Rest Stuff

arm rest from the makers of Stencil Stuff
arm rest from the makers of Stencil Stuff – Rest Stuff

Anyone who works in a shop knows the importance of having quality furniture, be it chairs (both artist and client), tables, light boxes, etc, the arm rest is just as important more so especially if you work in a busy street shop where you constantly have to get it set up multiple times in a day.

When I first heard of and seen Rest Stuff I was attending the Mesa expo in Arizona, I was about to be tattooed by Big Gus (of Art Junkies/DI Family) and Gus grabs, what was obviously an arm rest but about half the size, I asked him who made it and he told me its one of the new products Mario (Rosenau) and Mike (Devries) are making, I picked it up, it was very light weight and it seemed sturdy enough, even though by the size of it i was trying to treat it as delicately as possible. So after my tattoo I went up to Mario and inquired about the arm rest. after talking to him about a week later I ordered one, got it shortly after and when I opened it I was very impressed with how small it was broken down to, as well it should this rest was made for travel, it came in two pieces the stand and the pad. The pad is about 1/3 the size of an average pad yet is felt very sturdy, and came with a locking ball joint for multi angle pivoting. the stand is an adjustable tripod with a telescoping shaft, for very tall clients which honestly you wont need to extend it to it’s maximum otherwise you may be standing up when your tattooing. It was very light weight, since it is painted black i would like to say if feels almost a light as PVC however it feels way sturdier than that.

I tested it out at my shop since, like a kid I needed to use my new toy and I wasn’t attending a convention for another month, it held up beautifully the ball joint stayed locked at every angle i used it in (which i noticed is usually the first thing to go on these style of rests) UNTIL……

…. now you really have to make sure you tell your clients (ALL YOUR CLIENTS!) not to put their full weight on it because it wasn’t meant to adjust their seating, especially the 260lb weight lifter who damn near does a dip on it because he’s tired of slouching in the chair and is adjusting himself upright and after  he leans into it putting all his weight into that ball joint and telescoping shaft, every time used after that it would slowly shorten its height (on the telescoping part) dependent on how much the client is leaning onto it, so agin you have to make sure you let them know not to put the peoples elbow (WWE reference) into it if your using this in a shop environment thats limited on space.

pros: very light weight, easily adjustable, very compact great for on the road.

cons: as stated above wasn’t meant for heavy usage and meant for full weight bearing.

I give it a 9/10 because it  does exactly what its designed for and even though said weight lifter defiled mine I still take it on the road and it still gets the job done.

P.S. while talking to Mario at Mesa he did inform me that he did get a request from Guy Aitchison to come up with a sturdier “shop” arm rest, so keep an eye out that may be in the works.

Sharp-Focus Realism in Oil By Nick Baxter

Sharp-Focus Realism in Oil By Nick Baxter
Sharp-Focus Realism in Oil By Nick Baxter

Initially when I thought about ordering Nick Baxter’s book I was hesitant to, this phenomenal artist creates paintings with such color and realism I thought it would be a waste of money on my behalf, after all I may have done two paintings my entire life and they were in acrylic to which oil is an entirely different animal. After reading, it gave me a sense of motivation to not only keep painting in acrylic but he took the mystique out of oils to where I wanted to drop as much free income into the supplies I needed to dive into his realistic style of oil painting.

Filled with a ton of useful information that broke oil painting down into its simplistic form from prepping your canvas to layering techniques in a concise, structured model it can give anyone beginning to advance a different insight into this art form. I’m not going to give too much information about the knowledge found within this book just because its one of those books that second hand information myself or anyone else would give you couldn’t do it any justice, it’s a must read and definitely needs to be part of your library.

Pros: very detailed, common sense approach to oil painting, easy to follow instructions.

Cons: none really other than if you don’t already have supplies for painting that can get pretty expensive especially with quality items.

I gave it a 10/10

Helpful Tips in Tattooing Portraits by Angelo Grisafi


Angelo Grisafi is one of the better known portrait artists in the U.S. in this instructional DVD he goes through his process of applying pigment to an already mapped out stencil that was applied to the customer. throughout the tattooing he describes his machines, needle throw, and depth of needles he uses in order to achieve certain values.

One unique thing he also teaches is instead of using washes he utilizes different blacks from various manufactures in order to achieve the same tonal values that you would if you were to use washes, this cuts out the guess work of having to study how other artists wash their black since there are several different ways to achieve this.

After the tattoo in the DVD’s menu he takes you through how he chooses the values out of the reference and also a way to simplify your reference by not concentrating on the overall face itself but on shapes created with shadows, much like a paint by number canvas.

