Archive for January, 2010

Rotary Motor + Guitar String + Baby Oil = Tattoo Gun

Posted in Designer Interviews, Tattoo Artist Interviews, Tattoo shops in New York with tags , , , , on January 27, 2010 by metalinkshop

Only 4 days left to rate our luscious January Maidens! Rate their photo sets and decide who will win $700 cash, $300 store credit, professional photo shoots, the title of January Maiden of the Month, and of course, bragging rights!


Tattoo Heaven
98 Christopher Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 645-1893

 Ray Trzaska, tattoo artist

Ray Trzaska, tattoo artist

Ray Trzaska
Tattoo Artist

MI: Tell us about how you became a tattooer.

Ray: Every since I was a little kid, I liked to draw, work with modeling clay and things like that. I was always creative, always building or making stuff, with wood or whatever I could find. Then in my teenage years, I partied and got away from my artistic side. As young adult, I was incarcerated. That’s where I picked it up again.

MI: Your artistic side? Is that where you learned how to tattoo?

Ray: Yeah. I used to draw a lot when I first got incarcerated. People saw my artwork and they said, “you should start tattooing.” There, you make everything yourself. You make the machine out of any kind of motor, a cd player, tape cassette player, hair trimmers, any rotary machine or motor we could get our hands on. You use guitar string, peel the coil off the guitar string, for different gauges for whatever kind of needle you need to make. Prison is like everywhere else—you can get whatever you need, and there are people who specialize in everything. We’d get gloves from boxes they had for when they do shakedowns. So it was able to be done in a sterile manner. You make a new tube, make a new needle, wear gloves…

MI: What about the ink?

Ray: Well you make a baby oil candle—you put a wick in there and it makes a black soot. You catch it and scrape it off. You mix some mouthwash and alcohol and you boil it. It’s actually some pretty black ink. Some of the best work I’ve ever seen was done in prison.

MI: What’s your tattooing style?

Ray: I guess I’m pretty versatile, not stuck on one specific form of tattooing. I’m not totally into the whole Asian/Japanese thing, what I prefer to do is big pieces like sleeves or back pieces, black and gray custom work.

MI: Influenced by the how and where you learned to tattoo?

Ray: Yeah I think that has a lot to do with it. I like black and gray, but I have my own style. There’s movement, flow in my tattoos. I like to have movement in any kind of work, especially the filler work.
To be honest, I don’t get to do much of my own work. Sometimes it’s just a job. People are stubborn and they don’t take your advice, they don’t listen to what you have to say. It’s not so artistic, and that’s when it becomes a job. I like original custom work, when people bring me ideas.

MI: Your artistic purity gets compromised.

Ray: You have to, to survive in New York with all the competition. If you’re not Paul Booth here, you gotta do whatever comes through the door. If someone comes in and says they want a little kanji, you have to do it. At least until you build your reputation and then you can say fuck off.

MI: Tell us about the design you submitted to our contest, “One.”

Ray: Basically the design is an image of me and my kid’s mother. It’s based on a picture of us. She’s actually an artist and she takes a lot of images and does drawings from those images. She would send tons and tons of images to me when I was incarcerated and I would look for something to spark my creative interest.

"One" by hostileink

The actual drawing is 4 feet by 2 feet. It’s charcoal done on vellum and basically it’s what I want to get tattooed on my back. The drawing was a gift for her. I also made a sculpture from the same image. It’s two people becoming one.

MI: Hence the title. The sculpture is really beautiful. How did you make it?

Ray: The sculpture is made of soap. I shaped it down then watered it and turn it into clay. It’s the same way you would work with clay, build upon it and shape it, carve it.

MI: How did you get the color?

Ray: I stained it with coffee, buffed it out with a damp cloth and polyurethane.

MI: Thanks for sharing your story and best of luck in Metal Ink’s design contest!

“Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination”

Posted in Maiden of the Month with tags , , , on January 26, 2010 by metalinkshop
Dirt Diva for Metal Ink_1

Dirt Diva for Metal Ink_1

Hello people!

My name is Catra Corbett, and I’m running in Metal Ink’s January Maiden of the Month contest! I love tattoos and piercings. Most of all, I love living a clean and healthy lifestyle. I am a vegan and I am an ultrarunner. An ultrarunner is someone who runs over the standard marathon distance, which is 26.2 miles. I run mountain trails all over the country. I compete in 50 and 100 mile trail races. 100 miles is my favorite distance. I have run 100 miles 67 times which is more then any other American woman.

I also run long trails every summer going for speed records. I hold the overall out and back record on the John Muir trail in California which starts in Yosemite and finishes on Mt. Whitney. Going one way it’s 212 miles long, and I did a double or 424 miles in 12 days, 4 hours. I also hold the record for the Tahoe rim trail which is 165 miles long. I was able to run it in 72 hours.

