September 2, 2012
Sue, here. Welcome to Day Three of the Boston Tattoo Convention! “What happened to Sue and Phuc’s detailed posts about Day One and Day Two?” you ask. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the interweb, but I’m here now to bring you fully up to date on everything you’ve missed if you’ve chosen to avoid the busiest moving weekend in the Boston year.
We actually arrived on Thursday evening to give ourselves the opportunity for a leisurely pre-game on Friday morning, and I’m so glad we did. We enjoyed a delicious brunch at Trident, an independently owned bookstore and café on Newbury Street. I highly recommend it. They offer great food, super friendly service, and who wouldn’t want to support one of Boston’s local indies?! As if that’s not enough, as the icing on the cake, they were playing Star Wars on the tv right in front of us. Win! Win! Win! Win! (If I’m counting correctly, that’s more wins than Charlie Sheen. Take that, unnamed guy in police station!)
But I digress.
Once the convention got rolling on Friday afternoon, Phuc worked on two on-going projects: a back piece and a sleeve.
On Saturday, Phuc and I had to cut out to attend to some very important business. “What could possibly be more important than working on the busiest day of what will likely be the only convention you attend this year?” you wonder. Well, this:
We were incredibly fortunate to have our highly talented and super friendly client, Angela, running back-up at our booth all day. Thank you, Angela! And, ladies, do check out Angela’s kickass clothing line: Mode Merr. You won’t be disappointed!
And now we’re back, Sunday is underway, and we will update you with more tattooey goodness from Beantown as the day progresses. In the meantime, please enjoy a few more images of the weekend so far…
August 31, 2012
We’re getting ready to start the Boston Tattoo Convention, but I realized that I hadn’t posted any photos of tattoos that I had been working on this month. Oops. You’ll see that there are a few birds (love to tattoo them, hate them in reality), part of an epic back piece that I’ll unveil later, and a double portrait of a client’s grandma and grandpa. The portrait was super fun to do, and I really like doing them, but given how the industry is becoming more nichified, people mostly look at my stuff and think “Japanese.” Don’t get me wrong, I love doing Japanese style tattoos, but it’s fun to work a totally different skill set, too.
I recently saw this TEDx talk and found it pretty inspiring, and I thought you all should see it. It basically says that your brain, when it’s happy, has a distinct advantage. It thinks better, is more productive, and is better at problem solving. So how do you make your brain happier? Watch the video and find out!
And here are a whole slew of things- stay tuned for more photos of the Boston Tattoo Convention.
August 22, 2012
Phuc: Welcome! Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Cyndi: Of course!
Phuc: So, I have to say- I think it’s been a pretty smooth transition. How’s it been for you? Other than not wearing shoes in the shop?!
Cyndi: Haha! I expected it to be great, and so far I’d have to say it’s been better than expected!
Phuc: Speaking of smooth transitions, have you pooped at the shop yet?
Cyndi: Actually no. But I’m counting the days; it’s only a matter of time. I can’t hold out forever.
Phuc: Just do it. Even Mike has already pooped at the shop.
Cyndi: We already talked about my system. There is no mystery left to be excited about. I’ll make sure I let everyone know.
Phuc: Fair enough. So I’ll ask you a few in-depth, hard-hitting journalistic type questions so that people can stop wondering. So here’s your chance to say it: why’d you guys close the shop?
Cyndi: We saw a better opportunity and the timing was right. Keep ‘em comin’, Barbara.
Phuc: Oh, I will. We’re going full frontal Oprah, now. What about the autonomy of having your own shop? Emoticons don’t count as replies.
Cyndi: You mean do I miss it or feel I sacrificed it?
Phuc: You can interpret that however you like. Consider it a verbal Rorschach test. Or Horshack test.
Cyndi: To answer my own question I’d have to say no, it doesn’t feel like a loss. I thought a long time about how it would feel and realized that for me, right now, it’s all about the tattooing. The old shop was a different venture when it started, and it seemed like time to find something new- not to mention work with some new people.
Phuc: What’s your dream job?
Cyndi: As of right now I’m doing it. Maybe later in life it could change. I know I always want to work with people.
Phuc: Good answer!
Cyndi: True story.
