Joshua Carlton interviewed about his upcoming book

Joshua Carlton joins Keith Ciaramello to talk about his upcoming book about anxiety and panic disorders in artists and creatives. We also discuss his 25 year career, and what lies ahead for him in his art, music and life.

Halo Jankowski Part 2 (of2)

Keith interviews Halo Jankowski. They discuss Halo’s stint on ink master, how personality and character can affect the outcome of your life, and tips for being functionally homeless. Check out part one of this intense interview. Please share it, and feel free to leave comments and questions below. Halo will be returning soon to answer your questions.

Anxiety and Artists…

Anxiety seems to be a common problem with artists. Even the most successful, ambitious artists can be effected. Share your experiences and advice. I’ll be using the info for a future podcast on the subject with artist Joshua Carlton, who is writing a book on the subject. Thanks in advance for your input. (*Some of you have emailed me already, and I have your emails. Thank You).

Limited Edition Wizard T Shirt!

Tattoo Mentor Limited Edition Wizard T’s! Order Now! Very limited supply. Paypal $25 to (USA ONLY) Shipping in 4 to 6 weeks! Please specify size and shipping address. XXL and XXXL add $3.

Halo Jankowski Interview part 1 of 2

Keith interviews Halo Jankowski. They discuss Halo’s stint on ink master, how personality and character can affect the outcome of your life, and tips for being functionally homeless. Check out part one of this intense interview. Please share it, and feel free to leave comments and questions below. Halo will be returning soon to answer your questions.

Bad Hand Tattoos Make Me Sad…

I’m seeing so many poor hand and finger tattoos online lately. Posted proudly by mediocre tattoo artists of course. I’m convinced that some tattoo artists just have horrible taste. That’s the only thing that would explain pride in poor work. I’m not a huge proponent of “street shop” quality hand tattoos. A hand tattoo is a very complicated job. It should only be attempted by a very experienced tattoo artist. Unfortunately, that advice seems to go out the window often. How about this…If you are going to make that kind of life decision, please go to an artist that is going to create an amazing piece of art on you. People will look at that hand the rest of your life. Like it or not. Get something awesome.

What do you think?

Is it the best or worst time for the tattoo industry?

“ It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period…”
—The opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens 1859
When Dickens wrote those words, did he believe that not much would change in 156 years? Maybe.

In my opinion, the message of that opening monolog is that our surroundings and situations haven’t changed all that much throughout history. Your life is your perspective. Where your mind goes, your life will follow.

Is it the “best of times”? Is it the “worst of times”?

What’s your perspective? Are you making a contribution to the BEST or the WORST of times in your world?

This blog focuses on tattoo artists. How does this message relate to the tattoo “industry”? Are we all part of an industry? Some of us are, and some of us aren’t. How do you know? It’s a good idea to know what the word means.

So…what does industry mean?

1 Canadian industry: manufacturing, production; construction.
2 the publishing industry: business, trade, field, line (of business); informal racket.
3 the kitchen was a hive of industry: activity, busyness, energy, vigor, productiveness; hard work, industriousness, diligence, application, dedication. ANTONYMS inactivity

It’s funny to see industry defined in black and white. Does the word apply to us? Some tattoo artists manufacture things, some produce content, some add value to people’s lives through the act of tattooing. Tattooing is a business for sure, and a trade when passed on in the traditional sense, but unfortunately, a lot of people treat it as an “informal racket” (but hey, that’s in the definition too right?).
When I read definition number 3 I’m filled with pride! Those are the words I would like to exemplify the industry I want to be part of. Active, busy, vigorous, productive, dedicated, hard working…

So what’s going on today with our industry (for lack of a better term)?

It certainly IS the best and worst of times…

The bar is raised by incredible tattoo artists who seem to take to the tools and techniques of the application of tattoos to new heights! Artists who spend their time away from tattooing studying art. Tattoo artists are also becoming painters, sculptors, graphic designers and creative entrepreneurs. This is a new and beautiful trend in our community. People who want to master their craft, and challenge themselves to set artistic goals beyond tattooing alone (not that tattooing alone doesn’t provide a lifetime of challenges).