This year I will be running the oldest 100 mile race called Western States 100 in California. I have run it 5 times. I will be the first person to double it. I will run the race then turn around at the finish and go back to the start, for a total of 200 miles.

I also do Crossfit which is workouts consisting of heart pounding workouts for time which include kettle bells, pull-ups, push-ups, handstands, rope climbs, running, rowing and Olympic lifting. Are you tired yet? I run 80-120 miles a week training. I also rock climb. I have even Climbed El Capatain in Yosemite. I also became the first person to run 100 miles in Yosemite and in the middle of the run I climbed a route with 9 pitches called Nutcracker.

I have run close to 300 ultramarthons. “Live Life Love Life”, that’s my motto! I think there needs to be more healthy, strong, beautiful woman role models. That is my job in life. I hope you vote for me.

Catra aka “Dirt Diva”

“Life’s a journey not a destination”

Dirt Diva for Metal Ink_2

Dirt Diva for Metal Ink_2

Dirt Diva for Metal Ink_3

Dirt Diva for Metal Ink_3

From Sweden with Love, Anunnaki

Posted in Maiden of the Month with tags , , on January 20, 2010 by metalinkshop

Hello Metal Ink fans, my name is Anunnaki, and I am in the January Maiden of the Month contest!

I was born in Sweden and live in the beautiful Vest Cost, close to Gothenburg.

I have been working as a model for three years and I have had the pleasure to work with Metal Dolls, Stickytittygirls and I am a Suicide Girl hopeful. Mostly I work directly with a photographer and not to companies. I have also worked with some bands like the Swedish metal band, Wolf…

When I’m not modeling, I’m studying at the University of Kalmar where I major in Project Management – music and event. Since many years back, I’ve been a concert organizer and a tour leader. I have also studied Archaeology at the University of Gothenburg and Textile Science at University College of Boras. It was during that time that I stumbled across the name Anunnaki, when I was doing a paper on the Sumerians. I have even been to Australia and studied at the University of New South Wales as an exchange student. I love to travel and meet new people and learn about new cultures.

I’m a vegan and politically active. I don’t like false politicians/humans. So I decided to try work with them. Unfortunately there have not been any good results yet…. I mostly work for environmental issues and the protection of our world. But also for helping kids between 12-20 to be able to practice music and create a place to rehearse with their bands. I also want more live music for younger audiences. My heart lies in music and art. And I’m a big fan of the band Lillasyster and KORN…

Please vote for me to be Metal Ink’s January Maiden of the Month!


Kelly Offends You!

Posted in Maiden of the Month with tags , on January 19, 2010 by metalinkshop
Kelly for Metal Ink

Kelly for Metal Ink

Hey there tattooed ladies and gents! My name is Kelly and I am competing for Metal Ink’s January Maiden of the Month. Thought I would let you guys get to know me a little better…

Soooo…I am 21 years old, originally from Sacramento, California. I have just moved out to Philadelphia to finish up my BFA in photography at the University of the Arts. Though I am very much a west coast gal, I loooove the east coast and my stay in Philly has been awesome! When I’m not behind the camera, I’m in front of it. I am proud to be a GodsGirl, and you can take a peak at my profile at Obviously, I’m addicted to ink, and actually just got a brand spankin’ new chest piece!

I am currently single and fabulous. My school has taken up most of my time and focus, so a significant other is not a priority right now. I’m always having fun and all-nighters are my specialty 😉 I love the Philly nightlife, and I am definitely a bar fly!

Well I hope you enjoy my photos, and keep an eye out for pics of my new chest piece on my GG blog! And follow me!


Danika Massey, Killer Tattoo Artist

Posted in Tattoo Artist Interviews with tags , , on January 18, 2010 by metalinkshop
Danika Massey, tattoo artist

Danika Massey, tattoo artist

Big Daddys Tattoo
1426 Pacific Coast Hwy
Harbor City, CA 90710
(310) 325-2129

MI: What did you go to school for?

Danika: Sequential art, which is a fancy word for comic books. I went to the Savannah College of Arts and Design and I graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of Fine Arts. I was trying to get into the comic book industry, but I’m just not a lucky girl—you need to be in the right place and at the right time. Even when I was dating the comic book stenciller and inker, I couldn’t get a job doing the coloring. They (management) didn’t want to put someone new on the payroll, so someone else less talented got hired.

MI: That’s too bad—their loss completely.

Danika: So I decided to make a web comic series about day-to-day crazy things that happen to me. I recently did a comic about a bum that came into our shop and decided to pee on the floor. I’m still working on a style guide right now, but it’s going to be about tattoos, relationships, working as an artist, all those things.

MI: What was your first tattoo?

