TLC has announced that it is renewing its latest success in the network's Ink franchise - NY INK - for a second season. Season two is slated to premiere in December 2011 with 10 hour-long episodes.Season one of NY INK followed Ami James as he put it all on the line to become the Tattoo King of New York. Ami, brash and loud with a big personality and heart to match, became a household name thanks to the groundbreaking series MIAMI INK in 2005. As the first tattoo artist to gain such celebrity, Ami gave us an inside look into the tattoo culture on the hot streets of South Beach. After taking the industry by storm in Miami, this sharp-tongued, quick-tempered artist set his sights on dominating the birthplace of American tattoo style: New York City. Always looking for his next big challenge, Ami opened up his new shop (Wooster Street Social Club) right in the heart of SoHo. Opening a new shop meant hiring a whole new crew, and with that, a whole new set of problems. He now has his shop up and running in NYC and season two will continue to follow Ami and his crew as they to try to ramp up business while working through the drama.
Jesse James and Kat Von D have split just six months after getting engaged.
"I am no longer w Jesse," Kat Tweeted late Monday night.
"And out of respect for him, his family and myself, thats all the info I'd like to share. Thanks for respecting that," the 29-year-old reality star continued in the Tweet.
Jesse, 42, blamed problems in the former couple's relationship on their long distance relationship - Kat shoots her TLC reality show "LA Ink" in Los Angeles, while Jesse lives near Austin, Texas with his three children.
"I'm so sad because I really love her," Jesse told People. "The distance between us was just too much."
The couple, who got engaged in January, previously told the mag they were planning a summer wedding.
Jesse's engagement to Kat came less than a year after splitting with Oscar winner Sandra Bullock, following an infidelity scandal on his part.
This would have marked the fourth marriage for Jesse and the second for Kat.
Local tattoo artists are protesting a new school in Pacific Beach that plans to teach people the art of tattooing in two weeks.
The group stood outside the Steady Flow Tattoo shop, also known as the Tattoo Learning Center, at Grand Avenue on Monday, protesting what they believe is an insult to their profession.
"These people are teaching people how to tattoo for a lump sum of $5000, and within two weeks, they are supposedly professional tattoo artists," said Randy Janson, a tattoo artist. "It's not really possible. It is more of a scam.”
The protesters became aware of the shop after learning the school would be featured on a new show on The Learning Channel, called "Tattoo School." Janson said if the show airs, he fears this type of school could become a popular trend.
"We are all here, basically trying to bring public awareness to the fact that as an industry, we feel that we are sort of being stepped on," Janson said.
"It took me four years until I got the hang of it," said tattoo artist Marc Beccia.
"You take someone under your wing, you have them work side by side with you," said Janson, who is Beccia's mentor. "You teach them one thing at a time; it's baby steps."
Beccia and Janson, along with several other artists, stood outside Steady Flow.
One of the school's students and two women interested in getting a tattoo at the shop watched the group with a bit of concern.
The student said he flew to San Diego from out of the country and was told when he arrived that his two-week class was canceled. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the school told him to enjoy his free accommodations and that his tuition would be refunded. He said the shop owner told him to drive by the storefront to check it out and stumbled on the crowd growing outside the shop.
The student said he is already a tattoo artist in his home country, but he had hoped to come to the United States to become a licensed tattoo artist.
In San Diego, you only need to fill out an application and pay the appropriate fee to be able to practice tattooing within the county limits, according to the County of San Diego's Department of Environmental Health's website.
Two young women interested in getting tattooed were also standing outside the shop amidst the protesters. They said they spoke to someone at the shop earlier in the week and were told they don't take appointments; rather, they should simply stop by. When the girls arrived, they found the shop closed.
After a second phone call to the shop, they learned Steady Flow would be closed for two weeks.
Janay Benson and her friend Lil' Bit were recommended by a friend who already received a tattoo at the shop.
"Hers looked good," Benson said. She added she wasn't concerned about students giving her tattoos.
"I'm OK, as long as the needles are clean," Lil' Bit said.
Phone calls to the Tattoo Learning Center and The Learning Channel were not returned.
