"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

Friday, April 12, 2013

Just when ya thought I was gone for good...

So, here we go....Best Ink season 2.
I just watched it- I know, I'm a week or so late, but I've been doing stuff.  I took some time off work to re-do the upstairs of my house- Paint, Flooring, etc.  So after spending an average of about 13 hours a day working on that for 10 days straight, I wasn't doing much other than sleeping.  As with last season, you know I only watch this stuff because Joe is on it (I may actually watch this season of Ink Masters, but there's a different reason for that...)  Not only is Joe on the show, but they've added Hannah Aitchison as a judge- I know Hannah as well- she's a super nice lady and an awesome tattooer, plus I'm hoping that she'll make some people cry this season as well.  I also happen to know one of the contestants- Melvin Todd.  Melvin is a nice kid that I've tattooed a few times, but don't think that that will keep me from talking shit about him.
I was a little disappointed by this first episode- not enough to really bitch about.  Don't worry, if you've read my blog in the past, I can always find something to bitch about (admit it, that's what ya read the blog for anyway).
The show opens and they introduce the contestants- I've got a problem with some of them right off the bat (mostly due to the fact that I'm an overly judgemental prick).  Lets start with 'Dollarz'- That's not a name.  Your mother did not give birth to you and say, 'Oh look at how cute he is, we should name him Dollarz".  You're a grown adult that has a name- USE IT!  If your friends call you by some nickname, that's fine, but in public, when meeting people for the first time, state your damn name.  If you then wanna say something like "...but my friends call me Dollarz", I suppose that's OK, but why bother.   If you said it to me, I would still call you by your real name- we just met, we're not friends.
Next we have Carolyn Cadaver- another fuckin' made up name.  I guess she decided to start using Cadaver as a last name when she decided that she was a vampire.  Apparently she lives the 'vampire lifestyle' whatever that might be.  Lemme clue ya in on something, girly- there is NO vampire lifestyle.  They're mythical creatures.  Do you sleep in a coffin?  Do you drink the blood of the living?  Do you shy away from garlicky foods?  You're not a vampire, you're not a fairy, and you'll never ride a unicorn.  I suppose you could claim to live a 'Goth lifestyle', but even that is pushing it.
There's also DJ- that's OK.  DJ is kinda like a real name, just shortened.  I don't have a problem with someone being called DJ.  My issue here has to do with some screwy math thats going on.  When he first comes on screen, a thing pops up that says DJ and states that he's 31 years old.  He then tells one of the other contestants that he has been tattooing for 17 years.  Something doesn't add up.  That means that he started tattooing when he was 14?  It's not unheard of, but it is extremely uncommon.   If you're counting years that you tattooed your friends with a jailhouse tattoo machine made out of a walkman, that shit doesn't count.
We are also treated to meeting the new host- Pete Wentz.  I had no idea who he was- had ta google it, and found out that he's from the band Fallout Boy.  Had ta google that too.  Found out that they're a 'pop punk' band.  That's a term I hate.  'pop' and 'punk' really shouldn't go together anyway.  As far as I'm concerned, there's only one band that people call 'pop punk' thats worth listening to at all and that's the Decendents (and it's only they're first record and a coupe of songs of any of the others that are worth a shit).  I guess that the fine folks at the Oxygen network decided that since Ink Masters has Dave Navarro, they needed their own washed up rocker.
They move into the first 'flash challenge', which, of course, has nothing to do with flash- A gripe of mine that's been going since the first season.  This episode they actually hang them off the side of a building so they can spray paint self portraits.  I'm watching this thinking that if one of them fell and busted open his or her coconut, then we would really have a show.  Now, I don't actually want any of them to get hurt (not yet anyway- we'll see how the season progresses), but you have to admit that the entertainment value of the show would go right through the roof if it did happen, and it almost does when Melvin slips out of his chair.
Melvin wins the flash challenge, and they all go off to see the studio where thy will be tattooing.  Melvin is pretty cocky coming of his non-flash challenge win and says 'This is pretty much the house of Melvin right now, all these other guys are just living in it'.  Whoa there Melvin, don't get ahead of yourself buddy.
Now it's time for some tattooing.  Of course, it's all about the stories, and each of the potential clients has one.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again- not every damn tattoo has to have some big ass, life affirming story behind it.  They're pictures on your skin- if you like it and wanna wear it for the rest of your life, that's all that matters.  Personally, I'm pretty tired of hearing people tell me what they're tattoos mean.  This week, it's all about people overcoming some hardship in their lives- isn't that pretty much everyone?  Overall, the tattooing is pretty unimpressive.  The nicest pieces were done by DJ and Teresa.  Melvin bites off way more than he can chew when he agrees to do a full chest piece in the allotted 4 hours.  He should have drawn something that he could have actually done properly in that time and just told his client (on the show, they call them 'skins'- I can't do that, it just sounds so damn stupid) that 4 hours wasn't enough time for a full chest.  The finished tattoo looks like ass- shitty line work and shitty shading.  Now, in his defense, his client sat like a little bitch, but that's when ya put down your machine and tell your client to sit the hell still because they're fucking up their own tattoo.  Carolyn did a zombie girl that was also pretty rough- in fact it looked a lot like a lot of the crap that I see coming out of all the shit shops around me (the same stuff that I spend half my week trying to fix).  Brittany did a black tree that was about an hours worth of tattooing at best.  The best part of the tattoo segment was when Kelly's client got up and walked off.  The tattoo looked like shit, so I don't really blame her, but the fact is that you auditioned and were chosen to be on the show, at least let her finish the shitty tattoo that you didn't even fucking have to pay for.  When her client walks off she says, "It's been a fun run." and Kelly responds by saying, "I didn't have fun", which was pretty funny.  We also get some tears from Kelly in one of the little interview breakaways they do, which as you all know is why I watch the show.  Bring on the tears.  I want to be reminded of Niagara Falls when I watch Best Ink.
Finally, it comes down to the judging, but before it even starts, we get an awesome shot of a 'Joey Mad Face'.  That's the Joe I wanna see (at least in this context).  The top 3 are Teresa, DJ and Derek. Derek did a black and gray jackal which I thought was thoroughly unimpressive- as someone that does a lot of black and gray tattooing, this thing coulda been a whole lot nicer given 4 damn hours to work on it. I really liked both Teresa and DJ's tattoos.  Hannah makes a valid point when she states that Teresa's Bearded Lady tattoo looks like a pretty man rather than a bearded lady, but it was still a really nice tattoo.  DJ ends up being the winner for the week, and these 3 get to choose the 'bottom 3', one of whom will be going home.  Carolyn the vampire chick gets sent packing for her shitty zombie girl tattoo.  Personally I would have sent Kelly home- her tattoo sucked, and even though she didn't get the full time to work on it due to her client quitting, for what she was doing, it shoulda been done in the time she had.  Melvin and Kelly get to stay and try to redeem themselves next week.

