Two Years Ago Today......

"So, there you have it. The inaugural tattoo on Tattoosday here at
BillyBlog. It should be interesting to see what else I can come up with
from strangers, or if I have to revert to friends to help me in this
project."

That's what I wrote two years ago today on my original site BillyBlog.

Little did I know how much this once weekly feature would turn into such a significant aspect of my life. In little over a month, I had spun Tattoosday off of BillyBlog, from a recurring character to a site of its own.

And we have grown! This month we will have our biggest visitor load of our short career here, reaching just under 30,000 hits. This month also marked a quarter of a million hits since Tattoosday stood alone in September 2007.

And we have our sights set even higher.

I once again want to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of the blog, from the occasional visitors, to the rabid fans, from the enthusiastic tourists and New Yorkers who have contributed their work, to the talented tattoo artists who created that work.

And most of all, I want to thank my friends and family, who have seen my passion for tattoo writing, and have supported me whole-heartedly. And to my beautiful wife Melanie, who is my biggest cheerleader, most avid supporter, and one of the most understanding women I know. Not may wives would be keen on their husbands taking pictures of tattoos of strange women
(and men) they've met on the street. But she is my number one fan. And I love her all the more for it.

A week from tomorrow my oldest daughter Jolee, who inspired this, my first tattoo, will be celebrating her bat mitzvah. The week ahead will be filled with planning and visits from family, so I am taking a week off in posting, so I can focus my energies on this landmark event.

Rest assured, I have two dozen tattoo posts in the queue and will likely be unable to restrain myself from collecting more photos and stories in the week to come.

I will resume posting on August 9th or 10th.

I thank everyone for their continued support and words of encouragement.

Bill Cohen

With a Cherry on Top and a Side of Morrissey


I met Jasen several weeks back outside of the Whole Foods in Chelsea.

Jasen's left right forearm has a variation of the torn flesh motif in tattooing where the artist creates an illusion that a person's flesh is ripping away under pressure from the matter below the skin.

I have seen people with biomechanical tattoos, showing steel below the skin. Or patriotic pieces reflecting red, white and blue deep below the surface.

But Jasen is different. He is a Vegan with not one, but many "sweet teeth". So, with the help of the tattoo artist, Nick Baxter, they devised the design that would reflect delicious desserts bursting out of his skin. Jasen agreed that he wanted something "colorful, fun, and kind of ridiculous".


Okay, I know, the quality of these photos is not great. Very sun-washed. So, I was fortunate enough to find the artist's photo on his website:


Nick's site is cool because he even comments on the pieces. For example:

"Why can't every tattoo be a ridiculous skin tear-out? I'm proud to add this to the collection I've done, along with the gay unicorn and the surfer kool-aid man. It's on an awesome vegan dude who wanted to pay homage to the sweeter side of our shared dietary choice. Thanks Jasen for giving me a good excuse to have some friends over for a dessert-making and reference-photographing party...this tattoo was fun before it even started."

Nick tattooed this at a shop in Branford, Connecticut called Transcend Tattoo & Art Gallery, but has relocated to Austin.


Jasen also has the autograph of the singer Morrissey tattooed on his outer right forearm:



He saw him in concert in Philadelphia two or three months back and had the opportunity to meet him.

We talked about people getting musician's autographs tattooed (see all that have appeared on Tattoosday here), and he told me that Morrissey was the only famous person he would do that for. The singer is a vegetarian and is very outspoken about vegetarianism and animal rights.

Thanks to Jasen for sharing his cool tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

tonight

I haven't really felt like writing much lately other than just giving a daily rundown, which is odd for me. Even when I don't post, I write in my free time quite often and I just haven't been in the mood. I've been very up and down with my moods, most days happy but on those other days when I'm sad, it's a lot heavier than I'm used to. I know a big factor is my return to "normal" life. It's hard to travel for three months and then have to go back to work (and I know, poor me, right?) and I know it's weighing me down a bit. I just need to stay positive and remind myself what a wonderful job I have, and how I need to be thankful for the fabulous schedule I get to enjoy. But on the subject of being bummed out, today I also found out some sad news that I'm not going to go into here, but I'm feeling pretty low and discouraged. I just don't get how people can believe in God when so many horrible things can happen to amazing people. There is no rhyme or reason and I am just so annoyed and sad at whoever or whatever is in charge, be it God or fate or pure chance. Ugh.

