2018 Elm St. Tattoo Fest

It’s time to get to the tattoo part of the 2018 Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest in Dallas, TX. I covered all the music stuff yesterday, but I took way more photos of the tattooing since that was an all day thing and the bands were only at night. There were at ton of amazing tattoo artists who tattooed pretty much non stop all day for three days, and I say pretty much because I tried to get tattooed on Sunday and everyone I asked had this pause before they answered and I decided maybe it wasn’t the best idea to get tattooed by someone who has done nothing but tattoo and party for three days straight. 

The tattooing all took place at the club Trees. When I shot the Fest in 2013 they had the bands playing there, but this year they had two levels of tattooing. Of all the people tattooing the only one I’ve ever been tattooed by was Keith Underwood, but my buddy Phil LaRocca works at Elm St. and popped in a bunch throughout the weekend. I’ve also been tattooed by Oliver Peck a handful of times, but he was too busy throwing the festival to do any actual tattooing.

Speaking of Oliver, there were a bunch of Ink Master winners at the fest: Steve Tefft, Anthony Michaels, Ryan Ashley Malarkey and DJ Tambe tattooed downstairs with Dave Kruseman upstairs. Not really sure why Kruseman was upstairs but he’s probably the Ink Master I would most want a tattoo from. I actually love the show, mostly because I love listening to Oliver yell at people, but most of the people who go on Ink Master seem to be these art school tattooers that might look great on Instagram but maybe don’t have the training to make a tattoo last for decades. That being said, anyone who wins the thing is a pretty damn good tattooer, I just personally like tattoos that look like tattoos. And while I liked Anthony Michaels on the show, he was never someone who’s tattoos spoke to me, but he did one of my favorite tattoos of the convention

One of the big moments of the tattoo convention was the unveiling of the Sailor Jerry & Harley Davidson collaboration. They have six bikes designed by six different artists that you can win (enter here!) that were shown off for the first time on Saturday. They were driven into the parking lot of trees by Oliver, Lucero’s Ben Nichols, Luke Wessmen who designed one of the bikes, Sailor Jerry brand ambassador Anthony Bohlinger, motorcycle journalist Raine Devries and “fastest woman in the world” Leslie Porterfield. The bikes are pretty amazing and I took a million photos of them so you can click through the gallery and check out all the bikes.

Lastly, I uploaded a special gallery of the Sunday night dice game that was played at Heart in Hand art gallery. I was the only person allowed to watch that wasn’t in the actual game. I shot a similar game of cee-lo back in 2013 that raised money for True South, but let’s just say this game had a slightly less noble cause. In cee-lo the second highest roll is three sixes and one of the players rolled sixes pretty early on. No one was able to match him and it looked like he was going to win. Oliver was the second to last player to roll and made a big production out of his roll. Everyone was laughing about the whole thing until he rolled 4-5-6 the highest roll in the game. Everyone lost their minds and one roll later Oliver won the game

Okay, I think that’s about it, go check out the below gallery of over 200 photos, plus the bonus dice game gallery and I will be back soon with some new photos!

Click here to see all the tattoo photos from the 2018 Elm Street Music & Tattoo Fest in Dallas, TX.

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

Elm St. Music & Tattoo Fest

 

 

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Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo celebrated it’s 20th anniversary and the 20th anniversary of legal tattooing in NYC over the weekend. The events started on Friday with two events at Daredevil and then two full days of tattooing with some of the best tattoo artists in the world doing classic flash tattoos and updated versions of the historic flash. It was a really cool event and I got two galleries for you from it!

On Friday things started out with a few hours of $50 Sailor Jerry tattoos with a small break before the opening night party. I didn’t make it out in time for the $50 tattoo part but I did make it down in time for the party. Sailor Jerry was involved all day with brand ambassadors Gravy Thomas & The Paul Monahan both showing up for the madness and bringing plenty of Sailor Jerry rum to the party.

The cool thing about having a party at Daredevil is that it’s not just a tattoo shop but it’s also a tattoo museum. The place is filled with tattoo history and is located just blocks from the birth of modern tattooing. The first electric tattoo machine was patented in NYC and changed tattooing forever. If you wanna learn more about it I guess you could google it, but you should probably just go down to Daredevil and check it out.

