// caturday #14 // Wendy Pham

// caturday #14 //  wendy pham // caturday #14 //  wendy pham// caturday #14 //  wendy pham// caturday #14 //  wendy pham// caturday #14 //  wendy pham// caturday #14 //  wendy pham

Wendy Pham (aka wenramen) is an INCREDIBLE tattooer based out of Conspiracy Inc in Berlin, Germany.

She’s an all around amazing artist and tattooer, but I can’t help but love her for her awesome cat art and cattoos!

I’ve only picked a handful to show you, but I strongly encourage you to look her up, I promise you will not be disappointed!  She just released a really great book called Kingdom of Wenramen and often has some amazingly beautiful prints for sale!

You can follow her on  instagram or tumblr!


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Caturday #03 // Horitomo

GAH!! I love Kazuaki Horitomo Kitamura so much!!

Tattoos & cats, a match made in my personal heaven!

Horitomo - tattooed cat Horitomo - Rat tattoo cat Horitomo - Divina Narcisa Horitomo - Cat with rat Horitomo - Cat with koi Horitomo - Cat with dragonHoritomo - Inspired by a print by KuniyoshiHoritomo - Monmon fudo cat

Horotomo - Tattoo matching cats on feetone of Horitomos kittiesHoritomo photo

Kazuaki Horitomo Kitamura tattooes at State of Grace in San Jose, California.  You can purchase his book, Monmon Cats online through select retailers.  If you’re on instagram, I STRONGLY recommend you give him a follow, dude loves his cats and he’s a sick tattoo artist!

Sqeeee! Happy Caturday!

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Nerd Alert!! How to find a unique gift for your favourite nerd!

This edition of Friday I’m in Love is a gift guide for your resident nerd! There is no end to the useful and nerdy things you can get for your loved ones:

You can find it all in your local hobby/comic store or online.  But maybe you want to go a little more personal, unique or local? Here is one of my suggestions for your favourite nerd!

A local Vancouver Tattooer & artist, Aaliy Rose, has some really amazing prints for sale on her etsy shop or a Unity Tattoo in Vancouver on Commercial Drive. I’ve been lucky enough to purchase a couple of her prints at local conventions already.  She’s got you covered if you’re nerding out over Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, The Watchemen, The Life Aquatic, Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Dexter etc.   I have the Jurassic Park & Evil print, I’d love to add the GoT set to my overly covered walls!

Baratheon by AaliyRose

House Baratheon

Lannister by AaliyRose

House Lannister

Stark by AalieRose

House Stark

Targaryen by AaliyRose

House Targaryen

Jurassic Park by AaliyRose

Jurassic Park

Life Aquatic by AaliyRose

The Life Aquatic

Breaking Bad by AaliyRose

Breaking Bad

Dexter by AaliyRose


Evil by AaliyRose


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accoutrements des animaux

This weeks Wishlist Wednesday is going to be dedicated to animals…though not what you might expect.

This one’s all about taxidermy (real & faux), mounted pieces, bones, tentacles, antlers & teeth. There are even some animal tattoos!

I love animals, but I also love weird stuff, here is a perfect mix of both!

I was totally turned on to these AMAZING brooches by Hungry Designs on The Dainty Squid, She’s hosting a giveaway, so go over and enter!

Mounted Jackalope Rabbit Brooch by Hungry Designs Mounted Triceratops Brooch by Hungry Designs

I have my ears stretched to 00g and often wear tunnels with earrings looped through.  These ebony wood hanging bats made by Diablo Organics  would be a lot of fun to wear, especially because I totally have a thing for bats!

00g Hanging Bat earrings

This ring is just too cute!  It’s a life size casting of a chameleon skull by Moon Raven Designs, look how it fits on your finger!  So badass!

Sterling Silver Chameleon Skull by Moon Raven Designs Sterling Silver Chameleon Skull Ring by Moon Raven Desings

I really wish I knew who did this collection of antlers & unicorn horn headbands.  I’ve been keeping these images as inspiration for a crafty project.

Antler Headband Collection

I’m totally in love with the minimalistic approach to (faux) taxidermy being done my White Faux Taxidermiy (WTF..teehee)  I love that it’s white and i really really dig the touch of gold! Tres chic!

Faux Deer Mount by White Faux Taxidermy

Gold velociraptor skull model by White Faux Taxidermy

I know some people will find this morbid, but I find this so beautiful and different.  Precious Creatures is making really unique and gorgeous little momentos of tiny creatures and I think they are so very lovely!

Precious Gold Gilded Rat Paw Chandelier Brooch

I follow LadyLocks Creations on instagram.  She has such beautiful and unique items, just this week she posted an image of a tentacle necklace.  It’s gorgeous ans so cool!