So anyway, tonight was a fun, quiet night with Amber, which was just what I needed. We hung out over here and then walked downtown for about 30 minutes to see friends. Now I'm just relaxing with Hank on the couch, contemplating going to sleep or staying up and doing some cleaning. Exciting! ;)

Tomorrow is a day dedicated to relaxing and I'm going to fully enjoy it. I'm looking forward to a great workout in the AM and movies during the day.

Goodnight, I think sleep wins! xo

my best friend

Wednesday night

Docs and mousies

Amber and me

toasting at St. Micheal's
manicure Wednesday for both of us!

Cheers at St. Michael's

Cheers at St. Michael's

Jordan- playing bass in Hot Skin
Jordan

Hot Skin at Sundance's
Hot Skin

Amber and me, my leg looks weird but Amber's face makes me laugh so it stays :)
Amber's stoked

our typical bathroom photo
we always take this silly bathroom photos

Hour of the Wolf
Hour of the Wolf

my cute hubby
Hank <3

Jordan and Amber

Chip and Tom and Frank

Sometimes, the subject of a tattoo is unclear to the un-illuminated eye. Curiosity compels one to ask: what is that?

And the answer makes sense. And one marvels at the mind behind the man (or woman) who says,"Yeah, let's put that on me forever."

Such was the case during rush hour on the N train. An guy named Chip stood nearby and his right forearm intrigued me. I couldn't make out what his tattoos were. Can you?


When I asked, he explained. The top piece is a photograph from a Tom Waits album:

Despite ascertaining this is a Tom Waits photograph, I can't pinpoint where it came from. If anyone knows for certain, please let me know. The tattoo was done by C-Jay at Rising Dragon Tattoos in Manhattan. Work from Rising Dragon has appeared previously here.

Below the Waits tattoo is a Frank Zappa piece:


This is based on artwork that appeared on the back cover of Zappa's autobiography The Real Frank Zappa Book:


This piece was tattooed by an artist he only identified as Chris at Marco's Tattoo in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

Obviously, Chip is a huge fan of both Frank Zappa and Tom Waits. That's all there is to it.

Thanks to Chip for sharing his cool and unusual tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

manicure Wednesday


manicure Wednesday, originally uploaded by daniellehampton.

Who's Better Than Us: Chris Honors His Father

I met Chris in Brooklyn Heights one afternoon and asked him about his ink. He has seven tattoos in all, but offered up this section of his arm:


What seems at first like an odd juxtaposition of figures makes more sense when it is explained.

The piece is a memorial based on a photograph of his father, who had worked as an editor on the original film of Woodstock, as well as the book documenting the process who worked with the team that made Woodstock (Paradigm), developing and experimenting with new film technology which was eventually used in the process of making the movie.

After searching for a while, I emailed Chris and asked if he could send me the photo. He generously obliged:


Seeing the source material on which this piece is based makes it cooler. The photograph appears in the book, and was taken up at Woodstock when the documentary was in production years laterby one of the cinematographers of the Woodstock film, Chuck Levey somewhere in New Jersey.

And the back of the arm features a quote from Chris's dad, a statement he would often make, which seems genuinely appropriate from someone so deeply immersed in the culture of the 1960s:


Chris had his tattoos inked by Nick Caruso at Fly-Rite Studio in Brooklyn. Work from Fly-Rite has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to Chris for sharing his work here on Tattoosday!

