Monday, December 28, 2009

Big Assed Eagle.

I got the preliminary outline done on this fucker. There's still a bit of outlining to go. I tried my best to avoid the nipples but one of the wings just didn't look right any other way. I will post more as it develops.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Develompments.

I finally finished the wall of flash I started constructing in the summer. The main hold up was that I was getting plexiglass for free from my friend who works at a auto/marine fabrication place but he wound up flaking out every single time I came to collect. So i wound up going to Home Depot and buying it myself. $100 for two sheets of plexiglass when I only used one sheet and 1/3 of another is real aggravating. Cutting your own plexiglass is also real aggravating. I originally put up some Sailor Jerry sheets in the rack but they were cut to inconsistent sizes and had prices stuck on all of the designs and just looked kind of shitty. So I went through all my flash and picked out a few sheets that I liked that were laminated and put them up. I think it makes the shop look real nice.

I moved in to Frank's old spot. I've hung up a bunch of stuff but want to hang more. I'm gonna be having afew skateboards coming my way to hang up soon and those should look real nice.

Either way I like the new space with all the extra room.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And Then There Was A Dog.

From Bold Will Hold

Frank moved to Florida. We're all gonna miss him.

Good luck you beautiful bastard!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Foiled Again!

I drove out to Rockford today to visit Mr. Andrew Stickler over at Odds n' Ends Tattoo. Welp, I guess they were closed for the day! I was really trying to avoid this sort of thing but I guess I should have announced my visit alittle bit better. I'm pretty stupid when it comes to this sort of thing.

Too bad. I was looking forward to hanging out and taking photos of the shop. When it actually does go down there will be a mega post on my visit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

For Virginia.

This is a more personal note.

I knew for a long time that my ex girlfriend of a few years Carlee was sick with something but didn't know what. Turns out she has cancer. To make things worse she's been pregnant since summer. She's dealing with it way better than I think I ever would, she's a strong and amazing person. Since we've spoken on the phone I've had a few songs by The Band running through my head mostly because they remind me of her. So here's a song for her.

Even with all the dumb things that muck life up, never forget who's important to you.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Here's a gun I did on a walk in. This one's on a gals thigh.

Thank the Gods that even though I tattoo, I haven't gotten so fat that I can't skateboard or be a useful member of society. So many of us are.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Green Apples-Peep Show

This is genius.
I went to Winnipeg one time to visit Cassie's brother. It was sort of a family trip and I am not used to spending time with family at all let alone hers, so I probably acted like a prick the whole time. I did get to skate afew parks though. There was a huge street plaza downtown that was fun. Then another park that was in the process of being built that I skated with some locals. All in all I'd say Winnipeg wasn't worth it on that trip. After this though I want to drive back up there and see this skate shop.

What blog?

I'm a horrible blogger.

I went to Bud Weeks art show over at Bridgeport Tattoo Co. and didn't bring my camera or anything. I guess I'm bad at documenting stuff that's going on in Chicago Tattooing but I kind of wanted this blog to be more than just a photo blog of cool dudes hanging out that I happen to know so everyone thinks that I'm cool by default.

Everyone at Family came to the show, which I was happy about. We need to start doing more stuff together as a shop because honestly we always have a good time whenever we do stuff together and all the guys I work with are some of my best friends. Tim Beck and Zach Dole came out from Peoria, it was cool to finally meet them face to face. Zach gave me a painting of the statue of liberty for my new area I'll be taking over once Frank moves to Florida. Luke from Top Notch was there. Incidentally, we both apprenticed at Top Notch at the same time and now he owns the damn place. Harry was there and I got to see a few of his tattoos since he's only done a handful but they're looking really fucking good. Chris Smith and his ol' lady showed up for a bit, bought two paintings and split pretty quick though. I like when he shows up.

The art was pretty cool. I bought a snake with a candle instead of a head at a bargain price of $25. Most of the stuff was Star Wars related, but the paintings he did on money were pretty cool too. Now's the point in the post where pictures would be nice so you know what I'm talking about. Bud Weeks has tattooed a buddy of mine by the name of David Moy and we talked a bit about that guy but there were chicks all over the place there and alot of paintings to sell so it seems like his mind was else where. His cards are pretty hilarious. I'll scan one and post it when I feel like posting my business card collection.

All in all it was a good night.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thought Crusade

Thought Crusade is another band from Chicago that I'm pretty hyped on. I'm friends with a few of the guys in the band but I'm pretty honest about bands if you're not in a good one. Pretty straight forward hardcore here, definitely got a youth crew influence, but I wouldn't say 80's style. Something about this reminds me of late 90's early 2k Boston style stuff. It's pretty fast most of the songs on this 7" aren't even a minute.

