It has been an amazing first year here at FRESHLY INKED. Over the past year we have featured 67 inspiring original tattoo artists who are redefining the art of tattooing their own by pushing the limits of ink on skin. Kristine and I have traveled over 20,000 miles to cover more than 17 conventions all over the country to bring new talent to each issue of FRESHLY INKED. This year I even got to tattoo in the Virgin Islands and cohost my first tattoo convention with Jon Jon at this year's Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival.
What year did you start tattooing? I am not sure what year exactly, but I think it was around 2001. How did you get into tattooing? I've liked all kinds of art since I was a kid. I drew a lot. When I was around 13, I used to cut out pictures from magazines and had my brother draw on me with marker so I looked like the models from these magazines.
What year did you start tattooing? I started tattooing in 1998. How did you get into tattooing? I met a guy who moved to Florida to open a studio; we got along, he moved in with me. At some point I was showing him some old art from high school, and he simply said, "Hey, you should tattoo."
What year did you start tattooing? I began tattooing in 2000. How did you get into tattooing? I mistakenly thought I could just get some machines and start doing it 'cause I could draw a little bit. I did, like, two or three tattoos and realized I was never going to figure this out on my own.
What year did you start tattooing? I started tattooing in 2004. How did you get into tattooing? I filled a few sketchbooks with tattoo designs and whatever else I was interested in drawing. I took those books to every decent shop that I knew of in the area and asked to apprentice.
What year did you start tattooing? I started tattooing professionally in October of 2004 at Modern Ink in Inglewood, CA. How did you get into tattooing? My friends wanted tattoos and introduced me to tattoo magazines, which very quickly fascinated me.
What year did you start tattooing? It was back in 1987. I did my first tattoo of a kanji character, "love," on my classmate's arm by using a needle that was tied to a bamboo stick. This method is known as tebori— a traditional hand-poked tattooing.
When did you start tattooing? I started tattooing in 1978 when I was 12. One of my friends wanted a skull on the back of his hand, so I did it with a Bic pen with some needles attached to the front with sewing thread around it and used india ink to push the pigment into the skin.
What year did you start tattooing? I started my apprenticeship in 2007 and finished in 2009. How did you get into tattooing? I've always been really interested in body modification. And I've been drawing for as long as I can remember. My grandpa still has a framed picture I drew of Scrooge McDuck when I was 5.
What year did you start tattooing? I was primarily self-taught from the beginning. I started tattooing professionally when I was 17 years old in 1989. I had been visiting and hanging out in tattoo studios when I was 16 years old, always trying to absorb as much visual information as possible.
What year did you start tattooing? About 10 years ago—in Rimini there were a fair number of tattooists, but none of them were looking for a trainee. Only my regular tattooist, who eventually became my maestro, noticed my constancy and my true involvement in this activity, and after about a year he took me in his studio as an apprentice.
What year did you start tattooing? I have been tattooing for about 11 years or so. How did you get into tattooing? My fascination with tattoos began when I was still a child. I admired my father's tattoos, which he got when he was in the Russian army.
What year did you start tattooing? The first tattoo I did was last century! About nineteen years ago! How did you get into tattooing? I could never have imagined doing another job. Tattooing is not a job to me; it's just fun. When I was six years old I saw a guy with tattoos and I said—I will draw on people!
What year did you start tattooing? I started tattooing professionally since 2003. How did you get into tattooing? It all started when I was 11 years old, helping my older sister, Monica (1980-2007), tattoo her hand. It was pretty funny, because we hand-poked a red rose on her left hand.
Opening their shop on July 23, 2011, Hell Hounds Tattoo owners Kenneth "K-Bar" Restrepo and his fiancée, tattoo model Valerie Randazzo, have made it a point to make their presence known in their Brooklyn community. In the five months since the shop first opened its doors, Restrepo and Randazzo have already hosted a Halloween party to raise funds for Huntington's disease and collected Toys for Tots in exchange for tattoo discounts.
TATTOO SPECIALTY: I take a realistic approach to every tattoo I do. Though I love working in a comic book style. SKETCHES: My sketch book is filled with girls and comics. I have a lot of sketches of Valerie, my fiancée.
TATTOO SPECIALTY: I'll take anything on! Old school, religious, realistic-you name it, I've tried it. SKETCHES: Any emotions that I am feeling go right into my art. My sketches tend to be darker or sometimes more tradi tional, like roses and skulls.
TATTOO SPECIALTY: I like drawing kinda girly stuff with a twist, like lipstick knives and spilled nail polish. BEST ADVICE: Avoid getting flash tattooed! It's always better to think something up by yourself and have it custom made for you.
TATTOO SPECIALTY: I just like to tattoo stuff that is fun! I have a whole book of things that I'd like to do, tattoos that you wouldn't see in every other book and that really stand out. ARTISTS YOU ADMIRE: Obviously Bugs, Stefano at Last Rites, and Pepper at No Hard Feelings.
The Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth, presented by Mario Barth at the Mirage Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, was once again a huge success. We here at INKED love this show not only for the amazing crowd it brings in, but the great chance to mingle with the worldwide group of talented artists the show attracts-some notable names being Mark Mahoney, Bili Vegas, Bob Tyrrell, Chris Torres, the Horitoshi family, and Mike DeVries.
In its first year, Comikaze Expo, held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, might be one of the most memorable for us here at INKED. A comic, anime, gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, and horror convention, there was also an area for tattooers and a very unique opportunity for attendees.
The Paradise Tattoo Gathering was a great success once again last September. As usual the resort sold out a few months ahead of the show, and this year there were more seminars that were packed and sold out, more schools of tattooing coming out to teach and learn and tattoo, more tattoo magazines out taking photos and documenting the weekend, amazing inspired tattoos all weekend, and more great weather.