I think for this post it may be important to address an issue that is becoming more and more prevalent in fields that deal with modifying skin in any sort of way. Tattooing and piercing is what this blog is about so that is what will be addressed in reference to the material.
In a day and age where we supplement our diet with many additional chemicals like vitamins, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (fish oil), creatine etc. whether its for weight training or dietary supplementation it is important that we take consideration what we are putting in our bodies prior to being tattooed. I would even go as far as to say that pharmaceuticals to any degree could generate changes in the skin. I have not really heard too many people address this issue but this subject matter falls into my background and hopefully this information can help individuals get the best quality tattoo possible. Given, everyone’s body chemistry is unique, and this may not be applicable to everyone so keep that in mind. I would love to hear your results or if anyone has had any experience with the topics I will address in this post please feel free to drop some knowledge as this can help someone out.
It is undeniable that in America we consume the most supplements and pharmaceuticals in the world. Those statistics are readily available if you want to go looking for them you will not need to go far. Most of these products hold some benefit to our health or appearance and can be quite important. However, we do not always get to see the biochemical reactions that are taking place in our bodies during the time the products in question are circulating through our system. Sometimes we can experience the reactions and health benefits immediately while others may take some time to acclimate into our systems. The difficult part of this problem to assess is how are these supplements going to affect my tattoo?
I can give two examples first hand of supplements that can influence how the tattoo sits under the skin during the healing process. First, fish oil is a great supplement it helps with the appearance and overall health of skin and hair among other aspects of our biology. However, fish oil is a non-water-soluble oil and absorbs into our skin differently and can influence the pigments and inks to migrate rather than staying put. For those of you that have not researched solubility or some of its basic principles in chemistry we say like dissolves like. I will make some sense of this because I know it sounds irrelevant.
When we are thinking about using a solvent in the lab for a substance we have to determine if its overall charge is polar or nonpolar. Polar compounds are substances like water, table salt, glucose, Epsom salts, etc, hopefully you get the idea, basically these substances carry a charge and will disassociate when being dissolved in water or acetic acid (vinegar) or any other polar solvents. Nonpolar compounds do not carry a charge and can be organic molecules but the easiest ones to identify with are hydrocarbons or oils and things like that. Everyone has heard the reference about mixing oil and water, those compounds do NOT mix, on the other hand if we put table salt in water the granules of salt will disappear. Water is a polar compound and oil is a non-polar compound they are not miscible with each other, but water and salt are both polar compounds and water will dissolve the salt. Now that we have a basic understanding of this let’s think about what we discussed last week in regard to pigments and inks which are usually organic, and carbon based. Many times, carbon-based compounds are non-polar, however, there are many exceptions to this rule when it comes to biochemistry but not so much when we are dealing with basic carbon compounds like the components to inks. Since there are so many variants of ink and pigment on the market with different base components it is hard to determine how they will react with someone’s specific biochemistry until the product is introduced to the body. So, we can kind of put the pieces of the puzzle together when it comes to supplements and how the polarity will influence the skin during the tattoo and healing process. If the supplement can partially dissolve or react with the pigment it could cause it to migrate through the dermal layer appearing as a blowout during the healing process. This could also have an influence on the immune system’s ability to break down the ink/ pigment because the particles have now disassociated and are smaller and easier for the white blood cells to attack.
As you can see, when we introduce supplements and medicine to the mix this can add many variables that were never involved in the original equation. Hopefully, clients are honest with tattoo artists when it comes to medicine and supplements, so the artist can be prepared for these variables. I believe another good example of this would be an older client that is on blood thinners or a medication with a side effect that may thin the blood. Older people generally have a different skin texture which can be determined by the artist using observation, however, the medication could cause the client to bleed significantly more than normal and extra care would be necessary on the artists end. If someone is bleeding quite a bit during the tattoo the blood can actually help push and dilute some of the ink out of the dermis which can cause greater scabbing and
I understand that reputable shops usually screen their clients for health issues and medication, so it is the client’s responsibility to present any additional circumstances so that they can get a quality tattoo and minimize the variables. Medicine has been apart of our way of life for centuries and I think tattooing has been just fine. I think a more prominent issue that will emerge are dietary supplements, these are relatively new in the grand scheme of things and although very good for you can cause issues with tattoos. In the medical field, patients are screened for all supplements and medications before a procedure, so the doctor can utilize necessary methods to be successful. Pharmacists must do the same thing when calculating dosages for patients and cross checking to see if any medications will react adversely to a current prescription etc. I have been exposed to quite a few tattoo artists that are discovering it is necessary to ask clients about their dietary supplements before they embark on a project because it can limit issues with blowouts and ink migration etc. I believe the supplements are largely beneficial to our lives, they help us maintain good immune health and help our skin and hair look great. I think we should help our tattoo artists out and let them know anything outside of a “normal” diet so they can be prepared for anything.
