Archive for September, 2009

Jimiyo Talks Shop with Metal Ink

Posted in Designer Interviews with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by metalinkshop

Happy Munday! Actually, we are super excited this week…because it’s the end of the month!!! That means a new Maiden will be selected on Thursday, October 1st, and a new contest will start as well! If you haven’t already, hurry and rate the September Maidens before time’s up!

We interviewed Metal Ink member Jimiyo who recently won $1,000 for his design “Mother III.” Jimiyo is a seasoned designer and you won’t want to miss his tutorial blog full of Photoshop tricks and tips!

Check out Jimiyo’s shirt (which only costs $19!) and support our designers! If you’re interested in submitting a design, read our 5 Easy Steps to Participate!

Metal Ink design contest winner Jimiyo

Metal Ink design contest winner Jimiyo

MI: How did you find out about Metal Ink?

J: If I recall correctly, Quakerninja had a thread or t-shirt post at a popular apparel designer hangout I followed the links and entered the contest. BTW, you guys actually rejected my first design so I came back with a more refined and original design. I appreciate that you guys have a high standard. It’s easy when you are a starting a website to accept mediocre work just to start the product line.

MI: You’re a popular designer on lots of t-shirt design sites. What do you like about Metal Ink and how it compares to the others?

J: The site is well crafted, and the presentation is very clean and professional.

I like that your product line is niche even with the photography. When I visit Metal Ink, it’s not only for the art, it’s for the photography, so it’s almost as if your product line goes beyond just the shirt.

Personally, I was excited a site that caters specifically to the tattoo genre was created, because it is my preferred content to illustrate.

MI: Your design “Mother III” was one of the first printed designs. Congratulations! What was your inspiration behind it?

J: Thanks for the opportunity to get it printed. I don’t think it would have found support on any other site.

I enjoy creating Lady Guadalupe/Mother Mary/Day of the Dead imagery. I’ve been creating them for a couple years ever since I saw some tattoos of similar content online a few years ago.

The evocative broodiness of the portrait attracts me, and I also enjoy the background information on the symbolism of Mother Mary, and the representation of sacrifice and suffering that she represents.

Eternally Grateful 7

Eternally Grateful 7

Sullen Mother

Sullen Mother

MI: What advice would you give to a tattoo artist who’s crossing over into design and thinking of submitting work to Metal Ink’s design contests?

J: Create work on relatively large, quality, illustration board, and find a suitable person/service to scan it cleanly and in high resolution. Lots of natural media work can translate onto apparel fairly well if done correctly. You just can’t take a pencil/pen sketch on a 8 x 10 piece of paper and expect it to come out well.

Consider the shape of a t-shirt canvas. It’s very different than a body, poster, etc.

MI: Will you be participating in the Design for Bambu challenge?

I’ll have to check it out. I need something to give me the impetus to create new artwork, and that $1,000 booty is pretty nice.

MI: Awesome, hope to see your submission soon! We’ve also got a Horror themed Design Challenge coming up! Details will be posted here on the blog this Thursday…

J: The other day AT WORK I was like, “hrm, I will check out the Metal Ink blog.” So I saw the top banner, and I was like… “Dizang, artfully naked babe, Hell Yeah!”, and then I scrolled down, and I was like “Oh Snap..”

I closed the window, looked around to see if anyone at work saw me, cause you know…

You have bare T n A on your site. LOL. Very hot.

Ed Hardly 500

Ed Hardly 500

Our 1st Special Design Challenge!

Posted in Design Challenges with tags , , on September 18, 2009 by metalinkshop

We’re calling for designs inspired by BAMBU, winner of our June Maiden of the Month contest!

Submission Guidelines

Designs should be focused on creativity, as we are looking for original art inspired by Bambu’s image and/or tattoos. You may choose to depict Bambu herself or create a design based on Bambu’s ink. Again, creativity and originality will count most, so try to avoid simple designs, such as copying Bambu’s tattoos.

Deadline to submit designs: October 31
Deadline for voting: TBD


Each design that gets selected wins:
* $700 cash
* $300 credit
* Residuals from T-shirt sales (more details here)
* Automatic entry into our Design of the Year contests

Ideas & Inspiration

If you need ideas, just go to the Metal Ink Gallery to view Bambu’s photo shoots. Note there are 2 shoots here, one with Bambu modeling our apparel and the other with Bambu showing off her ink close-up (see bottom of page). You can also check out Bambu’s Myspace page and her guest entry our our blog!

Email Metal Ink if you have any questions, and good luck!

Bambu bedroom

Barnaby’s Wu-Tang Bear

Posted in Tattoo shops in San Francisco with tags , , on September 17, 2009 by metalinkshop

More than halfway through September and we have a couple new design submissions for the Bambu-inspired Design Challenge! Rate them today on Also cast your vote for the September Maiden of the Month before it’s too late!

