Ms. Mikki

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About Ms. Mikki

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  • Biography
  • Location
    Portland, Oregon
  • Interests
    The Art of Living
  • Occupation
    Tattoo maker
  1. We are having a benefit to raise some money for Rio and his family. He was recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. The benefit is August 19th at the White Owl Social Club. Thanks to Relapse records and Sizzle Pie. Talent by: Poison Idea, Witchburn, Justin Kagan and friends(members of the oregon symphony), the Peacock's eye belly dancers. There will be a silent auction and raffle. FOR BREVITY: Rio DeGennaro started tattooing in 1962 under the watchful eye of his father, Lou Lewis, and legendary tattooer, Bert Grimm. Over the next 50 years, Rio travelled from the Pike on Long Beach, to San Diego, to San Jose, and New York, until finally settling in the Pacific Northwest. In 2002, he joined former student, Don Deaton, at Sea Tramp Tattoo Company, After taking over the Sea Tramp Tattoo School in 2003, and renaming it the Oregon School of Tattoo Arts, Rio continues to educate and instruct the next generation of Oregon tattooers, He encompassing all aspects of the tattoo history, process, and business, and helps new tattooers lay their ground in Oregon.
  2. Pams mermaid

  3. Freds cat

    Kitty twist
  4. Mahakala

    Protector of the Dharma
  5. I say jump and enjoy the ride. If anything can shake you out of stagnation, its challenging yourself with new experiences. I absolutely love living in Portland. Its not for everyone. Just know that readjusting to a new living enviroment takes a bit of effort as you may know already. Finding new habits, which grocery store to hit on the way home, coffee shop to enjoy some catch up writing, restaurants to haunt, etc. Remember to get out to our countryside to recharge. Good luck on your new adventure. Cheers, M
  6. Mahakala

