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  1. Blog

Killer Ink Tattoo

Wearable Tattoo Power Supplies - Trinity Power Supply & iPower Watch

We unbox, set-up and review two wearable tattoo power supplies, the Trinity Power Supply and the iPower Watch.

Both power supplies can be worn while tattooing and offer great solutions for tattoo artists working in a confined space or at tattoo conventions.

The Trinity Power Supply is a wearable tattoo power supply that can be attached to your forearm with an adjustable strap to give you complete freedom of movement while tattooing.

The iPower Watch is a battery-operated power supply for tattoo machines. You wear it around your wrist and connect it to your tattoo machine with a short cable.

Sponsored Artist of the Month – Sam Ford

A second-generation tattoo artist, Sam Ford is one of the leading ladies in the tattooing world, constantly producing work of the highest standard.

Sam is the lead tattoo artist and owner of Silver Needles tattoo studio in Southend-on-Sea, UK, and has been creating stunning works of art for many years.

Her style is instantly recognisable by her floral watercolour pieces, colour realism work and pin-up tattoos, mixed with some splashes of art nouveau.

After seeing the high quality of her work, it should come as no surprise to hear that Sam was named ‘Best UK Female Tattoo Artist’ at the 2018 Liverpool Tattoo Convention.

Sam Ford was chosen as the recipient of the award after a panel of respected tattoo artists were wowed by her impressive portfolio.

Last year, her work was further brought to the attention of the general public when she was a guest judge on the semi-final of E4’s Tattoo Artist of the Year.

On the TV show, Sam challenged five artists, including eventual winner and fellow sponsored tattooist Luke Sayer, to produce their finest watercolour tattoos – a subject which you can be sure she’s an expert in!

Sam uses various supplies from Killer Ink Tattoo to create her eye-catching work, including Fusion Tattoo Ink and Dermalize Pro aftercare.

Check out more of Sam Ford’s tattoos via her Instagram and studio’s Facebook pages.

Deauville Tattoo Festival & Tatcon Blackpool 2018

The Killer Ink team was split recently between the Deauville Tattoo Festival in France and Tatcon Blackpool in the UK, but how did our artists get on?

It proved to be a busy weekend with many of our sponsored artists picking up awards at the two tattoo conventions, including a ‘Best of Show’ for a killer collaboration!

So, let’s take a look at how they got on…

Deauville Tattoo Festival 2018

The second edition of the Deauville Tattoo Festival was a big hit, with many of the world’s best tattoo artists taking part in the convention this year.

An incredible back piece that was the result of a collaboration between Ryan ‘The Scientist’ Smith and Rich Harris won ‘Best of Show’ at the convention, wowing the crowds with its stunning attention to detail.

After a short holiday, Thomas Carli-Jarlier was back in the swing of things in Deauville, taking home ‘2nd & 3rd Best Black & Grey’ for his efforts, including an excellent realistic portrait.

Pipping Thomas to the top prize of ‘Best Black & Grey’ was Alberto Escobar, whose clown-themed piece received great plaudits from the judges.

Rounding off the Killer Ink sponsored artist award winners at the Deauville Tattoo Festival was Christos Galiropoulos, who won ‘Best Realism’ for his healed portrait of Hedy Lamarr.

Not a bad haul for the Killer Ink Tattoo family!

Tatcon Blackpool 2018

A little closer to home now at Tatcon Blackpool, we watched our sponsored artist Kyle ‘Egg’ Williams from Grindhouse Tattoo Productions win ‘Best Small Black & Grey’, as well as triumphing in the ‘Disney Horror’ themed duel.

Geofferson Longley also swept the board, taking home three awards at the Blackpool tattoo convention: ‘Best Old/New School’, ‘Best of Saturday’ and ‘2nd Best of Show’.

A great weekend all round!

Remember Pogs? WIN €500 with Killer Caps!

