Tuesday, August 31, 2010

one week away...

Had a good day at the shop today.

Had a few walk-ins and got to work with my mentors. I rarely get to work with both of them so I got to watch both of them work all day. Although I was busy with customers and whatnot most of the day, in my downtime I got to watch Bill work on this awesome phoenix on an arborist's ribs and Anna worked on this sweet 1/2 sleeve of lotus blossoms and hibiscus. It makes me miss Hawaii just watching her tattoo those flowers.

I'm pretty bummed that I haven't done any real "art" lately. Did a few sketches, but nothing noteworthy. I guess i've been stressing about leaving for Hawaii... leaving my boyfriend of almost 2 years..... leaving my family and friends. it's just weird. i've spent the last 3.5 yrs of my life apprenticing and now i have to leave. yes, its a wonderful opportunity. yes, who in their right mind would turn down an opportunity like this. i hope that i get to spend time one on one with them.

i'll be gone for 3 months. after not tattooing for 3.5 years, i'm leaving my homeland to tattoo in hawaii, away from everything. i'm so excited that i don't think it truly hit me until now. all this hard work has finally paid off! now i have to man up and let them know that i learned something. this is the true test.... right? 

exactly one week from today i will be in another time zone.

i'll post some art within the next few days i promise.


Two Segements of Renae's Arm

I spotted a whole lot going on with Renae's left forearm, while browsing at the Chelsea Salvation Army store, so I just had to ask.

Let's deconstruct:

The first part of this tattoo is the dark heart on the inner part of the forearm. Renae attributes this to Rob at the Orlando branch of Hart and Huntington. In over three years of inkspotting, this is the first piece on best-tatto-design that has been credited to one of their shops.

Renae, who has "no idea" how many tattoos she has (which is synonymous for "too many to count"), wanted to add to her arm, so she headed to Brooklyn Ink in Bay Ridge.

Alex Franklin was given free reign, according to Renae. Her exact quote was "use your imagination and run," which must be music to many a tattooists ears.

Alex did the flourishes around the original tattoo, along with the phrase "gutta cavat lapidem," a Latin phrase by Ovid which translates to "dripping water hollows out a stone," which is a shortened version of the line "Dripping water hollows out stone, not through force but through persistence." This quote is known to many New Yorkers who have seen it inscribed underground here (with a broader description here).

And he tattooed the piece on the other side of the arm:

Work from Brooklyn Ink (and a lot by Alex) has appeared previously on best-tatto-design here.

Thanks to Renae for sharing her tattoos with us here on best-tatto-design!

Monday, August 30, 2010

John's Root People

At the end of July, I coincidentally exited the A train at 14th Street at the same time as John, who was visiting from Nevada.

I had been admiring his sleeve on the train, but didn't have the opportunity to speak to him about it until after he got off the subway.

He referred to these creatures as "Root People":

It's an abstract collaboration with the artist, Rickett, at The Ruby Lantern in Carson City, Nevada.

They started working together in January of this year, and they're not yet finished with the whole sleeve. As you can tell, it's very unusual and has a very unique approach.

These designs are all on John's right arm, and I am particular to the female tree person above on his inner forearm.

Thanks to John for sharing his Root People here with us on best-tatto-design!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gina's Phoenix

In late June, I ran into Gina in Penn Station and complimented her on a tattoo she had on her back. At the time, she was wearing something with straps that covered part of the design. I gave her a flier and she remarked that she had just recently discovered the site through this post on the tattoo of Julie Powell.

Alas, like so many folks to whom I give fliers, I didn't receive any emails or photos. But a month passed and one day I was pleasantly surprised to see an email from Gina, with the following photos of her phoenix tattoo:

I'll let her explain the rest:

"... I had completely forgotten [about sending in the photo] until I found the picture I took for you on my camera... This was done by Junii at the Diamond Club in San Francisco. [Bill Salmon, Junii's husband, is the studio owner]. She does amazing line work.  She's also incredibly conscientious about design and her clients.  For both my tattoos, she spend a lot of time talking with me, looking at the 20 pictures I had brought in of bits or aspects of what I wanted, then went off and did her own research, always coming back with exactly the right drawing.

This one - I got it after a really, really difficult year. So, obviously, not the deepest symbolism - just wanted to remind myself of the possibility of renewal."

Thanks to Gina for sharing her tattoo with us here on best-tatto-design!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Alex Shares a Floral Tattoo, Roots and All

Sometimes I see tattoos before I see people.

