Quora - Tattoo Questions and Answers


Hello! I keep getting asked to answer questions about tattoos on Quora. After a year of answering, I realized I could repost the tattoo Q&A here! So, without further adu:

Laser removal and coverup tattooHave you ever regretted having a tattoo?

Yes. I regretted the first 10 years of the tattoos I got. Without any real idea of what world class art was and no experience in the tattoo world it took me a long time to learn and truly understand. About half of the mediocre or bad tattoos have been lasered off and covered with something awesome. Tattooing rewards patience, take the time to learn about art and tattoos while saving up your money.

Here is an image of the coverup tattoo I got from Tony Ciavarro after lasering the shit out of a dark black and grey angel. Seriously,under that white, was 60-80% grey. If your tattoo isnt perfect, laser and cover it. 

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How to Make a Tattoo Composite with Photoshop CC


From Adobe:

Learn how to apply an image to a person in a photo so that it looks like a convincing tattoo.
Start from scratch, or download practice files [https://adobe.ly/2vtyG5E] for a head start. Steps below: 

Prep your project
For this project, you’ll need two images: One of a tattoo graphic and one of a person who will model the tattoo.

1. Open tattoo-composite.psd.
2. Choose File – Place (Embedded or Linked), select tattoo.png.
3. Move the tattoo layer above the model photo layer.
4. Move, scale, or rotate the tattoo so that it’s roughly in the position you want it over the model. Press Return (or Enter) to place the image.
5. In the Layers panel, right-click on the tattoo layer and choose Convert to Smart Object so that future edits are non-destructive.

Create the tattoo composite

1. In the Layers panel, select the tattoo layer. Set the Blend Mode to Multiply and reduce the layer opacity to 80%.
2. Click the Add layer mask icon, select the Brush tool and paint with black to mask unwanted areas of the tattoo. Tip: Modify Brush size and hardness from the Options panel as needed, or increase and decrease the size of your brush quickly with the bracket keys.
3. Create a realistic lighting effect on the tattoo: With the mask still selected, set the brush opacity and color, then paint over the part of the image you want to highlight. Tip: In this example, the brush is black and opacity is 10% to paint over the white area of the mask.
4. In the Layers panel, click the Link icon to unlink the tattoo image from its mask, and then click the tattoo thumbnail to select it. This lets you edit the graphic independently from the mask.
5. Choose Edit – Transform – Warp. Drag the grid and grid handles to warp the image to the shape of the model’s body. Press Return (or Enter) when you’re done.
6. Choose Filter – Blur – Gaussian Blur. Adjust the radius to create a subtle effect that will help unify the tattoo with the model’s skin.
7. Choose File – Save As to save your image.

That's it! Visit Adobe's Photoshop Tutorials page to learn more: https://adobe.ly/2wmhivZ

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Fireside Tats interview with Gabe Ripley from the Venetian Tattoo Gathering


From the Fireside Tats podcast channel :
Founder/owner of Off the Map Tattoo and TattooNow.com; organizer of the Venetian Tattoo Gathering, Paradise Artist Retreat and Worldwide Tattoo Conference...we don't know how he has time to sit down and chat for a bit, but luckily for us, he did! Enjoy the latest interview from Venice with the incredibly insightful, Gabe Ripley!

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Venetian Tattoo Gathering videos are live


Venetian Tattoo Gathering recap and DVD preview

Venetian Tattoo Gathering After Party 2016 sponsored by Intenze

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Reinventing Chapter? Business Webinar plug (for tattooers who care)


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Reinventing the Tattoo - transformative - (tattooers, all walks of career).


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Detroit Travels


Detroit with Oleg and Josh

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focus on benefit (tattooers, join benefit)


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Emerald Isle - Traveling - (call to artists who missed VTG)


Emerald Isle

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Endurance - 2 more months Mid July Party. (call to public for opening party)


Working overtime preparing new space. Exciting to be thinking about the space in a permemnt sence. Never have to leave! Thaks for support, we truely wont be going anywhere! 

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Leaving for VTG (call to european tattooers)


VTG is almost here! Hopefully sold out! 

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We have the keys! Cheers to new beginnings! Longevity - foundation - last two months of asking for help! (new client push)


Start of the hard work! 

if you refer 5 clients, get access to something special! New client booking special with refferal. 

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Off the Map LIVE season premiere (general audience - start the story)


All star cast! Unbelieveable insights!

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VTG is on too! (european tattooers, send em to venice)


Ability to facilitate the sharing of knowledge helps the industry. Arent the only ones, but the effects are clearly tremendous. Ability to travel and see the world is rare gift tattooing gives those who treat it well. 

please let your european tattooers know!

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Next month! The excitement about this move is palatable. (final push for clients and help)


30 day countdown to getting the keys. 

help us by 

  • referring us to friends and family
  • trade services for tattoos (work/postering)

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Acosta - bad ass tattoos, seminar, collab, spanish - (reach global audience)


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VTG - pleasure to help facilitate artists and clients travel - (last USA efforts)


VTG will have italian flavor of PTG and HC shows. If the states was ever too far to travel, Venice should never be,. 

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Countdown to the move! (seed July event - thank for referrals)


thanks for the referrals. really helps! Give something back to best refferrer. 

We will need help

  • cleaning
  • painting
  • ceiling
  • floors
  • plumbing
  • electricity/lighting

Ultimately we will want to restore the theater to its original vibe, for now we need to clean it up, and settle in with our 9 to 10 residents, and full support team! if you know anyone interested in large custom work and has skills we will need, please let them know! 

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Solidifying the foundations.


Longevity is one of the strongest forces in tattooing. While tattoos are far from permemnnt to the world, and a tattooers work walks off many times never to be see again by the artist ultimately to pass into the ages with the wearer. Of course, tattoosare very permemnt to the wearer and . Another invaluable quality for successfull tattoos is Patientce. Patience and Longevity are not easy. 

TattooNOW passed 15 years, Off the Map Tattoo passed 10. a long time ago we outgrew the 112 Cottage location, but knew that Off the Map was planning on being around a very long time. Our artists and clientel had been feeding off each others energies for years, and we know if we plant this energy in a permenent home, then our artists and clients will have a great safe place that encourages growth and artistic works that can truly say they last a lifetime. It took us a long time to find the perfect place, but a few years ago an oppertunity slowly presented itself, but we had to be very patient. It became evident that before we could move into the new space we would have top expand our second location from the TattooNOW offcies to include more tattoo stations. So we opened the button building.  Now that 2016 is officially here, it is time to let officially announce that Off the Map will be landing in the old Majestic Theater building 

This next big move has been years in the making. We will be combining the easthampton lovcations and landing into a permement home July 1st. It is indeed very exciting to think that Off the Map will reside in a historic theater building for as long as our business (so of course we are taking steps to solidify our business as well). The Majestic Theater building is a cornerstone of Cottage St and we a little help from everyone we can bring a lot of action. Reopening party, Black and Grey, blackwork Weekend, Fur and Feathers, and "Seminar Workshop". 

please recommend OTM to their friends, be honest! referrals are our best source of new clients, and we thank everyone for doing this naturally, but if we ever could use a little extra help from clientel, these next 6 months are it! 

Ole Majestic Theater. Home to Off the Map Studios

(local, build excitement for next level - encourage referrals.)

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Mental note


Save the best lessons learned for the bar/social engagements and real conversations. Trade money for the 80%. Trade time and tasty beverages for the next 10%. Remaining, and most valuable 10% goes to co-workers and Partners. Don't hold anything back, but don't just give back indiscriminately...

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My neck tattoo got me hired. Not fired, hired!


By Gabe Ripley

June 22, 2015

neck tattooAt the risk of encouraging people who don't know themselves or art getting highly visible tattoos, I'd like to present the story of how my neck tattoo didn't get me fired, it got me hired. Now, clearly bad neck tattoos are devastating mistakes that have lifetime repercussions, but for me it is tough to read all the news headlines about people who have made bad neck tattoo decisions without responding with my story of how tattoos can be empowering to a professional career.

Tattooers have the right to deny anyone their services, especially commonly regretted tattoos. That said, a client deserves to get what they want, even if it is bad. Some lessons can't be learned without actual experience. It is always unfortunate when these mistakes and ensuing squabbles swamp the headlines and get passed around the Internet-o-sphere. Tattoos have a tremendous effect on the wearer, either negative or positive, and I for one am tired of hearing all the negative when the reason tattoos are exploding is because of the positive effects. Many of my own personal experiences are very different than the mistakes I read about in my daily google "tattoo" news feed. Please do not take this as a recommendation to get neck tattoos, but I would like to offer my experience as an alternative to the tattoo artists and fans who keep reading about high profile tattoo mistakes.

In my very early twenties I had a pretty sweet life as a traveling programmer. I had landed in Paris to program a multimedia adaptation of a popular children's book. Tin Tin's shop was the first place I looked up, of course, and I headed through the strange city streets to find his studio... wicked young, nearly baby faced, unkempt and most likely barefoot (it was a good thing I could program!). The few tattoos I had were not visible, but even then I knew that I wanted to save my arms, back, and front for large pieces. So the skin I had for a 2 to 5 hour collector tattoo was already relatively limited. When he asked what I wanted, to my surprise I replied with "a bird on my neck". I was shocked to hear this as I had not really thought about getting such a visible tattoo. Somehow, then and there, it seemed like the *only* tattoo he could put on me. As a skinny young american kid with no visible tattoos I didn't stand a chance of him doing the tattoo. Those were tattoos tattooers saved for themselves, or for maybe for heavily tattooed friends of the tattooer. He looked me over and instead of saying "no" right away he told me that his closest appointment was in two months. It seemed like he might have been slightly surprised when immediately I asked to secure the appointment, and away I went.

tin tin tatouages

After working solid for two months straight, and the work was crazy - from 7 in the morning to 3 in the morning with maybe a day or two off, you can imagine how excited I was when I set off to get the tattoo. After a fantastic experience, and an ok story I'll trade over a tasty beverage sometime, my young hippie neck had a nice colorful "blue throated mirror".

I couldn't hide it. My co-workers at the video game company all laughed in surprise when they realized that I was having an artist named Tin Tin tattooing my neck, all this time they thought I was excited to get Tin Tin the illustrated character on my neck. Needless to say, they were all floored by Tin tin’s impeccable tattoo of a bird.

tin tin bird neck tattoo

Well enough of the backstory, the whole point of this is to talk about the effects of this highly visible neck tattoo.

While I grew up very antisocial and had next to no social grace as soon as I had a beautiful non-threatening tattoo smack dab on my neck, more and more people started talking to me. Quickly I realized that if I were to grumble and be rude to every person interested in my tattoo, I wouldn't stop grumbling all day! It also felt that as a tattooed person, I had some sort of obligation to put my best foot forward, to do my part to teach the public that tattooed people we're not all the bad stereotypes they thought we were. So after years of being a weird antisocial loner with a few very patient friends, I learned to talk to people in a positive manner. It wasn't as hard as I thought, evidently talking about colorful bird tattoos puts people in a good mood, and eventually tattooing taught me to be a nicer person.

While this was happening I was feeling another strong effect. While it is obvious that a badly done misspelled vulgar tattoo on your neck can hurt your job prospects, no one prepared me for the strange phenomenon I was about to experience. For the next few years, as I was interviewing with many different companies, I kept landing the great gigs. Instead of the job circuit drying up, I was landing more jobs working on projects for Honda, Polo Ralph Lauren, and even installations at the Epcot Center where Disney is notorious for not hiring tattooed people. Plenty of other very qualified programmers were interviewing for the same jobs, some older, some more experienced, some cheaper... I dont know what they talked about, but in nearly every interview I was asked about my neck tattoo. Stories of Paris followed, and they stared at my neck, sometimes uncomfortably, while I talked about my experience programming there, the follow up projects for the Smurfs and Lucky Luke. Nearly every time, instead of talking geek, they would reply they had never seen such amazing color in a tattoo or one of the wide variety of compliments Tin Tin’s artwork gets. People weren’t scared or running away, they were mesmerised. Jobs weren’t disappearing, opportunities were growing.