We remember the '90s like it was yesterday... grunge on the radio, flannel shirts everywhere, and kids flipping pogs in the playground...

So we wanted to bring a little slice of nostalgia to you this summer with Killer Caps - a new spin on the classic milk cap game!

In every order you place, you'll receive one of five collectable Killer Caps, each featuring a unique graphic.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the special golden cap that can be redeemed for a €500 Killer Ink gift voucher!

(Promotion will run from 19/08/18 to midnight 19/09/18.)

Brother Printers & Scanners

If you’re looking for a mobile printing solution for your travels, look no further than Brother.

We stock a range of mobile printers and scanners from Brother that are perfect for travelling, conventions and studios as they are rugged and durable, yet compact.

Killer Ink has two versions of the Brother PocketJet Mobile Printer available to order: the PJ-773 and the PJ-723.

The Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Mobile Printer is lightweight, completely portable and, best of all, offers Wi-Fi connectivity.

To use the PJ-773, you simply connect it to your computer, tablet or phone via Wi-Fi, then begin printing. It’s as simple as that!

The Brother PocketJet PJ-773 features high-resolution 300dpi thermal print technology, so can be sure that your stencils will be printed out in high quality, no matter the conditions or environment.

With the PJ-773, you are able to print up to eight pages per minute, while the printer is also able to recognise and print in different tones – so no more printing outlines only!

Thanks to its small size, the printer will fit neatly in a drawer or travel case, so it’s a great solution for artists on a guest spot or taking to a tattoo convention.

We also stock the Brother PocketJet PJ-723 A4 Mobile Printer, which offers the same great portable solution as the PJ-773, but without the Wi-Fi connectivity.

Instead of using Wi-Fi, the PJ-723 simply connects to your computer using a USB connection.

Just like the PJ-773, the Brother PocketJet PJ-723 will recognise change of tones while printing your stencil. This means that during the tattooing process, you will be able to see areas that change tone/shade clearly, instead of just seeing the outlines.

Brother also offers a great solution for transferring your tattoo stencils to your mobile device or computer.

With the Brother DS-820W Wireless Document Scanner,  you can convert your hard copies to digital files quickly and easily.

This lightweight, portable document scanner scans up to 7.5 pages per minute and can handle documents, photos, receipts, and business cards.

The Brother DS-820W Scanner also features wireless connectivity, making it a cinch to send your stencil designs over to your chosen device.

Printing out your stencils couldn’t be easier: scan your designs with the Brother Scanner and then send to your computer via the wireless function. Then simply connect the Brother PocketJet Printer to your computer and begin printing your stencils!

Brother printers and scanners have been adopted by many top tattoo artists, including Paul Talbot and David Corden.

We teamed up with Paul last year for a tutorial video to demonstrate just how easy the Brother printers and scanners are to set-up and use.

If you’re heading for a guest spot or convention soon, or just need a new printing solution in your studio, make sure to give Brother’s range of printers and scanners a try!

Tribes, Tatau and The Rock: A History of Polynesian Tattoos

Tattoos have existed on the skin for thousands of years, with countries and cultures all over the world having different methods and styles of tattooing. But perhaps none have ingrained themselves into a culture more than in Polynesia.

From tribes and tatau to The Rock, we’re going to be taking a look at the history of Polynesian tattoos.

Although European explorers first visited Polynesia in 1595, it wasn’t until Captain James Cook navigated the islands in 1769 that records of these tribal tattoos were documented.

Joseph Banks, a naturalist onboard James Cook’s ship, HMS Endeavour, is credited with the first written reference to the word “tattoo”. In his journal, Banks wrote, “I shall now mention the way they mark themselves indelibly, each of them is so marked by their humour or disposition”.

After visiting Tahiti and witnessing tattooing for the first time, Captain Cook spoke of “tattow”, which is taken from the Samoan word “tatau” and, similarly, the Marquesan term “tatu”.