Back in July, for example, I approached a guy on the West 4th Street subway platform to ask him about this tattoo on his right forearm:

It was only after I said hello to him that I realized he was someone named Alex who lives in my neighborhood in Brooklyn.

In fact, Alex had a tattoo featured here back in 2009, after I stopped  him in the laundromat.

This floral tattoo is a representation of how a flower overcomes obstacles and pain to lay down roots, rises up, and blooms.

He draws the comparison to life, as nothing comes without hard work and bypassing obstacles.

The tattoo was created by Shon Lindauer at Thicker Than Water in Manhattan. Shon is the same artist that did the tiger on my calf. Other work from Thicker Than Water has appeared previously on best-tatto-design here.

Thanks to Alex for once again sharing his work with us here on best-tatto-design!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Final countdown!

So I have two weeks left before heading to Hawaii to start tattooing. In the meantime I have been busting my ass at the shop and practicing. Here are a few things I've done on the skin....

This one was for a friend/coworker at the shop who gave me the idea for this one.  This was more fun than anything. I strapped the skin to a friend of mine and worked on this all day. Once I put in the color though it started staining the skin and made the thing look super muddy. After that I'm sticking to black and grey for this stuff.

This is one I'm working on for my Mom, naturally. This one was much for fun because I could actually see what I was doing. Also tried out this Infinite Irons machine a friend gave me to use... its still weird tattooing this stuff, but its really helping me with getting used to the weight of the machine for hours on end.

I'm really stoked to get out of Philly for a while and start tattooing. These three years have brought me to this point.

I will post on here more while I am away, letting everyone see the progress as I go along. I will be in Hawaii tattooing at Skin Deep in Waikiki from Sept 15- til the first week in December.

Until next time......

Kevin's Gravitational Tattoo

I love word tattoos so I couldn't help but stop Kevin at Barnes & Noble earlier this month. He had this tattoo inked on his inner right forearm:

He explained that he enrolled in school not knowing for sure what he wanted to do. He was on a path for a career in finance, but also has a keen interest in art and graphic design.

He says that the tattoo is a reminder that, although gravity is all around us, and pulling us toward the status quo, he should stay true to himself and never give up his interest in art.

He had this done by Betty Rose at Red Rocket Tattoo in Manhattan. Work from Red Rocket has appeared previously on best-tatto-design here.

Thanks to Kevin for sharing his Gravity with us here on best-tatto-design!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Travis and Another Perspective of Ganesh

People who are familiar with being featured here on best-tatto-design know that there is a process, in which I generally go chronologically, and it often can be several weeks before I post their work.

But there are always exceptions.

Take, for example, Travis, who I met on Monday near the corner of 32nd and 8th Avenue waiting for a bus.

Under normal circumstances, you'd have seen Travis's tattoo in September but, the next day, I got the following mysterious tweet: "@best-tatto-design post pictures of that guys tattoos- you were talking to him yesterday outside MSG plzz! *stalker*".


Well, a little bit of digging, and I discovered that the source of the message was Hannah, who appeared last month on best-tatto-design here. And since I'm a sucker for my fans, I'll gladly oblige and share Travis's tattoo with us here today. Here it is:

Travis's tattoo depicts the Hindu deity Ganesh. However, unlike this Ganesh tattoo, this one has a twist.

Travis explained that one of the common beliefs is that Ganesh was born with a human head, but that he was beheaded as a boy, and his head was replaced with that of an elephant. He obtained a third eye so that he could make sure he was never betrayed again.

Travis says that he often feels "too aware" of others, to the point that it detracts from his enjoyment of life. Thus, his tattoo of Ganesh has him literally slicing off the third eye, wielding a sword with his trunk, which metaphorically translates to Travis "cooling out" and being less aware so that he can enjoy life more.

The "F.I.A." on the banner stand for "Fuck It All".

Travis has eight tattoos, which includes a full sleeve, all by artist Brad Stevens at Dare Devil Tattoo in New York City.

Thanks to Travis for sharing this interesting interpretation of Ganesh with us here on best-tatto-design!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Small World, best-tatto-design-Style

I have a few days off and was buying some milk at the grocery store when an older gentleman in line behind me complimented me on the tiger tattoo on my calf, which has been well-documented here, in this initial post, and subsequent ones.

The gentleman asked who the artist was and mentioned his son was an artist as well. "Who?" I asked, and he told me, Mike Perfetto, aka Designs by Michael Angelo in Brooklyn. I gave him a flier and he introduced himself as Ralph Perfetto, our Democratic District Leader here in Bay Ridge.

