“A historical object of anthropological, ethnological and sociological studies, tattooing is currently the object of popular and media curiosity as well as an object of consumption for advertising and fashion that exploit and use its specific imagery to sell other messages. The Academic History of art from which we come from in Europe has banned popular art to earn a respectability only granted to what is commonly called "The Great Art". Two issues - a non-commoditized support and a work thought by two persons - that ended up to definitively denying tattooing from any artistic rhetoric. Besides this difficulty of acceptance and discernment, tattooing has always been independent and at the heart of the three main pillars of the artistic gesture: subject, composition, technique - constituting over time a specific iconography defining its own classics. Thus, the more open prominence taking place today around the tattoo has to take into account an artistic history constituted of fundamentals, classics, initiators and heirs that have not been waiting for the spirit of the times to exist. The Tattoo Art collection fits in this evidence: a presentation of the different active generations and the founding artists who are impossible to ignore today as historical significance; a proposal of strong and original works in the current landscape. We wish to establish a first anchor point toward the art collectors and the world of the art market.” Anne & Julien
Mike Rubendall is back this Tuesday, August 4th at 10:00pm for his 3rd appearance on Spikes Ink Master as a Guest Judge. Watch Mike critique the contestants work as they continue to battle for the title of Season 6 Ink Master. This time around Mike will be stepping out from behind the judges panel to get more involved in this week’s "Ink Challenge". Hopefully the contestants are prepared to step up their game as they face one of their toughest challenges this season. Up until this point competing amongst each other has proven to be tough enough; but in this episode they’ll be competing against more than just themselves! Tune in to see what unfolds.
Keep an eye on this season for some more surprises from the Kings Ave team in future episodes!!!
We are 3 weeks away from the most anticipated tattoo convention on the East Coast (Pagoda City Tattoo Festival); sponsored by Shirts and Destroy & Eternal Ink. Organizers Justin Weatherholtz (Kings Ave) & Joe Johns (Wizard’s World) will have the convention jam-packed with the best artists from around the world. This is your opportunity to get tattooed by someone you may have otherwise had to travel around the world to see. Mike Rubendall and the entire Kings Avenue Tattoo Crew will be in attendance along with Tim Hendricks, Black Heart Tattoo (San Francisco), Inksmith & Rogers, Three Tides Tattoo, BJ Betts, the Red Letter 1 crew, State of Grace and many more…
Seminars by Ahren Bloomquist, Jime Litwalk & Joe Capobianco, Bob Tyrrell, and others will be going on all weekend. Tattoo Elite International, Harley Davidson, True Black and Deer Jerk will be back selling merchandise this year in case you’re looking for something other than a tattoo to bring home with you.
The convention will be held August 7th, 8th and 9th at the Crowne Plaza in Wyomissing, PA (just outside of Reading).
From more information check out Pagodacitytattoofest.com or follow them on Instagram @pagodacitytattoofest.
Ed Hardy’s return to the Bowery proved to be as historical as anticipated. Artists from all over the world came to hear Ed talk about tattooing both in past and present, his take on his own work and thought process when creating both paintings and tattoos. One could really feel the vibe all weekend and you knew you were a part of something so much bigger than just an art exhibit and lecture; you were a part of history. Ed’s new paintings and stencils from past tattoos were inspiring to say the least. Everyone took something away from the weekend, whether it was something physical like a painting, stencil, a tattoo from Ed’s Flash or a feeling that the creative process is something that will and can continue forever. Ed continues to influence both the tattoo and fine art world still to this day.
On day two, Ruth Marten and Michael McCabe accompanied Ed to discuss the history of tattooing in New York. McCabe led a Q&A in which Ruth and Ed talked about their experience’s with NYC tattooing. They painted a clear picture of what it was like to work in the Tattoo Industry when tattooing was still completely underground. They spoke of the likes of Mike Malone, Sailor Jerry, Thom DeVita and Tony Polito (who attended the lecture) amongst others.
Whether you’re an Artist, collector or a fan, the weekend was well worth attending and truly inspiring to everyone there. A weekend where you were surrounded by some the best artists in the country, both past and present and the energy was something you can’t describe. Kings Avenue is extremely humbled and grateful for the opportunity to have hosted this event and would like to thank everyone who had a part in organizing the event. We`re looking forward to the possibility of another event like this.
