Some Catching Up …

ThingsInks-new-strapline1Things & Ink published its final print issue in the fall of 2015, The Horror Issue (#12), and will now exist as an online presence with blog posts and in the world with special art exhibitions and events.  I was sad to hear the news that we would no longer print magazines, but I understood my editor’s reasons for the decision and was happy to hear we were not just disappearing.  I must say that I am so proud of what we have accomplished in 2 years.

This final issue is absolutely stunning, we are going out with a bang (definitely not a whimper).  My article for this issue features the tattoo work of Róbert Borbás of Rooklet Ink and Grindesign, some photos from the Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland (the place every lover of horror must go), and a discussion about loving and being drawn to dark imagery:  tattoos, philosophy, Alfred Hitchcock, and Giger … Boo!  One of my favourite topics to explore phenomenologically!

Previous issues included Stripped Back (#9; three covers available), The Anatomy Issue (#10), and Fruity (#11).  Photos of these covers can be found below.  For Stripped Back, I wrote the final update to my chest tattoo and discussed its significance; concerning the Anatomy issue, I checked in with my good friend, brilliant photographer and artist Richard Sawdon Smith (The Anatomical Man); and regarding Fruity, I interviewed French graffiti and tattoo artist Fuzi about his ignorant style and talked about ‘shits & giggles’ tattoos.

There are still some back issues available of Things & Ink, as well as some tote bags, t-shirts and other fun items.  Go to our website to find our which issues are still available and grab them up while you can.  I’ll be sure to post about all our happenings and events here as well.

I will continue to blog for Things & Ink and I am very excited to say that I will also be writing for a Polish tattoo magazine, Tatuaż.  My first piece, a collaboration with my good friend Les Barany, is an interview with a young and super talented New Zealand illustration artist named Dina Wuest. Her Maori-inspired drawings make beautiful tattoo art, and I’m quite sure you will see them on skin very soon.  Check out her Etsy page and look for the issue to appear later this year.


I’m no Lazarus but I Have Returned!!

SelfieI apologize to everyone who reads this blog for my 2 year absence. I’ve just been so busy with projects and really lacking any energy to write more than I have to. Also much of my philosophical skills and knowledge are being well exercised at Things & Ink and with teaching. If you don’t subscribe to the magazine, you should think about — it’s a great publication, utterly unique in the tattoo industry. Here’s a taste of what I’ve been doing over there – in print – but do go check out their blog, I do posts from time to time:

Issue 1, The Launch Issue: “Old School for Girls” — There’s Peggy the Pin-up Girl, but what about Paul the pin-up guy?

Issue 2, The Face Issue: “Herstory I & II” — a history of facial tattooing for women and a commentary on why Western culture lacks this tradition. Naomi Wolf is discussed.

Issue 3, The Love Issue: “How Do I Love Thee? Let me Ink The Ways” — a discussion of tattoo love symbols. Gadamer is the philosopher of the discussion.

Issue 4, The Art Issue: “Tattoo Art Styles: Three Different Genres of Tattooing Explained” and “His Story” a review of Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand’s book (she published it but it is written by Sailor Jerry) and a short interview with her.

Issue 5, The Celebration Issue: “A Celebration of My Absurd Life” — a discussion of my breastplate tattoo meaning, where Camus is the star.

Issue 6, The Modification Issue: “Lived Experience Colours Me” — where I interview members of KMFDM about their tattoos and the main philosophical concept of the discussion is ‘Erlebnis’; also “A Celebration of My Absurd Life: Breastplate Update” is just an update on my chest tattoo

Issue 7, The Identity Issue: “I am My Tattoos” — A discussion of the tattoo artist’s role in the identity of the tattoo. Hume is the philosopher discussed.

Issue 8 is in progress but It’s looking to be another killer issue. I’m in the midst of discussions with Vince Hemingson of Vanishing Tattoo fame about his project, The Tattoo Project: Body. Art. Image. Be sure and check out the Kickstarter project page for this amazing and most worthy project. There is also a FB page, and several You Tube Videos.

