True Tattoo People: Who Are They?
div class="listing_meta"> June 22, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Tattoo of the Month

Tattoo People Give Off An Energy Tattoo people, it struck me the other day, have that lust for life you just dont encounter in everyone you meet. Down at city hall, down there at the bank, in the halls of your school- they dont all have that energy, that hunger. Those wide eyes, looking for adventure, or experience, or enlightenment. Ive heard it called sleepwalking, these poor souls go through the motions, but they seem to receive no joy from it. The traditional tattoo person is bouncing off the walls, calmly. Their blood is boiling. Their appetites are great. Their laughter can be heard around the corner, down the block. Excitement can be sparked by a wild night, a good book, a neighbor’s dog. The stimulus is not necessarily important. It is the responsiveness of the tattoo person that brings the world around her alive. Of course, alas, I am stuck in the past again, in thinking of these persons of light, of color. I am once again tormented by tremors of negativity, words that must come out to tell the whole of the story. How could I whitewash this thing called traditional tattoos I love so much, pretend that […]

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The tattoo of the month column here on my site highlights one of my favorite tattoos that I have recently had the pleasure of doing. In these columns, I then delve deeper into the makeup of the tattoo, what it is that makes it great; what it is that makes me love it so. All of these tattoos have one thing in common. They are pure, unadulterated, traditional tattoos! There is just no two ways about it. In the last 23 years of my professional tattooing work as a Dallas tattoo artist, I have seen many styles come and go. I have seen many trends arise, and then die. I have seen the individual perspective of both artist and customer put forward. But all of these fall short, when compared to an American Traditional Black Panther tattoo, or a Traditional Japanese Dragon. There is just no way to beat images like these. They are the tried and true traditional tattoos that people are calling for. As I am known for my traditional work, which I have practiced for the entirety of my career, I get a lot of calls for this type of tattooing. It is always a joy to open […]

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Brad wears the tattoo of the month this time around; a Japanese half sleeve tattoo that depicts a single Peony and its bud blowing in the wind and being tossed about by a wave. The Peony is one of the main flowers used in the Japanese tattoo, also known as Irezumi, or Horimono. The Peony is a springtime flower and therefore represents that beautiful time of year. And here is Brad, a young man in the springtime of his life. Sometimes tattoos are decided this way. Sometimes, on an old customer, I will use an autumn flower. It all really depends on the customer. I did a watercolor painting of autumn flowers for my dear grandparents, long ago, in the good old days, when they were still around. Would that they could’ve lived forever. But then there wouldn’t be any autumn, would there? Or any spring. The Beauty of the Seasons Through Japanese Tattoo This coming and going of life is at the core of the Japanese tattoo. The reality of nature; facing it head-on, becoming one with it. The blood of the samurai is said to have given the Peony it’s color. It is not a matter of liking […]

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5 Best Tattoos in Dallas History
div class="listing_meta"> November 22, 2017 by Carl Hallowell in Creation, Tattoo of the Month, Tattoos

Promoting something like one of the best tattoos in Dallas is a pretty big deal. Lucky for me, I have had the opportunity to witness what I believe to be five of the best tattoos in the history of our fine city. These are purely based on my personal tattoo artistry and style and likes, but here are my top five best tattoos in the history of Dallas’ tattoo scene. The First Time is a Wine Well, this first one, I watched get done and it is the only one on the list of which that is true. My buddy, Chris Erickson, always on a new trip, always supercharging some new plan, always late and lighthearted, effortlessly talented and never stressed. He comes up with this idea to give away a traditional Japanese tattoo back piece, or Horimono, during the auction portion of Oliver Peck and Dean Williams annual Christmas party, at which tickets won by gambling during the party can be used to bid on a number of gifts or offers. Erickson comes up with this! Well, what makes it magical, is Bob Castaldo, a Dallas filmmaker and teacher, bids on the back piece and wins it! He had […]

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The tattoo of the month this time around is another traditional tattoo that I hope you have come to expect out of my work as a traditional tattoo artist. It was Mike Malone, the great tattooer who took over Sailor Jerry Collins’ shop after his passing, who said that is what the craft needs “consistent hitters.” What a long road it was towards consistency. It used to be, while I was gaining experience, sometimes you get lucky and sometimes you don’t. I am glad that I have cracked a few eggs, and can now whip up an omelet. It was also Malone, aka Rollo Banks, who said of traditional tattoos, “You don’t have to stand on your head to do ’em.” He certainly had a way with words; let alone tattoos, tattooing, and that good old fashioned tattoo philosophy that all of us who share this passion for our trade have developed. The Art of the Second Tattoo In the spirit of that quote, I would like to offer up Mr. K’s tattoo this time. This was his second tattoo which is often the free-spirited tattoo after the obligations we put on ourselves when choosing that first tattoo. A traditional […]

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Dallas Tattoo Artist with a Japanese Edge
div class="listing_meta"> September 13, 2017 by Carl Hallowell in Japanese, Tattoo of the Month

