Mondial du Tatouage 2013

Fortune will be visiting Paris during the spring for Tin-Tin's World of Tattooing 2013.  

Here's a sweet trailer for the show.

In 1999, Jennifer Billig and I worked together at Tin-Tin's first Tattoo Du Monde.

I was flying under the Outer Limits banner  at this time.

What do I recall from this first experience? Walking through the Charles du Gaulle airport with bubbles coming off my boots. I had been thrown into the pool by some of my tattoo gal pals in Florida at a poolside party just before I left for Europe. Being ridden around the city on the back of Bruno's 55 BSA. Buying flowers at the market for our booth with Jennifer after enjoying our morning continental breakfast. Coming out of a drunken stupor to find myself surrounded by real vampyres. Thankful P.M. was there to pull me out of that spell. Realizing if I hadn't left when I did, I never would have been able to. Rummaging through the flea market with Seth and some pals on the look out for brass thing-a-mick-gigers and special souvenirs. Every night we had a bottle of champagne delivered to our booth. Spitting off the Eiffel Tower and having half of it flip back into my face. Having Tin-Tin make me look at Robert Hernandez's portfolio. Robert was up and coming then and had not reached the U.S. yet with his talent. I was blown away and couldn't wait to tell everyone at home about this phenomenal artist and what he was doing with his tattoos and paintings. The venue music was picked by artist's for the artist's pleasure.

This was the first time I had experienced a promoter working hard to make not only the public but the artist's experience worth the while.

We were entirely spoiled to great dinners by some of the finest chefs in Paris, and had carte blanche to all the after hours clubs.

I stayed up with the late night creeps til' the wee hours of the morning and made it back to my room in time to join the sober folk to see all the sights I could.

I learned from this experience to take in everything.

Sleep? There would be time for that when back on the plane headed for home.

All these years later, I am excited to seeing how Tin-Tin will top himself this time around.

Much love and respect.



Deities from Los Angeles

This year 2013 began with my working on Tomoko and Charles from LA.tomoko#greentara#ms.mikki They came up for the holidays, to visit some family in Washington and spend some time with us here in Portland. I had started a version of Green Tara on Tomoko earlier this year and still had a ways to go on Charles' back. We were able to ring in the eve of 2013 by spending the day working on their pieces at Fortune.

Tomoko, and our friend Sandy and I used to be house mates in Los Angeles in the nineties. We had two houses on one lot in Los Feliz. Toonerville territory back then. I loved that little house. We made some epic history while living there. During this time, my friend Erika came and stayed with me for a bit while she refocused  her self and began fulfilling her future dreams. Somewhere in between here and there, Erika manifested a beautiful rendition of Quan Yin on Tomoko's back.

In an alternate reality, I met Charles a few years later down the road. Upon developing our friendship over the course of a few years and many miles covered on road trips with our bikes, we began his Mahakala back piece here in Portland. I had assumed Tomoko and Charles knew each other since we share so many mutual friends. Our friend Sandy and Erika being among them.

Reflecting now, on how many times we were at the same shows together, or at parties in various cities. It is truly bizarre they had not been introduced already. Then on one shameless LA night, Sandy invited the both of them to an art exhibit where they finally met formally. A few months later at one of Erika's memorable anniversary parties celebrating the success of her tattoo shop they became an official couple. I love these small world synchronicities. It seems love flickered its tender flame towards their hearts and left a lasting impression. I am happy to say, they are a loving, healthy, considerate couple that I am grateful to have as friends. These two ships had passed each other on so many nights and in the same waters of life in Los Angeles without ever making contact. It took some Deities to bring the lamp of love to show them the way. Many blessings to the both of them on this wondrous union. *Update. They became officially engaged in Paris this past April. Woot.

