Tokewell Magazine issue 17

Tokewell Magazine issue 17

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The Evolution of the Tattoo

Tattoos have been around for so long that there’s no real consensus on or when, why, or where the practice started. But, based on historical and archaeological evidence gathered thus far, the art of tattooing has been practiced for millennia.

It was just a couple decades ago, a group hiking in the Alps discovered remains that would prove that man has had tattoos for over five thousand years. This particular specimen was literally covered in markings, from his ankles to his neck.

Still, it’s only in recent years that we’ve seen a surge in this ancient art. In fact, based on information from the Pew Research Center, approximately 40% of millennials have at least one tattoo.


Tattooing Throughout the Ages

Nowadays, tattoos are used as a form of self-expression but, back in the day, things were a lot different. For instance, in some cultures, they were used to let everyone know that the wearer had committed a crime.

When the first emperor of China was in power, he wanted to prevent the passing on of knowledge. To accomplish his goal, he deemed books illegal and began burning all he (and his loyal followers) could find. Anyone that was found with the offending item (like a scholar or an intellectual) were tatted on their foreheads to let everyone know about their crime.

Things weren’t much different in Japan except that one didn’t receive tattoos for having books in their possession. Instead, first offenders got a line mark on the forehead, second offenders got an arc added to the line, and those who got caught a third time would get another line. When placed together, the markings formed the Japanese hieroglyph for a dog.

In the Pacific Ocean, however, tattoos were considered to be an art form. These drawings were used to tell stories or depict family lineage. In these places, having a tattoo was something to be proud of and both women and men were expected to get at least one in their lifetime.

When Europeans came to these islands, the travelers were amazed to see people covered in markings. They developed a fascination with them and pretty soon sailors were sporting them as well. Unfortunately, due to their rough nature, tattoos became associated with shady characters – a stigma that remained in place until about 50 years ago.

Tattoos in the Workplace

One of the biggest fears associated with getting tattoos revolved around employment. Tattoos were not considered to be professional… at all. Many employees thought that, similar to purple hair, tattoos would prove to be a distraction in the workplace.

There are some employers who still feel the same, they haven’t gotten past the rebellious stigma that was once associated with these works of art. But, the changing perception of tattoos is making these antiquated thoughts a thing of the past.

Based on a Pew Research Study done in 2013, almost $2 billion are spent every year on tattoos. Furthermore, about 14% of all Americans have tattoos and the percentage is significantly higher in those between the ages of 18 and 25. This is a huge portion of the population.
Thus, if employers use tattoos as a way to dismiss potential employees, their pool of applicants will dwindle quite a bit. As a result, employers are coming to terms with the fact that tattoos are a growing phenomenon and something they will have to accept.

Tattoos are no longer for just members of the military, rebellious teens, or criminals. Now, you will find that middle class working women and men, parents, celebrities, doctors,- you name it – are now sporting tattoos.

Tattoo Culture Now

Tattoos have now taken over pop culture and can readily be seen in TV shows, online, and more. Because of popular tattoo shows, like Miami Ink, the average man was given the chance to see the inside of tattoo studios and the amazing work being done at these places.

As a result, people are becoming more open-minded about covering their bodies with artistic representations of their personalities. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to walk down the street without seeing at least one person sporting a tat. Thus, it’s no surprise that the tattoo industry is one of the fastest growing retail businesses in the country.

What’s Next for The Tattoo Industry

Because of the internet and popular tattoo-focused TV shows, the tattoo industry is expected to evolve in ever-innovative ways. We’ve already seen a rise in styles that are unique and diverse. And, this trend will continue to grow, especially as the younger artists start making a name for themselves.

In today’s chaotic and fast-paced world, tattoos offer us a sense of permanence and identity. Tattoos show other people who we are in a way that can’t be deleted like an Instagram or Facebook post. But, we mustn’t forget that it wasn’t always like this. In this way, learning about the evolution of tattoos helps us gain a deeper appreciation for the art form.



Las Vegas has always been known for the glitz, the glamour and its insane night life, but they’ve also become famous for fine cuisine, world class resorts and now it can include tattoos.

Skin Design Tattoo has become the leading purveyor of the fine art tattoos in the Las Vegas area. Aside from their stunning work, their attention to detail is evident in everything from the products they carry, the artists they employ all the way to the way they designed their HQ.

With a 4,000 sq. ft. state of the art facility, Skin Design Tattoo wanted to make sure that the Vegas experience doesn’t end at the Strip. Located just a few minutes from the infamous Strip, Skin Design has become a global icon housing some of the best black and grey tattoo artists in the game.


So if you’re looking for portraits, landscapes, memorial tattoos – or even laser tattoo removal – then stop on by and see what we’re all about. With over 50 years of collective experience, our staff is geared at providing the ultimate tattoo experience and all consultations are free so stop on by.



Would you do it?

Getting a tattoo using the ashes of a loved one might seem morbid to some, but for others it’s the ultimate form of love of dedication. According to one tattoo shop manager in Toronto, “Ashes are essentially carbon and carbon is the main ingredient in black ink”. To read this full article on here.



Cover up tattoo by artist Andy Pho

Cover up tattoos is an art in itself and this is a prime example of what can be achieved when you choose the right artist. When our client Garrett stopped by, he wanted an old tribal/ dragon tattoo covered up and after to back to back sessions here’s where they ended up.

On his third session, he’ll be extending the arm tattoo to a full sleeve so we’ll keep you updated on any progress and as always thanks for stopping by the blog.



….then follow this advice.


If you’re looking to become the best tattoo artist, and want it overnight, then abandon your romantic notions of “overnight success” because  it won’t, and simply can’t happen. Tattooing is an art that requires a lot of factors in order to become good – let alone great. It’s an art that revolves around one base platform, the human skin, and unlike any other canvas in the world, the human skin is a living organism.