In the landscape of pop culture and professional sports, it's impossible to miss them -- they run up and down the arms of NBA star Lebron James, extend across the back of actress Angelina Jolie and cover the body of rock icon Steven Tyler.
They are tattoos, and they have left an indelible mark on Western culture. But while celebrities have taken tattooing to stylistic extremes, the practice might not have caught on if not for the men who worked aboard whalers, merchant ships and naval vessels in the 18th century.
After all, it was sailors who popularized the now- ubiquitous form of body art, a phenomenon explored in the Mystic Seaport exhibition, "Skin and Bones: Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor."
On loan from the Philadelphia Independence Seaport Museum, the traveling, multi-media exhibition features more than two centuries of ancient and modern tattooing tools, flash (tattoo design samples), tattoo-related art, historic photographs and artifacts that tell the story and significance of tattoos in the life of the early sailor.
Craig Bruns, curator at the Philadelphia museum, said the exhibition is a unique opportunity to relate contemporary enthusiasm for tattooing with the origins of the art form.
"Tattoos are very popular, but people don't really know where they came from," said Bruns, who completed extensive research in the development of the exhibition at the Tattoo Archive in Winston-Salem, N.C. "People across the nation have these tattoos, and the way they got to America is through sailors."
The practice in Western culture dates back to sailors of the 1700s, who were inspired by the tattoos they observed among the people of Polynesia. Far from home and with time to kill, sailors began branding themselves with a variety of images -- anchors, nautical stars, skull and crossbones -- thus creating their own unique subculture, Bruns said.
"It's amazing to look back," said Schwaller, who will be on hand to answer questions at Mystic Seaport's Tattoos and Tallships Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, July 16 and 17. "It's like a gift of ancestry."
Bruns noted that the famous red star logo of Macy's department store is believed to have been inspired by a tattoo founder R.H. Macy got while on a whaling voyage in the South Pacific.
While there are many connections between the tattoo culture of today and the 18th century, there were also dramatic differences. For one, amateurs artists used crude instruments such as sail-making or scrimshaw needles, which quite often led to infection. Because of the risks involved, sailors "had to really love that image and feel that image was extremely important," Bruns said.
In addition, sailors tended to have more practical, and, at times, superstitious motivations for bodily markings. An anchor on a sailor's forearm might be a sign that he'd served in the U.S. Navy, while a blue swallow on a sailor's chest signified that he had sailed 5,000 miles. Tattoos were also used to help identify a sailor who was lost or imprisoned, as they were described in identification papers he carried.
Other tattoos were seen as talismans on dangerous voyages. A pig and rooster on one's feet were meant to keep a sailor safe from drowning, since, according to maritime lore, the animals, which were kept in crates, would float with the debris from a wrecked ship.
By the time Samuel O'Reilly invented the electric tattoo machine in 1891, tattoos became more colorful and sophisticated, and many sailors made tattooing their profession, according to Elysa Engelman, exhibits researcher/developer at Mystic Seaport.
Around that time, many sailors began getting tattoos of hula dancers, pin-up girls and reminders of long-distance loves. On exhibit is artist Norman Rockwell's 1944 Saturday Evening Post cover drawing of a brawny sailor getting the name "Betty" tattooed to his arm. Beneath the name is a long list of crossed out names.
"We laugh at that, but it's a talisman in war," Bruns said. "You want to know somebody is thinking of you back home. The sailor can't physically keep a girl, but he's trying his hardest to keep her in his mind so he feels secure."
Since then, tattoos have become even more elaborate, often reflecting a wide range of complex emotions (NBA star James has "CHOSEN1" emblazoned across his upper back). But even though many 18th century tattoos are crude by comparison, Bruns hopes that visitors to the exhibition will gain an appreciation for the true originators -- the men who sailed the seas and whose tattoos live on to tell about them.
"Skin & Bones -- Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor" is on view at the Mystic Seaport, 75 Greenmanville Ave., through Monday, Sept. 5. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $24, $22 for seniors 65 and older and college students, $15 for youth 6-17, free for children 5 and younger. 860-572-0711, www.mysticseaport.org.
Forget flowers, chocolate or Twitter: Mike Tyson's facial tattoo is a hot new way to woo someone.
