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.



Keith Richards tattoo by Fernie Andrade

The latest tattoo by artist Fernie Andrade is heavy. The detail, the texture, the shading and the overall image is a powerful one which pays homage to the legendary Keith Richards.

This tattoo also serves as testament to Fernie Andrade’s skills with the tattoo machine. In addition, this significant piece is sure to become even more incredible once it’s healed. The photo above was taken right after the tattoo was done but we’ll have updated photos once it’s all healed up so you can see the difference.


The inspiration for this tattoo was based off of a animation/ cartoon drawing done by artist Tiago Hoisel. The artist, who was born in Brazil, has created some amazing caricatures of famous and non-famous people and characters and his work is simply incredible. To see more of his work click here, and to see more from tattooist Fernie Andrade you can click here.

About Keith Richards:

The English born musician, actor, songwriter and original member of The Rolling Stones, is simply legendary. Rolling Stone Magazine credits him as “rock’s greatest single body of riffs” on guitar and ranked him 4th on its list of 100 best guitarists. Fourteen of the songs that Richards wrote with the Rolling Stones’ lead vocalist Mick Jagger are listed among Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.







This past weekend, BTSOE had one vendor that really impressed me. Who was it? Read up and find out.

What will you leave your family when you pass? Memories? Pictures? Perhaps a video montage? Well, Save My Ink now gives people a chance for members to leave a piece of art, while leaving a piece of them  – literally.

Art is as much about creation, as it is about preservation. Regardless of the discipline of art you practice or collect, there will always be those who create it, those who collect it, and those who spread the history. In the same breath,it is that word which will soon be passed from one generation to the next, and in turn, it becomes the chronicles of our culture and a part of history.


With that said, the culture of tattoos is no different. Each day that passes, there is an untold story waiting to be shared, and so long as it is accurately told and represented, then the future artisans of the world will have a better idea as to how our art came to be.

While historians aim to educate and inform, collectors on the other hand, keep in their possessions the artifacts of time. We have the ancient ruins in which art is scribed in stone, and when it comes to art on paper or canvas, we have those who keep them in their private collections and museums who keep them in their galleries. But when you stop to think about the medium of tattoos, it’s an art form which typically dies with us simply because it’s on our skin – till now.


The gents over at Save My Ink have created an ingenious way to preserve our tattoos and they have now given us the ability to share not only a piece of art but a piece of ourselves, which in turn can be passed on from one generation to the next. Consider it an art, a moment frozen in time, but we consider it something much more powerful: A legacy.

Though some may be appalled, or a little disturbed by the service, it is a gift of personal treasures – literally. In essence, getting one of your tattoos framed and preserved is much more visual, and much more personal than having the ashes of your loved one contained in an urn, and it’s a gift that provides a visual reminder of a piece of art which once adorned your loved one’s body.


When I first heard about this service, this past weekend at BTSOE, we were impressed. It’s an incredible service of preservation, and in all honesty, it’s the most sacred gift one can give to loved ones and not only a memorial of art – but the soul.

In a statement, they said, “We want to provide resources and support [our members] may not otherwise have access to,” Charles Hamm, NAPSA executive director and chairman of the group’s board, said in the news release, which references a 2012 Harris Interactive poll that suggests one in five American adults has at least one tattoo, a 14 percent increase from the Nielsen group’s 2008 survey.

According to the release, removing a tattoo from one of its member’s deceased bodies involves “a chemical and enzymatic process that permanently alters the chemical structure, thus permanently fixing it against decomposition (while preserving the integrity of the art).” The group said the final product isn’t classified as tissue and isn’t toxic. They further added, “This process rejuvenates the art and brings it back to essentially its original look”.

I’m glad to have met the gents over at Save My Ink and I can’t thank them enough for giving me a personal tour of their gallery. The experience was uplifting, mesmerizing and I wish them nothing but the best in their endeavor. To have someone think outside the box and give us the ability to give a gift that keeps on giving, is priceless and I encourage all of you to check them out. You can visit their official sit by clicking here.



The tattoo removal process begins within 18 hours of a member passing, whereby the designated beneficiary alerts NAPSA. From there, NAPSA sends paperwork and a package with the removal kit to the member’s funeral home overnight. Within 60 hours, a mortician that agrees to participate follows provided instructions to remove the tattoo, placing it in a nontoxic, temporary preservation compound, and returns it to the NAPSA. The organization then preserves the art and sends it to the beneficiary, who receives a certificate for his or her participation, within six months.