Now attached to that canvas is a human that can move, scream, and sometimes be downright unruly. At times you may also have to deal with stubborn skin that won’t take to the ink, and then you have to deal with contours, color variations of the skin, as well as people with a varying degree of pain thresholds. On another note, we all dream of having the client that’ll sit like a rock, but every so often you’ll get the person that has to take a break every 10 minutes – and we all know how that can break our groove – but it’s something we have to deal with. 

So now that we’re done with the basics, let’s get into a few things you’ll need if you’re looking to become the best tattoo artist ever.


AMBITION: You have simply have to want it. You need the drive, the passion and the work ethic, and the short story is you have to pay your dues. Art in itself, is like life, it knows if you’ve put in the work and it gives back equally. There has never been a great artist or successful business that has reaped any rewards for laziness and complacency. Success won’t fall into your lap. I promise you that.


PRACTICE: You have to put in the hours. You can’t get better by dreaming. If you have no clients, give away  your art. Now I know a lot of artists may read that with dismay, but let’s be real, if you have no clients, and haven’t made a name for yourself, you’re simply not an artist – you’re a rookie. In order to become an artist you have to make people believe in your art and the only way they’ll believe is if you have a portfolio of work. The bottom line, seeing is believing and always remember that we all start in the industry as rookies and there’s nothing wrong with it, so long as you do something to elevate your game.


PATIENCE: You have to be patient. The most successful artists in the world have put in years of work. Don’t be enamored by the glitz and glamour of their career, instead, think about how long they’ve been working at their craft and it’ll make you realize that you’ve probably got a long way to go.

FRUSTRATION: There will be a time  you’ll want to give up, and that’s the time you need to step on the gas and power through the pain. Nothing great ever came easy, and there’s millions of artists that have stopped shortly before their artistic gains were ready to sprout.

LOSE THE EGO: Your ego is not your amigo. If you’re looking for the name, the fame and appreciation of your industry then you’re headed down the path of doom. Love what you’re doing, watch, listen and learn and at the end of the day, do it for a cause, and not for applause. Trust me, the rest will fall into place.

So in closing, I want to wish you all the best of luck in the career path you have chosen. Yet even as you progress and become better and better, just always remember that there will always be room for improvement.





Black and grey tattoos offer a level of realism that is thought provoking and mysterious. The gradient usage of colors (mainly black and grey), makes a powerful impact and once you add white highlights it’s a wrap. While most of the black and grey motifs we’ve seen are of Roman and Greek influence, there are plenty of other things which can inspire you.

Take for example, this underwater, ancient City of Schicheng, which has been buried beneath the beautiful Thousand Island Lake for 53 years. Now serving a new lease on life, the city is now an adventure park where guests can scuba dive and snorkel around the lost city.

In short, it’s a magical underwater haven, which is both mesmerizing and whimsical. To think that this city has survived the destruction of the sun, because it’s fully submerged by water thus making it a literal “time capsule.”


With a maze of white temples, memorial arches, paved roads, and houses… hidden 130 feet underwater: this is China’s real-life Atlantis. The City, which has since been called Lion City, is tucked away in a lake between the Five Lion Mountain, was once Shi Cheng – the centre of politics and economics in the eastern province of Zhejiang.


So how did it end up underwater? Well in 1959, the Chinese government decided a new hydroelectric power station was required – so they built a man-made lake – which in turn required that they submerge the one time city.





Before she passed away aged 77, Isobel Varley held the Guinness World Record for being the “most tattooed female senior citizen”, with over 90 per cent of her body covered in ink. 

“What will your tattoos look like when you’re 60?”

Well, that’s the never-ending question that we’ll all face for the rest of our lives, but that question may soon change as the latest trend in the world of tattoos is that older people are taking the leap to get tatted and it comes with good reason.

A recent study from Remember A Charity has revealed that five percent of us get our first tattoo after turning 60. Yes. That’s a factual study and we’ve experienced an influx of older clientele right here at Skin Design Tattoo so we see it ourselves. From couples visiting Las Vegas, to locals, older folks are getting tattoos because of many reasons.

Many have said that it marks important events in their lives, some say it’s because the art work and options have gotten better, but either way it’s a new trend that’s here to stay.


Take a look at 79-year-old Sadie Sellers who got her first tattoo (a small love heart) in July, after she’d been convinced by her granddaughter Samantha: “When you get to my age, you just have to live life to the full every day. I was talking about it with Samantha for a couple of weeks and she showed me hers. She came in one day after her holiday and I just thought, ‘I’ll get one too!’ 

“I’m absolutely made up with mine. I asked the fella how long it would take and he said it had finished five minutes ago. I never felt a thing. He just laughed at me.”

To read more of this story click here.



When you’re paying absorbent amounts of money for material goods, you can only expect that they’ll roll out the red carpet, and that’s exactly what what one Brit got when he spec’d out his new McLaren P1. After paying over a million bucks for his new ride, he had the full car built to his exacting standards through  McLaren Special Operations.


The devilish black and red livery was inspired by the scheme that the company’s Formula One team is running on its single-seaters this season and it’s accented by red nostrils, along with red trim which is found throughout the interior and exterior.


With 900 hp it’s not for the faint of speed, but it’s also not for those with deep, deep pockets.





The world’s love affair with coffee is an obsession that’s understandable. That little cup of liquid literally empowers us, brings us to life, and now one Korean designer has finally put a lid on the problem. Dang Wooseok, created the “Kiss” coffee cup lip, and he’s literally put a human touch to the act of drinking by creating these cool lids. While it’s still a design exercise, we’re positive that it’ll only be a matter of time before coffee houses all across the world give their customers a more intimate relationship with their morning love affair.