Swinging singles are going out and having their faces painted with a temporary, Tyson-inspired "Hangover" movie tattoo -- in a gaudy effort to look like knockouts to the opposite sex.
The booze-fueled microtrend was on full display Friday night at Coyote Ugly in the East Village, where Putman Davis, 23, was having his face "champ"-stamped.
"It definitely gives you attention," he said. "Definitely a way to get people's eyes."
And perhaps their hearts, too, according to face painter Melinda Prom, 31 who says business has been booming ever since Tyson tattoo-artist S. Victor Whitmill sued Warner Brothers in April, saying he never gave permission to the company to duplicate the Maori tat for actor Ed Helms in "Hangover Part II."
"It is the No. 1 requested design I get from men of all ages . . . and men definitely use it as a way to attract the opposite sex," said Prom
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/tat_how_to_catch_mate_eye_vsJw129xk5ffo7lMabzqWP#ixzz1P9wwvoNv
TLC invites viewers back into the world of tattoos with the new series NY INK. Ami James, brash and loud with a big personality and heart to match, became a household name thanks to the groundbreaking series MIAMI INK in 2005. As the first tattoo artist to gain such celebrity, Ami gave us an inside look into the tattoo culture on the hot streets of South Beach. After taking the industry by storm in Miami, this sharp-tongued, quick-tempered artist has now set his sights on dominating the birthplace of American tattoo style: New York City. TLC has ordered eight hour-long episodes slated to premiere in June 2011.
Even though viewers have seen Ami's inimitable in-your-face attitude conquer Miami, NY INK follows Ami as he puts it all on the line to become the Tattoo King of New York. Always looking for his next big challenge, Ami's new shop (Wooster Street Social Club) will be opening up right in the heart of SoHo. A new shop means hiring a whole new crew, and with that, a whole new set of problems.
As the network continues to build off the success of this franchise, TLC's hit series LA INK and MIAMI INK have proven to be ratings gold and leading forces in the digital space. In 2010, premiere episodes of LA INK received an average number of 1.5 million P2+ viewers. Between June and December of 2010, LA INK drove an average of 4.5MM page views a month, and garnered a whopping 7.2MM page views for the Tattoo Flipbook on TLC.com. In its peak when it was on the air (2005-2008), MIAMI INK averaged 1.2M P2+ viewers, and still continues to be a driving force online as the third largest fansite on TLC (2.5MM page views a month) between June and December 2010.
The battle between Warner Bros and Mike Tyson's tattoo artist is heating up. On Friday, the studio told a judge why S. Victor Whitmill, who is suing over a copyrighted tattoo on Ed Helms' face in Hangover Part II, shouldn't be able to stop distribution of the film. The highly anticipated sequel is scheduled to be released this week ,so a decision should be forthcoming soon.
In its brief, Warner Bros. says Whitmill will not be able to succeed on the merits of his claims that Hangover II constitutes copyright infringement of what the he calls "one of the most distinctive tattoos in the nation."
"The very copyrightability of tattoos is a novel issue," says the Warner Bros. brief. "There is no legal precedent for Plaintiff's radical claim that he is entitled, under the Copyright Act, to control the use of a tattoo that he created on the face of another human being."
Warner Bros. says that Tyson's tattoo is ubiquitous and that he appeared in the first Hangover movie without objection from Whitmill.
The studio raises a host of defenses for why the tattoo on Helms' face is legitimate, including that it is a fair use parody, that it is permitted by Tyson's implied license as a result of (Spoiler Alert) appearing in the film, and that the plaintiff is estopped from asserting a claim because of a failure to object to use of the tattoo in the first film.
Regardless of the merits of the case, the studio says that an injunction would wreak havoc on both itself and others, including more than 3,600 theaters that will be releasing Hangover II. Warner Bros. says it has spent millions on advertising and promotion already and that theaters have already been selling advance tickets for weeks -- with nothing to replace it with over the critical Memorial Day weekend.
Moreover, Warner Bros says that given the large number of copies already circulating, it would be a "virtual certainty" that if the movie is enjoined, Hangover II will be leaked and pirated, destroying the value of the film.
