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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.


  1. great post. I particularly like that you point out that media is controlled. '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"

  2. Wow tattoo designs are really attractive and unique...i was looking for Best Bali Tattoo Studios for such type of tattoo designs.

  3. Wow tattoo designs are really attractive and unique...i was looking for Best Bali Tattoo Studios for such type of tattoo designs.

  4. Very interesting post.
    You should write more and share more tattoo designs.

    Jane @ Beauty Salon Mullingar