I almost quit blogging, until I got a chance read all the nice comments people sent me. So, thanks! ❤ But to strike a balance I will try to blog short things here or at least do a mental wandering of what I am working on for the magazine (I only have so much space in the magazine so it might help to exercise some demons and approaches here). Philosophy is so much apart of tattooing, and I think many of the greats we treasure have something useful to say … or fun to say. And sometimes I just love fucking with them.

Things & Ink Launch Day is Here!!

Things & Ink:  The Launch Issue CoverAs of today, you can order the very first issue of Things & Ink if you live in the UK. Information on ordering/subscribing for rest of Europe and North America will be available shortly. Click on the link here for details about ordering/subscribing to the magazine and a very cool video of the cover shoot.

The Cover photo is a modern reproduction of a famous photo of Artoria Gibbons (born Anna Mae Burlingston), infamous sideshow tattooed lady from Wisconsin. If you don’t know who Artoria Gibbons was, click here to read all about her.Artoria Gibbons

The beautiful woman posing for our cover is the talented London tattoo artist, Claudia de Sabe. You can read and follow her fantastic blog here.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again — I’m so proud to be a part of this project, a tattoo magazine I am proud to read and purchase (one that doesn’t look like a thinly veiled porn magazine). So many talented people are involved with this magazine, it’s an honour to have my work appear with theirs. It’s also been an honour and a pleasure to work alongside the brilliant and creative Alice Snape!

I think it is safe to say this magazine is a real game changer, and in so many ways (you’ll have to buy it to see what I mean). A new bar has been set, and the response will be interesting and fascinating to see. I am very interested to see the response from women, and from the gay community. My hope is that all those people who have felt left out or cast aside by tattoo literature currently available will feel welcomed and accepted with Things & Ink – you see, appreciation of all things tattoo culture knows no boundaries or limits. It doesn’t count the number of tattoos you have (in fact 0 is fine), it doesn’t require women to be a size 2 and look like a well-endowed porn star, it doesn’t say being cool is buying Ed Hardy $125 T-shirts, and it doesn’t focus mostly on the heterosexual aspects of ink. Tattoo culture is for ANYONE with an open mind and an interest. So be a part of the revolution in tattoo literature – get your copy of Things & Ink. 🙂

Things & Ink

Things and Ink @ the London Tattoo Convention This Weekend

Come by and say hi at the London Convention. Our table is in the vault — V51.
More information about the London Convention can be found here.

Another little teaser ….

Today Alice released a little teaser about the Things and Ink magazine cover. It’s gonna be awesome. 🙂

You can follow us on Twitter too, for updates and news.

Jessie Knight, England's First Professional Lady Tattooist

Things and Ink: A compendium of thoughts in ink

So proud and honoured to be a part of this project as a permanent contributor.  My first piece is on pin-up boys and old school tradition. 

Finally, a magazine that will appeal to women, to LBGT, to those with few or no tattoos,to those who seek something a little more academic and insightful, to those who want an artsy (not porny) look at the skin, culture, and art of tattoo …. basically, we seek to appeal to those who just are unimpressed or not into the tattoo magazines currently available.  People just like us.

So, click on the link above for a little sneak peak and the issue will be out in November. 



Transformation in Memoriam

My Maneki NekoI will admit, I have never been a fan of “in memoriam” tattoos … for myself that is. I mean, I understand why people get them and that, for some, they can bring comfort and joy. But, for sentimental little me, it just would be something that would make me feel the absence and loss more strongly, and on a daily basis, rather than any positive benefit. So, with many beloved friends and family having died during my life, I’ve been content to look at pictures or home movies, and reflect on my memories of my time with them rather than ink something in memoriam on my skin. This being said, I do think the tattooed body is filled with ‘moments in time’ captured in ink; many of the tattoos on my own body reflect a special time in my life, or a certain mindset, or a moment of self-defining – almost like wearing a colourful photo album and biography on my flesh. In this way, I guess one could say tattoos are ‘in memoriam’ to moments of life gone (aka no dead people required). Maybe. But I digress.

