Behind the Needle 3 – part 4 of the London Tattoo Convention series with Papercut Pictures and Zeitgeist

This is part of the exclusive Tattoo film series I filmed with Papercut Pictures for Zeitgeist magazine

“Tattooing has become a victim of its own popularity” Zele

Behind the Needle 3  features three more notable tattoo artists. Ninoslav Zelenovic aka Zele from Zagreb Tattoo, Jason Donahue from Idle Hand and Alex Binnie from IntoYou London/Brighton talk about the past, present and future of the tattoo world. Has it really become a victim of its own popularity in this Facebook-obsessed world?


Zele used to be a military man, and this is reflected in his love of historical, ethnic and traditional styles of tattooing. His tattoos reflect his value system and past. In this film he also talks about the negative impact of the growing popularity of tattoos and how this affects those who have been in the business for a long time.

Jason Donahue
Jason Donahue

Jason Donahue has always been into art, and as soon as he got his first tattoo he realised he’d found something he really wanted to do. His influences come from the past, his strongest being American traditional and Japanese. He also talks about the explosive nature of the tattoo industry now and the fact the he is his own biggest critic, constantly seeking tattoo perfection.

Alex Binnie
Alex Binnie

Tattooing was a very ‘closed’ world when Alex Binnie started out, and not at all fashionable. He tells us about his varied style and how the industry has changed since he has been a part of it. He talks about tattooing as a beautiful contract between the tattooer and the person being tattooed that avoids the constraints of the gallery system.

Watch the other films in the series: the London Tattoo Convention 2011, Behind the Needle and Behind the Needle 2.

Word by Alice Th’ink as featured on Zeitgeist
Behind the Needle 3 from Papercut Pictures on Vimeo.

New York Ink Fund.

New York Ink Fund
Tattoo saving

This Terramundi money pot is one of my favourite presents this Christmas – my family know me so well. I am hoping to go to New York in 2013 to celebrate a year of special birthdays with my mama (I won’t tell you how old we both are) and the rest of my family. This money pot is going to help me save up to get tattooed while I am there. My mum managed to save £745 in 18 months using a Terramundi, so the saving starts now.

And, hopefully I will get tattooed by Cris Cleen and also the boys at Smith Street. I am hoping my mum will also be persuaded to get a little birthday tattoo with me…


The girl with the Drake tattoo

The story behind the Drake forehead tattoo

“You get the tattoo you deserve.” Kevin Campbell, Will Rise Tattoo

The Drake tattoo raises important questions about the rights and wrongs of tattooing, and the tattoo artist – Kevin Campbell – who created the now infamous ‘Drake tattoo’ highlights some of the key issues about consent and informed decisions.

In his interview with Vice magazine he states that people get the tattoos that they deserve. Here’s a snippet from the interview:

Wow. Do you feel sort of bad about it after the fact? My whole deal with people wanting completely outrageous and potentially life ruining tattoos is this: I’ll ask them 3 times if they really think that it’s a good idea, I tell them what the potential consequences of getting a tattoo on their face might be, and after that, the bad decision is on them. I believe that people get the tattoos that they deserve.

Visibly high
Visibly high?

I am not sure I agree with Kevin, and the girl with the Drake tattoo was clearly high when she came into his studio, as Kevin states in his interview with Vice that she was visibly coming down by the end of her experience. (She had also shaved her head and eyebrows in preparation…)

Girl with the Drake tattoo
Girl with the Drake tattoo

However I do think the quote about getting the tattoo that you deserve is interesting…and I do believe in freedom of expression. I also believe that is important for a tattoo artist to have a big amount of input into the tattoos they create for their customers. At the end of the day, tattoos are art and there is a reason why not everyone can sit behind the needle. When I get tattooed I want the expert advice of an artist and I want something that is going to look as amazing as it can possibly be.

I also hope that no one would ever tattoo me if I was clearly drunk, or my judgement was in any way impaired.

What do you think? Do people really get the tattoos they deserve? And is anyone in contact with the girl with the Drake tattoo? Does she regret it or is she loving life with a forehead tattoo? And I guess we should ask how Drake feels about this, too…

During the tattoo
Beginning to come down?

Photos taken from Vice. Full interview here.