Since I got around to this late- Hell, the second episode has already aired, I had hoped to do a Best Ink 2 for 1, and cover the first 2 episodes in one blog entry, but I have yet to watch episode 2.  Hopefully I'll get to it before the third one airs and I'll be all caught up.

I guess I can't really talk shit about other people's work without at least posting something of my own, so here ya go...

A few years back I did a really big Frankenstein portrait (on of my favorite tattoos I've done), and the guy I did it on finally got the bride on the other arm...

The same customer also got a Wolfman portrait- I've done a bunch of old horror portraits on him, all of which have been posted here at one time or another.

Here's a shitty, glarey picture of a Hanya/Peony coverup that's in progress...

A mongoose and snakes stomach...

Had a girl come in that wanted a moth with a deer skull across her hands.  Did the line work and never saw her again.   I'd really like to finish this...

A good friend of mine recently retired from the post office, so I painted this for him...

April 22nd will be the 16th anniversary of Good Clean fun, so we are celebrating by doing our 2nd annual 'Stupid Tattoo Day'.  We did it last year and a whole bunch of people got really dumb tattoos.  This year we will be doing it on Saturday the 20th.  For those of you that don't know about 'Stupid Tattoo Day', we will be spending the day tattooing ONLY from 3 sheets of designs (one drawn by each of us).  Here's a preview of my sheet- I still gotta color it...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Finally a new blog entry...Not Really.