I know you're likely thinking, "Nice story, Bill, but is it really that much of a small world coincidence?" Actually, yes, because my backlog had brought me to posting a couple of tattoos on Peter, who I had last seen at the Matty No Times benefit back on July 17. One of those tattoos, you guessed it, is by Mike Perfetto.

Let's take a look:

Pete also shared a tattoo on his leg by legendary Brooklyn artist Tony Polito. As you can see, Pete has quite a collection of ink, and he takes pride in the work he has from "old school" New York artists tattooing in the American Traditional style.

Pete explained that "Old Calcutta" was a nickname for Tony's shop from the early '80s to the mid '90s because of the high intensity atmosphere of the shop and the people who were there.

Thanks to Peter for sharing his tattoos with us here on best-tatto-design (again and again). Peter has been working hard at New York Hardcore Tattoo on Stanton Street. They have recently remodeled the shop and are working hard on producing quality art on the denizens of New York City. Be sure to stop in and meet their crew.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Under One Small Star - Two Tattoos from Anna

I met Anna earlier this month in Penn Station. I felt compelled to stop her when she walked by and I caught a glimpse of this amazing tattoo:

I love seeing ink that is new and original, and I had never seen a line of anything run up the length of a leg like this.

Anna explained that this was a line of poetry that reads "My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second" that she heard on a trip to Cambodia. Her group leader, Jan, had shared the poem, "Under One Small Star" by Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska, and the verse meant a lot to her during her trip there. This one specific line really resounded with her, so she first "paid a Khmer translation site and then had a friend [she] made in Cambodia, Ponheary, check the translation just to make sure it was correct".

I love the international flavor of this tattoo - a poem originally in Polish, translated to English, then re-translated to Khmer, transcribed in flesh in America!

The line runs from top to bottom and was inked by Jason at Powerhouse Tattoo Company in Montclair, New Jersey.

The poem is reprinted in its entirety at the end of this post.

Since it is Tat-Tuesday, let's look at a second tattoo from Anna, this one on the back side of her right arm:

This is Joan of Arc, "a hero of mine," says Anna, who admires her from the feminist perspective and finds her an "unbelievably inspirational" historical figure.

This piece was tattooed by the wonderful Stephanie Tamez at New York Adorned. Stephanie's work has appeared previously on best-tatto-design here.

Thanks again to Anna for sharing these two of her seven tattoos with us here on best-tatto-design!

Under One Small Star

My apologies to chance for calling it necessity.
My apologies to necessity if I'm mistaken, after all.
Please, don't be angry, happiness, that I take you as my due.
May my dead be patient with the way my memories fade.
My apologies to time for all the world I overlook each second.
My apologies to past loves for thinking that the latest is the first.
Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home.
Forgive me, open wounds, for pricking my finger.
I apologize for my record of minuets to those who cry from the depths.
I apologize to those who wait in railway stations for being asleep
today at five a.m.
Pardon me, hounded hope, for laughing from time to time.
Pardon me, deserts, that I don't rush to you bearing a spoonful of water.
And you, falcon, unchanging year after year, always in the same cage,
your gaze always fixed on the same point in space,
forgive me, even if it turns out you were stuffed.
My apologies to the felled tree for the table's four legs.
My apologies to great questions for small answers.
Truth, please don't pay me much attention.
Dignity, please be magnanimous.
Bear with me, O mystery of existence, as I pluck the occasional thread
from your train.
Soul, don't take offense that I've only got you now and then.
My apologies to everything that I can't be everywhere at once.
My apologies to everyone that I can't be each woman and each man.
I know I won't be justified as long as I live,
since I myself stand in my own way.
Don't bear me ill will, speech, that I borrow weighty words,
then labor heavily so that they may seem light.

--Wislawa Szymborska

Monday, August 23, 2010

Caitlin's Pin-up with a Heart on the Sleeve

Earlier this month, I ran into Caitlin as I got off the A train at West 4th Street. She has twnety-three tattoos and, as customary, I asked if she could pick one to share with us here on best-tatto-design.

She obliged, selecting this, her most recent tattoo:

This is based on the artwork of the pin-up stylings of Baron von Lind. I believe the piece that this is replicating is his work "Daphne":

I wish I could give proper credit to the artist, but it was a noisy train platform, and I scribbled down Willie Childress, Asheville, North Carolina. If anyone knows who this is, or what shop he belongs to, please let me know so I can give the artist his proper due.

Thanks to Caitlin for sharing her pin-up with us here on best-tatto-design!

