By Sara Barnes
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see people with copious amounts of tattoos on their arms, legs, and head. But, it wasn’t that long ago that these permanent adornments were only found on a very specific group of people – prisoners. Tattoos back then were markedly different than their modern counterparts, and some were preserved for posterity in formaldehyde. The tiny pieces of history are an eerie but a fascinating look at the past.
The designs of early tattooing were much simpler than they are today. Instead of the needles we’re familiar with, prisoners would use crude tools like razor blades, broken glass, paper clips, or wires. Ink was substituted for pencil refills, charcoal, watercolor paints, or crayons and mixed with water, fat, or urine.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a study of the prisoners’ tattoos began in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University, and researchers wanted a way to document their findings. While photography might have been the simpler (and more obvious) solution, prisoners’ tattooed skin was removed and preserved.
The extractions, encased in glass, are small curiosities that don’t really look like tattoos at all. Removed from the context of the body, they are symbols for crimes like burglary, rape, and prostitution. (Via Scribol)
By Molly Kitamura
Grime, Grime, Grime. One of the best tattoo artists in the world! On the slim chance you have not heard of him, he has a shop called Skull and Sword in San Francisco. He is widely known for being a renaissance man of tattooing (and art in general!). What I mean by that is that man consistently crushes any tattoo or style of tattoo requested of him no matter what it is. Grime has created his own style in the process, one that cannot be imitated or replicated although many have tried and failed. Basically you have to see his work for yourself to understand what I am talking about and I highly recommend checking him out!
But today that is besides the point. Today we are talking Grime and his food! Mr. Grime can also cook (…renaissance man…) and he occasionally sends me photos of his dishes. They always look amazing. The other day he sent me a particularly mouth-watering photo of his pan-fried salmon filet with an oven-roasted yam and sautéed spinach garnished with raisins, pine nuts and a balsamic glaze. That photo had me seriously second-guessing what I had already decided to cook for dinner that night. You can never go wrong with simple yet sophisticated! Check out a few great recipes and some of Grime’s tattoo work below… Cheers!
I will try my best to recreate Grime’s recipes for you all. Try this dish for your next dinner, you will love it!
Grime’s Pan-fried Salmon Filet With Oven-roasted Yam and Sautéed Spinach
4 medium-sized yams
1-2 TBLS butter for every yam
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Poke a few holes in each yam and place on a foil-lined baking dish. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until tender all the way through. When finished, place on the plate with the salmon and spinach. Split them down the middle length-wise and top with butter and salt and pepper.
1 Side of fresh, wild-caught salmon (skin on), cut into filets about 3-3 1/2 inches wide (wrap the extra pieces tightly in cling film and freeze for next time)
3-4 TBLS Olive oil or avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat up oil on a frying pan (one with a cover) on med-high. Meanwhile dust salmon filets with salt and pepper on both sides. When the oil is well-heated (but not burning or smoking), carefully place salmon filets skin-side down. Turn heat down to medium and cover pan with the lid. Cook for about 7-10 minutes on medium. Take the lid off and turn up the heat again to med-well to crisp the skin for a minute. With a spatula, remove salmon from the pan and place on a plate with the spinach and yam.
1c Balsamic vinegar
1 TBLS Maple Syrup
1/2 TBLS Dijon mustard
Combine all ingredients and bring them to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12-15 minutes, letting the mixture reduce until it becomes thick (it should lightly coat the back of a spoon). Set aside and let cool, it will thicken more as it cools. Spoon over salmon, spinach and yam!
20-30 oz Fresh spinach leaves
2 TBLS butter
2 TBLS Olive oil or avocado oil
1/8c roasted pine nuts
Heat up butter and oil in a medium-sized skillet. After butter is melted, add the spinach and sauté until the spinach is starting to wilt. Toss in the raisins and pine nuts and cook until the spinach is fully wilted. Season with salt and pepper and serve with salmon and yam.
Below are some fine examples of Grime’s work, and one of him racing the other day on his bike!!
By Kevin Miller
Last month we posted this video featuring Mr. X, also known as Duncan X. Since we’ve posted the video, it’s become a ‘Staff Favorite’ on Vimeo, and it’s receiving national attention. The Atlantic featured a short interviewed Alex Nicholson, the mastermind behind the short video.
The Atlantic: How did you come up with the idea for the film?
Alex Nicholson: It was a combination of things really, summed up by one event really: I once saw Duncan walking down the street. Fifty percent of the people walking past almost got whiplash from turning around to look/stare at him. I was wondering what was going through their heads. I have been getting tattooed by him for a number of years and the way he speaks, his manner and personality all smack of a man who wouldn’t make people walk into lampposts if they knew him in this way.
