LANGO
Interview with the tattoo artist

Lango is a legendary tattoo and street artist I interviewed when I was working for Acclaim magazine.

With a constant increasing quantity of new faces showing up every morning, it is currently essential to find new perspectives for whom who hope to unite personal creations and commercial success in the trendy landscape of tattooing.
With nearly twenty years of practice, the Brazilian artist Lango today masters various tools like Guns, brushes, or even spraycans, with a highly recognizable and tasteful style. Without any art school background to orientate his technique, this multi-faceted creative artist now develops his original approach in his San Diego studio, from where he gives acclaim’s readers the opportunity to know a little bit more about his life and views.

Lango interview published in Acclaim

Lango interview published in Acclaim

COULD YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT LANGO?
I grew up in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, where I started tagging at a very young age and was exposed to the skateboarding culture, punk rock, metal (Sarcofago), and was always hanging around older crowds. I had a few friends that were tattooers and they encouraged me to start tattooing, in spite of my hesitation. I started working at a tattoo shop as a counter person during the day and tattooed people at home.

Nice ink on neck by Lango

Nice ink on neck by Lango

WHAT IS THE CREATIVE PROCESS BEHIND YOUR WORK AS A TATTOO ARTIST, A PAINTER, OR A GRAFFITI ARTIST?
I use a different approach for each medium, but a lot of times it all clashes together. When I paint with oils or acrylics, I try to stay away from tattoo imagery. When I use water color, I work more with graphic tattoo related themes. My approach to tattooing is either graphic/traditional or very painterly, depending on the subject matter. With graffiti, I prefer letters over characters, but I also stay away from tattoo imagery when painting characters and look for a medieval or experimental character. My style focuses on old traditional and medieval imagery (skulls, dragons, snakes, witches, heraldic lurkers, etc.), and good old bio-mech.

Big graffiti mural by the artist

Big graffiti mural by the artist

AFTER ALL THOSE YEARS IN THE BUSINESS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD OF TATTOO TODAY?
When I started tattooing, it was so hard to find information. It was like a secret world so whenever you learned something like making needles you knew that you learned something fundamental and that you had to master that also. I was lucky that I was accidentally around some of the best tattooers in Rio of that time. Nowadays, you can buy everything from home, and there are numerous TV shows related to tattooing. Thanks to those shows, every middle aged person that works into a tattoo shop brings some kind of wack reference, or sad story that has nothing to do with tattooing and expects to get a sleeve in two hours. What was so fascinating about tattoo was the fact that it was underground. Whoever was heavily tattooed was like a rebel, an outlaw. Now every poser has neck and hand tattoos before getting anything else.

Lango arm tattoo

Lango arm tattoo

MIKE GIANT
Interview with the US artist

Mike Giant is a wonderful artist

Acclaimed worldwide for his prolific work in graffiti, illustration, design and tattoo, Mike Giant is one of the most complete artists of his generation.
After four years studying architecture, Mike Giant started drawing graphics for Think Skateboard in San Francisco, where he spent ten years securing his place in the world of art. It wasn’t until 1998 that he began his inking career, quickly spreading his unique and recognizable style through some of the most reputable shops in USA. Who said Mike “Giant”?
More about Mike.

Mike Giant sexy girls with punk tattoos

Mike Giant sexy girls with punk tattoos

YOU HAVE AN IMPRESSIVE BACKGROUND IN THE GRAPHIC DESIGN INDUSTRY, SO WHY DID YOU WAIT THAT LONG BEFORE STARTING YOUR TATTOO CAREER?
I was just waiting for the right teacher. I had seen the ugly side of tattooing early on, so I knew it would have to be just the right situation for me to get involved. I had been getting tattooed by Nalla in San Francisco in the mid 90s. He was working at Tattoo City then. We got to be friends, and then he bought East Side in NYC, and offered to teach me how to tattoo so I could go to NY and work for him there. At the time I was doing Photoshop and web work for an animation company in SF. I was looking for a new direction in my life, and it seemed like a reasonable next step.

Mike Giant graffiti

Mike Giant graffiti

HOW DOES THE PERMANENT ESSENCE OF TATTOO AFFECT YOUR APPROACH TO DRAWING, COMPARED TO ILLUSTRATION AND (EVEN MORE) GRAFFITI, WHICH ARE REALLY TRANSIENT BY NATURE?
I approach illustration and tattoo design from basically the same point. There are more limitations in skin, but the way I execute the idea to fruition feels the same. To me, the tattoo will last the life of the wearer, maybe 90 years? I’ve seen illustrations that are a few hundred years old. So what’s more “permanent” really? Graffiti is something I just do on the spot these days. I do it when it feels right. I don’t draw much graffiti at all anymore.