Before September 2011

Where to begin. Summer here in Portland crept in late and seems to be creeping out just as it came in. Without a bang. In the beginning of August, I joined Lisa Schmoldt  in Seattle for the 10th anniversary show there at the expo. I was pleasantly surprised. I really like that show. I had not been there since the National show where they roasted Ed Hardy a few years back. And before that, was when Dennis Dwyer had his show there. That was one of the last times I saw Eric Hogan alive. He was toting his son Dixon around on his shoulder looking as happy as ever. I had also tattooed Danny Dringenberg's hand in our hotel room that weekend. It was a cover up on top of a cover up on top of a cover up. O joy. The funny part, was when we started, he wipes his brow and tells me he just ate an eighth of mushshrooms. I remember laughing and telling him, "ok, here we go, I'm right in there with you buddy". Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be writing about the recent past. Ok, well the Seattle show was terrific. I will definitely be back next year. Between all the work, the parties, art shows and the yummy dinners, my favorite memory was at the end of the show. Under the Needle fed us an amazing meal and then had the party buses scoop us up and take us to The Stables. I love that place. The cross made of flies, really ate at my brain for a week or so, and  creeped me out thinking about it on my drive home that night.  My friend Matt Howse was here holding down the fort with the rest of the Fortune crew. I was excited to get back  to Portland to have some quality time with Matt before he bounced back to SF. I was able to persuade him in taking a ride out to our replica of stonehenge out off the 84hwy nears Biggs Oregon on one of our days off. We rode about 230 miles that day. Just a juant. Along the way, we took him past Crown Point and down the historic hwy to see all the falls. It was a beautiful day and I am so happy to have shared that experience with him. The next day, we took him down the Clackamas river on tubes. Its about a three to five hour trip. Depending on how often you stop to hang and watch people float by. Weve been able to go about five times this year on our days off. I love it. It reminds me to take a minute and enjoy the simple beauties in life. Cheap fun worth the effort. Matt made some pretty at the shop. I am really stoked to have had him here for the week, he is one of my favorite people on the planet. Crammed to the gillet with talent and integrity. I look forward to having him here next year. I love having our guest artist friends come hang and add to the creative buzz we have going on. The shop has been running smoothly. I am so grateful to all our clients for letting us make such awesome tattoos on them. Many of the most recent tattoos have challenged me to push forward and to take a step out of my comfort zones. I love feeling like even after all these years, there is still so much to learn. Anyhow, thought I'd update you with our shenanigans. Take it easy. M

The end of July

Hello there. Here we are at the end of July already.

A whirlwind of events have taken place over the past month. I can not account for all of it. So here are some high-lights.

At the beginning of July we had Lisa Schmoldt here from Florida. She had started her west coast tour in Long Beach California in the beginning of June. She went there to hang with the pirates and the mermaids, at the tattoo show being held down there on the Queen Mary. She then migrated north to Eugene Oregon to hang out at Fairie Worlds for a weekend of flittering and mead drinking. When she finally arrived in Portland, she was covered in glitter and fairie dust. She spoke with the air of a cantankerous salty sailor that had spent a long while with the argh's, e's and the bargh's. We swooped her up fast. Got her geared up properly and planted her butt on the back of my bike for some Portland adventures.  She made fast time in making friends with our biker pals. Mind you she is a polite, fairie loving tattooed lady...that can out talk the knarliest of the bunch. By the time we were done with her, or may I say she was done with us...the glitter had long fallen off in a pair of fingerless rubber gloves. We loved having her here and look forward to next year's adventures.

Danny Boy was supposed to come up for a visit from SF and ended up canceling his trip because his mom who is a saint of sorts, when it comes to taking care of herself. Got diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. So he stayed to pull together a benefit to help raise some money to help her with living expenses. I pray for them everyday. Its quite an eye opener of how precious we all are and how even the healthiest of us, can be prey to disease. If you would like to donate please contact Danny. I believe there is a paypall account set up for the cause.