TA: Do you personally have a connection to tattoo art?
AN: Only in the way that I have tattoos really. Duncan once said in an interview (paraphrasing here) that getting a tattoo was like getting a (actually very cheap considering) work of art that you can’t give away. That resonates nicely with me.
TA: What’s the process for digitally removing and then re-illustrating tattoos?
AN: Well I have to heap praise on my make-up artist (the lovely and talented Denise Kum) here who relentlessly edged out his many tattoos during the course of the day. We put them back on (when they animate) digitally. The process of removing the tattoos was a mind blowing process that I’d probably get killed for talking about in detail.
While it’s an interesting interview, I think the fact that The Atlantic published an interview about a short tattoo film is far more interesting. It says a lot about the world we live in, and how comfortable people are with tattoos.
By Gene J. Koprowski
[caption id="21407" align="alignnone" width="660"] CT scan 3D visualisation of the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman, to show the organs. (TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM)[/caption]
A mummy of an Egyptian woman dating back to 700 A.D. has been scanned and stripped to reveal a tattoo on her thigh that displays the name of the biblical archangel Michael.
The discovery, announced by researchers at the British Museum over the weekend, was made during a research project that used advanced medical scans, including Computed Tomography (CT) images, to examine Egyptian mummies at a number of hospitals in the United Kingdom last year.
The woman’s body was wrapped in a woolen and linen cloth before burial, and her remains were mummified in the desert heat. As deciphered by curators, the tattoo on her thigh, written in ancient Greek, reads Μιχαήλ, transliterated as M-I-X-A-H-A, or Michael.
Curators at the museum speculate that the tattoo was a symbol worn for religious and spiritual protection, though they declined to offer additional details.
'Michael is an obvious identity for a tattoo, as this is the most powerful of angels.'
- Maureen Tilley, professor of theology at Fordham University
But other scientists and theologians offered their thoughts on the tattoo’s cultural context.
“There was a sizable Christian population in Egypt in the 700s, perhaps close to a majority of the population,” said Maureen Tilley, professor of theology at Fordham University in New York.
“Like Greeks and Romans across the Mediterranean, the portion of the population that was literate was fascinated by the shapes of letters and delighted in making designs with letters in names. Hence, we have the odd shape of the tattoo composed of the letters.”
[caption id="21406" align="alignnone" width="660"] Infra-red reflectography of the tattoo found on the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman. (TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM)[/caption]
Placing the name of a powerful heavenly protector on one's body by a tattoo or amulet was very common in antiquity, Tilley told Foxnews.com. “Christian women who were pregnant often placed amulets with divine or angelic names on bands on their abdomens to insure a safe delivery of their child,” she said.
“Placing the name on the inner thigh, as with this mummy, may have had some meaning for the hopes of childbirth or protection against sexual violation, as in ‘This body is claimed and protected.’ Michael is an obvious identity for a tattoo, as this is the most powerful of angels.”
Christian Gnostics, religious cultists in that era, were especially interested in the names and functions of intermediary beings between humans and the divine, Tilley noted.
“The Gospel of Truth and the Book of Enoch were both popular among them and have much about an angel whose story sounds very much like that of Archangel Michael in many Christian stories, the angel who led the heavenly army against Satan and the Fallen Angels.”
She added that Christians were not the only ones to use the names of angelic powers in ancient days. “Jews of antiquity were fascinated by the identity and nature of angels,” she said.
Villanova University biology professor Michael Zimmerman, who also has used advanced technologies to study Egyptian mummies, said this kind of find has been sought for years.
“I did participate in an expedition to the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt's western desert several years ago,” he told FoxNews.com. “This was an early Christian site (around 200 AD), and the deceased were still being mummified, by simply being dried in the very hot climate.
“We did not see any tattoos on those mummies, so the British Museum find is remarkable.”
The museum, which is located in London, will reveal what it has learned about this and seven other mummies in “Ancient Lives: New Discoveries,” an exhibition scheduled to run from May 22 to Nov. 30.
John Taylor, lead curator of the ancient Egypt and Sudan department at the museum, told a local newspaper over the weekend that the exhibition will tell the story of the lives of eight people from antiquity, portraying them as full human beings, rather than as archeological objects.
[caption id="21405" align="alignnone" width="660"] Photograph of the tattoo found on the mummified remains of a Sudanese woman. (TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM)[/caption]
Using sophisticated medical imaging usually reserved to study strokes and heart attacks, the research team discovered that these eight ancient individuals, whose remains have been held in the museum for some time, had many of the same traits that modern man does, including dental problems, high cholesterol levels and tattoos.