Warner Bros says that unless Whitmill puts up a $100 million bond, the losses will be unrecoverable.
The tattoo case has inspired the imagination of copyright lawyers and other observers throughout the nation. On one hand, the tattoo is unquestionably an original piece of artwork and there's nothing in copyright law that explicitly forbids tattoos from becoming one's intellectual property. On the other hand, as Rachel Valadez at Greenberg Glusker points out, it's illegal to sell human organs, and a contract giving Whitmill property rights to Tyson’s skin may be invalid.
This could be one of the reasons why there was no lawsuit over the first film. One question could be, if Whitmill's contract over the Tyson tattoo holds up to legal scrutiny, is the Helms tattoo an unlicensed derivative of the Tyson's?
A hearing is scheduled for today in federal court in Missouri.
LONDON (AFP) – Tattoo artists are increasingly leaving their mark on Western culture, but a study released Thursday reveals for the first time how their designs will deteriorate as their human canvases age.
Tattooed celebrity trailblazers as diverse as David Beckham, Angelina Jolie and British "first lady" Samantha Cameron have helped bring body art into mainstream culture, but will they be regretting their choice as the years pass?
Ian Eames, a researcher in fluid mechanics at University College London, has created a mathematical model which can be used to predict the movement of tattoo ink particles over time, and give an idea of which designs age better.
"Tattoos are incredibly popular worldwide with more than a third of 18-25 year olds in the US sporting at least one design," said Eames.
The paper, which is published in the Mathematics Today journal, will enable those considering getting a tattoo to accurately predict how their design will look in 20 years' time.
Eames said the study would "pave the way towards assessing whether there are any long-term health implications" and provide "an idea of how their chosen design could look several years down the line".
Tattoo inks are a suspension of water-insoluble particles, such as mercury, lead, cadmium and iron, which are injected under the skin using a needle.
Over time, these inks become dispersed as the cells which contain them die, divide or leave the body.
"Skin type, age, size, exposure to the sunlight and the type of ink which is used all influence how a tattoo disperses with time," explained Eames.
"Broadly speaking... the small details in a tattoo are lost first, with thicker lines being less affected.
"Although finely detailed tattoos might look good when they are first done, they tend to lose their definition after 15 years," he added.
Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts preserves work of legendary tattoo artist Norman Collins
TO MANY, he's the godfather of American tattooing, the original outsider artist.
Between 1940 and 1973, Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins inked his distinctive tattoos on the flesh of visitors to his Hawaii shop. His distinctive style combining bold lines and careful coloration is still imitated today and can be found today on thousands - perhaps tens of thousands - of people.
"It's pure folk Americana and it has a rich history," said Erich Weiss, of Philadelphia, who wrote a book and directed a documentary about Collins. "People now consider tattooing as an art form, but back then they didn't see it that way. "
Now Center City's Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts is preserving Collins' work for prosperity with the same care they've put into historic documents and other masterpieces of art. They're finishing up the project in time to mark the 100th anniversary of Collins' birth this year.
The center is a nonprofit conservation laboratory that focuses on works on paper, ranging from paintings to rare books to photos. Among the historic documents that have crossed the center's tables: Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack, abolitionist Frederick Douglass' diaries and a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
The conservators have painstaking, sometimes tedious, jobs. They must maintain the integrity of the original works while repairing obvious damage. Tools of the trade include fragile Japanese paper, brushes, erasers and gentle solvents.
The center handled three types of Collins' work: drawings on tracing paper, stencils on acetate, and "flash art," the designs that the artist displayed in his studio.
"This gave me a really wonderful opportunity to do some research on the man and his contributions to the tattoo art," said Samantha Sheesley, the conservator who headed the center's 10-person team that restored Collins' works.
Younger people may associate "Sailor Jerry" with the brand of clothing and other commercial items such as rum that bear his name. They may also be familiar with Collins' style as designer Ed Hardy was one of his proteges. Once based in Philadelphia, the Sailor Jerry brand is now headquartered in Ireland.
But they may not know that "Jerry" was a real person, a grizzled former sailor who plied his craft for years in a Honolulu shop that had lines of patrons stretching out the door.