Be sure to head over to the Baron von Lind website to see more of his art.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jason's Pennsylvania Devils

I ran into Jason on the West 4th Street platform back in July. He was on his way to Smith Street Tattoo, to accompany a friend who was getting tattooed by Bert Krak.

I asked him if he wouldn't mind sharing some of his work, and he gladly complied.

I snapped some photos and chatted with him all the way to Brooklyn. Check them out:

Why a devil on his leg? Jason said he was considering putting something on his leg that he was afraid to place there. When he asked himself if he should really do that, he reasoned, just by asking himself that, meant he should do it. He also gave some advice that I thought was very valuable.

Jason said that when he is looking to get tattooed, and isn't sure what he wants, he'll go to an artist and ask them what they're currently drawing. Most artists in the shop, when they're not tattooing, are either drawing, sketching, painting, or creating something. Jason reasons that if you ask for what the artist is currently doing, he or she will be that much more passionate about the work.

This logic is behind several of Jason's tattoos.

The work above was created on Jason by Ryan Westvall at Old Soul Tattoo in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

Thanks to Jason for sharing his tattoos with us here on best-tatto-design!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Garrett's Peacock Recalls the South

I met Garrett back in June in Penn Station when I was still reeling from the loss of my camera.

I had yet to replace my photographic equipment and I had yet to receive the loaner from my awesome friend Jill.

So, I did the best I could with a flash-less BlackBerry camera to capture Garrett's awesome sleeve:

Yes, folks, it's another peacock in our midst, in a summer during which we have been treated to a variety of peafowl.

Garrett's choice to get this tattoo stems from his love of these birds, combined with an appreciation of fashion, and how the peacock speaks to that sensibility. He also likes how the males are the fairer of the two sexes.

What's especially remarkable is that this is a black and gray tattoo, with no plans to take on any color ink.

The inclusion of magnolias, azaleas and violets, all in homage to the South, make this potentially dizzyingly colorful tattoo more remarkable in its basic palette. Rather than explosions of color, we are rewarded with subtleties of shading.

Credit goes to Myles Karr at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn. Work from Myles has previously appeared here on best-tatto-design.

Thanks to Garrett for sharing his amazing tattoo with us here on best-tatto-design!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Jessica's Chest Piece and a Tale of Two Tigers

There may be eight million people in New York, but it's still, at times, a small world town.

Last month in the Amtrak section of Penn Station, I spotted Jessica, a young woman with a beautiful tattoo across her chest:

This piece even was our banner here for a few weeks, thanks to Jessica.

The inscription reads "Never Love, Never Lose," which is certainly thought-provoking, a slight spin on the aphorism, "It is better to have loved and lost than never loved at all." It also recalls an Irish claddagh ring, with two hands holding a heart. Feathers on the ends of the hands were added to even out the design.

I particularly like the fact that Jessica is wearing a key around her neck and, in the photo, it is lying across the keyhole at the center of the heart.

Jessica collaborated with the artist known as Ollie XXX in Montreal. If you look at his portfolio on his site, slide 87 shows a brighter original version of the tattoo when it was first completed.

When I asked her how many tattoos she had, she said, twenty-two, and showed me her most recent, a Peanuts tattoo. When I inquired where she got it, she said Thicker Than Water on the Lower East Side. "Oh," I commented, "you got one of the $50 specials?" I knew that the shop had done a $50 tattoo event the previous Saturday. Jessica confirmed that she had, in fact, attended with a friend.

I continued, "Shon Lindauer was the artist for my tiger,"and I rolled up my pant leg to reveal the piece Shon had inked at the beginning of the year when they were in "Year of the Tiger" mode. Well, you could have knocked Jessica over with a feather and her aunt, who Jessica was seeing off at the station, was also surprised. Why?

Jessica pulled down her right sleeve to reveal a familiar, but more feminine version of my tiger from my calf.

Shon had inked a variation on the tiger for her in February. Jessica's aunt insisted we pose with our tigers together.

I love how the designs are so similar, yet hers is much more feminine (or mine is much more masculine).

Granted, inkspotting certainly reduces the odds, but nonetheless, our paths crossing still seemed incredibly amazing.

Thanks to Jessica for sharing her work with us here on best-tatto-design!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kristine's Globe and a Memorial for Mom

Kristine has seven tattoos, two of which she shared with us late last month in Penn Station.

The first one I  noticed when she walked by was this piece from the back of her calf:

This is an homage to her travels, having recently returned from ten months in New Zealand. The Latin phrase below the globe, "On Omnia Paratus" translates to "ready for all things".