Bottled Octopus Tentacle by LadyLocks Creations

Bottled Skunk Teeth Necklace by LadyLocks Creations

I also have to throw some love out to some really great animal tattoos!  Here are a few current favourites.

Birdie by Daniel Gensh

Birdie by Daniel Gensh

Cattoo by Natalie Gardine

Cattoo by Natalie Gardine

Fruit Bat by Amy Savage

Fruit Bat by Amy Savage

Rabbit tattoo by Matt W Lambdin

Rabbit tattoo by Matt W Lambdin

As usual, if you find anything great on this post, you can always check out my pinterest boards for more awesome stuff!


Good Tattoos

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Good tattoos don’t happen in kitchens

good tattoos

When I was younger I had terrible taste.  Most of us do.

All I knew is that I wanted to be covered in tattoos.  I was gothy and I thought spider webs, bats, moons & stars were the shizz. Okay, I still do, but I don’t want crumby stamps of them all over my body, like I did when I was 18.  I didn’t know then what I know today.  Now that I have far better taste, now that I know what true artists are capable of.

My first tattoo, was by a “scratcher” and it’s awful! It’s huge and in prime real estate, it’s dark and has strong straight lines. In short, a nightmare to cover up.  But luckily, I am good friends with an amazing artist who is  currently in the process of covering this hideous thing up with something AWESOME! I’ll post photos once it’s complete. I’ll actually write a whole post on cover ups and the process involved.

whats a scratcher

A scratcher is someone who is not tattooing at a shop.  They are someone offering you a really cheap deal to get tattooed.  They are often working out of their kitchens, bedrooms, basements, vans etc.  There is a reason they are not tattooing at a shop.  The reasons can be various, often, that they have no training and they need guinea pigs.  Or their work is not up to snuff to hold up at a shop. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m worth more than just being a guinea pig on something so permanent and personal.

I will never, ever, ever let a scratcher touch my skin again.  I was 21 when I got my first tattoo, I knew nothing of the industry and nothing about safety.  I had no idea that I was about to get sub par work, because, honestly, I didn’t know the difference.  I did after I got my tattoo though.  It looked like shit, it didn’t look like the drawing at all.  I cried a lot. I suffered it’s ugliness for ten years until I was able to find an artist worthy and up to the task of covering it up.

If your body is a temple, why not decorate the walls, right?  And why would I decorate with second rate, poorly applied tattoos? Especially when you can get fine art?

At that point, I stopped and questioned myself and what I was doing with my body.  Was it worth screwing up my skin with cheap tattoos, just because they were cheap?  No.  No it wasn’t worth it and I cooled it on getting tattooed for a while as I put a lot more thought into what I wanted and who was going to do it. It’s my body and I only want the best I can put on it from now on.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to become really good friends with a few tattoo artists that eventually got me a job managing a shop.

You learn a lot in a shop, not just about good tattooers and what they are capable of, but also about safety.

I’m so happy this finally got fixed. Talk about a nightmare! A memorial tattoo so botched up by a scratcher and finally fixed by a professional!

You get what you pay for

Tattoo by Jeff Gogue
Go to a professional artist, get amazing and beautiful artwork.


But the biggest reason not to get tattooed by a scratcher is because they more than likely have no idea about blood born pathogens.

This is serious.

This is about your safety.

Scratchers don’t know how to combat things like Hepatitis C.  It is extremely rare to contract anything like Hepatitis C in a professional, licensed tattoo & piercing shop, as we have learned about blood born pathogens and how to protect ourselves and our clients from any form of transmission.

That person tattooing you in their kitchen, does not.

Hepatitis C can live outside of the body for up to 4 days.  So if your scratcher tattooed someone sick yesterday or even 3 days ago, your chances of contracting a life threatening illness is in the high percentile.

“Oh, I saw them, they wiped everything down with bleach, used 99% rubbing alcohol and sterilized their equipment in boiling water”.  No they didn’t, because they do not have access to the things that would make this possible.  If they’re not wiping down with a hard surface cleaner like Cavicide or Optum TB and if they’re not using an autoclave to sterilize their equipment, then they’re not doing anything for your safety.  There are a number of practices, protocols, chemicals and equipment used to keep safety at a high standard in shops.

“But they wore gloves!”  That doesn’t stop them from cross contaminating things.  You can wear gloves all you want, but if you touch something dirty and then proceed to touch a clean area, that clean area is no longer clean.  Professionals learn how to avoid this.

