A taxidermy wolf, an albino squirrel, and a lamb all made appearances at this month’s shoot with Kat Von D, courtesy of the collection of the LA Ink queen herself. “It was all rather civilized," says photographer James Dimmock. “Kat was an absolute sweetheart."
Our idea for this month’s issue was simple: Let Kat Von D do all of the work! The most famous tattoo artist in the world already juggles everything from her show, LA Ink, to her shop, High Voltage, to book projects, makeup lines, and more. Surely she could handle being guest editor and putting together the February issue of INKED? We were right.
PAST PRAISE First, let me say that I truly enjoy your magazine. I have eight tattoos, the most recent being one done by Jordan Ross. I just finished reading your article about Braddock, PA, mayor John Fetterman [November], and I was touched.
My first tattoo was a small, black fairy on my lower back that quickly developed into a back piece. It was done by an underground tattoo artist. My favorites are the “truth” and “faith” written on my inner arms. Those are a reminder every day of what is most important to me.
Tattoo legend Mister Cartoon is tough to track down, even in his hometown, Los Angeles. Operating in a private studio with word-of-mouth clients, most of those lucky enough to land time in his chair are celebrities such as Eminem, Mena Suvari, and Beyoncé.
Classic cocktails are coming back, and gin is leading the way.
You might not know it, but you are living in the second coming of the cocktail. Go to almost any bar and you'll see things on the menu that you’ve never heard of (macerated pear, anyone?) mixed with other things you’ve never heard of (tangerine shards?).
OK GO Of the Blue Colour of the Sky [Capitol Records] Most people know OK Go more for the choreographed treadmill work of their YouTube sensation video than their actual music. For the uninitiated: The L.A.-vlaChlcago band build wild disco-jam pop songs that sound as if The Strokes were crammed through a Prince filter.
The trick to getting a massage is knowing how to give one.
HoMedics Quad Extreme Massager
HoMedics Quad Extreme Massager Handheld massagers are great for focusing on sore spots, says Johnson. And the compact shape of this rechargeable handheld option ($15; homedics.com) makes it easy to use on your own shoulders—or those of your partner.
Cowshed Horny Cow Massage Oil
Cowshed Horny Cow Massage If you're hoping Oil to get lucky, this slippery stuff ($28; conradusa.com) is way classier than the “warming oil" in the neon package next to the condoms. It has rose, patchouli, and cinnamon oils— all of which are said to increase arousal.
Human Touch iJoy 2580 Massage Chair
Human Touch iJoy 2580 Massage Chair “Nothing can replicate the healing touch of hands,” says Johnson. But with three built-in massage programs and the ability to replicate rolling, kneading, compression, and percussion, this powerful chair ($799; amazon.com) comes pretty close.
Melvita Kinésis Massage Oil
Melvita Kinésis Massage Oil Since you want just a little slip, not frat party entertainment, this organic oil ($32, usa.melvita.com) comes in a spray bottle that makes it impossible to overlubricate. Plus, it has lavender, which helps with relaxation, according to Johnson.
When the back piece finally heals, celebrate with a massage. Lots of gyms and spas are offering shorter services for a discounted price (thank you, recession!), but the “I'll do you if you do me” approach also works well around a certain February holiday.
BIOSHOCK 2 Systems: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC Real estate In Rapture must be at an all-time low. Ten years after Andrew Ryan’s empire of individualism was disrupted, a new figurehead has taken over the underwater city. With an ex-priest rallying deranged citizens to the new leader’s cause and an army of Big Sisters enforcing a rigid view of humanity, each player becomes a rogue Big Daddy who must extinguish the movement.
At some point your body will be a used-up canvas of tattoos without an inch of space left for ink. Rather than kidnap someone else to use, transfer that art love to a Munny by Kid Robot ($10, kidrobot.com). Artists everywhere paint and draw on the 4-inch blank plastic toys (tattooer Julie Becker did the Trikky, right, and Josh Woods the Bub, far right) and even get together for a three-day Munnyworld convention. In addition to Trikky and Bub, the latest additions to the Munny family include Raffy and Rooz, animal-like critters begging to be redesigned. Give Rooz the knuckle rocker you always wanted.
