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Friday, April 15, 2016

Whole Foods Tattoos©

Oh, my friends know me so well. So they think. A few weeks ago, the media ran with a story about how Whole Foods was looking to open up tattoo parlors inside of their new chain of food stores for their free range organic hipster clients. Everyone thought it would be so funny to bury my social media under an avalanche of cross posts and links to all the articles, thinking, 'Oh ho! Let's watch Johnny blow a blood vessel, and tear these guys a new asshole,... tee hee!'

Well, that might have been the case in 2001, but we're in 2016, and I can't imagine there are any ways left to bend Tattooing over and find yet a new karma sutra position to fuck her in. Since I began down this inkstained path, I've seen our glorious industry turned out, whored, pimped, gang raped, drawn, quartered, her parts scattered to the four corners, and her defiled corpse set upon by every form of degenerate necrophiliac who'd find new ways to slice her open and make another new orifice to fuck.

Wikipedia lists a current roster of TWENTY FIVE tattoo television shows.

Forget Masterpiece Theater or National Geographic, what the world needs now is over two dozen reality shows about what's the best way to eulogize your dead cat. That's regularly scheduled seasons, not specials, documentaries, or event coverage either.

Not one of these shows are owned by a tattooist. They're all owned by the same people that own everything that you see, hear, read, or DON'T see, hear or read, depending on what they're either pushing or censoring, to make their stockholders happy. They own every TV station, radio station, movie company, book and magazine publishing company, news network, or other form of virtual media in the country. They're also owned or interlaced with megacorps like ExxonMobil or GE, corporations that profit off of our endless wars, or build things like the Fukishima nuclear reactor that's melting down and poisoning an entire ocean.

Megacorps are stealing a product they had no hand in creating, and use it to push their own revenues, all on the backs of the people that fought so had to make tattoo legal and safe. (Yes, kids, tattooing used to be illegal, and not that long ago. These shows are nothing more than Honey Boo Boo Tattoo, used to sell boner pills and mass produced piss beer. I can't imagine that the ratio between how much they make compared to how much they pay the artists isn't cataclysmic.

These are the people using their record breaking profits to saturate Washington with lobbyists, overturn every law we set up over the past century to prevent them from doing exactly what they're doing, monopolizing markets, owning everything, and making it legal for them to destroy our way of life. Why the fuck would any self conscious artist work for such vile scumbags? Tattooing is the American Dream incarnate, you own yourself, you travel the world, and you're paid like a shrink to doodle on people for your living. You're Horatio Alger's wet dream walking around on two legs! It's worth throwing that kind of independence and autonomy away for fifteen minutes of cable access fame? The days of Sailor Jerry Collins telling the people from Hawaii 5-0 to go fuck themselves are a distant memory.

I can't think of a single mainstream business that has not humped the leg of tattooing's idiosyncrasy. I've seen ads for mortgage companies where the contact is signed with a tattoo machine, auto companies with their new models of cars inside tattoo parlors getting tramp stamps, and an entire Google search of companies offering people who will get your ad tattooed on them. It's insane. This is the exact polar opposite of everything tattooing was supposed to stand for.

Tattooing ought to be a baseball bat to the face of the status quo, not sucking it's cock.

Was I the only fucking Bill Hicks fan on the planet? 

Or the Dead Kennedys?

Yet, tattoo professionals and the general public both love nothing more to reduce tattooing down to the same level as a Justin Bieber fan. They apply the same bullshit marketing tactics to this artform, that predates written language, that they do hemorrhoid creme. Tattoo websites clog their social media with click bait for cameltoe and MILFS that have nothing to do with tattooing whatsoever, becoming the Buzzfeed of the modified set. Magazines, that bragged in their premier issue about how none of their editorial staff had any tattoos, use the same Madison Avenue formula to piggy back their ad rags on the backs of artists who spend a lifetime mastering their craft. Artists take on sponsorships, hawking tattoo junk for people that never created a single tattoo, or contributed to the industry except to figure out how to use it for their own profits. And fuck, the shops with the $13 tattoos on Friday the 13th,... why go through the trouble of building a studio, when you're business strategy is pulled straight out of a flea market? Just go rent a booth between the guy selling stolen stereos and the fried butter stand.