I just conducted an interview with Ryan Wilson (vocals) for the straight edge zine me and my friend Gnarly Brian are doing called Sledgehammer and there's some pretty great stuff in the interview. I'll probably post it once we put out the zine, since paper is so stone aged in this new era of shit and failure.

I'd like to post some of Ryan Wilson's earlier bands. I still wear my Sidewalk shirt and Expired Youth is a pretty great band. I just lost a lot of demos and stuff in my moves across the country. I'm really upset about losing my Double Crossed demo it had the evil monkey from Family Guy finger pointing on the cover!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Dance of Days.

This is a hilarious picture I took of Lee. We know how to party at Family Tattoo.

It's been a busy couple of days. I've done a few more tattoos than this one but I didn't really get any decent pictures of any of them. This one's still got one more session left but it should look pretty cool once it's done.

Boring ass post today, but I've been pretty depressed since it's snowing and I can't skateboard. Not to mention life is completely fucked.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mike Vallely fightng in the stands at Ducks game.

I read about this on King Shit. By now I think this might be old news but anyways I thought it's funny how the announcers on this call Mike V a BMXer, then immidiately assume that the guy grabbing the stick was innocent of all wrong doing simply because he doesn't look like Mike and isn't a "BMXer". Which to me seems to be the case, you can just hear it in the announcers voice that they don't take Mike's contributions to skateboarding seriously, they can't even get it right that he's a skater and not a BMXer. Not to mention his contributions to the Ducks franchise.

If they did their research they might have discovered that the little girl in the jersey was Mike's daughter. So look at it this way, the stick is intended for your kid but some mongoloid asshole grabs the stick and intends on keeping it, well that's grounds for an ass beating where I'm from. Sure maybe Mike handled it wrong, it's not the first time he's flipped out on somebody. But you have to look at the guy for who he is. I agree with Dave Carnie by saying that I don't think it's right but I don't think it's wrong.

Apparently the Ducks stripped him of his season tickets and are being real assholes about it. I've never been a Ducks fan anyways so I'm sort of glad that they're showing the fans their true colors. I'm sure there's room for the Vallely family at a Black Hawks game if they want to go enjoy a hockey franchise that isn't tied to Disney and has real history with the sport.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Hori Marfu

Rich tattooed me today. I've never gotten a Japanese tattoo before but for some reason I have been wanting a little weird demon dude with some sort of weapon for awhile so I showed Rich some books that we had lying around the shop and he banged this little bastard out. Pretty happy with the result.

Also went to Rich's art show tonight at Randy's Round Up, which is kind of a weird hand made arts and crafts boutique type place with some vintage stuff thrown in. It was cool. I wish the art was hung a little lower so my hobbit level eyeballs could peep the art a little better but such is the world. Seemed like a decent turn out and I for sure had fun hanging out with Panda Dan and a few other scum bags that I know. Even Cassie made it out! (Mostly cuz I dragged her there.)

Sorry no pictures, totally forgot my camera.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Evolution of a Cro-Magnon

Not only have I read this book but I read it in like two days or something like that, which is a big accomplishment for me considering as how I rarely have the attention span to finish a book that quickly. Usually I put books down and come back to them later after awhile of occupying myself with other activities. I have also listened to the audio book while on a road trip to Michigan. John Joseph does a good job telling his story in both but the book obviously has more detail in it than the audio book so I preferred reading it as opposed to listening.

I got this book because of a few reasons. First, John was the best frontman Cro-Mags ever had and Age of Quarrel is probably one of my favorite hardcore records ever. Second, John is from the streets and it is well known that he has lived through some insane shit in his life. Third, he was a Krishna monk and I've always wondered what the deal is with being a Krishna. The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon delivers on all counts, and then some.

This book starts off with John Joseph's earliest memories of his father being an abusive bastard and his family falling apart, basically the catalyst for his life in the Foster Care system and probably what defines his life the most. The stories of abuse don't stop there though, as the book goes into some of the terrible shit he and his brothers had to endure in different foster homes. Finally he gets put in a sort of half way house for boys in Rockaway Beach were it seems like he gets more into drugs and all the trouble that goes along with it, but it also seems like this is where his interest in music is piqued. The book goes from his time on the streets as a young kid, to time in institutions, to being in the service, to going AWOL to be part of the hardcore scene and deal drugs with all the ups and downs of a roller coaster. The stories of street violence, dealing drugs, and tragic loss are as real as it gets.