Some of the works that the center is preserving will now join art exhibitions in Oregon and New England, said Brigette Fuscia, the operations manager for the Sailor Jerry brand.
"We didn't just want it to be about the things we sell," said Fuscia. "We wanted it to be about the history and legacy of this man, because not a lot of brands have that."
A native of the western United States, Collins traveled the rails as a young man, first learning to hand-tattoo with a sewing needle and ink, then becoming adept at using a machine to create his designs on skin.
After joining the U.S. Navy, Collins further refined his craft on his fellow servicemen. After leaving the Navy, he set up shop in Honolulu. He died in Hawaii in 1973.
What made Collins' art special is the way he was able to combine the bold lines of American-style tattooing with the colors and styles of Asian artists, Sheesley said. His attention to detail and to color was legendary. He was the first artist to incorporate purple in his designs.
"He wanted to bridge the gap between tattoo art and fine art," Sheesley said. Preserving his work, "is a step in that direction."
Collins was also an inventor - he developed the magnum tattoo needle - and an early advocate of needle sterilization.
"The man never slept," Sheesley said.
With examples of Collins' work spread out on tables in the center's 23rd Street office recently, Sheesley pointed out some of the nuances. Collins managed to be both edgy and bold, with images of knives and skulls, while also designing softer images such as flowers and butterflies.
The images were often symbolic. A sailor would get a tattoo of a small bird like a swallow, for example, after having crossed an ocean by ship. They were also meant to bring the sailor home safe.
Sailors often had their feet marked with images of a pig and a rooster to protect them from drowning. The theory was that those creatures didn't like water and would find the quickest way to shore in an emergency.
Because the center was dealing with a variety of materials, each required different preservation techniques.
All needed to be cleaned, but the flash art was water-sensitive and couldn't be washed. That meant it required gentle brushing. Tape - the conservator's natural enemy - had been used to hold the posters in place and it needed to be painstakingly removed.
The fragile tracing paper was riddled with tears and missing entire sections, meaning conservators had to use comparable papers to fill in the missing pieces.
All told, the center devoted about 3,400 hours to the project.
Working with the 148 acetate stencils that were used to transfer a design to a customer's skin was particularly interesting, Sheesley said. They were made of a material the center doesn't usually handle, and it was fascinating to think that each one could still be out there, permanently inked onto someone's body, she said.
Sheesley was so inspired by the designs she worked on that she decided to get a Sailor Jerry tattoo of her own. The colorful artwork, on her left forearm, features a sparrow and hearts with a banner that reads, "True Love."
"I wanted it to be something I worked on while it was here," she said. "He has imagery that speaks to every person."
Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/119641214.html#ixzz1JJZ62EWC
A bill aiming to make it safer to get inked up in California has been introduced for the third time.
Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger twice vetoed Assemblywoman Fiona Ma’s proposal to implement new regulations for tattoo parlors, calling them unnecessary. Ma introduced a new bill, AB 300, in February.
Schwarzenegger was especially critical in his second veto message regarding AB 223, issued in September 2010:
It is a common complaint within the business community that 'overregulation' is driving businesses out of California. Look no further than AB 223 for such an example.
He concludes by saying while some may consider the issue important, "it is not appropriate to tell tattoo artists through the statute how to wash their hands and fold their trash bags one inch over the rim of a trashcan."
On the contrary, proponents say.
“There was absolutely no rational reason for that bill to be vetoed,” Bruce Pomer, executive director of the Health Officers Association of California, said. “It was strictly personal, and it was totally inappropriate.”
AB 223 passed the Assembly with a 66-6 vote, and cleared the Senate 30-4.
The bill “had unprecedented industry and public health support,” Pomer said.
Ma’s bill aims to strengthen existing regulations, including requiring tattoo artists to register annually with local authorities and to meet specified vaccination, blood-borne pathogen training and sanitation requirements. Owners of tattoo facilities would have to obtain and annually renew a local health permit and maintain the facility in specified ways.
Additionally, the bill would authorize health officials to inspect tattoo facilities and suspend their registration under certain circumstances. Owners who operated tattoo shops without the necessary permits could be charged with a misdemeanor and fined between $25 and $1,000, with local regulators determining the exact amount.