As always thank you for reading my blog post and I hope this had some educational value as well as presenting new ideas that have not been studied extensively. I think there should be more research on tattooing especially since people are getting tattooed more than ever. Then again I am a scientist and I love learning about and researching new material. We are living in an era where the transmission of information is second to none and we should use what we have to our advantage. Finally, and as always please enjoy some awesome tats by Zenon for your enjoyment.
Hello Everyone, let's keep the ball rolling with this next blog post, I'm excited to discuss this topic because it really falls in line with my background a little more than my last post. That post was about processes of tattoo machine use, in addition to some basic immune system functions that react to the tattooing process and the ink/pigment. This post will be based on molecular structures and reactions that take place on a microscopic level in regard to body chemistry. So far feedback has been great! I love to elicit responses and create discourse between people that may have never met each other. It’s great because now the Internet gives so many of us the opportunity to have an opinion! Before the world wide web, you'd have to be published in a journal, book, or magazine to carry any regard in your field, now we're all on Instagram and can communicate freely. Got to love new tech and the ability to share quality information with the masses. On the other hand, I understand that most of the info on the Internet is misleading, so I'm going to do my best to give you guys the most accurate and quality info that is readable and digestible without too much scientific jargon. Thanks for reading, so let's get started!!!!!!!
I’m excited about this one as my background covers quite a bit of organic chemistry, which is based on carbon-based compounds. I’m sure we’ve all heard of organic food products, which are grown naturally without preservatives or pesticides etc. But when I hear organic my first thought goes to carbon-based molecules, essentially the basis for our component parts on the molecular level. The human body is 99% comprised (by mass) of the elements oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorous in order from largest to smallest in quantity. That’s your fun fact for the day!
Carbon plays a huge role in organic molecules because of an interesting atomic trait it possesses. Carbon has four electrons in its valence shell. Explained briefly, a valence shell is the outermost layer of electrons. Theoretically, electrons reside in orbitals or shells around the nucleus of an atom. Depending on the number of electrons in the outermost shell, this will dictate which type of bonds the element can make when undergoing chemical reaction. The goal valence shell’s want to reach is to have a full octet, or eight electrons in that orbital. This makes most molecules happy! The number of electrons in the shell will generally determine what reactions and what types of bonds will form. In carbon’s case, it forms covalent bonds with surrounding elements, which means it shares the electrons rather than donating or taking them (ionic bonding). The advantage of carbon’s bonding process is that it can generate double and triple bonds with other elements (which are stronger and shorter bonds than a single bond). This gives carbon the ability to form many different shapes and structures when bonded to various atoms, ultimately taking on many different properties. For example, diamonds are crystal clear, very shiny and one of the hardest materials on Earth, on the other hand, graphite is dark colored, brittle and used as pencil lead. If you would like to dive deeper into any of these concepts I would be happy to discuss further but I think this is a solid introduction to the diversity of carbon and its potential uses. Now that you have a general idea of how carbon compounds can act we can talk about how this is related to ink and pigment when being applied to the skin.
Tattoo ink can loosely be divided into two groups, you have black ink and colored pigments. The molecular structures of these group can vary greatly, however, black inks you will generally find more carbon-based coloring. I will not go into detail about the basic ingredients of inks because it is easy enough to find if you’re really interested. Anyways, black inks are based out of carbon sources which helps make them black. Can you think of any examples of black colored carbon-based substances?
We can skip to the part where ink has been injected into the dermis layer. Those carbon-based inks are delivered with a transport fluid that keeps the ink suspended evenly and prevents microbial growth.
