While you wait

October 11th, 2009 by Kevin -


Tattoos While You Wait neon sign

A friend told me he wanted to get tattooed this weekend. He explained he’s been saving up some cash, and wanted to get a piece by a solid artist. I hesitated before I answered, and asked what exactly he wanted. “I was thinking of a super realistic bright piece on the back of my calf.” A somewhat intricate description of his tattoo followed, and I found myself hesitating again. I explained to him with what he described, he would be better off contacting an artist and setting up an appointment instead of just walking in and getting it on the spot.

I knew he didn’t want to hear this, but felt like this was the best advice I could offer (and I still do, for the record.) I could see the look of disappointment on his face, but he understood why after I explained my thinking, which I will now share with you as well.

Typically, walking into a tattoo shop and getting a piece on the spot means it’s not going to be the incredibly intricate and personalized tattoo my friend described. While that may not always the case, I think in most situations it’s a safe bet. If you’re interested in getting a traditional piece with a slight twist, you’ll probably be ok with a walk in to any reputable shop. If you’re looking for a silly outline of a camel on your big toe (think about it,) you’ll be ok. However if you’re looking for a fairly large piece that needs to be drawn up, just walking into a shop is probably a bad idea.

Anyone with visible tattoos has experienced this–once you have a tattoo that people can see, they start asking you where to go. It’s a responsibility that comes with the step of having visible tattoos, and it can get old after a while. For some reason everyone “needs” the tattoo done right away. They have Tuesday off, and want to get it done then. After all the time they’ve spent saving up cash, it’s burning a hole in their pocket. I understand; they have the itch, they want it now.

When someone comes to me asking where they should go, I try to assess the situation.

    - Is this person actually going to listen to what I have to say? Sometimes, no matter how much you tell them, they’re going to go get a tattoo on Tuesday. If I think this is the case, I try to at least send them to a decent shop.

    – Does this person really want to spend a hundred dollars (or more) an hour? Cash rules everything around . . . . us. If not, again, I’ll at least suggest a decent shop that does average work. At least they won’t wind up at “Big Tim’s Tatz & Bongz” shop.

Even if I’m not sure about where they stand concerning the two criteria above, I’ll explain the options. I’m pretty open about the price, the process, and the quality difference. They can make up their own mind–after all, they are at least 18.

Several days later, I usually find out what the person wound up doing. They either run at me showing off the piece, or eagerly tell me they scheduled an appointment. A thank you for the information and my opinion is usually inserted the conversation, and regardless of their decision – I tell them congratulations. Getting a tattoo is a neat thing, and they’ll always have a memory associated with that process and experience… I’m just hoping it’s a positive one.

The end of the Audigier empire (maybe)

October 7th, 2009 by Julene Huffman -



It’s no secret that tattoo culture sells–take a look at all the people buying up varying items  with notable names such as Sailor Jerry, Von Dutch, and of course Christian Audigier’s line of Ed Hardy-inspired items. I find it amusing that the people that will drop $200 on some piece of rhinestone encrusted crappy tattoo design rip-off are the same exact people that would most likely not only never get a traditionally styled tattoo, but never consider getting a tattoo at all.

Now, ripping on the Ed Hardy line is a lot like making fun of hipsters; it’s fun, it’s easy, and moreover everyone’s doing it. And when I say everyone, I do mean everyone. Take this um… “song” made by Dirt Nasty and Andy Milonakis. If those guys are making fun of you, clearly whatever you’re doing is a completely supreme variety of douchebaggery.

I have to be honest, it’s hard not to hate Mr. Audigier. I think I speak for most people (or at least those reading this post) when I say I’m sick of seeing his dumb t-shirts, trucker hats, and velour track suits being sported by the same tattoo-free individuals that give me scathing looks in public. I’m sick of the fact that he has made glitter a legitimate portion of his marketing ploy.

Don’t worry, there’s good news in the midst of all those rhinestone encrusted t-shirts! I’m fairly confident this money-making endeavor is quickly coming to an end–and here’s why: I’m starting to see Ed Hardy items on the market that I can afford. Lighters in the gas station? Check. Wall clocks? Check. Shot glasses? Check. Mirrors covered in branded paintings? Check. The problem with expensive items becoming more affordable and readily available to all consumers is that they quit being cool.