  7. mikki 100

  8. Sam's dad

  9. en hommage to oregon

  10. If you are in the Portland area. Comemeet and or get tattooed by this Wonderful Lady of the tattoo Arts. She is at Fortune Tattoo July 18-23, 2011. 5032347071. History. (next year will be her 40th yr in the business!) Vyvyn Lazonga has been a tattoo icon for more than 30 years. She was one of the first female artists in the world who went out on her own and didn't work for her husband or partner; she worked for herself and her art. She broke many boundaries, challenged the tattoo/artistic norm, and continues to create amazing custom body art today. I have always done art, ever since I could remember, from the age of about 2. Anything I could pick up and draw with I did. Once I remember getting in trouble for drawing on all of the furniture and walls with crayons at the age of 3. The tattoo muse struck me in the early l970's after I had seen an article done about tattoos in a men's magazine. The article was on Cliff Raven and his work. At that time there were no tattoo magazines so this venue seemed to be the only happening way for a tattooist to show their work. I first tattooed on the original "skid road" in Seattle. It was called that because around the turn of the century when they were building the city, they would skid the lumber down the hill to the waterfront where it would be cut and processed for all the new buildings. This became the hub of nightlife for all the sailors during WWI and WWII. My shop is now located in one of the main historical buildings in the Pike Place Market, about 2 blocks from the waterfront. It's also about 2 blocks from where I started out on 1st Ave., skid road in Seattle. I learned tattooing from one of the old timers, C.J. Danny Danzl, who was a sailor during WWII and retired seaman with Foss Tug Boat Company. When I first heard that someone was opening a tattoo shop in Seattle I immediately ran down there to talk with him to just feel the situation out. I approached him with the idea of me being his "Go For" and helper. He really liked the idea, so that is how it started. It never occurred to me that you could create works of art on the skin until I had seen Cliff Raven's work. I thought how beautiful it would be to create not only a work of art but to be able to carry a talisman around on your skin until you died. This seemed like a very powerful way to make the ultimate affirmation for yourself. After serving a 7-year apprenticeship with Danny I struck out on my own and decided to take tattooing off of skid road to a neighborhood called Capital Hill. I had that shop for a few years and then moved around after that and wound up in San Francisco. Living and working in San Francisco was like going to school in a way. I got more streetwise. I had a shop in the outer Mission for several years and learned to adapt to Hispanic culture. After a couple of years of that I moved to lower Haight Street and started developing a very good clientele base. I made friends with some of the local tattooists there like Henry Goldfield, Ed Hardy, Bill Salmon, Lyle Tuttle, Erno and Captain Don. It was fun times, especially when Lyle would have some of his parties and all the tattoo groupies would be hanging out outside begging to get in. I met Kurinomo, (Horiyoshi II) when he was still alive at one of Lyle's parties. It was such a great honor. After the earthquake of '89 I moved back to Seattle. My place was pretty well ruined in the earthquake so I packed up what I could and moved back to Seattle where I knew I could start over very easily. That was when I opened a shop in Pike Place Market and I have been happy here ever since. I recently changed my business name from Vyvyn's Tattoo to Madame Lazonga's Tattoo, because I had that name for many years early on in my career but had changed it to Vyvyn's for numerological reasons. Now I feel it's time to go back to Madame Lazonga because it sort of conjures up it's own mythological imaginings and it's more playful. I have also recently opened a larger shop in the Market and added some talented artists. Philosophy Watching tattooing change over the decades has been very fascinating. I think one of the reasons why tattooing became so popular is because we as a culture are looking for more meaning in our lives. Technological advances have made it even harder for us to stay in touch with our bodies and our spirit and what has meaning. Tattooing is a very primitive and universal way of honoring the sacred, it seems that we crave meaning in our lives and this can be a very powerful experience when approached with conscious intent. Joseph Campbell used to say "Artists are the modern day mythmakers, shamans and story tellers." It is an honor to be able to channel my art in this way. The act of tattooing is a way of transitioning from this world into other unspeakable worlds that lend themselves for being able to create art on skin. Most of my inspiration comes from the natural world, or cultural motifs, a lot of it is non-literal and decorative. Of course, the ancient tradition of Japanese woodblock prints I've always been in awe of. One of my favorite artists is Yoshitoshi; he did a lot of art that depicted women doing every day things. This was during the Edo period of Japan, the period of their renaissance. I really like his One Hundred Aspects of the Moon series. His compositions were genius. Nature to me is like a religious experience. I can't help but see the miraculous ness of it all. It's fun to look at things that grow in nature, their markings and to use them in my art. I'm also very fond of art nouveau because of its fluidity and ability to conform to the body so easily. I get so much of my inspiration too from art nouveau jewelry books. I adore some of the last turn of the century artists like Kaminski, Miro, Chagall, Dali, Klimt, and the Russian constructivist like Leger. I have been doing more mastectomy scar cover-ups lately, and I finally realized after doing my third one, that I needed to sit down and talk to these women about their grieving process. I needed to talk to them and tell them that this process might dredge up the experience of what they went through and that it's normal, but that will pass too. At first, I didn't quite know what to do or how to console them, but now I have a better idea of how to be supportive without losing my own boundaries and still be able to do the work; work that is very important to their lives. One thing I noticed, through all of my experiences is that so many people are beginning to see that being tattooed is a way to mark a time in their lives. I totally understand that but for me it was always something beyond time. I always liked the idea of going beyond time into a dimension where the images being put on the body would be something that wouldn't necessarily represent time but a profound and universal concept. By having maybe one well thought out tattoo, it saves the body from having a bunch of pitchy-patchy, (that's what I call it) tattoos that don't have any congruency. That's why I think when a person does extensive bodywork that it becomes an expression of their mythological belief system. Mythology, in my opinion, has always been the glue that has held societies together. What a fabulous thing to see so many people now as an expression of what holds meaning for them. I'm excited to see tattooing changing in this manner. Finally, after 30 years of watching and waiting, we're finally getting it.