The basement is lowered by amateurs who create complete garbage, ruin people’s bodies, pass on disease, and unfortunately have unlimited access to equipment and information (none of which seems to help them) like never before in tattoo history. It’s too late to stop that bleeding. Pun intended.

The brackets get wider and wider between the dedicated professionals and the home-spun hacks. The gray area in the middle gets larger too…the mediocre. They may be the worst of all in terms of “contribution” to industry. Quite the opposite in fact. They are the takers. Boring and uninspired. Taking shortcuts and appropriating other artists’ hard work. Discount pricing and “used car” sales tactics. Lowering the value of what we do. Shame on you.

There is an epidemic out there. So many untrained tattoo artists working in professional shops its terrifying. It may even be a bigger issue than the underground “scratcher”. These people are in “legitimate” street shops competing with us for our living. In my area the majority of the artists I compete with were just handed machines by other untrained artists and told to just learn by doing. Only about 10% have been properly trained, and make an effort to pass the traditions down to people they deem to have the most potential. I’ve personally witnessed artists with up to 10 years of experience who don’t even eye loupe their needles for damage. If you are a tattoo artist and you don’t know how to use an eye loupe to check your needles, ask your mentor. If he/she doesn’t know, consider a new mentor. If you don’t have a mentor, get one.

Be a responsible tattoo artist. Be accountable to someone you actually respect.
If that isn’t possible, at least hold YOURSELF accountable.

So, is it the BEST or WORST of times?

It’s all about what you’re thinking, and how it effects what you’re doing.
What is your perspective?

Be the Best!
Keith Ciaramello

Selina Medina Interviewed

Keith and Scot interview tattoo artist Selina Medina from Black Hive Tattoo in Jacksonville, FL. Selina is an awesome artist, cancer survivor and has many interesting stories about being a female tattoo artist on the circuit. Check it out.

Selina Medina Website

Inkmaster’s Rivals star Mark Logenecker

Inkmaster’s Rivals star Mark Logenecker joins Keith and Scot to discuss his upbringing, influences, attitudes and what its like to be on the contoversial TV show Inkmasters. A MUST LISTEN!


Episode 6 : World Famous Tattoo Lou

Episode 6 : World Famous Tattoo Lou is in the Studio to talk about his life as the son of a tattoo icon, and how he’s become one of the most successful tattoo entrepreneurs in the world.

Love him or hate him, Tattoo Lou is breaking down barriers to the mainstream. Get a chance to hear his side of the story, and why he thinks some people consider him so controversial. Scot Winskye returns to help me “apologize” for the bonus episode, and keep my cursing under control. Happy Labor Day!
@zirconmusic – Twitter

BONUS EPISODE! Clowning around with Scot Winskye and Angelo Grisafi

Pointless Jibber Jabber, but you’ll laugh your ass off. Three guys talking about being Husbands, Fathers, Tattoo artists, and fat bastards. You will learn absolutely NOTHING from this. ENJOY!!!

Scot Winskey

Angelo Grisafi


Episode 5: Part One of a potential Ten-Parter with Johnny ‘Thief’ Di Donna

Part One of a potential ten-parter with Johnny ‘Thief’ Di Donna. In part one Johnny tells it like it WAS. Not for the faint at heart. If you listen to this interview you may be hard pressed (like me) to figure out how this guy turned into the mega-talented, sweetheart of a guy he is today. Set painter, poster artist, tattoo artist and cook. Just listen to this podcast. You’ll want more Johnny.

Johnny ‘Thief’ Di Donna.
145 Main Street
Bloomingdale, NJ 07403
973-291-8187 (Seppuku Tattoo)

Episode 1: Long Island NY’s “Tattoo Willie”, Monday, June 30th, 2014

The Premier Episode of The Tattoo Mentor Podcast. I talk with living tattoo legend “Long Island Willie” about the roots of tattooing on Long island, specifically Suffolk county, and how things have changed over the last four decades. Check out Willie on Facebook.

Music by Zircon.

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