Aside from partying with all the legendary tattoo artists the coolest part of the party had to have been the surprise appearance from Golden Lions NYC. I was not expecting three Chinese New Year dragons to roll up into the shop but they did and it was pretty incredible.  After the lions I left to go watch the end of a playoff hockey game that went into overtime but I was up bright and early the next morning for the second part of the tattoo celebration.

After working for Sailor Jerry the night before I got hired by the website Tattoodo to cover the tattoo convention part of the weekend (located a few blocks away from Daredevil at Ludlow Studios). Tattoodo is a massive online tattoo community with almost 2 million followers on Instagram. They sponsored the weekend and it was great working with them. Plus I got to get tattooed while I worked!

I decided to go with some of the historic flash and got a snake wrapped around a dagger tattooed by Nick Colella. Nick and I have been instagram friends for ages and I actually got tattooed at his shop Great Wave in Chicago before they were even open to the public. Nick had never tattooed me though so I figured it was time. Thanks Nick!

After getting tattooed I spent the rest of the day photographing other people getting tattoos by tattoo artists that have waiting lists of months if not years. One of my favorite tattoo artists Grez was tattooing all weekend and it took me 9 months to get an appointment for him to do my arm and and another 6 months to get my chest done. The tattoos were well worth the wait but you gotta love a convention where you only need to wait a few hours.

I didn’t make it back Sunday but I got plenty of shots for you to look at. If you care at all about tattooing or tattoo history you should check out these galleries. I have not one, but two of them! But before I get to that just wanted to congratulate Michelle Myles & Brad Fink on 20 years of Daredevil!

Click here to see all the photos from the opening night party at Daredevil Tattoo!

Click here to see all the photos from the tattoo convention at Ludlow Studios!

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

Daredevil Tattoo 20th Anniversary

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Best Friends Animal Society Benefit – 3.10.17

Last night I shot a benefit for Best Friends Animal Society at 8 of Swords Tattoo. They had an art auction to raise money for the animal welfare organization. Best Friends runs a no kill sanctuary in Utah as well as helps find people to foster and adopt rescued animals. If nothing else their website is worth checking out for all the adorable photos & videos.

I was promised puppies and tiny cats if I came to the event but sadly I got there late and the puppy was already gone and the kittens were being taken away right as I got there. It was a nightmare. I only took one photo of a one eyed cat kitty which was cute but I am allergic to cats so I didn’t even get to touch it. Tragedy all around.

What was not tragic was that we raised a ton of money of Best Friends and when I say we I am including myself because my photo of Maven (one of the kittens I rescued) ended up selling for $80 which is twice as much as I sell it for on my internets. Pretty much everything in the auction sold and the few things that didn’t were eventually sold via guilt trip to the assembled crowd.

All and all it was a solid night and I met some cool people and got to hang out with some old friends. I should also mention their was free Sailor Jerry rum because they are my favorite client and I want them to hire me for a party at SXSW next week. Just saying…

Now click here to see all the pictures from the Best Friends benefit at 8 of Swords!

Best Friends Animal Society Benefit

Best Friends Animal Society Benefit

Best Friends Animal Society Benefit

Best Friends Animal Society Benefit

Best Friends Animal Society Benefit

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Schott X Sailor Jerry Perfecto Launch – 10.26.16

Last night Schott NYC and Sailor Jerry launched their second collaboration. The first one was a pea coat to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the US Navy. This time they did a version of the classic Perfecto motorcycle jacket. This is the jacket that James Dean wore, that the Ramones wore, that pretty much every cool person since the 1950’s wore. The Perfecto is legendary. I actually own a vintage knock off that I love but the leather is all dried out and despite a gallon of leather oil I can’t get it soft again.

Fortunately for me I photographed last night’s party and got my hands on one of the greatest jackets in human history. Plus the Sailor Jerry version of the jacket has some pretty good touches like a red satin interior featuring a Sailor Jerry tattoo flash skull and another skull on the shoulder. Oh and did I mention the jacket feels like it’s made out of a tiny baby cow that lived his entire life in a bathtub of moisturizer? It’s unreasonably awesome and at this point I am just trying to make you jealous.