Phuc: What’s your favorite thing about tattooing?
Cyndi: Just one thing?!
Phuc: Or favorite thing about being a tattooer? It can be a few things…
Cyndi: Those are two very different answers for me… hang on!
Phuc: This is where you cry because I asked you something meaningful.
Cyndi: Hang on- I’m choking it out through tears and boogers.
Cyndi: One of my favorite things about tattooing is the intuitive challenge. I was just telling my client today that I feel like I’m always illustrating and tapping into what fits the client as well as what makes a good tattoo. I guess it’s the process of processing that I enjoy. My favorite thing about being a tattooer is…
Phuc: All the free stuff? It’s like that Eddie Murphy skit where he pretends to be a white guy and doesn’t have to pay for anything. We just walk around and get free shit, right?
Cyndi: Haha! It’s the life experience. And as cliché as it sounds, it really is the moment when I get to see someone really happy about what they got from me. I like being able to do that for people. To me it often feels sacred. I see myself as very lucky to be in these shoes right now. I also enjoy the constant evolving as a human and an artist.
And free stuff.
Obviously. I just came here so people would kiss my ass and call me amazing everyday.
(That last part is a joke.)
Phuc: That’s why I do it!
Cyndi: I knew it!
Phuc: So this leads me to my next question: what areas do you see yourself growing in? Or, to put it another way, how would you like to push yourself as an artist/tattooer in the next, say, five years?
Cyndi: Do I get to ask why you like tattooing?
Phuc: No. Hahaha… sure. Maybe that can be another blog entry. I’ll be asking the questions here. (I’m wearing my Homeland Security shirt.)
Cyndi: In the next five years I want to be doing more large work. That isn’t to say I want to be doing only large work. I want to take some time to refine everything. I want to have a more diverse palette. I would like to also put more time in to studying form and dimension. And I also just want to explore and see where it takes me. It feels like an adventure. I also want to paint again.
Phuc: That sounds great- although I’ve seen you do a fair amount of big stuff at the shop even the short time that we’ve been working together.
Cyndi: I do a bit of it now and really enjoy it! My mind is looser when I work large. When I work small it’s more like a science project which I equally enjoy. Because I have a group of very open and trusting clients, I have so far been able to do a lot of exploring with their ideas. I’m excited to see where it will go next.
Phuc: That’s the half of it, right? Having clients that trust you?
Cyndi: Trust is essential.
Phuc: Okay last question! Who are your top five favorite tattooers? Of all time. Ever. In the world.
Cyndi: OMG… let me edit.
Phuc: Yup. I told you I was going to go OPRAH on you.
Cyndi: The people I have always looked at and watched the most I’d say are…
Phuc: No using Google!
Cyndi: I’m narrowing down my answers.
Phuc: And you don’t have to say why but you are welcome to say why.
Cyndi: I could, but I’d go one forever. I’d say they are all current working artists. Not because I don’t want to give the obvious answers that attest to the history of the craft but because I have been watching current artists evolve since before I started tattooing and I’d say they are my favorites because they were more accessible to me at the time.
That should cover the map for me, if I must. I will say I have obviously been influenced most by the people I have worked with though.
Phuc: Nice! Okay – any final words for the interview? Your chance to say whatever you want to “all” our readers out there.
Cyndi: Gimme your money. Just kidding.
Phuc: Nice- stay classy!
Cyndi: I’m just really excited about the next few years! It’s been a strange road so far. Tattooing has brought me into and out of a whole slew of experiences. It’s been a rollercoaster. And as of right now. I’m okay with thrills and excitement. Here’s to the future!
Here are some of the great projects that Cyndi’s been working on since she’s come on board. Enjoy!
July 28, 2012
Look at me posting a quick blog entry just to get a cheap second entry right before the month closes out. In my defense, we have been on the road for two weeks in July, and that just doesn’t leave a lot of time for quality blogging. Nobody wants low quality blogging with dry prose and lots of typos. Plus, we’re moving Cyndi and Mike in this coming week, so there’s been lots of moving furniture around.