As black ink is applied to the skin, the carbon compounds find each other and create bonds. I use the term bonds very loosely here, because they may be more like links in this case (but that would be a separate discussion). These carbon bonds essentially make the black ink hard under the skin which is great for outlines and making a bullet-proof tattoo. Black ink also makes a great outline because it bonds and hardens up. Obviously, we cannot feel the ink hardening in our skin as it’s a chemical property that forms while in the dermis. Color tattoo pigment is made from a wide variety of compounds, but do not form the same links as carbon based black inks. Pigments are known to migrate the longer they are in the skin and as we age. Black ink can be thought of as a stopper or a dam so that the color pigment does not generally migrate past the black outlines.
Another fun fact (that’s two in one post - today is your lucky day) about pigment is how we see their colors. This is applied to anything that has color in our day-to-day lives, but I will keep this brief and easy to understand. Anything we see that has color (which is pretty much everything) is connected to something called the visible light spectrum. The visible light spectrum is a small portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes various forms of energy and light, like radio waves, microwaves, x-rays and all kinds of cool stuff. Anyways, visible light is a very small percentage of the spectrum, you can look up additional info on that if it tickles your fancy, but we are going to keep moving on. So, when we see color, the surface of the object we are looking at is absorbing and reflecting colors, and we see the colors that are reflected. So, when we are looking at a beautiful, vibrant red rose, those rose petals are reflecting that red light and the sensors in our eyes pick it up and transmit the signal to our brain. Tattoo pigment works in the exact same way, as it is comprised of molecules that can sit under the skin without being consumed by the human immune system. These molecules reflect the colored light that we see and BOOM!!! Colored tattoos! Because of the chemical properties of the pigments, it is difficult for color tattoos to hold integrity over time without the black lines keeping things in place. Pigment migration is a common issue with color outline tattoos. Over time, the skin moves and changes which alters the pigmented area, distorting the shape and making it susceptible to attack from our white blood cells.
Remember last week I discussed that white blood cells attack the ink molecule. However, the ink and pigment molecules are too large for the white blood cells to breakdown/consume and carry away. This is basically how the ink particles are able to reside in the skin for many years. The previous post explains it a little more in depth and as always, personal research never hurts. I hope this post was informative and as fun for you to read as it was for me to write. Thank you for reading, and below for your viewing pleasure are some super tough tattoos done by Zenon!!!!
So I got my first tattoo 6 days ago, it’s a lotus flower with small dots for detail. I noticed on the second/third day of having my tattoo that the dots on the left side had expanded underneath the skin, I’ve done some googling and I think it might be ink blowout. However it looks quite odd compared to the right side which is supposed to have a symmetrical pattern. I’ve been wondering whether because it’s a new tattoo that this blowout with disappear?? Any help?? Thank you in advance 🙂
I figured I would deliver on my blog promise and discuss some mechanisms of tattooing and the science behind them. I'm sure many of the experienced tattooers and tattooies have at least heard many of these topics but I think this will establish a good break down into to the sweet science of tattooing from a new perspective. Just to preface my background a bit I have been getting tattooed by Zenon Pawelski for 7 years now and I have been privileged to be his friend enough that he would let me tag along to all the hot tattoo conventions like Villain Arts in Philadelphia, the National Tattoo convention in Orlando, Fl, just to name the most recent adventures. By osmosis I got the opportunity to meet some really awesome skin wizards and hear some of the best stories you wish you've heard. I recently started blogging for Tabernacle Tattoo in Tampa, Fl and really enjoyed discussing tattoo studies and drawings but I wanted a platform I could discuss some other aspects of tattooing that correspond with my interests and professional background. I studied political science and chemistry at the University of South Florida and I am a candidate for a PharmD degree at USF College of Pharmacy, hopefully through this platform I will get to learn and educate alike. Thank you all for reading Tattrick HQ!!! LET’S DO THIS!!!!
