Bryan Randolph

Just had a great phone call with one of the most excellent tattooers working today. Bryan Randolph pretty much gave me my life as I know it… without him I wouldn’t have my job at New York Adorned and I wouldn’t have met my amazing spouse.

This guy has spent countless hours on the phone with me listening to my bitching with the utmost patience and has given me more useful tips on life and tattooing than I could ever hope to remember. When I’m stuck on a drawing, a voice in the back of my head always asks: “what would Bryan Randolph do? (also what would Tom Yak and Dan Santoro do).

Bryan and I hard at work in 09… partners in crime

New York City tattooing really took a hit when Bryan and his family moved back to Oakland CA. The guys at Spider Murphy’s are lucky to have him. Bryan is a rare #1, A+, stand up kind of guy and I’m so grateful to have him and his wife Jen as friends. He loves tattooing more than anyone I’ve ever met and is gift to our industry. Where the hell is his Tattoo Artist Magazine interview?!… just sayin.

Sorry to get all sappy, I’m not drunk or nuthin, I just really love the guy. Check out his website:, and the Spider Murphy website:


Paradise Lost

This concludes my month long stay in Costa Rica. I have never taken such a long trip before and am embarrassed to admit that I struggled at first with all the down time… we almost decided to come home early a few times! There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I just know it… Timothy Hoyer told me recently that freedom is one of the most important commodities there is. I think this trip has helped me realize that, and I hope to take a bit of this freedom back to NYC with me. I promise less sap and more tattoos in the following weeks. Pura Vida!!!

My back piece is by Timothy Hoyer

Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 7:43 pm  Comments (2)  
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More Costa Rica

I’ve been driving around Costa Rica on an ATV for most of my trip… I was only supposed to have it for three days, but it makes me feel like I’m in Mad Max en Espanol so Stephanie let me keep it. We have been coming home before dark because we’ve heard it can get sketchy here at night, but we had late drinks with some friends this evening and didn’t start for home until well after dark (late here is 8 pm because everyone gets up with the sun at 6 am).

No scary dudes stopped us or anything, but a half mile from home we got chased by some terrifying stray dogs! They were snapping and growling at our feet and I had to speed off… but try ‘speeding off’ on a quad with a drunk mexican (that would be Stephanie) behind you while eating dust and navigating potholes! All in the dark! And barefoot! The quad doesn’t go very fast, but somehow we lost the dogs. I was so freaked out, all I could do was laugh… just the way it goes: we had been too scared to go out after dark for fear of robbery or surprise sex, only to be chased by a pack of ferrel dogs. Tomorrow I trade the quad for a jeep!

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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Costa Rica for the month

This has been my life for the past few weeks…


Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm  Comments (2)  

Austin Tattoo Convention

I will be tattooing at the Austin Tattoo Convention Jan 7-9th and sharing a booth with Stephanie Tamez, Thomas Hooper and Timothy Hoyer. I haven’t traveled much since starting at New York Adorned a few years ago, and it’s paid off for me… I’ve been really inspired by my co-workers and my amazing clientele. But now it’s time to step out into the world again. Austin was always one of my favorite shows and I’m happy that it will be my first in over three years. I’m excited to catch up with old friends and make some new ones! Here’s a snapshot of my banner:

I’m half booked for the show and would like to keep some time available for walk ins… but if you’d like to book some time, email me at I’ll have prints, T shirts and tote bags for sale at the convention. Hope to see you there!

Welcome Marcus!

I had the opportunity to dine with my old pal Marcus Kuhn this week. He helped me out a bunch in my early years of tattooing. He’s a great teacher and source of inspiration and I’m happy to have him as a friend. The great part of this love fest is that you can be a part of it!… In addition to his Portland Maine shop, Marcus is now tattooing out of a private studio in Brooklyn, NY called Red Star Irons. See his work here, and contact him through his website or at

Although I’m a huge book nerd, I’m allergic to reading blogs without pictures on them, so here’s a photo of a tattoo I did this week:

All at once

Sometimes it can be hard to get the scope of someone’s artwork/tattoos from a blog… there’s no gallery and all that scrolling can be really bothersome. So if you are interested in seeing a bunch of my tattoos all at once go to the New York Adorned website. I just updated it last week.

