Saturday, 30 April 2011

Lost photos from long ago...again more

Some more of those lost photos that were buried much deeper in that old shoe box...

Here's a photo of young (at that time) Kosta when we all were working at Highline Tattooing.
Kosta had originally come into the Studio with a Portfolio of his drawings & said that he wanted to learn to be a Tattoo Artist.
Kosta's artistic ability was very impressive, but that meant very little if he couldn't go on to meet the rest of my requirements!
After a period of time, Kosta having proved himself, started his training as a Tattoo Artist with me.
Kosta later went on to be a part owner in Chapel Tattoo...although I'm not sure where he is these days??

Here's the three requirements I looked for with regards a potential trainee & all in this following order...
  1. Honesty 
  2. Reliability
  3. Artistic ability
I can hear you all asking, "Why these requirements & why in this particular order?"
I'm not totally sure, maybe it's related to my original Jewellery training, but here's my reasons "why"...
  1. Totally pointless to even bother teaching someone who's prepared to rob you the minute your back is turned or once you've handed them the keys to the Studio!
  2. It's equally pointless to teach someone who can't really be bothered showing up to learn, especially when you're the one who's passing on your knowledge!!
  3. Artistic ability comes in a variety of flavours, a good "Stencil Jockey" that works only from stencils & follows the colors of the Flash on the walls, can be equally important to a Studio!!!
Typically most candidates would only meet two of those three requirements...that's called Murphy's Law.
This explains why over my career I've actually trained very few Tattoo Artists, but those that I did were all well respected & highly sought after by other Studios.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Eternal Ink...Berwick's Tattoo Studio

I've recently met & got talking with the young crew of Tattoo Artists at Eternal Ink, here in Berwick.
Donny, Brandon & Meg are all doing some really nice, tidy work & I was very impressed by them & the Studio.

The subject of Machines, building & their maintenance arose, so I was able to offer up & show them some "Old Timers" Tips & Tricks.

Whilst we were discussing all things Tattooing, it suddenly occurred to me just how "Old School" my ways of doing things have now become...
...although I'm still not really sure if that's a "good thing" or a "bad thing" for me to be..??

The "old fundamentals" that I'd struggled so hard to learn about & then openly taught to my apprentices, seem to now be something from a "bygone time"...
What I'm referring to are those very basics that every (Old) Tattoo Artist had to know if they wanted to work in a Studio.
  • Making your own Needle patterns & then soldering them onto a Needle Bar correctly.
  • Mixing your own Colors from raw pigment, then making the various shades & tones.
  • Machine basics like tuning, repairs & building knowledge.
Now with everything being  pre-made, pre-mixed & openly available on the web for any newly aspiring "Wanna-be", I really wondered if anyone knew that old stuff any more??

So it was refreshing to hear that Donny, Brandon & Meg knew some of the old fundamentals & that they were eager to learn even more of them.

Speaking of "Old", it's been actually kind of strange-funny-odd for me to see all this current style of work that's being done & just how popular it is.
The reason it's so strange for me?...because I spent a large amount of my Tattoo years doing Cover Up's over that very same old stuff everyone is getting now..!
hmmm...wonder if the Tattoos I'd previously done back in the 80's & 90's are now having Cover Up's done because they're deemed "Not Old Enough"??

I guess that old saying must be true...
..."If you have or wear something for long enough, it'll come back into fashion"...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Rockabilly Bling Jewellery

Here's a shameless plug for my good friend Jacquie's new business & website, Rockabilly Bling.

This artwork is also being used for Business Cards, Stickers & other promotional items.

Some background info on this artwork:
Jacquie was after a certain style & look for her logo, an "Old School Tattoo" look, but nothing that was going to be directly copied or lifted straight from a design sheet by Sailor Jerry.
So the logo had to be original, an authentic old feel to it & maybe just a touch of modern flare within it as well.

Knowing that I'd previously been a Tattoo Artist, Jacquie stopped by to ask for my thoughts or advice with the designing of her logo.
I thought I may be able to help out with roughs that could be used by someone else to create the finished art...
...remember that I've not done anything remotely like Tattoo Art in a very, very long time!!

So did a rough pencil sketch to show my concept, scanned it & sent it off via an email.
Jacquie loved the concept, but was unsure of what colors, etc might be use with it?

I'd recently bought ArtRage Studio, so figured I'd try learning it as well as give Jacquie an idea of what colors would work.
I'm guessing that doing Tattoo Art after a long break is much like riding a never really forget it.

Totally amazed at how easy it was to create similar effects on computer to how I used to do it on paper.
It's a brilliant little program & one that every Tattoo Artist should have, even those just starting out.

Beni the Tattoo Artist

While checking out some other Tattoo related links, I stumbled over some info listed as "Beni Bio".
Following various links, I then managed to find a photo of Beni working.

Beni the Tattoo Artist

Beni became the very last guy I was to teach tattooing at a Studio, one on one, before my retirement.
Beni (or Ben as I knew him then) picked up on all the basics of tattooing really quickly & then went on to produce some amazing pieces back in the mid to late 90's.
Looking at this group of current photos, I can see that nothing has changed & that knowledge shows through in the quality of his work.

As I get older, it's kind of nice to see those that I'd originally trained 20+ years ago are still working in the Trade & doing outstanding work.
Nice stuff Beni.