To see the full lecture please visit Mike Rubendall’s Youtube page (Link Below).
We're two days out from Ed Hardy's visit to Kings Avenue. Even if you weren't able to get a ticket to one of Ed's talks, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet him, see his work, and learn about the history of tattooing in New York City. Our Bowery shop will be open during regular hours all weekend. (12-9 on Friday, 1-9 on Saturday, and 1-7 on Sunday.) Ed's artwork—everything from his 1950s "kiddie flash" to paintings he finished in Honolulu just a couple months ago—will be on display the whole time. This incredible, never-before-exhibited body of work will be open to the public, and admission is totally free. We really hope you can come down and take a look. Here's a series of paintings from 1995:
Ed himself will be at the shop on Friday from 4-7pm, Selling and signing copies of "'Lew the Jew' Alberts: Early 20th Century Tattoo Drawings" , the most recent Hardy Marks release. It's beautiful large-format archive of rare, precious flash drawn by Albert Kurzman (better know to his contemporaries as Lew Alberts or Lew the Jew.) Here he is outside Charlie Wagner's shop:
Lew grew up in Newark, NJ, and worked on the Bowery during the early decades of the 20th century, and was one of the first artists to make and use the electric tattoo machine, in addition to marketing and selling ready-made flash. It's this flash that's featured in the book, sprinkled with notes to his friends and correspondents, CJ Eddy and Brooklyn Joe Lieber.
Ed will be accompanied at the book signing by Michael McCabe, who wrote the amazing "New York City Tattoo: Oral History of an Urban Art", which Hardy Marks released in 1997, and Ruth Marten, an artist and illustrator who tattooed here in New York during the 70s.
We're also going to be hosting several artists from Tattoo City, including Mary Joy and Doug Hardy, who will be tattooing walk-ins using Ed's Kiddie flash:
Can you believe this stuff? The originals of these drawings will be on display at the shop all weekend! These have never been shown publicly before. The show is going to be a really historic one, and there is so much to see and learn. We hope you can come down.
Donald Edward Talbott Hardy is the best-known and most influential living tattoo artist. Born in 1945 and raised in Southern California, Hardy was a prolific artist from an early age, and discovered tattooing through a childhood friend’s father at age 10. Fascinated by the bold, bombastic images, he began applying “kiddie flash” to the neighborhood children using water-soluble colored pencil, and sought out local tattooers for inspiration.
Upon completing a degree in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967, Hardy declined a graduate fellowship at Yale University and instead took up tattooing, marking the beginning of a career that would slowly and significantly transform the ancient art’s formal and sociological aspects.
He began his career tattooing traditional designs on a steady string of sailors and novelty-seekers at shops in Vancouver and San Diego. In 1969, he met Sailor Jerry Collins, a venerable Honolulu, HI-based tattooer who was then nearing the end of his career. An avid communicator, Collins shared Hardy’s desire to spread knowledge, ideas, and designs among fellow artists, and to expand the limited scope of the marginalized art form.
Thanks to Collins’s rare connections with a number of Japanese tattooers, Hardy spent five months in Gifu City in 1973, working alongside Kazuo Oguri (Horihide), where he was the first Westerner to tattoo in the clandestine Japanese environment. In the Japanese tradtion, the entire body would serve as a canvas for a single, sprawling, narrative design, and took a very different shape from the contained, piecemeal Western style.
Back in San Francisco, he opened Realistic Tattoo Studio, a small, appointment- only shop modeled after the private parlors of Japan—the first of its kind in the United States—where he tattooed only original designs that incorporated the Japanese approach to scale. In 1977, he opened Tattoo City, which brought the highly recognizable, East Los Angeles-bred Chicano style—characterized by extraordinarily fine, exclusively black and gray line-work—to San Francisco. (The shop was destroyed by a fire the following year, but re-opened in 1991.)
In 1982, he founded Hardy Marks, a publishing imprint devoted to documenting alternative art—primarily the tattoo creations of Hardy’s peers and forebears. In additions to volumes on the iconic Sailor Jerry Collins and the Victorian-era tattooer Ben Corday, he published Tattootime, a ground-breaking magazine published in five installments from 1982 to 1991.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, he continued to make artwork and tattoo, blending concepts from both worlds, and began to achieve recognition from the art world. In 1995, he participated in and published the catalog for the Drawing Center’s “Pierced Hearts & True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos,” a seminal and wildly popular show. In 2005, approaching the fifth decade of his career, Hardy licensed over a thousand of his designs to Los Angeles-based fashion designer Christian Audigier, who applied the images to an assortment of apparel and lifestyle items, making Hardy a household name.
