Out With the Old.....

As we wind down 2010, and look ahead to 2011, I wanted to take care of one of my several loose ends from the past year.

Back in July, I met a guy named John on the D train. He had tattooed arms and we chatted a bit. He said he'd send me photos and he did a few weeks later.

I never posted the photos because the resolution was low, and when I tried to increase the size, they blurred. I was going to include these in the Christmas housecleaning post, but the work is just too good.

So hear you have them, small photos, but recognizably amazing:

I mean, what is there to say? This work is quite excellent. The koi, the tiger, the sailing ship, sugar skull, nautical stars - it's all quite a body of work!

The artist is Nacho, who appeared once before on the blog here. You can check out Nacho's work here. in New York, he tattoos out of Studio Enigma on Avenue U.

Thanks to John for sharing these amazing tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

And thanks to all of our fans and contributors for making 2010 a successful year of inkspotting!

Thank yous

It's the last day of 2010 and we've had quite a year.
Anyone who knows us, or follows our blogs, knows that 2010 was the year that we moved to our new home in Schleppegrellsgade. And although the decision to move to this particular location looked like a terrible idea at first, it actually turned out to be a good one in the end.
We love our new home and couldn't imagine being anywhere else.
But that doesn't mean that it didn't nearly kill at times. It's been a rough path, getting to where we are now, and not just for us.
Without the help and support of our team of carpenters and painters, the shop simply wouldn't have happened. There was only so much we could do ourselves, so if they hadn't decided to go all-in with us, we wouldn't have made it, and the shop wouldn't be the magical place it is today; a place we actually look forward to going to every day.
They basically worked two jobs for months and got even less sleep during that period than we did, and trust me, that wasn't much. Some day oil paintings of their handsome faces will grace the walls of Conspiracy Inc. Or we'll write a nice song about them or something, but for now they just get a blog post dedicated to them.

Our friends and family have also been a huge support throughout the year. Whether they helped us paint our new walls, loaned us money when our most valuable equipment broke down, gave us crap to put in our empty new shop, or loaned us their car so we could go to a million flea markets, it would have been hard to get to where we are now without them.

I know this is turning into a lame blog version of the Queens new years speech, and that really wasn't where i was going with this, but i have to give one last thank you. To our clients.
In the beginning, around March when we first moved, there was no furniture for them to sit on, no real entrance, and in some rooms, no floor. In the winter time there was (or is) very little heating and some days they'd be lying almost naked in a freezing room for hours and hours, and afterwards they'd give us money.
They keep coming up with awesome ideas for the guys to tattoo, and rarely complain when they get something completely different from what they initially asked for. And sometimes they bring us cake too.
Thanks guys, i hope you know that we appreciate the crap out of you!

Last tattoo of 2010; Jon's death metal swallow

We hope you all have a super happy new year, wherever your are, and we hope to see you at the shop or around the globe in 2011!


A Bright Spot in December: A Phoenix and a Pin-Up

As one would expect, inkspotting is tough during December. Here we are at the end of the month, and I have only interviewed three people since the 1st. There were a few times over the summer when I interviewed three contributors during my lunch hour!

The last person whose work I photographed was Megan, who I found upstairs at the Penn Plaza Borders store.

Megan has seventeen tattoos, but it was this one that caught my eye:

This is a phoenix, of course, but fewer people may recognize it as Fawkes, the phoenix of Professor Albus Dumbledore, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The artwork is based on the illustration by Jason Cockcroft on the cover of the UK edition of the aforementioned book.

The tattooist Jamie Nichols at Gargoyle Tattoo in Aberdeen, Washington, completed this piece in about eight hours over two sittings.

Megan also has this pinup on her upper left arm:

The use of negative space for the bombs is pretty cool.

Marcus was the artist at Gargoyle that Megan credited for creating this piece..

Thanks to Megan for taking the time to speak to me about her cool tattoos!

Two-for-Tattoosday, Brazilian-Style

Sometimes, due to a) a language barrier and b) the passage of time, we're not always able to give you the most in-depth story about our subjects' tattoos.

Such is the case with Celso and Reginaldo, who I met back in September outside of Madison Square Garden.

Both gentlemen were visiting from São Paolo, Brazil and one of Celso's tattoos caught my eye:

That was on his right arm. He also had this one on his left arm:

Celso's friend Reginaldo pulled his shirt off so I could get the full view of his koi tattoo:

Celso credited Artur at True Love Tattoo in São Paolo for inking his dragon and his mermaid.

Artur also was the artists who did Reginaldo's koi.

Thanks to Celso and Reginaldo for sharing their tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Not this shit again...

Four weeks. We had out perfect, awesome, beloved kitchen back for four weeks, and now the ceiling is leaking again.
I don't know what kind of retard they got to "fix" the leak, but obviously he didn't do a very good job.
We got people on it already, and luckily it doesn't seem to be dripping constantly, but holy shit was it depressing getting back to work today.
Oh, and Allan had a no-show too.
And it's not even Monday!