I worked as a programmer on the Le Petit Prince CD-ROM in 1997

Now, it may seem like a stretch to link my success as a freelancer programmer directly to the colorful bird tattoo (and soon after tattoos) on my neck, but I can absolutely say that if it has turned anyone off of hiring me, thats A-OK with me. And I'm pretty sure that more than once as the hiring boards were reviewing their interviews and picking someone, they didn't hire the "funny talented programmer with the experience"... they hired the "funny talented programmer with the experience and the amazing tattoo on his neck." There is little doubt in my mind that the highly visible quality artwork helped, not hindered, my programming career. I can't thank Tin Tin enough the brilliant tattoo, for not making my life decisions for me, and for allowing tattooing to teach me how powerful of a positive force it can truly be.

I am sure many people reading have also had positive experiences with their tattoos, please share them with us via email or comments.

I worked as a programmer on the Smurfs - Le Schtroumpf volant - CD-ROM in 1998

NOTE: TIn Tin is a unique, world famous, high caliber tattooer, and has been for over 20 years. He also hosts one of the world premiere tattoo conventions, the Mondialdu Tatouage. Highly visible skin deserves to have highly qualified experts tattooing it. If you don't respect tattooing, or your skin, the mistakes you can make will have long lasting negative effects.Tin Tin


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TattooNOW website upgrade!


A long time coming, TattooNOW's website is now better than ever. We just wrapped up a massive redeign/reprogramming mission (amazing work Aaron!) on our own website to ensure our clients are getting the best user experience possible. 

New TattooNOW Website

Tattoo of the Day is featurered, new mobile uploading makes it easier than ever to enter your tattoos! 

Tattoo of the Day Section

New thumbnail pages are much easier to read!

Tattoo Gallery

News and info is easier to find. 

News and Info

Artist lists work better, with a search artist feature! 

Find Tattoo Artists  worlds best tattoo artists

And we have streamlines our catalog, phew! We will be adding all sorts of Original art to the catalog soon!

tattoo catalog

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London Tattoo Convention success & Guy aitchison and Russ Abbot Collaborative Tattoo Webcast


Hey everyone, I just got back from the London Tattoo Convention where the Off the Map Tattoo booth was crowded with tattoo collectors all weekend. Jeff Gogue work on a sleeve tattoo, Alex De Pase work on a realistic portrait tattoo, and other great tattoos were done. 

Off the Map Tattoo Booth at the 2014 London Tattoo Convention

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Guy Aitchison's 2 day interactive webinar coming right up!


April 8 and 9, 2014 WEBINAR
For close to twenty years Guy Aitchison has taught  the essentials of dynamic tattoo Reinventing The Tattoo curriculum. In the two day interactive workshop he begins by diving deep into theory on flow, color, lighting, contrast, linework and overall strength. He then follows with live critiques of all participating students' work. Participants are then given homework assignments that will be reviewed live the following day, before wrapping up the session with a variety of select video clips that help demonstrate the technical side of things.

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Drunk Stuntmen holiday party webcasting tonight!


Hey folks, the parties never end this time of year! Join us tonight for a live Drunk Stuntmen holiday party. Saturday December 21 7pm Luthier's Co-Op Easthampton, MA. Second annual Stuntmen Family Christmas Spectacular. This year featuring Steve Sanderson, Kay McKinstry, Scott Hall and thank you special guest Jim Armenti on electric guitar. Program includes approx. 65% of John Denver and The Muppets - A Christmas Together. Plus a bunch of other stuff. Check out this clip from last years amazing show, not one to miss!


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Off the Map Tattoo Italy opening party video


Check out this new video we put together to promote the opening party of the Italian Off the Map Tattoo! In short, Off the Map is partnering with Alex De Pase to open Off the Map Tattoo Italy! Check out this preview of some of the worlds best tattoo artists landing in Italy for the weekend. Tattoo artists, collectors, and the curios are invited to join like minded friends for an opening party for the history books! Guest tattoo artists include Jeff Gogue, Bez, David Corden, Kynst, Oleg Turyanskiy, Nate Beavers, Tom Strom, Juan Salgado, Matteo Pasqualin, Remis, Nathan Kostechko, Ralf Nonnweiler. Residents include Alex De Pase, Massimo De Pase, Michele Pitacco, and Antons Feduns

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Editing Carlos Torres clip!


Been hammering away in front of premire editing Off the Map LIVE and doing some work on the upcoming DVDs by Bob Tyrrell and Ian McKown. Last Sunday we had a great webcast, here is the first clip with the amaing Carlos Torres! In this video Carlos Torres skypes in to Off the Map LIVE from Southern California. He talks about his upcoming travels to Singapore, the difficulties balancing painting and tattooing, how Europe is incredibly inspiring to artwork, Shawn Barber, how he attracts great custom tattoo clients, and some beginner tips for oil painting.


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Hypercast 3 with Russ Abbott is live!


I've been staying up late nights every other Sunday to webcast Off the Map Live and Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman's Hypercast. Check out this great blog about the last Hypercast! 

From the Ink & Dagger blog:

Ink&Dagger‘s Russ Abbott was thrilled to be a  guest on Michele Wortman and  Guy Aitchison’s Hypercast hosted on TattoonowTV.com.  In an exclusive, double length interview (two hours!) the team covered a broad range of topics from illustrative techniques, contrast and color use,  to connections with clients and how to be authentic within your art.

“When I started my apprenticeship in the late 90′s, Guy Aitchison’s work was some of the first to capture my imagination. He was and continues to be a huge inspiration to myself and countless other tattooers.” Abbott said about the opportunity.

The mutual respect  and real talk made the Hypercast a pretty cool moment in time. The tone of the interview was intimate and reverential, the  conversation between the seasoned and passionate tattoo artists with different artistic objectives covered a broad range of subjects in a detailed manner. Ink&Dagger tattooer Kelly Doty and Best Ink champion Teresa Sharpe sat in on the last half of the interview and the group critiqued audience submitted tattoos as well as each other’s work.

“All in all,” said Abbott. “It was a great experience, and I’m really excited about the discussion and the ideas that we got to share!”

 Hypercast streams live every other Sunday at 11pm at TattooNowTv and invites some of the brightest minds and hands in tattooing to discuss and share in an extraordinary air of open conversation. It is preceded by TattooNow interviews, and is followed with TattooNow‘s “Tattoo of the Day” and news. If you missed the live Hypercast streaming, no worries, here it is on Guy & Michele’s YouTube channel TattooTelevision.


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Damon Conklin videos


Pretty excited to have the one and only Damon Conklin this weekend and half of next week at Off the Map Tattoo in Easthampton! Damon is a real inspiration and anyone in New England should make sure they come out and get tattooed by him and/or pick up a piece of original art. Damon Conklin took a break from hosting the Seattle Tattoo Convention to beam into TattooNOW HQ! He talks about tattooing and painting, his seminar, and created many laughs, of course. In the full episode they cover the stress of running conventions for over a decade, traveling to South America and Germany, and much more.

If you enjoyed, here is the full episode:

Full TattooNOWtv episode with skype interviews with some of the worlds best tattooers.

First up is Markus Lenhard from outside Berlin Germany. He talks about how to put large scale tattoo clients at ease, what types of art and reference inspires him, how he learned to tattoo, and people of walmart among other things. Damon Conklin took a break from hosting the Seattle Tattoo Convention to beam in! He talks about the stress of running conventions for over a decade, traveling to South America and Germany, tattooing and painting, his seminar, and created many laughs, of course. Lastly, Adrian Dominic joined the conversation from Los Angeles. He chatted about his last art show in NYC, his biomechanical seminar, science fiction movies, the digital age and how it influences tattooing, and the laugh meter stayed pegged!

Damon will be teaching his seminar/webinar Monday November 11th. 
damon conklin semianr/webinar

Hear whats up strait from Damon - "I intend to convey the lessons and experience of doing 500 oil paintings in 5 years while tattooing full time. Talk about how my style refined and changed and even how it effected my tattoo technique. Additionally I want to address what I call intentional conditioning. By controlling our input we can control our output both our creative out put and our motivation level can be pushed and controlled this way. Dig that.... haha

Why a tattooer should paint.

How the 2 mediums will effect each other
some potential changes in style and technique
controlling your influence to steer the art of your future and even your motivation level. Bring
pen pencil note paper bring questions or Ill dig them out of you either way,we're good.
5 years video games,18 years tattooing 15 flash sets 12 years Seattle tattoo expo sold about 150 paintings I've been booked solid for tattoos for over 14 years and i'm always improving sometimes I'm even funny
may every day be a holiday and every meal a feast stop in on us in person or on myspace at supergeniustattoo home base for the seattletattooexpo.
- Cheers, Damon 



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Tattoo Artist Magazine Blog Interview


Welp, if you missed the recent Tattoos.com interview, we are excited to have another published at Tattoo Artist Magazine Blog! Ben Shaw was kind enough to meet at the Tattoo Gathering a few months ago. Here is a snippet:

Gabe Ripley InterviewI finally climbed from my car in front of the Lodge section of Colorado’s Keystone Resort and Spa after trying unsuccessfully to check into the spa section of the massive resort. The sound of running water enters my awareness, teasing, because with little to no lighting outside the lodge, I can only hear it. The whole place is quiet and sleepy, with nowhere to eat at 11pm, so I chose from a vending machine buffet offered in the reception area and then crawled into a queen size mountain of pillows in my room. It was a long day on the road…

Suddenly awakened by a beam of light burning through my eyelids, I stumbled to the window, drew back the blinds, and gasped, awestruck by the magnificent view. A vast mountain range saturated with lush, green trees and split with running streams. A pond sits center stage in front of me, between the well-constructed resort floor plan and the gorgeous landscape. I took an eight-hour pilgrimage to interview Gabe Ripley, and this looks like the Holy Land…

Gabe Ripley has spent the last 13-14 yrs. immersed in the tattoo industry, developing websites, planning events, and building tattoo studios. His Off the Map corporation has three major divisions: TattooNOW, a company that powers a network of over 150 tattoo websites; Off the Map, a trio of custom tattoo studios, one in western Massachusetts, one in Grants Pass, OR, and a third opening soon in Italy!; and finally the Paradise Tattoo Gathering, a revolutionary four-day tattoo event, which I found myself transported to on this day.

After a day of amazing education, ending with Gabe’s own “Building a Great Business” seminar, I finally got his undivided attention. Gabe is a BUSY man. Orchestrating such a beautiful convention/seminar/tattoo artist retreat took all his focus, so I carry a deep sense of gratitude for the opportunity…

I found a quite room free from distraction and armed with my recorder, I took a deep breath, straightened in my chair, and began with…

Read the full interview on the Tattoo Artist Magazine Blog.

Thanks to the writers and editors who have been helping us tell our stories!

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Tattoos.com Interview!


Having been in the Computer and Tattoo worlds for a long time, I have seen many many websites come and go. Tattoos.com has kept the same owner the whole time, and recently Damien asked for an interview. I was very happy, as, well, Tattoos.com is the only tattoo site older than TattooNOW! Anyways, heres a quick previews, check out the full interview here.tattoos.com

"Gabe Ripley is an avid tattoo collector, studio owner, convention producer as well as a key figure in hosting professional artists and studios online, just like we are, LOL.  His site Tattoonow.com hosts hundreds of great artists and studios. He developed the Paradise Tattoo Gathering as a forum for artists to gather and exchange ideas and techniques as well he founded Off the Map Tattoo, a well respected tattoo studio in it’s own right. Many would ask, “aren’t you doing a feature on your competition”?  Well, yes we are. But it is the professional respect and admiration we have for each others sites and our parallel views on how tattooing should be treated as an art form that make us more brethren than competitors which only solidifies our need to support and promote each others work in the industry. So, to promote someone that has the same respect for tattooing that we do is a no brainer.

TDC:  Let’s start from the beginning when did you start getting into tattooing, where and what was the experience?
Gabe Ripley: When I was 17 a few friends and I went into downtown New Haven to a biker shop to get some tattoos. A dingy biker shop. The tattooer didn’t care I was underage. The experience was practically out of an after school special tv show, skinny gawky underage kid in the big city at the tough tattoo spot. “ID?” “Nope” “Would yer mom care?” “Nope”. “Ok, sit down”. The parrot was too expensive, I didn’t have the dough, so I got the dove. Not the toughest first tattoo.

Check out the full interview here.

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Calgary Tattoo Convention up next!


