joakim urma

Fueling the culture / getting tattooed by big names

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Hmm... In another thread you recently wrote that you're new to tattoos, so posting a bold statement like that is kind of odd. I'm not saying you don't have great local tattooers, I just thought that was a really weird thing to write.

Just saying ive seen their work and it doesnt impress me! Different strokes for different folks!

SENT FROM MY LG G FLEX ON THE NOW NETWORK FROM SPRINT!?✌

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So, anyone who disagrees with you is a troll?

No, as the previous posts prove disagreeing doesn't make you a troll. It's making bold statements off the cuff with no justification that makes your post troll-like. Please explain yourself a little further and then we will better understand where your thoughts are coming from.

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So, anyone who disagrees with you is a troll?

SENT FROM MY LG G FLEX ON THE NOW NETWORK FROM SPRINT!✌

I wouldn't say that man. You're just new around here. Alot of us are not new to tattoos at all and we spend alot of our time around them. I think honestly, if we knew a little more about you, and the things you like and don't like, that would be a much broader and less trolley approach. I've been tattooed by Eli Quinters, like a lot of people on this forum (and people here have been tattooed by Shige and Horiyoshi 3) so it's a little like slapping us (and some really rich tradition and history) in the face.

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I want to get tattooed by people who do tattoos that I can feel in my gut, which is to say that when I see an artist's tattoos, or look through their portfolio or on their instagram or whatever (though more and more for me I want to see the tattoos, and not just pictures of them) I want to have a deeper reaction than just thinking that it's a good looking tattoo, and I want to have a good time getting those tattoos. I've been tattooed by some "big names" and I've travelled a fair bit to get tattooed, and to be honest, I feel a little self-conscious about it because--and maybe this is only in my head--I fear coming across as somebody who buys into that kind of almost celebrity culture that sometimes goes along with tattoo collecting that I think @Pugilist articulated very well. Because for me it's not about that and it was never about that. I just want to get rad tattoos.

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Long gone are the days where I'd analyse my tattoos and seek imperfections. And if those days were there to begin with, I'm sure they didn't last too long.

I'm just after punch it in, fkn solid. It's the whole overall effect I personally seek.

When I see a couple of blown out lines here and there, the little bit of drop out here and there, I like that shit. It adds to that effect its' character, it adds another element, another story and another memory. I mean, it's not like I'm getting butchered, and when I get down to a pair of shorts....no one sees that shit, all they see is "holy shit", that fkn dude has stepped into a place unimaginable. No one...even notices.

We look too deep into shit sometimes when we just gotta go back to basics and enjoy it.

I've never given a fuck about the who's who of anything either. Never seeked. For me it's about building friendships, lifetime ones. They hold more value and make for much better memories and stories than pointing to a piece and dropping a name, again who nobody really gives a fuck about anyway.

We're just all dudes, and if your a good dude, that's where it starts.

"Booze, Blues & Tattoos"

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Is it fair to say that you aren't allowed to be unimpressed with giants in the industry if you are new to it?

I had a poetry prof in university a million years ago who said something on the first day of class that I think applies to so many other things in life, and maybe it's relevant here, I dunno. He was addressing the perception of many freshmen that learning how to scan poetry, learning the rules of it, didn't matter, when so many of them took a shine to poetry after discovering e.e. cummings or Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock -- in the case of the latter, mistakenly believing that it was free verse, which it actually isn't. But that mistake underlined his point, which is this: until you're familiar with the rules of a thing, until you understand the hows and whys of that thing, which often entails becoming familiar with its major players through history...you can't really meaningfully deviate from those rules.

He said that he thinks it's important to break rules, but it's even more important to understand why you're breaking them when you do it. You start with the foundations, and then your choices have context and meaning, whatever choices you make afterward.

Maybe this doesn't apply to tattooing, I don't know; I'm still learning...but I find that most people with knowledge of a subject will assume that a new person discarding the fundamentals of any given thing are doing themselves or the thing a disservice, for lack of having the knowledge to know any better. Maybe that's not always true; maybe a new person can just intuit those things and make excellent choices blindly. It does seem rather more unlikely, though.

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Is it fair to say that you aren't allowed to be unimpressed with giants in the industry if you are new to it?