So, a while ago, I said that I was going to get back to doing this blog thing on more of a regular basis.  Well, apparently I was full of shit.  It wasn't an outright lie.  I didn't know I was lying when I said it (that sounds like something a politician would say).  Anyway, here's a new damn blog for ya not to read...

Well, not really, because I don't feel like writing a bunch of stuff (not that I don't have stuff to bitch about- you know I always do), so you'll just have to be happy looking at some pictures of the crap I do...

Here's some of those tattoo thingys...

Finally finished this big Koi side piece:

Got a healed pic of one I did a ways back...

Did a tattoo using an old acetate stencil I had...

Finished up the Darth Vader for all you fan boys.  I can't remember if I posted any in progress pics of this along the way...

Here's a bunch of crap I striped/painted since the last time.  As usual, the helmets and bottles are for sale if anyone want's 'em (all but the Ride Or Die helmet- I kept that for my self)

These were done as Christmas presents for my Parents and my In-Laws.  Reverse painted and leafed on glass, then distressed for that olde-timey look.

Here's some striping I did on a bagger, and on my new Road King, Gina...

And a Masonic symbol on my neighbors bike...

Here's some bottles (I gotta drink more bourbon so I have more bottles to paint)...

And, here's some damn helmets...even got some 'in progress' pics of a couple of 'em...

So, there ya go.  Sooner or later, I'll get back to the bitchin' and ranting, since I know that's what you all really want.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

There is NO magic, so let's all be the SAME

Lately I've seen a number of people writing things about tattooing with titles like 'Is the Magic Gone', etc.  They all go on to explain how the magic has not left tattooing and they're still 'wizards'.  Well, I'm here to tell ya that the magic IS gone- that's right, as the High Priest of Negativity, I have to put in my 2 cents.  When I started tattooing (close to 20 years ago), there was a whole heap of magic.  Tattooers didn't talk to people in the 'outside world' about pretty much anything that had to do with tattooing. We kept secrets, and that's what kept it magical.  People got tattooed, and probably watched the process while it was being done, but didn't really know what they were watching.  Now, ya get on YouTube, and everything is explained- usually by someone that only has a slight idea of what the hell they're doing anyway.  Because of the internet and tattoo TV shows, I now have customers ask me questions like "what size needle grouping is that?"  If someone were to ask that question 10+ years ago, a perfectly legitimate answer would have been "None of your damn business", or "it's a BIG one".  I still lie to people when asked questions like this.  I answer with things like "It's a 27B".  There is no reason for customers to really know the answer to questions like that.  The more they know, the less mystery and magic there is.  Now there are 'How to Tattoo' books and DVDs and internet videos.  Every scratcher online is spouting off about how traditional apprenticeships are bullshit.  The old school traditional apprenticeship has been replaced with 2 week tattoo schools and apprenticeships for sale.  These days if there's a shop with 4 artists, there's a good chance that they each have an apprentice- what the fuck is that?  I'll tell ya what it is- it's a bunch of lazy, self important tattooers that don't want to do any of the shit work associated with tattooing.  Well, I still scrub my own damn tubes, set up and break down my station, and do everything else that tattooing involves.  These people are either too lazy or think they're so damn special that they don't have to clean up after themselves that they make more and more tattooers just to not have to scrub tubes.  There was a time when if you wanted to learn to tattoo, you looked far and wide to find a wizard to teach you his magic, and that was pretty damn hard to find. Tattooers knew that the more people they taught to tattoo, the more people would eventually end up as their competition, so they regulated the industry themselves, only teaching someone to tattoo if they needed someone to work in their shop.  Even then it was only if they saw the potential in someone to become a wizard.  Every customer that asked a question about tattooing was seen as someone that may want to start tattooing, and the immediate response to those questions was to NOT ANSWER THEM.  These days, in the new tattoo world full of friendly, emo tattooers, they're less interested in keeping the magic and mystery alive than they are in possibly offending one of their precious customers by not answering their questions.  There is far too much free information that used to not be free- you didn't have to pay for it, but ya sure as hell had to work for it.  That's the problem, it's not something that people have to work for anymore.  If you didn't have to earn it, you don't feel as if you have to protect it.  I know there are people out there that still care about protecting the magic of tattooing- they're friends of mine, but these days, they're few and far between.  The rest of 'em are just interested in the money.  Which takes us right back to why the old breed of tattooers were so intent on keeping secrets- they knew that the more tattooers and the more tattoo shops there were, the less money they would make.  Now, because there are so many damn tattooers, they're all killing each other for customers, so they find other ways to supplement their income, like charging people to learn to tattoo- which makes more tattooers, and it just goes around and around like that.  All the shitty supply companies sell to anyone with a credit card because they are making less money because there are more suppliers.  Now we have gotten to the point where Skin Candy (which is absolute shit) is selling their product in art stores.  I never thought that this would get to the point where people could purchase tattoo pigments at Dick Blick.  It won't be long before they're also selling shitty Chinese made tattoo machines.  Recently, while talking to a friend about the number of shitty shops in my area, he said "You could grow a fancy moustache and just do traditional stuff".  While this is a very funny comment, it is also a very sad observation on the current state of tattooing.  Walk around any shitty tattoo convention these days and you'll see these people- they all look the same and they all tattoo the same- ya can't tell one of 'em from the next, and ya can't tell their tattoos apart.  This idea of looking the same has also extended to the public- they all want the same damn tattoos.  Every customer comes in to the shop with a picture from Google image search of someone else's tattoo, and they're not cool, original designs- they're the same crap I do all day long.  It's not even worth trying to talk people into getting something original anymore because they're so concerned with what their friends will think of their tattoos.  If their tattoos don't look just like the tattoos their friends have, they might be ridiculed- can't have that now can we.  It's far better to be a clone of every other idiot than to be an individual.  Getting tattooed used to be an expression of individuality, now it's done so you can be like everyone else.  So, yes, in my opinion (which I know counts less and less all the time), the magic IS GONE.