Monday, Tuesday

Yesterday was a wonderful first day back in Prescott, and Hank and I spent it food shopping and organizing around the house. I was so nice to wake up in our bed, and be able to have my entire wardrobe to choose from! ;) I got up around 8am and lounged around in my pjs until Hank woke up later and we got up and headed to New Frontiers. We got tons and tons of fresh, local produce and ingredients for our dinner plans this week. Most of the time we eat vegan, and I always have a good time trying out different recipes I find on the internet. One of my fave sites is the Vegan Dad blog and also Fat free Vegan . Sometimes I think it would be fun to take cooking classes so I think sometime soon I would like to actually do that rather than always wishing I did. I think I'm an okay cook but by no means great and I would like to be!

So we spent the day doing stuff around the house and then went on a run together later in the evening. It was a wonderful day!

This morning I woke up around 7:30am and Amber came by to pick me up and we headed down to Phoenix for a day of shopping. She leaves for college in Santa Barbara next week and needed to get some clothes for school and stop by IKEA for some stuff for her new house! So we did all that, somehow surviving the disgusting 112 degree heat and headed back up the mountain to Prescott. Hank and I spent the rest of the evening at his wonderful Grandma's house. I absolutely LOVE her- she is such a cool lady who watches politics (Rachel Maddow and Keith, etc) like they're soap operas. She's so smart and I always learn someting new whenever we go over, which is once a week for "Grandma Night."

So tomorrow should be fun also- Hour of the Wolf is playing their first of two shows this week (they leave for tour next Tuesday) and it should be a good night. Tomorrow morning I need to get back into the gym. I've been taking it easy for the past couple of days minus some cardio because I hurt my back a bit while lifting last week. It's been super painful some nights and totally fine others which is quite annoying. I hope these past days without being really strenuous will be good for it. I am definitely looking forward to a good workout tomorrow morning.

from tonight, about 20 minutes ago...isn't she CUTE!

I look creepy but look at HER!

Meredith Shares Two Inspirational Pieces for Tat-Twosday


Let's just say the third time's a charm.

It started with me getting off the subway in my neighborhood and noticing the woman walking several paces ahead of me. I saw that she had words inked around her wrists. As I generally shy away from tattoos that circle a limb (they don't translate well on a blog page, in my humble opinion), I made a mental note and we went our separate ways.

A few days later I was walking home, carrying dry cleaning (an activity that has delayed more than one Tattoosday post, for sure), when I ran into her again.

This time, we approached from opposite directions and I was able to introduce myself and maneuver my cleaning in order to give her Tattoosday info.

I was pleased to see, as well, two heretofore unnoticed pieces that she told me about and admired. Both were significantly original and very cool. We tentatively agreed to talk at a later date about featuring her work on the site.

A week later, our paths crossed again, and this time I was ready. So here are two of Meredith's tattoos, just in time for Tat-twosday!

We'll start with the wonderful piece dancing along the inside of her left forearm:


What we have here is the phrase "searching through the static" in an unusual font. With Photoshop, Meredith flipped the text to create a design with the phrase, base to base, almost zig-zagging across her arm.


Meredith is an artist (see her blog here) and she has lived in several places, trying to find her way through life. She did, here in New York City, and the phrase "searching through the static" resonates with her, as she has ventured through the chaos of life experiences to find her true path. She particularly loves this font because it resembles a cityscape, with some of the letters rising like skyscrapers over the street-like valleys between words.

The second tattoo she offered up is this stunning black and gray chest piece:


The center of the design is a broken snow globe, modeled after one that Meredith's grandmother gave her many years ago. Even though it is cracked, she has kept it as a treasure by which to remember her. She did change the snow globe design to contain a tree, not small people, like in the item on which this is based. The tree, she felt, was more appropriate for the tattoo.

The phrase that brackets the snow globe is "Keep going farther Beautiful Seeker." It is a mantra that she has adopted to keep her motivated and focused on a higher goal.

Both of these tattoos were inked by Alex Franklin at Brooklyn Ink. Work from Alex has appeared previously on Tattoosday here here and here. And clicking here will take you to all the posts from Brooklyn Ink that have appeared here on Tattoosday. As I've mentioned before, the proximity of the shop to my residence makes it the most frequently-featured purveyor on the site.

