Watch a tattoo machine work in slow-motion

May 5th, 2014

The title explains it all. This video, also featured on Tattoo Snob, shows a tattoo machine in action…but in slow-mo. The video really captures the power that escapes the naked eye. GueT is the man behind the machine.

Slowmotion Tattoo from GueT Deep on Vimeo.

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U.S. Soldiers Rush to Get Tattoos Before Bans are Enacted

May 1st, 2014

Recently we wrote about the Army’s regulations on tattoos. While tattoos are still allowed, they are now subjected to a list of specific restrictions. For instance, a tattoo may not be bigger than the soldier’s open hand.

Yesterday The New York Times came out with an interesting angle on the topic. The article covered the sudden surge of soldiers who have flocked to tattoo parlors before the regulations can affect them. While the bans were issued on March 30, there was also a 30-day grace period; if you got the artwork done before that period ended, then the new regulations won’t apply to you.

As such, local tattoo shops saw a sudden influx of military personnel. Some soldiers have walked in, plopped down money, and told the artist to “go for it.”

“They’re asserting an individualistic identity,” Anna Felicity Friedman theorized. Friedman writes the (very informative) tattoohistorian.com blog. “People who are in situations of depersonalization, whether it’s wearing uniforms, or other ways stripped of the ability to assert their identity, tend to react to this depersonalization by getting tattoos.”

While it has been a gold rush for tattoo shops that surround military bases, everyone knows that the moment is fleeting. What will happen to the shops now that the regulations have gone into effect? As reported in The Times, some shops estimate that 80 percent of their clientele comes from the military. But not all is lost. The regulations, while stringent, are not all-encompassing:

But at South Tacoma Tattoo, just a few blocks away, the tattoo artists said they thought there would be still plenty of skin left to decorate when things quieted down. The new rules do not say anything about chests and backs and other parts of the body always covered by a uniform, they said.

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D.C. Won’t Enforce 24-Hour Waiting Period for Tattoos

April 25th, 2014

It’s the age-old story of misconception versus reality.

Last September, the D.C. Health Department proposed a 24-hour waiting period for clients looking to get a tattoo or piercing. Their reasoning behind the proposal?

“They can’t be responsible for themselves, as well as the person doing the work on them,” said Najma Roberts, a spokesperson for the D.C. Health Department. “We’re making sure when that decision is made that you’re in the right frame of mind, and you don’t wake up in the morning…saying, ‘Oh my God, what happened?’”

Of course, the D.C. tattooing community took offense to the proposal, saying it’s based on misconceptions that vilify tattoo shops. The community said that, in reality, tattoo artists turn away people who are visibly intoxicated. They argued that the proposals were nothing more than needless interference from the government.

The pushback worked. As The Washington Post reports, The Health Department said on Thursday that it has abandoned its proposal.

Paul Roe, who owns a tattoo parlor in D.C., was happy to see the initiative struck down. He told The Post that, to protect the safety of the client, the focus should be on “straightforward guidance on tattoo and piercing hygiene.”

So score one for reality. We can’t let hype and fear-mongering dictate our lives.

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A Tattoo That Makes Music

April 21st, 2014

Tattoos are works of visual style. But what if they had other functions that can’t be detected by the eye?

Such is the inkwork on Dmitry Morozov, a visual artist. He has a tattoo on his arm that serves as a barcode that can be scanned by a homemade sensor. The sensor, while reading the code, plays music at different tonalities, from a “theremin squeal to the low moan of guitar feedback.” And as reported by consequenceofsound.net, the build of the sensor is relatively simple: “the device uses two black line sensors available at most hardware stores, a basic stepper motor, and parts of a Wii remote.”

Could this be referred to as a multi-media tattoo? And is it the world’s first? Check out the video to hear the amazing sounds that are coming off of Morozov’s tattoo.

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Tattoos in Movies: Johnny Depp, George Clooney, James Franco Get Inked

April 16th, 2014

As reported by Tattoo Snob, a website called TastefullyOffensive.com has compiled clips of tattoos in film. The result is a video montage that spans from “Jaws” to “Lethal Weapon” to, of course, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” The cast of actors include George Clooney, James Franco, Al Pacino, and Seth Rogen. As shown in the video, tattoos have had a varied relationship with film. It’s not just action movies that feature tattoos (though, yes, there are plenty of them in the video); slapstick comedies have also flashed a lot of ink. Check out the video and see how many of the movies you can name.