It was on his return to Europe in 1771 that the word “tattoo” entered local dialect. It became rapidly famous due to the tattoos of Ma’i (known as Omai in Britain), a Tahitian brought along by Cook and the first ever to travel to Europe.

Although Europeans at this time were now aware of this particular style of tattoo, they did not yet know of the many variations of Polynesian tattoos that could be found on the islands.

Over in New Zealand, the largest country in Polynesia, the indigenous Māori people practised a form of tattooing known as tā moko.

Tā moko is distinct from tattooing as the skin is carved by chisels known as “uhi”, rather than punctured by needles. Usually these Māori tattoos are found on the faces of those who received them, although they could also be seen on the buttocks and thighs.

Māori tattoo artists were known as tohunga-tā-moko, or “moko specialists”. Traditionally, tohunga-tā-moko were considered “tapu”, meaning sacred. (James Cook would derive the English word “taboo” from “tapu” after his visit to Tonga in 1777.)

In pre-European Māori culture, the majority of high-ranking people received “moko”, while those who went without were seen as being of a lower social status.

Since the ‘90s, there has been a resurgence in the practice of tā moko for both men and women and is seen as a sign of cultural identity and of the revival of the culture itself.

Unlike its origins, most tā moko today is applied with a tattoo machine, although there have been many artists bringing back the use of chisels.

Over in the Polynesian island of Samoa, “tatau” is split into two forms, “pe’a” for males and “malu” for females.

The traditional male tattoo of the pe’a covers the body from the waist to just past the knees, and is undertaken by “tufuga ta tatau”, aka “master tattooists”.

The process of tattooing the pe’a is extremely painful. The tufuga ta tatau traditionally used a set of handmade tools made from pieces of bone, turtle shell and wood to create the body tattoos.

Tattooing a pe’a could take many weeks or even months to complete and it was not uncommon for a small group of boys to be tattooed at the same time.

For females, the malu covers the legs from just below the knees to the upper thighs. Typically, the designs are finer and more delicate compared to the pe’a.

Originally, only the chief’s daughter was eligible to wear the malu and it was tattooed in the years following puberty. Women with the malu were expected to represent their families at ceremonies.

In recent times, one of the most popular examples of Samoan tattoos can be seen on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who has a partial Samoan pe’a tattooed on his left side.

As with all Samoan tattoos, The Rock’s pe’a is comprised of various symbols, each representing something that is important to him and he’s passionate about, culminating in a story about his life, journey and ancestors.

Some of the symbols that can be seen on his pe’a include coconut leaves (denoting a Samoan chief-warrior), isa/ga fa’atasi (“three people in one” – representing Dwayne, his wife and daughter) and two eyes (symbolising his ancestors watching over his path).

Celebrities like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson have certainly helped Polynesian tattoos come into the limelight, with the traditional tattoos now even extending to the likes of Disney films.

Disney’s 2016 animated movie ‘Moana’, which also featured The Rock, gave a new generation a brief look into Polynesian culture, including how such tattoos can tell a personal story.

Although Polynesian tattoos were traditionally done by natives in their respective islands, the popularity of tattooing today has meant that many artists around the globe have turned their hand to these tribal tattoos.

Aside from Polynesian artists, artists like Brent McCown (Australia), Manos “Manu” Paterakis (Greece) and Chris Higgins (UK) are keeping the spirit of tatau alive and bringing it to customers worldwide.

Over in the United States, an exhibition entitled ‘Tatau: Marks of Polynesia’ further addressed the key role that tattoos play in the preservation and propagation of Samoan culture.

Curated by master tattoo artist Takahiro “Ryudaibori” Kitamura at the Japanese American National Museum, Tatau: Marks of Polynesia explored the history of tatau and how it has continued to thrive in the modern world.

With the exhibit now finished, you can discover the beauty of Polynesian tattoos yourself with the accompanying book of the same name.