It reminds me of all that cringe worthy Jesus junk you see when you travel through the Bible belt. Like the T shirts that read 'This blood's for you.' Really? 3500 years of theological discourse, and the best you can do is reduce a major world religion to a cheap imitation of a Budweiser ad campaign? Could there be a bigger discrepancy between the product and the sell? Yeah, there is, and it happens every time there's another season of catfighting TV stars.

I can't tell you how sick to death I am at the willingness to take this industry to the lowest common denominator. Aren't we supposed to be better than all of this? Are we artists, endowed with the power of creation to channel the universe into our canvas? Or are we just Mickey D employees throwing Happy Meals © out the drive thru window? Back in the late 80's, early 90's, Jonathan Shaw helmed the editorial run of International Tattoo Arts. He fought every issue to uphold the values and ethics of the industry, including a powerful stance against censorship, fighting to maintain the integrity of the artwork or the models who wore artwork across their bodies. But, apparently, none of those lofty ideals helped sell car insurance. Now our magazines are sanitized for our protection, breasts are pixelated and clothing Photoshopped back on, even on to the tattoos themselves. Shaw sold Fun City back in 2002, and moved on to authorship, but I can only imagine that he saw the writing on the wall, and wanted to escape the tidal wave of compromise and commercialization.

Sailor Jerry Collins was vehemently opposed the exploitation of the industry for precisely these reasons; because once it became marketable, any shill could come along and steal it from us, and rob of us of everything we've worked so hard to create. But instead of treasuring tattooing as something hard fought and won, tattooing gets left on a used car lot like a 75 Pinto hatchback.

Should anyone be surprised at all that Whole Foods wants to install tattoo studios next to their express aisles? They may be the only ones left in the entire country who hasn't had their dick inside tattooing. So, before you get so outraged that such an unthinkable prospect is now happening, stop and ask yourself how much you helped open that door.

In the meantime, Seppuku Tattoo will continue to tell every sleazy salesfuck where they can shove their Group On offers, or their tattoo gel sponsorships, or their TV audition invites, or whatever the next telemarketer is shoving down our throats. Although, if you drive by and see a big Whole Foods sign over the front door, that means we got tired of dancing the wrong way in the circle pit, and broke down for heath care and paid sick days.

This planet spins really fucking fast. Live hard, think for yourself, question everything, turn off your phone for five minutes, and be your own person.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Welcome to 2015!

Good God Almighty, how is half the year over already?

We have a host of announcements to make, some of which are way overdue, some have already come and gone. Per esempio, Johnny was a guest at Trilogy Tattoo in Virgina Beach in the month of May, working alongside industry legend Dave Lukeson.

• Last year, Johnny sat down with Keith Ciaramello of the Tattoo Mentor Podcast. If you missed it, you can check it out here.

• June 7th: Seppuku Tattoo welcomes guest artists Lu Tattoo from Lecce, Italy! Come by and say buon giorno, schedule an appointment for a tattoo, or swing by to give him a nickle tour of your city.

• June  17, 2015: This day will mark the fifth year being open at the Bloomingdale location, and the tenth anniversary of Seppuku Tattoo, which originally opened in Savannah on May 25, 2005. Plans are in the works for a commemorative T shirt give away, as well as a party, hopefully at a new joint scheduled to open directly around the corner from the studio, on the Hamburg Turnpike. More information will be announced as it happens!

• June 19-21: Seppuku Tattoo will be up in Canada at the Northern Ink Xposure Tattoo Convention. This is the convention's twenty fifth year, and it's an honor to be invited by Damian McGrath to participate. If you're planning on going, Johnny still has a few spots open, so feel free to contact him regarding appointments. The studio will be still be open, Jamison will be on hand with our staff of receptionists to help you with whatever you need.

• July 10 -12: Seppuku Tattoo will be attending the first annual Empire State Tattoo Expo at the NY Midtown Hilton in New York City. The United Ink people have assembled a hell of an all star line up of artists from every corner of the planet, as well as some of the greatest artists from New York City, and is going to be a hell of a show. Not to mention the location puts us three blocks south of Central park. Johnny hasn't tattooed in his hometown since the Roseland Ballroom in 2004, and is glad to be included such an impressive collection of his peers. If you're a long time collector of work from Seppuku Tattoo artists, this will be an excellent time to show off your work.