Thanks again to Meredith for sharing her wonderful tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!

Michael's Mythical Sleeves

I generally avoid featuring full sleeves here, because of the limitations that posting them has - it is difficult to fully capture the artistry in the work. But, on occasion, the tattoos are so amazing, I can't resist.

Such was the case with Michael, who shared portions of both sleeves with me. Here's a sliver of his right arm:


To fully capture the magic of this tattoo, here's a fresher, professional collage, courtesy of the artist Stacey Sharp:


Michael was proud of the fact that this tattoo took second place in the "Best Sleeve" category in the 2007 Philadelphia Tattoo Convention.

And although the top section of his left arm is still "under construction," the bottom half is no less spectacular:


The detail and shading is just absolutely phenomenal:


Michael, a professional make-up artist, explained that he embarked on these sleeves when he was going through a rough patch in his life and that, as a water sign, the creation and depiction of an aquatic dragon, helped mark a spiritual process that gave him strength while enduring life's trials and tribulations.

He estimated that the right, award-winning sleeve, took approximately 36 hours in total work and that his right sleeve is fifty hours in, and counting.

What's interesting about this post, aside from the brilliant tattoo work, is that I have a nice online friendship with the artist, Stacey Sharp, and that she provided me with her prospective of these sleeves. Generally we only hear from the host.

Stacey works out of Inkpulsive Custom Tattoos in Ronkonkoma, New York.

Stacey comments about her work on Michael:

Some interesting info about Michael's arms...

"The WaterDragon (right arm) was drawn on his arm at a moment's notice. He was only looking for 'a little something to add to his armband'. Took about an hour to draw on with a marker and another hour to outline. All of the blue background was done in one shot, 4 hours, including elbow and ditch (Michael advises to NEVER do those two areas at the same time). The lighter water swirls were added at a later date. The entire thing took 36 hours to complete. It's also the only tattoo I've done that has a 'Title'- A warm thing in a cold place. His species is WaterDragon. His proper name is Fathom... but sometimes we fondly refer to him by his nickname: The Sea Chicken!

The dragon on his left arm is Random. That's her name. Why? Because she is. :) Fur and feathers take much longer to detail. We didn't keep track of her time like we did with the WaterDragon. She's more of an Air/Fire combination... where the WaterDragon is more guarding, silent sentinel, she's the fun, spontaneous side. Whimsical."
So there you have it, an additional perspective, from the artist. It's interesting to get an additional point of view that expands on the notes I've scribbled down in the street.

Much thanks to Michael for enthusiastically sharing his work with us here on Tatoosday! And an additional thank you to Stacey Sharp for contributing her thoughts as well, in addition to granting permission to using the photo collage of the right sleeve.

Stacey's work has appeared on Tattoosday once previously, a much smaller, whimsical piece, here.

Home sweet home

Well, it's almost midnight on Sunday and Hank and I are officially home. It was a long drive...and I am so happy to be sprawled on the couch with my laptop, catching up with my DVR, making shopping lists for this week, pulling recipes, and getting excited for the new school year to begin. As much as I love to travel, I do crave routine and I always feel relieved in a way to be home after any trip, be it San Diego or Canada. This weekend was definitely a quiet one for me, and I only went to the Convention for day so I got a lot of rest and relaxation in. :)

This week is the first full week I have spent in Prescott since May, and even so I will be going to Phoenix with Amber for a little shopping trip, and then again with Hank this upcoming weekend. I was supposed to be coming to Seattle this weekend and as much as I second-guessed my decision to cancel my trip, I am so happy to be home and to have time for recharging before next year begins. And it begins very soon- I have to return to school next Tuesday for "pre-school year prep" - it's a time when all the teachers are there before the kids come the following week. It's full of meetings, comittees and tons of other boring stuff like that. I definitely don't teach for all that, so I am really looking forward to the kids actually getting there. It's always weird to have 125 kids I don't know come through my classroom, but after the first week it gets a little easier. In my four years of teaching I still haven't ever had a huge discipline problem so I am keeping my fingers crossed its another good year.