Bye bye, perfect white ceiling, it was nice knowing you

I'll be back in a few days with a post that's less of a downer. Maybe i'll even post some tattoo pictures, who knows!?

Karl Ravech!

Thanks to reader danteswing13 for this one. Karl Ravech, sportscaster for ESPN, isn't fooling anyone with his toupee. On one fan site a fan posted that if she ever meets Karl in person she will rip his toupee off. A follow up post asks "can I have it? I need a new area rug." It definitely looks like there is enough to go around:

Polynesian lizard shoulder tattoo

polynesian lizard mask tattoo designs for salepolynesia tribal shoulder tatoo flash

Description: Polynesian tattoo for the shoulder with a tribal lizard and and mask/eyes at the top center of the shoulder.
Intricate wave- and arrow patterns in a Neotribalism style.

Size: 23,5 x 21 cm (9 x 8 inches)

Place on body: Shoulder

Product code: SH 114

Price: 35,70 euro (47 USD)

from: Ken W.
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 10:53 PM
subject: tattoo translation

Hi Tian,

I love your blog, and I was wondering if you could translate what I got tattooed on my arm some years back. Thanks a lot.

is antiquated version of , which means dense growth of bush or rash.
from: Lucy
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 6:11 PM
subject hanzismatter - medical insurance notice


Attached is a notice sent by the medical insurance carrier called Aetna. I'm almost sure the Chinese section is illegible unless Aetna is using some kind of crazy font.

Can you please shed some light on what's going on?

Thank you.


(full size view)

The Chinese text section does appear to be jumbled either from poor printing process or incorrect font.

Christmas House Cleaning

Regular readers of Tattoosday will notice that, although I generally follow a chronological order when I share tattoos I have encountered.

However, certain pieces, for various and sundry reasons, have been bypassed, and haven't made it to the blog, until now.

I was originally going to post a dozen to represent the Twelve Days of Christmas, but I settled for eight. For the nights of Chanukah, perhaps?

Without intending to offend anyone for not receiving a post all to themselves, I have lumped these tattoos, spanning from late August to late October, in one post.

These are the neglected tattoo pictures that are just a little off, some not through the fault of the contributor, but for reasons beyond their control.

The quality of the photo may not be ideal, or the host and I faced a language barrier that prevented a good back story from emerging, or I didn't find the story behind the tattoo especially compelling. And then
there's what is likely one of the poorest tattoos I have seen, but the story behind it is somewhat compelling.

So, without further ado, here is a Christmas cleaning, eight posts rolled together into one gigantic one.


First up, we have Esteban, who shared his sleeve when I met him in September, at Fairway in Red Hook:

Alas, I was still using a borrowed camera, and several shots were over-exposed and/or blurry, but I was able to salvage this one:

The artwork is pre-Colombian in its inspiration, and is part of a larger tropical motif.

Next up we have Dave, who I met in Penn Station. He has over 25 tattoos and selected this one to share:

The phrase "Uniting the Strong" is the title of a song from Victim in Pain, the second album from the band Agnostic Front. This is a friendship tattoo that stresses unity and the host's nod to the hardcore punk scene.

Dave credits Jelena at Lone Wolf Tattoo in Bellmore, New York with this piece.


Next we have Orlando, a Fine Arts student at FIT, where I met him outside while walking toward 23rd Street on my lunch break, also in September.

This ship tattoo is an homage to his father, who served in the navy for thirty years. He wanted a "classic look" in the Sailor Jerry style.

Orlando confirmed for me that his dad loves the tattoo.

It was inked at Crazy Fantasy Tattoo in Manhattan by an artist named Antonio.

[Update: I got a better, crisper picture from Orlando of the ship tattoo in May 2011:]

Orlando has seven tattoos in all [in May 2011, he updated this number to ten], and shared this one, as well, inked at Dare Devil Tattoo on the Lower East Side.

The quote, "This my excavation and today is Kumran" is from a song called "re: Stacks" by Bon Iver.

Orlando explained that he interprets this quote as a reminder that "every day has the ability to make you or break you. It just depends on what you do with it." Other interpretations are here.

For the record, I did email Orlando to ask for an opportunity to get clearer pictures, but I did not hear back from him.


I met Farkas in Union Square back in October. He had this wolf on his right arm:

He explained that his name means "wolf" in Hungarian, and that one of his friends in Hungary did this tattoo for him.


A couple days after meeting Farkas, I met an Israeli named Ran on 34th Street across from Macy*s. He shared this iguana on his right leg:

It's a pretty nice tattoo, but he hasn't sent me any further details about it.