• August 14-16: The Wildwood Beach Bash in Wildwood, NJ. The studio is inquiring as to whether there are still open spots, but is interested in attending. A large number of Seppuku Ronin journeyed down in 2012, and brought back a lot of shiny things. We'll announce as soon as we are confirmed.

• Coming soon: This,...

After a thirty year long resume creating visual art in a number of different mediums and a host of career titles, Johny is adding one more to the list. Details T.B.A.

•September 20-27: Johnny will be out of the studio for the following event. Please schedule your appointments appropriately.

• The studio has been working to become more fully staffed, and currently has four artists on a rotating schedule, which means that we are welcoming walk ins at most times. Please contact the studio for more information. 

• We still have openings in the schedule and could fit in another part time artist, and are always open to guest spots from visiting artists. Let us know if you're interested. 

As always, domo arigato gozaimasu to all the Ronin for your loyalty and support of Seppuku Tattoo!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October Updates

Happy October Seppuku Ronin. We hope that you’re enjoying this amazing Indian Summer as much as we are, unless you try to go apple picking and sit in non stop traffic for hours at a time. Oh the joys of ‘country’ life,…! Serves me right for not just heading into Central Park. A few announcements about things happening at the studio,… 

• Halloween Tattoos
Yes, we will be revisiting our Halloween Tattoo Flash again this year. Same deal as last year, first come, first serve. Both Jamison and Johnny will be in the studio for the day.

• Guest Artist Jess Versus! October 21-22
The exceptionally versatile Brooklynite Jess Versus has established herself securely on the web, raking up numerous photo sessions published online. More importantly, she’s a seasoned tattoo artist, model and burlesque performer. Well known around her way, Jess has a killer personal style that is expressed in her tattoos, graphic design and illustrations. One need only visit one of her numerous online pages (including flickr & tumblr) to get an idea of what she’s about – but you can take it from us that she has a personality and style which reflect that fiery hair color.
Whether with tattoo machine or pen and paper, this talented young artist delivers. After completing her apprenticeship with Jon Clue, she developed her own style and approach to the tattoo art form. Her custom work is colorful and technical, whilst her range as an artist is impressively diverse. Everything from old school Americana to fantasy benefit from her unique approach at the Twelve 28 Tattoo where she works. When not working her booth at the Williamsburg tattoo shop, Jess can often be seen bombing around town on her purple Gran Royale ‘Lurker’. Chances are she’s either heading to work, on her way to a photo session or to a burlesque show, so don’t get in her way. If you want some personal time with this rising tattoo artist you’d best catch her during business hours to go over those design ideas.

• Randy Prause has been on the disabled list since mid August, when he sliced his fingers on broken glass and had to undergo reconstructive surgery. He has been in physical therapy and recovering as quickly as can be expected. Due to our busy schedule, he is taking appointments for his return and advises clients interested in getting the best dates to book early. Contact Randy directly for information on his timeline.

Domo arigato gozaimasu to all the dedicated ronin for your love and support. Ja mata!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tattoo Mentor Podcast


Oyaho gozaimasu Seppuku Ronin!

Again, I apologize for the lack of blogging. In my defense, I did work fifty eight out of the sixty days that was March and April. Deciding to simply switch over the existing business from a single owner from a partnership turned out to be much more complicated than if I had simply terminated everything and started over from scratch. And thank you for keep the whole studio busy. We appreciate your support and try to always remember that we'd be looking pretty silly tattooing without any skins.

I have a lot of irons in the fire, and we will be announcing plans for conventions, guest spots, travel and special events. We've recreated the website, again, because damn the Internets for not completely changing formats more often than some people change status updates.

Here is a podcast that I was invited on with Keith Ciaramello. Loyal retainers to the Seppuku shogunate will remember Keith as host in the all star Paint Jam at his former not so hurricane proof studio in Baldwin, NY. And no, he STILL hasn't finished his painting from that event either. But take a listen. And then jump off to Keith's page and subscribe, his podcast features some of the coolest people currently in the tattoo industry. 

Friday, February 28, 2014


Ohayo gozaimasu Seppuku Ronin-sama!