Sony’s Xperia X10
Phone calls just don't cut it anymore. We need smartphones that can tackle e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook, play music, plus find us a place to drink and help us get home afterward. Sony’s Xperia X10 smartphone (about $800) uses a variation of the Google Android operating system to sync everything from your Gmail and Google Calendar accounts and access applications such as Google Maps. The device also includes an 8-megapixel camera, 4-inch touch display, Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS. We aren’t sure, but we think it also makes phone calls.
Sony’s Xperia X10
Maybe it’s the memories of past sessions, but we can't pitch old skate decks in the trash. Neither can the designers at Deckstool (deckstool.com), a company that makes stools from old decks. Choose a premade stool ($199), or send them your shredded decks and they’ll build a custom stool ($179). They’re a perfect place for parking your ass while your ankle heals.
Los Angeles painter Kevin Llewellyn’s work is a study in punk rock realism.
It’s 6:30 p.m. in Los Angeles, and Kevin Llewellyn is apologizing for his morning voice. If his math is correct, the realist painter has gotten roughly 24 hours of sleep over the past three days—but they’ve been strange hours at best, accumulated sporadically, in fits and starts.
Brazilian tattooer Camila Rocha gives a guided tour of Brazil's biggest city.
DESTINATION: When São Paulo tattooer Camila Rocha relocated to Los Angeles, she brought a bit of Brazil with her. Now stationed at Kat Von D's High Voltage Tattoo, Rocha arrived with her traditional Japanese tattooing style, some São Paulo charisma, and a solid list of tips for navigating Brazil's biggest, richest, and busiest city.
If your local farmer’s market starts a racing league, these two cars will rule it.
A few years ago, if you were asked to name two things that were not synonymous with auto racing, Volkswagen Jettas and diesel engines wouldn't have been bad answers. After all, Jettas were sensible sedans, and diesel engines provided admirable gas mileage but were in no danger of being adopted by NASCAR. Today, however, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup runs races with specialized versions of the diesel four-doors that complete the entire season—it lasts six months—on about two tanks of fuel.
Old keys and tiny faucet handles. A pocketknife and a wolf tooth. Where others see antique oddities, Tara Levitin sees jewelry. The rising star designer behind Leviticus Jewelry finds inspiration in anything from a book of watercolors to music for an old movie—the stranger the jumble, the better.
Dan Smith is living two dreams at once. When he’s not fronting the New Wave-inspired rock act The Dear & Departed, he’s busy at his other gig as a tattooer at High Voltage Tattoo in Los Angeles—a job that’s immortalized him on the reality show LA Ink.
Southern California custom car guru Skratch laughs cautiously about the flowing script across the front of his Skratch’s Garage T-shirt that reads, “I ain't the best but I'm better than you." After a pause he admits, “Well, it’s klnda true.” And he makes a damn good case for it.
She has a hot Hollywood tattoo shop, a hit television show, a best-selling book, and a rock star boyfriend. Now the most famous tattoo artist on the planet is trying to find herself in all of the madness.
OUTSIDE THE GUNMETAL GRAY DOOR OF A NONDESCRIPT NORTH Hollywood building lies a colorful doormat and a kitschy frog statue, the kind you'd find on the front porch of a house in the suburbs. Both read “Welcome." This is not the entrance to the Monastery, Kat Von D’s private photography studio.
“The late '80s were a very magical time in New York,” says Jyrki 69, the singer for Finnish gothic rockand-rollers 69 Eyes. “There were clubs like the Limelight, the Ritz, and CBGB, and I’d see my Idols like The Ramones and Johnny Thunders on the streets.” For a period of six years, the then-wide-eyed glam rock teenager would save enough money to make pilgrimages from Helsinki to the Big Apple and soak up as much of the Reagan-era rock scene as he could.
