The Best Tattoo Artist in Dallas, Episode 13
div class="listing_meta"> November 15, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

The jumping off point is important in all things. Do we plan endlessly, or rush in without a single thought? Are we the kind to just talk about it? Or are we the type to attack and achieve the desired action? When the task is complete, do we pat ourselves on the back, tear ourselves down, or are we at peace with a middle way? Do we make excuses for what we lack? Do we simply blindly stand behind what we have done? Or do we honestly assess our little victories and failures within the project? Do we posture, attempting to hoodwink the other that we are larger than we are? Do we shrink back into the shadows and cower in insecurity? Maybe we assert our own dignity and give others theirs. Maybe we think everyone deserves respect. Maybe we think respect is earned.   The Artistic Process Of A Great Tattoo Artist The artistic process fascinates me greatly. I don’t even understand my own! I do work on my process though, over and over. I am at one with it. Maybe that is why it is still a little unknown to me. How accurately is each one of us […]

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Trust Your Traditional Tattoo Artist
div class="listing_meta"> July 30, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

As a beginner at getting tattooed for the first time, you, of course, are going to be unfamiliar with the process. Allow me to shine a light on some areas that are still unknown to many aspiring traditional tattoo collectors. The tattoo design is drawn as an outline only. The shading and color are added on the skin. The stencil is made from a line drawing. Tattoos are a leap of faith! You should choose very wisely which artist you are going to use. And then, the trust begins! Choosing An Experienced Dallas Tattoo Artist Versus A Beginner If you choose an experienced artist, he is going to take control of the project. He will be respectful of your ideas and strive to give you the tattoo type that you want. But maybe, more importantly, he will strive to give you the tattoo that you need. For example- there may be a design element that you wanted, but that would damage the look of the overall tattoo. This is what is meant by “the tattoo that you need.” If you go to a beginner, he will not know the difference and you can sometimes control the process, as he is […]

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Ever Wonder How Much To Tip A Tattoo Artist
div class="listing_meta"> July 27, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

I get the “how much to tip a tattoo artist” question often from my customers. It isn’t an easy conversation to have! I always appreciate them asking though, and I always explain the situation as thoroughly as I can. The last time I was counseling a customer on the appropriate tipping procedure for a Dallas tattoo artist, I thought, I should write this down. It could benefit both customers and artists alike! First Steps To Tipping Your Dallas Tattoo Artist First of all, A tattoo artist really appreciates tips because he is paying a portion of every tattoo he does to the shop that he works for. This portion depends on his experience, his importance to the shop, his tenure at the shop, as well as business things that balance the equation such as what supplies the shop provides, etc. While a portion of your tattoo cost goes to the house, all of your tips go directly to the artist. To a worker who gives some of his earnings over to a shop, it feels good to know that the tip is all his! Tipping is by no means mandatory in this business and any tip is very much appreciated, […]

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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 industry. 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 a lot of us in North Texas are so familiar with? A: Well, there’s 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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What Is A Traditional Tattoo?
div class="listing_meta"> May 21, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

A Traditional Tattoo is a tattoo that has a history, a past, a precedent. Traditional tattoos are now known by this name because they were handed down to us by our forefathers. These are the designs that have been used in American tattooing since the invention of the electric tattoo machine in 1891. What Were Traditional Tattoos Originally? The first designs were almost always patriotic. The American eagle, the American flag, US Navy anchors, daggers with banners reading “Death before Dishonor”, are all examples. Religious tattoos also emerged, although they were less prevalent. Next in line were the love tattoos, hearts with mom or a sweetheart’s name added in the banner. The red rose was there early on. In the ’30s a book was released which had a strong pose of a crawling panther illustrated within. This powerful image quickly made its way to the walls of the tattoo parlor, and it was instantly accepted into the tattoo design oeuvre.   In The ’40s And ’50s, More Tattoo Designs Were Added Throughout the ’40s and ’50s, more designs were added to the Tattoo Flash the early American Tattooers painted. Some designs became wildly popular. They looked so good, so right, […]