The funny thing is eventually everyone runs out of items to plaster their brand across. So maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part but maybe, just maybe, Christian will find a new tattooist to buy out the rights to in the near future. I’m not placing any bets on that actually happening, by the way. Mostly because now Audigier has his tentacles wrapped around an entirely new moneymaker–the Michael Jackson estate.

R.I.P. Myspace

September 29th, 2009 by Kevin -


Myspace.com, internet phenomenon, is officially dead at the age of six. Born in 2003 as a spin of off Friendster, a group of programmers saw an opportunity and  ran with it. Since its inception, Myspace revolutionized social networking with it’s massive infrastructure ingrained with technological expertise, extensive bandwidth, and the ability to expand to the changing times. In July of 2005, merely two years after it’s birth, Myspace was purchased by Ruport Murdoch’s News Corporation for five hundred and eighty million dollars. The site reached it’s pinnacle point a year later, and has dramatically declined since.

The site leaves behind millions of users, who cling to its easy navigation and familiar methods of posting moods and bulletins. While many users have moved on to Facebook and Twitter, a large percentage have yet to come to terms with it’s departure. While the site continues to function on life support as activity is minimal, experts are not optimistic about it’s recovery.

I wrote this obituary initially as a joke, but also to alert tattoo artists that Myspace is indeed dead. Before you say anything–yes, TattooSnob has a Myspace page. Yes, writing this and maintaining a Myspace account may seem slightly hypocritical. Our intent is to utilize social media services that best suit our audience, and for whatever reason our professional tattoo artist audience hasn’t come to terms with the death of Myspace quite yet. I wish I could tell you why, but honestly I don’t know.

Thinking about moving on, but not sure where to go? I’ll make this easy: start with Facebook.

Facebook is to Myspace today as Myspace was to Friendster years ago. The site has all of the same features as Myspace that should appeal to a tattoo artist. You can upload your portfolio,  pick a URL (and use it as your portfolio site), give people updates about what you’re doing, receive messages instead of corresponding via email, and of course other users can leave you super awesome glitter comments! The only thing you can’t do is pick your top eight forty friends. Oh, shucks – right?

Now, I completely understand the lack of appeal of a Twitter page for a tattoo artist. Tweeting updates can be a pain in the ass and while the site allows you to update dedicated followers instantly, it is lacking in the big picture department. It doesn’t have a dedicated photo gallery to showcase tattoo work, and it definitely doesn’t show your contact information. Twitter is the efficiency social networking site–but if you’re really set on having an account there I do have one suggestion. Without too much effort one can set their Facebook account to automatically update their Twitter.

You’re probably reluctant, right? If for no other reason, do it for the kids. They’re trying to send you messages about getting tattooed, they want to know if you’ve ever met Kat Von D, and TattooSnob is trying to get an interview.

Miss Tattoo USA is not okay

September 25th, 2009 by Julene Huffman -


With a tagline like “created by women with tattoos, for women with tattoos” I really wanted to believe that the Miss Tattoo USA pageant would provide an outlet for some uber-babes with serious tattoo work to strut their stuff. Considering tattoo work in general is a huge no-no in the pageant industry, the idea of a contest inviting only exceptionally attractive, heavily tattooed women to compete appeals to me.

According to the pageant’s website contestants are judged based on personality, poise, and overall appearance in three of these categories: daily wear (i.e. t-shirts and jeans), evening wear, swimwear, talent, and a themed pin-up competition for the finalists. While this all sounds amazing, I admit to feeling a bit let-down once I did a bit more investigating. On their website they are the first to state that their pageant is not based solely on the beauty of their contestants.

“Unlike many traditional pageants, ours is not in pursuit of the most beautiful girl, but rather a quest for tattooed women who carry themselves proudly and are making a statement of individuality by decorating their bodies with ink.”

For starters I would say the better portion of the girls pictured on their site are not what I would consider “heavily” tattooed, which is what I would’ve liked to see being the cornerstone this competition.

Secondly, I’m going to be honest and say I would not consider a lot of these girls to be pageant material. Before you jump out of your skin telling me how all women are beautiful–FINE. I agree! All sizes, shapes, skin tones, hair lengths, etc are appealing to someone out there. However, I would consider the physical criteria for a competitor in a beauty pageant to far exceed that of the average woman walking down the street. After all, that is what makes winning pageants like Miss USA or Miss Universe a big deal! It’s the best of the best competing to see who’s really the most attractive, interesting, “perfect” female in attendance that year. When I think of women I would expect to see at a show like this along the line of many of the PRICK Girls; Sabina Kelly, Betty Lipstick, Jessie DeVille and Stephanie Fleischman just to name a few.