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.


Touching Up A Old Tattoo

An old tattoo is sure to change. Whether it fades, gets dated in style, or simply lacks the luster it once had, you can always opt to have them zapped through laser removal, or simply have them revamped, remixed or touch up.

This was exactly the case with Jennifer, a client who came in with a 21 year old hummingbird tattoo that she wanted touched up and modified. After consulting with resident artist Andy Pho – a specialist in tattoo revamps, restoration and cover ups – she decided to get the bird touched up while adding a few new elements and the outcome was great.

As of late, Andy has earned a reputation as the go to guy in Vegas for getting older tattoos touched up or covered up and it’s with good reason. His attention to detail, and creative suggestions, gives clients more options than they thought they had so if you’re ever considering touching up an older piece than drop by or email us for a free consultation.


Toy Story Tattoo

Sheriff Woody tattoo by Fernie Andrade

For most, getting a tattoo requires a lot of forethought and consideration. First you need to figure out what you’d like to get, then you need to find the appropriate reference photos and then decide where on your body you’d like to place it. From there, you need to find an artist and then you need to consider the placement of the piece in relationship to your bodies natural contours.

Now this is where it gets tricky. The body’s natural curves plays a vital role in how your tattoo will look and if the tattoo is a bit big for that area, some artists may suggest making your piece smaller, whereas an  experienced tattooist can typically work their magic. Regardless if  it’s on your wrist, ankle, ribcage or arm, it’s really important to make sure that your artist has a mean “wrap around” game.


Take a look at how this tattoo wraps around the ankle. 

The ability to lay down a larger tattoo, and make it wrap around the natural contours of the body is what we call, “wrap around” game. While it may seem like an easy task, it really isn’t. The human body is full of contours, and a good tattooist should know how to make your piece look right.

Take for instance this Woody Sheriff tattoo that was done by Fernie Andrade. To have the tattoo wrap around the ankle may sound like an easy task, but it’s really not that simple. To be honest, the only thing that’s “easy” is the fact that it’ll be easy for a novice to jack up your tattoo, and leave you emotionally scarred with a tattoo that has bad and elongated proportions.



Script and lettering tattoos will never go out of style….so long as you get the right style. 

Getting a tattoo of the name of a loved typically serves as a marker in life. Whether it symbolizes loyalty to a loved one, or doubles as a memorial for one who’s passed away, these tattoos may be small but they’re significant and powerful. When getting one of the script pieces done you always have to make sure that you choose an artist who’s good with type or typography.


Resident artist, Vandal, has a lot of different styles but his script and letters have become his speciality. 


Resident Vegas tattoo artist, Vandal, has a lot of different styles but his script and letters have become his speciality.

 It’s not uncommon for these smaller tatts to be a Las Vegas favorite. We’ve had a ton of clients come in to get smaller pieces done. From script, lettering to little butterflies we’ve done it all. We’ve seen couples  come in, groups of friends, and one time we had a group of 14 come in to get the same tattoo.

Some artists use stencils, some do freehand, but the authenticity of the script can always be told by purists so choose wisely. Besides, you’ll be wearing this artistic endeavor for the rest of your life so take your time. If you’re in or around the Vegas area be sure to stop by to get a free consultation….or just come by one of the most highly-rated tattoo shops in Nevada.


“A good tattoo ain’t cheap, and a cheap tattoo ain’t good.”

We’ve all heard those infamous words time and time again, yet every second there’s someone out there who learns the hard way. It’s a slogan that that can be applied to just about every industry and this here is a prime example of what a scratcher will give ya.

Pictured here is the tattoo of a client name Robert and here’s how the story goes. Robert asked around if anyone knew someone who could tattoo and his one friend had mentioned that he “knew a guy”. Needless to say, “that guy” tattooed Robert out of his house for a “good deal”, and after sitting down with him and showing him reference photos, the guy began to freehand the piece and 5 hours later Rob “freaked out” and left.

A little under a week later, Robert stopped by our shop for a free consultation with resident artist Andy Pho. After examining the tattoo and seeing his reference photos, Andy had suggested that he get some laser tattoo removal done to lighten up the piece, but the client declined to say, “[He] wanted it covered it asap.”