Update:  I've since found some more info saying that Beni is one of the resident Tattoo Artists at King St Tattoo in Sydney

Update 2:  It would appear that all the above links for Beni no longer work, so I've removed them.
The only current reference I could find anywhere for him was from here.

Update 3:  It would appear that Beni is now working at Broadway Tattoo in Sydney.

About the Artist
Beni McDonald was born in Manly, Sydney in 1968. His involvement in the local skateboarding scene led to a lifelong interest in art and music that was part of that culture in the late 80’s, illustrating flyers and record covers for local, underground bands. He apprenticed as a tattooist in Melbourne in the early 90’s and worked in Australia and overseas as a custom tattoo artist for the next fifteen years. He now works as an illustrator and graphic designer in a number of fields, including a skate and street wear company with his son.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Lost photos from long ago...a Tattooing Xmas

So what does a Xmas Party with a bunch of  Melbourne's Tattoo Artists look like?
Well this was what the 1990 one looked like...
...a gathering of (at that time) Melbourne's Tattoo Artists & one from Israel
If memory serves me right, Jed Hill is also there, but he's behind the camera taking all these shots.

Shelly & Colin
Shelly & Nutz Robinson
Graeme Iles
Neale Cheatham
Dan Robinson Snr & Patsy Farrow
Shelly & Beans
Shelly & new friends

Lost photos from long ago...again

Whilst having a tidy up, I stumbled onto on old box with some old Tattoo photos...
...these were all taken 20+ years ago!!

Here's a photo that Shelly had sent to me of him tattooing.
I'm guessing this would of been from around 1991 or 1992

And here's a classic shot...

...that's Smeer (Melbourne Tattoo Artist) being tattooed by Bebert (seated), watched by Chris (standing).
"Big Richard" (Melbourne Tattoo Artist) is seated watching the work unfold.
And the Tattoo that Bebert created was a Graffiti style cartoon type character of Smeer himself...

Bebert & Chris were Tattoo Artists from France that were doing a World Tour together.
I think this would have been around 1990 or 91 & the both of them did some really amazing work.
This photo was taken at Highline Tattooing in St.Kilda when I was managing the Studio for Dan Robinson Snr. & Smeer was working there too.

Lost photos from long ago...

Whilst having a tidy up, I stumbled onto on old box with some old Tattoo photos...
...these were all taken 20+ years ago!!

Hawaii photos are from the trip Steve Paul & myself made in 1991.
We managed to catch up with Ed Hardy just hours before he flew out to his (then) just opened Tattoo Studio in Japan.

Next we headed off to the famous China Sea Tattoo Studio to catch up with Mike Malone (Rollo) & Scott Sterling. (Mike arrived later & I forgot all about taking photos!)

We'd also arranged to meet up with Lance McLain there too.

Scott gave Steve a small tattoo as a souvenir to take home.

That Studio is really tiny, it's only about 3 x doors wide!!
There's so much Tattoo History contained within those walls...a truly amazing place!!

How come you know all this Tattoo Machine stuff...?

A recent conversation about Tattooing, Australian Tattoo Artists & Tattoo Machines prompted that very question... answer it, here's a very brief summary on who I am & why I know about this Tattoo Machine stuff.

As it was for everyone wanting to get into the Tattoo Trade back in the 70's, you'd get tattooed, you watched everything that was being done & listened to everything intently.
90% of the time, what you'd see or hear from one week to the next didn't really make much sense, but as a secretly aspiring Tattoo Artist, it was up to you to start formulating how everything interconnected.
You were quite literally building yourself a "Tattoo Information Jigsaw Puzzle" without any guidance.

If you were really lucky, you might go home with a key bit of information to help with assembling that Tattoo Jigsaw Puzzle.
And if you were extremely lucky & made a really good connection with your chosen Tattoo Artist, then he might just provide you with that elusive piece of the Tattoo Puzzle...
...a complete running Machine!!

I was extremely lucky & so with that Machine, I was then able to start my entry into the Tattoo Trade.
Although mostly self-taught, at that time (mid 70's) I was heavily influenced by several of Australia's Tattoo Legends.
Chris "Spider" Webb who was renowned for his Machines, knowledge on building them & laying in Color.
Dan Robinson (Snr.) who was renowned for his amazing Designs along with Colors that were bright & solid.

During my career I've been lucky enough to work with & tattoo some of the legends of the Australian Tattoo scene.
Dan Robinson Snr, "Nutz" Robinson, Bev Robinson, Steve Paul, Fletch, Charlie Wagner, Jed Hill, Beans, to name just a few.

I've also had the good fortune to meet, work, share knowledge & build Machines for some amazing Tattoo Artists from Overseas too.
Shelly (Israel), Laura Vida (USA), Mike MaloneScott Sterling, Lance McLain (att Hawaii),
Bebert & Chris (France)

When I retired from Tattooing in the mid 90's, I sold everything "tattoo related" to TonyB, a young (back then) Tattoo Artist working in Western Australia.
From that point, I had little to do with anything Tattoo related aside from making the occasional custom piece of jewellery for various Tattoo Artists that knew me.

Just recently I was approached to help teach a young guy about tuning his Machines.
And because I'm an Old School Tattoo Artist, part of my teaching means we'll be Hand Building Machines...
...then a limited number will be built & available for sale.