I will definitely post more detailed recaps of my time at Mooncusser and Hidden Hand, but suffice it to say that I had a great, great time on both coasts. In the last two weeks, I saw a whale, I jumped off a boat, I got my Achilles heel tattooed (definitely a weakness), saw a drunk guy assault a lady bartender (we stepped in), played poo-dollar, and tattooed a sweet Grommet picture on a walk-in. It’s been a wild ride, and I want to do both coasts justice with longer blog entries with photos.
While I was at Hidden Hand, I had this funny conversation with Charlie, a wild, rock n’ roll tattooer. She’s kind of like if Pat Benatar had a three-way baby with Keith Richards and Lemmy. So while we were hanging out, Charlie asked, “So where are your neck and hand tattoos?”
“You know, where are you neck and hand tattoos? You gotta have neck and hand pieces! Come on!”
“Ahhhh…. you know, I don’t know what I’d really want… Uh…. Yeah.” She was, of course, busting balls, but I was still really surprised by her expectation that I was supposed to have neck and hand pieces. My friend Rus (hilarious commentary on his tattoos, btw) and I were talking about how “kids” these days get their neck and hands tattooed FIRST. Jeff at Hidden Hand and I talked about this, too, in Seattle, and he called this look the “hard in a hoodie” look (aka, I look really badass if I’m wearing a hoodie); Rus called it the Warp Tour Body Suit (again, looking heavily tattooed with a hoodie on). In either case, it what does signify? The desire to appear heavily tattooed without actually being heavily tattooed. No sleeves? No back piece? No problem- just do your hands and neck first and then you’ll look immediately bad-ass at a fraction of the cost!
Here’s a slew of tattoos in various stages of completion:
July 13, 2012
The Tsunami Tattoo team is expanding! We are super excited to announce that beginning August 1st, Cyndi Lou and Mike Rourke, from Portland’s Squid and Whale Tattoo, will be joining Tsunami at our new space on 21 Pleasant Street. Be on the look-out for a full update of our web site with Mike and Cyndi Lou’s bios, portfolios, and details on how to schedule tattoo time with them. And in the meantime, please join us in giving them a warm Tsunami Tattoo welcome!
Here are a few tattoos from Cyndi and Mike (the first five are Cyndi’s and the last five are Mike’s):
June 30, 2012
I’ve still got a few slots open for Seattle, so let me know if you’re interested in a little tatty!
A few weeks ago, I tattooed my client K. (no, this is not the start of a Kafka story). She was getting a memorial tattoo for a friend that had passed away and decided that she wanted his name tattooed on her foot in a nice, simple script. Seems pretty straightforward, right? I do the tattoo and she’s psyched and goes home.
K. calls the shop about three days later. ”I want to have the tattoo covered up.”
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, and apparently, they also don’t expect having to talk about their tattoo all the time, especially when it’s just someone’s name across their foot. In the three days that she had gotten the tattoo, she had to explain, multiple times a day, that the name was not her boyfriend’s name, not her kid’s name, not her brother’s name, etc. And then people would say, “Well who is it?” And then she would say that it was a friend of hers who had passed away. ”Oh, I’m sorry. How did he die?” And on and on and on. This was a unforeseen effect of her getting the tattoo, and it caused her to revisit the unpleasant memory of her friend’s passing several times a day to such an extent that she decided- in three days- that she wanted it covered even before it was healed.
All this begs the question: Why get any words in your tattoo? Maybe she could have gotten a symbol or an image for her friend, something that would remind her of him but that to the rest of the world was just a thing?
Here’s the new challenge for the 21st century: let the picture speak for itself. The private dialog that you have with your tattoo can be your own and what the public perceives it to be can be whatever that will be. At their core, tattoos are drawings, and drawing is visual communication. Adding words to it may, in some cases, be gilding the lily. Or labeling all the flowers in your garden. Or putting just a word on your body with unexpected consequences.
June 18, 2012
I definitely cannot say that June has been a dull month (see the bad pun in this blog’s entry)! There are so many exciting projects coming down the pike, and I am ever grateful and humble for my clients’ patience and trust. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Sue managed to update our actual website, too, with some new tattoos and new pics in the photo section. I also realized that I forgot to thank Val for giving up a Saturday to polyurethane shelves and counters, so special (if late) thanks to her for being collateral damage in her husband’s crazy schemes.