Now that I'm done ranting, here's a couple of tattoos.  Both of these are on a friend of mine, Pauly, from Jailhouse Choppers.  First is a Mad Max tattoo that I did a few years ago, but just got healed pics of, and the second is a Santa Cruz Screaming Hand- I can't believe that in 19+ years of tattooing, this is the first time I have done this image, but it is.  The pic is a little bloody, but I'll get a healed one in a week or 2.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Conventions, Political Conspiracy Theories, and other Stuffs

So, I just got back from the Atlanta Tattoo Convention- what garbage.  That show has been on a downhill slide for about the last 10 years or so.  Now, a lot of times, Sundays are the slowest day at these things anyway, but slow doesn't even cover it.  There were more tattooers there than convention goers.  There are certainly people in the Atlanta area that would be plenty pissed to read this, but I really don't care, so....This show is poorly run and poorly promoted.  In fact, I didn't see or hear ANYTHING about it.  How do you expect to get people to the convention if you don't advertise it?  I guess they just don't care- they made their money selling the booths, so fuck it if the working artists don't make any money, right?  WRONG.  Over the years, I have worked a lot of conventions- some good and some bad.  The best ones are the ones where the promoters actually care about the attending artists.  I haven't worked the Atlanta convention in the last 3 or 4 years, and won't work it ever again unless I believe that the promoters give a crap about the artists (if they read this, I'll probably never work it again anyway, but I'm way past caring if I piss people off).  The only reason I even went there today was to see a friend that I haven't seen in a number of years, and that made it worth the trip and the $20 entry fee.  It was good to see ya, Jime.
There was a time many years ago when a tattoo convention was a big event- there were only a dozen or so a year, and people travelled from all over the country (and the world) to attend them.  Not even to work them, just to be there.  Now there are a half a dozen every weekend, and you don't have to go anywhere- wait a few months and there'll be one in your city.  It's the same disease that's affected the entire tattoo industry- too many shops, too many conventions, too many wannabe tattooers, too many TV shows.  The magic is gone, the mystery is gone, and the tattoo industry has been sold to non-tattooer shop owners, TV executives, event promoters, and Chinese suppliers.
You're all probably tired of hearing me bitch about these same things over and over, but it's something that I love and have been doing for 19 years of my life, and I can't just watch it all go down the shitter and not say anything about it.  There are awesome tattooers that are being run out by scumbags that don't care about anything but being the 'cool' guy.  Tattooers that can't make a living anymore because the scumbag down the road will do it for $20- He'll do a shitty job, but people don't care.  It's the new tattoo mentality- it's all about coverage, not quality.  There's a phenomenon thats referred to these days as the Warped Tour Body Suit- kids that are tattooed everywhere that it CAN'T be covered.  It's the exact opposite of what tattooing was when I got into it.  People got tattooed for the love of the art and kept their tattoos hidden, so that they could still get jobs, etc.  Now with the recent popularity of tattooing, people are getting tattooed only in places that CAN be seen- hands, necks, from the elbows down (rather than up).  There's a picture that has been floating around on Facebook that illustrates this:
It's ridiculous, and it disgusts me that this is what tattooing has become.  What the fuck are all these idiots going to do for a living?  They'll become tattooers of course, because we certainly need more of them.  Here's a tip for anyone that wants to make a lot of money a few years from now- go to school and learn how to do laser tattoo removal- it's gonna be a huge business in about 10 years.
While we're on the subject of tattoos, here's something that I did last week- a Barnabus Collins portrait (no, not Johnny freakin Depp):

