"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!" -Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, July 29, 2010

You are entitled to...NOTHING!

Well, that's not entirely true.  You are entitled to 3 things- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  That's what it says in the Declaration of Independence.  Beyond that, you're entitled to NOTHING!  I don't care what race you are, what religion you belong to, or who you know.  Why in the year 2010, anyone in America should be given preferential treatment based on race or religion is beyond me.  I work hard to make a living and support my family- in fact, I've been working steadily since I graduated college in 1989. Before that, I had summer jobs and after school jobs.  My parents were working class people, and if I didn't work, I knew that I wouldn't have money for things I wanted, so I worked.  I washed dishes, I cleared tables, I worked as a janitor in the same elementary school that I went to as a child, I took whatever job was available.  There are a lot of people in this country that don't want to work for a living.  They're spoiled.  They've been spoiled by our federal government.  They would rather collect unemployment than actually work for a living.  Now, before you get all hot and bothered and tell me that there aren't any jobs and the economy sucks, I'm gonna tell you that there are jobs for people that are willing to work.  It may not be the job that you want, or the job that you're trained for, but it's a JOB.  It pays, and even if it's working at Burger King, it's gotta feel better than leeching off the rest of us.  The Government doesn't pay for your unemployment- I DO!  As do all the other hard working Americans, and a lot of us are tired of it.  I have a hard enough time supporting my family, I'm sure as hell not gonna be happy about supporting people that I don't even know.  And, the hard truth is that if I don't know you, I don't care.  That may sound cold, but if you're not related to me or a friend of mine, I don't really care what happens to you.  This is the only country in the world where people that are considered 'poor' have cell phones, SUV's and big screen TV's.  Everywhere else in the world, the poor are worried about things like if they're gonna eat today, and where they're gonna sleep, not if their cell phone network is down.  Now, on to the Race and Religion thing I mentioned earlier- Affirmative Action- what a giant ball of shit that is.  Why should any employer be forced to hire X number of whatever race of people?  The job should always go to the most qualified person- the one that will be a benefit to your business and help it grow- whatever race or religion that person is.  The government has no right to tell anyone that they have to hire a less qualified person to meet some quota.  And if in this day and age, a business owner wants to discriminate against some race or religion and not hire that person because he doesn't like them, that sucks, but it's their right to run their business however they want.  If they don't hire the most qualified person based solely on the fact that they don't like that person's color or beliefs, that's their loss.  Because of our government's policies, we now have generations of people that believe that they should be given more than what they have earned because they are a minority.  Free food, free healthcare, free childcare, a free fuckin' ride- BULLSHIT!  Things need to change, people are getting pissed off, and if you are angry about these things and you actually voice your opinions, the Left jumps up and calls you a Racist.  I'm not a racist, I just don't want to take care of people that I don't know.  But, I don't have a choice.  The government has decided that they are going to seize my hard earned money and give it away.  How exactly does that constitute a right to the pursuit of happiness?  I would be much happier keeping the money I earn.

***I wrote this a couple of hours ago, then I had a customer come in and had to stop typing to do my job.  Reading it now, I see that I was ranting somewhat, but that's OK.  When I write this blog, I don't think too much about what I'm going to say- I prefer for it to sound like I sound when I'm going on about something in person.  So, if you don't like it- I don't care- sue me, or better yet tax me- isn't that what I'm all pissed off about anyway?***

One more thing:  Support The FairTax- http//www.fairtax.org

Clutch Cable, Mailbox, & Non-Progress

Snapped my damn clutch cable yesterday, so no riding till I get a new '2 over' clutch cable in- should be sometime next week.  CRAP!

Started this mailbox for my parents yesterday.  Gonna go home tonight and fancy it up with some pinstriping...