The Tatau: Marks of Polynesia book features 286 pages of full colour photos from the works of artists like Su‘a Sulu‘ape Alaiva‘a Petelo, Su‘a Sulu‘ape Peter, Su‘a Sulu‘ape Paul Jr., Su‘a Sulu‘ape Aisea Toetu‘u, Sulu‘ape Steve Looney, Tuigamala Andy Tauafiafi, Mike Fatutoa, and Sulu‘ape Si‘i Liufau.

“Your necklace may break, the fau tree may burst, but my tattooing is indestructible. It is an everlasting gem that you will take into your grave.” – Verse from a traditional Polynesian tattoo artist’s song.

Sponsored Artist of the Month – Ryan Smith

World-renowned, award-winning tattoo artist Ryan 'The Scientist' Smith is a master of intricate ornamental tattoos - and now he's turning his hand to vlogging!

After leaving behind a potential career in music production, Ryan joined the world of tattooing in 2013 and, like many artists, tried his hand at various styles to find his true calling.

After experimenting with new school, horror and black and grey styles, to name a few, Ryan settled on an ornamental style that combines henna, realism and dot work.

Over the years, Ryan continued to develop his style and is now one of the finest ornamental tattooists around.

Although he can be seen at conventions and guest spots all over the world, Ryan can primarily be found at NR Studios, where he is the lead artist. More recently, Ryan has been working at fellow Killer Ink sponsored artist Jay Freestyle’s Freedom & Flesh studio in Amsterdam.

A lover of collaborations, Ryan is the mastermind behind The Kaos Theory Project – a series of ambitious events joining world-class artists together for collaborations.

Constantly looking for new ways to shake things up, Ryan has now launched a new YouTube channel which will see him try his hand at vlogging.

His new channel will feature his intricate tattoo work, along with footage from conventions and the Kaos Theory Project, interviews with artists, technology reviews, and more!

To create his eye-catching work, Ryan uses various supplies from Killer Ink Tattoo, including machines and cartridges from Cheyenne Professional Tattoo Equipment, World Famous Ink, Dermalize Pro, and Stencil Forte.

Make sure to keep up to date with Ryan ‘The Scientist’ Smith by following him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

NeoTat Range

NeoTat produces some of the most consistent and smooth-running rotary tattoo machines around, so we wanted to look at the range in more detail.

In our latest product video, we put NeoTat’s Original, Vivace and Stregato tattoo machines under the spotlight.

We also take a look at the MagicRay, a cool new power switch that will make you feel like Harry Potter.

Give it a watch!

Ryan ‘The Scientist’ Smith Vlogs

He’s a multi-award-winning tattoo artist, and now Ryan ‘The Scientist’ Smith is turning his hand to vlogging!

Over the last six month, Ryan has been teaching himself how to film, edit and create videos in anticipation of launching a new YouTube channel on August 1st 2018.

According to Ryan, his new channel will feature his tattoo work and the conventions he visits, as well as footage from past and upcoming editions of the Kaos Theory Project.

He will also be uploading interviews with fellow tattoo artists, a vlog of his travels, technology reviews, music production, tutorials, and more!

Click here to subscribe to Ryan Smith's new YouTube Channel!

Spektra Rotary Tattoo Machines

FK Irons may be known for its coil tattoo machines, but its Spektra division produces some of the best rotaries around.

Backed by FK Irons’ famed engineering team, Spektra first entered the world of tattooing back in 2012 with its game-changing Spektra Halo rotary machine.

The Halo was an instant success, with renowned tattoo artists around the globe praising the machine for its top performance and versatility.

The company was quick to build on its success with the introduction of the Spektra Direkt. The original Direkt was the first model to feature Spektra’s new Hex Drive motor system, which helped extend the motor life and reduce vibration.

Not wanting to sit on its laurels, Spektra released two dedicated-cartridge rotaries simultaneously, the Edge and Edge X.