Mom’s Body Shop
1408 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 864-6667



Barnaby Bryn Williams, Tattoo Artist

MI: What’s the funniest tattoo you’ve ever done?

Barnaby: Yesterday, I did a Grateful Dead bear waving a Wu-Tang flag.

Barnaby's Wu-Tang Bear

Barnaby's Wu-Tang Bear

MI: That’s hilarious.

Barnaby: It’s a hysterically insane tattoo. It’s awesome. I’ve been tattooing on this street for basically 15 years. I’ve done Elvis beating up Jerry Garcia. I’ve done the Grim Reaper getting beaten up. I have on me a dolphin pole dancing, while doing cocaine.

MI: Need to hear the story behind that one.

Barnaby: It’s actually really simple. There’s an artist who works here who came up with this idea, a dolphin who likes to party, called “Party Dolphin.” He rides a Razor scooter because he got a DUI and can’t drive.

MI: Did that artist get a tattoo of Party Dolphin?

Barnaby: A couple people here have it. I didn’t want to get the same one, so I got Party Dolphin’s girlfriend, who’s a stripper. Because I like strippers. Who doesn’t like a girl who’s trying to pay for college by taking off her clothes and has self esteem issues? Another tattoo I saw recently was done by a friend of mine. It was a rooster that was a junkie, shooting up his own wing. The fact of the matter is that for every stupid tattoo you know, there’s been a stupid tattoo done. Some people get more than their fair share. Tattooing doesn’t have to be this giant spiritual experience. It’s like, I have a pizza tattoo, and some people ask, why do you have a pizza tattooed on you? Because I like pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza? A tattoo doesn’t have to be a portrait of your baby.

Death to the Grim Reaper

Death to the Grim Reaper

MI: What percent of your jobs are cover-ups?

Barnaby: I do a lot but that’s probably related to the fact that I’m really good at it. You know how some people look at a wall and see pictures in the grain? I can see a tattoo and visualize something over it. If someone comes in and has a badly tattooed eagle on their arm I can do a phoenix over it. It’s like being able to visualize beyond what you can see. Or it’s like going into Neiman Marcus and seeing a great dress and heels. A lot of people can see how it can integrate into what they already have, their jewelry and accessories. But the actual answer is a third.

MI: What’s the most interesting cover up job you’ve ever done?

Barnaby: I tattooed this one woman named Diane, and I did both of her sleeves. She had full sleeves of stuff she got done when she was younger, in the 80s, when she was into punk rock. But it was just a bad time of her life with bad decision making that she didn’t want anymore. She trained dogs so I gave her two Chinese guardian dogs, one running up and one running down. Cover ups are like giving something new to someone, so that they can walk away with something they can feel comfortable with.

Guest blogger Maiden Lily wants your vote for September!

Posted in Maiden of the Month with tags , , on September 13, 2009 by metalinkshop

Hey guys, Lily here. I made you a fun video in which I explain the meaning behind my tats and I also have a few photos to share. Some are outtakes from the Metal Ink shoot and some are from a shoot I did a few weeks ago. I currently model for so if you’re a member or plan on being one come say hi! Also if you like what you see, sign up on Metal Ink and vote for me. I would love love love to be the next Metal Ink Maiden of the Month!


Lily for Metal Ink 1

Lily for Metal Ink 1

Lily for Metal Ink 2

Lily for Metal Ink 2

Lily for Metal Ink 3

Lily for Metal Ink 3

Lily for Metal Ink 4

Lily for Metal Ink 4

Lily for Metal Ink 5

Lily for Metal Ink 5

Lily for Metal Ink 6

Lily for Metal Ink 6

Lions and Tigers and Gauge the Robot!

Posted in Tattoo shops in San Francisco with tags , , , , , , on September 12, 2009 by metalinkshop

Lots of cool new designs to rate on Metal Ink! Check them out on our Rate Designs page! If you’re an artist or designer who wants a little extra help promoting your work, email us at and we’ll do an interview of you! Your piece must already have been accepted and must be currently on our site for voting. If you’re not there yet, Submit a Design today!

Haight Ashbury Tattoo and Piercing
1525 Haight Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 431-2218

Shaun Christopher

Shaun Christopher

Shaun Christopher, Tattoo Artist

MI: I checked out your website before coming over, and I saw something really interesting. What is a dermal implant?

Shaun: It’s a surface piercing. It’s put into your skin and the way the jewelry is made, the skin grows through the metal.

MI: I also saw a tattoo of the tiger that was put down at the SF Zoo.

Shaun: You mean the tribute to the tiger Tatiana, who was shot to death by police last year.