There is a big difference in these two terms, sanitized & sterilized.  Sanitize roughly equates to very clean,  sterilize is not only clean but also free from bacteria or other living microorganisms and all foreign materials (ie things that can make you sick or cause an infection).  That scratcher is barely cleaning and no where near sanitizing or sterilization.  (I also feel really uncomfortable with the thought that they may have boiled their spaghetti in the same pot they’re “sanitizing/sterilizing” tools)

Just keep in mind, you only get one body to travel this life in.  Don’t risk it for cheap tattoos (or even piercings for that matter) that will look like shit and can potentially get you really sick.  Don’t trust anyone who offers you a cut rate, or refers to their tattoo machine as a “gun” (guns shoot things, it’s a tattoo machine).  Don’t trust someone with a “sweet deal tattoo gun” kit they bought online.

If it’s happening in a home, you probably should rethink what you’re about to do (just google “tattoo infection”…ugh, heebie jeebies!).  Trust someone who has put not only years into learning their craft, but also have learned how to keep you & themselves safe.  Trust the person that has spent hundreds of dollars on their machines, because that person cares, that person wants to share art with the world and give you the very best piece they can give you.

The art is worth it, the artist is worth it and most importantly, You are worth it!

If you’d like to see some killer good tattoo work, check out my pinterest board {good tattoos}


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Don’t be a Tattoo Copy Cat

Tattoo Copy Cat

Imagine you come up with a really great concept for a new piece.  You’ve done your homework, found an artist you really love, pitched the idea and booked the appointment.  You trust your artist with your idea and wait until the exciting day your appointment arrives.  The design is perfect, even more than you imagined!!  You get your wonderful new tattoo applied and take a photo to show off to your friends or to share over instagram or pinterest.  Your artist is proud of their work, and they too, take a picture and add it to their portfolio & share it online!  Very exciting indeed, they’re so stoked on the piece, they want to show it off!

Everything is roses.

Fast forward a few months, sometimes only a few weeks or days, and you come across your tattoo on the internet again, though, it’s not on you.  It’s heart breaking, someone has ripped off your EXACT IDEA!  Not only that, but the artist ripped off another artists work, entirely, claiming it to be there own!!   There are differences of course, probably most are negligible, it may have some new script added to it, or some colours & placement are different, but it’s definitely not applied as well.

What do you do?  What does your artist do?

Unfortunately, this happens ALL the time.  And sadly, there is not a lot that can be done, other than educate.

What we try and tell clients when they come in with a picture of a tattoo they want is “We do not copy tattoos”, period.  We follow with telling them that particular tattoo belongs to someone else, and we can design something original and unique for them.  We try to persuade them in a positive manner, most of the time, they totally understand.

The fault of copy cat designs is not entirely on the client, often, they don’t know any better.  For the most part, it is the copy cat artists fault as they DO know better and it is their job to help educate the client.

Things to keep in mind if an artist is willing to directly copy a piece:

  • The artist has zero integrity, they are being lazy and taking your money that is not earned in honesty.
  • They are taking advantage of you as an uninformed client and also taking advantage of another artists hard work.
  • Their art & skill are also not up to snuff.  Any true artist would want to put their own spin on a piece, a little bit of themselves into a tattoo.
  • Pride of craftsmanship, if you encounter an artist that has no qualms with copying another artist’s piece, you know you’ve encountered someone who does not care, do you really want to be tattooed by someone who doesn’t care?

Mitch Allenden was kind enough for me to use some images of his work being plagiarized.

Ultimately and sadly it comes down to plagiarism and after you’ve been tattooed with a copy cat design, you are branded for life as a copy cat.  The world is both very big and also very small.  What would you say if you walk into a coffee shop while on vacation and someone comments on your tattoo, you’re stoked, but it turns out the person commenting on your tattoo is the original owner.  They’re choked and you’re left embarrassed.

Copy Cats

Tattoos are a wonderful form of expression.  If you see a design or style by an artist, see if you can get tattooed by that artist!  Sometimes it requires travel (what an awesome souvenir!), or sometimes they travel to conventions that are close to home!  If you find a design you like, investigate local artists with a similar style, bring your reference into them and see what they can spin out for you!  You will be far more happy with an original piece, done just for you, than a poorly executed copy cat job!  Your artist will be thankful to have a chance at a fun new piece as well!

Here are some great links coming from an artists perspective!  Give ‘em a read through!





Follow my tattoo boards on pinterest!

Thinking of getting a tattoo on your finger or hand?

Let’s talk about tattoos, specially small tattoos on your hands.

I work in a tattoo shop (I manage a shop, I am a not tattooer), so tattoos are a very big focal point in my life.