On Friday of last week I lost one of my dearest friends to cancer. He was 16.5 years old and he was with me for over 15 years; by my side, snuggling, inspiring, zen-ful, loving, purring and always meowing. Mr. Mog, my big ginger buddha, died of natural causes related to a cancer that metastasized in his lungs. He stopped breathing – oxygen stopped flowing to his heart and brain, and he died on the floor in the vet’s office right in front of me. Mr. Mog had an adopted bother who died in February 2011, the day after Valentine’s Day to be exact. Herr Kohl was a mere 10 years old, and he had to be euthanized because of a neurological disease that was swelling his brain and causing horrible seizures and paralysis. Both my boys were rescued, one from the human society and the other from an apartment he was abandoned in by a negligent woman – both now gone, and even being the existentialist i am i can confidently say both are at some kind of peace in that they are no longer suffering. As much as I have come to terms with all of this, I miss them terribly. They were loving boys, and quite the little characters.

I don’t bring this up to make anybody weepy, but rather as context for what I will next say. One of my tattoos seems to now have become an ‘In Memoriam” – it has transitioned from an inspiration to a signification, and completely without my intention. I noticed this the other day when i got out of the shower and caught a glimpse of my upper back. In the middle of my upper back, I have a Maneki Neko tattoo – the Japanese beckoning cat, something one sees in many Asian stores and restaurants. I’ve always loved those little figures, they make me smile. Mine has his right paw raised high, he is tri-coloured (orange, black and white), and his gold coin has the Japanese symbols for love and harmony inscribed (the two things I need the most luck with in my life, the two things i can honestly say both cognitively and philosophically constantly escape my full grasp …. I cannot be alone here). When my artist and I were drawing this guy up, I wanted to use both Kohl and Mog as inspiration: Mog’s round body and facial expression, along with his orange and white colourings, and from Kohl the black and white coloration, and a largely white belly. Mac, having been my artist for years, drew this design up PERFECTLY and EXACTLY the way I wanted it – so amazing. In doing this, in taking inspiration from my feline boys, I ended up giving myself a tattoo that would eventually, inevitably, turn into a memorial tattoo, even though I did it completely unwittingly. As much as I knew my boys were mortal, nothing supernatural or eternal about these lovely kitties, I guess it never crossed my mind that one day they’d be gone. Or, rather, it was something I didn’t want to think about. Why make myself overly existential and depressed … and rather all goth about things?

There is irony here, and it relates to Gadamer – one of my favourite philosophers. As you probably know if you read this blog, a few weeks back I gave a paper on Gadamer (Hermeneutical Aesthetics and the Art of Tattoo) for the Association of Art Historians, and I’ve also blogged on Gadamer before on this very topic, and I have an article on this very topic appearing in a volume on Tattoos and Philosophy … my point is Gadamer has been very present in my philosophical mind for a long while now. As much as I am rather Kantian at the moment, Gadamer is never far from my thoughts. But I guess I never extended his words on ‘Art as Symbol’ to myself, I never took the self-reflection to its farthest extent – it never smacked me in the face, until now. To refresh, art as symbol: “… a work of art is never fully exhausted by the symbols that carry it, but does not exist apart from those who or that which sustain it. The symbol resonates with suggestions of meanings, and at the same time we are also presented with the notion that not all is given to us. There is an excess of meaning in an artwork, and simultaneously there is the promise of more meaning, and the promise of there being other meanings.” My tattoo has evolved in meaning in that it has taken on more meaning, a new status I guess you could say – the ‘in memoriam’. The death of my oldest feline friend has revealed, through self-reflection, that my tattoo is a reminder of his life, of Kohl’s life, and what they brought to mine. They inspired the tattoo in its design, and so they are inextricably bound up in its meaning. This is not to say that my Maneki Neko won’t take on more meanings later or evolve in other ways of significance, but as of right now it has come to mean both a traditional Japanese symbol of luck (for love and harmony), AND a symbolic visual of the two feline friends that are now gone from my life. I guess another lesson to learn from Gadamer is that act of self-reflection that comes about with art as symbol, or here tattoo art as symbol, is also itself sublime – the tattoo’s meaning and the self-reflection one will encounter are never complete, never fully understood, and there is promise of more to come and with new understandings.

Maybe there is harmony to be had in this – I get to remember my boys, treasure my time with them, and discover more about myself. There is definitely love there, for the furry feet I now miss.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: