My friend Matthew and I just made a special trip out to the Frank Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. It was awesome. After a quick (65-mile) drive from Brooklyn, we arrived on the beautiful 75-acre Frazetta estate, paid our admission, and wandered the one large room, ogling and marveling at the amazing paintings on the walls. I’d seen most of them in print many times, but nothing compares to seeing them in person, actual size. The brush strokes and the physical dimension and texture of the paint on the canvas are lost in most reproductions; did I mention it was awesome?
Frank wasn’t around at the time, but his wife Ellie chatted us up for quite sometime, and regaled us with stories of Frank, his family, his art, and his business:
- Frank taught himself to paint with his left hand after a stroke a couple of years ago (an impressive example is on display at the museum).
- At one point, he wasn’t happy with one of his paintings used for a pulp novel, and his publisher arranged to credit it to his rival, Boris Vallejo, instead.
- He used to regularly paint over his classic paintings, because he was never satisfied with the published versions—not paint them again, mind you, but paint ON TOP OF the original work!
- The US Army asked Frank if they could use his “Death Dealer” character in the insignia of a division, but they thought the name wouldn’t go over very well, so they referred to him as “The Phantom Warrior.”
Although Frazetta is perhaps best known for his definitive vision of Conan the Barbarian, Death Dealer seems to be the character of Frazetta’s most often translated into skin art. Here’s a tattoo version of the painting, “Death Dealer II“, done by Stacy Sharp at Sharp Tattoo in Ronkonkoma, New York.
If you’re not familiar with Frazetta’s masterful, iconic art and illustrations, you’re missing out. Check out the Unofficial Frank Frazetta Gallery for relatively large images of many of Frazetta’s most famous works, including “Cat Girl,” above. Then, visit the Official Frazetta Art Gallery to buy posters of your favorites!
And go visit the museum, already!
I’m glad you like my custom Triceratops tattoo; I’m very fond of it, as well. Thanks for asking if Mike Bellamy and I would mind if you copy it, but the answer is: PLEASE DON’T STEAL THIS TATTOO DESIGN.
I spent many hours deliberating over the elements of this tattoo, and researching photos and other images of dinosaur fossils, flowers, other tattoos, etc. Mike built upon my ideas and research to create this awesome, original, unique tattoo design. Obviously, this isn’t a piece of flash that i picked off the wall at the tattoo shop.
I imagine that your tattoo artist would also much rather create his or her own custom design than copy someone else’s hard work. The tattoo community is more interconnected than you might think, and word gets around if an artist is stealing others’ custom artwork.
When I was planning this tattoo, one of the most helpful resources I found was a multi-part essay, “Get the Perfect Tattoo” from Off The Map Tattoo (also available in PDF format). I highly recommend reading all the sections. An excerpt from the “The Perfect Tattoo Design” section:
Many people first learning about tattoos try to find other tattoos upon which to base their own design or idea. They may spend hours looking through tattoos hoping to find the perfect design when they should be looking at the quality of the artist’s work rather than the designs themselves. Copying other people’s tattoos is disrespectful to the wearer of the tattoo, and to the artist who drew it, provided it was a custom, one-of-a-kind piece to begin with. … To get the best tattoo, it’s worth finding a lot of reference material, and bringing the images and your ideas to the tattoo artist who will be doing the tattoo, for them to look at and then incorporate into their own style.
To avoid law suits and even a laser, get your own original tattoo. The most important reason to do so is not legal, it’s ethical. Many custom tattoos tell people’s personal stories and mark unique events and experiences. Why have another person’s life written on your skin? Get a work of art that is all about you and leave out the lawyers.
Having said that, I think it would be GREAT if you got a tattoo of a dinosaur skull with flowers and vines and stuff, even a Triceratops! As I’ve pointed out on the blog, mine is certainly not the only one out there. Don’t you want yours to be original and unique, too? Work with your artist to come up with something even better than mine, and we’ll compare dinosaur tattoos. I’d even be happy to help come up with ideas. When you get your own one-of-a-kind piece done, send me a photo, and I’ll post it on the blog (and to the Flickr group)!
Thanks in advance for doing the right thing,
Sorry I haven’t posted in a while; I’ve been using my allotted blogging time to work on an Ink Nerd redesign. It’s actually in such an early stage that I shouldn’t even mention it yet, but what the the hell! Maybe I’ll post a couple of mockups and see what you guys think before I actually build out the CSS…
In the meantime, here’s flickr member djmark1972, a true ink nerd:
I first saw Mark’s tattooed digits on knuckletattoos.com, and decided to stalk him on flickr. Not only is he an ink nerd, he’s a punk rock coffee nerd! Truly a man after my own heart… Sorry, no information (yet) about the tattoo artist. Tattoo by JJ at Iron Cross Tattoo in Santa Barbara, CA.
Speaking of knuckletattoos.com, have you guys ever played around with their knuckle tattoo gun? It’s fun:
The most fun tattoo blog I’ve discovered lately is Electric Plog, from illustrator / comic book artist / tattoo artist / skateboard designer / photographer Electric Pick of Conspiracy Inc. Tattoo in Copenhagen, Denmark. I think I need to make a tattoo pilgrimage to northern Europe; they’ve got some great stuff goin’ on over there…
Not only are ‘Pick’s original custom pieces beautiful to behold, he’s a prolific blogger and a funny guy! And he ends every sentence with some number of exclamation points!!!
It seems that most of his artwork involves sexy pin-ups in a variety of themes and settings, futuristic cityscapes, robots (the good kind and the evil kind), and international espionage (for some reason, the spies are always in cute little animal costume/disguises). He also has a strange obsession with trams!
I’m also kinda hooked on the blog of Electric Pick’s partner in crime at Conspiracy Inc., Uncle Allan, and that of Allan’s wife, Princess Inferno. I know it’s weirdly voyeuristic to follow the life and times of a group of Danish friends, but it’s fun! Like reality TV, but better, because there are no commercials and everyone involved isn’t awful. Besides, you have to be a little bit of an exhibitionist to blog about yourself in the first place, right?
Other recent (not-necessarily tattoo-related) blog subscriptions include:
- the soon after now: An art-nerd blog by my former French teacher, EastVillKit, who also happens to be a music nerd and a comix nerd. He is both insightful and unpretentious in his descriptions of art and life; a rare combination in my experience.
- Hooper’s Electric: Check out Thomas Hooper’s beautiful work; I especially like his big circular patterned blackwork pieces, of perfect radial symmetry and mesmerizing intricacy. Bonus points for working right here in Brooklyn (at least some of the time)! Double bonus points cuz I saw a guy with an impressive tattoo on the subway platform, and then recognized the piece (and the guy) on Hooper’s blog!
- Measure for Measure: Roseanne Cash, Suzanne Vega, Andrew Bird, and Darrell Brown describe their songwriting (and recording!) process, along with anecdotes from their careers, in this excellent New York Times blog.
What are you reading lately?
- Ink Nerd had a huge spike in unique visits last weekend, coinciding with opening weekend of The Incredible Hulk. Lots of people have Hulk tattoos on their minds, I guess… I found this one by Christiano at In the Shadows Tattoo (in Porto Alegre, Brasil) on flickr (there’s also another one in Devil Dinosaur’s Geek Tattoos group)! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I really want to, despite the lackluster reviews. It’s such a great character; why is it so hard to make a good movie? Oh, well, maybe Ink Nerd will get another spike when it comes out on DVD!
- I started a new job; it’s more of a corporate environment (not very punk rock, I’ve decided), so I haven’t felt comfortable baring my ink at work (also not punk rock). I haven’t seen ANY exposed tattoos on other employees, so I’m going to play it cool for now. Occasionally, my squares poke out from a rolled-up cuff, but I don’t think anyone has noticed. If they have, they probably think it’s a band-aid or something (I get that a lot… don’t ask me).
- I saw an excellent dinosaur tattoo on a fellow straphanger this morning, but he was chatting up a young lady the whole time, so I didn’t want to butt in and ask him to be Random Encounters Part Deux. It was a small, colorful (green with purple markings, or vice versa) theropod, maybe an Ornithomimus, or perhaps a Dromiceiomimus. Very cool, from what I saw, stretching from mid-bicep down past the elbow. I would have liked to get a photo (or at least a better view), but alas, it was not to be. I’ll just have to keep my eyes open around the neighborhood so I can stalk him. I love it when I see dinosaur tattoos out in the world (especially of interesting species); they’re surprisingly few and far between on the web!
- I’ve been trying to create a flattened out picture of my Triceratops tattoo using David Allen‘s Photoshop CS3 auto-align/blend trick, but I can’t get it to work right. I think I need to get someone else to take photos from different angles that don’t suck. If I ever figure it out, I’ll post the result here.
Today (yesterday?), in Young American Bodies Episode 30 (on IFC.com), Natalie (played by Nikita Word) gets a new tattoo! We’ve seen that she already has several, but it’s kinda neat (or gimmicky, see below) that they incorporated getting her latest piece into the show. Afterwards, we see her and Ben (played by creator/director Joe Swanberg) drawing silly tattoos on each other with markers as part of their foreplay. I hope some time has elapsed between the two scenes, because coloring in a freshly inked tattoo (with Sharpies, no less!) seems like a really bad idea.
Do you guys watch this show? I can’t figure out if it’s genius or if it’s totally boring (or both). (more…)
So, as I mentioned earlier, I started a flickr group and began to invite people to join. While there hasn’t been a massive flood of unsolicited submissions, the group is slowly but surely becoming respectable. Here are a couple of highlights:
Some of you may recognize this tattoo (and this person!) from an earlier post (or from the source), and I gotta say, I am just tickled to have a photo of Cerah and her (now completed, I think) triceratops tattoo in my flickr group! There’s another shot in CurtisJoeWalker’s photostream, and several more in the bmeink galleries. Thanks for joining, CurtisJoeWalker!
(Tattoo by Mark Lankin at Funhouse Tattoo in Vancouver, BC.)
rekanize gets bonus ink-nerd points for ingenuity—he didn’t have a camera on hand, so he just scanned his dino ink! Double-TRIPLE ink-nerd bonus points because it’s not only a cool dinosaur tattoo, it’s a reference to an excellent webcomic called, appropriately, Dinosaur Comics. I’m totally hooked on qwantz.com; I wish its creator, Ryan North, would publish a Garfield-style book of these comics. It would be especially bizarre because the illustrations would be exactly the same on every page (well, almost)!!! More about qwantz.com here. More webcomic tattoos here (If anyone wants to buy me a present, I really want this t-shirt , size L). Thanks, rekanize! (Tattoo by CW, owner of Royal Street Tattoo in Mobile, AL.)
There are lots more really great dinosaur tattoos in the group, and hopefully there will be even more soon!
Just in case you missed the link that Mia sent earlier, this totally sweet backpiece (as seen on checkoutmyink.com) was done by Alfie Lamberger at Mark of the Sparks Tattoos in Frederick, Maryland. Thanks, Mia!
This inspired me to seek out some other CFTBL tattoos on the web; I found quite a few, but here are some of my favorites:
This great shot (bonus points for complementary-colored t-shirt) from BMEzine’s Sci-Fi Gallery was inked by David Antonio at Good Clean Fun Tattoo Studio in Georgia. I love the circular composition, creepy lighting, and menacing claw.
The colors, placement, and technique of this lower half-sleeve are really excellent . Bonus points for the brushstroke-lookin’ daubs of color around the edges. Tattoo by Bez at Triple Six Studios in Sunderland, UK. Photo from TattooNOW.com.
The following Monster Mash sleeve (in progress in this photo) is from welovethedark‘s flickr photostream (self-described “corporate goths”). The process from source artwork (by awesome illustrator David Hartman) to finished piece (by Charles Cain at Mark of Cain Tattoo near Boone, North Carolina) is well-documented. Excellent artwork, Excellent tattoo, excellent photos and play-by-play description. Kudos to all!
BONUS VIDEO! This song by Dave Edmunds gets stuck in my head all the time!
Girl in bar: [lifts her sleeve] Yeah.
Me [rolling up my sleeve]: That’s really great; I just got a triceratops tattoo.
Girl: That’s cool; where did you get yours done?
Me: Red Rocket Tattoo, on 36th street in Midtown.
Girl: 36th street!?! [gives me a disapproving look, as if to say, “Silly rabbit, you don’t get tattooed in Midtown!”]
Me: [hemming and hawing somewhat]: Well, it’s close to my work…