Not at all. It's like anything, when we discover a passion, we become excited, we like to learn as much as we can about a subject we know we'll have a lifetime fascination for, and I respect that also

For me but, I've never followed mainstream, even within the sub cultures of my own life.

I've never liked the term "allowed" or "you can't". They both defy our individuality.

We're all different, but share a common passion with slightly different takes on it, that's what's so fuckin cool about it. It's fuckin cool that I don't really understand your desire to suit out, nor anybody understand mine.

"Booze, Blues & Tattoos"

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I'm not nearly articulate enough to express my thoughts on this as well as most of the replies in this thread, but @Graeme pretty much hit the nail on the head for me.

It's all about the feeling I get from a tattoo. The picture posted the other day in latest tattoo lowdown of the ship by Xam was technically perfect, but that's not why I like it so much. It stopped me in my tracks, I was going to reply about how much I liked it in that thread but it honestly left me at a bit of a loss for words. On the flip side, I think most of us will agree that Chad K tattoos in a "looser" style. While his tattoos may not be as technically perfect, I find that more often tattoos like his stop me and make me feel something more than "wow that's nice" and I have to come back for another look more often. I really appreciate and enjoy both styles overall, but would rather wear the second.

As far as tattoo "celebrity" goes, the only reason most of my favorite tattooers are big names is because I'm not in the loop enough to know of the talented artists that keep a lower profile. The name isn't what means anything to me though, it isn't shit without the talent to back it up. As an example, Kat Von D, Ami James, Tim Hendricks, and Oliver Peck are some of the most commonly known tattooers I can think of because of their TV exposure. I personally have no desire to be tattooed by the first two, I think they are both overplayed; I'm not saying they're terrible, I just think they get more credit than they are due. However, I would love to get tattooed by Tim or Oliver. Tim quite simply puts on some of the most beautiful roses I've seen, and Oliver's work just has a whole lot of that "soul" that @Pugilist mentioned. On top of that, both seem to be very stand up dudes.

Hopefully some of that made sense, sorry if it's full of spelling errors I'm kind of in a hurry.

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Is it fair to say that you aren't allowed to be unimpressed with giants in the industry if you are new to it?

You absolutely ARE allowed to be unimpressed. But your opinions would be given better consideration if you shared your thoughts and reasoning behind your conclusions. This isn't a forum where you drop the body and run. We'd like you to tidy up the grave, plant some grass and leave a nice floral arrangement. A better tack might be to ask why someone else is impressed by said giants. So much great stuff is hidden in the back story.

I'm pretty new as well. I recognize many of the names in this thread, but I had to look up a few. I admit for some, I don't know what I'm looking at beyond the basics. Some of the styles/artists really grab me, and other "big names" don't do much for me. But I'm very interested in conversations like this where people with a lot more experience than I have share the history that I know I'll never get from just surfing the internet and scrolling through Instagram.

I thought all bodysuits looked about the same. And why are all these white dudes getting Japanese suits? Then I read some of the threads that talked about the meaning, and I found myself surfing some of the recommended sites. And the stories are so unfamiliar to me, but I like that I can "read" more of the tattoo when I see which way a koi swims or if maple leaves or cherry blossoms are present. And damn I love the kitunes (thank you @Tesseracts for that awesome education with yours!)! I was never interested in anything Japanese, but when I read Horitomo's Monmon Cat's book and learned the history of cats and rats and tattoos, and I saw the depth of his work in these smaller tattoos and I'm much more "moved" and "impressed" than before. It sounds trite, but I have a much better appreciation for his work (both Monmons and not) and that has made it more desirable to me. Perhaps I wasn't "unimpressed" before but just "uninterested."

Of course anyone can disagree. But it's like flaunting ignorance not to have a meaningful conversation why you feel that way.

$0.02

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Yes, but you didn't lead by dismissing one of the artists who has influenced countless others and another artist that is changing the way many people look at Japanese work. Considering I never met you I mean it when I say I'm genuinely glad you found interests within my favorite area of tattoo.

Screw me, I always fall for the troll statements... That guy got me I guess and you even warned about it lol

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@misterJ - my response was to "you" generically, not to you personally. I was just giving my response to the question you posed to the masses. Sorry if it came off that I directed that entire post at you - not true! And I'm loving seeing the progress on your silly little 'ol Japanese back piece ;););)

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I like to answer directly in general, when I start responding to the vague "you" (or you's for us NYers) I feel like we go around in circles.