We are honored and humbled to host the legendary tattooer and artist Ed Hardy for an unprecedented 3-day event. Hardy, renowned for his genre changing, globally influenced tattoo designs, announced that he will host “Pictures of the Gone World,” taking place May 15th, 16th & 17th at Kings Avenue Tattoo. The event will consist of a three-day exhibition of Hardy’s most recent artwork, accompanied by the release of a New York- centric tattoo history book and a series of talks covering his influential, six-decade career. “Ed is a pioneer of tattooing, and we are making history with this event,” says Kings Avenue owner Mike Rubendall.
Hardy will present a collection of his current and past artwork, consisting of mixed-media paintings that incorporate American an Japanese tattoo motifs, and “kiddie flash” – traditional maritime-inspired designs that he drew as a tattoo-obsessed child in the late 1950s, rendered with colored pencil on looseleaf notebook paper-which has never been publicly exhibited.
The event marks the release of the Lew The Jew Alberts: Early 20th Century Tattoo Drawings, a compilation of designs attributed to Lew Alberts, a Newark, NJ native who tattooed under the famed Bowery-based artist Charlie Wagner. It’s the most recent title from Hardy Marks, the publishing imprint that Hardy co-founded in 1982, specializing in tattoo history and alternative art. A limited number of books will be available for purchase at Kings Avenue, and Hardy will be signing copies on May 15th.
Hardy will also stage two talks. On May 16th, he will discuss his storied career as an artist and tattooer, and his efforts to document the sprawling and often ephemeral historical evidence of his craft. On May 17th, historian and author Michael McCabe and the artist and former tattooer Ruth Marten will join him in a discussion of New York City’s colorful, checkered, century-long history as a locus of Western tattooing.
Kings Avenue’s staff of in-house artists will be tattooing throughout the weekend, in addition to artists visiting from Tattoo City, the shop founded by Hardy in 1977. In a break from their usual practice of customized, large format designs, the artists will tattoo American-style flash designed by Hardy during the early years of his career.
188 Bowery, Floor 2
New York, NY 10012
Friday May 15th
-12 – 9pm: Installation open to the public (free)
- 4 – 7pm: Reception and book signing with Ed Hardy, Michael McCabe and Ruth Marten (free)
Saturday May 16th
- 10am – 12pm: “Split Personality” :Ed Hardy to discuss 60-year career as a tattooer and an artist, followed by Q and A (ticketed)
- 1pm - 9pm: Exhibition open to public (free)
Sunday May 17th
- 10am – 12pm: “(TK)” : Ed Hardy to discuss history of New York City tattoo culture with historian/author Michael McCabe and artist Ruth Marten, followed by Q and A (ticketed)
- 1pm – 7pm: Exhibition open to public (free)
First and foremost, we`d like to thank Inked Magazine for naming Kings Avenue one of the Top 5 tattoo studios in New York. As always we appreciate the recognition and thank all of our clients for helping to make Kings Ave one of the top studios to get tattooed in.
Starting in April, Kings Avenue Tattoo welcomes Justin Essing to the team. Essing will be tattooing exclusively out of the Massapequa, LI studio but feel free to stop into either location to set up an appointment with him.
For our Norwegian readers, Grez and Chuck D. will be heading your way to work with our buddies over at Blue Arms Tattoo in Oslo 5/5 – 5/9.
We also have quite a few guest artist lined up for the upcoming months. Starting with Nate Fierro of High Voltage Tattoo next week, the talent keeps coming. Zoio of Planet Tattoo in Brazil will be with us the following week. Then back by popular demand, Melissa Baker and Lucky Matthews will be tattooing in NYC. Jason Brooks, Jebb Riley, Kim Anh, Johan Svahn, Max Ireland, Xam and Dani Queipo round out the following months. Stay tuned for summer guest artists but right now Bryan Kachel and Chris MacDonald will be in the house.
Lastly and certainly not least… We are absolutely honored to have Don Ed Hardy in our Manhattan location May 15th-17. Full details to be released soon, but this will undoubtedly be an event you do not want to miss!