Skin & Bone is a combination gallery and tattoo studio. The gallery will exhibit art and ethnographic handicrafts related to tattooing, while the studio will have Colin Dale tattooing alongside various guest artists throughout the year. Through his years of travelling and tattooing around the world Colin has had the pleasure to meet and work alongside a wide range of tattoo artists and experts working in ethnographic and other specialized styles. Amongst these friends, we have hand-tattooists from Borneo, Polynesia and Japan as well as some of the world's leading artists in Blackwork and Dotwork coming to visit. Check the homepage to see some of the work

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Z-Tattoo Interview: Guest Artist Habba Nero

Our guest artist Habba was recently visiting... this time to receive rather than make tattoos, so don't kick yourself for missing the chance ;-) I took the opportunity to ask her some questions for a short interview. She will be back and until that time here is a little inspiration


And, for the Swedish and Icelandic impared...

Habba Nero
Hrafnhildur Inga Guðjónsdóttir is more commonly known by her pseudonym Habba Nero. Habba was born and raised in Iceland and despite only having 2 years of experiance tattooing is quickly making a name for herself in the handpoking community, tattooing without the aid of electricity. A couple years at the Icelandic Acadamy of the Arts as well as being tutoured under the watchful eye of Boff Konkurz has helped her to develop her style and technique rapidly and we are hoping to follow her career for many years to come.

Could you start with how you got introduced to the world of tattooing?
Luckily for me I stumbled upon Boff Konkerz' artwork at the Icelandic Tattoo Expo and immediately fell in love with the style. I booked in with him on the spot to receive a tattoo. Over time we became good friends and I ended up travelling with him and assisting him during his guest spots. Originally it wasn't my intention to become his apprentice, but soon into the travels I started doing small and easy tattoos, under the supervision of Boff, on people who had seen my artwork and trusted me enough to let me practice on their skin. My technique and skill grew quickly and before I knew it tattooing had become my full time job. This resulted in my resignation from the art academy and we went on the road full time for a whole year doing guest spots.

What are the benefits of handpoking over machine work
The method I use is different from machine work in several ways. First of all it doesn't require any electricity, and I poke the ink in with a tool I make myself from a sterilised tattoo needle and a grip. That means there's no buzzing sound; the session can be completely silent and a relaxing experience. Secondly, the trauma to the skin is much less than with machine tattoos so the healing starts immediatly; there's hardly any scabbing, and very little aftercare is required. This makes the progress more enjoyable and my clients are usually pleasantly surprised. Of course this method is slower than machine work and limited to a certain type of tattoo style which are the only cons I can think of.

Do you have plans of taking up machine at any point?
I have tried using a tattoo machine a few times and even though I am interested in learning the art of tattooing with a machine I am more intrigued by the handwork and I don't see myself tattooing clients using a machine any time soon. People in this world are constantly trying to find ways to do things faster and easier so I find it calming to slow down and tattoo the same way as people have done for thousands of years before the machine was introduced.

Your mentor, Boff Konkerz is an old punk rock anarchist who has always been a vocal advocate that people should “just do it”. However looking at how good and fast your artistic progress has been do you see benefits in the older master/apprentice process as well?
I will forever be grateful for Boff's advice, supervision and teaching so I understand the positive aspects of having a mentor. It is highly unlikely I would be tattooing if it wasn't for him. Nowadays people can use Youtube as a teacher so having a mentor seems less important than a few years ago. The negative thing about learning things off the internet is that the person can't tell you if you're doing something incorrectly through the screen. Learning something as permanent as tattooing from a screen isn't therefore a very good idea and it is wiser to have someone there to advice you and help you advance in your skill and technique.

You seem to have a good sense for realism using the dotwork technique, however we are also seeing more of a graphic side emerging using Icelandic staves and rune magic symbols. What are these symbols and how do they connect with you culturally?
The Icelandic magical staves have been an interest of mine from a very young age. I remember spending my days at school drawing up runes and figuring out how to write different words and names in Futhark runes. My classmates would often ask me to write their names as well so I could practice. The runes quickly found their way to many of my sketches and drawings over the years of my developement and soon Celtic knotwork was occupying a large amount of them as well. I was intrigued by the old Icelandic artwork, mostly because during the early stages of Icelandic culture artists in Iceland had no option to study fine arts so the figures were usually very disportionate and weird. Later in the 16th century some people saw no way in bettering their lives other than turning to magic. And so the Icelandic magical staves were born. They were used to protect one's livestock, to get a girl to fall in love with them or to see if anyone has been dishonest or has stolen from them. The most popular one is the Waymark stave, or Vegvísir. That stave is used to guide your way in troublesome situations. In the days it was used it was often carved onto ships that were used to cross oceans. Today people use it to guide their way in life. Most of the Icelandic magical staves can be modified for the modern lifestyle; you could use the stave for protecting your sheep to protect your pets instead for example (or even your children if they act like animals).

Habba (and Boff) can be found at Íslenzka Húðflúrstofan (Icelandic Tattoo Corp.) in downtown Reykjavík.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Burn & Pillage Tour 2016: Københavns Middelalder Marked KMM

Our first market for the year was the Copenhagen Medieval Market.
Held during the 4 day Pinse long weekend it fell earlier than usual this year and was rather cold. Aside from the cold and one day of rain the weather was relatively sunny and we had a fantastic time reconnecting with friends we haven't seen since last Summer. The market is blended... primarily Medieval but in the last few years the Viking reenactors have really been making a push to take over. There is a roleplay area as well where kids can get outfitted with the latest latex weapons or try their hand at battle against a Troll. Held in Valby Parken in central Copenhagen means that this is also one of the most visited Markets of the Summer.