Danika: The first tattoo I ever got was a Chanel symbol on my foot. I’m usually kinda broke so I can’t afford expensive things. Now I’m always in style.

MI: Do you have any other tattoos?

Danika: I wasn’t planning on getting more tattoos. But I did, during my apprenticeship. I was living in South Carolina, working 2 nights a week at a club as a shot girl, and on a whim one day, I rolled up to a tattoo shop and asked if they needed apprentices. They told me to bring a portfolio, so I came back with mine, and they were like, wow when can you start? Most people who roll up don’t have a portfolio and can’t draw.

MI: And there you were, prepared with your portfolio and your formal training. What do you like about tattooing?

Danika: I like going to a place to work and talking to people. I get to do different things every single day instead of getting stuck doing the same page of a comic for 10 hours.

MI: What’s it like tattooing in California compared to South Carolina?

Danika: Well, I’m definitely doing a lot less tattoos with the rebel flag! I have a couple of pages in my portfolio dedicated to my redneck tattoos. Overall though, I would say people really aren’t that different. It really hasn’t been that much of a culture shock or anything. There’s definitely different themes: Browning deer heads, rebel flags, anything pro-America in the South. In California, it’s flowers and a lot more beach-y themed stuff.

MI: What are Browning deer heads?

Danika: There’s a company called Browning that makes hunting equipment. If you’re in the South, people have these stickers on their cars. I thought it was a man on fire, but it’s a deer head.

MI: The antlers were like the flames from afar?

Danika: I guess I don’t look at things the way most people do, maybe because I’m creative. I thought, oh that’s a man with his head on fire. The deer’s ear looked like his head, the face looked like his arm.

MI: How would you describe your style?

Danika: I really enjoy color, I enjoy black and gray too…I’m trying to get into portraiture right now. I don’t think I have a style yet, I’m still too new to it.

MI: How has your background in art prepared you for tattooing?

Danika: For me, it’s about learning the medium, not how to draw. A lot of people come into the field just knowing they love tattoos but not knowing how to draw. For me, with the background and formal training, I find it helps to already know about things like art composition, and all the things that can make or break a design.

MI: Looking at your blog, it’s obvious you like to draw and execute your own tattoo designs.

Danika: I’ve always been in love with drawing, ever since I was a little kid. Flash is kinda fun in that you get to do someone else’s art and put your own spin on it. It’s more fulfilling personally when I get to do something of my own. It’s meaningful when someone wants to put your art on their body for the rest of their lives. I think most people who really draw, like to draw their own stuff.

MI: Tell us about the zombie girl tattoo.

Danika: When I was in Alabama, one of my clients and friends gave me carte blanche to do this tattoo because he really liked my work. He told me he wanted a pinup girl, so a dead girl, zombie pinup girl was my interpretation. I know it’s not necessarily traditional, but I try to do things that are different, try to shake it up a little. The normal pinup girl is in one of 5 positions, whereas I did her skirt and I really liked it and went from there.

MI: Tell us about the goat tattoo.

Danika: It’s actually a sheep. I remember reading this book in high school called Angela’s Ashes. There’s a quote that I really liked, “It’s better to hang for a sheep than a lamb.” It means that if you’re going to do something then you might as well go all the way and get in trouble for something big. I always liked that saying, so I drew a sheep getting hanged. I was thinking of drawing a banner over it, but I decided to be subtle. Multiple meanings instead of being ham-fisted. These days, entertainment, movies, TV and even drawings tend to be so ham-fisted.

MI: Who did you tattoo it on?

Danika: I had a friend who liked it and let me do it on him.

MI: Last tattoo—where does the Chippy guy come from?

Danika: That was based on a television show that helped me get through tough times.

MI: What show is that?

Danika: It’s called Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job.

MI: Adult swim?

Danika: You got it.

MI: Who is this character?

Danika: So they do this thing, they show a scene like a dinner table set with food, and someone says, “Where’s my Chippy? Where’s my Chippy? Come out here!” And then he comes out from behind the turkey leg and they circle him and they say, “There’s my Chippy!” I guess like things from B culture and cult things and making them into tattoos—I took Chippy and combined him with an Asian tattoo theme. That’s more indicative of the kind of work I like to do, stupid humor things, like that Chippy tattoo. I’d love to do some Golden Girls tattoos. I’ve got so many ideas for things like that. Horror movies tattoos too.

MI: We had a horror-themed design contest last year! The winner of the $700 cash/$300 credit prize was David_M for “Undead Moon.” You should enter your work next time. Thanks so much for talking with us, and we hope to see your artwork on soon!

Bob Suicide Wants Your Vote for January!

