Archive for tattoos

Under Your Skin

Posted in Heads Up with tags , , on October 17, 2012 by Magadh

Love tattoos? Of course you do, so check out the fantastic “Under Your Skin‘ podcast. Here’s the write up from the always excellent Needles and Sins blog

Just wanted to share this podcast I’m enjoying right now:  “Under Your Skin” by the radio show To The Best of our Knowledge on National Public Radio.

“Under You Skin” looks at the old and new schools of tattooing. There are a number of clips from the wonderful cd box set The Last of the Bowery Scab Merchants by Walter Moskowitz, one of the legendary Bowery Boys. Some great stories about fixing black eyes and also tattooing interesting characters like one wealthy businessman who said, when asked about his job and having all his tattoos, “When you have a million dollars in the bank, the world can kiss your ass.” Loved it!

There are also interviews with others in the tattoo world that are a compelling listen as well. You can click individual clips of the podcast here.

To enjoy all of Walter Moskowitz’s stories, go to and get your own 2-cd set (with great essays and artwork in the 24-page booklet) for just $22.50. [I’m honored to be a part of the project as well and to have talked with Walter before his passing.]

– Captain of Games

Scratch Your Name on My Arm With a Fountain Pen

Posted in Dispatches with tags , , , on July 9, 2012 by Magadh

Jacobus Van Dyn’s tattoos would make him an object of comment today; imagine their effect in 1930’s England. Van Dyn worked as a stevedore on the Southampton Dock while collecting work from some of the principle artists of his age, including the esteemed George Burchett. He was also known to pass the time regaling passers by at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park with tales from his life of sin.

Howard Grey, in 1959, documented Van Dyn’s tattoos in a series of portraits. Readers wishing to review the portraits, one of which is published below, may do so here.  Thankfully, Grey declined an opportunity to photograph Van Dyn’s heavily tattooed penis.

I first encountered this story via the good people at Sang Bleu who I heartily recommend you add to your daily reading list.

– Captain of Games

On Gypsies and Gentlemen: Marcus Kuhn’s Series Profiles Some of Our Favorite Artists

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2012 by Magadh

The residents of the 1000 Trivialities bunker all agree upon the indisputable radness of tattoos and tattoo culture. Most of us started marking ourselves up at a fairly impressionable young age and all have continued to do so apace.

I first learned about Marcus Kuhn’s excellent, “The Gypsy Gentleman” series while in Austin, Texas. Following Narrows last show at SxSW, Rob Moran arranged for several of us to be tattooed at Rock of Ages by his old friend and amazing artist Steve Byrne. We took Steve out to dinner when we were all done and the conversation turned to Vice’s series Tattoo Age . Steve mentioned that Marcus Kuhn had recently been in Texas filming a series of his own and that he and his business partner (the equally talented ex-Concrete, WA resident Tony Hundahl) were featured in the 2nd episode.

Each episode of “The Gypsy Gentleman” features different cities, themes and artists. Kuhn’s old stomping ground, New York City, kicks off the series.  Virginia Elwood and Thomas Hooper  accompany Kuhn as he talks a bit about the life of a traveling tattoo artist. Daniel Santoro of Smith Street Tattoo Parlour and Black Gold Records also makes a brief appearance. Episode 2, embedded below, sees Kuhn exploring the evolution of American tattooing following the end of the 2nd World War. His partners in crime are Steve Byrne and Tony Hundahl. The most recent episode finds Kuhn in San Francisco. He enlists the aid of Jason Kundell and George Campise  to discuss the current Renaissance in American tattooing.

The series also does an admirable job of introducing the viewer to unique attractions and unforgettable characters beyond those in the tattoo game. While Dan Santoro’s antique and record store is easily featured due to Santoro’s work as a tattoo artist, many of the others standout all on their own. Kuhn introduces a man who creates a cathedral from junk, an old friend who trains police dogs as well as taking the viewer on a tour of a museum devoted to old carnival pianos and fortune telling games.  While each is unique they also inform the viewer as to the spirit of the city.

Kuhn ends each of the episodes with he and the featured artists collaborating on a theme which is then translated into a series of glorious tattoos. The quality of the artists speaks to the strength of the end product but, more than anything, the theme is effectively transmitted into the tattoos. Marcus Kuhn’s “The Gypsy Gentleman” is well worth your time, long may it continue!

– Captain of Games