Yes, the Red Slider is a turtle, and the one on Lorraine's left foot is practically crawling off her skin.

She has three of them alive at home, named "Dikiewamish" "Panchito," and "Panchita." She sent me a photo of one of them. I'm not sure whic one of the three he/she is:

She loves turtles and wanted to pay tribute to her amphibious friends.

Her tattoo was inked at Studio Enigma in the Howard Beach section of Queens (not to be confused by Studio Enigma on Avenue U in Brooklyn). Her artist was Freddie.

Thanks to Lorraine for sharing her tat-turtle with us!

Joan of Arc

Artwork by Jacki Randall. I haven't found the perfect picture for me yet but she is one I would love to have represented.

Becky's Nod to Angelique Houtkamp

On Thursday, July 17, I spotted Becky outside of the Penn Plaza Borders talking to her friend Ashley.

Becky's not hard to miss, she's a striking young woman with twenty-seven tattoos. And, whereas generally Tattoosday participants are open and happy to share their ink here, both Becky and Ashley's kindness and friendly dispositions further brightened my day and reminded me why I love working on Tattoosday.

Of all Becky's work to choose from, she presented a piece on the top of her left foot. It's at the top of the post but is worth looking at again:

The tattoo is based on the artwork of Angelique Houtcamp, an artist who is often referred to as "the inspirational Dutch tattoo mademoiselle of the contemporary art world." Her artwork is much admired and both Becky, as well as her tattooist, Mohawk John.

This piece is based on Houtkamp's painting "Mata Hari":

The majority of Becky's work was inked by Mohawk John at B-52 Tattoo in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. As you can see, he did a phenomenal job recreating Houtkamp's work on Becky's skin.

Thanks to Becky and her friend Ashley (whose Tattoosday offering is in the post below) for sharing their tattoos!

More of Angelique Houtkamp's artwork here.

See Becky's friend Ashley's Tattoosday offering here.

Ashley Displays the Mark of Friendship

I met Ashley when I approached Becky (her post here) about her work. Unlike Becky, who is inked 27 times, Ashley has just four pieces, none of which are immediately visible.

However, after talking with her friend Becky, I queried Ashley about any tattoos she might have, she offered up the small piece above.

Ashley's friend Turner Walker is an aspiring tattooist who is learning the art form. Turner, with whom she had gone to school, asked if he could practice on her and, when she assented, he placed two small red hearts on either side of the middle finger on her right hand.

She laughs about it, thinking it's cool that wherever she goes, she'll have a piece of him inked on her body.

Personally, I like the fact that she has a couple of hearts inked on a finger that is often misused by humans to make an unpleasant gesture.

Thanks to Ashley for sharing her small heart with us. True friends let their friends practice tattooing them!

San Diego Tattoos Visit The Big Apple

I spotted Mike and Tracy on 34th Street on Thursday, July 17. They were the third and fourth people I photographed that day.

Mike had the logo from his favorite band, The Misfits, on the back of his left calf. It's one of his three tattoos.

Tracy liked the art for the piece she has, on her upper left arm:

It's one of her four tattoos:

Both Mike and Tracy, visiting New York from San Diego, had their work done at their local shop All-American Tattoo Company. Stevie inked the Misfits piece and "Little C" did the work on Tracy's bicep.

Thanks to both of our visitors for sharing their ink here at Tattoosday!

UPDATE: Mike sent me the link to his band's MySpace page. They have a great name, The Filthy Few. Check them out here.

Tattoosday Record

I don't know what it was about Thursday, July 17, but I set a Tattoosday record. By the end of the day, I had shots of eight different people's ink (my previous best has always capped around 3 subjects in one day). This, after a bit of a drought and some bad luck (a beautiful but unfinished
rooster from New York Adorned, some less-than-interested dudes going to the Bon Jovi show at the Garden, and lots of inked folk walking with their kids -- I generally let them be).

Since 6 of the 8 people were hanging together in pairs, I won't break up the sets, if I don't have to. But I'm going to drop the first pair in a post right below this one.