The Spektra Edge and Edge X are some of the most sophisticated and versatile dedicated-cartridge machines ever created.

Each tattoo machine utilised the Hex Drive motor system and featured Spektra’s new MultiVise system, which allowed artists to use both conventional cartridge grips with a backstem and screw-on-style cartridge grips – a first in the industry.

Both the Edge and Edge X also eliminated the need for interchangeable stroke wheels by offering an adjustable stroke with variable options.

As the Halo was such a well-loved machine, Spektra decided to update it and bring it back with a bang, resulting in its do-all successor, the Spektra Halo 2 Crossover.

The Halo 2 Crossover is a rotary tattoo machine that handles it all, designed to push both cartridges and standard needles. It also features Spektra’s MultiVise system.

There’s no need for grommets or rubber bands as the Halo 2 Crossover comes with a needle clip-on and stabiliser system.

The Spektra Halo 2 Crossover offers both adjustable stroke and give. With three pre-set locking stroke wheels, you can adjust the stroke from 2.8mm to 4.0mm with ease, while the adjustable give has been optimised for a flawless response with both cartridges and needles.

As with its predecessor and the Halo 2 Crossover, the Spektra Direkt 2 Crossover was designed to push cartridges as well as standard needles.

The aforementioned MultiVise system features again on this machine, allowing you to use screw-on grips and those with a traditional backstem.

The Direkt 2 comes with stroke caps in three different sizes (2.8mm, 3.4mm and 4.0mm), so you can adjust the stroke length to your preference.

Powerful and consistent, the Spektra Direkt 2 is silent at high or low voltages and features a Hex Drive MotorBolt system that is compatible with Direkt and Edge X motors.

So, after producing some of the world’s best rotaries, where do you go from there? Two words: Spektra Xion.

Developed and tested over a three-year period in cooperation with top tattoo artists, the Spektra Xion is a pen-style rotary machine that was eagerly anticipated from the moment it debuted, right up until its eventual release earlier this year.

The Xion is a cartridge-dedicated machine that is both lightweight and ergonomic, allowing for optimal manoeuvrability. It is the kind of machine that artists will be able to use over long sessions.

Powering the Spektra Xion is a specially-designed 6W MotorBolt that provides maximum torque throughout the tattooing session, ensuring optimal performance of your cartridges. The RCA connection of the Xion is also concealed within the MotorBolt for extra protection.

Artists can set the Xion up however they like it, thanks to its adjustable stroke length, needle depth and give.

Simply turn the dial to adjust the give up to 2mm, while you just need to turn the click grip to adjust needle depth. The stroke length can be adjusted with the included 3.2mm and 3.7mm stroke wheels.

The fact that the Spektra Xion is fully adjustable means that tattooists have complete control over it, therefore making it suitable for a wide range of styles. It really is easy to see why so many artists have fallen in love with the Xion.

FK Irons’ head honcho Gaston Siciliano also introduced a permanent make-up version of the Xion called the Spektra Xion S. which was developed and tested in cooperation with permanent make-up artists.

Compared to the Xion, the Spektra Xion S has a smaller grip and a shorter stroke length of either 1.8mm or 2.5mm. The short stroke length is optimal for smaller needles and higher speeds, which are commonly used for permanent make-up.

The smaller grip of the Xion S has a comfortable and ergonomic design and is more suited to the way permanent make-up artists are used to working.

When using your Spektra rotary tattoo machines, make sure to take a look at the range of click grips and footswitches from another FK Irons division, DarkLab.

Killer Ink Tattoo stocks RPG Click Ergo grips from DarkLab in various colours. These grips utilise FK Irons’ ratchet disk click system, which enables adjustment of needle depth while preventing involuntary turning.

The DarkLab range of footswitches are portable and lightweight, yet built to last. These foot pedals are ideal for using in your studio or taking with you to conventions and guest spots.

We can’t wait to see what Gaston and Spektra come up with next!

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