I'll leave you with some more photos from San Diego. Have a great week blogger friends! And ps, now that I am home from all this traveling you can expect more regular posts. :)

Hank

YEAH!

cuties

SO EXCITED @#$%^

thumbs up in motion at the New Moon booth

My Little Pony <3

Ugly Dolls!

Alex interviewing Hank

SW + Hank = <3

St. Michael, Inspired by Survival

I met Michael in Penn Station and he shared this incredible tattoo:


That is a depiction of St. Michael, with whom our contributor shares a name.

Michael had this tattoo added to his right bicep and shoulder after surviving a terrible car accident. One of his lungs collapsed and he was touch-and-go for six days.

Afterward, he wanted to pay homage to Saint Michael and went to Lark Tattoo in Westbury, New York. Brian, the artist, spent nine hours on this amazingly detailed piece.


Work from Lark has appeared previously on Tattoosday here.

Thanks to Michael for sharing this incredible tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

Call for Submissions - Literary Tattoos

THE REST IS SILENCE:

Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide

Edited by Eva Talmadge and Justin Taylor


CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS! We are seeking high quality photographs of your literary tattoos for an upcoming book. Send us your ink! Submissions are open to all kinds of literary tattoo work: quotations from your favorite writer, opening lines of novels, lines of verse, literary portraits or illustrations. From Shakespeare to Bukowski to The Little Prince in a Baobab tree, if it's a literary tattoo and its on your body, we want to see it.

All images must include the name (or pseudonym) of the tattoo bearer, city and state or country, and a transcription of the text itself, along with its source. For portraits or illustrations, please include the name of the author or book on which it's based. We'd also like to read a few words about the tattoo's meaning to you -- why you chose it, when you first read that poem or book, or how its meaning has evolved over time. How much (or how little) you choose to say about your tattoo is up to you, but a paragraph or two should do the trick.

Please send clear digital images of the highest print quality possible to tattoolit@gmail.com. Pixel resolutions should be at least 1500 x 1200, or a minimum 300 dpi at 5 inches wide. Text should be included in the body of the email, not as an attached document. Also be sure to include one or more pieces of contact information, so we can let you know if you're going to be in the book.

Anthony's Pin-Up

Many people may wonder, when I pass out a card or flier, how often do people write to me and share their tattoos?

Not often.

But I'm cool with that. And it makes it extra special when someone does, especially when they're sharing a nice tattoo.

I ran into Anthony back in June coming up from the subway at 34th Street in Manhattan. We e-mailed back and forth a couple of times and then he sent me this tattoo, which I hadn't even seen when I saw him in the station:


I'll let Anthony do the rest of the talking:
"The tattoo I adore the most is my pin-up girl. I named her Amber, I just love that name the most. My tattoo artist is name Twace. I got my tattoo done at Gotham City Tattoos out in Brooklyn....I have about ten tattoos all in total but she is my favorite one 'cause growing up I just love pin-up girls. It took me nearly three years to find the right one for my arm. I came across to this girl doing a pose wearing nothing but a button down men's shirt with her heels and long black hair. She's the one for me, plus it is sexy when a girl is wearing a men's shirt...even in the morning. My back is getting done, a gypsy woman. So it will be awhile to get that one done."
Thanks to Anthony for sharing his awesome tattoo with us here on Tattoosday!

The Butterfly Effect: Susan's Ink

I met Susan at the laundromat a couple weekends back and took pictures of the butterfly tattoos on her right arm:


She loves these colorful insects and, like many people who get butterfly tattoos, appreciate them as symbols of freedom:


Susan has her whole back tattooed (she showed me a bit of her lower back and said she'd think about sending in a photo) and got these tattoos on an impulse, in December 2004. She was living in the Bronx at the time, and when she was unable to get into Manhattan due to the last transit strike, went to a local shop and had the butterflies added to her arm.

Thanks to Susan for sharing these cool tattoos with us here on Tattoosday!