I know your answer wasn't directed to me specifically, just kinda answered anyway cause I'm an ass.

my back piece is silly, but its not little lol, Likewise with yours FYI I really enjoy your subject matter a ton. I live vicariously in between my sessions when you guys post progress

EDIT: even in terms of personal change, subject matter I would have no way considered years ago I am now really into. So things I overlooked I am now giving a second once over for a new understanding.

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@CultExciter awwww shit gurl :o

So I know the Horiyoshi III thing had been dropped, but I've been blessed enough to see 3 of his tattoos in person and they are OUT OF FUCKING CONTROL. One of them is a peony on the forearm, want to know what sort of stencil he used? A square. Drawn on with a sharpie. Let's not forget that the man is in his 70s. Ahem, anyway

Tim Lehi is a great example of a very loose tattooer who delivers with power every time.

And also, to touch on the statement that Stuart Cripwell has gone the more wonky route when he could have been cleaner, I'll just say this. After a certain period of experience in tattooing, your style reflects your natural drawing. Your early years are largely about learning how to put the tattoo in, and then once you kinda figure that out, you can bend the rules of tattooing to suit the sort of art that you want to make. So to me it seems kinda silly to say "oh he could have done this but instead he chose to do this," when I think most of us are just trying to make tattoos that we think are awesome.

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I've really enjoyed reading this thread so far.

I think a few things are happening here:

- If we're talking about people who take a collector's approach to getting tattooed (and I don't necessarily mean that in a negative way), maybe interest in big names could be seen as roughly similar to getting books or music that are fairly "correct" but express little about a person. I know I own a lot of music like this, but I don't regret having it because it's helped me seperate what I like from what I'm supposed to like (and may still appreciate somewhat, but that doesn't viscerally excite me like a favorite album or novel). I think this is a phase that many folks need to go through when they discover a new interest but haven't really begun to inhabit it yet.

-Most of us who aren't tattooers always need to spend money on this hobby (or whatever word you want to use). We're not trading art. Maybe there's an anxiety that this isn't any different from purchasing other things, even though it's a lot more intimate. Are my tattoos ultimately just an expensive suit? Am I just buying my way into something?

I think there's also a point at which "good taste" becomes suffocating.

I hope this makes sense and that it isn't just rambling. A lot of this is overthinking and I try not to worry about it and to just get what excites me. I can't control how it comes across to others, and you can tie yourself in knots thinking about your own motivations.

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"All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated, and well supported in logic and arguement than others" -Douglas Adams (in reference to some of the discussions of a few of the older generation)

As for the collector idea being a positive or a negative, the same could be said for any other type of collection. We all knew that one guy who had $3,000 worth of guitars and amps, but couldn't play to save his life... or the guy with an original pressing of some band's album that he actually can't tell you a thing about. Some people get it and seek it for that reason. Some people seek it because they want to seem like they get it, and they're supposed to.

For a personal story... my first two favorite tattooers (as in could see their work and know it was theirs' somehow) were Steve Byrne and Chris O'Donnell. Two years in a row I've gotten tattooed at the West Texas Convention. The first year, Steve Byrne stopped tattooing and asked myself and my coworker if we had any questions, and if we did to ask him, since Dreyfuss wasn't in yet. And he did the same for everyone that came by, including answering questions while tattooing. When I got my hand tattooed by him this year, he asked me various questions, asked how I enjoyed entering my second year as a tattooer after it came up, told me about why he has regular roses and not Tudor/geometric roses on his hands, made Gorilla Biscuits and CIV lyric jokes with me about my Civ appointment the next day ("I don't want him to mess up... I better stand still." "I bet you can't wait one minute more for it, huh?"), and was nicer than almost anyone I've met in any circumstance. He also easily took the stress of the convention, the poor lighting (Thomas Hooper broke his lamp the night before), and dealing with potential clients or box-set purchasers the whole time. And the next day, he saw me walking around, called out to me, and asked if I had a travel lightpad, before suggesting I get one since I didn't. And asked how my dad liked his new rose tattoo from Bobby Padron a little later. My right hand is absolutely my favorite tattoo, not just because of who did it and what it represents, but also all of those aspects about the experience. When I was looking at his booth when he wasn't there, Forrest Cavacco yelled from 50 feet away that, if I had questions, to come see him. Adam Hays had me check out the Lando tattoo he was doing when I bought prints from him, since he figured I liked Star Wars from what I was buying. Ben Cheese and Clayton James have been among the nicest people I've talked to as well, even when we couldn't afford to get tattooed and just grabbed prints from them. I plan on getting tattooed by Ben this February when we go.