Posted in Maiden of the Month with tags , , on January 15, 2010 by metalinkshop

Bob Suicide, currently in the running to be Metal Ink’s first 2010 Maiden, hacked into the mainframe in 1984 and has been nerding it up ever since. A mild-mannered, computer programmer by day in the silicon-coated bay area and a video game vixen by night, Bob has a penchant for all things geeky, techy, and nerdy. When she’s not out collecting toys for her massive collection or sitting on the couch playing video games, you can find her touring convention after convention; Jayne hat securely fastened or trolling the interwebs at

For the best in hourly nerdy banter, you can flutter over to Bob’s twitter at

Dying to watch Bob get her geek on? Check this out:

More videos from user

And, remember to cast your vote and click that 10 for Bob…Keep it binary!

10,000 Tattoos & Counting…

Posted in Designer Interviews, Tattoo Artist Interviews with tags , , , , on January 15, 2010 by metalinkshop

40% Off All Metal Ink Merchandise! Shop our New Year’s Sale and take advantage of this once-a-year discount before it’s too late! Sale ends Saturday, 1/16/10. Use code “shop2010” at checkout to get your 40% discount!

Joe Drache, tattoo artist

Joe Drache, tattoo artist

Accent Tattoo
207 South State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482-4904
(707) 462-6884

MI: How long have you been tattooing?

Joe: I’ve been tattooing for 20 years. I started out as amateur at 17, using homemade equipment and doing it the wrong way. It was a weekend hobby for 8 years before I did an apprenticeship in a tattoo shop and I learned how to do it correctly.

MI: This was in Ukiah?

Joe: This all started in Virginia where I grew up. I was living around the Norfolk area, where at the time it was illegal to have a tattoo shop. But there were shops within 100 yards of where I lived.

MI: Who was the clientele?

Joe: I had some sailors but mostly it was middle class people, people who knew me, or found me through word of mouth. I tattooed police officers. It wasn’t a serious crime. If I had gotten caught, I would have been fined $50 because I didn’t have a shop or a license. Most of these people were coming to me on someone’s recommendation—they had already heard of my practice. Even as an amateur, I was using brand new needles for every client.

MI: Describe your style.

Joe: It originally grew out of my own drawing ability. I was drawing pictures since I was a baby. I always drew monsters, girls, motorcycles, typically boy stuff. I started looking at magazines, and pretty early on, 15 years ago, I started getting influenced by Paul Booth.

MI: His work is so black and gray, very dark images.

Joe: Not only visually dark, but emotionally dark. Usually involving murder and brain matter and what have you.

MI: So how did you develop your own style?

Joe: It wasn’t until I went through my apprenticeship that I learned how to tattoo the right way. The first thing I learned how to do was copy my boss, to do everything the way he does it. Once I had that down pat, I was able to infuse it with my own flavors, so to speak. What I do best is fine line black and gray, which was the style of the guy who taught me. I’m still very much his student, but I try to take it to my own level.

MI: Who are artists you admire?

Joe: Robert Hernandez, a really phenomenal tattoo artist from Madrid. In my honest opinion, he’s the best artist in the whole world. I try to emulate his techniques, texture, light, shadow, surreal subject matter.

MI: How many people have you tattooed?

Joe: The number’s probably close to 10,000. I can do the math…back in the early days when I was an amateur tattooer, I was busier. There were some days I would do 10 tattoos in a row. These days I do about 3 a day.

MI: Incredible! Tell us about one of your favorite tattoos.

Joe: Probably one of my favorite tattoos of recent times is the WWII scene I did on a guy’s leg. But I have a new favorite tattoo every 6 months because I keep outdoing myself. I haven’t quite hit my plateau in terms of my skills.

MI: So was this person a veteran?

Joe: No, his dad was in WWII and he had become a WWII buff. I was happy to take on the subject matter, and from there I ran with it and I started throwing all these ideas at him and he really just went along with it for the most part. I wanted to include the tank and the two men battling hand to hand. I wanted to capture all the archetypical angles. Then on the bottom there’s the paratroopers and the dogfights going on…

MI: It’s definitely a detailed piece, with a lot going on.

Joe: I used a little bit of white to help accentuate the foreground pieces—it’s to separate things and create the illusion of depth.

MI: Never heard of using white ink in that way!

Joe: The white ink is mixed into the foreground elements. You think they’re jumping out at you because they’re slightly different. It’s not like you notice the white since it’s mixed in.

MI: Your work is phenomenal and it’s great to see that you recently submitted a design, “Repent,” to our design contest. Out of curiosity, as a tattoo artist, are you able to tell which designs in our contest were drawn by fellow tattooers vs graphic artists?

Joe: Only to some degree, because more and more graphic artists are coming into the tattoo industry.

MI: Well, if you have an artistic bent, it’s all you need! Good luck with “Repent” and for all our readers, please support Joe by casting your vote for his design on!

*Winning designs are printed on t-shirts, and designers are awarded $700 cash, $300 store credit, plus residuals from t-shirt sales on!