From the time I started hanging around tattoo shops I was fascinated with the machine mechanics. Watching the mini piston and listening to the buzz of the machines feels therapeutic to a degree. As I gained interest I inquired about the machines and what makes them tick, I found out that there were just a few basic parts involved to make the machine do its thing. The basics are somewhat easy almost anyone can make the basic motor (not advised or condoning it) apparatus with household parts. However, it takes a real technician to master the intricacies of the machine and to make it function at its optimal ability. Many of the artists I have been exposed to can just hear or touch a machine and know exactly how its going to perform. I admit I am a little jealous of their ability to understand something with such a simple interaction but I do understand it takes years to acquire these abilities, with that being said lets get back on track:
So a tattoo machine is essentially a little electromagnet, not much to it you can make one using a nail, some copper wire and a battery, if wrapped correctly this is called a solenoid. The tattoo machine utilizes the electromagnet the solenoid generates as a motor which pulls the pin down until it connects, driving the needle down into the skin. Once connection is made the pin fires back up and this rotational process of the magnetic field connecting-disconnecting-reconnecting happens rapidly to the tune of the harmonic buzz of the tattoo machine we are all so familiar with. Hopefully that paints a nice picture of the general mechanic of the machine, so lets talk about the cool stuff, the biochemistry behind the process. As the needle plunges into the skin many times a minute it injects ink or pigment into the skin, this is done by the needles breaking the skin and injecting the ink into the dermis layer which is just under the top layer (epidermis). So here we are, we've made the punctures onto the skin injected ink into the dermis layer and now this ink or pigment is just sitting there. Keep in mind the human immune system has been triggered during the action and now there is a response gathering in the areas of ink injection.
The natural immunoresponse of irritation, swelling and redness are typical for trauma to the skin these are signs that the white blood cells or soldiers of the immune system are on the scene. The white blood cells are actually trying to fight your tattoo and remove the foreign substance from your body. Normally, a foreign invader entering the body in a similar fashion would be introduced to a quick demise and circulated through the lymphatic system and ultimately out of the body.
How are tattoos permanent?
Essentially, the ink molecule is just too large for some of the white blood cells to consume. Some other WBC can ingest the ink but cannot process the molecule, so it can stay in the dermis. You can think of this as just a microscopic game of Pac-man the white blood cells are Pac-man and the ink molecules are the orbs he likes to eat. However, Pac-man can’t eat these orbs because they are too big and bulky for him to get his mouth around, so the orbs settle in and Pac-man doesn’t get to eat. After the WBC are unable to target the foreign invader the body will begin to heal the “wound” formed on the layers of skin. The image of the tattoo will go through additional healing process which includes the scabbing and crusting most of us have seen and finally we have the finished healed product. It’s pretty cool how many issues with the skin will be corrected over time, cuts, scars and burns may not completely disappear but do fade, but a proper tattoo that’s built to last can be forever.
Thank you for reading my first blog article. Let me know what you think. Have a great day! Ive included some tough tattoos from the tattoo shop sites I work on listed above for your viewing pleasure.
I have no clue what is wrong with it please help , could you let me know what I’ve done wrong every answer is much appreciated I have looked after them good no sun no touching moisturise 3 tines a day
i have no clue what is wrong with it
I got this tattoo 3 weeks ago exactly. The tattoo is no longer peeling much but it is raised and not flush with the rest of my skin. Also the line work looks so much heavier than it did when it was fresh. I am concerned about tattoo blow out and/or scarring. Any advice?
ABOUT THIS BLOG
I just got a tattoo a week ago, this is how my tattoo looks a week after I got another tattoo by the same artist and the second one looks so much better. Should I be worried about infection, or did she go too deep and mess up or am I just completely screwed with this tattoo. It looks horrible now....
ABOUT THIS BLOG
I just got a tattoo a week ago, this is how my tattoo looks a week after I got another tattoo by the same artist and the second one looks so much better. Should I be worried about infection, or did she go too deep and mess up or am I just completely screwed with this tattoo. It looks horrible now....
Hey, sorry 4 comeing like this out of the blue but I have a question. This will sound weird mby but plz help me. So I can't remember the name of an artist. This artist dose flying eyes, skulls,open flying mouths and really weird shit murals also. I think he is from UK and his site is brown if it helps haha. If you have any idea what who I am talking about plz answer me. :)
I got my tattoo about 2 months ago and I am worried because I have white marks on it. I still have one more session with my artist but I wanted someone's opinion on it, he says he can easily shade in the white spots but I want someone's opinion. Pls reply
I've tried to write this before and it just wasn't working, see how we go this time!