She also shared this lovely floral tattoo on her upper right arm:

Kristine explained that these tulips are a memorial to her mother, who passed away from lung cancer.

These tattoos were done by Chris Pesonen at Fat Kat Tattoos in Keyport, New Jersey. Work from Fat Kat has appeared previously on best-tatto-design here.

Thanks to Kristine for sharing her tattoos with us hereon best-tatto-design!

Samoan Maori mixed tattoo for the shoulder


In my holiday I designed a new shoulder piece, with a mix of Samoan and Maori/Kirituhi inspired elements.

The top of the tattoo has some nice Samoan arrowhead patterns and other detailed elements.
I made a shading for this piece, which I normally don't, but I guess it looks good on this tatoo design.

I used some really simple Maori koru pattern, to complement the detailed Samoan-style.

This design is not a custom design, so you can order it on my website (nr. 147 in the Shoulder gallery), or right now by clicking the "Buy now" button. You will receive a high resolution image + a linedrawing/stencil for your tattoo artist.

Samoan maori tattoo designs mixed

Best regards, Mark Storm

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Claire's Hemaris Thysbe Flutters on Her Forearm

Butterfly tattoos can be a dime a dozen (no offense, butterfly fans), but moths, on the other hand often get a bum rap, taking a back seat to their more flamboyant insect cousins. To the chagrin of some inked lepidopterists, you don't see as many moth tattoos. This, however, is a lovely exception, perched on Claire's forearm:

This is Hemaris Thysbe, more commonly known as the Clear Wing Hummingbird Moth, a beautiful insect that gets its name from its large size and rapid wing speed.

Claire, who I met in Borders at 2 Penn Plaza, is originally from Vermont and this moth reminds her of back home. There are certainly no Hummingbird Moths fluttering about New York City!

She found a picture she liked and took it in to Yoni Ziebler at Brooklyn Adorned where he recreated this lovely specimen.

Work from Adorned appears here often and can be seen together under this tag.

Thanks again to Claire for sharing her Hummingbird Moth with us here on best-tatto-design!

Monday, August 16, 2010

New tattoo designs added to


A few months ago I started working on a new set of tattoo designs. At this moment I created 6 new designs and updated my galleries on

The first design is for the lower leg, placed on the shin and the sides will wrap around the calf.
The second design can also be used for the calf or shin, but it would look good on the forearm/shoulder as well.

The three designs below are designed for the forearm.

Click the images to enter the tattoo gallery:

maori lower leg tattoosmaori shin tattoos

maori forearm feathers tattoo designkirituhi forearm tribal tattoorealistic feathers in maori tattoo

And here is one new shoulder tattoo design:

Any questions? Just let me know,

Kind regards, Mark Storm

Carrie's Astonishing Peacock

Last year at this time, it seemed as if everywhere I turned I was photographing gypsy tattoos. Let's call this season, the Summer of the Peacock.

At the end of July, I ran into Carrie outside of Madison Square Garden and she shared this breathtaking tattoo:

This piece isn't yet complete, but represents close to sixteen hours of meticulous work by Norm Wright Jr. at Art with a Pulse Tattoo Studio in Glen Burnie, Maryland. The detail is incredible and Carrie explained that he free-handed the design with Sharpies, and then followed up with the tattoo needle.

Aside from the beauty of the peacock, Carrie explained that she was inspired by a trip to India, and that this beautiful creature is the country's national bird, which imbues the tattoo with even more personal meaning for her.

Thanks to Carrie for sharing her colorful tattoo with us here on best-tatto-design!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Brian's Mat-tree-monial Tattoo

Late last month, I met Brian on the 34th Street A platform and he shared this amazing tattoo:

The piece was relatively fresh, having been inked only a couple weeks before.

He explained that this tree represents the Tree of Life. He alluded to the roots that spread out, firmly symbolizing family.

Brian also explained that it was an investigation piece: he added a key, hanging from a branch. This symbolizes his desire to unlock the meaning of life.

What's doubly special about this tattoo is that it is also a marriage tattoo. Brian's wife has a similar tree on her right arm (Brian's is on the left), only with cherry blossoms instead of a key, and a baby in the design as well.

The couple are linked not only by their vows, but by their similar ma-tree-monial tattoos. Sorry, I couldn't help it.

The tattoo is by Kaz at Brooklyn Adorned. Work from Kaz has appeared previously on best-tatto-design here. And this tag, links all previous Adorned work on the blog.

Thanks to Brian for sharing this amazing tattoo with us here on best-tatto-design!