At the release party last night a tattoo artist named Jon Boy was doing tiny Sailor Jerry flash tattoos. Normally at these Sailor Jerry events they do normal sized flash, but Jon Boy is known for his tiny fine line tattoos and so they thought it would be cool to do micro flash which ended up looking real cool. When I saw his work I thought it was a little bit silly given my love for the thick black lines of American Traditional but talking with Jon Boy changed my mind in 2 minutes. This is a guy who knows what he’s doing and clearly gives a fuck about tattooing and unfortunately her ran out of time before I could get a tiny dagger.

Also, one of the first people to get tattooed I knew I had seen before and he told me he had been to a couple Sailor Jerry events I had shot so I figured that was it… but I checked Instagram this morning and realized he was pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini and while I have probably taken his photo before I really recognized him because he was the host of the tragically short lived Top Chef Just Desserts. And if you know anything about me you should know about my love for competition reality shows about food. Funny thing is that my friend Ashley Holt was supposed to come with me and she won Next Great Baker so they could have maybe had some sort of violent pastry fight.

Anyway, check out the photos from the jacket launch and when you see me out in my Perfecto make sure to rub on my aggressively soft and incredibly badass jacket.

Click here to see all the photos from the Schott NYC x Sailor Jerry Classic Perfecto launch party!

Jon Boy Tattoos Hanna Rad

Aaron Sagers & Jon Boy

Schott x Sailor Jerry Perfecto

Jon Boy Tattoos Johnny Iuzzini

Schott x Sailor Jerry Perfecto

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Eleven – 9.9.16

Last night I celebrated my 10 years in NYC by heading back to 8 Of Swords Tattoo where I had just got my 10 year tattoo to shoot the opening of “Eleven” an art show tattoo artists Drew Linden and Squire Strahan. I am a huge fan of bartering and it was fantastic timing that the shop needed a photographer on the same day I needed a tattoo. Plus the gallery was filled with tattooed babes all night so it’s not like I needed a reason to be there anyway…

The art was rad, I had fun talking to everyone, I heard an insane story about stalking someone using a popsicle stick puppet and about a half dozen new cute girls follow me on Instagram so the night went pretty well. Plus there was free PBR and Michter’s whiskey so by the end of the night people were in a serious picture taking mood.

Now go check out the work by both artist and maybe get a tattoo from them (Drew is at 8 Of Swords and Squire owns Trilogy Tattoos in Tampa). The work is also going to be up at 8 Of Swords for a while so stop by and check it out and get more tattoos. And now that you’ve done all that go look at the photos.

Click here to see the pics from Drew Linden & Squire Strahan’s Eleven at 8 Of Swords.

Eleven - Drew Linden & Squire Strahan

Eleven - Drew Linden & Squire Strahan

Eleven - Drew Linden & Squire Strahan

Eleven - Drew Linden & Squire Strahan

eleven-drew-linden-squire-strahan-39

Eleven - Drew Linden & Squire Strahan

Eleven - Drew Linden & Squire Strahan

 

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10 Years In NYC

10 years ago today I moved to New York. I had planned on moving to NYC a year earlier but I was managing a band called the Gaskets at the time and decided to stick around until they graduated. Eventually I made plans with a friend to move with a friend but it didn’t work out so I signed another year lease in Richmond and figured maybe I could try again later.

Two weeks after I signed that lease I was in Brooklyn for a Gaskets show and I ran into a friend at an after party. He needed a roommate and could probably get me a job at the restaurant he worked at. I went in and met his boss the next day and they hired me as a bus boy. I broke the lease I had just signed and a couple of weeks later I had moved to Williamsburg Brooklyn into the same apartment I live in to this day.

For the entire first year I lived in NYC I worked as a bus boy in a hotel restaurant. I still had dreams of managing bands and working in the music industry but The Gaskets were on the verge of breaking up and there weren’t a lot of music jobs available believe it or not… I started going to parties in NYC to meet people and hit on girls and I would always bring a camera. I was a photo major in college but that was more just to have a useful trade while I did my own shit. I never thought I would be a photographer but I knew I would always take photos.

In late 2006 party photography had just blown up. Cobra Snake and Last Night’s Party were all the rage and when I would take photos at parties people would ask me what website it was for. I had started Driven By Boredom in 2001 but I rarely updated it but apparently I needed a place to post my photos so with the help of some friends I redid my website and became an accidental party photographer.