Mike Giant Scissors sexy girl

Scissors sexy girl

AS AN ILLUSTRATOR, YOU ARE FAMOUS FOR WORKING ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN BLACK AND WHITE, SO IS YOUR REALLY COLORFUL TATTOO STYLE A MATTER OF MEDIUM?
Yes, I’d be quite happy to only do black and grey tattoos. I’ve got nothing against color though. I have tons of color on my own body. But, I’m red and green color-blind, so I don’t see subtlety in tone and hue. Somehow that has worked to my advantage in the modern commercial art market. Tattoos need high contrast color schemes to hold up over time. Luckily, that works well with my simplistic sense of color.

mike giant skateboard girl

Skateboard girl

AFTER MORE THAN TEN YEARS LIVING AROUND THE WORLD, YOU FINALLY CAME BACK TO YOUR NATIVE CITY ALBUQUERQUE WHERE YOU OPENED A TATTOO SHOP (STAY GOLD). WAS THIS NEW MEXICO ENVIRONMENT AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR GROWING IDENTITY AS AN ARTIST?
Well, since I’ve been back here for a few years, I can see just how much of my identity is from this place. I feel comfortable here.
I love the sky, the clean air, the seasons, the food, the women, and the cheap living. It’s a good life. It feels good to make art that pays homage to this wonderful place in the world. And at times, I still feel a real bond with the Bay Area. I spent 10 formative years there. It really set the stage for what’s happening right now. I also see my time in London and New York as really important times in developing my identity as an artist.

Mike Giant eagle and snake

Eagle and snake fighting

FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, YOU DID ALL THE ARTWORK FOR A CLOTHING COMPANY CALLED REBEL8. DO YOU CONSIDER THIS WORK LIKE ANOTHER WAY TO GET YOUR ART ON PEOPLE’S BODIES?
I’ve been drawing graphics for t-shirts for many years. I love graphic t-shirts. Always have. A few years ago, I was approached by my friend Josh to start an exclusive label. I had been doing a lot of illustrations for various companies, and he thought I had enough of a fan base to go solo. So we got the ball rolling and it’s been great ever since. We’re growing fast, and having a lot of fun. We’ve got some ill shit lined up for 2007.

DID YOUR SUCCESS AS A WORLDWIDE COMMISSIONED ILLUSTRATOR CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TATTOOING, AS YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT FOR ECONOMIC REASONS ANYMORE?
Yes, things have changed. I never thought I could earn more money doing freelance illustrations than tattooing, but that’s the current state. And frankly, I enjoy the time alone in my studio more than the time I spend at the shop now. It’s something I’ll continue to do for the rest of my life, but only on a select group of old friends, almost as a favor. I have a lot of love for tattooing. I respect it. It kicked my ass. I’m almost suited, and I still get excited to feel the sting. It’s just something I don’t need to do for a job anymore.

JOSH FORD
Interview with the tattoo artist

Josh Ford interview about his experience in the tattoo industry

Josh used to be a bit of a knuckle head when he was a kid, never really fit into following rules and trying his best to piss off anyone that wasn’t like him. Here is an interview I did for Acclaim magazine.
Josh thought tattooing was for tough guys and rebels, which is what initially drew him in when he was a teenager. Ironically, getting into tattooing helped him to grow up and become a better person.
More about Josh.

NOW YOU’VE BEEN WORKING FOR A WHILE, WHAT ARE THE NEW BOUNDARIES YOU WANT TO REACH?
I don’t know about being accomplished… I feel like I get better every year, I think that’s really what I strive for. I look at guys like Grime, Horiyoshi III, Filip Leu, Adam Ciferri… more than I could list. I see those guys as accomplished, I see them as major contributors artistically to our art. I’m just constantly trying to get better, cleaner tattooing and furthering my art. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel accomplished, but I’m okay with that. I think it’s just fuel to push ahead. Right now, I’m really focusing a lot on my machine building as well. That has been going well, and I’m extremely grateful for all who have supported me in that endeavor.

Josh Ford interview published in Acclaim magazine

Josh Ford interview published in Acclaim magazine

WITH MORE AND MORE TATTOO ARTISTS EXHIBITED IN TRADITIONAL ART SPACES, DO YOU THINK THAT TATTOO TENDS TO BECOME ACCEPTED AS AN ENTIRE ART FORM BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
I definitely think it’s more accepted, that’s for sure. You see it in commercial ads, on sports players, actors. Lot’s of tattooers are also making successful crossovers into other artistic mediums, I think that’s amazing. It’s nice to not be immediately looked at as a scumbag these days, I can appreciate that.

Mix of Josh Ford's artworks

Mix of Josh Ford’s artworks

ON ANOTHER HAND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE VERY COMMERCIAL STATUS OF TATTOO THOSE DAYS?
When I first got into tattooing 12 years ago, I NEVER would have imagined it going to where it is today. It’s unreal how much change has gone on in that time, unreal. I personally am not real hip on the whole commercialization of tattooing. It has it’s bonuses, like making more people accept it as art and less ridicule. At the same time, it has it’s downside. It’s making the art I love more of a business, that bums me out a little. I guess there always has to be a balance though. I think it’s cool that some tattooers are getting a chance to really make a comfortable living for themselves. I know that when I started tattooing, I didn’t really ever think about providing for a family, but I do. I’m a little concerned about the future of tattooing. There’s always the fear of government stepping in too much or oversaturation of tattooers (which is pretty much already the case). Tattooing is on a big climb right now, and it’s scary to know what that might lead to, good or bad.

Pistol tattoo by Josh Ford

Pistol tattoo by Josh Ford

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T WORK ON YOUR ART?
I’ve got my beautiful wife and two wonderful children, that’s always a good part of my life. Other than that, when not tattooing I’m either teaching and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or I’m working on my tattoo machine company “Honorable Irons”.

Swiss knife inked by Josh

Swiss knife inked by Josh

ANY FUNNY TATTOO STORY TO FINISH?
Funny tattoo stories? I’ve got a ton of those. Here’s one of my favorites and pretty simple. I was tattooing in Arkansas for a year, and I had a guy come in to get his name tattooed on his arm. He was the stereotypical redneck hillbilly, straight out of the country. So, I get done tattooing him, and about 10 minutes later I get a call from the guy all pissed off. He says “Hey man, you did my tattoo back-ards (that’s hillbilly for backwards)”. So I say, “what do you mean it’s backwards?” He says “I’m looking at it right now and it’s f*****n backards!” I say “You’re looking at it right now? Are you looking in a mirror?” Then there’s a pause for a few seconds and he quickly says “sorry” and hangs up. That’s always been a pretty entertaining story.

Various arm tattoos by Josh Ford

Various arm tattoos by Josh Ford

JESSE SMITH
From walls to skin / Interview with the tattoo artist

Jesse Smith interview

I always had a problem dealing with tattoo art.
From tribal designs to Japanese goldfishes, to old school skulls, I always thought that most of the people involved in the business suffered a serious lack of inspiration, and a really poor sense of creativity.
Most of them are simply unable to show the beginning of a personal style, which led me to always maintain a certain distance from their so called “art”. Then you have people like Jesse Smith coming up to kick the shit out of the clichés, and to blow up all my stupid stereotyped ideas. Damn! This guy’s art is so rad it makes me feel like I want to take the next plane to the US, and get my skin inked from head to hands. Hey Jesse, how does your schedule look for next week?
More about Jesse.

Jesse Smith interview published in Acclaim magazine

Jesse Smith interview published in Acclaim magazine

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE GROWING UP?
I was born in Tacoma Park, Maryland and raised everywhere else. My father was in the Military so we traveled all over the world. I lived all up and down the east coast of the U.S. and spent about 8 years in Europe (Germany, Italy and England). Being that we moved around so much I had a lot of time to myself towards the beginning of every new place. So I spent a lot of that time drawing and hanging out with my brothers. I graduated High school in Heidelberg, Germany and that is where I feel I really started to lean towards a style. The Graff scene in Germany is overwhelming. You really can’t go anywhere without seeing an awesome production laced wall. I spent a great deal of my time in Germany doing graffiti up until I graduated high school.

