Thursday, March 12, 2009

Get Inked With KISS

For years, a disgrace has been embedded in body art as ink is in the skin. Perhaps that attitude was perpetuated by the fact that traditionally, tattooed people tended to be somewhat on the fringes of society, and have occupations that were not exactly mainstream and a little mysterious-like pirates, sailors, Japanese warriors, and gypsies. It gave body art a rather romantic, outlaw reputation.

Today, tattoos have become something of normality with the likes of movie stars and rock stars jumping on the bandwagon to get inked. The general public's fascination with celebrities gives them the power to give a voice to their cause, and influence our culture. More and more stars are making appearances with their tattoos hanging out and showing them off on the red carpet, giving their admiring fans one more reason to run out and get inked.

For better or worse, it's the idea of symbolism that draws people to tattooing. People commonly seek designs that celebrate or commemorate significant events in their lives, such as the birth of a new baby or the passing of a loved one. Some people choose a symbol of an immense accomplishment, like surviving cancer or serving time in the armed forces.

We obviously have come a long, long way in the ability to articulate self expression, making getting a tattoo more and more acceptable in today’s society. Getting a tattoo is a way to display art that is deeply meaningful to the owner. It has become ok to ask someone what their tattoo stands for. In fact they wouldn't have it so prominently displayed if they didn't want you to notice it.

Tattoos have become iconic symbols of design. What better way for me to be able to incorporate my love for the art and tattooing than to combine it with our upcoming entertainment release- KISS Ikons.

KISS wanted to be different than other bands of their time- more theatrical, odd, and shocking-something to remember. They knew they didn’t want to go onstage looking like your “Average Joe” band in shirts and jeans. That is when they began experimenting with make-up, with small amounts of black, white and silver. The here-and-there on the face paint jobs eventually evolved into full-face designs.

It was these full-face designs that inspired me to draw four different tattoos, one for each band member of KISS- the Starchild, the Demon, the Spaceman, and the Catman. Thousands of designs are out there for people to choose from, with styles of tattooing ranging from your traditional Irezumi (Japanese tattooing) to the “Old School” sailor tattoos of sparrows, hearts and anchors. Incorporating the uniqueness of each band members’ iconic face paint with these traditional forms of tattoo design, I created four unique member specific tattoos that are sure to drive KISS fans wild.

KISS Ikons hits store shelves in mid-April, and my four unique tattoo designs (along with 14 other classic KISS tattoos) will be available in Target, Wal-Mart, and your local hobby shop. Here is a preview of my designs.
The Catman

The Spaceman

The Starchild

The Demon

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Perfect Saturday

This past weekend featured the perfect Saturday. It was pouring rain (and would continue to do so all day long) when I headed out to the gym bright and early for my daily workout. But I didn’t linger around when I was finished because I had a better place to be on this rainy Saturday. Where you ask? There was a trading card show in our town this past weekend and I couldn’t wait to get there…

I showed up armed with my various lists of cards needed to finish sets I was working on. Everything from my 1965 Topps Baseball set, to singles of my favorite team (NY Yankees) and odd ball stuff in between…The show provided the perfect sanctuary from the deluge outside. As I walked the floor my spirit was restored as I remembered exactly why I love this hobby so much. Despite the fact that this was a relatively small regional show there still were all kinds of things to check out. Graded packs caught my eye immediately…I couldn’t remember the last time I saw an unopened pack of McHale’s Navy cards but I had some of those cards as a very young kid…

My buddy and co-worker Tom Farrell is one of my favorite people to attend a show with. The dude finds the craziest stuff on the floor. And the best part is his “presentation” of the most unique cards he has found. Tom loves to collect “world leader” and “explorer” cards. His big find this weekend was a 1952 Leif Ericson card. Not to be mistaken for Leif Garrett mind you... TF also scored a sweet 1969 Tom Day Topps football card which is quite simply a photo of a guy who seems happy with his place in life at that time. Not to mention he was a San Diego Super Charger and is wearing the sweet powder blue duds of that era.

I found some great ‘65s for my set (including a Lou Brock SP) as well as some other things (2007 Topps Heritage Baseball Derek Jeter SPs). But the best part was talking to people I’ve known in this industry for a long time. Guys and Gals who spend lots of weekends working shows making it possible for people like me to get a chance to pursue my passion. A person can get lost at a trading card show and I don’t mean physically…there is something to be said for memories, both old and new. And on this past Saturday I said hello to a few old cardboard friends (including a 1969 Horace Clarke card just like the one I once drew a mustache on) while meeting some new ones as I cracked open a few packs of the brand new 2009 baseball releases.

It was the perfect Saturday.