Alberta Bound

After a short break after the Paradise Tattoo Gathering, it's time to revamp my busienss semianr and get ready for the Calgary Tattoo Convention. The Off the Map Tattoo booth will have David Cordon, Max Rorthert, and Shawn Hebrank. We will be teaching the business seminar, as well as the free website one. Steve Peace's reputation as an amazing convention promoter reaches far and wide, adn Im very excited to be able to finally make it over. Can't wait to hang out in Canada for the weekend! 

Jeff Gogue SemianrProcessing and uploading the Gathering webinars has taken up a lot of my time. Webinars currently live and avaiable ON DEMAND include Jeff Gogue's new Art Core isolation training for  visual artistsAdvanced Cover-ups for Tattooists with James KernRuss Abbott presents: The Tattooist's Palette, TattooNOW's Building a GREAT Tattoo Business, and Off the Map's a Day in the Life of a Studio Manager. We were able to land a short Bob Tyrrell interview for TattooNOW about his new webinar/DVD. It has been a pleasure hosting so many real workld semianrs, and being able to offer these experiences to artists worldwide on demand is pretty amazing! Damon Conklin and Ian McKown have some live webianrs planned, check em out. 

Lastly, plans for the opening party on March 21st for Off the Map Tattoo Italy are solidifying. Cervignano del Friuli (UD) is the town, and we are very excited for the opening party full of guests. Tattooing artists include Jeff Gogue, Bez, Nathan Kostechko, Kynst, David Cordon, Ralf Nonnweiler, and Nate Beavers. Nate Beavers will also be guesting October 22-25. It also sounds like the Worldwide Tattoo Conference is going to land in Venice, Italy next November, fun fun fun! Hope to catch up with ya soon!

Venice Italy

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Phew, thanks for a great Paradise Tattoo Gathering!


Keystone ResortHey folks, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering was not one to disappoint. The incredible crew pulled off a near flawless tattoo convention in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, not the easiest of tasks. You can check out the converage via the instagram gallery. Instagram is amazing for tattoo convention coverage, you betcha we will be integrating convention coverage galleries into the TattooNOW mobile app!

Now that the Gathering is over for the next few years, my focus will shift back to TattooNOW development as well as the new Off the Map Tattoo location opening in Italy March 21st, 2014.

Off the Map Tattoo ItalyConfirmed for the opening party in Grado are Jeff Gogue, Kynst, Bez, Nathan Kostechko, Nate Beavers, David Cordon, and Ralf Nallywater. The event is taking shape and we will be huslting to host an opening party that won't be forgotten soon.  Various seminars will be held, with a limit of 25 people per. So tattooers, collectors, and the curios should mark their calendars! 


It is also very exciting to be launching the new Hyperspace Studios website for Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman. Their network of websites is growing, and are working together better than ever before! Guy has been getting more and more active on the Reinventing the Tattoo Forum, if you have a copy of his book you should get back into the interactive forum. Next up for Hyperspace is an upgrade for Tattoo Education to stream webinars and Online DVDs is next. fun fun fun! 


Tattoo apprenticeship forum
Discussion Forum on Tattoo Apprenticeships moderated by Larry Brogan

1975 shovelhead engine 80 Lowrider
I did take a half day off!

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Been focusing on living, fun to see this come through my inbox-



We are offering this modest reflection of universal truth hand screened on contemporary apparel.  Available at the ATAK store.

Reality means you live until you die...the real truth is nobody wants reality.

 ?Chuck Palahniuk



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Amazing team... Proper acknowledgments


As I was getting together the next all company newsletter something really hit me. The momentuem has been growing for a very very long time, but accelerating noticeably and with the team we have assembled the next few years are looking to be quite exciting. By now we have so many amazing people onboard working together that we can acomplish nearly anything we set our minds too! Everyone involved in Off the Map inc, which includes Off the Map Tattoo, of course, as well as TattooNOW, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering, Paradise Artist Retreat, the Worldwide Tattoo Conference, TattooNOWTV, Tattoo MachinesNOW, and a few other seed projects are smart, hard working, honest, decent... and well, the list of fine qualities goes on. The company newsletter is now going out to over 20 people on both coasts, and soon folks overseas. Aristotle said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” and it's not a joke. All the artists, staff, and sharegolders are all on the same page and pushing effectively in the same direction. All of the moving parts are assembled, it feels like this machine is finally built! Of course there is plenty of fine tuning, but with this foundation, the next few chapters will prove to be very interesting. Taking time to thank everyone proper isnt something I do much, part of me is broken and I dont really care for thanks and therefore don't think to give it out as much as I should. So, I'm gonna take a moment to thank some of the longer lasting non-tattooing players in Off the Map as of 2014 in order of appearance.

First up, my wife Kim has been a driving force behind everything from the very begining, and the originator of many of the core principals that have driven this business's success. Her profession is teaching babies, but I wont make the obvious analogy about how working with tattooers is like working with infants. Though, maybe in her case and Off the Map's it is fair as she teaches babies to be aware of and responsible in their community as well as help them learn through play and the deliberate setting up of the environment. She expects a lot more than most people from her babies, and we expect a lot more from our tattooers than most shops. In short, while I disliked school and schooling very much, she opened my eyes to the possibilities and the return on investment of education.

Steve Sanderson is the oldest and largest shareholder. He also married my wife and I. His moral compass, clear voice, opinion, and monetary investment have helped create and steer what is happening. Steve was essential in launching Off the Map Tattoo, and has helped navigte the murky shark  infested waters. While he doesn't work in the day to day operations anymore, his guidance is always available and generous when needed.

The next essential member to join the team was Mary Bowen. Mary is the longest lasting, er, most senior member of the staff and now a shareholder of the business.  Managing two studios and the finances for a business  growing at a near overwhelming pace with three active distinct divisions and over 20 people is no easy task or joke. The fact that the two studios  are 3,00 miles apart isnt trivial either!

Jason Foster has run multimillion dollar businesses in the past, and we couldn't have picked a better inhouse business consultant. While the political conversation may get heated, the strategy and tactical conversations are always pretty harmonious. Many of the pickles we have found ourself in Jason was vital in getting us out of, and his ability to see the long term big picture has been very re-assuring.

Its a tad ironic that as I thank folks in chronoligical order that Brian isn't first as I have known him the longest. Steve married Kim and I, and Brian introduced us. Working with him for the last few years has not always been easy because he is quite aggressive, but when he isnt attacking me its a fun time. The sleepless nights and anxiety of running big events comes along with hustling the events, so having Brian pick up the event division has been a great load off.

Jeff Gogue. If I ever feel bi-polar it is thinking about our partnership with Jeff. On one hand it's inconceivable that he is at the helm of an Off the Map and a shareholder, on the other hand its such a natural positive fit it is almost inconceivable if he wasnt. His work ethic and work product, and attention to detail have raised the bar for everyone in the company. We are all working alongside Jeff now, which means we need to pay more attention and kick it up a notch!

Of course, now Im even later with the company newsletter and there are quite a few staff that have been here years and others close and on their way Im not mentioning by name, but here is a full on thanks to everyone who is making this thing work. This wouldn't be happening is everyone wasn't doing their part, and everyone is! There are also dozens of tattooers, clients, friends, and advisors to thank. Nick Baxter. Guy Aitchison. Mike Devries. Bob Tyrrell. All the tattoo collectors supporting the whole scene. Holy moses I suppose this will take a few posts.

Welp, this thing has always been bigger than any one person, and being at the helm of a beast that is nearly impossible to control has not been easy, but it is getting pretty focused. Finding a group of people this dedicated to tattooing and the supporting professions wasn't easy. We have collected an amazing set of personalities and talents, and knowing what everyone is capable of, well, I suppose I should leave it at that I am pretty excited to see where this is all going. Thanks, and stay tuned, the fun is about to begin! 

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Business Seminar in Hell City!


Hell City Tattoo Fest

Building a GREAT tattoo business seminar @ Hell City

To be great you must organize your talents, work, and businesses for success. If you are tattooing for a living then you are a small business. If you don't understand the nature of business, then you are spending more energy and getting less out of your hard work. In this seminar artists, managers, studio owners, and apprentices will learn to think about all the details of a professional business plan as it relates specifically to high quality professional tattooing. Topics covered will include clearly defining your mission, how to build a strong business foundation, determining keys to success, assessing your target markets, establishing branding, comparing competitors, clearly defining your services and products, sales and marketing strategies, advertising and public relations, responsible selling strategies & creating demand, human resources management, and how to track your vital statistics to insure your businesses fulfills its potential. We have watched and helped artists in all stages of careers, from aspiring artists and managers to artists of exceptional influence, and are happy to pass on the great ideas that have helped us achieve our goals time and time again. For $150. 

For over a decade Gabe Ripley has been immersed in the business of tattooing. After a freelance computer programming career in the US and Europe, Gabe first stepped into the tattoo business world in 2001 by creating TattooNOW, a technology business that currently powers over 100 tattoo industry websites around the world and has since helped tattooers generate millions of dollars in business. In 2005, based on the success of TattooNOW's websites, Ripley opened Off the Map Tattoo. By constantly improving the studio's business practices, it now boasts over 50 guest artists a year, and a growing business in a slowing economy. Not one to settle, in 2008 Ripley started using the same business practices to produce two yearly events, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering and Paradise Artist Retreat. These events are focused on four days of responsible tattoo and art education and have earned an international reputation. Gabe presented this seminar to over 200 artists at the first Worldwide Tattoo Conference in Rome in October 2011. "Everybody gave me good feedback because you gave to the artists good, easy, and interesting suggestions!" said Alex DePase the conference's promoter of the business seminar.



Each attendee will get the following:

* Sample Tattoo Studio Handbook.
* Sample Daily and weekly checklists
* Sample management action plan.
* Sample marketing materials (postcards, bi-folds, goodie bags)


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New TattooNOWTV webisode coming up!


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Food Tattoos for Hunger success, a coupla more parties to come!


The TattooNOW/Off the Map Tattoo staff pulled off Food Tattoos for Hunger day perfectly! The two Off the Map Tattoo locations raised over $4,000, and reports are coming in from a few dozen other shops and artists who donated. The instagram gallery had over a hundred photos. It is pretty amazing watching so much energy come from so many folks, the folks here working on the production, the artists and the clients all come together to make great things happen! Here's some of the instagram coverage:


It almost seemed like the season of events was over, but then I remembered there are two, that's right, not just one but two holiday parties coming up. Of course Mary from Off the Map is working hard collecting prizes for the annual Holiday & Anniversary Party at the Brass Cat Thursday December 20th at the Brass Cat in Easthampton down the street from the shop. Then on Saturday December 22nd Stuntman Steve Sanderson, Bow Bow, and Kay present an evening of holiday music at Luthiers Co-Op right next door to Off the Map! you can hear some of Steve tunes from this recent radio show

Here are the details for the Brass Cat party:

Come join the staff and clients of Off the Map Tattoo to celebrate whatever Holiday is important to you and our 7 year anniversary! This party will have so much amazing FREE stuff it would be crazy not to attend. Not to mention the general merriment, and fun!

DOORS OPEN AT 6PM: Every single person through the door gets an Off the Map Tattoo gift certificate!

7:00PM- Free catering from the chefs of the Grub Shop and Bistro Le Gras!

8:30PM- Pin the tramp stamp on Santa! First place gets $75 Off the Map Gift Certificate!

10:00 PM- Amazing Raffle Prizes including prizes and certificates from Bistro Le Gras, The Grub Shop, Hillside Pizza, Berkshire Blanket, Snap Fitness, Easthampton Cross Fit, Jackson & Connor, Alexis Design, Lucky Design Media, Popcorn Noir, Manhan Cafe, Luthier Co-Op, Motion Chiropractic, Northampton Karate, TruBeer, Anna Bee Craft, Local Author Anna Bowen, SHOW Circus, Fitness Fusion, Pioneer Valley Fitness , Valley Art Supply, Art Party Studio, South Hadley Tower Theatres, Tavern on the Hill and more!

-Best Tattoo Idea Contest- Winner gets $250 towards their tattoo idea! Enter any time during the evening!

And so much more! Did we mention it's all free? No admission, no charge for raffle tickets, no cost for fun! We hope to see all of you there to celebrate with us! Tell all your friends!

To see how fun previous years have been, check out the albums from years past!