Tatiana the tiger

Tatiana the tiger

MI: What was the story behind it?

Shaun: Some drunk guys were taunting the tiger and it got out and mauled one of them. This tattoo was done on one of the guys who works here at the counter. It was an icon of the city that was tragically killed.

MI: This is somewhat tangentially related: what about the tattoo of the Lion of Judah?

Shaun: That’s the rasta lion. The Rastafarian lion represents the king of Ethiopia who’s supposed to be the new Jesus.

Lion of Judah

Lion of Judah

MI: Thanks, this is really educational! Finally, who is Mimoso Raton?

Shaun: That was a joke. I had a Mexican friend back in LA and Mimoso is the Mexican version of Barney the Dinosaur, except he’s old school and ghetto and very funny. He’s from the early 80s.

Mimoso Raton, Mexican Barney

Mimoso Raton, Mexican Barney

MI: So you used to live in LA? The classic question: what do you think about LA vs SF?

Shaun: I moved up here 3 months ago. It’s a lot more laid back and chill out here. People are more uptight in LA. Lots of big egos. People here tend to be more settled down and down to earth and cool.

MI: Where did you work in LA, and what’s unique about tattooing in LA vs SF?

Shaun: I worked at the Tattoo Lounge in West LA. Tattooing here is more traditional. In LA, it was more gangster-style tattooing.

MI: What’s gangster?

Shaun: Mainly black and gray tattoos. Drama masks, hand guns, a lot of script, prison-style stuff. Hands throwing up gang signs, like West side. Skulls too, but it has to be scary. If it isn’t scary then it isn’t gangster.

MI: Describe your style and how you formed it.

Shaun: I used to airbrush a lot and graffiti, and I would always draw. All of that is reflected in my artwork now. I do a lot of sculptural stuff, interlocking shapes. A whole bunch of outlines in interlocking shapes, really dynamic. Dynamic colorwork. Because dynamic is really dimensional and really bold.

MI: This is my favorite right tattoo, this robot here.

Shaun: When I was younger I used to draw this robot character named Gauge. I used to draw him as a big 7-foot robot who fucks shit up. So then as an adult, I drew a child version of him.

Gauge the robot

Gauge the robot

MI: Tell us more about Gauge. Do you still have those drawings?

Shaun: Well, about 3 years ago, my father was like, hey I got these pictures you drew when you were a kid, and I was like what the fuck, this is so cool. So I thought it would be cool to do a little kid version.

MI: That’s awesome!

Shaun: Yeah I thought it was awesome too, so I got him tattooed on my arm!

“Chino” Tattoos Big Tex in Cali

Posted in Tattoo shops in San Francisco with tags , , , on September 7, 2009 by metalinkshop

Announcing Metal Ink’s first special contest: Design for July Maiden Bambu! Check out her set on our Gallery, get inspired, and submit your art on! The winner will win $700 in cash, $300 in store credit, residuals from t-shirt sales, plus entry in our design of the year contests!

Cold Steel
1783 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 933-7233

Rian & peacock eyes

Rian & peacock eyes

Rian Renteria
Tattoo Artist

MI: Where did you get your name?

Rian: I dunno, my parents. That’s just the way they did it.

MI: It smells really good out here on your back patio.

Rian: Yeah, it’s coming from Escape from New York.

MI: Oh right, ‘cause it’s basically next door. Their pesto potato pizza is so good! Making me hungry. Anyway, how long have you been working here and how long have you been tattooing?

Rian: 4 years and 7 years.

MI: I asked Rob this question, want to know your opinion too. What do you think of tattooing in SF?

Rian: Bad ass. There’s a lot of really fucking good artists here. It’s like a Mecca for artists. Lots of inspiration. But I won’t call it competition actually, just a lot of good influences. And it’s not just tattoo artists. Graffiti artists too. Like Grime—his tattoos are cool, and he’s part of this graffiti crew, AWR, that’s pretty sick. He’s an amazing artist.

MI: Agree, the urban or street art here is great.

Rian: San Francisco is a great place. I didn’t intend to stay here for this long, but I like it. It’s nice and compact.

MI: Where did you come from?

Rian: Dallas.

MI: Did you work there and does everyone ask for a tattoo in the shape of the state of Texas down there?

Rian: *Laughs.* Yeah I’ve done that probably more times than I should have. That and the Dallas Cowboys star. Coincidentally, I happened to tattoo someone from Dallas yesterday. I tattooed Big Tex!

MI: Who’s that?

Rian: You know, he’s got a cowboy hat and a western shirt on and he’s wearing red, white and blue.

MI: Did it bring back memories?

Rian: Yeah it was bizarre doing it here, but it’s cool. Everyone gets their own shit.