I would go out around midnight every night and shoot until 4am. I would come home, dump photos, and then shower and head to work. I had to be set up by 6am so I would get there around 5:30. I would work until 3, head home, upload photos, update my website and sleep for a few hours by doing the whole thing all over again. I hated being a bus boy and being broke constantly so every hour I had I free I spent working on photography.

Almost one year to the day after I started I quit my bus boy job. I really thought I could make it as a photographer and I did… for about 8 months. When I ran out of money I ended up getting a job digitizing books for Archive.org. It sounded like a cool job, working for a tech non-profit, and I got to work with cameras, but it was really closer to an assembly line factory job than anything else. I would turn the page and press a button and two cameras would fire and then I would do that again and again, thousands of pages a day.

When the economy crashed in 2008 a massive amount of Archive.org’s funding was cut and they had to lay off the night shift. They said I could re-interview for the day shift or take 6 weeks severance. So on December 23rd 2008 I worked my last day at a “real job” and tried once again to make it as a full time photographer.

Right around the time I got laid off I got a freak advertising gig. A Swiss ad agency saw one of my photos and asked me to re-shoot it for them. They paid me $2500 which was probably way less than I should have asked for but it was way more than I had ever made taking a photo before. In January I decided to go to LA as a little severance vacation and while I was there I randomly got hired to work Sundance for the main liquor sponsor. It turned out that because of the economy crash the company couldn’t afford to hire a real photographer so they paid me $3k to work five days. Again, it was not nearly enough but more money than I had ever made as a photographer before.

Within a month of being laid off I had nearly $7000 in my bank account and was on unemployment. I kinda looked for a job but mostly I was just trying to find as much photography work as possible. I was hoping I could make it longer than 8 months this time. When my unemployment finally ran out I didn’t have a job but I still hadn’t run out of money and many years later I still haven’t.

To this day I have no idea how I haven’t run out of money yet, but somehow I keep paying my bills. I still live in the same apartment and I have rent stabilization so my rent has only gone up about 10% in 10 years. The rents in the neighborhood have basically doubled so basically I can never leave.

And that’s my New York story. NYC isn’t nearly as inspiring as it was for the first few years, and I certainly have a lot less fun than I did in my 20’s but I still love it here and haven’t made that move to LA yet despite thinking about it all the time. So here’s to my 10 years in Brooklyn and to the next 10 years wherever I end up but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was still in this same god damn apartment.

To celebrate my 10 years in NYC my friend Betty Rose hooked me up with a New York City tattoo. Someone once told me when I first moved to NYC that if you make it 10 years you can finally call yourself a New Yorker. Not sure if that’s true or not but I guess I finally made it.

NYC Anniversary Tattoo By Betty Rose

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2016 SXSW FloodFest

After a few days to recover getting up this year’s South By Southwest posts is going to be really easy. I didn’t shoot the film fest and unlike in past years I pretty much just suck to one event during music week. I got hired by two different clients to cover Flood Magazine’s FloodFest day parties at Cedar Street Courtyard. I was there starting at 11am so I had to be up every day by 8:30 or so. Normally I would just get no sleep all week but it was my 13th SXSW and for once I decided I would take it easy. I did shoot two other parties but one of em was a private thing so I only have one update after this one. Praise rock music Jebus.

So yeah, FloodFest day parties! 30 bands over four days! I could list them all or you could just look at this list over here. I was there for Sailor Jerry again who had Keith Underwood and Phillip LaRocca doing tattoos all week and Original Penguin the classic men’s wear line that was gifting bands and had one of those evil photo booth things set up that cost me jobs (just kidding).

Let’s just bang out some highlights.

Best band: I really loved Sir The Baptist. Gospel, hip hop and r&b mixed with a hell of a live show. Real worth checking out.

Most fun band to hang out with after: September Girls were these rad Irish babes who played on St. Patrick’s Day because of course. I ended up running into em later in the day too and they all got Sailor Jerry tattoos.

Worst/ Best tattoo: The winner of the best and the worst tattoo goes to the front man from the band American Bombshell who got SXSW 16 tattooed to his knuckles. Holy shit.

Best babes in Austin: I had Ela Darling and Carter Cruise come visit me. Always good to see my worlds smash into each other. Ela was in town for the Interactive part of SXSW and was giving talks on VR in the Adult industry. Carter was in town DJing and ended up getting a pretty sick SJ tattoo.

