Samurai Tattoo Added to an Old Joe Allhoff Dragon

Old Tattoos Completed Chris got a really nice Dragon from an old coworker of mine. Joe Allhoff and I worked at Trader Bob’s from 2004 until I left in 2012. Joe was singled handedly the most naturally talented Tattooist I have ever worked with. I have never seen an artist render images so effortlessly. I…

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Ryan Uses a Computer

Matt teaches Ryan Computer Ryan and I want to make a YouTube channel.  We both do cool stuff and have fun lives.  A good friendship is rare and we have been each others yin and yang for a decade or more. We help each other quite a bit.  I think the trick to have a…

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Saturday Morning Cartoons

Cartoons Inspire Creativity I was born in 1975. The 1980’s world of Saturday Morning Cartoons was a small window of time from 7:30 am until noon. I cannot express enough what an escape those few hours were for me. The fantasy worlds of Smurfs and Dungeon and Dragons and He-Man were a stark contrast to…

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Codye.

I did Codye’s first tattoo less than a year ago. As I remember he was quite the handful. He was rather nervous and really persistent at communicating the importance of the getting his first tattoo perfect. I don’t mind. I was told a while back that the energy like this just means the client is…

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Back Piece Finished!

Congrats to August So much goes into getting your back tattooed. You need to figure out what the idea is, how to design it, how to pay for it, how to commit time to it and how to keep up the energy when your still not finished. Finishing a large tattoo is very hard.  I…

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Let’s Draw a Dragon

I tattooed a Phoenix on the back of Nick’s calf so of course I tattooed a Dragon on the front. I drew it on because it just makes more sense than stenciling. I also forgot to draw the night before, so drawing the dragon directly onto the leg seemed smart. Smearing a sharpie with my…

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Get Weird

A Good Kinda Crazy Team Mullet Louie’s leg is ripe with humor. I guess you could describe him as silly but he looks a serious as a heart attack. Currently he’s shaved bald and looks scary as hell but if he showed you his hidden tattoos it would throw you off. We already did the…

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Tonk the Tattooist

My new Zine “Tonk” I guess I could have printed this sooner. I kept circling back around and tweaking this and redrawing that. It is just a zine! What is a zine? A zine is short for fanzine. In my youth they were the life line of the underground music and punk scene. Zines are…

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You called The Wolf!? Hell yes.

The Wolf Is Here The Wolf is the second print in my animal illustration series. The first was the The Scary Red Bear which was inspired by my first run in with a black bear. The Wolf is a follow up to my experience with being isolated in the woods with a pack of wolves…

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Arm Studies in. Adobe Fresco

I was pretty happy with this study of arms. It is no secret that the human anatomy is difficult for me. I tend to shy away from the muscle structure and only show a simple shape of the arm. Recently I revisited Andrew Loomis’ book “Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth. There is a great…

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Competition.

Healthy Competition “When you are in competition with others, you get bitter. When you are in competition with yourself you get better.” Self Growth Competition is healthy. Like most traits, using competition in the wrong way can be self destructive. Using other’s successes as your barometer isn’t reliable. Sometimes I can get jealous of other…

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Hunter doesn’t stop.

Heavily Tattooed Hunter has been getting tattooed by me for years. We balanced his arms in a “yin-yang” approach. If we did a skull blue on the left, it was red on the right. We did not mirror his arms, we just paid careful attention to the layout and it turned out great. We started…

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I drew the Circle Jerks poster!

I Drew the Circle Jerks Poster!!! I drew the flyer for the upcoming Circle Jerks show in St. Louis. I am beyond stoked!! The Red Flag The Red Flag is THE venue for shows. I mean it is just perfect. It is big enough to get a bunch of concert goers comfortably in the venue…

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Tim’s Coi Fish Sleeve

Finally Finished I really love how this turned out. I actually tattooed Tim in 1995. He was dying for a flaming yin-yang around his navel and I obliged. The 90’s were good for shit like that. It was more about the act of getting tattooed than what you got. That was at Iron Age on…

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Randell Body Suit Tattoo

Last Bits Slowly closing up Randell’s Japanese suit. Good Day on Randell. We have been working on his body suit for a decade. This is the last leg…. Ha! The tiger leg might be my favorite. I really like the softness of the grey on his skin. I drew some more background on and got…

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Progress on Amanda

Amanda’s Mermaid session #4 This is the 4th session on Amanda’s Mermaid today. I’m getting all the large sections worked out and slowly getting into the details. I am not too concerned with the cover up. We are still layering up. I like utilizing the bend of the arm in my designs. Here the waist…

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Becoming Tattooed

Becoming Heavily Tattooed. Swapping stories about getting your first tattoo is fun.  It’s a lot like bagging about fishing tales or near death experiences.  Your nerves overestimate the environment and the adjectives don’t quite capture the maximum effect your trying to articulate.  The only way someone else can understand is if they have been through…

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What is Tattooing?

What is Tattooing? How do we explain the tattoo life?  Sometimes it feels like arguing over the genre of your favorite band. It has changed faces so many times in the last few decades so that it even reveals itself differently to people.  It has grown beyond a counterculture movement. As the price of admission…

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The 50% Cut.

The common business model for tattooing is the Street Shop.  It was originally an Apprentice based program for all new hires.  The single new hire relied on the mentorship of the owner to be trained from the ground up. In return, the novice artist paid him back with a 50 percent stake of all labor…

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I hate Instagram

Smokey Mountains

Matt Hodel hiking Gregory’s Bald In April of 2018 I awoke on a Gregory’s Bald in the Smokey Mountains.  The altitude gave me a headache and the morning air made me sick.  I didn’t take time to make a cup of instant coffee before morning light.  As I walked in through the scatted trees, every…

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5 Traits that Hold You Back

The traditions of tattooing have been deeply rooted in the echoes of time. If you meet anyone who has been tattooing for more than 15 years, they will tell you how things used to be. Truly, tattooing has changed and evolved from the sponge and bucket days. With many progressive features being most noticeable on…

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Tattooing has Changed, Have You?

In 1995 there were 14 tattoo shops from O’fallon, Illinois to O’fallon, Missouri. In 1998 there were 40. With each shop averaging 3 artists working in house, that would equal 78 new jobs for tattoo artists in three years. That is almost a 300% increase in the industry. As impressive as those numbers are, where…

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Advice for the New Tattooist.

Tips for the Freshman Tattooist. Its has been said that you haven’t been tattooing until your fifth year is complete. This is when you get to see your old tattoos healed. It takes that long for your tattoos to settle. Until then, your first 5 years are very important. Here is some advice. Take it…

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