Here's some non progress on a skate deck.  Started on this about a month ago and just kinda lost momentum on it.  That always sucks because it's really hard for me to get back into something that's been sitting for a while.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Recent Pinstriping

Don't have much to bitch about today- well, I always have stuff to bitch about, just nothing I can focus on today.  So, here's some recent pinstriping I've done:

Painted the door at Jailhouse Choppers.  They're in Snellville, Ga- the shop is owned by my friend Pauly.  This turned into a much bigger project than I had expected, but for my first attempt at reverse painting on a glass door, I was pretty happy with it:

Here's a skate deck that I did- this one is pinstriped and has some variegated gold leaf.  It's for sale- it would look real nice on your wall- $200

And a sign for my friend Rich- owner of Action Tattoo in Auburn, Wa.  1-shot and gold leaf.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Progress on Geisha

Did a little work on this today....

This is actually a continuation of the piece on her chest...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

You People Ruined Tattooing!

I've been tattooing since 1993, and I can tell ya, it was way better before it got so damn popular.  The tattoo  'reality' shows were definitely the beginning of the end for the tattoo industry.  There was a time when the rule in the tattoo industry was that you never talked to non-tattooers about the tattoo industry- it was none of their damn business, and they didn't need to know.  Then came the TV shows- Miami Ink, Inked, LA Ink- greedy TV execs and tattooers that decided that making a good living just wasn't enough- they wanted to be rockstars.  Well, rockstars, you ruined everything.  The number of tattoo shops started growing exponentially- every idiot who'se friends saw their shitty drawings and said 'Dude, you draw real good, you should do tattoos', decided that they were going to become tattooers.  Why? Because they saw it on TV and thought that they could do that and be cool rockstars too, get paid, and party all day (and all night).  Well, guess what- tattooing for a living is NOTHING like what you see on TV.  At the same time, we saw established tattooers, most of them mediocre at best, putting pictures of themselves on the internet holding fistfulls of money and waving guns around- more fodder for the idiotic masses.  Everyone was trying to become a rockstar (except for the people that still believed in the old ways).  Once the number of shops started growing, the number of suppliers started growing.  It used to be that there were a handful of tattoo suppliers, and most of them wouldn't sell to anyone that couldn't prove that they worked in a legitimate tattoo studio.  All these new suppliers started selling to anyone that could supply them with a credit card number, they would ship to your house or anywhere else you wanted your supplies sent.  They were selling inferior supplies, but that didn't matter to the new breed of rockstar tattooers.  These days, you can get on the internet and buy a tattoo machine from China for under 3 dollars.  Three freakin' dollars!  A good tattoo machine would normally run in the $250+ range.  Hell, you can buy a 'complete' tattoo kit for $129.  Forget about the fact that it doesn't include things like an autoclave or anything else that you need in order to tattoo safely.  When I opened my shop in 1997, there were probably 15-20 tattoo studios in the Metro Atlanta Area, a google search now shows 872 listings for 'tattoo' in the area- my guess would be that at least half of these listings are shops.  And, of course that doesn't include all the morons tattooing out of their kitchens, basements, and garages.  Most of these people also started tattooing with absolutely no training.  It used to be that if you wanted to learn to tattoo, you had to seek out a traditional apprenticeship- learn from someone that had many years experience, and be taught to do things the right way.  Once tattooing moved into the mainstream, unscrupulous tattooers saw a chance to make more money- selling apprenticeships.  Teaching anyone that was willing to pay regardless of whether or not they had any talent or would actually be a beneficial addition to the tattoo community.  Then they started writing instructional books and producing dvd's.  Anyone can learn to tattoo for $29.95 plus tax and shipping!  With so many shops, all these hacks that opened shops after ordering equipment on line found that they weren't making money hand over fist like they had expected, so they started doing cheap tattoos, tattooing minors, tattooing drunks- anything to get that money.  The sad truth is that most people don't care about quality- many of them don't even know what a good tattoo looks like.  If everyone you know has a shitty tattoo, then your shitty tattoo looks just as good as theirs.  What happens now is that people go from shop to shop, price shopping for tattoos without ever considering the quality of the work.  If one person tells them $100 for the tattoo they want and the guy down the road tells them $40- where do ya think they're gonna go?  I tattoo plenty of people that I don't even think want a tattoo.  They turn 18 and come to get tattooed because that's what their friends and society tell them they're supposed to do.  The popularity of tattooing has reached (and ruined) every aspect of the tattoo industry.  There are at least 2 or 3 tattoo conventions in various cities every weekend.  There used to be 5 or 6 a year, and they were big events- people would travel from all around the country to attend them, to see their friends, and to see new work by their favorite artists.  Now, no one has to travel- wait a few weeks and there'll be a convention in your city, so attendance is down at the conventions which makes it harder for the artists working the shows to make back the money it cost them to be there.  I remember when you could walk down any street and not see a single person with a visible tattoo- not any more.  Now ya see 18 year old kids with full sleeves and their throats tattooed.  It doesn't seem like things are ever going to go back to the way they were- the days of quality tattooing with integrity seem to be long gone.  There was a time when the tattoo industry regulated itself- I'm not saying that it was the right way to do things, but it worked.  I'm very sad about the death of an industry that I loved, and it gets worse every day as I watch people continue to shovel dirt onto it's grave.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Almost done...