Japanese tattooing; it is hard to imagine a more balanced artwork than this. Japanese tattoos are overflowing with brute strength, while also exemplifying subtle beauty. The art is straightforward in it’s approach and also speaks to the human experience itself. Saturated in black and grey, Japanese tattoos also pop with color. When approaching the thought of this type of a tattoo there is a small selection of possible images to choose from, and yet it conveys the whole of reality. Dallas Tattoo Artist Specializing in Japanese Tradition Irezumi was the old word for Japanese punitive tattooing. Originally, the tattoo style was used to mark criminals so their identities would be known at a glance. This term has now been reclaimed, and we are proud to use it to describe the ornamental tattooing that is worn by choice, and with pride. Irezumi is work that is put on by serious students of the art who feel that they are all connected in this great lineage all the way back to Kuniyoshi, the great Edo period artist of Japan. Horimono is another synonym for the traditional Japanese tattoo; the word Horimono is literally translated as “dug thing.” The process of “digging” pigment […]

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There is a triangle of interaction happening with Traditional American or Traditional Japanese tattooing, an alchemy that is greater than the sum of it’s parts, a music that dances with call and response, until a tattoo is born, like a reptile from an egg. Using the triangle and being part of it, we answer the call of the tattoo gods. We carry on the designs and the tattoo images to the next generation, like the ghosts of our grandfather’s tattoos pointing us towards the way to come of age.  No matter at what stage of life we are all just children, beginners in the eye of infinity, somewhere on the wheel of life, bound by karma and the laws of heaven. Get Inked by a Professional Tattoo Shop in Dallas Through determination and experience, Carl Hallowell has become one of the best tattoo artists in Dallas.  We understand that the tattoo is really all about the customer and yet, left up to them, you will not reach sublime tattooing, as it is not their area of study.  Just as most of us go out and buy a car, we do not design and build it ourselves.  The tattooer who has […]

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Brian came down to Dallas from Midland to get this traditional tattoo done in one sitting! We both made up our minds to throw ourselves wholeheartedly into this project, and knock it all out at once. By the end of the session, I feel I had created one of my favorite eagle tattoos I’ve ever done. The addition of the American Flag and Shield just underlined the strength and dignity of the screaming eagle above. I believe Traditional American Tattoos have an underlying meaning, one that can be felt more than put into words. I believe there is a lot of emotion in this piece. Focusing on the task at hand is made easier by the fact that I have my own private, all appointment only studio room at Elm Street Tattoo’s Heart in Hand Gallery. There is no distraction, no interruption. There is only tattooing- the tattoo machine buzzing above the rowdy din of Deep Ellum outside. The black ink drawing line after line, another creation being brought to life inside this tiny room. Traditional Tattooing Colors The color is true. The colors are the traditional colors used by my tattoo forefathers. They are not bought off the internet. […]

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American Traditional Heart and Banner Tattoo
div class="listing_meta"> May 24, 2017 by Carl Hallowell in Tattoo of the Month

Alexis came to me knowing full well what she wanted, an American traditional tattoo that would pay homage to her family. Since the beginning of American tattooing, this is one of the main motivations for getting a tattoo. At first, we had the “Mom, Heart, and Banner.” Sometimes you would also see Father, Brother, or Sister banner tattoos. A baby’s name tattoo is a welcome addition to any new parent’s tattoo work. However, oftentimes many customers choose their last name as their first tattoo. There are many varieties of heart tattoos with names. Blood ties strengthened by shedding a little blood during tattooing. Connecting you to family in a new way, a special way, a lasting way- the tattoo remaining for as long as the relationship of body to body exists, before we become spirit once again. The heart and banner tattoo is synonymous with classic American tattooing. Its bold blend of black ink with a heavy concentration of red ink can be broken up with a supporting or contrasting color in the banner, flowers are usually added for the same reason, to complete the look, and balance the deal. Classic Tattooing in Dallas In the banners here, I have […]

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Freak Show Traditional Tattoo Theme
div class="listing_meta"> April 29, 2017 by Carl Hallowell in Tattoo of the Month

Big Jim, “That Old Guy”, takes the tattoo cake this month with this outrageous forearm tattoo inspired by the sideshow banners of the old carnival days, and by the freaks, geeks, and oddities that were depicted on them. I was excited to turn this into a traditional pin up girl tattoo with traditional tattoo lettering, and a traditional rose tattoo to the mix as well. As a Dallas tattoo artist, I was really happy with the fact that even though this was a very creative, different design, it still had its roots in, and was entirely made up out of, traditional American tattooing. Traditional Tattoos From a Bygone Era This tattoo is reminiscent of the halcyon American days of yesteryear that gave birth to the sideshow banner, one of the coolest art forms in the world, and gave voice, or at least a paycheck, to many strange individuals who had been born a little different than the rest of us. Those were the days where tattooed men and women had begun to cover their bodies in full-body traditional tattoos, when sword swallowers, carnies, animals, and all of the rest would share the big tent, in your town, for a week […]

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