Current laws require tattoo artists to register in the county where they do business, obtain a copy of the county’s sterilization, sanitation and safety rules and pay a one-time fee of $25. Counties may charge a higher fee at their discretion and can choose to adopt tougher regulations, although only six of the state's 58 counties do so.
In Sacramento County, the Board of Supervisors put off voting on an ordinance in May 2010 to regulate its estimated 165 body art businesses after criticism from artists who disagreed with sections of it. Tattoo artists who register in the county must pay a one-time fee of $47, and the county’s one page registration form [PDF] asks only for individual and business names, address and phone number, and categorizes the artist as specializing in tattoos, body piercing, or permanent cosmetics.
The effort to strengthen safety standards for tattoo parlors dates to the late 1990s, Pomer said, when the California Conference of Local Health Officers began examining the issue.
In Schwarzenegger’s 2010 veto message, he wrote that the specific regulations did not need to be passed in the Legislature. “If the sponsors wanted a bill that addressed the purported problem, a simple statutory authorization for the Department of Public Health to promulgate standardized regulations would have been acceptable,” Schwarzenegger wrote.
Advocates decided to push for a statute regulating tattoo shops because they wanted it addressed in a more timely fashion, Pomer said.
Schwarzenegger had previously vetoed a 2009 version of Ma’s bill, AB 517. “I am unaware of why the state must take further action to regulate these businesses,” Schwarzenegger wrote in vetoing the measure.
Pomer said he does not expect a similar reaction from Gov. Jerry Brown and that the Safe Body Art Act will likely become law.
April 06, 2011|By Walter Pacheco, Orlando Sentinel
Jason Lynn Gay is accused of wielding a sword in one hand and a guitar in another when he allegedly attacked an Orlando tattoo artist and his customer in an assault worthy of a Kill Bill movie.
Monday's ambush turned ugly for Gay when one of his victims retaliated by slamming a glass tabletop over his head — leaving him in a wheelchair with a bloody face and in the Orange County Jail on two counts of attempted second-degree murder.
"I'm very fortunate to be in better shape than [Gay]," tattoo artist Patrick Walker said Wednesday. "If it was just me in there alone, I don't know what would have happened."
Gay, a 37-year-old homeless felon with 'Nazi' tattooed on one arm and 'Wizard' on the other, also faces two counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and two counts of battery. An Orange County judge set his bond at zero.
First we want to send out a very large THANK YOU to all who participated in our Vote 2 Win Contest! You guys really stepped up and showed your support not only to Tatshirts.com but to the artists on the site! GREAT WORK EVERYONE!
Now for the crappy part…… Due to the fact that we only had only 85 people vote during the Vote 2 Win Contest, we cannot offer up the i-Pad as the grand prize. For those of you who won a free tee we hope you enjoy it!
Now I know how much this really SUCKS, but there is hope. We still have the i-Pad AND we still want to give it to you, so this is what we are going to do.
We want YOU to decide the contest. That’s right; we are giving YOU full reign. YOU shoot us an e-mail we will take in all your feedback, then we will sift through them all come up with the best choices. We will then put out a questionnaire with the final ideas. You then tell us which one you want!
$500 Custom Design Contest! http://www.tatshirts.com/subterms.php
$100 On-line Tattoo Contest! http://www.tatshirts.com/tattooterms.php
75 members have now voted. That means we still need 25 members to vote on some really cool designs. The artist need your votes and input.
We still need 27 members new or old to vote on a design so we can giveaway the apple I-Pad 2. There are 14 left. Vote,Vote,Vote.
We have 71 different people that have voted so far. That means we only need 29 more people to vote for there favorite t-shirt designs. Come on people we have over 700 members and we can't get 100 people to vote for these amazing artists t-shirt designs. Vote now!
Vidal Sassoon. Nicky Clarke. John Frieda. Hairdressers to the stars have become as recognisable as their big-name clients. And the cult of the super-stylist – Rachel Zoe and her TV show, Sex and the City’s Patricia Field – has seen onceunknown wardrobe mistresses become household names.