The Cosmo Blog Awards 2011

Photo booth with blogger friends
Photo booth with blogger friends

A picture of a snap taken with my new blogger buddies in the photo booth – Bethany Arched Eyebrow, Jazzy Elizabeth Hiven and Gemma Retro Chick.

Last night I attended the Cosmo Blog Awards Ceremony at 24 Kingly, it was full of Cosmo cocktails, Cosmo cupcakes, awards-fabulous outfits, goodie bags and of course, bloggers.

Cosmo cupcake
Cosmo cupcake

As a tattoo blogger I was more interested in the tattoos, than the awards-fabulous outfits…here’s a couple I spotted in the crowds.

Caroline from Sparkly Vodka
Caroline from Sparkly Vodka
Caroline's Smashing Pumpkins tattoo
Caroline's Smashing Pumpkins tattoo
Lovely lady from Nail Porn
Lovely lady from Nail Porn
Lady tattoo on arm
Lady tattoo on arm
Padlock and key tattoo
Padlock and key tattoo
Chest tattoos
Chest tattoos

Unfortunately, I didn’t win (boo hoo), but thanks so much to everyone who voted for me. I really appreciate it and feel honoured that I was nominated and shortlisted. I tried to drown my sorrows with a Cosmo or two, but the cocktails were mocktails apparently (tut, tut Cosmo).

The glam party
The glam party

And here’s a couple of papped photos I found on the Cosmo website…I feel like a Z-list celeb!

Another cocktail daaaaaarling? But, please can I have it with vodka this time

Cosmo Blog Awards induced Insomnia

Cosmo Blog Awards induced Insomnia

Dear Diary,

Tonight I read the shortlist for the Cosmo Blog Awards and my early night to get my beauty sleep is out of the window.

For the past month, Cosmo readers, blog followers, friends, family, boyfriends, pets and anyone else forced to click on the link, have been voting for their favourite (and hopefully soon to be award-winning) bloggers. It wasn’t until this evening that the enormity of it all hit me.

I have been up against some stiff competition (THERE’S 11 OTHER BLOGGERS IN THE LIFESTYLE CATEGORY  – and they’re all bloody good), and now I have realised I have to meet all these amazing people tomorrow night at the awards ceremony. Not only that, but I find out if I have won (gracious loser face at the ready) and I also have no idea what to wear (SOMEONE PLEASE DONATE AN AMAZING DRESS TO THE CAUSE!). AND, not forgetting this award is being given by COSMO magazine, one of the best girls’ mags on the planet, a magazine that I read through my teenage years and beyond.

You must follow your heart
You must follow your heart

To ease my mild panic, I have been looking for tattoo inspiration. And, I stumbled across these two beautiful tattoo-inspired artworks. Both are fitting for my situation right now. I can’t sleep and I have always followed my heart when writing this blog.

Th’ink grew out of my passion for tattoos and the lack of realistic inspiration for girls like me who want to get tattooed. I will only blog about the things I love.

Now to sleep (I hope)…

Lots of love

Alice Th’ink


Artwork found on: Soulful Frames

Behind the Needle – Part 2 of London Tattoo Convention film series

“When I was a kid I saw a guy in McDonalds that was covered in tattoos and I thought it looked tough” Chad Koeplinger.

This film (exclusively for Zeitgeist magazine, with Papercut Pictures) moves on from the convention, as each of the artists delves deeper into their personal motivations for becoming a tattoo artist, their distinctive style of tattooing, their heroes, inspiration and who they like to get tattooed by.

Watch the first film here

This film features Chad Koeplinger of Paradise Tattoo, Washington DC;  Michelle Myles of Daredevil Tattoo, New York City; Uncle Allan of Conspiracy Inc., Copenhagen and Claudia De Sabe of Jolie Rouge, London.

Chad always wanted to travel and tattooing definitely seemed like a more viable way to do this than the merchant marines. His style is strongly rooted in Western traditional, but his experimentation in a variety of styles has allowed him to thrive as an artist.

From her underground origins in New York City, Michelle began her career when tattooing was illegal. She talks about her journey and the changes in her style and technique since its legalisation in 1997.

Uncle Allan’s love for tattooing derived from his passion for music and this is illustrated in his distinctive artistic style. His theme for the convention was ‘metal and satanic stuff’, see the first film in the series for his burning bible tattoo.