This book definitely gives you a good glimpse into the life of kids in foster care and what they have to deal with but what's more interesting is the story of New York the way it used to be. The hustle you had to have just to make it on the streets and the smarts and cunning to out smart all the other scum bags that were trying to out smart you seems like a lot to handle. Even more interesting for me was the descriptions of the early NY punk scene, when John Belushi was pitboss! The book paints the early hardcore scene as much more tightly knit and at the same time more open to anything. It seems like everyone knew each other from back in the hey day of hardcore. I was surprised to read that Raybeez and John Joseph met in the Navy before Warzone or Cro-Mags were ever bands. They say everything happens for a reason.

I'd say the only slow point in this book is when Cro-Mags starts to become a bigger band and do bigger tours. I felt like the focus was more on how fucked up things got between the members of the band and all the financial problems that arose. At certain points I felt like there was too much shit talking going on and not enough tour stories, though there are a lot of stories it just seems like the shit talk over shadowed all of that.

The Krishna stuff in the book is pretty interesting. I never really knew how that came to be so popular in hardcore, but after reading this book I've gained a bit more understanding about the draw it has on certain people. Reading about some of the hustles these guys would come up with to get money for Krishna Conscious is some serious entertainment.

Hopefully you read this book because it's got some good stories and insight into living on the streets, hardcore, living in a cult, and being an all around hard motherfucker.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Post yer comments!

I fixed it so that anyone can post comments. Even if they don't have a Google account or anything, you can even post comments anonymously. So let the hate and shit talk begin!

In all seriousness I'd like to see more comments so I know I'm not the only person who reads this.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Saving Grace.

For those of you that don't know I enjoy hardcore that is melodic. Bands like Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, 88 Fingers Louie, Grey Area, and Mouthpiece were pretty much one of the main things that got me through high school. Actually the last show I stage dove at was probably 88 Fingers Louie's last show when I was 16, until I dove at Cro-Mags last month.

I saw this band, Shook Ones, in Tucson at The Living Room. Awesome band. Basically it sounds like Dan Yemin is in the band and they are playing a cross between older Lifetime 7"s and all the best parts of Kid Dynamite. I'm not posting their records but this video is pretty fun to watch.

I would love to play in a band like this, I think it'd be a different sort of thing for the Chicago scene right now and might be a breath of fresh air.

Just sayin'.

In the beginning.

This is a Painting by Jeff Rassier.

I recently came across some old tattoo magazines I had collected while still in high school. At the time a lot of my friends were getting tattooed, mostly the hardcore kids I hung with were getting tattooed by Mario Desa since he was in the scene back then. The stuff he was doing has always interested me and still does to this day. But when I got the November issue of International Tattoo Art Magazine I saw my first Jeff Rassier paintings in an article and I think that's really the point where I said to myself, "This is what I'm gonna do!".

I think Jeff is really a "tattooers tattooist", meaning his stuff is in a language that most tattooers understand immediately upon seeing it. It's not exactly crowd pleaser stuff but damn it's good. Sometimes I think that he gets overlooked because of this, but if you talk to most tattooers who do offbeat traditional work and asked who their favorite tattooers are his name would be on everyone's list, especially if they are from my generation of tattooers or a little earlier. I've actually talked to him about doing my chest but actually getting my ass to SF to get tattooed has been a problem.

Just his paintings lit a big fire under my ass to get out there and get tattooed as soon as I could and start trying to get more entrenched in the world of tattooing. I started trying to emulate his drawing style early on, with varying degrees of failure, but I think the value was found in that it taught me to think of traditional tattooing in a different sort of way. Mixing images and source references together in different ways was definitely something I took with me in those early days of learning how to draw.

In that same issue of ITA there's an article on Chris Treveno and being able to look at these old magazines really got me thinking about what I was initially exposed to that got me excited about tattooing before I had even gotten my first one. Now ITA is a joke as far as covering the real deal of what's happening in tattooing now. They'd rather cover lowbrow art people who paint toilet seats and bowling pins. Skin & Ink is more concerned with people who hand poke tattoos on their faces in the jungle somewhere than covering anything about the direction tattooing is going in today. I sometimes feel like there's a large void where ITA used to be. Showing the general public good tattooing and good art. Of course there's Tattoo Artist Magazine but that seems like more just for tattooers. It's more of an insider sort of thing, sure I'd love to read a 40 page interview with Scott Harrison, but the average casual customer could probably care less.

I hope sometime someone will get their shit together and make a decent magazine for good tattooers to show their work to the general public, but the way things are going it doesn't look like that's gonna happen anytime soon.