  11. There is so much to chew on. Where to start. I guess, time does distort perspectives in alot of cases. I used to think my pop's was heavily tattooed. I know my mom was when she was alive. She even had a monarch on her hand. Then, years later I started hanging with my pop's as an adult, and I remember, being shocked, when seeing his tattoos, that he really wasnt as blasted as I had remembered as a kid. I mean he was heavily tattooed. But by this time, I had full sleeves. It was odd to wrap my head around, the distortion of my childhood perspective. When I started getting tattooed, you were either an adventurous collector which consisted of the norm, you were a stripper, in a band, a convict, or a tattooer. The adventurous collector, didnt reveal their tattoos unless they had crossed the line and jumped head long into the freak catergory. I dont mean freak in a bad way at all. It was just how society treated them. They were people who went way out of the standard of the norm. Past the military regulation. Past the caution of their tattooers advice. Past what their family thought of them. They jumped out there, when no one else was out there...just to do it. The price they paid was being treated poorly by their peers, their families, by society in general. Not all of course. Some, and I still think this is a variable, had mental illness. Attention seekers, one shot ponies trying to make a name for themselves, being a freak. The magazines pushed this into the limelight. I saw quite a few people dive into the trend because after a couple shots of themselves in the magazines, it seemed they became addicted to the exposure. Every magazine for a stretch, you can see them having more tattoos in a short amount of time. I won't name the obvious. All you have to do, is look back in the archive of the rags. I thought I was heavily tattooed with my half sleeves and chest panel in the early nineties. I was to my biker boyfriend. Then I met a young woman in Sacramento that blew my mind. She was younger than me and had her entire body tattooed. I loved it. I had known Elizabeth Weinzirl, and a couple other heavily tattooed women. But not any around my age. I had been the freak amongst my peers, until I met this other young lady. It was inspiring to me. She was beautiful. My point being. It wasnt so common to be obviousily tattooed. The norms hid their bodysuits under their fancy suits and white ties. The little old swinger lady carefully dressed herself while in public as to not stir a commotion of interest in her until she wanted to reveal her secret. The rest of us, didnt care what anyone thought and we werent trying to be apart of a clan. Then, the mtv generation hit. Every dumb fuck from every part of the planet wanted to purchase the look of a rockstar. Neck sleeves, hand tattoos and socks. Let me tell ya, you get those boys naked and it was a huge turn off. They had run the course backward. It was a turn off to me, because of the time I came from. I was brought in through a different door, so to speak. So, in the beginning of my career, there was no, tattooers being tattooed vs. norms being tattooed. We were all in the same boat living on different islands. As society became more seasoned to the art of tattooing. I noticed high end restaurants in SF and NYC hiring tattooed beauties as servers. It had become schick. And it certainly was. Main stream had caught on, with how beautiful tattooed people can be. The only shortcircuit feeling I get from people now, is those that get tattooed to be apart of the scene. Example. Look at when the suicide girls started. It was hot!. All those lovely punkrock grrrls I had never seen naked, were displaying themselves for the world to see. Difference from then til' now. Those first bunch of grrrls were the real deal. Most all the ones that came afterward, got tattooed to be like them, or they simply got tattooed to be a suicide girl. I hope you can see the comparison Im trying to make here. Its like watching the eighties style cloths come back into fashion and the youngsters are wearing all the crap the cool people didnt wear back then. They are caught in a trend. I definitely have been caught in a few myself. Guess thats how we learn. What you see now on tv, is because its a trend. Its acceptable, so the networks seem to be marketing towards those that they think would be interested. They too, and Im thankful for this, have missed the mark. As some of you may be experiencing. Its past tense now. So, once they see that with their ratings, they will move on to something else that strikes our fancy. Im too old and fat now adays to be sold to the public. Especially on tv. The tv shows came after my prime. We didnt have internet, websites, even some of my close tattooer pals in the industry, didnt know what I could do. They didnt seem to care who was doing what unless they were in a magazine to confirm their talents. And if a bunch didnt know you, then who were you but someone slinging ink to get by. I guess another way to explore this, is if I had a kid, he/she would be in their mid twenties now. Possibly heavily tattooed or not, having been raised in a tattoo household. Being a different generation. Even my kids, if I had had them, would not know how it used to be, accept from the stories I would have told them as to how it used to be when I was a kid. Sounds like repeated history. :) Is there a moral? If you love tattoos, then wear them. Just make sure you are doing it, because you love them and not because everyone else does too. Respectfully, Mikki ps. Sorry Deb to rant on your topic. :)=