Claudia was encouraged to get into tattooing by her friends who hung out in tattoos shops, they could see her raw talent as an artist. She has two very distinctive styles of tattooing and in this film she talks about her love of both styles and how she can’t let either of them go.

Behind the Needle 1 from Papercut Pictures on Vimeo.


Tattoo art for Japan

Chris Jany, fine line tattoo düsseldorf
Chris Jany - Fine Line Tattoo, Düsseldorf

I found out about this amazing project at the London Tattoo Convention. Tattooers from around the globe have donated original paintings to be sold on auction, the paintings were on display at the convention and they were all beautiful. The proceeds of the auction will go to the Red Cross Japan relief fund.

Frank Acevedo, Good Times Tattoo
Frank Acevedo - Good Times Tattoo

Japan has influenced western tattooing for more than 100 years, with colorful woodblock prints that tell the stories of legend and folklore. And the realistic and bold tattoos of the Japanese masters. As tattooers and tattoo fans, we owe a debt to this mystic land.

The paintings will be auctioned on Ebay.
The auction begins on the 23rd of October and will end on the 30th October.

Not only will you help a worthy cause by bidding, you may well purchase an original piece of tattoo-inspired artwork too…I know which one I’ll be bidding on.

Kiya, Skinworks Köln
Kiya - Skinworks Köln


James Hamilton Miami Ink
James Hamilton - Miami Ink

My first tattoo film with Papercut Pictures for Zeitgeist Magazine

I decided a couple of months ago I would like to make a film about the London Tattoo Convention, so I enlisted the help of  Papercut Pictures. I never dreamt for a moment I could actually do it. But, I am pleased to announce the release of my first ever film…

This film is the first in a series for Zeitgeist Magazine. Shot at the London Tattoo Convention on September 23rd, 24th and 25th 2011, this film provides an overview of the convention and asks some of the notable attending artists their feelings on the convention.

Interviewing Steve Vinall
Interviewing Steve Vinall - Photo by Olivia Snape

From traditional Samoan done by hand, to antique Victoriana and old-school Americana, we spoke to some of the leading artists of each style about their particular take on the art form. This film shows the artist’s views on the convention itself. The next film will concentrate on the artist’s and their motivations behind tattooing. Keep watching for future installments.

In order of appearance:
Chad Koeplinger (Paradise Tattoo, Washington D.C.)
Amanda Wachob (Daredevil Tattoo, New York City)
Claudia De Sabe (Jolie Rouge, London)
Deno Jr. (Circus Tattoo, Madrid)
Jo Harrison (Modern Body Art, Birmingham)
Zele (Zagreb Tattoo, Zagreb)
Michelle Myles (Daredevil Tattoo, New York City)
Brian Thomas Wilson and Ryan Mason (Scapegoat Tattoo, Portland)
Steve Vinall (The Family Business, London)
Uncle Allan (Conspiracy Inc., Copenhagen)
Jason Donahue (Idle Hand Tattoo, San Francisco)
Doctor Matt Lodder being tattooed by Uncle Allan
Alex Binnie (Into You, London/Brighton) talking about his new collection of wood block prints
Ryan Mason (Scapegoat Tattoo, Portland)
Pili Mo’o (Mo’o Tatau, Tenerife)
Marcus Berriman (London Tattoo Convention Organiser)

Lies bible tattoo
Tattoo by Uncle Allan. Photo by James Stittle, Papercut Pictures

Music by:
Honkeyfinger – ‘HonknSkronkn’ & ‘Margarine Man’
Black Mass – ‘To The Cross’
The Lysergic Suite – ‘Earth and Water’

Filmed by Papercut Pictures
Special thanks to Olivia Snape who assisted with filming throughout the weekend

Happy Birthday Th’ink

Happy Birthday blog.

I realised last night that my blog is now just over a year old and I let the occasion slip by without so much as a mention. So,  I would like to use this post to celebrate and thank all of you, my readers, for your support and comments over the past year. When I started this blog I didn’t think for a moment that I would meet so many inspiring people and receive so many encouraging comments. I have also been shortlisted to win an award from Cosmopolitan.

What a first year! Let’s hope the next is just as successful…

Here is a small selection of photos from Th’ink’s first amazing year…

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