Jeff Rassier again

Saturday, November 28, 2009


In my small tattoo area. By Shannon Strickland.

More fARTs.

Tim Beck sent me this gem.
Filthy Rich Marafioti did this one for his convention banner and I asked him for it.
Old Dawn Cooke painting from when we met at a convention.
Wiley Ol' Alex Kass.

All these paintings I took home and have hanging in my place. I still gotta frame the Dawn Cooke painting.

Closing In

This is another Chicago band. Ebro from Punch in the Face, Charles Bronson, and MK Ultra is drumming in this shit. This is more mid-paced than a lot of Ebro's other bands. I only saw them once at a show at Beat Kitchen but I like them a lot. They gave a shout out to all the skaters at the show so they get love for that. This is their demo.


Thursday, November 26, 2009


Chris Smith is selling machines through Workhorse Irons. Check 'em out!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


This was on my buddy Ryan. I wanted to outline it with a 7 and do the face and other details with a 5 in the statue. I borrowed a unimax 7 or something like that from Rich because I wanted to try it out... Those needles are a bit too tight for my tastes. They turned out to be tighter than the 5 I was using! Gonna go back and thicken up that lettering I think.

Bo Diddley with a cookie head. Tried to put his signature pomped up hair but it just looked like a weird fry cook hat whenever I tried to do it. Was originally thinking about doing the face darker but it looked too blotchy in some of the color tests so I just went cookie colored through out the whole thing. Different sort of thing for me.
Black on this one healed alittle lighter than i would have liked.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Few New Tattoos.

Surprisingly I've been rather busy. For a few weeks there it was real dead and I thought I'd be hitting the soup line soon. Now I got work coming out my ears to do, and a lot of it is fun stuff.

Bill Palaster.

This past week Bill Palaster came to town to visit and hung out at the shop for two days or so. Bill worked at Bob Oslon's tattoo shop, Jade Dragon (back when that used to mean something), and Rhino's Quadcity Tattoo. He's been involved in tattooing a long long time. He got his first tattoo at Chicago Tattoo Company back in the 70's if I'm remembering right.

Bill retired from tattooing a bit back and became a fire fighter. He's a great guy with a lot of good stories about tattooing. I took some pictures of some of his tattoos and decided to post them here.

This swallow was done by Scott Harrison. Bill told me that Scott was new to tattooing but always said that he felt this piece was when he was "starting to get it".

I'm not sure who did this panther. I know he had a lot of different people do his background and he'd have it touched up through out the years by different people as well.
Bill is pretty proud of this Nurse. He said he got it after he got out of the service.
This fish was an early tattoo by my boss at Family Tattoo, Lee Leahy.
The shark off to the right over there is Bill's first tattoo. The eagle and flags behind it was done by Fat Joe of Jade Dragon. I'd love to shade and color that piece in someday.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Art blew a fart.

I wanted to post some of the paintings I've acquired through various trades. I just received a few new ones from my friend Hambone but I'll post those later. These are afew of the one's I have hanging in my area at the shop.
I painted a sheet of flash for Ricky Bird over at Bridgeport Tattoo Co. awhile back and he sent me this. It's redraws of some classic stuff. I like the Jensen girls alot. The sheet is actually stuck in the frame with a coat of bar resin so that's what the coin and key are stuck in. Pretty cool.
This one is from Kyle Morrison from when he was working at Bridgeport. He's over at Freedom Ink in Peoria now.
This one is from my friend Kenzo who tattoos at Staring Without Caring in Tucson where I used to work. He's Japanese so that explains the writing on the fire extinguisher.
This is a painting from Mario Desa from when he was working at Deluxe Tattoo. I actually bought this one for like $20 then had it framed years later. I wish i would have bought the other one that was sort of the same painting but slightly different so I'd have an even set.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thad Ritchey machine.

Another Jensen style machine. This one is from Thad Ritchey. It's a smoother, softer shader, it puts in black with a little more work but it puts it in solid and most of the stuff I've tattooed with it has healed up great.

Poison Planet- Demo

This is a straight edge band from Chicago. They rule. You should go to any shows they are playing.


(Poached from Fashionable Activism blog)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hardcore News Report.

Logan Square Skate Park.

The skatepark a few blocks from my house is kind of a shitty one. Somehow I still manage to have a good time there. When I found out they were building the skatepark under the expressway I thought it might be a Burnside sort of deal. But once I saw the prefab ramp framework all the dreams of becoming a burley bowl dog ripper went out the window.

The ledges are fun though.