Jesse Smith cat attack tattoo artwork

Jesse Smith cat attack tattoo artwork

SO, HOW DID YOU TURN FROM WALLS TO SKIN?
My family didn’t really have enough money to send me to college so I ended up joining the Army, which landed me in Ft. Eustis, Virginia. That is where I met this fella named Carlos who was tattooing out of his house. He taught me how to make a ghetto gun and I started lighting up some of my buddies. I initially only planned on doing a couple of tattoos, but the demand kept me rolling, and I eventually built up a pretty decent portfolio. When I got out of the Army I ventured up to Richmond, Virginia and started my freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University to pursue a degree in Fine Arts. I rolled around to all the local tattoo shops with my portfolio and eventually landed a job in a production shop outside of a Military base (Ft. Lee) where I had tons of G.I.’s to practice on.

Jax artwork

Jax artwork by Jesse Smith

DID YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN ART BEFOREHAND?
Not much. I had taken a ton of art classes while in High school, but most of what I had to offer at that time came from drawing in my room. It wasn’t until a couple years of college that stuff really began to click.

Luchaman

Jesse Smith Luchaman

YOUR STYLE IS REALLY PERSONAL, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?
Man, I really don’t know. All my stuff looks pretty normal to me. I try and bend it as much as possible and pay as much respect to light source as possible. A lot of people describe my work as New School, but I think it leans more towards Low Brow.

Symbiotic Romance tattoo by Jesse Smith

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF TATTOO ARTISTS IN FINE ART GALLERIES?
I think it’s awesome. It’s definitely a direction that I’ve been trying to give more attention to lately. Although I love to tattoo, painting grants a lot more freedom. You’re not limited by your canvas or your client.

The Escape artwork

The Escape artwork

ANY PROJECTS GOING ON?
Got a bunch of stuff in the works. I’ve been working adamantly on a couple of body suits and a couple large paintings. Really can’t wait to finish those up!

Werewolf Sweat Ervest

Werewolf Sweat Ervest

ANGELIQUE HOUTKAMP
Interview with the Dutch tattoo artist

Angelique Houtkamp is a Dutch tattoo artist I interviewed.

From swallows to knives, from pin-ups to broken hearts, all the traditional tattoo flash imagery finds a new breath in the romantic and feminine style of Dutch artist Angelique Houtkamp.
Angelique’s work has expanded to an international audience using media like canvas, clothing and sculpture. She has a real love for Australia and she plans to return before the end of the year. Anticipating the pleasure to welcome her, we exchanged some words about her journey and vision of art.
Published in Acclaim magazine.

Georgette print by the Duch tattoo artist Angelique Houtkamp

Georgette print by the Duch tattoo artist Angelique Houtkamp

HOW DOES A DUTCH GIRL IN HER 30s COME TO TATTOO?
When I turned 19, I figured out there were two career options for me, tattoo or music. I was a musician for about 10 years but wasn’t any good. Around that time, we had maybe three tattoo shops in Amsterdam, so I tried to get an apprenticeship but couldn’t get in. I was pretty shy and didn’t really like the people involved, so I got kind of discouraged. However, I always had local and global tattooist friends, and I went to nearly every big European tattoo convention. So throughout the years, I got a better understanding about the way things worked. At one point, I left my job and didn’t know what to do next. I asked a really good friend to teach me, and he did. By this time I was 30, and I wouldn’t want it any different though. I got a lot more wise and confident in those 11 years, and when I started tattooing I was more my own person and knew what I wanted.

Angelique Houtkamp interview published in Acclaim magazine

Angelique Houtkamp interview published in Acclaim magazine

YOUR ART IS REALLY OLD SCHOOL INFLUENCED, HOW WAS TATTOOING DIFFERENT BACK IN DAYS?
I like to think it was way more romantic, more about basic feelings, like love, pride, fear and death. Especially for men, it was a way to show you were tough and not to be messed with. In England and Germany, around the ‘40s, a lot of guys got their neck and hands tattooed… and that was it! They’d be wearing their jacket, and everybody would think they were covered in tattoos. If they had more cash, they’ll do their forearms, so they could roll up their sleeves. Nowadays, it’s more about conveying that you have a good taste. People spend a lot of time and thought on their tattoos and what they want them to mean. I like working in street shops because some guy comes in and wants his girlfriend’s name tattooed on his arm, just because he walked past the shop and thought it would be a good idea. Somehow for me impulsiveness is the essence of tattooing.