We had the legendary Madame Vyvyn Lazonga come down from Seattle to spend some quality time with us at Fortune. Vyvyn is a treasure trove of tattoo stories and tattoo experience. She arrived in Portland and without hesitation, geared up in my old Langlitz and boots. Fitted with a helmet and gloves, she jumped on my bike and showed me she was no novice to riding. We rode to Toro Bravo to meet up with our friends from AWR who were celebrating Jeff Groci's, from Seventh Son, last night in Portland. We ate our hearts fill from the chef's pick. It was a fine dinner to welcome such a wonderful woman to Portland and say "til' next time" to Jeff. Over the five days Vyvyn was here, we spoke alot about how the women of the tattoo industry have had little to any opportunity handed to them. Not that "our kind" wants anything without working hard for it. It was interesting to discuss this topic with Vyvyn and see that it has been going on her entire, almost forty years, career. I had thought when the old timers died off, the men's club attitude would go to the grave with them. Instead, those old boots, so to speak,  got filled with less talented, less interesting, more egotisical self promoters, who seem to think throwing in a token lady tattooer suffices to including us in the game. In Vyvyn and my dicussion, we both agreed, we dont want a men's club vs. a woman's club. We would like to see more of an effort to reward the solid women tattooers that made a difference in the industry. Shoulder to shoulder with the men folk, hands down past gender, reward them for the works they have done. To quote Vyvyn, " in the past women, in the writer's industry, had to take on sudo-names, to be acknowledged.  Men seem to organize better, be more motivated to self promote and are more clan like in nature". We would like those women that have participated in making a change be recognized and included. That's all. I recently saw a top twenty five list of tattooers, that were of inspiration to some of my friends in the industry. What hit me, was most of all the tattooers listed were men. Some of which had learned their technique, style from women, that they had worked for or under. Which is not mentioned. If I were to make a top twenty five list of tattooers that have inspired me as a tattooer. There are nearly as many women on my list as men. Not sure what that says about me, other than perhaps, I dont mind admitting, where I get my inspiration. Maybe knowing where certain techniques orginated from and by whom, gives me a different perspective, who knows. What came about from our talks, was that in the end. We have to do it ourselves. Seems no one is going to share the pie unless we jump in and take some for ourselves. And no, having a tv show that depicts that it takes longer to put on my lipstick than to draw a backpiece is not a piece of the pie. My problem with the current situation is, this is history being made. History, that people ten years from now, will think is fact. When in reality, most of the publications to date, have been nothing short of a circle jerk of people, social clicks that have had the means to publish their voices and their works. Regurgitating the same iconic imagery and stroking themselves for re-inventing the wheel. These are some of the same people that have  supported  the social ladder climbers, and the user friendly douchebags that get a quick taste of fame without it being due. These people tend to have ego's out fitting their talent. They are abusive, undeserving and need to step to the back of the line. Come on folks. Support those that have a body of work, that have stories to share from real life experiences. People that positivily touched others and made a dent, if not a canyon, of growth for all of us. In fine perspective, more people should know Vyvyn. She paved the way for those that run the course. She is still working hard, everyday. She like a few others, sacrificed everything for this art. She is still pushing her limits, challenging herself and keeping up with the times. Vyvyn did a live broadcast with Bob Baxter while she was here. We had dicussed speaking about this topic during the interview. I wish she would have. Maybe next time the opportunity arises. I hope you will keep Vyvyn in your scopes and keep updated with her accomplishments. There is so much to learn from this kind woman of our business. She is the real deal. Vyvyn ended her stay here in Portland celebrating Mary Jane's thirtieth tattoo birthday at Oaks Park. Mary Jane is another force to be reconed with in our industry. You should know who she is and her colorful history in tattooing.

Finally, yesterday, we celebrated at the FFMC clubhouse to raise money for a little girl that needs support from the community. There was a great turn out and the battle of the bands was epic. Lots of bikes. Lots of good food. Lots of good people coming together for a great cause.

Til' next time, M

Tattooed ladies make it to Portland

These beautiful tattooed ladies flew up from Oakland, California to Seattle, to join some other pals. They rented a car and drove down to Portland, Oct. 1 to sit the day with us. We had started Zulma's peacock half sleeve down at SkullandSword in SF over a year ago. It was nice to get back in and put some color down for her. Something new to look at for the next couple months, til we can sit together again. Dani has been here a couple times since weve opened the shop. Yesterday we added the line work for the inside of her left sleeve, and added some more color to blend the old and the new piece together. Next session will be to either color the inside or lay out the lower part of the sleeve. After our tattoo session, the grrrls followed us over to the Heavy Metal Heart Show at Nemo. That was a great turn out. I was so stoked to see Molly Quan's beautiful work. Nice to see some old friends on the walls as well. After the run through the show we blasted over to Namaste to enjoy the musical genius of the Advisory. The grrrls kept stride, even after being tattooed all day. Til' next time. Love and light. Safe travels, ladies.

Tattooed lady rides to Portland

Miss Monique has put on over 5000 miles on her Triumph in 13days. She rode up from Northern California a couple of days ago to have some tattoos added to her exisiting belt collection. I'm so stoked on meeting this young tattooed lady. After sitting for a day session, 6 hours, she hopped back on her bike and joined us for a little "putt" around town. We ended the night by taking her to Kelly's Olympian to hear some local talent. We wish her safe travels. Til' next time. Keep riding and a rolling and collecting them tattoos.