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 1st, we have the honor of hosting guest artist Amanda 'Ace' Allen of Tribeca Ink in New York City. Ace is a long time friend of the studio, and has been tattooing and traveling to conventions coast to coast for years. This short notice is due to the fact that Johnny will be out, attending a memorial service for a dear friend and mentor who helped shape him into the artist he is today. Ali Chin Chin has scaled back her schedule to part time, and new resident artist Randy Prause is still getting acclimated from his old digs.

We will have all the proper announcements when the deck chairs are all reshuffled,... it takes us analog artists a bit longer to get things set online. But we just wanted to let everyone know that you can get a walk in or a killer piece from Ace tomorrow!!/TribecaInk

Domo arigato gozaimasu!

Monday, October 21, 2013


Seppuku ronin know how obsessed we are with Halloween and all things horror related. In the past we've set aside October 31st as a day where we gave away free Halloween tattoos, each artist picking a single winner based on the best tattoo idea. We are going to do thing a little differently this year, as this will be our last year with Matt Lukesh, and his schedule being completely booked between now and the end of the year. 

This year, I have set aside all Halloween Day for walk ins, and will do any piece off of these three flash sheets I've compiled for our minimum set up charge, which everyone knows is $50. I'm willing to spend anywhere from one to three hours on each piece, a value of between $150 to $450. I may be talked into doing something not on the sheets, but only if its as cool or cooler than the pieces assembled here. 

Anyone asking for lettering, quotes, or names to be added to the tattoo during this offer with be disposed of mimicking every death in every Friday the 13th movie all at the same time. 

Thanks for all of your continued support, and have a great Halloween season. 

Johnny Thief

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Seppuku Tattoo wants YOU!

Ohayo gozaimasu Seppuku Ronin! I apologize for the lack of blogging, but the studio has been consistently slammed. We have been to two Hell City Conventions, a weekend of tattoo seminars, a paint jam at Off The Map, Ali was in Switzerland getting tattooed by Filip Leu, and a host of other events that have kept us all spinning and jet lagged.

I'm bumping my blogs about lettering tattoos and tattoo TV shows, give them a read.

After a very successful partnership spanning three studios over eight years, Seppuku Tattoo is saying goodbye to Matthew Lukesh at the end of this year. Matt is relocating to Iowa, specifically the Platinum Rose Tattoo Gallery, owned by the extremely talented and handsome Josh Fields. 

In early 2012 we were on a search for new talent which netted us one Ali Chin Chin, and we wrote this blog citing what it was we were looking for.

Matt has some pretty big shoes to fill, so we will be looking at a lot of people. Let me take a few minutes to give you a run down of Seppuku Tattoo, and why it would make a great home for another world class artist or two.

Seppuku began in 2005 and is in its eighth year. We build a new studio in Savannah, Georgia, in an attempt to open in a city that hadn't yet been over run by shops, and also to honor our non compete contracts. Almost immediately we started traveling, attending events and winning awards. Johnny took off to attend the CMJ Music Festival, where he was a guest of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame the very first week we opened our doors. The first month we were open, we crashed the Prick Magazine Tattoo Party at the Jinx in Savannah, and Johnny took the shop's first award for Best Small Color. The Savannah shop was set up as a gallery, and hosted a series of art shows that included Jeral Tidwell, Johnny Crap, Rob Schwager, Brian Morris, Jason Goad, author Paul Grushkin, Brian Ewing, Stainboy, Jason Cooper, and of course Jeff Wood. Now free from being dictated to by our former owners, we expanded our art, began studying painting techniques again, and incorporating fine art theory into the tattooing. Matt's paintings transformed dramatically. They had formerly been based on tattoo flash styled imagery, and shot forward into proper fine art. Matt's tattoos likewise took giant leaps forward, especially being able to experiment in way we had been forbidden to do before. For example, we were never allowed to tattoo color portraits. Now Matt is known internationally for his brand of realism, having clients travel from as far away as Amsterdam. Not to be outdone, Johnny found himself being asked to paint the cover of Skin & Ink Magazine in December 2009. We would be onstage painting in the Wet Paint Projects at Hell City and at the Mad Hatter's conventions, and at closed door all day Paint Jams at Keith Ciaramello's Kustom Kulture Gallery.