A couple weeks later, I was in the West Village before a concert, and met Carlos, a manager at the Qdoba Mexican Grill where we were having a quick bite before the show. He shared this intricate tattoo on his right arm:

He and friend collaborated on this tattoo together. He told me that, when he was little, he did jigsaw puzzles with his mother a lot. The tattoo reminds him of those fun times growing up.


The following week, I ran into Iancu in Penn Station, and he shared this piece on his upper left arm:

Iancu told me he came to the artist, Rico, formerly of Rising Dragon in Manhattan, who was initially unwilling to do the tattoo. However, he convinced him to do it. It's basically a Guns N' Roses tribute although, he
noted, the guns were added about a year and a half after the original design was inked.


And finally, I must first say that  it is very rare that I ever criticize the quality of a tattoo.

Even if it is inferior to the work of much better artists, I always like to believe there are some redeeming qualities in a tattoo.

Which is why I struggled with this next tattoo, which I photographer back in August, and which I have included in this odds and ends post in December.

I approached a guy named Danny who had a lot of interestingly-tattooed words and such on his arms.

However, he offered to remove his shirt in Penn Station so I could photograph this:

Um, yeah.

If this was done by an experienced artist, I would likely not have posted it. Despite its obvious flaws, it is compelling, in my opinion, because Danny told me, like all his tattoos (15 or 16, he told me), this one was
self-inked. Now, I can see tattooing one's arm or leg, but I cannot even fathom how challenging it would be to self-tattoo your chest. He estimated this took one and a half hours to do.

The message is "Diamonds Aren't Forever," or, in  Danny's words, "don't take what you have for granted".


So there you have it, a Spring Cleaning for Christmas.

I do sincerely thank the individuals who shared their tattoos in this entry. Happy Holidays, y'all!

Home Sweet Home for the Holidays

The saying is, "you can't take it with you," but there is a way to carry your home with you when you move somewhere else.

Take, Adam, for example, who I stopped on Seventh Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets.

He currently resides in Pittsburgh, but he has lived in Miami and New York City.

His tattoos are a work in progress and he has had about eight hours done so far.

Adam says he has lived all over the United States and he wants, ideally, to tattoo a "piece of everywhere I've lived".

Check this out:

The Statue of Liberty clearly represents New York, and the palm trees recall Miami. All the bridges and a few of the buildings are Pittsburgh landmarks, like PPG Place

and the Highmark Building.

The "Home Sweet Home" sentiment is anchored by the multiple locations, echoing the idea that home is where the heart is.

Adam's work is done by Michael Patrick at Jester's Court Tattoos in Pittsburgh.

Thanks to Adam for sharing his wonderful sleeve with us here on Tattoosday!

Polynesian quarter sleeve tattoo with mask

polynesian mask tattoo for shoulder designstribal polynesian tattoo with masks shoulder

: Polynesian quarter sleeve with a tribal mask in the center of the shoulder.
Intricate spearhead- and triangle patterns in a Neo-tribalism style and some Kirituhi/Maori koru shapes.

Size: 23,5 x 21 cm (9 x 8 inches)

Place on body: Shoulder

Product code: SH 113

Price: 35,70 euro (47 USD)

from: Anna H.
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Wed, Dec 8, 2010 at 8:51 AM

Hello, long time reader and fan of your blog. I just came across this, and I smell bullsh*t.


Anyway, go nuts :)

Alan and I briefly browsed through the website mentioned above and "Kemuri" section. We can't believe some place is seriously using the Gibberish Chinese Font as is! We will be on the lookout for gullible customers with embroidered butts.

What a bunch of idiots.



Polynesian shoulder sleeve tattoo

Polynesian shoulder tattoo mix flashPolynesian Dwayne Johnson style tattoo design

: Polynesian sleeve tatoo.Tribal patterns, like triangles, spearheads and turtle shells in a quarter sleeve design.

Size: 23,5 x 21 cm (9 x 8 inches)

Place on body: Shoulder

Product code: SH 112

Price: 35,70 euro (47 USD)

Two, No, Three from Lisa Marie

I ran into Lisa Marie in my local grocery store a few months back and she was happy to share a couple of cool tattoos:

That is, for those who don't know, the symbol of Coney Island's Steeplechase Park.

She got this because she loves Coney Island, one of the most iconic spots in Brooklyn. Lisa Marie later sent me a shot of the tattoo when it was brand-spanking new:

This was inked by Michael Kaves at Brooklyn Made Tattoo.

On her left forearm, Lisa Marie had this whimsical tattoo:

That is a famous golden ticket from her favorite movie, 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the film version of  Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

That tattoo was done by JR Maloney at Vanguard Tattoo in Nyack, New York.

Lisa Marie also sent along a couple of extra photos that she had documenting Mr. Kaves inking another of her tattoos, a cupcake:

Thanks again to Lisa Marie for sharing these cool tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!