Angelique Houtkamp various tattoo artworks

Angelique Houtkamp various tattoo artworks

HOW DOES WORKING ON YOUR OWN CANVAS DIFFER FROM INKING SOMEBODY’S SKIN?
A couple of years ago, after an article in Juxtapoz magazine, Outré gallery asked me if they could sell my prints. So when I participated in a group show at their gallery last September, I came in Melbourne for three weeks. It’s the best city ever. Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, they got nothing on Melbourne. Great people, loads of bars and restaurants, good shopping, and cockatoos galore, like we have pigeons. Since then, we’ve been working on a book about my work, which will be published next October on top of a solo show at the gallery. So I’ll have to come over again. I also just designed the new poster for the Perth independent film festival Revelation. Otherwise, Kate at Chapel Tattoo in Melbourne tattooed me a Koala on my leg. Australians were making fun of me, while I tried to explain that back home I really would be crazy cool. And I am! I have gotten laid over this koala tattoo… No, that’s a lie, but that is how cool it is. I think me and Australia like each other.

MIKE RUBENDALL
Tattoo Age by Vice video

Full series of the video about US tattoo artist Mike Rubendall by Vice for the Tattoo Age series.

Video about the famous American tattoo artist called Mike Rubendall.
Vice Tattoo Age video series introduce Mike Rubendall from Massapequa, New York. In the series we learns about his unique work, visits his tattoo shop, Kings Avenue Tattoo, and meets his mentors and friends, including Danish tattoo legend, Henning Jorgensen, Frank Romano, and acclaimed actor Steve Guttenberg.
More about the US tattoo artist Mike Rubendall.
More about Vice

Huge black and white back tattoo by Mike Rubendall tattoo age

Huge black and white back tattoo by Mike Rubendall, the artist presented in the tattoo age series.

Vice Tattoo Age Part. 1 video about Mike Rubendall.

Here comes the first part of Mike Rubendall presentation for the Vice Tattoo Age series from Vice video.
The talented US tattoo artist takes us with him in a tour inside his neighborhood.
In this video Mike Rubendall shows us the little town where he spent his childhood.
This video his a great opportunity to discover the artist in his working environment.
Mike Rubendall also brings us in his tattoo shop called Kings Ave Tattoo.
Get inspired and get inked!

Amazing tattoo by Mike Rubendall Vice Tattoo Age

Amazing tattoo by Mike Rubendall

Mike Rubendall video for Vice Part.2.

Here comes the second part of the Tattoo Age series directed by Vice video.
In this new video, Mike Rubendall talks about his beginings as a tattoo artist.
He told us how he was guided by the tattoo veteran and his close friend Frank Romano.
You will also see exclusive footage of Mike getting inked by the legendary Filip Leu.

Front tattoo by Mike Rubendall

Front tattoo by Mike

Mike Rubendall final video by Vice.

Here comes the final part of the Tattoo Age series from Vice video.

In this video you will learn more about the inspiring American tattoo artist.
Mike owes two shops and has three children.
The artist also has to face a high demand and must organize a hectic tattoo schedule.
Watch the video to discover how Mike is able to meet the deadlines and make it works.

Tattoo Mike Rubendall

Tattoo by the US artist Mike Rubendall

TROY DENNING
Vice Tattoo Age video

Full video series about tattoo artist Troy Denning by Vice Tattoo Age

Trailer of the Troy Denning video by Vice.

New video from the Vice Tattoo Age series.
This time Vice introduce NYC-based Troy Denning for a fun trailer.
The man has a lot of things to say.
In this trailer you can hear really funny stories from the talented US artist.
Discover more inspiring artworks from the US tattoo artist Troy Denning.
Learn more about Vice and their video series.

Amazing Japanese-style tattoo by the US artist Troy Denning

Amazing Japanese-style tattoo by the US artist Troy Denning

Vice Tattoo Age new video presents the work of the US legendary tattoo artist Troy Denning. Part.1

New video from the Vice Tattoo Age series.
In this first part of the video series proposed by Vice, we follow the artist Troy Denning.
Troy shows us the town where he lives and works.
We discover more about the recognized artist who now runs on of the best tattoo parlors in the city of New York.

Troy Denning works Vice Tattoo Age

Troy Denning works on a new arm tattoo

http://youtu.be/sEnGSbwsRRw

Troy Denning new video about his tattoo art. Part.2

Video series about the US tattoo artist Troy Denning by Vice video.
This inspiring video is the second installment of a series about some of the most exciting talent in the world of inked skins.
The series is produced by Vice video.
In this interview, Troy comes back on his tattoo history, and tell us more about his artistic background.
You can have a look at the third part of the series, and don’t hesitate to check the previous one if you missed it.

