The Best Tattoo Artist in Dallas
div class="listing_meta"> May 25, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Tattoos, Uncategorized

I have shifted the focus of my column this month to include a very well respected artist from outside the tattoo business. I took the opportunity to interview him last year when he came in for a traditional tattoo from me. I had planned on asking him five quick questions, and was going to call the article “The Law of Five”- but that quickly blossomed into a full blown interview, his words flowing as fluidly as his work, his passion evident as he strongly and thoughtfully opined as we talked. So without further adieu, may I present to you: The Carl Block Interview Q: How did you develop your iconic face jugs that alot of us in North Texas are so familiar with? A: Well, theres a long tradition of sculpting on pots. Now, the first face jugs were found in Egypt. So, I mean, It goes that far back. I’ve always been drawn to sculpting on things. So, you got a pot, it resembles a head in the form, and so, if you put a face on it, there’s more of an association with the viewer. I guess it’s just from not being able to leave well enough alone. […]

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The Best Tattoo Artist in Dallas
div class="listing_meta"> February 8, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Tattoos, Traditional

We are all at a different point in the path of becoming tattooed. We come across fellow travelers on this path, those who are at a similar spot in their journey towards the tattoo. The bonds we form here are very often very deep. The visceral experience of seeing or getting tattooed makes this almost an altered state. The reasons we do it are either so important to us or buried so deep, coming from such a natural place, that we don’t know exactly why we do it. Sharing this endeavor with another collector, a tattooist, or simply an admirer of the art can form friendships that last just as long as the tattoos we wear. The Mystery of This Month’s Best Tattoo Artist You do not have to be familiar with Dallas tattoo artists, in particular, to know of this tattoo giant of which I will speak today. If you have been on the path for a while now, you will know this man whether you are from Spokane or Saskatchewan. If you are new here, you will not know, or worse, you will only pretend to know. You are missing out, should this be the case. This article […]

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Joe Haasch: Best Tattoo Artist in Dallas
div class="listing_meta"> January 25, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Tattoos, Traditional

As in any of the art forms, there really is no “best” tattooist. The great tattoo artist from the 20th century, Paul Rogers summed it up by saying- allow me to paraphrase, “Tattooing is a few great guys sitting atop a middle layer of competent artists, sitting atop a sprawling mass of more bad tattooers than you can imagine.” In that light, my new column is dedicated to the few great guys, and some of those more competent guys up towards the top too. It goes without saying that I can only personally recommend a tattoo artist if I happen to know him personally. I believe a great tattooist is technically proficient, talented and creative, and , perhaps above all, a people person who respects the customer he is blessed to have. And a lot of times the tattooer is, well, a character. Or, sometimes, he embodies the ideal man. Joe Haasch represents the latter. A good person, a hard worker, very talented, very humble and respectful; all these are qualities which I think make Joe more than deserving of this title. It is just a beautiful thing to see the way his customers stick with him, year after year. […]

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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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The Best Tattoo Artist in Dallas
div class="listing_meta"> December 12, 2017 by Carl Hallowell in City, Tattoos

Man, if you don’t know this then I guess you have been living under a rock for the last 25 years! While I thoroughly believe that tattooing is not a competition, definitely not a sport- and we need to make sure it stays like this. You must have an eye for quality in this deal or you’ll end up wearing slop. Also, when you see that poetry of excellent craftsmanship, you just gotta stop and tip your hat, or sit down and get tattooed! Incredible draftsmanship, fast as lightning, ever progressing, this dude puts his stamp on every tattoo he does. It’s got the look, it’s got his look. He doesn’t re-invent it every time. He builds a prototype, tests it, and then does it over and over, each time as good as the last, until it becomes a style. Luckily, as a tattoo artist he has spread this style over the years. More so than ever in recent years, from what my customers tell me. He carries a banner to all corners of the earth. On it is inscribed, in pike lettering, “American Traditional Tattooing.” Becoming the Best Tattoo Artist in Dallas How can you fail to be the […]