Worked on this for a couple of hours today.  Still gotta do the flowers, and re-hit one section from the last sitting that healed kinda light.  She wants to do the flowers in pink.  Personally I'd like to keep the whole thing Black and Gray.  That's really the only reason I didn't do the flowers today- maybe she'll change her mind before she comes in again.

The Sorry State of Punk Rock

Even though we have 11 thousand + songs on the computer at work, I was in the mood to listen to something different yesterday.  Not too different- same genre, just not the songs we have at work.  So, I decided to play around with the internet radio stations on itunes.  First off, there weren't very many punk stations, and secondly, the ones I did find SUCKED!  They played a bunch of shitty mall punk- poppy, catchy, totally forgettable crap.  Sure, there are some bands around these days that I think are still making good punk, but they're few and far between.  It seems that most of the bands these days fall into 4 categories:  Pop Crap, Metal that the kids call Hardcore, generic beer-drinking boot-wearing Oi, and overly positive rah rah youth crew boyscout straight edge.  What the fuck happened to punk?  Real Punk- fuck the world, nihilistic, self destructive, pissed off, anti-everything punk rock.  I guess I'll just have to keep listening to the music we have on itunes, but if you want to hear some good punk rock, here's a list of some of my favorites.  Most of this stuff is probably still in print in one form or another, the stuff that's not, I'm sure you can find if you're internet savvy.

Black Flag- Damaged - Do I really need to say anything else?
Raw Power- Screams from the Gutter - the best Italian Hardcore band ever
Poison Idea- Kings of Punk, Record Collectors are Pretentious Assholes, War All The Time - Pretty much everything they did is great
Death Sentence- Not a Pretty Sight - one of the best Canadian Punk Bands
Negative Approach- Negative Approach, Tied Down - It's fuckin' Negative Approach for craps sake
Agnostic Front- Victim In Pain - My favorite NYHC record.  After 25 years, I can still listen to this every day
Cro-Mags- Age Of Quarrel - This thing is a monster.  There are still bands trying to sound like this and make something this heavy, but nobody's touched it.
Dead Kennedys- Plastic Surgery Disasters - This record and Frankenchrist are my favorites of theirs.
The Feederz- Ever Feel Like Killing Your Boss?, Teachers in Space - The most subversive band I know of.
and, of course...
SEX PISTOLS- NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS... - I don't care what kind of music you listen to, this belongs in everyones record collection.

I may try the itunes radio again today.  They probably have some pretty decent reggae stations.  If I come across a punk station worth listening to, I'll let ya know.  If you're interested in motorcycle talk mixed with punk, there's a show on Tuesday nights from 8-10pm called the CHOP HOUSE.  It's on Garage 71 radio- you can find it in itunes under Hard Rock- it's hosted by Pauly and Jeremy from Jailhouse Choppers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In Progress Cover Up

Got some work done on this today. One of my favorite customers. I have already done a sleeve on his right arm (minus some tribal that was already there), and fixed a bunch of stuff on his left arm.