Portrait of Troy Denning in action

Portrait of Troy Denning in action, working on a new artwork

Troy Denning final chapter of the video series directed by Vice video.

Video from tattoo artist Troy Denning.
Part.3 of the Vice video series.
In this last part of the art video series about Troy, we learn more about the US tattoo artist. The tattoo legend share his interests and tells us more about his really close friend and talented tattoo artist Kiku.

Sexy naked girl tattooed by Troy Denning

Sexy naked girl tattooed by Troy Denning

GRIME
Vice Tattoo Age

Full video series about tattoo artist Grime by Vice Tattoo Age

Grime tattoo trailer of the video series brought to you by Vice.

I like free stuffs.
I like cool tattoo artists with a personal vision.
I don’t know much about moral values.
So when the Brooklyn headquarter of Vice magazine contacted me yesterday to tell me about their new video series involving tattoo and filth, I mean Grime, I knew I had to like it.
Check the official website of the tattoo studio managed by artist Grime.

grime hand tattoo

Slap people with style with a Grime hand tattoo

Grime is a great tattoo artist and he runs a tattoo studio called >Skull and Sword.
The guy used to work with tattoo legend Ed Hardy (such a shame that Christian Audigier turned the name and awesome artworks into an embarrassing T-shirt brand).
Grime now works with cool cats including Lango who I previously interviewed for Acclaim magazine in Australia a couple of years ago.
I did post the Lango interview here if you feel like you want to discover more inspiring tattoo artworks.

As for now you can enjoy the trailer of the Vice video as part of their Tattoo Age series that was released this morning.

On this blog I will provide fresh and brilliant visual content everyday.
This is probably the best thing happening on the internet since midget porn.
So if you want your life to be better but you’re afraid to miss some of my dope content you should definitively join my rss.

Grime tattoo is presented in a cool video brought to you by Vice.

First installment of Grime’s series
In this video series Vice let us know more or discover Grime tattoo style.
We meet Skull and Sword, the other tattooers at Grime’s shop.
We also learn how they strive to be constantly evolve and improve in their tattooing skills.
Vice started this series with a cool trailer last week.
Grime grew up in Grand Junction, which is a little town located in the USA.
As a teenager he was part of a small group of skaters and punk rockers.
The artist was a great skater before he caught the tattoo virus.
Before the internet era, his close friend and self-taught creative Chris Rupp showed him the basic skills of tattoo.
Influenced by people like Marcus Pacheco, Filip Leu, Ed Hardy, Aaron Cain or Timothy Hoyer, he enter the world of skin ink to become a start of the genre.
Discover more about Grime in this video presentation by Vice.

grime tattoo portrait

Portrait of the tattoo artist Grime

Second installment of the Grime video series by Vice

In this new video, Grime explains us a little more about his background.
He tells us how he used to be a young skateboarder in Grand Junction, Colorado.
At the time he was thinking that his future was in mathematics.
Learn how he bacame one of the most famous artist in the world of inking.
Vice series about theUS tattoo artist Grime continues.

Arm tattoo by the US artist Grime

Arm tattoo by the US artist Grime

Last installment of Grime’s series

This third installment of the video series brought to you by Vice shows you more about the US tattoo artist.
The tattooist tells us how he previously self-published two books based on his own art.
Grime also explain us his inner need to create all the time in order be satisfied.
More about this inspiring series by Vice

Chest tattoo by the US artist Grime

Chest tattoo by the US artist Grime

ROSE HARDY
Interview with the NZ tattoo artist

Rose Hardy interview.

Rose Hardy is probably the funniest person I’ve interviewed, and on top of that her work is super super rad. Kiwi rules!
Published in Acclaim magazine.
More about the NZ tattoo artist Rose Hardy.

Chest ink

Chest ink

Auckland-based Rose Hardy is probably one of the most exciting new tattooer coming out of the New Zealand scene. Confirmed airbrush painter, she’s also the daughter of Ed Hardy… Not the original tattoo legend though, but a kiwi homonym actually not related at all (funny isn’t it!). Currently on the road, she will demonstrate her talent in Melbourne’s Chapel Tattoo Studio until 17th of July, just before pursuing a European trip, from London to Stockholm.