Other friends getting tattooed: The homies Ho99o9 came to get tattooed and get some free Penguin gear. It was awesome to see this savage punk band in button up shirts. Hollywood Holt also came by to get his hand tattooed. My friends Keaton and Tess came by and got little jammers too and while not that interesting as far as the write up goes it was nice to hang out with them.

Other bands I dug: The Heavy, Deap Vally, So Pitted, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down and although they were a little to chill for me Polica was a huge crowd favorite. Over all most of the bands were pretty good although there were a few exceptions that made me want to murder all of music but I will probably just go ahead and not mention their names.

Anyway, go look some photos and thanks to Sailor Jerry and Original Penguin and Flood Magazine for having me out. Also thanks to Phil for the absurd SJ tattoo! Now go look at way too many pictures!

Click here to see a TON of photos from the 2016 SXSW FloodFest at Cedar Street Courtyard in Austin.

Deap Vally

Ho99o9

Polica

SXSW Kuckel Tattoo!

SXSW FloodFest

Sir The Baptist

CJ Linde & Phillip LaRocca

The Heavy

Keith Underwood Tattoos Carter Cruise

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Amy Shapiro

I love bartering for stuff. I try and do a lot of print trades and things like that to collect my friends art and I certainly love trading photo work for tattoos. At least a quarter of my tattoos have come from trading photo work for them so when tattoo artist Amy Shapiro asked me to photograph her band for a tattoo I was totally psyched.

Unfortunately by the time Amy actually tattooed me she was no longer in the band. The tattoo also took much longer than the photo shoot did so I told her I owed her some more photos. A couple months ago Amy reached out to me saying she needed some press photos. I was working on my new “Arts” zine at the time and it seemed like a perfect reason to head over to Amy’s studio and get a portrait for my zine while at the same time helping Amy out with some press photos. Everyone wins.

I also though these photos would be a great opportunity to promote the Arts zine that Amy is in and all these other amazing artists are in and you should fucking order it right god damn now.

Also, you should go get a tattoo from Amy at Three Kings Tattoo because he rules and Three Kings rules and yeah.. do it.

Now click here to look at some photos of Amy Shapiro looking adorable as per always.

Amy Shapiro

Amy Shapiro

Amy Shapiro

 

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Schott & Sailor Jerry Celebrate The US Navy – 10.14.15

October has been a big month for Sailor Jerry. I already shot Lucero in Nashville and in NYC for their SJ Presents tour and last night I went down to Schott’s Soho store to celebrate the US Navy. Before Sailor Jerry was a rum company they were a clothing company based on the designs of tattoo legend Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins and to this day they still sell the clothing. They also do some really cool clothing collaborations like when I went down to Miami for the release of their Iggy Pop designed collection. Yesterday they teamed up with the iconic outer wear brand Schott to create a pea coat for the 240th anniversary for the US Navy.

Schott started making pea coats for the US Navy during WWII and Sailor Jerry Collins was in the Navy and was tattooing Navy men in Hawaii during WWII. The connection makes total sense and the pea coat they collaborated on is pretty fantastic and it even has a semi secret flask pocket so of course they had to design a leather wrapped flask as well. The whole thing was a pretty inspired idea.

Meanwhile tattoo artist Oliver Peck became friends with the Schott’s after his favorite 60 year old Schott leather jacket started to fall apart. Schott ended up fixing his jacket and since the pea coat release timed perfectly with Oliver being in NYC for the Ink Master live season finale they got Oliver involved in the release party. He was doing free Sailor Jerry tattoos all night and everyone had a blast.

On a slightly related note I have owned a bunch of leather jackets in my life but they never felt right to me. I finally got one that I like (although the zipper is broken) and it was actually a vintage rip off of the iconic Schott Perfecto made by Sears. I should have worn it last night… or maybe I should just sell it and try and buy a new Schott jacket since they are pretty amazing.

Anyway, click here to see all the photos from the Schott/ Sailor Jerry pea coat/flask release to celebrate the 240th anniversary of the US Navy!

Oliver Peck

Steve Lewis Gets Tattooed By Oliver Peck

Aaron Sagers

Oliver Peck, Audra & The Schotts

Buff Monster

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