That being said, I stood at a few people's tables for almost 15 or 20 minutes, even when they were taking an Instagram break mid-tattoo, waiting to buy a shirt. After they had looked and made eye-contact me. And ignored everyone else that was there, even the person in their chair. I unfollowed a few very well known folks on IG and decided I'd take my business to others. At least a quick "Hey man, I'm kinda busy, can you give me X minutes" would have made all of the difference. I'd imagine there are lots of folks who would still throw money at them and get whatever would get the most likes on IG or Tumblr, but that's what separates the mindsets, as everyone here has already explained in was far less rambling, far more concise, and far less fanboy-ish.

EDIT: Slight addendum... my hand has a few blow outs. One spot took over a month to fully heal. A few lines are a bit thin in places compared to the overall average. One line on a wave between my fingers has a 1/16" gap that doesn't connect. But it is absolutely my favorite tattoo.

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Interesting thread. I've been drinking a bit and now the wife is blasting some Nick Cave so take anything I write from that starting point.

I'm not as deep into tattoo culture as some of you. That means nothing one way or the other but seems worth pointing out here. I started later in life but do like my tattoos. I have limited space, even less if I decide to stick to not having visible tattoos work wise (undecided but still an option).

For me it's important that I have a good experience and get a good tattoo. Please note that I did not say great tattoo. Perfection, for me at least, is overrated in most things. Of course I don't want a bad tattoo but I also don't want a great tattoo with a story of frustration and disappointment to match it. It's a balance right?

The thing I think about is how much space do I want to save for new artists and how much do I want to "give" to the artist who has already put most of my tattoos on me? With that artist I know I am going to have fun and I know I am going to get a quality tattoo but will it be unique? Maybe not for me since I already have many by him. It's a balance like I said.

Anyway, something is next right. What ever it is I promise I will consider these factors- will I have fun and do I trust that the artist is capable of putting down something I can feel good about. There are many artists out there who can meet these two simple requirements.

The biggest question is who will I eventually trust with my left shoulder/arm which is still blank? The plan at this point is to wait until I have the time and money to go for an all encompassing plan but what that will end up being is wide open. It could be a few years. In the mean time I have an idea for a few filler roses and something original that I think my usual artist would enjoy drawing up.

There are so many good ways to do everything. That's what makes this whole life thing fun.

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@mmikaoj - thanks for kicking off a good thread, with a lot going on in it.

I would think most of us can get behind the OP's premise that sometimes big name culture can be a poor guide to who to get tattooed by. If the reason someone is chosen as an artist is because they HAVE that big name, not because of what earned it for them, then that's, as @Pugilist said, something like starfucking.

It's not even the same as people who get tattooed by Ami James because he's on TV... It's actually different because it's masquerading as something more like connoisseurship, even though it isn't.

I've been in a couple of shops where I think, objectively speaking (if such s thing is possible) the newer tattooers that were being brought along were clearly going to outstrip their teachers eventually. Jondix and Horiyoshi III must have been rookies and then journeymen too at some stage. There must have been a tipping point somewhere where people getting work from them knew that they were lucky to be in the seat at that time.

Where this thread falls into controversy is when Eddie and Horiyoshi III were somewhat roughly evaluated. I don't agree that Eddie Deutsche has even remotely lost it, FWIW, and in the case of Horiyoshi III I don't know enough to comment. I concluded a while back that his instagram photos were not a good guide, full stop, but a tattooer whose opinion I trust told me he thought that health problems were taking their toll on his tattooing. I would get tattooed by him because of who he is, but I wouldn't go in there expecting it to be like a tattoo done in his prime.

On the whole taking offence / smack talking thing... I don't think anything in this thread has crossed that line yet. So far all I see are honestly held opinions, misguided or subjective perhaps, but no full-blown smack-talking.

I DO want to know where the local shop with tattooers as good as Shige, Horiyoshi III etc is... I'm guessing Rock of Ages or something

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