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Stepping Back To Look At Traditional Tattooing
div class="listing_meta"> April 26, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

You know, taking a step back from anything for a little while always seems to have the effect of renewing the way I approach it. There is strength in consistency, and yet, there is an undeniable energy in change. I suppose in many ways I have always been afraid of change. But as I delve deeper into the art of traditional and Japanese tattooing, I welcome it more and more. A new angle to attack it from. A new process, to replace the old. Trying to improve, one needs new tools or illumination as to how to use the tools you have differently. Many customers ask “have you always been able to draw?” I guess the answer is “kinda.” I feel my talent lies in “seeing.” Discerning what looks good from what doesn’t. What feels right, or wrong. Balance in the work. Thankfully, I have practiced ten thousand hours. I now feel that I can draw. I can make things look the way that I want them to at long last. Set against many of my peers, my drawing may look too simple, too unrealistic. However, I choose to draw this way and am very proud to say that I […]

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The Best Tattoo Artist in Dallas
div class="listing_meta"> March 20, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

One Of The Smartest Men In Tattooing I used to call him “The second smartest man in Tattooing.” I mean, hey, no one can be smarter than Scott “Welt” Harrison. Well, maybe Hardy. Yeah, Hardy’s probably the smartest. Alright! So our hero has been demoted, but number three out of three hundred thousand ain’t nothin to sneeze at! Of course, I only know a couple hundred of ’em so maybe I’m way off. Smarts? Why do smarts matter in tattooing anyways? This is traditional tattooing, this is the world of pictures. Silent, strong pictures. A still life in the midst of a world of action. Smarts matter because talking is the way you pass the time out on the road, counting the miles between tattoo conventions and guest spots and stops along the way. It was times just like these that I was able to have the blessing of delving deep into the mind of the best tattoo artist in Dallas, Texas, Mr. Norman Dean Williams. Good Times On Road It was Confucius who said, “when I turn up one corner, he will turn up the other three”. It has been years since I read this, and yet, it comes to […]

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Meet the True Tattoo Artist
div class="listing_meta"> February 22, 2018 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

Can’t believe I’ve been a Dallas tattoo artist 23 years now. Sometimes it just amazes me- that’s over 8000 days. Yep, tattoo artists can do math, especially percentage-based math, as we give a percentage of what we do every day to the shop we work for. That is why we accept tips in the tattoo business. 100% of your tip goes to the artist. Well if the guy under charges you and you have to over-tip he’s doing the shop a disservice. The finer points, the subtleties, can be gleaned from experience. When you get that price right on the head, you’ll give him a nice tip and he’ll still walk away with plenty to pay his shop. The shop is his lifeblood. His shop is his support system. The shop was most likely there before he came along and it will most likely be there after he moves along. The reputation they have been building all these years makes or breaks the tattoo artist that works for them. That name that brings people in the door, one after next. And I work for one of the biggest names in the business- Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, Texas. What’s more, […]

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Allen and Kellie: Big Announcement
div class="listing_meta"> October 26, 2017 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

Please check out the chemistry between my newlywed friends here as they talk about life, love, and… tattoos by me! Check out their podcast A Sandwich and Some Lovin’.

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The Law of 5 with Carl Block
div class="listing_meta"> August 30, 2017 by Carl Hallowell in Uncategorized

Today I have The amazing local potter, professor and musician Carl Block coming in for a tattoo. I am excited for this chance to tattoo this prolific artist from down in Waxahachie Texas. I am honored he is coming to me for his traditional tattoo today. I am hoping that he will agree to a short interview after his session. I am going to prepare the questions now- and see if he will oblige us with an opportunity to see inside the heart, soul, and mind of this creative tornado of the folk art world, in this new program I am calling the law of 5. The Law of 5 with Carl Block How did you develop your iconic face jugs that a lot of us in North Texas are so familiar with?WEll theaters a long tradition of sculpting on pots… What comes to mind for you as you compare creating music to creating art? Can you talk about the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi? Describe what you love about tattoo art. Why did you choose to get tattooed by me today?

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