**Unfortunately, due to the venue this event is 21+ only. RSVP!

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TattooNOWTV.com webcasts are on!


We have been working slowly but surely towards having a bi-weekly tattoo webcast with various levels of success, but one thing that hasn't wavered despite the technical difficulties has been the quality of conversation. The last episode with Stefano went pretty well, and the sound issues are now fixed for good. The next webcast will be Nov 18th from Off the Map Tattoo where we will be hosting a Food Tattoos For Hunger benefit. Here is the last episode we recorded, thanks for watching. 


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Paradise is on!


Ok, I took a breath or two, now back to blogging!

There are a lot of very exciting things happening. First up, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering was a complete success. Moving such a large show all the way across the country was no easy feat, but we got this #$%^ down! I can't thank Brian, Mary, and the entire crew enough. We have made a deal and set dates in Keystone for a show September 12-15 2013. Save the dates, it's going to be a good one! Check out some of the videos posted, more to come!

Richie Bulldog came out to shoot a bunch of interviews. Check out the first one! We will be debuting the new ones on TattooNOWTV.com

Bob Tyrrell and Big Gus doing a collaborative tattoo! Big Gus is doing a seminar/webinar eat Off the Map Tattoo this summer, thanks gus!

Here is a walk through of the Still Standing art show. Chris Lowe has organized 'Still Standing', an art show that will raise money to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project™. This unique show will also raise awareness for these fine individuals, while showcasing art from around the world. 'Still Standing' will be gathering more than 50 of the world's finest tattoo artists to create a global art exhibition to bring awareness to a topic that is so often overlooked.

Stefano Alcantara uploaded this video of a portrait tattoo he did at the Gathering.

Not used to showing off first tattoos, but, well, this is Chet f#$%^ing zar tattooing!

Well, there you go! Make sure you save the dates, as folks who come to the Gathering know, we work hard to kick every year up a notch!



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Early mornings!


paradise tattoo gatheringWelp, time is racing by, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering is coming right up! Airplane tickets are very affordable, rooms are as low as $81 a night and the the energy building is quite infectous! The final details are being wrapped up as we speak (at 4:30 am hah!). Anyways the Paradise Artist Retreat planning is coming along with some pretty amaizng news. Alex Grey, Guy Aitchison, Jeff Gogue, Nick Baxter, Shawn Barber and Chet Zar will be leading the retreat this year! This Sunday September 2nd we will have an exciting TattooNOWTV.com live webcast with Kynst from Poland and Stefano Alcantara from Peru! And for real work in between interviews for the full time tattoos positions open at Off the Map Tattoo, I worked on simlpifying TattooNOW.com again. We also landed a deposit for what I hope to be the best TattooNOW website to date! Lastly, we have more mobile apps that have launched! Check em out and get your own. Ok, Im going to get a little more work done before the dawn breaks! 


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TattooNOWTV Live Webcast success!



Just finished the last TattooNOWTV.com webcast on Sunday with Alex De Pase from Italy and Jose Morales from Hawaii. Ben Licata, who is an awesome tattoo collector, jumped onboard as host and we are pretty excited to schedule a half dozen more. Up next on September 2nd will be a live inhouse interview with Kynst from Poland via the Netherlands. He is an amazing artist and whenever he has come out to Off the Map Tattoo our days are brighter despite his dark vision, hah. We don't have the skype interviewee yet, but we will soon! If you have any suggestions feel free to email. TattooNOWTV.com is the website in progress as we get this project going! We will get the recap up soon, crap, I never posted the link to the Alex Grey Visionary Tattoo event we webcast a few weeks ago. Well there it was, enjoy! 
In the lead up to the Paradise Tattoo Gathering I have been finalizing plans for the Paradise Artist Retreat so we can properly promote this September. The third Paradise Artist Retreat will return to the unbelievable Tamaya Resort in New Mexico MArch 25-28 2013. This year we are changing up the format a bit, and every attending artist will take the same core group of six seminars over the course of the four days, with group activities planned every day. There will be six teachers: Alex Grey, Guy Aitchison, Jeff Gogue, Shawn Barber, Nick Baxter and Chet Zar will lead the week! Tickets and rooms will be avaiable very very soon. No time to sleep thesedays because...
Off the Map is hiring. The process takes a few months, between the guest spots and interviews, and now with two locations and a third in the planning stages we are pretty much always hiring at this point. If you are a tattooer, and want the chance to work with over 40 amazing tattooers a year, check out Off the Map Tattoo.com! There is a new website on the way, right on the heels of our new Off the Map Tattoo mobile app. Patience, they say, is a virtue. 
The first version of the Food tattoos for hunger website - http://www.foodtattoosforhunger.com is live. We are looking for other tattoo shops that would like to coordinate a benefit on November 18th. If you are a tattoo studio or artist who wants to participate, check out the site and join the mailing list! 
Of course what I have *really* been working on the last few weeks is the final details of the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. If you are reading this and havn't made plans, Airfaires are cheap and rooms are now available online! If you have made plans, cencel em, this Paradise Tattoo Gathering is gearing up to the the best so far, check out the artist list and seminar lineup... How could you pass up an oppertunity like this! Anyways, enough of the hard sell, Im getting back to work! 

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TattooNOWTV Live Webcast success!



Just finished the last TattooNOWTV.com webcast on Sunday with Alex De Pase from Italy and Jose Morales from Hawaii. Ben Licata, who is an awesome tattoo collector, jumped onboard as host and we are pretty excited to schedule a half dozen more. Up next on September 2nd will be a live inhouse interview with Kynst from Poland via the Netherlands. He is an amazing artist and whenever he has come out to Off the Map Tattoo our days are brighter despite his dark vision, hah. We don't have the skype interviewee yet, but we will soon! If you have any suggestions feel free to email. TattooNOWTV.com is the website in progress as we get this project going! We will get the recap up soon, crap, I never posted the link to the Alex Grey Visionary Tattoo event we webcast a few weeks ago. Well there it was, enjoy! 
In the lead up to the Paradise Tattoo Gathering I have been finalizing plans for the Paradise Artist Retreat so we can properly promote this September. The third Paradise Artist Retreat will return to the unbelievable Tamaya Resort in New Mexico MArch 25-28 2013. This year we are changing up the format a bit, and every attending artist will take the same core group of six seminars over the course of the four days, with group activities planned every day. There will be six teachers: Alex Grey, Guy Aitchison, Jeff Gogue, Shawn Barber, Nick Baxter and Chet Zar will lead the week! Tickets and rooms will be avaiable very very soon. No time to sleep thesedays because...
Off the Map is hiring. The process takes a few months, between the guest spots and interviews, and now with two locations and a third in the planning stages we are pretty much always hiring at this point. If you are a tattooer, and want the chance to work with over 40 amazing tattooers a year, check out Off the Map Tattoo.com! There is a new website on the way, right on the heels of our new Off the Map Tattoo mobile app. Patience, they say, is a virtue. 
The first version of the Food tattoos for hunger website - http://www.foodtattoosforhunger.com is live. We are looking for other tattoo shops that would like to coordinate a benefit on November 18th. If you are a tattoo studio or artist who wants to participate, check out the site and join the mailing list! 
Of course what I have *really* been working on the last few weeks is the final details of the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. If you are reading this and havn't made plans, Airfaires are cheap and rooms are now available online! If you have made plans, cencel em, this Paradise Tattoo Gathering is gearing up to the the best so far, check out the artist list and seminar lineup... How could you pass up an oppertunity like this! Anyways, enough of the hard sell, Im getting back to work! 

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Vacation reset, back to blogging!


Welp, I just got back from vacation in San Fransisco and it was a great reset! I'm getting back into the office and all the lists are coming together. The Paradise Tattoo Gathering didn't slow down while I was away, and Brian, Mary, and Rachel have been cranking away here at Off the Map Tattoo offices keeping it all going smoothly. The Gathering's move out west is bringing out a lot of new energy, tattooers, collectors and the excitement is building quite quickly now. Keystone Resort is big enough that it probably won't sell out like previous years, so it's not too late to make your plans and come on out to see what a Rocky Mountain sized Gathering is like!

While in California I was lucky enough to meet up with Adrian Lee who will be teaching his new seminar "One Body" at Paradise. Adrian's massive tattoos speak to the thought and dedication he puts into his proccess that have made his tattoos stand out. His seminar discusses the importance of approaching the body as one form, lessons every tattooer should make a point of not missing. It's an honor to be hosting such an inportant seminar. 

One Body
Historical Context
Building Trust
Large Scale Visualization

One Body Seminar

TattooNOW Business SemianrIf you are a non-tattooing owner, manager or front room type you should take my class "Building a great tattoo business" at the Gathering. My seminar is great for tattooers too, of course, but it is at the same time as Adrian's, 8-10 Saturday  September 15th. Registrations are coming in for both so get your deposit in soon! 

Come on out to Paradise, it's a lot of fun and the energy of all the amazing tattooers and collectors is pretty unique. Well worth the trip!

Ok, Im going to keep this blogging up, I swear. 

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Teaching the business seminar in hell!



Hey tattooers, apprentices, managers, and front room people... Check out my next seminar, limited seating!


The TattooNOW Seminar #2 - Building a GREAT Tattoo Business

Hell City - Saturday May 5th 8pm - 10pm

Being good isn't enough, be GREAT! To be great you must organize your talents, work, and businesses for success. If you are tattooing for a living then you are a small business. If you don't understand the nature of business, then you are spending more energy and getting less out of your hard work. In this seminar artists, managers, studio owners, and apprentices will learn to think about all the details of a professional business plan as itrelates specifically to high quality professional tattooing. Topics covered will include clearly defining your mission, how to build a strong business foundation, determining keys to success, assessing your target markets, establishing branding, comparing competitors, clearly defining your services and products, sales and marketing strategies, advertising and public relations, responsible selling strategies & creating demand, human resources management, and how to track your vital statistics to insure your businesses fulfills its potential. We have watched and helped artists in all stages of careers, from aspiring artists and managers to artists of exceptional influence, and are happy to pass on the great ideas that have helped us achieve our goals time and time again. For $200. Seminar will be a 2 hour talk/slideshow with 20-30 minutes of business questions and answers from attendees. Email your questions ahead of time. To register in advance paypal $200 ($150 for current TattooNOW Members) to gabe[at]TattooNOW[dot]com Limit 10.

For over a decade Gabe Ripley has been immersed in the business of tattooing. After a freelance computer programming career in the US and Europe, Gabe first stepped into the tattoo business world in 2001 by creating TattooNOW, a technology business that currently powers over 100 tattoo industry websites around the world and has since helped tattooers generate millions of dollars in business. In 2005, based on the success of TattooNOW's websites, Ripley opened Off the Map Tattoo. By constantly improving the studio's business practices, it now boasts over 50 guest artists a year, and a growing business in a slowing economy. Not one to sit still, in 2008 Ripley started using the same business practices to produce two yearly events, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering and Paradise Artist Retreat. These events are focused on four days of responsible tattoo and art education and have earned an international reputation. Gabe presented this seminar to over 200 artists at the first Worldwide Tattoo Conference in Rome in October 2011. "Everybody gave me good feedback because you gave to the artists good, easy, and interesting suggestions!" said Alex DePase the conference's promoter of the business seminar.

Each attendee will get the following:

* Sample Tattoo Studio Handbook.
* Sample Daily and weekly checklists
* Sample management action plan.
* Sample marketing materials (postcards, bi-folds, goodie bags)

To register in advance paypal $200 ($150 for current TattooNOW Members) to: gabe[at]tattoonow[dot]com

 Limit 10.


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3 Days of Bio at Off the Map Tattoo, fun fun fun


Well, its been super busy around here. Off the Map Tattoo is SLAMMING. It seems our gracious clientel kept the winter months busy (we did 30-40% more tattoos last winter than the previous!), but now spring is in the air and people are walking in and making deposits, appointments, and setting times for their free consultations like its going out of style. The tattoos we have booked in the last week are huge too... sleeves, back tattoos, and tons of cool custom tattoos walking in. Thanks a ton everyone!!!