Well after getting the pipes on my outer forearm (may 2015) I started plotting what would come next. For my Step Dad I want a ship in a stormy sea being taken down by the Kraken and for my Dad I want a deer head inside a rose being stabbed by arrows. ( actual hunting arrows capable of doing damage, not those whispy hipster pinterest style ones)
Over the space of a year I played around with ideas before settling on those while also researching ideas on a memorial tattoo for a baby I'd lost years ago.
I have my living children's initials on me with stars and hated that I had nothing for her.
Not feeling satisfied with the stock standard memorial tattoo I came up with the idea of a tarot card . Three of swords. It's a heart being stabbed by three swords. Looking at it the right way up it means pain to the heart, love loss. In reverse (upside down) it's like moving past or overcoming that pain.
Very fitting. It was a very healing tattoo for me. Doesn't fix situations , but I feel a bit of peace now.
The tattoo sits under my bust , I was shitting bricks to be honest - figuring it was going to be pretty intense. But that in no way was going to deter me, I was just going to have to suck it up or pass out . Surprisingly it was easy to sit for. Cat stratch or same as when you scratch a mozzie bite too much. The tops of the daggers hurt the most but even so were only a 4/10 at most. I'm convinced my nerves are shot, cos I shouldn't have sat that well. (Honestly - I hate pain!!)
I must say I completely love the tattoo. The design was the artists work (I just explained the card and said I'd like it with daggers instead and in a traditional style, but happy for him to play with it )
This is a healed picture, I can see a couple spots that need a touch up so I will sort that out soon.
So my husband and I were talking about tattoos recently and I said I want to be covered (barring hands neck and face). I am pretty sure he squealed on the inside before saying "If you want them, I'll buy them for you!!"
He is mulling over an idea of his too which got me thinking about the whole meaningful tattoo vs that just looks fucking awesome. I am a fan of both. My husband has a mix of both. The few I currently have and the next few projects I am working on are all meaningful ones, but I do see myself getting something just because I like how it looks and nothing more.
As a kid I liked tattoos. Which in a way is odd, because I am talking from back when my parents were still together, so around 6 years old , when we lived on a farm in the late 80's early 90's. Not too many tattooed people to come across there. The tattooed people I did see were bands on rage and video smash hits of a weekend (Australian music video shows for those playing at home) . I was constantly drawing on myself and getting my older sisters to draw on me. I just knew that one day I would get tattoos. Its only the lack of funding that has really prevented me from already being covered.
Fast forward to when I was 9-12 and living with my Dad, I discovered his stash of tattoo magazines. I would flick through those things for hours. I am pretty sure I heard a choir of angels the first time I opened one! Dad was always talking about getting a tattoo but we were barely able to eat and pay rent let alone afford him a tattoo. So it never happened.
I moved around a bit , moving back with Mum during my teen years and then as a way of removing myself from a toxic relationship I moved back to Dad.
A year later at 19 I got my first tattoo. There were only two shops to choose from (travel wasn't an option for me so local it was). The first shop I went into, they were busy so I was looking at the flash on the wall when they walked right by me, left and locked the door! Yeah, great first impression. They came back after half an hour or more (there was no way to unlock from the inside either) . So I went to the next shop and that's where I got the tattoo! It was to signify that new step, new life, transformation and all that jazz. Seven butterflies from the front of my right hip (first one sitting quite close inside my undies line) and they wrapped up over my hip with the last two sitting closer to my back.
I knew I wanted more but, funds or lack of kind of got in the way.
I met my husband the following year and we soon started a family. Twin girls first up.
Yeah those poor butterflies were never going to be the same again :D
(during twin pregnancy back in 2007)
after third daughter,
Those poor butterflies have been through a lot. But I don't want them covered. I have considered adding to it or getting it fixed somehow. But then again I am a sentimental bastard who loves it even more now. I have considered work on my stomach but part of me doesn't want the stretchmarks covered. Each time I look at them I think of those pregnancies. I didn't get any extra with my single pregnancies, but those twins. I had stretchmarks on top of stretchmarks and they bled like a bitch. They were so painful. But its all part of the big picture you know.