Rose Hardy back tattoo

Back tattoo

LET’S START OFF WITH THE BASIC. HOW DID YOU GET INTO TATTOOING AND DO YOU HAVE ANY SORT OF FORMAL ART TRAINING?
Before I started learning tattooing I was all set to go to art school. I’m actually really glad it worked out the way it did. No student loan for me! I got my start in tattooing from Adam Craft when I was 19. He got my foot in the door, showed me the basics and helped me out a lot. Adam left the country to tattoo in Europe and after that I apprenticed under a couple of different artists, Aaron Stradwick being the last. He quit tattooing after I was well on my way working on paying customers, it was a damn shame! I feel really fortunate to have been taught and had the opportunity to work with the artists I have. In Auckland, the tattoo scene is relatively small considering the population, and unfortunately there’s not that many amazing tattooers. If you manage to land an apprenticeship, you better pray to God that what your being taught isn’t going to do more harm than good. I suppose you could say that about most cities though, there’s always the good and bad…

Back tattoo sketch by Rose Hardy

Back tattoo sketch by Rose Hardy

SO YOU’RE ON THE ROAD NOW, WHAT DIFFERENCES, IF ANY, DO YOU NOTICE BETWEEN TATTOOING INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF YOUR AUCKLAND STUDIO?
It’s pretty similar I guess, coming to Australia. People there are great and I’ve had a lot of fun tattoos to do. In Brisbane and Melbourne, people are pretty chilled and happy with what I want to give them. In Auckland people seem a little more fussy and picky – which is totally fine, but it’s awesome when someone just gives you their whole chest, or arm, and say “do whatever, I love your stuff”. I’ve actually been quite surprised, it seems like a lot more people than I expected over here are familiar with my work and want to get tattooed. It seems like I’m more popular here than I am at home! I’ll definitely be back once a year for a few months from here on in.

Painting on a vase by Rose Hardy

Painting on a vase by Rose Hardy

CAN YOU GIVE US A BRIEF FUNNY JOB STORY?
One day this woman came into the studio, she looked and acted kinda shifty and asked if I could cover up a scar she had, which was well below the belt, if you know what I mean. I told her it’s no problem and asked what kind of design she wanted, and she said “A stallion…”. So I’m like “sure, what kinda pose?”. She responds “I want it rearing up and, and… it should have a tiny… a tiny erection”. Ok, my first thought is “stallions don’t have tiny erections, do they?” Anyway I’m roughing this thing out and she adds “it should also have lettering around it saying… Stallions Nut Bar”. Then she tells me the tattoo is for her husband who left her and she’s hoping it will be healed by a certain date because she’s getting glamour shots taken for him. So we did the tattoo and everything went fine. A couple of weeks after that she came back in and got her husband’s name tattooed under the ‘tiny erection’ (I kept it well in proportion by the way). I ended up getting a call from her months later. She thanked me very much and told me the glamour shots looked great and the tattoo was a hit! Her husband is back and all is well. Happy ending…

Rose Hardy artwork

Artwork by the tattoer Rose Hardy

HOW DO YOU SEE TATTOO CULTURE AFFECTING FASHION, FINE ARTS AND THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY?
For the last three years, I have worked for Illicit in New Zealand – a clothing label/boutique/tattoo studio who have used my (and other tattoo artists) designs on some of the ranges. I also design for a US company called Tattooed Steel, who laser-etches my work onto jewellery. Tattooing is pretty mainstream now, and people will always cash in on the cool factor. The fashion industry has used tattoo designs for a long time. Some work really well I think, but on the flipside there is a shitload of traditional style designs being thrown onto clothing that don’t have a lot of artistic merit. It’s a dime a dozen. Tattoos grab your attention, so they work well in advertising. A lot of tattooers are also incredible painters / sculptors / photographers. I think it’s awesome that these days a tattooer can be taken seriously as a fine artist, to the point that they can have sell-out shows in top galleries without having the art school background. Through the years 2002-2005, alongside my friend Gary, I organized quite a few group art exhibitions in Auckland, concentrating on promoting artists who weren’t formally trained. Quite a few came from tattoo or graffiti backgrounds. They were a lot of fun (and stress) to organize and were pretty successful. If I had more time, I’d love to get back into that side of things. At the moment I barely have enough time to paint, so maybe in a few years I’ll pick it up again!