The Unique Artist Canon Of Traditional Tattooing
div class="listing_meta"> September 20, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Traditional

I work in the traditional tattoo style. This is a style that is made for tattooing. It has its own artistic canon and excludes copying other art forms. I have of course translated just about every medium into a tattoo throughout my 23 years of practicing the art of tattoo. I have realized over time that no tattoo looks as good as a traditional tattoo, so that is the kind of work that I choose to focus on.   What Is the Traditional Tattoo Style? The traditional tattoo style involves using traditional imagery, that is, imagery that has consistently been used for tattoos since the beginning of the artform. These images are then rendered using stylized imagery instead of realistic imagery. The design is then simplified for clarity and longevity. Bold outlining, heavy black shading and solid colors round out the look. A fair amount of skin is left open as well, imbuing it with the airy, bright look that was once called “The Classic Open Style of Cap Coleman” A good traditional tattoo is simple, direct, and to the point. It looks great! It is tattoo! It is not a renaissance painting or engraving. Its not a computer generated […]

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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 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 ol 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 […]

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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 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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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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Sitting up late working, maybe its not tattooing, not painting… Strangely, its writing, one of the first art forms I ran to, after I had read the lyric sheets for everyone from 7 Seconds to The Smiths, even as I recoiled from the reading assignments in english class… school sucked. I had my friend draw green sharpie tattoos on me so at least i’d look cool and have something to stare at while I was bored to tears in class…. now the writing serves my website, supports my true work of tattooing… you can’t just tattoo anymore, now you have to post pictures everywhere of what you did and where and when and sometimes even why. And then you’re expected to stay glued to your phone and look at what everyone else did. it’s exhausting work, truly. I shouldn’t complain. The work gets out there. It gets seen. I remember when photos of my work only sat in a portfolio on the rail, living in darkness, until a rare customer wandered in to flip through it’s pages in a manner somewhere between disinterested and distracted… And I do, I love it when customers come here to my site, my little […]

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Autumn Mix Irezumi
div class="listing_meta"> September 21, 2015 by Carl Hallowell in autobiography, City, Creation, Flash, In-Progress, Irezumi, Japanese, Nature, People, Store, Tattoos, Tradition, Traditional, Uncategorized

Every customer is just as important as the next one. “You are only as good as your last tattoo.” And yet, there is an added pressure when you know the tattoo will be seen more than others, or, when you know that you will see the tattoo more than others. But it is a pressure filled business. I like to fondly recall my first five years of tattooing as one continuous nervous breakdown. But now as I sit in California on my future in-laws patio deck and write, I am far away from that anxiety. The breeze blowing in off the ocean is cool, I can see it down there, the great Pacific, shimmering at the bottom of the hill. I am thinking of my next project, a full sleeve for the guitarist for a prominent hardcore band. He wants to make the long journey to the land of irezumi. If I stare out at the horizon, past the ocean, I can almost see Japan. Mr. N has given me a feel for what he wants, describing a couple two or three images he would like to see in his sleeve. But they are disparate images, how can i bring […]

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Tenka Gomen; Kabuki Kumadori
div class="listing_meta"> August 10, 2015 by Carl Hallowell in autobiography, City, Creation, Flash, In-Progress, Irezumi, Japanese, Nature, People, Store, Tattoos, Tradition, Traditional, Uncategorized

Rememberin’ back when i knew every tattoo shop in town… Next came the era when I actually knew most of the tattooers… Of course i started tattooing in Amarillo, and spent the bulk of my career tattooing in Ft. Worth, and am now tattooing in Dallas, the big city, the Big D… But then again I remember knowing most of the tattooers in Dallas too. It’s still a tight knit group when I think about it, I reached out to a Ft. Worth guy just this morning, and it was just a couple of weeks ago i called across town to a fellow tattoo artist to catch up on industry standards… Those that are outside the loop are lone wolves, they don’t share in the history of the whole, they don’t have a place in the overall hierarchy of the tattoo caste… Our closed system… It’s members only and you need a lot more than a tattoo to join… Ultimately it is about your level of respect for the mark, the mark of the tattoo… It is about your allegiance to it, to the whole… It is about the black, about the color… It is about the machines, the matacide, […]

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