MI: Did you start tattooing in Dallas? You grew up there, right?

Rian: Yeah. I hand-poked a tattoo on myself when I was 15. I got fascinated with it.

MI: What was your first tattoo?

Rian: It was my nickname on my arm which made no sense at all.

MI: What do you mean?

Rian: Well I’m Japanese, and my nickname was “Chino.” But that was my name, hanging out with the homies. I started learning how to tattoo early on, it became a hobby. And I got some tattoo machines not long after. I had a friend who was getting tattooed in a shop in Fort Worth. I went with him and my girlfriend at the time. She had a lot of tattoos done by me. I guess the artist liked them—he asked her who did it, and she pointed at me. He told me he was opening up a shop in a year and asked me to work for him. He stuck to his word. I helped him open up the shop and I started working with him. And working in a shop you learn more than when you’re fucking around with your homies. *Laughs.* So yeah, that’s how I got started. By a fluke.

MI: We’re now in your workspace, and I see you have acupuncture charts on your wall. What’s that for?

Rian's acupuncture charts

Rian's acupuncture charts

Rian: I just thought it was cool. And I like to use it to show clients exactly where work will be done, especially on the back.

MI: How would you describe your style?

Rian: I like to stay versatile. I don’t like saying I have a specific style, but it just tends to gather in your book. It tends to be more Asian theme. I started doing more black and gray. I try to do all of my work equally well and you have to be good at all types.

MI: Who are your influences?

Rian: There’s a lot…for Japanese style, Shige. Hands down he’s the best. He’s in Yokohama, Japan. He’s pretty much blown up by now. Also Paul Booth, he’s a sick ass black and gray artist.

MI: Awesome! We got the green light for an interview with him! We’re talking to Paul Booth the next time we’re in New York, probably in the fall.

Rian: That’s cool, so it’ll be on the Metal Ink blog?

MI: Yup, Metal Ink Crew Musings. Check back in a couple months!

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8

Trekking down Haight Street…

Posted in Tattoo shops in San Francisco with tags , on September 4, 2009 by metalinkshop

The September Maiden of the Month contest launched with 7 super hot inked cuties! Rate their photos today! Also check out our newest design to be printed, Mother III by jimiyo!

Cold Steel
1783 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 933-7233

Rob at Cold Steel

Rob at Cold Steel

Rob Junod
Tattoo artist

MI: How long have you been working here?

Rob: 4 years but I took an 8-month hiatus to travel around.

MI: Where did you go on your hiatus?

Rob: Philadelphia, Georgia, and back over this way.

MI: Why did you do it?

Rob: I had a few reasons. My son was 6 months old…

MI: You mean the toddler who’s playing with my bike outside?

Rob: Yeah, him. *Laughs* I just went insane from having a kid and not having an idea as to what I should be doing. So I took the most expensive vacation of my life. At the end, I thought I should just stay here.

MI: That’s a momentous decision to make. But recharging your personal batteries is necessary.

Rob: Yeah it was definitely necessary for me, and when I came back, everything was better than it was when I left.

MI: Let’s talk about SF. How would you describe the scene here?

Rob: I would say that SF is at the top of the food chain, if you want to think of it that way. In most cities, there’s only a few shops that I’d want to go into to get work done. Here, there’s about 50 tattoo shops and I’d say all save maybe 2 or 3 are really good.

MI: Totally agree, there’s a lot of talent here. How did you start tattooing?

Rob: I tattooed myself when I was 13. It was in middle school. Me and one of my friends took some safety pins and Indian ink from art class. I tattooed an anarchy symbol on my forearm. My brother thought it was cool so he did it too. I probably ended up with 5 or 6 really horrible hand-poked tattoos.
That was the last time I got tattooed for a while. The next time I got a tattoo was when I was 21.

MI: Was that when you started tattooing?

Rob: I was a welder right out of a high school—I worked at nuclear plants and food processing plants.

MI: That’s definitely not the typical route. A lot of tattoo artists start out as graphic designers or illustrators, something related. Why did you go into tattooing?

Rob: I just got sick of working for money as opposed to enjoying life. I was working anywhere from 10 to 14 hour-long shifts. One year, I worked 364 days our out of the year. So I just said screw it and decided to get into tattooing, as I’d been getting tattooed a bunch during that time.

MI: Did you do an apprenticeship somewhere?

Rob: No, not at first. I sat in a shop for 1 month and shadowed because they didn’t want to take on an apprentice. Eventually they finally gave in and let me be an apprentice. The owner was like, “Well fuck it, you’re sitting here all day long anyway.”

MI: You followed your heart. That’s a brave and inspiring way to live your life. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

Rob's robot design

Rob's robot design