And in case you don’t want to travel for my special touch (no lawsuits, please), I’ll be taking this show on the road.
Mooncusser Tattoo: I’ll be doing my stint in Provincetown from July 1st – 4th, so if you’re out on the Cape, come by and say hello. It’ll be a great few days, and I’m excited to be working alongside such a talented group of tattooers.
Hidden Hand Tattoo: And hot on the heels of being about as far east as I can go, I’ll be zipping over to the West Coast to tattoo in Seattle again at Hidden Hand Tattoo on July 13th and 14th. If you live in the Seattle area and would like to get tattooed by me, please email me at email@example.com. I’ve booked a few appointments already, so act now while supplies last.
Here are a slew of tattoos in various stages of completion. Thanks for looking!
Four-ish weeks in the new place now, and no big surprises (the windows leak when it rains, and I can hear the neighbors talking when I’m pooping in the bathroom which leads me to believe that they can hear me pooping when they’re talking). I recently saw one of the building’s tenants wearing this shirt while walking his daughter to the playground…
Working in the new space feels like trying to cook in someone else’s kitchen. All the tools are right but they’re all in the wrong places. Thankfully, I’ve got a myopic focus once I have a tattoo machine in my hand and a stencil in front of me.
Here are some in progress sleeves that I’ve got going- weirdly, these three are all on the basically the same schedule. I think I should have these guys go bowling or something. And here’s a nearly-finished chest piece that just needs a few more little flowers across the top (I didn’t do the bee or the big poppy on the right).
May 9, 2012
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s our hope that even in the big changes that are happening at our shop, we will continue to offer top-notch tattooing and customer service. You guys, the customers, are the only reason that we’re here and we’re ever appreciative and grateful to you for your support.
Thanks to everyone who came out on Friday to celebrate the new shop with us! We’re really excited about the new space, the new vibe, and (hopefully) the new tattooers who may join us in the future.
I can’t help feeling a little ambivalent about this new growth, especially when I look back at our humble beginnings in our original, scrappy 400 sqf. space, compared to our luxurious, 1200 sqf. behemoth of a battle station. It feels like I went from being part of the rebellion to growing into the Empire… Hopefully no one will electrocute me and hurl me down the core reactor (Sue, I’m talking to you).
There’s a long list of people who deserve extra special thanks because we couldn’t have done it without them… Les (and his cousin Bill) for doing the carpentry work, working with us in realizing our vision for the shop. Ryan and Joe for the additional carpentry and electrical work that needed to be done. Darien for painting the whole thing, dealing with the renovation falling behind, and project managing all the random people who were coming and going (“Oh, it’s you again.”) Stacy and Jen at 3c32 for being the midwives to the re-design of our materials (stickers, cards, shirts); CR, Jason, and Rob for helping with the move and not breaking anything. Dandelion Catering for providing us with an amazing spread. Special thanks to Mooncusser Tattoo for sending over some pizzas, and to Jim and Tracey from Lucky Soul Tattoo in Connecticut for canceling appointments and making the drive up here to celebrate until 2:00am!
Matty Taylor (one half of the DJ duo Atomik) gets the MVP award. Matty packed up the old shop pretty much by himself, unpacked the new shop, cleaned, scraped paint, vacuumed, swept, dusted, ran errands, took out the trash, etc. With our parental duties and unending work schedules, Matty was integral to our getting everything done.
Now that we’ve officially unveiled the shop, here are some photos of the shop, new t-shirts (Sarnath, not Sarlacc, in the hizzy!), and new stickers. If you open the first, panorama photo in a separate window, you can see a pretty big, 360 degree view of the new shop!
April 23, 2012
There’s no turning back now. We moved last week into our new digs at 21 Pleasant Street and have been furiously unpacking so that I could tattoo some clients on Saturday. Thanks to Steve and Paul for their tolerance of the mess and their grace in getting tattooed among the clutter.
We’re having an open house on Friday, May 4th to inaugurate the shop officially and would love to have you visit. And just to sweeten the deal, we’ll be giving away shirts on that night (and that night only), so if you come, we’ll hook you up with a brand new Tsunami Tattoo t-shirt.
Do you need your interest piqued even more? Well here you go- piquing ain’t just a city in China.