With the popularity of Rihanna and other pop culture icons getting tattoos (and usually bad ones at that), we get a LOT of requests for similar (if not the same) tattoos.  Small tattoos on the finger, the side of the finger or even the side of the hand are a big trend lately.  We get these clients with pictures off pinterest or of their new favourite pop idol & they want that same tattoo so badly or in the same place. (I’ll have a whole other >>blog<< about why you should NOT get someone else’s tattoo)

I generally try to dissuade clients from getting them for multiple reasons and it’s not because I’m against hand tattoos.  I have a few on my hands and do plan on getting larger pieces eventually.

My meow finger freshly done

My meow finger freshly done

The reason I think it’s a bad idea though?  Experience.

As mentioned above, I work in a tattoo shop, I see tattoos all day.  I love tattoos and look at them often  Not only do I work with some talented artist I also research online and root out more amazing pieces and artists that are doing awesome things to follow {instagram is a treasure trove!}.

I also have tattoos, I wouldn’t say I’m heavily tattooed, but I do have quite a bit of work done.  I’ve seen how tattoos look when they are freshly done and I have seen them when they have healed, sometimes they’ve healed well, sometimes they have not.  And one thing is fairly consistent with hand tattoos, especially ones on your fingers, they DO NOT HEAL WELL.

They look awesome when they’re freshly done, but they often do not stay that way.

My hands, can't wait to get some bigger stuff on there!

My hands

Here is a quick run down as to why it is usually a bad idea:

  • Your hands exfoliate a great deal, so there is a high chance the ink will eventually leave the area, leaving you with a blotchy or faded tattoo
  • You cannot hide your hand tattoos, this can affect getting a job in the future
  • Any tattoo on the hand, especially the inside of the finger is going to HURT so much worse than any other area

The skin on your hands is completely different from the skin on your arms, back or legs (feet suffer the same fate as hands do), it exfoliates much more than other skin on your body.  Also, think about the amount you do with your hands. How do you plan on healing this tattoo?  It needs more care to heal because of the high change of losing the ink.  You need to keep your hands clean & dry.  Getting something out of your pocket or purse? Going to the wash room?  Your dishes need to be done? You can’t just wear rubber gloves, your hands will sweat in them, remember, it needs to stay fairly dry! You can’t just wear a bandage or keep your hands covered either, your skin needs to breathe!

Generally, we have a rule in our shop, if you don’t have a sleeve, we’re not going to tattoo your hand.  Hand tattoos are traditionally treated as a right of passage or earned.  This is not being snobby, this is tradition and shows respect.  It also the sign of an ethical shop that is not just out to take your money.

As mentioned above, you cannot hide your hand tattoos, they are out on display pretty much all the time (unless you are wearing gloves, but it might look weird if you’re wearing gloves in a job interview).

You get used to being treated slightly different when you have a lot of visible work done.  After a certain point, you know what to expect from people looking or staring at you or sometimes just plan grabbing you to get a better look (quick note of etiquette, DON’T DO THIS…EVER!).

You often have settled into a career or profession that you won’t be discriminated against for having hand tattoos.  And from being heavily tattooed, you understand that tattoos are not perfect.  They will change over the course of your life.

You understand your artist is not a computer to replicate exactly what you see on the piece of paper on your skin.

You are fine with paying to get it redone, sometimes multiple times, to just try and get it to stay in there (as most shop do not offer free touch ups on hands or feet), which it won’t sometimes, no matter how many times they try to grind it in there for you.

You understand that picture off pinterest, it was freshly done, and that tattoo no longer looks as vibrant or crisp. You understand yours won’t either.

We do make exceptions from this rule from time to time, but it is a case by case basis.  Generally the more respectful you are and less demanding the higher your chances of your request falling in a sympathetic ear.   Acting like “the customer is always right” never flies well in shops, as you are dealing with people and artists plying their craft.

So, before you go into a shop asking for anything  on your finger, on the side of your finger, on the side of your hand or a wedding band wrapping around your finger, consider this {many shops are fine with tattooing something simple on a wedding finger that is a major exception}:

  • Are you ready to have a tattoo out there at all times and it possibly getting in the way of a job opportunity?
  • Are you prepared to properly care for it during it’s very finicky healing time?
  • Are you ok with your tattoo not looking pristine for the rest of your life?

Keep these in mind and after considering all of these things, if you still really want to get your hands tattooed then go down to your local, reputable, clean & safe shop and ask them if they will tattoo you!  They may turn you down for all the reasons listed above.  Don’t take it as a slight, take it as them looking out for you.  If they say yes, then good for you!   You probably went in being respectful and well educated and had a good head on you.  These things will go a long way in shop!


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Hand & Knuckle   Good TattoosBack PieceBeauty in Ink