If you haven’t gotten to see the documentary “Signatures of the Soul”, you are missing out. Peter Fonda host this documentary that goes from Paulo Suluape to Bob Roberts and Leo Zulueta to Ed Hardy. It’s a great piece of modern tattoo history. Thank you to New Zealand On Screen for putting this up.
It’s separated into 4 clips
CAUTION, there are a few clips in this first one that could be offensive, if you are the type to get offended, or if kids are watching it. So if your kids watch this, and you don’t want them to see nudity, you might not want to watch it in front of them.
Here’s a small exert from the final part of my interview with Krooked Ken for TAM blog,
“SH- That’s hilarious. That’s tattooing, it’s awesome, like anytime you get bummed you can go back to what fundamentally matters. That’s all that matters. It’s not about doing 2020 amazing tattooing. Cutting edge changes, that’s good, it’s wonderful to do good tattoos, but don’t forget the other shit it’s about. It’s about talking and stories, carnies.
KK- Yeah that’s the other thing, I see so many tattooers, you know you’re at a booth next to somebody at a convention, and the people will look at their portfolio and you’ll over hear them say, “This guys really good” and I’ll look over waiting for the guy to be like, “Hey, how are you?” And the guy just looks up smiles and puts his head back down. I have the experience of working with people who couldn’t sell water to someone who is on fire. That’s the whole carnie aspect. “Come on in!”
I remember Eddie one time just a few years ago, I stopped in his shop. Eddie was there and this couple came in, they didn’t want to get tattooed it was the novelty, “Wouldn’t it be fun if we went in there” and Eddie was like, “We’ll put a beautiful tattoo on you, you’re already a beautiful women, probably the most beautiful woman that’s ever been in this shop, but this really would top it off.” So she got tattooed. Nobody does that anymore.”
Here’s a small exert from Part 2 of my interview with Krooked Ken for TAM blog. This is Ken telling a story about advice he has been given by other tattooers, and I think that it really holds true for everyone in any field of work.
“We made our own needles and a lot of ‘em. I’d go to him with questions and he’d be like, “Ah, you’ll figure it out,” and I always thought, “Damn it, why does he hate me?” But thank God he did that, because I haven’t forgotten, you know what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t make my needles anymore but maybe I should?
I’ve been so lucky to be able to have a lot of good friends that I’ve known a long, long time. I’ve gotten great advice from Stanley Moskowitz. We sat down one time and he said, “I see you at all these conventions, doing this and that and I’m really proud of you. You got a fucking family kid, you know, family… you can give your kids a million dollars at graduation but they are still going to remember that one baseball game you missed.”
They are going to remember, and I could tell that was something from his heart. He was telling me, “Look man, don’t fuck this up.” I have got to plan, none of us are working forever, so I have to make sure my family is taken care of forever but part of that is being there. So that kind of advice and Tony Teleda years ago, same thing, you get sat down like you’ve been neighbors for years, “Things are different, you aren’t going to make a million dollars, so don’t worry about all these other tattooers say this or that, it’s bullshit.”
Also, if you get a chance, you should pick Last of the Bowery Scab Merchants, it’s amazing. It’s an example of what is one of the amazing things about tattooing, the story telling. The oral tradition found on these cd’s is price less. The stories from Walter Moskowitz are rich in history, along with the zinger’s we all love about tattooing. Tracing back his linage from his father, to Charlie Wagner, it’s amazing to hear, along with the extra history tid bits about Civil War tattooing and the rise of the electric tattoo machine and Jonesy. I would recommend that if you love tattoo history, tattooing in general, you will be glad you picked this up. Pick it up at www.scabmerchant.com
I am also going to leave you with a David Bazan documentary, because he is amazing, and I am excited to see him in a few months.
Things have been pretty crazy lately. Between guest spots at Black 13 and Hope Gallery, time has been a little thin for updates. I was able to finish a blog for TAM about Krooked Ken, which they put up this week, thanks again everyone at TAM for the opportunity. I was really stoked on it, here’s a short exert.
“Walking into Powerhouse Tattoo Company in Montclair, New Jersey reminds me of everything that I love about tattooing. It’s a small space, but it is wide open. The lobby is covered floor to ceiling with flash, some old, some new, but all images that capture your eye. I found myself getting lost, just looking at everything around. Some particular pages caught my eyes that were painted by Krooked Ken, pages he had painted from old Stoney Sinclair designs. I love Stoney’s work, and his attitude toward tattooing, so this put a huge smile on my face, like a giddy kid. The work stations are also wide open, so everyone is involved in every tattoo being done. No matter how many people were tattooing, it could even be just one, everyone there was participating, talking shit, and laughing. Everything about the shop was tattooing to me, especially Krooked Ken. I was lucky enough to get tattooed by Ken that day. After I entered the shop and took it all in, Ken came out to great me right away. Ken is one of the nicest, most approachable people I have ever met. After he greeted us, my girlfriend leaned over and gushed about how great he was. When we were talking about what I wanted to get done, I told him I wanted one of his signature pieces, which, if you don’t know, is his head put on a piece of iconic flash.
He asked what piece I wanted to work with, and I told him “The Don Hardy eagle, you know? THE eagle”. He just looked at me and smiled, “Oh, the one in the red book, got it.” He walked to the back, drew it up, and came back; that was that. We talked a bit about placement and made some jokes about images being forwards and backwards, and how little it really matters. When he placed the stencil, the eagle was facing outward, and he said, “It’s for our discussion on what’s backwards.” I just smiled, like a kid in a candy store. To me, that’s tattooing. The following stories are about how Krooked Ken got into the world of tattooing. It comes from our conversation while he was tattooing me so, it’s not just the story about how Ken started tattooing, it’s several stories, all wrapped up in an amazing conversation had while getting a great tattoo. I wanted to capture the atmosphere of how it is getting tattooed, the conversations, the stories, the random people interjecting, random stories coming out of nowhere, all of it. So I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed hearing it.”