That said, Andy booked him for the next available opening and got to work. For starters, Andy wanted to cover up the tattoo with a larger piece and he began by drawing the basic shapes of the new armor. Once he outlined the basic shape, he followed up by doing in and putting in all the details of the armored shield.

Though far from done, the results thus far are pretty incredible and it’s definitely a great example of what can be achieved if you do a cover-up tattoo with an artist who has the creative vision and artistic prowess to get your goals done.

More will be added to this piece but this is a progress shot of what’s been done so far. Again, if you’re looking for a cover-up tattoo, then be sure to get an artist with experience doing cover them. You must also make sure to view a portfolio of their past work because if they don’t have pictures of actual examples to show you then take a walk because the proof is in the pudding.

On that note, happy hunting for a tattoo artist that’ll best suit your style and budget, and please remember to catch a budget and break bread because once again, “Good tattoos ain’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good.”

We’ll have updates and more pics as it develops.



Khmer style tattoos or Cambodian art have become increasingly popular. 

Tattoos of Cambodian or Asian influence are strikingly detailed and exotic. They are beautiful, enticing, provocative and mysterious in ways that have increased their popularity, and the deep-seated history behind the art is rich with cultural heritage.

Stretching back centuries, the history of Cambodian art spans many mediums which includes symbolic artifacts as well as textiles, stone-carving and wat murals. Beginning in the mid-20th century, a tradition of modern art began in Cambodia, though in the later 20th century both traditional and modern arts declined for several reasons, including the killing of artists by the Khmer Rouge.

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Some photos of Robert Pho working on his brother Andy. This is the beginning of a full body suit tattoo which will be sure to please. 


The height of Khmer art occurred during the Angkor period; much of the era’s stone carving and architecture survives to the present. In pre-colonial Cambodia, art and crafts were generally produced either by rural non-specialists for practical use or by skilled artists producing works for the Royal Palace. In modern Cambodia, many artistic traditions entered a period of decline or even ceased to be practiced, but the country has experienced a recent artistic revival as the tourist market has increased and governments and NGOs have contributed to the preservation of Cambodian culture.

To continue the tradition of this history and art, Khmer tattoos of this nature also happens to be a specialty art here at Skin Design Tattoos. While our founder Robert Pho, is a specialist in portraits, one of his passions are Khmer tattoos, and his ability to recreate these visual masterpieces become quite evident in the display of his work.

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Some of Robert Pho’s work. To view his full gallery and bio click here


Whether it be black and gray tattoos, or even paintings, his passion for his heritage and cultural artifacts is one he studies with a passion. He studies the lines, mates them to the contours of your particular body parts and for over 20 years, his dedication to the art has become world-renowned and his artistry is one which is defined as art for “those in the know.”

Void of mainstream commercialism and ad hype, Robert Pho has become a gem for those who know of his work. With a current waiting list of roughly 6-months his clientele spans all across the world and his work is one which is easily appreciated and respected.



Infected tattoos are a serious matter and the UK is cracking down hard.

A tattoo artist in the UK has been the first to be fined by the Plymouth Magistrate for giving illegal tattoos. The artist, Claire Tabb, pleaded guilty to two offenses which were brought to light when one of her customers complained after he was hospitalized due to an infected tattoo (see image above). In turn, she pleaded guilty to two counts involving illegal tattoos.

Ms. Tabb has now officially become the first person to be prosecuted as a result of a new organization the Council put together called, “Operation Itchy.” Her charges stem from operating as an unregistered tattooist and operating from an unregistered tattoo studio.

In addition to fines and compensation which had to be paid to one her customers,  the council made an example of her after launching a campaign encouraging people to “Think before they Ink.” The organization was started to crack down on people who get tattoos from unregistered tattoo artists and unregistered establishments.

Councillor Sue McDonald, cabinet member for Children, Young People and Public Health said: “As a city we want people to lead healthy lives – tattooing is extremely popular in this city – but it needs to be carried out in a hygienic environment by people who know what they are doing.” She also adds, “We have great businesses doing fantastic work here in this city, but we are also aware of a growing number of people who are trying out tattooing on their friends at home with no training and no idea about basic hygiene requirements.”



– The old adage, cheap tattoos are no good and good tattoos aren’t cheap is true. 

– The sterility is of a tattoo shop is the most important factor when choosing a tattoo shop.

– When visiting a tattoo shop don’t be afraid to ask to see what common safety practices they use to keep their equipment sterile. If they can’t show you, then leave.