It's going to help us this first year of producing events west of the Mississippi for sure. Speaking of, the Paradise Artist Retreat is coming right up at the insanely beautiful Tamaya Resort in New Mexico. We leave a week from tomorrow, and hope to see you there! Im also busy promoting the Chicago edition of the Worldwide Tattoo Conference. Dont snooze, tickets are going fast. Of course they are, this is an oppertunity to learn from Guy Aitchison, Nick Baxter, Boris, Bob Tyrrell, Jeff Gogue, and Alex De Pase! Oh, and the point of this blog, in between bouts of computer work I am settign up "3 days of bio" where we will feature 5 slamming bio guest tattooers. We have 3 confirmed, representing Germany, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco. Need to finalize two more guests and then we can announce and promote properly. I foresee a bio version of TattooNOW in our future.

Oh, I also forgot to mention a few fits of cleaning up TattooNOW seems to have helped out traffic dramatically. We broke past 500,000 unique visitors a month yesterday, and this traffic should keep up. In the past we have broken 1 million unique visitors a month and we hope to do the same again soon! So, give a call (413) 585-9134 to talk about signing up for TattooNOW soon, its always been worth it, and now more than ever! 

I swear, a few more years of work, and we get to talk religion and politics all the time, until then, get back to work!

tamaya resort

worldwide tattoo conference

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Paradise, Grants Pass, and Worldwide!


Its been a long time since I blogged! Someday there will be plenty of time for opinion pieces, but for now, theres barely enough time for updates!

A few weeks ago we headed out to Keystone Resort in the heart of the rocky mountains to host a day of free seminars, followed by a day of snowboarding with Durb and Chuck from Prick Magazine. Ten artists each brought clients and Stefano from Last Rites delivered a great seminar where we would jump into the tattoo. Every artist walked away with a few more tricks up their sleeve. The “Great Marketing in 1 hour” seminar seemed to go very well, even got some applause. Im actually pretty excited to be doing a full 2.5 hour business and marketing for tattooers seminar at Hell City in May. Space is limited, if your a studio owner, artist, manager, or front room person you should sign up soon!

Now that the snowboard party is behind us, it has been time to focus on the Paradise Artist Retreat next month! February 20-23 is coming right up, and we are all getting very excited to land at the unbelievable Tamaya Resort in New Mexico. Artists are flying in from Australia and New Zealand and all over the US and all will be treated to the amazing environment. If your a tattooer or artist looking to expand your visual language or need a break from reality and an injection of inspiration, sign up soon!

It's also time to gear up for the Worldwide Tattoo Conference in the Chicago area April 10th and 11th 2012. Tickets to this conference are moving quick, looks like this one might be a sellout! Thats not surprising given the line up of teachers. Guy Aitchison, Nick Baxter, Boris, Bob Tyrrell, Jeff Gogue, and Alex De Pase will all be teaching and taking part in the eventing discussion panels. I was honored to teach a class at the first Worldwide Tattoo Conference in Rome last October, and the experience was awesome. Even though I produce the retreat and the gathering, the unique format of the conference really sets this event apart and impressed me quite a bit. Im very happy to have the opportunity to help bring this show to the US. Tattooers of all skill levels will get a lot of insight from this learning experience !

While these events are exciting, they don't overshadow the opening of an Off the Map Tattoo with Jeff Gogue in Grants Pass OR on March 10th! The paperwork is just about signed, applications have come in for the manager we will be hiring, as well as potential full time tattooers. We are in the process of setting up interviews and such, and the initial lineup of guest tattooers is shaping up. So, if you are in the Pacific-Northwest in early march, we hope to see you out and about on the 10th!

Last but not least I wanted to mention that we are planning a worldwide benefit in July. The last benefit we ran at Off the Map went exceptionally well, and of course other tattoo shops are hosting similar benefits all the time. We are hoping to partner with up to 100 tattoo shops across the world to hold a benefit for hunger on the same day. If we can get 100 shops to participate, the goal of raising $150,000 is entirely possible. The dates are set in July, and soon we will be recruiting other reputable tattoo studios to join us. With this kind of energy, we hope the national media will pick up on the event, ignore the drama of the TV for a news cycle, and we can show the world how much positive impact tattooers can have when they put their mind to it.

Well, thats what I have going on, someday I'll have a little less on my plate and get to chat politics, both real and tattoo... until then, back to the hustle!

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Back from the Tamaya Resort



tamaya resort

It seems like I am started to get spoiled with my travels, fresh off a life changing trip to Rome, a little over a month later I was lucky enough to return to the Tamaya resort in new Mexico with my wife for the weekend to plan the next Paradise Artist Retreat. The resort is simply amazing, and everyone in New Mexico is extremely nice. And genuinely nice it seems...! Whatever the reasons the tattooers and art galleries were very nice and welcoming.  First stop was to see Kelly Gromley who has tattooed at many, if not all, of the Tattoo Gatherings. We then hit up a few tattoo shops we had researched on line, and every one was very friendly, had heard rumors of the art retreat and were pretty interested, and sent us onto another studio of artists. thats says a lot about the community there. The next day we met Maria who we had been emailing for a few weeks. Had fantastic mexican dinner, talked about the art retreat and tattoo gathering for a bit, and drove back to the resort very slowly in a crazy snowstorm. When I say everyone was nice, even the airport security theatre was pleasant enough even though I hate the X-Ray machine.

tamaya resort

We didn't get to spend enough time at the resort, so we eagerly anticipate going back in February for the event. It's very exciting to be able to hustle the art retreat, because the event and the new venue are going to be a perfect match. I just finished up the new press release for the event, and will be spending a fair amount of time spreading the word. If you know anyone who may be interested, please let them know about the event! Thanks to all the artists and sponsors who are enabling us to kick up this great event to the next level! 

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Recent happenings!


What a whirlwid of a few months! The last time I blogged was a week or so before the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. Well, its been a great ride for the last few weeks. The Gathering was everything I could hope for and then some, and I cant thanks the teachers, artists, and staff enough. The Gathering DVD has been pretty successful with both Kingpin and Tattoo Education both carrying the DVD now. The follow up DVD from the last show is getting edited, and will hit the shelves in February. The shows momentum is building and the gathering is all geared up for its move to Keystone Colorado next year!

As soon as I got back from the Tattoo Gathering, I refocused my effort on the "how to build a great tattoo business" seminar for the Worldwide Tattoo Conference. Teaching alongside Nick Baxter, Jeff Gogue, Boris, and Alex Depase was quite intimidating to say the least. So I pushed most of my other work aside to make sure I didn't fall flat on my face in front of these guys, or the 200 artists in the audience... Gulp. After little sleep for another month, off to Europe I went with Matt the Intern.

Brussles Church

Brussles peeing boy statue

Brussles was fun, got to hang out with a bunch of great artists I've known for a while as well as a few I met recently at various conventions. Needless to say the beers in Belgium are great, the convention was pretty good, and the times fun. Got to spend some time with the Hawk tattoo machine guy chatting business and life before wandering around the old part of Brussels in the wee hours. We got to check out the famous peeing boy statue before sampling a few more of Belgiums finest beers. The rest of the weekend was a blur. I vaguely recall a pizza dinner with some funny people, I think they were laughing at me.

Then it was off to Italy where we got to check out Michele Turco's shop Tattoo da Cosa Nasce Cosa in Piacenza, Italy. It was a beutiful shop and a grew crew of people! The next day it was off to Milian City Ink to meet up with Luca Natalini. I've known Luca for a bunch of years now, and it was awesome seeing him in his native country! That night he was off to tend to his family, so Matt and I got to chat tattoos with Claudio the ripper, a great tattooer and musician. Well, I havn't heard his music, but I'm sure its great and loud!

Venice canalsThe next day Luca drove us to Venice, where we were to meet up with Nick Baxter, Alex Depase and his crew. Before meeting up with everyone, we checked out a venue for a future Paradise Artist Retreat. Having Luca as a guide was amazing, cause it is rumored he has a degree in history. Its pretty awesome hearing the stories about the damn insurance companies that have been buying up prime real estate in the town squares for hundreds of years... Luca also knew quite a bit about the ages of things, and an invaluable resource during our trip! I know it sounds cliche, and I am not the most well traveled fellow out there, but Venice truly is one of the most beautiful cities/towns/places I've been, and one that I will make sure I return too. I didn't even mind the tons of tourists! So, I think an artist retreat there is in our future for sure... My phone camera died before we got to the Grand Canal and other magnificent sights, sorry to say.

Venice canals

After Venice we headed to Florence, and the art museum there was simply breathtaking. We will be getting over there more often, with the events first, and hopefully an Off the Map someday...

Then, it was onto Rome and the Worldwide Tattoo Conference! One of the things I talk about in my seminar is being comfortable jumping in over your head and boy, being a non-tattooer teaching alongside such world class artists in front of 200 artists who paid to be there was a great example of that in action. Lucky for me, the feedback from the seminar was pretty good, and I'm starting to actually enjoy the process, so hopefully another tattoo convention in a beautiful far-away land will give me the opportunity to fine-tune and do the seminar again. Of course the seminars from Baxter, Gogue, Boris, and DePase were all very informative and having the time to sit through them was another highlight of the trip. I can't recommend their seminars enough, they should be required classes for all tattooers. We're gonna help host the next Worldwide Tattoo conference in Chicago next April, details soon!

For the whole trip I was focused on bringing our events and shop over to Europe, even though thats a very daunting task. After my seminar, those plans took a back seat when Jeff Gogue said he had some ideas he wanted to chat about. To make a short story short, it seems like we will be taking over the management of his space, and opening an Off the Map Tattoo in Grant's Pass Oregon with Jeff Gogue as the lead tattooer! We will supply the management and business, and Jeff will will be able to focus on the inspiration and amazing work.

Got back to the US for and after a few days of not catching up the power went out for a week, but we are opening a studio with Jeff Gogue in Grants pass and are gonna knock it out of the park, so nothing can slow us now, haha. It's very exciting to have an Off the Map Tattoo opening in the pacific north-west, and of course Jeff Gogue has been an inspiration and long distance friend for years. While working with Durb on the Tattoo Gathering has motivated us to kick it up (nothing like a 6' 15" powerhouse like durb looking over your shoulder to make you do it right!), partnering with Jeff is making us tighten up our ship that much more, and it is extremely exciting to see where this new phase of Off the Map leads us!

Ok, lastly, OCCUPY! Love it, go for it, voting only gets you so far, we're getting screwed and gotta take back our fair share... their greed knows no limits and they will lie to you, turn you against your own class, just so they can increase their wealth beyond obscene. Fuck greedy people, occupy. If your not making 11 million dollars a year, you are part of the 99%, statistically.

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Big things happened, more big things happening!


Ill tell you about in a sec!

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Paradise Tattoo Gathering is tomorrow!


Well, I guess its actually in a week and a half, but it seems like its going to be tomorrow! We just got back from Hell City. The show is so good it made me want to throw away my iPad and give up running conventions... But, of course, we will keep working hard and maybe someday we can achieve the level of detail Durb and crew achieve. In any event, We are hammering out all the last details that we can, printing out signs and banners like its fun, and all the jazz that comes with producing a tattoo convention. See you there hopefully! 

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Well, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering is coming right up, but not before Hell City! And tomorrow I'm headed to the heart of Chicago to scout locations for an American version of the Worldwide Tattoo Conference. TattooNOW has more help onboard and is launching sites faster than before, and Off the Map Tattoo is gearing up for an amazing September of guest artists after an amazing summer in an economic and political climate thick with impending despair. I can't be thankful enough to all the artists and clients who support these projects. While those two/three weeks vacation a year are still elusive, the fact Im able to work jobs I love, and help support the jobs of a few others, is pretty amazing.  

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Thoughts on TLC and TV.


Im a computer geek business owner in the midst of the tattoo world, so of course it was/is impossible to miss the uproar over TLCs show, "Tattoo School". I enjoyed reading through many of the rants against the tattoo school show but none of them really summed up how I feel about it all. Regardless, I wasn't going to take the time to throw my two cents out there. There are many better spokespeople for tattooing than me. Last week Crash from Tattoo Artist Magazine asked me to comment on the blogs from the previous week, and no matter how much work I have, I do love sharing my opinions and couldn't pass up the invitation. As a guy who is very involved with the education of tattooers and artists, maybe my thoughts have some merit. Either way, Im eager to blast this out and get back to the work I have cut out for myself.