Here's one of the pieces on his right arm.  Some day, I'll get good pics of the whole arm- lots of skulls, locusts, and a Dracula portrait.

Shameless Self Promotion

Now, from the office of shameless self promotion....
I mentioned in my very first post that I have all kinds of cool stuff for sale, so for your viewing (and possibly purchasing) pleasure, here are some samples.  And, of course I have included links to the sellers.

First off, here's some of the cool shirts that are available through my Spreadshirt store.  There are 38 designs, this is just a small sample.  They can be purchased here:

I also have a ton of cool products in my Zazzle shop, including Prints, Coffee Mugs, Skate Decks, Mouse Pads and some awesome Sneakers.  Click here to visit my Zazzle shop: 
***Zazzle has a content rating system.  If you go to the site as a guest (unregistered), you will only be able to view "G" rated items.  In order to see all of the really cool stuff I have for sale, you will have to create a Zazzle account and change your content rating to "R"***

Here's a few goodies for you to look at:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stupid Tattoos and a little Political Rant

I love doing stupid tattoos.  Did the Flying Frog today.  The Death Ray cow is from a few months back. They're both on the same guy.

So, I got in a discussion with a friend of mine today on Facebook, who was irritated by the fact that he had seen someone riding a Japanese Motorcycle flying an American Flag behind it.  Here's my opinion on that:
Sure, I think that people in America should try to support American companies and products, but that's not always easy. Our government taxes American corporations to the point where they can't compete with the prices of overseas companies and still make a profit, and with the economy the way it is, many of us have to buy what we can afford. But in an age where flying the American flag is no longer PC, when children are sent home from school for wearing American flag shirts, and flying the flag is seen as being disrespectful to people that are in our country illegally- who shouldn't even be here to begin with. When the left is trying to destroy all the things that made this country great, and America is being flushed down the toilet, ANYONE that is flying the flag should be considered a PATRIOT and congratulated for their support of our country, not condemned for not riding an American motorcycle.

Why I hate the kids

It's probably just me being a grumpy old bastard, but I hate these damn kids.  They have no respect- they'll walk into my shop and immediately walk over to the socket on the wall and plug their phones in.  How about you ask first?  I would probably say yes, but to just assume that it's fine, or to just not care one way or the other is disrespectful.  This is my damn shop ya little shit.  There was a time when that would never have happened, when people entered a tattoo studio they were scared- it was a scary experience.  Now, with the popularity of tattoooing, they act like they're in another shitty shop at the mall buying another shitty pair of overpriced, pre-ripped jeans.  I am not here to serve you- I am a tattooer, not some salesperson at Abercrombie and Fitch.  One of the reasons I got into this business was that I couldn't deal with that kind of person without wanting to punch them in the face- now I have to because they've become my customers.  They have no ideas of their own- every one of them will show you a picture on their Iphone of the cool, original tattoo they want.  Let's get this straight right now- there is nothing original about a cross, hebrew or arabic lettering, or any tattoo that some stupid celebrity has.  It should also not be applied to your body upside down or sideways so that you can look at it.  They're also whiny little overly sensitive pricks.  As soon as you tell them something that's not exactly what they want to hear, you're mean or an asshole.  I'm actually trying to help you.  The fact that the idiot down the road told you he could do your tattoo any size you want it, doesn't mean that it's the right way to do it.  He just wants your money.  I want your money too, but I have some integrity and will not do a tattoo that I know will not hold up as it ages.
For all the Gangstas and Wangstas- Pull up your pants, turn your hat around, and speak english- I don't understand hip hop.  When you say things like 'dat fire' or 'yo, dat wat I be smokin' or 'you got bomb prices up in here'- I don't know what you're talking about, and you sound like an idiot.
For all the Hipsters- The trucker hat looks stupid, you need to wash your hair, and drinking shitty beer is not cool.  Also, that beard you've been trying to grow since you were 16 isn't working.
For all the Emo kids- You have a stupid haircut, and you're wearing girl pants and a white belt- what the hell is wrong with you?  Just go home and cut yourself while you wonder about your sexuality.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gwinnett County Health Department Rant