Pros: an actually good entry-level video for someone who wants to explore getting into tattoo portraiture, gives very simplified techniques to get your portraiture career going, made for the artist who has had a formal apprenticeship and well versed in basic techniques.

Cons: application of pigment is simplified (which is good) however with the use of several blacks for someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to try the ink Angelo recommends (or using various black inks as opposed to washes in general) or understanding of needle depth can very easily over darken the portrait.

I gave this DVD a 7/10

Tattooing Dia De Los Muertos Color Portraits


When it comes to instructional DVD’s there’s many out there for all levels of expertise, from the apprentice learning about sterilization and blood borne pathogens to a seasoned artist trying to gain proficiency in advanced techniques. The New: Tattooing Dia De Los Muertos Color Portraits by Nikko Hurtado of Hesperia, Ca falls into the latter category.

A great follow-up from his initial :Tattooing Portraits by Nikko Hurtado, this DVD takes you into a more in-depth  look at how Nikko designs, preps, applies his stencil and applies his updated color pallet to a Female Day of the Dead portrait.

When I pre-ordered my copy I read the synopsis of the disk and understood that it was going to be similar to his first DVD to where he sped up the video for the sake of the viewer, but to my surprise upon watching it some of the tattoo was done in real-time and where you can see the speed at which Nikko tattoos, a pleasant surprise especially if you haven’t attended a convention to watch him in person. Just being able to view real-time color application of this master of color tattooing helps give an artist trying to break into this style of color realism, volumes of information.

Pros: Shows Nikko using coil machines rather than Neuma’s,

Has real-time tattooing speed, shows a different color pallet.

Cons: would have liked to see the whole thing in real-time.

I recommend purchasing this DVD to add to your library.

Rating: 9/10

Kingpin tattoo supply


Kingpin tattoo supply has been providing vital products and services to the industry since 1996, it they have a range of products for the tattoo and piercing industry. I have dealt with kingpin on a regular basis and they’re customer service is top-notch, I have had certain issues in the past of them not carrying a product and within a month they were carrying it or called me with a timeline to where they had to meet with the producers of the product and gave me a response if they could or would carry it, another issue i had is the perforation on their disposable tubes and needles (seemed every batch i ordered of either they weren’t perforated all the way through and ended up having to cut them off the rest of the pack, I informed them  the next time I placed an order and they gave me a courtesy call back tell me they informed the proper channels and haven’t had a problem since.  Another definite plus is they supply to the professional artist (so scratchers need not apply) only, and do a check to make sure you have credentials.

They’re turn-around is also quick, now that they have a West Coast distributor I place an order and the longest wait time i had was five business days (unless it was a specialty request to where they had no choice but to send from the East Coast distributor).

For anyone who hasn’t used them before I would highly recommend using them for your tattooing or piercing needs.

Pros: wide selection of products for piercing and tattooing, quick shipping, competitive pricing, outstanding customer service.

Cons: if they would get the most recent products as they hit the market (true tubes, specialty ink sets etc) I probably wouldn’t use any other distributor than them.

Rating: 8/10

Fusion Tattoo Ink

Fusion Tattoo Pigment / Ink
Fusion Tattoo Pigment / Ink

When I found out about Fusion tattoo ink they were still a small company that only offered a sample pack of their pigments, they looked pretty bright and impressive but that still didn’t sway me to want to try them (even though they were at an affordable price) and no website yet you had to order from the shop directly or through their Myspace page, a few months later with an upgrade to a 47 color set and a website,  and some pretty phenomenal color work being tagged by some top name artists on social network sites, that impressed me more because they didn’t want to be some fly-by-night racket it told  me they were serious about making a name for themselves wanted to be a front-runner in the pigment industry. After looking at some of the killer tattoo’s artists were posting myself and a couple other co-workers got the sample pack, after using it we were amazed on how bright the ink was in person and how bright it stayed after using it, so much so one of my co-workers solely uses it and nothing else. I haven’t had a chance to use they’re grey wash set or some of the colors from the 47 color set but if they are anything like the sample pack its a definite they will aim to please.

pros: Very bright colors, can easily be mixed with some of the other top brands (eternal, intenze etc) without worrying what the end result will be after the client leaves the shop.

cons: ( I know I’m going to get blasted for this) but may be too bright for some application where your looking for more muted colors. would like to see more colors varieties come out (may be in the works? what can I say I’m an ink whore)

Rating: 10/10