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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 as 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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August’s Dallas tattoo of the month proudly goes to Mr. Andy, an aerospace engineer who also enjoys the down-to-earth style of a traditional tattoo. With that said, there are three things that I am most proud of concerning Andy’s tattoo. The first would have to be that Mister Bob Roberts liked it and commented “Kool Style” about it on Instagram. It was awesome knowing that he is the best living practicing tattoo artist in the western world, and he is taking time to look at and enjoy some of my tattoo posts. Never mind that many of my friends, peers, or slightly more elder than I tattoo artists couldn’t be bothered to check in on my harsh style and my straightforward approach to this art I love. Often times in this world, it is a matter of many liking something just because others do. I am not in with that crowd. I am off to the side. I have my humble craft, and the ones who like it tend to think for themselves, be bold, and stand alone, much as I do. The second thing about this tattoo that is superlative is that it was all accomplished in a single […]

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  Mr Z has conquered another session. He drives up from Austin to get tattooed here in Dallas. This work in progress is executed with the traditional and singular black ink of Japanese tattooing, sumi. It must be hand ground and prepared for each tattoo, one at a time. I am very proud to work with this magic tool. It is a distinction that marks the work of most japanese tattoo masters, and very few American tattooers. I am lucky, as this gift was given to me by my teacher, Derek Jefferson, who has always had a passion for using the best equipment he could make the connections to obtain. We used to call up Rollo on the phone, asking what machines he had available that week. When once again we had to admit we couldn’t afford these handmade masterpieces that cost more than the rent on our shop, Mike would share machine tuning tips with us, and we would run back to our stations to implement these ideas immediately… One of my favorite parts of writing here are these trips back in time my mind takes me on, even when i had planned to write something else… Mr Z […]

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Japan, Land of A Thousand Mysteries
div class="listing_meta"> November 24, 2015 by Carl Hallowell in autobiography, City, Creation, Flash, In-Progress, Irezumi, Japanese, Nature, People, Store, Tattoos, Tradition, Traditional, Uncategorized

  Japan is the jewel center of the arts. Stretching backwards into time, nothing has been undone, or taken away. The rich tapestry of symbols, of images, of virtues, has only been added to. Modern glass buildings spring up around Shinto shrines that are hundreds of years old. Uniformed schoolchildren bounce past monks under large, pointy hats. Bullet trains cut through the countryside, where trees shoot up in dense forests and farmlands unfold in aged plots. The maple leaf is as important as the skyscraper. A grain of rice is equal to a slice of sashimi. Everything locks together in a kaleidoscope of expression, of aesthetic beauty. The stoic faces on the subway seem to meditate around us. The hum of the city is unstoppable, unending. The country opens up to us, pointing inward at itself, revealing to us these jewels. The red faced bartender is laughing, disappearing into the kitchen to return with another round. The help of a random passer-by, whoever is closest, is complete and extremely hospitable. The culture is beginning to show itself to us. The subtleties are unfolding like the brocade of a concubine’s kimono, extremely alluring, if you can catch a glimpse… The culture […]

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The Flower Priest
div class="listing_meta"> October 16, 2015 by Carl Hallowell in autobiography, City, Creation, Flash, In-Progress, Irezumi, Japanese, Nature, People, Store, Tattoos, Tradition, Traditional, Uncategorized

What to say of this, a piece I worked on for years, on a great friend and a great artist, who’s strength is equal to his talent… Over and over what impresses me is the ability of my customers to stand up to the intense physical pain of tattooing… This pain is especially excruciating when doled out across large areas of the body- and the back is the largest area we have. This is called turtle back horimono, kame no koh, and represents the ultimate achievement in tattooing outside of the full bodysuit. It was my pleasure to work on this piece, again and again, month after month, year after year. Hours would pass when a single conversation unfurled like a flag slowly blowing in the wind. It was relaxed, as if we were fishing, or sitting around enjoying a smoke. But all the while we were hammering, hammering… The armature pulling down, magnetized, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand times… a hundred thousand holes in the dermis letting the sunshine of pigment in.  As I man the machine he tries his best to become a piece of paper, a lay down table… We talk on, then, take a […]

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