Dropping a Couple of F Bombs

I ran into Shawn and Chris from Albany outside of Penn Station on Thursday, July 17. Both were heavily inked.

Of their many tattoos, one had some additional meaning, and it was one that they both had on their lower shins. In fact, they told me, there is a group of about twenty of their friends with the same tattoo.

A while back, one of their good friends, a personable guy nicknamed "F-Bomb," passed away suddenly due to some complications from a diagnosed, but not necessarily life-threatening health condition.

It was a great shock, and not only did his large circle of friends band together to help F-Bomb's mother pay for the funeral, but they all got the same tattoo to memorialize him for the rest of their lives.

Thus, the F-Bomb:

That is a still shot on Chris and also, due to my mishandling of the camera, here are two seconds of video of the same piece on Shawn:

The tattoos are credited to artist Christian at the Dead Presidents Lounge in Albany, New York.

Thanks to Shawn and Chris for sharing a little of F-Bomb here on Tattoosday.

On the Cusp

I was on my way home when I spotted Lisa, who was with a friend, in the hours before Bon Jovi's second night at Madison Square Garden.

It was only when she stopped to explain, that I was able to grasp the tattoos meanings (two for Tattosday, no less!).

Lisa had a wrap-around musical staff on her right arm, a nod to her being a musician, but the pieces that circle limbs are hard to do justice for on the web.

I asked instead, about the two I had spotted, the ink that was on the back of her legs, down by the Achilles' heels.

Lisa stated she was "on the cusp," so she related to both astrological signs in proximity to her brithday, July 23.

Cancer, on her left leg, for those of us born June 21 to July 22, and Leo, on her right leg, for those in the July 23 to August 22 range.

Alas, Lisa was in a hurry, and my still-working-the-kinks-out camera was stuck in sunrise mode. The end result is a little blury - Lisa, don't forget to email me better pictures!

These tattoos were inked by Christian DiMenna at Lovecraft Tattoo in New Haven, Connecticut.

Thanks to Lisa for taking the time to chat about her tattoos!

Hoot Fuzz

Fred Giovannitti

Not Seeing, But Knowing

Ashley has this tattoo on the back of her neck. The lines "I will not lose hope/I will not give in" are based on lyrics from a song called "The Crimson" by a band called Atreyu.

The lyrics were words commonly uttered by Ashley's best friend and cousin, who died a couple of years ago. He committed suicide after learning he had a serious illness. She and another cousin chose to honor his memory by having the lyrics tattooed on them as a reminder not only of someone near and dear to them, but because the message transcends death and affirms life. Even though her friend succumbed to suicide, the memory of him instills strength in her even though he is no longer part of the physical world.

As Ashley indicates, she chose the back of her neck because she "can't see it, but I know it's there," just as she can't see her departed friend, but knows that he is still with her.

This tattoo was inked at Body Designs in Bay Shore, New York.

As an extra bonus, here's the video for the song "The Crimson" by Atreyu:

Thanks to Ashley for sharing her tattoo and the personal story behind it, here on Tattoosday!

My Hoot's Content

Christopher Bettley

Honoring His Son

I ran into Alex at the laundromat and complimented him on the name inked on his left forearm.

The piece is a tribute to his son Julian. As a fellow father with tattoos honoring one's kids (see one of them here), I certainly appreciated the sentiment.

This piece was done by an artist named Salem, who is part of the DFM crew in San Francisco.

Another interesting fact about this piece is that it is on Alex's left forearm. Both he and his son are left-handed, and Alex's four other tattoos are on the left side of his body. He strongly believes in inking only on that side of his person and does not intend to ever ink the right side of his body.

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

Pete's Pirate

I ran into Pete at the laundromat and he offered up this tattoo. He had this inked on his left side because he is infatuated by pirates, something he never grew out of from childhood.

This tattoo is about two and a half years old and was done by his friend Pee Wee at Cutting Edge Body Arts in Manhattan. Pete has seven tattoos in all.

Thanks to Pete for sharing his pirate here at Tattoosday!

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