Now, though, a new breed of A-list primpers have joined their ranks – step forward the celebrity tattooist. You may not have heard of Louis Molloy, but you will have seen his work. The tattoo artist is responsible for the majority of David Beckham’s body art. Molloy began his tattooing career in the Seventies, when it was a very different business than it is today.
Once the preserve of sailors, criminals and outsiders, tattoos are now so common one even adorns the ankle of the Prime Minister’s wife. And just as getting a tattoo no longer raises eyebrows, neither does choosing a career as a tattoo artist. Molloy has been one of the biggest names in British tattooing for some time. When Beckham unveiled the whopping guardian angel tattoo on his back just over a decade ago, Molloy found his artwork on the front page of almost every national newspaper.
“It was a bit scary to be honest,” recalls Molloy. “The problem with a lot of press, especially the tabloids, is that they write what they want to write. The word that kept cropping up was ‘outraged’; that people were outraged at this tattoo, as if they were rioting in the street. It’s absolutely rubbish but they were just trying to stir people up. You could argue that any PR is good PR, which to an extent it is, but sometimes there’s a negative side to it aswell.” Having such a famous ambassador for his work has meant that Molloy is so popular that he now boasts a sixmonth waiting list. In fact, I can hear the needle whirring in the background while I’m onthe phone to him. Yes, he’s so busy that he’s forced to brand someone as we chat. Molloy is under no illusions as to why he is so in demand, and realises that people want a tattoo by the guy who did the Beckhams. “It’s like an endorsement, isn’t it?” offers Molloy.
It seems we are so influenced by celebrity these days that we not only want the same haircut or handbag as someone we admire, we also want their tattoo artist. When casting London Ink, a reality television show set in a London tattoo studio, the producers knew they had to have Molloy on board. “He’s very passionate about the artwork and clear about why he loves doing it,” explains Victoria Noble, the executive producer. “And if you’re putting a studio together, you want people to be recognisable as well as having recognisable work and he’s worked with so many footballers and rock stars.”
Noble also hopes that the programme made the world of tattooing more accessible to those who may have previously been intimidated by it. “I hope it showed tattoo parlours in a different light. I like to think of the London Ink tattoo studio as a very friendly place to be.” Molloy’s appearance on the show has led to numerous business offers from some unlikely sources, including Marks and Spencer, that staple of British middle class life. This May he will also launch Lou Molloy menswear, a range of streetwear which feature his original designs.
One T-shirt inevitably sports a familiar winged angel figure on the front. London Inkwas a spin-off of the hugely popular Miami Ink and LA Ink, which have been responsible for unleashing some of the biggest names in tattooing on the world. Having appeared in the original Miami version of the show, Kat Von D was offered LA Ink as her own vehicle and is now one of the most successful tattooists to cross over into the mainstream. Spurred on, no doubt, by being engaged to Sandra Bullock’s exhusband Jesse James, Von D has appeared in music videos, launched a make-up line and released a selection of fragrances. Her book High Voltage Tattoo even made it on to the New York Times bestseller list. It’s also not uncommon for a wellknown tattooist’s designs to be in demand for other products.
Having stamped much of the so-called Primrose Hill set, including Kate Moss and Jude Law, and gaining a two-year waiting list as a result, Saira Hunjan found that doors opened for her. “Because it’s such a small circle of people they just told each other about me,” says Hunjan. “A lot of people look up to them so I guess they like to go by their recommendation.” Hunjan was asked to design a range of T-shirts for the now defunct Luella label and she is currently branching out into silk scarves and home accessories. “I’m inspired by art from Mexico and India, religious art, goddesses and gypsy art. The stuff I’m designing is based on the imagery I like.”
As tattoos become more ubiquitous, we’re set to see even more of the tattooistas- celebrity. In the future, some tattoo artists will be revered in the same way as big name hairdressers are. And one thing’s for sure, tattoos have been embraced by the mainstream – although not every tattooist is convinced that’s a good thing. “It’s a bit of a two-edged sword,” Molloy points out. “Because if something is made extremely popular then there could come a time when it becomes very unpopular. With every up, there’s always the risk of a down.”
Link to Article: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/celebrity-tattoo-artists--who-do-they-ink-they-are-2248273.html