We had another little girl and with that I wanted a tattoo for my kids. I mulled over a few ideas , in the end going with stars and just their first initials. I headed back to the first shop I went to back in 2004. (It was now 2010) . By now a third shop had opened (Conspiracy ink, and then changed to Conspiracy tattoo) but I just felt comfortable going back to where it began. The shop had relocated, from an arcade now to a street front shop. Mauz had another bloke in there too and it was him, Drew, who did the letters and stars. I bought with me font that I liked, Drew had a look and made it look better, I flicked through their stars folder but went with standard 5 point stars. [/img]
earlier this year
I began thinking of other tattoo ideas. I fucking love skulls so that was going to be an idea (possibly a bit later on) . I started looking at symbology etc related to tattoos too. I really like the stories behind it all. I love traditional and I love Japanese tattoos , but don't feel I could do it justice (I personally feel I would need to deicate an entire space like whole arm or leg etc to it). But I came up with an idea of a raccoon on my right thigh and an owl on my left. Raccoon is all about me, owl is all about my belief system. Well that didn't come to fruition as soon as I had hoped! Husband lost his job (company went into liquidation) , I was in and out of work, youngest daughter was in and out of hospital. Shit times basically!
Fast forward a few more years and I then started thinking about my arms. My family isn't what you call a close knit family. Lots of issues over the years. But it is what it is . It is the only family I have ,regardless. So I wanted something to do with them. I am having my right arm for the men (not all just some. some uncles are just too dodgy) and the left arm for the ladies. I was going to wait until I had my thighs done seeing I wanted them done for so bloody long. But when one of my Pop's died, I thought fuck it. I will start it now. He and my other Pop (who passed when I was 15) were both pipe smokers. It is one thing I really remember about them both. The smell, watching them clean and pack. So that's what I went with.
Something a friend of mine is dead against. Personally I don't give a shit what you get. You want every single tattoo to have 500 meanings? Go for it. You just like the stories or traditions behind certain tattoos? Go for it. You just like the image itself regardless of if it holds a meaning or not? Go for it. Its a thing called personal choice and interest. Yet she tends to get completely hung up on the idea as if her way is the only way.
So that's the journey so far.
Nothing overly exciting, earth shattering or revolutionary. But that's how it started and where I am at now.
Hey, so it's been awhile since I posted on here but I figured I'd hop on and make a post about my new shop. So around last November or so my Buddy Benjamin Haft and I Decided we needed to change our situations. He and I split from our respective shops (Fun City/Three Kings) over the winter, my wonderfully generous friend Ashley Love let me work in her private studio while we built out the raw space (a former 4 car garage). We did just about all the construction ourselves with a tiny bit of outsourcing. worked 12 hour days 7 days a week for 2 months and 6 days and opened Allied Tattoo on June 9th. To say we're proud would be an understatement, we put so much into this space and we really hope it shows! I hope if you guys are in the neighborhood you'll stop in and say hey!
The shop IG is : @allied_tattoo
Our Individual IGs are:
And here are some pics! (all signpainting done by the incredible @seanbartonsigns)
I was asked by a dear old friend to curate an art show about the space at 491A Guerrero Street.
This location is currently 5 pins Project and in another life time it was the location of the original Sacred Rose Tattoo.
I’ve asked Karen Roze, Bryan Randolph, Greg Rojas, Paul Taylor, Jenn Lee, and Clifton Carter to show work with me at 5 pins Project, 491A Guerrero Street San Francisco, CA. 94110 on Friday, August 7th 6-9 pm.
I've also written a blog post about it on my website so please check that out for more information.
So, made three machines. Two Dietzel irons, liner and shader, which will either be headed to the UK, or sold to the highest bidder here.
Also I figured "what the Hell? I love dangerous chemicals", so I aged an old brass frame of more than slightly dubious origin, making what I like to call ny Dirty Old Salt finish.
All have silver contact screws and are nickel plated, then rubbed down in a sealing waxm except for the new/old brass. Prices are very reasonable too. Starting at $200, and far more classy than many I`ve seen. In my opinion anyway.
So take a ganders, goose! Or ganders... Geese?
Oh no. I`m all confused.
Blow-outs happen and there is nothing you can do to fix them. Tattoos take 4 - 6 weeks to fully heal; you'll know what it's going to look like then. No tattoo is perfect. Enjoy the big picture, don't sweat the details.
If you are really into nerding out..... try to figure out what I am doing with piezo magnets to maybe see if it's applicable to a new concept of machine. NOT ROTARY. Physics.... ha, um, not as much as anatomy & physiology, but a definite runner up on the nerd need lists....