4 years ago, the Gwinnett County Health Department decided to start regulating tattooing and piercing.  When they first came in with the proposed regulations, they seemed like they were going to actually do something good.  By the time the final regulations came through, all the things that would have made tattooing better in Gwinnett had been removed from the regulations and the only things left were a lot of licensing fees.  Why?  Because they figured out that the original regulations would have shut down a lot of the shitty scratcher shops and any shop that they actually shut down was a shop that they couldn't collect $1000+ in licensing fees from every year- typical government stupidity.
3 days ago, I received a letter from them stating that my license was suspended due to non payment of fees.  As I sit here typing this, I have in front of me a cancelled check from my bank with the Gwinnett County Health Department's stamp on the back of it.  Not only did I pay for my license, but they cashed the damn check.  Now I have to take time out of my day to go to their office and try to straighten this out.  I'm still tattooing- I don't care.  They can't stop me.  For all the money I pay them every year to do absolutely nothing, you would think that they could at least get their record keeping straight.
Over the last 4 years I have sent them names, addresses, internet links, websites, etc. of local idiots tattooing out of their houses.  Have they done anything to shut these scratchers down? NO.  Why Not?  Because they can't make any money doing it.  The Gwinnett County Health Department is a joke, and the guy that runs the tattooing end of it- David Hornsby, should be fired.  Any time you try to get in touch with him, you're told that he's either out of the office or on vacation.  Once, when I went to lodge a complaint, I was told that he was out, even though I saw him peeking out of the back room.
The only thing that is going to keep me from exploding when I go down there today is the fact that I will have my daughter with me- which is good, because otherwise I would probably end up in jail.

Bloggity, Blog, Blog, Blog

So, at 43 years of age, I have decided to start a blog.  Isn't blogging for young kids in tight pants with stupid haircuts?  There are a few reasons for my starting a blog now.  The first is that I have a whole bunch of stuff that I do and a whole lotta crap that I sell, and a blog is a free way to advertise all that stuff.  Another reason is that it's a place for me to talk about what I'm working on and post pictures of my progress (or non-progress).  I also like to rant and rave about things, and I can do that here.  I will probably end up talking about politics, punk rock, tattooing and the tattoo industry a whole lot.  Most likely, I will say some things that people don't like, don't want to hear, or don't agree with.  That's fine.  If you don't care for something you read here, you don't have to keep reading- but don't complain to me, 'cause I just plain don't give a crap.  Some other topics that will come up often are pinstriping, painting, motorcycles, horror movies, 60's and 70's reggae, and whatever else is rattling around in my head.
A little bit about me-
I've been a tattooer since 1997 (I said tattooer, not tattoo artist- we'll cover that later).  I own Good Clean Fun Tattoo Studio in Snellville, Georgia.  The shop has been open since 1997.  I have a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts, and worked in advertising and as a freelance illustrator before I started tattooing for a living.  I am definitely NOT what you would consider PC.  I am a Libertarian.  I believe that our president is hell-bent on destroying America.  I'm kinda a science-fiction geek.  I smoke- sometimes I smoke a pipe.  I drink gin, beer, and absinthe with the occasional caipirinha thrown in.  I believe that marijuana should be legalized, but that all other drugs (heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc) should carry harsher penalties under the law than they do now.  Sometimes I have a beard- right now, I do not.  I have a chip on my shoulder (literally).  I drink A LOT of coffee.

OK, so here's something I just finished.  Hand Painted Pinstriped Skate Deck (and it could be yours for $150).  This would look great on any wall.
There's lots of other cool hand painted stuff for sale at My Striping Site