Now, since it's been quite a while, I'm gonna give ya a little political rant (so, you can all stop reading now and go back to Facebook).

Last week, the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare AKA The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. What is my issue with this? Well, besides the fact that I do not believe that the federal government should be allowed to FORCE American citizens to buy any product, or fine/tax them for not doing so, it is another example of government control over our personal lives, which as a Libertarian, I am totally opposed to.  I don't believe that the Government really cares whether all Americans have affordable healthcare or not, what this really is is an attempt to make Americans more dependent on Government.  The USDA is promoting 'Food Stamp Parties', kinda like tupperware or sex toy parties only designed to get more people signed up for food stamps, thus making them more dependent on government.  They want us to rely on them for everything- the more we rely on government, the more control they have over all aspects of our lives.  Have you seen the idiots in Washington?  I sure as hell don't want them involved in my life any more than they already are- I'd really like to see them a whole lot less involved.  This is not at all what the founding fathers had in mind, in fact, it's 100% what they didn't want.  The problem lies in the fact that Americans have gotten lazy and don't want to take care of themselves, so they are happy to allow the government to do it for them, but they don't realize, or care to see what they are doing to themselves by allowing it.  The more the Government governs, the less personal freedom we have.  I for one value freedom above free stuff.

That Government is best which governs the least, because it's people discipline themselves.  -Thomas Jefferson

Government is not the solution to our problem.  Government is the problem.  -Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Helmets, Rhinos, and Dogs

So, today they are having some sort of casting thing for the second season of Best Ink here in Atlanta.  You can probably guess that I'm not going.  But, rest assured, when it airs, I will be here to rip it apart for your entertainment.  
Did another beer label for my buddy Joey.  This one is for his Rye Pale Ale called Rye-Noceros.  Here's a couple of in progress pics and the finished product:

Here's a couple of recent helmets.  The first is finished and has been sent to it's new owner.  The second is an in progress pic of the first helmet I tried spraying- the one that the tape pulled up the paint.  I sanded it all down and started over- I'm gonna keep this one for myself when it's done.

Here's a pic of a tattoo I finished the other day.  The picture kinda sucks because the dog is healed and the flowers are fresh- I hate that.  I'll get more pics when it's all healed up.

Here's a special picture for all you people on the interwebs- a Fathers Day raspberry from Gracie and I.

One more thing- the back in 15 minutes sign Nick made that we use at the shop:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Negative Approach

So, last night, Negative Approach played the Drunken Unicorn, and it was awesome!  They broke up in '84, so I never got to see them, and thought that I never would.  It was well worth the 30 year wait- it's fuckin' Negative Approach.  Some people might argue that it's not really NA, since the only original member is John Brannon, but NA is one of those bands where the singer IS the band, and as long as the guys behind him are playing the right notes, it's Negative Approach.  And damn, did they play the right notes.  It couldn't have been any better, and they played all the great NA songs (they may have actually played ALL of the songs since their legacy is one LP and one 7"), plus they did an awesome cover of Borstal Breakout.  I didn't much care for the first opening band and spent the time they played their short set in the bar.  The second opening act was the Bukkake Boys, a local Atlanta band that I had never seen. They were a pleasant surprise, playing an excellent set of angry hardcore songs reminiscent of early Poison Idea (Pick your King era PI).  I picked up their LP to add to my record collection, and it's pretty sweet, clocking in at under 15 minutes for 12 songs.  Now I gotta try to track down their first 2 EP's.  Here's a few shots of NA playing....