For the last decade plus I have been developing a work habit and have made little time for TV. I might watch between 30 seconds and a half hour of Book TV before passing out every few nights. Sometimes over lunch I'll try to catch some network blather to keep up on what the masses are consuming (yes, I get the irony). Maybe there are a few odd quality shows out there, but this culture hasn't fostered real creativity in the entertainment marketplace for a long time. It's sad, I miss it, but it is what it is. There is some good stuff out there if you look. In any event, my TV has been set aside so I can work day and night on this years Paradise Tattoo Gathering, a snowboard party  with free seminars in Jan, the Paradise Artist Retreat in New Mexico next February, the Worldwide Tattoo Conference in April in Chicago, and then ultimately next years Tattoo Gathering in Keystone Colorado. This pretty much takes up all my time, though I have TattooNOW and Off the Map Tattoo to stay on top of too (thank god I have a lot of great help!). Between producing events devoted to educating tattooers and artists, overseeing 100+ tattoo websites, and owning a studio with 40 some odd guest artists a year, there is no time to care about TLC, and not much for TV in general. Scratchers never really take up much of my time or mental energy, nor do people looking for cheap tattoos. Never been in that game. Maybe Im snobby, maybe business would be better if we did, but we don't. I know that whatever TV, or the corporate industry at large, can throw at tattooing, tattooing will keep the best and the rest will go away with the ebbs and flows of fashion and pop culture or the whims of investors who find it's harder to cash in than they thought. If you have been in the industry for any length of time,  you've seen these people and companies come and go. Still, it's hard not to be at least a little thankful for the reality that these awful tattoo TV shows have opened up our culture, and client base, to enjoy tattooing. With more people accepting of the art, and the fact you can't export tattoo jobs to chinese children, many of my clients, friends, and I still have relatively stable jobs. Our hard work and talent will carry us no matter, but as much as I loathe TV its impossible to not acknowledge that they have helped balance out this horrible economy we find ourselves in...

Ok, the topic at hand.. Tattoo School? Really? Its a joke. The few out there cater to inpatient suckers and the lowest common denominator. Dangerous? Yeah kinda... Ultimately means more coverups and hard lessons learned. People do have the right to be stupid. I don't like it. But if you want to give and get infections, then who am I to stop you. If the tattoo schools want to churn out shitty artists to compete for the tattoo clients who don't care for the quality of the tattooer marking them, well I guess I feel they have every right to engage in the marketplace. Personally, my companies don't compete for the bottom, never have. I feel that education is more powerful than regulation any day of the week, and apply that to our business. Sure, many industries need to be regulated, anything with out checks and balances inherently becomes imbalanced as the industry matures, but regulation won't actually solve the underlying problems of unsafe and bad tattooing. I do feel we will get farther by putting our energies into educating the public about the top tier of the art, than making up rules to regulate the lowest common denominator. Of course I support all responsible methods of promoting a healthy industry & community at large, and when regulations are made I would want to make sure responsible tattoo industry leaders can create/guide those regulations. Often more regulation means the government comes in and will regulate for the lowest common demonator. Personally, I don't think our problems as an industry are that big, though, I guess I'd like to see responsible health regulations everywhere so scratching is illegal... The only time i think about tattoos schools or scratchers is when I hear artists complain about all of them poping up everywhere and I think, really? are there that many more of them? Then I shrug and don't think about them again for a few years.

Ok, TLC? Really? People care about TLC this much? Its a joke. Just another cable channel that caters to the lowest common denominator in a medium taken over by corporations who only care about lowering expenses and raising revenues. They actually named it the Learning Channel. Welcome to the machine friends. I don't want to take anything away from the artists who want to jab TLC in the ribs and knock them out of the ring. TLC and that stupid show deserve it. I do feel that TLC isn't worth the effort, it takes a lot of energy to produce crappy TV that doesn't pay for itself and TATTOOING is pretty tough. Most of the folks thorwing their two cents in about TLC will be around for decades after people forget about Tattoo School TV. Will tattoo school TV hurt tattooing? possibly, my bet is very little if any.

So, what do we do? I have heard a lot of people get pretty mad. Nah, not me, I prefer to work hard and get even. Vet suppliers? Yes, you vote with your dollar. I do believe people have the right to sell pretty much whatever they want to whomever. So voting with our dollars really is the best way to not support bad suppliers, but more importantly make sure you are supporting real quality businesses/people who care about the health of their industry. But, well, that should be a given in everything we spend money on. You shouldn't just be picky about where you buy your tattoo supplies because EVERYTHING you buy has repercussions... What irks me even more than TLCs stupid shows, are people who talk big about banning a TV show that would probably have died quickly smoking cigarettes in the Dunkin Donut's drive-through on their way to Walmart... You can ban suppliers who don't care about our industry all you want, there are much larger problems at stake here.... While Im not afraid of how one small crappy show effects TATTOOING, I am very concerned about the aggregate worldwide effects of the multinational media conglomerates on our government and population. If your just starting to ban TLC, I think your way late to the party and bringing a knife to a nuke-fight. Go read, or reread, some George Orwell and Ray Bradbury books. Think Tattoo School on TLC is going to ruin our industry? For the last thirty years TV has been programming the masses and while you can't blame the bullhorn for the message, you bet your life savings the people using TV have helped facilitate so much war, waste, horror, suppression, class warfare, holy moses, the list of damages the puppet-masters behind cable TV have facilitated goes on and on.

The damage Tattoo School TV can do to the powerful and strong art of tattooing is nothing compared to what it has done to the other industries and communities in this country, indeed around the world. I truly feel blessed, and a bit lucky, to have picked an art that really does take care of those who take care of it, even in very harsh economic climates. There are very few  industries, never mind arts, that can do this for its community. One reason tempers flare so much is because tattooing truly is a sacred art that should be respected, and I do understand the anger towards those who try to take advantage if it. But just as much as tattooing gives back to those who support it, its really not all that kind to those who mess around with it. Mistakes are easy to make and hard to fix, and the TV producers, and investor types, and hacks, and unscrupulous suppliers will all pay off their own bad karma in time.

As Crash points out there are plenty of people doing good things to promote quality tattoo talent. All that work with real talent builds upwards and onwards. I feel the most effective way, for me, to combat this type of blight is to educate the public about quality art and tattooing the best I can. Maybe that's why I don't give much merit to a fleeting TV show on a crappy cable network. I feel pretty confident in the leaders of the tattoo industry. They will be able to keep the art strong and healthy and growing despite whatever the bottom feeders do, even if the jerks get a big microphone once in a while. I have competed and compete head to head with companies can corporations that can throw hundreds of thousands of dollars more than I can at their businesses and events. Its not trivial, but if you are in this business for hte right reasons, and working hard to make the community grow and not just take away from it, you will outlast a dozen tattoo schools. Or maybe not, nature has its way, but regardless if work your ass off harder and smarter you can compete with a goliath. After a while you can do it without breaking a sweat. Simple as that, no one said life is fair, but tattooing does take care of those who take care of it.

So, the next time scratchers and hacks and the bottom feeders start to infect your brain, you might ask yourself this question. "What am I going to focus my day on, the bottom or the top?" 


http://www.OffTheMapTattoo.com/ - Tattoo studio in western mass

http://www.TattooGathering.com - 4 Days of seminars, workshops, discussion panels, and world class tattooing!
9/15-18 2011 - Hancock MA
9/13-16 2012 - Keystone CO

http://www.TattooNOW.com/ - Websites and more for the tattoo industry

112 Cottage St Easthampton MA 01027 (413) 585-9134

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shifting gears


It feels like we're shifting gears again! Hmmm, maybe we should finish building the machine first, ack... well regardless of how or why, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering is going gangbusters with weekend passes moving way faster than ever before,  Off the Map Tattoo is busier than ever with all of our residents all booking 4-6 weeks out and amazing guests tattooing every day, and TattooNOW is selling and launching sites on a regular basis. I can't thank the folks working with me enough for making it all happen at the same time, I think we are almost ready to striking back at the credit cards...

Anyways, with Paradise tickets and seminar registrations so popular this year, it looks like a half dozen of the seminars may sell out even before September! A few more very talented artists have confirmed for the show, the magazine ads are out in Tattoo Society, Prick Magazine, and Tattoo Artist Magazine, the bi-fold cards are here and will be shipping out soon, Eternal Ink signed on as a sponsor, the "Keeping Sharp" DVD is now shipping again with a new teaser, the Retreat and 2012 Gathering posters have been commissioned, the January snowboard party is near finalized, and holy moses, the calendar is filled up with fun events! What snowboard party you may ask? Well, we're planning a day of free seminars one day, and snowboarding the next at Keystone resort in Colorado this Janurary. Details to come. I will not be boarding, I will be planning.

Shawn Barber SkullOff the Map Tattoo has been floored by the recent wave of guest artists, Bob has been tattooing a ton of amazing color tattoos, and I'm gonna miss out on my bird tattoo this time. Shawn Barber, who did the skull tattoo shown, is always a strong professional inspiration. I'll be getting some fun hand tattoos from him in the future. Stefano had to leave a tad early, and packed 5 world class tattoos in 3 days, and now Bob is back and hammering out the custom tattoos again to finish off April. The business seminar in Rome this October will be taking up a bit of my time from here on out as I edit my current plans, and distill them into a great seminar. Hell City Tattoo Festival is coming up this August, and we have 10 people from Off the Map all going together, fun fun fun! We are hiring a part timer if your an artist interested in working with Off the Map.

As for TattooNOW I have been wrapping up stats, should be opening them to our clients this week. I've also been working on some long awaited catalog updates, and now that the Gathering is in full swing Im making new catalog reporting tools, our programmer is working on importing external catalogs, and all sorts of fun stuff. I have a few new tattoo artist interviews to post up as soon as I have a free moment, and I believe a six pack of sites will be launched in the following week. ok, enough talking about work for now, its back to it!

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Art show tomorrow, european trip this fall!


godesses art show

Godesses art show opens tomorrow, and it looks fantastic! The amount of amazing art submitted is a sight to see in person, you should come to Off the Map Tattoo April 9th from 6 - close. It was very exciting to watch this show come together, see you there.

rome statueIn other news, it looks like I landed a gig teaching a business for tattooers seminar in Rome this October. It is very exciting (I guess its been exciting around here!) to be able to pass on the business plans and lessons learned the hard, and expensive, way to others. More details to follow. The Rome conference is the weekend after the Brussles tattoo convention, which I will be going to with Kelly Doty and Shawn Hebrank. Of course, I could fill the week inbetween with a nice vacation, but since we have plans to take the Artist Retreat and Tattoo Gathering over to that neck of the woods someday, Im hoping to set up some site visits between Brussles and Rome. If you happen to be from that neck of the woods and know of any resorts or venues that we should check out, let me know.

Off the Map tattoo is going gangbusters, Ty McEwen hammered out some great bio tattoos while here, Christian Perez came up again and its always great to catch up and see his tattoos come out of the shop, John Montolvo is here now for the first time and hammering out the amazing color traditional/illistratory but yet still a little bio-y tattoos. Its been a great run of laid back guests. Next up this month Shawn Barber and Stefano.

Lastly, I'm working on getting stats back up after the server move, and a few redesigns/programming tasks, but my focus is prettty much on the Tattoo Gathering as it is coming right up! Seminar registration is live and artists are already makeing sure they register to get their spots secured. Many of our tattoo and art seminars do sell out, so registering ahead of time is a good idea. I just about have a final floorplan for the 2012 Colorado show, and will be opening up artist space registration for that show soon. The Paradise Artist Retreat now has a simple website with a video, need to get the real site live for that even live soon. Rooms and tickets for this years Gathering at Jiminy Peak are moving, you cant book them online, you need to call in. Thanks again to all the artists and clients for the support, these projects couldnt happen without you!

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off the map madness


Before I get into my stuff, please visit AllForJapan.org a benefit for Japan organized by Jeff Gogue. I already ordered my shirt!