What I think I’m really getting at is I think a name change may be in order. Miss “OMG,  I HAVE A TATTOO!” USA, maybe?

In the news

September 20th, 2009 by Kevin -


It’s always interesting looking through the news at stories that are related to the tattoo world.

I used to tattoo Hells Angels. Now, I tattoo soccer moms
Mike Dick has been tattooing for over twenty years in Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) and briefly speaks about the good ‘ole days of tattooing.  “People started accepting tattoos and the TV shows made it go nuts. The reality shows on tattoo shops — it’s real Hollywood and it’s real junk.”

Fasion statement: ‘a conservative tattoo shop’
In August, Pacific Ink Tattoo opened in the Laguna Mall. The way the article was written sounds like the shop consists of one tattoo artist, Patrick Demarco, who left a Colorado tattoo shop (in a mall) to open this one.

In the flesh
Adam Barton is featured in a well written short bio, which recaps his passion and career as a tattoo artist.

I picked these three articles about these different tattoo artists that all have a completely different definition of what the tattoo world means to them. Oh, and here’s portfolio links for two out of the three:

Mike Dick from Stark Raving Tattoo
Adam Barton from O’Reilly’s Tattoo

If you take a moment to look at each artist’s portfolio, you probably won’t be shocked. The shocking part about this is that each of these tattoo artists have their place in the tattoo industry as of right now. The tattoo industry is in a confusing time, and it’s going to be interesting to see where it goes next. How long is it going to be able to stay at this high? When/If it does crash, who’s going to stick around and show they really love the art?

The way I look at these articles above is the Mike Dick’s of fifteen years ago are now the Patrick DeMarco’s of today, but I’m thankful we still have the Adam Barton’s for us Tattoo Snobs.

First time I ever saw your face

September 19th, 2009 by Kevin -


Like every other male in the 18 – 30 demographic, I’ll be watching the UFC pay per view tonight. Every time I’ve watched any UFC event, I’ve said “If I was a tattoo artist, I’d sponsor a fighter and cover them in gnarly tattoos. Slap my shop logo on their shorts in a prominent place, and I’d be set.” I still stick to my guns on that idea, I think it’s a gold mine. There aren’t too many fighters out there with amazing ink, and people tend to remember tattoos on any fighter – good or bad. There are plenty of fighters out there with bad tattoo work, but not too many of those tattoos actually generate conversation.

AlanBelcherThat brings us to Alan Belcher. I remember watching Belcher a couple months ago when he was fighting Dennis Kang at UFC 100. I remember spending the entire fight trying to figure out whom that tattoo on his arm was supposed to be.

“I think it’s supposed to be Johnny Cash, but that can’t be right.”

At one point during the three round fight, I think even Joe Rogan mentioned the tattoo. Some of my other friends tossed out theories including Belcher getting the tattoo when he was smaller, and putting on a significant amount of muscle, causing the tattoo to shift and expand. I’m sure that could happen, but it seemed pretty extreme. Plus, you can tell the tattoo isn’t that old.

A few days passed, and I continued to be curious about the tattoo. When everyone else was talking about the split decision during the fight, I was being a tattoo snob and looking up old pictures. Overall, I couldn’t find much about the tattoo. The only thing I did find was a picture that indicates the hair in the portrait was designed to cover up an older tattoo, which makes sense. A few articles turned up on different MMA sites, but none give any clear information about the story with the tattoo is.

johnny-cash-tattooPeople were speculating, but nobody could really tell what was going on. Instead of moving on, a few jokes started to circulate. Here’s my personal favorites:

“It’s not Kim Jong Il?”

“Kind of looks like Kenny Powers.”

Rosie O’Donnell?”

“That’s the psychic from Beetlejuice!”

In all seriousness, the tattoo is obviously based off the cover from the Folsom Prison album. Whether it was a bad tattoo, or from his training routine, I guess I won’t know until the UFC grants Tattoo Snob press credentials.