The guy that I did the St. George tattoo on recently came back, so I got a good healed pic of that.

That's it for now.  I'll find something to bitch about soon....

Monday, June 4, 2012

COC, Ride, Boortz....

So, I've been threatening to do this thing more often.  This time I'm really gonna try to do it.  When I started this blog thing, I was posting about twice a week, eventually it ended up being more like once or twice a month.  I'm gonna try to do it at least once a week- the problem is that not enough interesting stuff happens to me- guess I'll just have to start bitching and ranting more.

Anyway, I went to the Corrosion of Conformity show Saturday night and it was great.  I've written a couple of other blogs where I mentioned that even though Animosity is one of my favorite records, I haven't liked much of anything COC has done since Technocracy.  I also told ya that I actually like the new record.  A year and a half or so ago, they reformed the original 3 piece line up that was responsible for all their best stuff, and toured the Animosity record.  I didn't go, and have been kicking myself in the ass ever since, so I wasn't gonna miss the chance to see them this time- The last time I saw them was somewhere around 87.  The opened with the first song off the new record-Psychic Vampire, then blasted into 3 songs off Animosity- Fuck Yeah!  The set was basically half the new record (sticking mostly to the faster, more punk songs) and half the songs from Animosity.  They also played Technocracy and Deliverance, which was a surprise- I don't really care for that record, but the song sounded great live and with the 3 piece line up had a much more raw sound, plus I prefer Mike's singing to Pepper's.  The also threw in about the first 3rd of Vote With A Bullet in the middle of one of the new songs- thats actually one of the 3 or so songs that I like off of Blind.  The only thing that could have made it better was if they'd have pulled out some stuff from Eye For An Eye, but I'm pretty sure they're never playing any of those songs again.  The band was obviously having a lot of fun playing all the old songs, which was cool to see.  Took a couple of pics of the show, here ya go...

Went riding with friends yesterday.  Started with lunch at a local place- if ya live around here, and you are in the mood for Mexican food, DO NOT go to Cuernavaca on 20.  The food was not very good and the service was atrocious.  The company was good, but I was with my friends- you'll have to get your own.

Cheryl, Jeff, Kevin and Jason.  They all look very excited.

When we got up around Athens, my damn throttle cable came loose, and we ended up in an Eckerds parking lot getting that taken care of.  Here's an excellent shot Cheryl took of Kevin supervising my efforts.

With the throttle cable all fixed up, I go to start Carla back up, and the damn battery is dead.  Luckily, Jason (Big Sexy) has battery issues and rides around with a charger in his saddle bag.  Some electricity borrowed from an outlet outside Eckerds, and we're back on the road.  This morning I sat in the garage for a while and got the throttle cable properly tightened, and Carla's good as new.

Here's a pic of a tattoo that I worked on Saturday.  One more sitting and it'll be done.  Probably could have finished it Saturday, but I had another appointment.  It's a shitty picture, but when it's done and healed I'll get a good one.

My wife has this weird little long haired chihuahua thing and he gets miserable in the heat of the summer, so the other day I shaved him.  He didn't like me very much after that.  He's gotten over it.

Found out this morning that Neal Boortz is retiring.  Good for Neal, bad for me.  I have been listening to Boortz in the mornings for 10 years or so.  It'll be strange not to hear him anymore.  He's also one of the very few Libertarian voices on the radio and he's pretty damn funny as well.  Even my kid likes listening to Boortz- she mostly just likes when he rips into an idiot caller.  If there are any Libertarians reading this, I highly recommend his book "Somebody's Gotta Say It".  Its a good book and a highly entertaining read.  He's also the guy that co-authored the 'Fair Tax Book', which is probably the only reason that a book about taxes was readable.