We're heading into spring full tilt! In Off the Map Tattoo news, Christopher Allen was here and tattooing away, its always a pleasure to have him and he is already scheduled to return to tattoo his growing cliental. Ty Mcewen is back and hammering out the sweet bio-tattoos for the next few days. Next month is going to be a lot of fun, the guest tattoo artists lined up for April are Christian Perez, John Montlavo, Bob (whom I am getting tattooed by!), Shawn Barber, and last but not least Stefano! Shawn Barber will also be holding his portrait painting seminar, quite an exciting month! There is also an events page on Off the Map's site now, that gives all the details on the upcoming Goddesses art show (April 9th), Shawns seminar on the 17th, Chris Dingwells seminar on the 18th, Chet Zar's upcoming seminar, and the Pint Sized Painting show. phew! We also have our first two shop articles lined up. Thanks to Tattoo Revolution and Tattoo Savage for the opportunity. Off the Map hasn't had any press coverage in the five years we have been open, so it will be fun to see!

In event news, we signed a contract to move the Paradise Artist Retreat out west to the Tamaya in New Mexico February 20-23rd. I really cant say enough nice things about the Tamaya, but rest assured, after going there a few times a year for the next few years, well, we may just move in there... ha. I have to get the website up asap! Weekend passes keep moving for the Paradise Tattoo Gathering this September 15-18th at Jiminy Peak, if your planning on coming I'd book your rooms and get your tickets! The resort sells out every year, and this year it will sell out quicker than ever before! I just about had the seminar schedule final, but a few big tweaks need to be made before I post it and we start taking registrations for the seminars. Also, the DVD "Keeping Sharp" which features two full discussion panels as well as other goodies from the last Tattoo Gathering, is getting replicated this week and will back back for sale!

TattooNOW is now fully on the new server with the new hosts, and that is great news! Not only are things now wicked fast, but I got a notice from our old host that their whole data-center is going down for a few hours today... Very excited we got out of there finally, our servers are humming! Stats are next on the list before we're finally done done done.

Welp, to close out, I saw Rollins spoken word last week with Christopher Allen, and he was great... Man, I thought I had a lot of energy! Well, I cant recommend him enough. Here is the video from the one Rollins CD I got back in the day...

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Paradise Tattoo Gathering on the way, and Shawn Barber, Chet Zar, and more at Off the Map!


Well, so maybe I havn't blogged every other day, but I am getting better! Still moving over a few straggling websites onto the new freaking fast server. Still tweaking an improving things a bit, but after a month of solid TattooNOW work I am shifting back to the Gathering.

Paradise Tattoo Gathering

Paradise Tattoo Gathering is in full gear. After taking a quick class in In-Design, making posters is a whole new game! I also have the fancy bi-folds just about done. the above is a quick peek at the full page ad going into Tattoo Society Magazine, Tattoo Artist Magazine, and Prick Magazine. We have smaller ads going into our other favorite international tattoo magazines, Tattoo Revolution from the UK and Custom Tattooz from Australia. This is also the week we will finalize the location for the next Paradise Artist Retreat for February 2012. All the resorts were great, you will be very happy with our destination! 

Godesses off the map tattoo

Oh, and Off the Map Tattoo is still jamming. The Godesses art show is April 9th, and the art is coming in and its great! We have new lighting on the way, the floors will be buffed, its always fun getting the shop detailed out. April 17th is Shawn Barber's painting class, limited to 10 artists, get in touch quick! We are also excited to have confirmed the dates for a Chet Zar Seminar at Off the Map Tattoo on May 22nd (again, limited to ten artists dont snooze!), and then the Pint Sized Paintings collection will be here in June! we have these events posted on the Off the Map Tattoo special events page.

Shawn barber

Shawn Barber

chet zar

Chet Zar

Pint Sized Paintings


Id love to have Iron & Wine play the gathering someday... 

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Back in action!


Well, the server move is just about behind us now. We have had a massive upgrade in the hardware, and if your a TattooNOW website client you will notice the new fancy "WYSIWYG" interface. I have also upgraded the catalog a bit (we have even more enhancements coming to the catalog in the near future!) and this week we start working on "one click generation". After a last few details, not only is TattooNOW working better than it ever has, but then we get to actually work on all our "future plans" which had been sidetracked due to the old hardware. Thanks to the artists and clients who are supporting us, with your help we will make everything work even better.

As far as our event planning goes, holy moses, we checked out some very nice resorts in southern California and in New Mexico. We are settling the location of the February 2012 artist retreat, seems like the dates will be monday to thursday the third week of February 2012. We are also gearing up for this falls Paradise Tattoo Gathering from September 15-18th. The discussion panels have been settled on, the seminars set in time and place, and registration will be up so soon I can taste it. With over 20 different high quality seminars, this year is promising to reward our year off with big things! Booths are also moving for the Colorado 2012 show, thanks again folks!

From here on out Im planning on sitting tight and working strait till Hell City Tattoo Festival where we will have a big TattooNOW/Off the Map Tattoo booth with Oleg Turyanskiy, Kelly Doty, Ben Reigle, Tim Senecal, and Chloe Vanessa working. Rumors have it another artist from Moscow will be joining us as well. Then Paradise, and then off to the Brussles Tattoo Convention with Kelly Doty. I worked in Belgium making smurf and lucky luke video games back in the day, and am eager to return. We will be teaching TattooNOW seminars at each of these conventions. Brian from TattooNOW will also be attending the Tattoolapalooza show in Miami in June. But other than that, we are hunkering down in western Massachusetts and working. Off the Map Tattoo is jamming, and its amazing seeing the awesome tattoos coming from our resident and guest artists. Cant thank all the clients enough for trusting our artists with your skin. Feel free to stop by for a tasty beverage! 

tamaya new mexico

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Website upgrades, Off the Map madness, and Artist Retreat Wrapup video


We are cruising through the server upgrade, a few bumps here or there, but the websites are going much faster, and its great catching up with everyone. I havnt slept much in the last two weeks, but one last push and then Im off to california and new mexico for site visits for the paradise artist retreat. Off the Map Tattoo is jamming, thanks again to the artists and staff and clients for starting this year off right. The guests are coming every week from here on out, Billi Vegas and Jessica V are here for the weekend, Teresa Sharpe will be here next week with an Art Jam happening on February 24th. If you are an artist and in new england, plan on coming out that evening/night for hours of painting and art creation fun!

In other news we finished up a short video for the Paradise Artist Retreat. Check it out and share it with your friends please! We are now finishing up the audio on the first Tattoo Gathering DVD, which features two full discussion panels, which will be for sale very soon! Tickets to the September Paradise Tattoo Gathering keep coming in, lots of folks want that free T-Shirt! Ok, heres the video, I have to get back to moving and testing websites!

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TattooNOW upgrades!


TattooNOw WebsitesWe will see how my new commiment to blogging goes. Every other day, starting today. Sure, there are always other things to do like, well, work, and fix my email problems, but blogging is the way to grow traffic, so here we are. This past week I have been hustling with a major TattooNOW upgrade, which is quite exciting. The upgrade, which will improve the perfomrance of ALL of the TattooNOW websites, will be done before next sunday. Its great to make everyone a little happier at the same time! Brian's holding down the TattooNOW fort while I update and there are more website launchs coming, as well as some great new sites in the works for some more world class artsits. One of the sites is our second artist from sweden, we love doing international tattoo wesites! I also updated our tattoo website sales booklet, you can download it here anytime

Next week we're leaving to go on another round of site visits for the next Paradise Artist Retreat which will be a year from now. So, to keep it strait, the next Paradise Tattoo Gathering is September 15-18 2011 at Jiminy Peak. Tickets have been selling, and the seminar schedule is almost complete. Very sorry to the artists and clients who need this info to make their plans, my only excuse is the show is over a half year away, and many conventions dont have their seminars set till the month before. Well, its not a good excuse, but hey. Anyways, then in Feburary of 2012 we will be doing another Paradise Artist Retreat, no tattooing just art, somewere out west, either Southern California or New Mexico. Maybe here...paradise artist retreatThen the whopper, September 13-16th 2012 the full on Paradise Tattoo Gathering is landing in Keystone Colorado about an hour and a half into the rockies from Denver. If the initial excitement for the colorado tattoo convention is any indicator, we will make the move 2,000 miles away successfully. Just the incentive I need to keep working and kick it up! Anyways, we just about have the video from the 2010 artist retreat wrapped up, we will post soon.

Off the Map Tattoo is going strong, we started keeping track of our numbers about a year and a half ago (please, dont remind me we ran the shop blind for the first 3.5 years, ack!). Its truely eye opening being able to look at the history of the tattoo studio, and knowing its current state of health, not by feeling or intuition, but by the numbers. Being a computer geek, well, I love the numbers. Especially when they are growing! Can't thank Mary, the tattoo artists, and the staff enough. Speaking of the shop, if you are in New England come check out our next group art show. "Godesses" is a collection of amazing artwork from ladies around the world! April 9th hope to see you there.

godesses off the map art show

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Off to the Surf n Ink International Tattoo Convention!


Im very excited to be heading to the Surf n Ink international tattoo convention today! It will be a lot of travel, but hopefully well worth it. I'll be giving a seminar on the power of TattooNOW websites as well as schmoozing for the Paradise Tattoo Gathering. Speaking of the Gathering, I'll be organizing the seminar schedule on the way over, artists are already making plans and contacting me about specifics, ack! Things at Off the Map Tattoo are cranking, and our guest artist list is pretty much full for 2011, save for a coupla surprises here and there Im sure. Well, enough chit chat, I gotta huslte the rest of my tasks, including fixing my car to get to the airport, so if you are in Oz, catch up with me at the Surf n Ink show!

surf n ink tattoo convention

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Where are the brakes?


 Well folks, good news is I've been way to busy to blog, but the bad news is I know more blogging brings more traffic, so here is a keyword laden quickie. Paradise Artist Retreat was simply amazing. Over a hundred artists came out to create and learn once again! We will be doing another in the southern california area february 2012. Keep your ears peeled. That means Im back to planning and promoting the Paradise Tattoo Gathering 2011 for the last time at Jiminy Peak in western mass, and for the move west to Keystone Colorado in 2012!  Off the Map Tattoo is jamming, thatnks to the resident tattooers and the guests. Got another three days set aside to finish my half sleeve with Guy, fun! Anyways, clearing through my lists quicker than normal thanks to Mr. Nice Guy working for TattooNOW now, phew! Oh, and Im getting tickets for the Surf n Ink convention in Australia this week, gonna hammer out a seminar and show those artists soon under what high traffic websites mean! Ok, heres a band Id love to have play the Gathering, but Ill probably have to settle for the youtube clips! 

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Paradise Tattoo Gathering in Rocky Mountains a done deal!


Colorado tattoo convention

Well, the contracts have been sent, and the ink is drying. In 2012 we will be headed to Keystone Resort in the Colorado Rockies from September 13th-16th for a Rocky Mountain sized Paradise Tattoo Gathering! It is an amazing resort so we get to keep the feel of the show, and the focus on education will remain constant, of course. Many resturants, great views, an amazing convention hall, fun! Check out their website, and their live webcam, and this video to get an idea of where were headed. Hope to see you there!

Also, thanks to all the tattooers who have been stopping by Off the Map Tattoo to say hi and meet everyone recently. In the last few weeks there have been more visitors than normal stoping by, and if we are available we are happy to show you around and chat and maybe have a tasty beverage. Its truely an honor, so dont be shy, stop on by!



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Paradise Tattoo Gathering DVDS for sale soon!


Got great word about the Paradise Tattoo Gathering 2009 DVD, should have a near final version this Saturday, and get copies on sale soon after! Below is the preview video. Included on the DVD are 3 full discussion panels, over 3 hours worth of great discussions from some of the tattoo industries finest! Also some interviews, and a gallery of tattoos that is great! We're thinking of a price tag of $49.99, but might sell em for $39.99 if anyone wants to pre-order one...Email me if you are...

In other news,Paradise Artist Retreat signups keep coming in, going to be an amazing event! If your an artist sign up before its too late! We will be filming all weekend for a few documentaries, very exciting. Also made some quick upgrades to the tattoo forums, making the whole system much more efficient. More upgrades to the tattoo forums are on the way. If you caught the last update and were interested in the vintage tattoo machines, they are already sold, but rest assured theres more vintage tattoo flash and machines on the way! Lastly, Im thinking of writing a few essays/videos on tattoo collecting, and am looking to interview as many as I can... If you are a tattoo artist or collector, head on over to the tattoo collector forum thread I started and lets pick your brain!