Please people... only go to Professional Tattooists at the Markets

Loki and his girlfriend Rebekka... who holds her own with a sword

Started the weekend by continuing on a project I've been working on... Odin's Spear, Gungnir

Klaus wanted a spear up the side of his leg similar to leg tattoos found in the Hawaiían culture and of which I've done a few Nordic variations. Unfortunately a spear would have been a very thin design to set on a leg and still have it recognizable as a spear. To compensate for this we stretched the design as long as we could and then widened it by putting a Celtic Key Pattern on each side of the spear to frame it in. In this way the spear is still a slim negative space with a rune text down the shaft while the tattoo itself gets some width and strength. This tattoo was done over 2 and a half visits

Day 2
a Family Tattoo for Thomas

Man & Wife... surrounded by the Sun and 3 Daughters

First Tattoo

Day 3
Very cold and raining so I continued on "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" for the day in the back room on some warm lambskins

Day 4
Kept the day free to do some walk ins in collaboration with Loki

Had the pleasure of tattooing a fellow tattooist from Celtic Tattoo in Germany.
I asked him if he ever thought of taking up hand tattooing at the markets and he replied, "... of course not, this is my vacation"
Wise man indeed

Got to tattoo a heraldry design on one of the knights who was so persistant that I finally was lucky enough to find time.

One final Vejviser before heading home

And that was all for this year

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Copycats: Part 2, Art imitates Life

Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life
- Oscar Wilde

Life doesn't imitate Art... it imitates Bad Television
- Woody Allen

Working with Cultural tattooing I'm actually more of a believer in Art Imitating Life as all the forms we use in Cultural tattooing are derived from forms in nature... whether the spirals of a Koru, the triangles of Shark's teeth or the scales of a Serpent. However art does seem to have an influence on popular culture and in this way our own lives through fashion and media. An original idea can become popular and then in turn watered down through excessive copies in all aspects of our existance... however this means little to the Koru, Shark and Serpent ;-)

Generally Deviant Art has become a forum for people to steal other peoples art and post it as their own :-) However I really like this piece... not only is it technically well done I would consider it almost a collage, taking reference from many different sources and combining them into a beautiful tribute to the character of Rollo on the Vikings series.

The source of the tattoo is not historical, but rather inspired by a freehand piece I did on Jan Ronald from Holland.
Art Imitates Life

The character of Rollo has tattoos painted on his shoulders and chest representing the two Nordic wolves Sköl & Hati who chase the Sun & Moon around the Earth. Occasionally they come close to succeeding as seen by solar and lunar eclipses.

This design was actually inspired by a T-shirt design by Nordic silversmith Alban Depper 
Life Imitates Art

And Art Imitates Life...
A copy of one of my tattoos done as a belt pouch
Unfortunately the design was taken before the piece was completed (which continues onto the chest) so the heads and tails of these dragons and serpents don't make much sense :-(

Another belt pouch made by the same craftsman using my Vitruvian Thor design as inspiration
I originally made this design for the Florence Tattoo Convention poster in 2015 and it was used for the convention T-shirts and Trophies as well.

The characters of Floki and Ragnar showing Floki's new head tattoo with a row of runes

I did this piece back in April 2013 at the Frankfurt Tattoo Convention... coincidence?

A hand embroidered cloak done as an award for a Medieval Tournament

The original design on Alex Cramariuc of ACA Kreations
including the Midgaards Serpent biting it's own tail in the branches, while Nidhögg is gnawing at the roots below

While the unders and overs on this knotwork are cringeworthy what really caught my attention was the Dragon head

Here is Sonny...
a monster of a man with his freehand Rune Dragons designed by me many years ago. 
You can see on his right chest where the inspiration for the axehead is derived.

Another monster of a man... the character of Leif from the Vikings series who was eventually sacrificed to the Gods.
The Midgaards Serpent in the middle of the chest is based on one of my designs and is surrounded by various other designs both historical and contemporary.
I applaude the fact that the Vikings series is putting such emphasis on the tattooing of the Vikings as described by Ibn Fadlan. I also realize that it is difficult to trace every source on the internet (especially by people outside the tattoo community) but it would be nice to get credit when designs are used.
However it is also a bit of an honour to have my work mistaken for historical sources. Due to the poularity of the Vikings series we are also seeing alot more interest in Nordic designs as tattoos that we have been spending so many years trying to promote.

Another piece from Deviant Art... a copy of the same freehand dragon.
The artist was offering this for sale as a tattoo design :-( So now there are dozens of people going around with copies of an original piece while another person makes the money :-(

A stylized Raven on the side of Ragnar's head was eventually covered by a mishmash of unrecognizable scribbles in later episodes...

The original idea however has been the inspiration for many Viking style head tattoos.
Here is a hand tattoo I did on a Rus Viking in St. Petersburg several years ago 
with a Raven of my own design...
And so Art Imitates Life again :-)

Here is a post end carved with a dragon's head of my design... I actually was asked by Asger for permission to use one of the designs, but instead I drew him an original with a great result. 
I've been seeing alot more of my work showing up on the Viking markets the last several years as leatherwork, woodwork and embroidery. Sometimes people know the source and other times not. If it is a one off design for their own personal use I have no problem with this. I think it is flattering that people like my work and I feel that I have in some way made a mark on modern Viking culture. However I would take offence if someone were to get a copy of one of my tattoo designs or start mass producing my designs without consent or credit given.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Z-Tattoo Interview: Guest Artist Jean Michel Manutea

Our guest artist Jean Michel Manutea was visiting the other month and I was able to sit and talk to him over a few whiskys on the last night of his stay. I wrote up a brief interview of what I remembered for Z-Tattoo Magazine which is in their latest issue to be released later this week.  I probably only remember about half of what we talked about... Here is the condensed version of a highly entertaining evening ;-)
Jean Michel will be returning to Skin&Bone in October