MTV wants to tell everyone about your shitty tattoo

September 16th, 2009 by Julene Huffman -


Though anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis is probably well outside of MTV’s intended age demographic, I was intrigued to discover their show True Life had a recent casting call of note. The topic that sparked my interest is of course “I hate my tattoo.”

They were accepting submissions from males & females age 17-28, which is where my first of many problems with this whole scenario arises. First of all, anyone already with a tattoo at 17 either has a damn liberal parent and bad taste, or an uncanny ability to get into trouble… and bad taste. Even with several tattoos of questionable quality to call my own, it took me a while to fully realize not only did I hate them but I hated them enough to admit to people that I didn’t like them. That being said, I’d like to move on to the criteria to be considered for this casting call.

Do you have a tattoo that you regret? I’m pretty sure every heavily tattooed individual I have ever known has at least one tattoo they regret. That’s why there’s laser removal, cover up work, and the slightly less embraced black it out option.

Are you covered with ink that you wish you could just wash away? Maybe it’s just me, but I think this question borders on insulting. Though I don’t know what amount of tattoo work qualifies as “covered” by MTV’s standard, it makes me think of full sleeves, torso work, and probably some tattoos in job-killing locations like the hands and neck. Anyone who’s reached the point where they are that heavily covered probably doesn’t have any desire to simple wash it all away unless they’ve broken ties with a gang or found religion (unless they’re Brian Welch, obviously.)

Do you feel that people look at you differently because of your tattoo, and you wish it wasn’t there? Now allow me to address the obvious: people get tattoos to stand apart, make a statement, commemorate something important or impress hot babes. Generally speaking I would say people want their tattoos to be noticed, which in turn requires receiving visual attention–this is also known as being stared at. I can’t think of a single person who mentions they want to get a tattoo to friends, relatives or just strangers in a bar without someone bringing up the fact that it can (and fact is, probably will) lead to people looking at you differently. While some may find it to be an act of rebellion and others just one of stupidity, it’s pretty rare for anyone to take a look at someone else’s tattoo and simply think nothing about it at all.

Does a certain tattoo stand in the way of your relationship with your family, friends, or a significant other? Does it remind you of a relationship or a certain period of your life that went sour and now you want to move on? I feel like these two separate criteria are actually just one, and we can sum it up nicely: did you get someone’s name tattooed on you that you are no longer involved with? Not to sound like a prick, but why would you want to air that dirty laundry on TV? Granted, I would probably not be a fan of dating someone with another girl’s name tattooed across any portion of their body. I can guarantee you I’d be even more pissed if now my second cousins knew not only whose name he had tattooed on him but the back story as to why they broke up. If your tattoo is causing strain on someone you care about, why the hell would you force that out into the limelight?

Is there a certain job that you’re trying to land, but your tattoos could possibly stand in the way? What the hell are these executives expecting? A response along the lines of, “Why yes, I want to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but the Medusa on my arm prevents me from acquiring that job. Forget that fact that I have no formal education, and I could wear long sleeves to cover this tattoo up. Help me MTV!”

Get real. I can tell you right now that unless your hands/neck/face are where these people wound up being tattooed there is a really simple solution: put on a long sleeved shirt and quit telling people you’re tattooed like the other 80% of heavily tattooed individuals out there.

Are you thinking about tattoo removal? Well that depends… who’s paying? I sincerely doubt MTV is going to drop the money on each of these featured individuals repeated, pricey laser treatments. What I do suspect is they will follow some of these folks into a room and take a nice tight shot of their faces screwed up in various expressions of pain while their tattoos are lasered.

What pisses me off and bums me out about this particular episode is that I already know the moral of the story they are going to wind up conveying to those watching. It certainly won’t be to choose a quality tattooist, and make sure that this is something you really want on your body in that location forever. Instead, I strongly suspect it will be much more like, “See? ALL of these tattoos were life-changing mistakes! And your tattoo will be a mistake! ALL TATTOOS ARE BAD CHOICES!!!!”

Before you get any ideas about sending in your application to be included, they’ve already closed the casting call. Looks like there’s plenty of people out there dying to show everyone what kind of poor decision making skills they possess via national television. I’ve been told this disastrous episode of True Life will be airing soon, if it hasn’t already. Look for it in between “My Mom won’t buy me a Mercedes for my Sweet 16″ and “I want to be Tommy Lee: how my amateur porn wound up on the Internet.”