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Tattoo kiosks, retreats, tattoo videos, and a new gogue site in progress


Welp, the tattoo kiosk is getting wrapped up this month! The last bits of the design are being hammered out, then the last technical crunches and by nest month we will be delivering a @#$^%ing bad ass new 27" touchscreen kiosk that updates every day, blasts out big smooth videos, oh boyo, I know how much work it will being doing the next one for our studio, ack!

Here is a tattoo artist interview video from our new series TattooNOWTV. This is an interview with Lou Jacque recorded back in 2007. Next up is a dragon back tattoo from start to finish with Dana Helmuth. Hopefully we will get in the swing of uploading a new tattoo video every two weeks. We have an archive of 20 some odd interviews as well as recording new artists and tattoos as the guest tattooers keep coming through Off the Map Tattoo. The Paradise Artist Retreat is in full swing, if you are a tattoo artist, aspiring tattooer, or just an artist looking for inspiration and workshops, September is coming right up! We are selling artist passes every day so dont snooze much longer, come on out and create art! In 2011 news we got the poster art from jeff gogue and holy shit!!!! I'll post a photo of it later this week. lastly, in gathering news, we will be heading to the rocky mountains in 2012. The details and contracts are being hammered out. It will be quite exciting bringing the show to the rockies, the people there are, well, everyones going to get along tremendously.

Brian, the new guy at TattooNOW, is kicking ass and selling websites and getting details taken care of. The crew is just about as solid as you can get, with just about enough people to take care of everything. Brian and I are getting together a whole new seminar for Hell City in Pheonix AZ, this time done the right way with him doing the talking and me doing some clicking. The slideshow will be a great improvement!

In other news, the vintage tattoo flash website will have some new vintage tattoo flash as the collection allows, but Im very excited to be getting in some vintage tattoo machines too. Working an a redesign for Jeff Gogue, and Im very excited with the new look, just need to hammer through the programming. It was fun hanging out with Manos at his guest spot at the shop, he had stopped by here years ago during his apprenticeship, its great to see artists reaction to how the studio has evolved. Ok, heading downstairs to help with the video interviews, Im gonna try to update more frequently with keyword rich news to get more traffic. If you have a tattoo website with us, you should be too!

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kiosks, tattoo videos, stats, and retreats!


Hey folks, keeping busy as usual. We are in the final stages of building a kick ass touchscreen kiosk for Adam at Graceland Tattoo. We are developing a 27 inch touchscreen encased in a rustic tree by our friends at custom rustic furniture.com. After putting the computer into the kiosk shell last weekend I almost peed myself for the first time in a long time, man, I forgot how @#$%ing awesome these things are. Very jealous, I dont want to give it to Adam! But, its his fair and square, we'll have to get one together for Off the Map tattoo this fall. Ive also been working on two or three video projects. Most important is a DVD from last years Paradise Tattoo Gathering that we should have for sale at Hell City in Arizona, and online soon after. Its a collection of four complete discussion panels, a bunch of interviews with many of the amazing tattooers working the show, the tattoo of the day contests, and a collection of other various tattoos shot over the weekend. Here is the preview that we have been plugging on TattooNOW:


Stay tuned for some other fun tattoo video projects soon. My nightmare has been the stats, and if you are a website client know that I am working on the perfect solution for stats, and we might see another server upgrade in the future (less headache, more fun!). Lastly, the Paradise Artist Retreat is filling up quickly with great artists from all over the world! Remember, enrollment is open this year, so if you want a chance to work alongside some of the greatest visionaries of the tattoo world, dont miss your chance!

Paradise Artist Retreat

On  personal note, after years of planning and lasering I got an amazing eskimo girl and penguin from Topny Ciavarro over a bunch of stuff Jack Morton lasered. Its amazing what you can do thesedays, it might hurt getting the ink burned out from the inside, but your coverup options can open up drastically. Thanks to Tony for the tattoo and jack for lasering the shit out of that bad tattoo!  

eskimo penguin tattoo


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Rocky Mountain Tattoo Convention 2012


Hey folks, just getting back from visiting some Rocky Mountain resorts with Durb from Hell City. In 2012 we will be taking the Paradise Tattoo Gathering into the Rocky mountains, holy shit, fun fun fun! The resorts are wonderful, and the buzz is starting all over again! We are quite excited to hammer out the Artist Retreat at Jiminy Peak this September (which is open to all artists and promises to be an exciting event in and of itself!), another Tattoo Gathering at Jiminy Peak in 2011, and then doing it up Rocky Mountain sized the same weekend in september 2012(no, the world wont be ending though it may be a little oilier). While it might seem a tad nuts to try to grow the show 2,000 miles from where I live, if you have ever been to the mountians there, you will know the people are my type of people. Man, are they excited to be hosting all the talented tattoo artists from the gathering. Nearly everyone we met went there to go skiing or snowboarding, and couldnt leave. Its amazing there, and while we may not be moving there anytime soon, its exciting to think Ill be returning there a few times to prepare for the tattoo convention. In any event, Im heading back home to work my butt off getting artists out to the artist retreat this september, hope to see you there! 

rocky mountain tattoo convention


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when doing tricky things, always look forward...


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Motor City Tattoo Expo in the future!


Welp, my winter hibernation is over, once again Im venturing outside of the Massachusetts tattoo scene and headed to Detroit's Motor City Tattoo Expo, always a very fun tattoo convention. TattooNOW is offering a 30 day free trial artist membership, so if your a tattoo artist get in touch and we can get you set up right at the convention! Flash galleries have been sucking up a lot of my time this week, I have a sample live at Kelly Doty's tattoo gallery on her new site. Tried to get it up on Ben's too, but alas, it wasnt going to happen before posting this news. Im pretty excited, not only have we kept the search engine friendliness, but the galleries really are slick, and you can view them full screen! We will be offering $50-$100 flash image gallery upgrades to our website clients soon. We are also using these galleries in the touch-screen kiosk we are building for Graceland Tattoo. The tattoos look nice and big and the interface is real slick. Posted a Veritas Irons Tattoo Machine interview on Tattoo Machines NOW... More and more artists are joining the tattoo machine forum there, check it out... Had fun at the last Off the Map tattoo appreciation party at hugos, and looking forward to the painting day with Nathan Kostechko is coming to Massachusetts on the 31st... Lots of artists are coming up for it, hope to see you there! What else, we are working on an Off the Map Tattoo video today, one that has no dates so we can keep it up forever! Luca Natalini is going to be here tomorrow slamming out the bad ass tattoos! Traffic keeps growing too, Off the Map Tattoo is attracting nearly 6,000 unique visitors a day now! Oh, I also got tattoo inspiration set up, so we are posting the tattoo of the day every day on TattooNOW. fun fun fun! ok, more soon, thanks again, dont forget to buy some websites, tattoos, and tickets to the paradise artist retreat! 

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Kiosks, Tattoo Machines NOW, Clients sites, and Del Mccoury...


 Well, Tattoo Machines NOW keep growing, tattoo artists and tattoo machine builders keep joining the new tattoo machine forum we are hosting. I'll keep tweaking the site, its becoming our ecommerce/community guinea pig, we will see how the traffic grows! Staying up late working pretty hard on a touchscreen kiosk for Graceland Tattoo in New York. Its very exciting to be working on "real" programming again. Tattoo websites are cool, and they get lots of traffic and new work for artists, but the kiosks have full screen video capabilities, full soundtracks, a large uncompressed photos, fun fun fun!!! I cut my teeth programming fun kiosks for big corperations, its awesome doing one for tattoo clients again. Back in the day Darkside Tattoo and Joe Capobianco had them, but they are a ton of work, so we dont have one for Off the Map and the others got to old... but will soon after we deliver Gracelands I hope! Im also thankful to the new programmers in training, we have at least 3 new tattoo websites going live this week... The next guest tattooer at Off the Map Tattoo is Nathan Kostechko, a massachusetts favorite. Jan 31st at 5PM we are hosting a painting night so if yer an artist come up and check it out, and bring along materials if you want to participate! Lastly, I know this guy has been around for a long long time, but I just discovered Del... Love em! 

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Vintage Tattoo Flash, Flash for Kiosks, Kelly doty website Launch, and tattoo machine interview with joe cap.


Sailor Jerry Tattoo FlashWorked on vintage tattoo flash.com a bit. Some real serious bites on some real nice pieces of vintage tattoo flash. I wish I had the extra dough to grab a few of the original Sailor Jerry flash sheets myself, I have a feeling they wont last much longer. We have a bunch of new programmers getting up to speed at TattooNOW to handle the workload, so the programming bottle neck is opening up a bit thanks to the new folks working hard. We still have about 10 to 15 websites in production at any given time, thanks everyone! This is giving me some time to research some new flash galleries and Im ready to interface it with the touch screen kiosks. Im moving the touchscreen to the office to play with this week, wo hoo! I also opened up the TattooNOW powered website list sidebar, so now will announce the latest website launched, as well as link to the entire TattooNOW network on the sidebar of every page on TattooNOW! Well, on the first 400 pages of every gallery for now, until I fix a bug... but thats a lot of new links to a lot of great websites that is easily accessible... I hope it encourages some of our website clients to update some more! I do wonder how it could have possibly taken this long to get that there, but lets just say we will get to everything on our checklist...

Kelly Doty ArtWe also launched our new Off the Map Tattoo's resident artist website, www.KellydotyTattoo.com and Im very happy with it. She has been picking up half sleeves and back pieces, so be on the lookout for some real nice tattoos from her in the future. Im very excited to have posted up Joe Capobianco's tattoo machine interview on Tattoo Machines NOW.  Yesterday we designed a website for Oleg, and man its awesome! Still fighting with the banner ad engine, but the tattoo shop is picking up nicely. thanks for all the folks who trust Off the Map Tattoo with their skins! Ok, back to the lists and lists...


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Paradise Artist Retreat, Websites, Vintage Flash, Upgrades, Oh boyo!


Well, I have this blog so Im gonna use it! We are finalizing plans for the Paradise Artist Retreat as we speak. Just about to sign the contract for the third weekend of September 2010. No tattooing, we're shooting for 200 artists expanding their vision and skills! Artwork, posters, and T-Shirts coming soon! Thanks to the artists chipping in to help take over some of the responsibilities! 

Im am also buried under a mountain of new tattoo websites, as well as upgrades to older websites and the server. Good news is we are testing a WYSIWYG news/blog engine so artists can easily add links and extra images to their news/blog items. We should have some more heavies blogging regularly!

We have some new blood at Off the Map Tattoo and the positive energy from the new artists and the focus and hard work of the new front room folks is awesome too. Just gotta get past December and we will be golden! 

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Tattoo Jam, cant wait!!

Last year I had the pleasure of attending and working the 1st Tattoo Jam, and I am very excited to be returning again this year with Marc Blanchard, an Off the Map Tattoo part timer. If you are a tattooer looking for a high traffic website on the other side of the pond, we can help! I will be answering any tattoo/geek questions people have at the Off the Map/TattooNOW/TattooGathering booth. While I am happy to be an American, where I have had the opportunity to make a little heaven for myself, traveling overseas has always been something I love doing... great for the brain perspective. Cant recommend traveling enough. Its exciting to be building tattoo relationships on the other side of the pond, and this will be the third convention in the UK so I can look forward to catching up with "old" friends and meeting some new ones I hope. On the way back I will be stopping off at the Roc City Tattoo Expo. I just found out about it last week, and the line is pretty awesome! So, We will be stopping off dropping off TattooNOW and Paradise Tattoo Gathering propaganda on Friday. In other news, the Paradise Tattoo Gathering is less than 2 months away so Im staying up late checking things off the 14 pages of checklists. This year is shaping up very nice, with the seminars booking up steadily. Sorry to say, Im very cranky. But I tell ya, all the badgering on the TattooNOW forums about how I should learn to tattoo cant hold a candle to how much putting this convention on makes me want to switch gears and learn to paint, but alas, until the three businesses are all stable at the same time - not an option. So for now I learn vicariously through the tattooers who are coming and taking part in making the event a success. Ok, back to the booklet design, and the signs, and the worker list (if you want to volunteer, contact us!), and the ... website sales... ack!

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a personal website

Why would I have one? To post thoughts, links, and other things I find of interest. After doing nearly a hundred websites for other people, here is mine. I hope you enjoy.

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