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Married People Less Likely to Have Tattoos? Infographic on Getting Inked

April 11th, 2014

Here’s a crafty infographic from the National Post. While it gives a general overview on tattooing as a whole, it’s more than just a review of basic material. It asks some intriguing questions like:

1. Are single people more likely to get tattoos?

2. What percentage of Americans have gotten inked?

3. Do men and women differ in where they place their tattoos?

You can see a larger version of the infographic here.

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Perseverance — Art Show Honors the Tradition of Japanese Tattoos

April 7th, 2014

LA Weekly has put up a nice blog piece on “Perseverance,” a tattoo art-show that was held last Saturday at the Japanese National Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.

The show focused on traditional Japanese tattoos, with models going on display to show their full-body artwork. Perhaps the most striking aspect was that several artists were practicing the art of tebori, which shuns electrical tools, in front of a live audience. The show played on a common theme—the struggle to change the perception of tattoos, to validate them as a form of art. And it sounds that “Perseverance,” which focused the sacredness of the art form while giving the audience full access, was on the right path. Read the rest of the article here.

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Students Turn 3D Printer Into a Tattoo Machine

April 3rd, 2014

Has this given birth to the age of cyborg tattoo artists?

As reported in New Scientist, a group of design students in France have hacked a 3D printer, turning it into an automated tattoo machine. This was done as part of a workshop at the ENSCI-Les Ateliers design school in Paris.

At first the students started off with non-permanent tattoos. Then, satisfied with the results, they decided to hook up a tattoo machine and get the real thing. One of the trickiest parts was keeping the skin taut for an accurate drawing. The result? A simple (but precise) circle on one of the student’s arm.

Will this open the door for automated tattooers? Doing away with real human beings? No way, says Samuel Bernier, the students’ instructor.

“The idea really isn’t to replace the tattoo artist: you can’t replace their eyes and brain. What’s interesting is to open the discussion.”

The students have posted up a guide on how to hack your own 3D printer, though you may need to brush up on your French to understand it.

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Army Sets Far-Reaching Restrictions on Tattoos

April 1st, 2014

Tattoos have long been associated with service men. Soldiers may get ink to commemorate the platoon they’d served in. Navy men may get tattoos that chronicle their travels across the globe.

And so it comes as a bit of surprise that the Army has released a decree that would dramatically limit tattoos. Certainly, it’s no shock that the Army would have *some* restrictions about body art. But the latest guidelines, published on March 30, are as stringent as they come.

Some of the rules include:
“Tattoos cannot be located anywhere on the neck or head above the lines of a T-shirt.”

“Visible band tattoos cannot be longer than two inches wide.”

“Each visible tattoo below the elbow or knee must be smaller than the size of the wearer’s extended hand.”

The guidelines are pretty specific, and they severely limit the available space for tattoos.

Why were the guidelines written? As stated by Sgt. Maj. Raymond F. Chandler III on the Army website, “The Army is a profession, and one of the ways our leaders and the American public measure our professionalism is by our appearance,” he said. “Wearing of the uniform, as well as our overall military appearance, should be a matter of personal pride for all Soldiers.”

The debate of tattoos-in-the-workplace has been a ongoing debate. This instance, however, adds a even more provocative conundrum: should soldiers, as representatives of a nation, be more concerned with their physical appearance? Or, considering that they are fighting for our freedoms, should they be given more freedoms with their own bodies?

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Tattoo Machines, Now a Medical Tool?

March 28th, 2014

For the uninformed, getting inked may sound like risky business. Concerns of unsterilized needles (and infectious diseases like hepatitis C) are a real concern, but the fact is that the great majority of artists are health conscious and follow strict protocol.

Considering how misconceptions are still rampant, it may come as a surprise that tattoo machines are now being studied as a medical device. As reported by the National Post, Canadian researchers are learning that tattoo machines may be used to treat certain skin diseases, and may even go as far as treating cancer. Their research focused on a dermatological disease called cutaneous leishmaniasis. It’s a parasite that causes disfiguring facial sores in its sufferers. Tattoo machines, as researchers have discovered, are able to deliver medicine to the skin without puncturing the deeper layers where important nerves may reside. From this research, scientists speculate that machines may also help treat psoriasis and even skin cancer.

The study proves something that we’ve known all along: when used properly, tattoo machines are far from being a threat to the body.

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