I usually won’t read something on a blog unless there’s a picture, something about having to commit to all those words really annoys me… so here you go:


Disappearing Act

Everyone makes mistakes, right? And this is America goddamn it, a country that has perfected the notion and practice of covering up blunders. So after living with a tattoo that I have hated for the past 8 years I finally decided to exercise my God-given American birthright… And get the thing lasered off.

My intention with the lasering is not complete removal but to lighten it enough to allow for an easy cover up. Luckily for me the tattoo is all black, the easiest “color” to remove.

I chose to go to Bethany Cirlin, owner of Forever Yours Esthetics in Westbury Long Island, because I have been hearing for years that she is the absolute best in the business. If you’ve ever looked into laser removal you’ve probably heard the horror stories about how painful and expensive it is and how you need 20 sessions blah blah blah. The truth is that every tattoo is different and people’s experiences will vary greatly. Some may need more sessions than others, some may find it more painful than others. The key is to go to someone like Bethany, she knows her shit and will talk you through the whole thing.

I am pretty heavily tattooed and don’t scare easily anymore… But I’ll cop to being scared shitless right before my appointment. It wasn’t so much the pain that was making me nervous, more the idea of what would be happening to my skin… The thought of getting punched in the arm by a burning laser that is moving at the speed of light is not a comforting one. Bethany put me right at ease by going over everything that was happening and was savvy enough to pretend not to see my hands shaking.

The lasering took literally 5 minutes. It certainly didn’t feel good, but it wasn’t the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Imagine a poisonous, flaming rubber band snapping your skin 1,000 times per second. I consider it punishment for all the pain I’ve inflicted on my own clients for the past 8 years. The bonus for me is that, only hours after my treatment, the tattoo has already lightened considerably. The bonus for you is that when I go through a painful experience like getting tattooed, lasered or Rolfed it gives me more empathy for my clients… for a little while anyways. Everybody wins!

This picture was taken only a few hours after having the treatment done so my skin is a bit red. The grey has almost disappeared and the black is a lot lighter. It will continue to lighten over the next few weeks and I’ll post more photo’s as the difference grows more dramatic.

laser tattoo removal

It’s for me

The desire to get daily affirmations, poetry, or lyrics tattooed on ourselves is nothing new, I’ve done more than I could possibly count. But lately clients have been asking for their lettering upside down… so they can read it when they look down at their wrist, arm, leg, etc. Not sure if a movie star or model started this trend, or if it’s just a part of our collective consciousness, but it’s here to stay…. at least until someone comes up with an adage equivalent to the lower back tattoo killing ‘tramp-stamp’.

I have no problem with upside down lettering, there have always been and always will be trends in tattooing. The interesting part for me is not that the trend is happening, or even why it’s happening, but that when asked why they want the affirmation upside down, a huge number of clients respond by saying: “it’s for me”

I’m not in the habit of asking my clients why they are getting a particular tattoo, I figure if they want to tell me they will… whether I like it or not. But the response ‘it’s for me’ has no borders: men, women, gay, straight, young, or old… they all love it! I find myself prompting them: “sure, let’s do this lettering upside down. I mean who is this tattoo for anyways?” That usually get’s the desired response. An overwhelming amount of these clients do yoga or some form of meditation, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

‘It’s for me’ has become such a theme in our shop that I decided to make a line of tote bags commemorating it. Screen printed on heavy canvas, they should be ready by the end of September. I’ll sell them at New York Adorned in Manhattan, but if you’re not from around here contact me ( and we will figure something out. I’ll post some pictures of the finished product as soon as they’re in.

Viva “it’s for me!”

My only regret is the allergy meds I took right before the show… that and the war I’ve probably started between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Adorned shops. We’re equals! Equals I tell you! It was the meds!

I can barely check my email, let alone figure out how to upload a video to my blog, so check it out here

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 10:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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