Seppuku worked hard to be included in the very ethnocentric Savannah society. We hosted a number of late night fetish balls and sponsored a number of live concerts. We were at the Trustee's Theatre with Paul Grushkin as he presented his coffee table sized tour de force, 'The Art of Modern Rock', to an audience of hundreds. We held a poster show with a number of the book's artists at the Jinx. The studio participated in art shows in Charleston, including a number of poster shows, and the Munny Show. We held book signings, participated in art shows, and Johnny even performed a Halloween wedding at the studio. For all our efforts, and how well received each event was, we felt that Savannah was just not for us, and we moved home after a five year run.

Seppuku attended a number of conventions, particularly proud to be invited to the ones run by our peers, like Durb Morrison's Hell City Tattoo Expos, and Billy Easton's Richmond Tattoo Convention. Normally we are the kind of people that scoff at awards, but on the other hand, it is fun to take an award from a show surrounded by so many peers. Or taking nearly every award, like we did at the Savannah Harley Davidson Haunted Coast Run. We also received a sizable amount of attention from the magazines, notably Skin & Ink, International Tattoo Arts, Tattoo Society, Tattoo Energy, Tattoo Savage, Tattoo Revue, all the Outlaw Biker publications, and a number of Best Of issues. Matt is published in books from the Publishers of Bizarre Magazine, including 'The World's Most Incredible Tattoos'. Both Johnny and Matt appear in 'Cranial Visions', and other artist compilation books. Johnny and Matt also are quoted in Chris Dingwell's book, 'Inside Out'. Johnny's introduction to the book is actually cited by a number of book reviews. 

Johnny continued to move in his former worlds, attending a number of events as a poster artist for Drowning Creek studios. In addition to the Rock Hall Show in Cleveland, he also attended the TRPS Festival in Golden Gate State Park in 2008, and Stainboy Reinel's book signing and poster show in Orlando, The Living Dead Dolls Show in NYC, and a CBGB's Benefit Art Show just prior to their closing. He's been published in a stack of books about rock art, has artwork that appears in Guitar Hero 3, had a poster turned into a DVD for the All American Rejects, and created a poster for Hot Topic's GH promotions. His first paying writing gig was for an article on the release of the 'Art of Modern Rock' book. Johnny is sent photos of people tattooing his posters on them from as far away as South Africa. 

Seppuku has had the honor of hosting great guest artists, including Josh Fields, Dee Dee Seruga, and the aforementioned Chris Dingwell. We've had a number of tattooists & poster artists travel to receive work from us. We also hosted the multi talented Dingwell teaching his 'Painting Without Fear' seminar at the studio for a closed door all day event. Each Seppuku artist is dedicated to getting work from great tattooists as part of the learning process. Some of the artists we've collected from include Filip Leu, Horiyoshi 3, Bugs, Jeff Gogue, Paul Booth, Sean Herman, Josh Duffy, Nick Baxter, Joe Capobianco, Chris O'Donnell, Tomo, Josh Fields, and Ivana Belakova. Ali and Johnny are committed to traveling overseas to continue their collections. 

Seppuku is in Bloomingdale, NJ. We chose the locale for two main reasons; legality, as its still illegal to tattoo in portions of NJ, and the fact that's its not near anyone else, almost an impossibility in this day and age. Although in a sleepy town in the hills, we're right off several main highways, and only 30 minutes outside of NYC. We enjoy being able to attend art shows, gallery openings, conventions, seminars, as well as everything else New York offers, but come home to lakes, rivers, and great hiking. 

In the future, we plan on continuing as we always have, creating great art in all mediums, and creating a great space to get tattooed in. We plan on doing more things outside our doors, as our space isn't quite the art gallery the old joint was. We plan on continuing traveling, both as tourists, collectors, and as tattooists. We will continue to abide by the bushi code of honor, loyalty and trust. We will be enemies of the status quo and killers of mediocrity. We have great plans for the studio, and great plans require great artists. 

If you're tired of walking the demon road of meifumado as an assassin for hire, there can be no better place to call home than Seppuku Tattoo. All qualified ronin, please contact Johnny Thief at Domo arigato gozaimasu!