The exhibition portrays one mummy that dates back to 3,500 BC, as well as the tattooed female, aged between 20 and 35, who lived and died about 1,300 years ago. Researchers pointed out that regular Egyptians – not only the royals – were mummified.
The tattooed mummy, the remains of which were found less than a decade ago, was so well preserved that archaeologists could nearly discern the tattoo on the inner thigh of her right leg with the naked eye. But medical infrared technology helped them see it clearly.
The Vatican’s school of science, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, did not return multiple requests for comments made by FoxNews.com.
Shot and edited by Luke Holley
By Guy Aitchison
For a decade and a half now I've been perfecting my Reinventing The Tattoo curriculum, which teaches some of the fundamentals of artistic design in a way that can be applied toward making your tattoo work stronger, more dynamic, and more unique. It's an educational program that has been attended by many artists who are now among the industry's top artists and educators. So I'm psyched to offer this first installment of Reinventing The Tattoo in interactive webinar format. That means that you can attend it online from anywhere in the world but still participate in the critiques, exercises and discussion. I'm offering a limit of 30 tickets so that everyone's work gets enough time on-screen, where I not only critique it but also use Photoshop to demonstrate ways of improving it. It can also be attended in person at a hotel near us in Marion, Illinois, but many webinar participants have found that the closeup, high definition experience they get on their computers is almost better than being there in person.
It starts on April 8, where I'll begin by going over the Reinventing fundamentals: Flow and fit, positive/negative relationships, contrast, priority and reserve, lines and edges, depth, and lighting effects. We follow that by doing an on-screen critique of each participant's work, applying the concepts that were demonstrated at the beginning of the day. At the end of the session I'll be handing out exercises for everyone to work on that night. Then, on April 9 we'll go over everyone's exercises so we can see how all the important fundamentals have been applied, and then follow up with a group of closeup video clips that demonstrate my latest understandings about technique. The Reinventing The Tattoo webinar is both immersive and interactive; wherever you live you can a part of this concentrated learning experience. Tickets are available now at the www.TattooEducation.com online store and TattooNOW.com/Webinars.
By Jason Brown
S.T. Tattoo Studio celebrated their 15 year anniversary March 1st with a charity art show, featuring over 60 of the best artists in the industry. The show consisted of hand painted skateboards from throughout the country from some of our dearest friends in the tattoo industry, graffiti, and art scene. Despite the down pour that weekend we still had a great turnout. Over 200 people in attendance Saturday night, doors opened at 6:30 and the show went strong until midnight. Keeping track of 60 people, let alone 60 artists, was a feat in itself. Artists such as Bob Tyrrell, Big Gus, Chente Rios, Dan Smith, Josh Duffy, Allana Padilla, Jeb, Rich Pineda, Robert Atkinson, Josh Hagan, Dan Dringenberg, Johnny Quintana, Rick Clayton, Jimbo Phillips, Wes Humpton, Michael “Buck” Ramirez, Axis, and many more. Still we managed to get all the boards shipped out and returned with fabulous art work to raise money for the Heart of Los Angeles. (H.O.L.A) provides underserved youth with exceptional programs in academics, arts, and athletics, within a nurturing environment, empowering them to develop their potential, pursue their education and strengthen their community.
S.T. Tattoo Studio in West los Angeles was founded in order to celebrate the fusion of punk rock and tattoos. Jason Brown and Mike Muir (Suicidal Tendencies) opened the shop together in ’98. After a few years, Brown bought out Muir, but the shop is still very much connected to the S.T. movement and the band. 15 years later the shop is still going strong. Jason Brown has since taken on a new partner Donovan Faulkner, long time friend and fellow tattoo artist of 13 years. Together they continue to push themselves daily to create great works of art and preserve as much tattoo tradition as possible in our ever changing industry.
We would like to thank everyone who donated their time and product. Thank you to DTLA Tattoo for offering to host at their location. We would like to especially thank all of our friends and fellow artists that contributed, you guys rock! Special thanks to Sullen Art Collective, Jarritos, Starr African Rum, NRC, and Marina Graphics Center, for sponsoring this event. We would also like to thank City of Angels Photography, Santa Monica Airlines, Rip City, the Barrios family, and PWD, for all their donations. You all helped make this charity event possible. Join us next year for the 2nd Annual Possessed to Paint Charity Art Show.
Tattoos by Ryan Willard
Marrion Street Tattoo, Denver Colorado