If you're not down to work hard and play hard, then Samantha Humphreys can't be bothered. "That's just the way I've always lived my life," says the 26-yearold Los Angeles-based graphic designer who has recently broken into the movie industry.
ON LOCATION Imagine hitting the best rock clubs, checking out lowbrow artists on display at up-and-coming galleries, and browsing a history museum—all in one night. That’s the idea behind a stay at New York City's Ace Hotel, where these photos were shot.
The HIM singer on getting clean, his new album, Screamworks, hanging with Kat Von D, and his tip for a good first date. Hint: Bring Bam Margera.
When HIM frontman Ville Valo asked LA Ink's Kat Von D to tattoo three hedonistic writers on his right forearm-American author Charles Bukowski, French poet Charles Baudelaire, and Finnish novelist Timo K. Mukka-the characters were supposed to represent role models for Valo’s own decadent lifestyle.
THERE ARE EIGHT MILLION WAYS TO DIE ON THE STREETS OF COMPTON, CA. DEPUTY FIRE CHIEF MARCEL MELANSON LIVES TO STOP THEM.
ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF LOS ANGELES, THE CITY OF COMPTON has just been hit with a 7.8-magnitude earthquake. The situation is grim. Power is down throughout the city, as are landline telephones, cell phones, Internet connectivity, and the entire 911 emergency system.
KORE FLATMO: I was about 15. I went with an older friend of mine to a place in La Puente called Fat George’s. It's really famous in southern California, where I grew up. It was kind of tough and a little scary. I feel lucky that it was my first place because it’s such an important part of southern California tattooing.
It’s flooding in Richmond, VA. Torrential winds and a hurricane warning have the locals sick, flustered, and bailing water out of their basements. But the downpour hasn't stopped tattooer Jason Hobbie and the rest of the Absolute Art crew from trudging to the shop to tattoo.
My dad was the first person to get tattooed when the shop opened up. His signed dollar bill is framed and hanging in the front of the shop. A homeless guy once threw all of his belongings and jacket onto the middle of the lobby floor and wanted to know who could practice on him.
The INKED Holiday Bash at Club BLVD in New York City helped collect donations for Toys For Tots. Evan Seinfeld hosted and drinks were provided by 360 Vodka and SIN Energy Drink. For more photos, go to inkedmag.com.
RedLetter1 in Tampa, FL, is an amazing tattoo shop built inside a converted cigar factory. The gorgeous space includes an art gallery that recently featured Repeat Offender, a solo exhibit by artist Tes One, who blends graffiti and digital graphic design.
Anything that comes out of State of Grace tattoo in San Jose, CA, is worth checking out—including the team’s amazing tattoos, untouchable publishing projects, and the annual San Jose Tattoo Convention, dubbed A Convention of the Tattoo Arts 2009.
Paul Booth’s Last Rites tattoo shop is scary enough on a regular day, let alone Halloween. For this year’s bash, the crew offered walk-in tattoo appointments—a first ever—along with live painting, horror movie screenings, a costume contest, and a midnight “Kool-Aid” toast.
The line between tattooing, motorcycles, and art is as blurred as an old “1%” tattoo. Harley-Davidson celebrated that relationship with The Art of Rebellion, a gallery exhibit celebrating 10 artists handpicked by Harley for their bond with motorbikes.
When we received a postcard from our friends at New Zealand’s Tattooed Heart shop, we were ready to pack our bags and get out of NYC. The Auckland shop recently hosted Love Hurts, a broken-heart-themed exhibit featuring work by tattooers Adam Craft, Seth Wood, Liesje, Tom McMillan, Hamish McLougham, and others.
Love & Hate Tattoo, 322 W. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ, 602-973-4093 myspace.com/loveandhatetattoo Tattooer Meg McNeil was born into art. “I was born in L.A. but when I was 5 we moved to northwest Washington into a 150-year-old barn," she says.