This month, we had the opportunity to chat with Eric, one of our artists. He’s been with us for about 14 years, and that’s not a typo. 14 Years! “It would have been 18 years, but I took some time off,” Eric says. Eric’s favorite style of tattooing is black and gray, but he kicks ass at color tats as well. “I just really love tattooing in general!” Eric says. “What started out as a hobby 22 years ago turned into a full time profession for me. I really enjoy putting someone’s thoughts on their skin. It’s amazing! Sometimes people have difficulty explaining what they want. This is when I have to reach inside their brain and pull it out. It’s like a magical experience for them when they look at the finished tattoo and say ‘Holy crap! That’s just what I wanted!’”
Eric works out of our Babylon shop. “It’s great place to work!” he says. “The crew there is awesome and we’re all friends. We could be ourselves and not worry about being judged. The customers in the area are cool too! In my 22 years of tattooing, I’ve worked all over Suffolk County and I have to say, the people who come to the Babylon shop are some of the best people I’ve ever dealt with! There must be something in the water over here – I make a new friend just about everyday.”
Eric has other interests aside from tattooing: he has written three best-selling books on tattooing, as well as a book of short stories and art, Out of My Mind. He also published a book explaining how he confronted and overcame some personal demons, entitled The Broken Buddha. When not at Tattoo Lou’s, which is roughly 26 minutes out of the week, Eric can be found oil painting, building tattoo machines, or surfing.
Come check out E Rock and tell him the newsletter sent you… or Megan Fox. Either way, we are sure he’s gonna do a kick-ass tattoo for you! Check out a few of his tats pictured below – just a small sample of E Rock’s work. Check out his full portfolio at tattoolous.com along with all of our other world famous artists and piercers.
While not initially known for tattoo work or body art, Celtic history goes back many millennia and provides a very rich visual and symbolic vocabulary of designs from which to draw. The early Celts were well known for their skills in trades such as jewelry, metalworking, and weaponry. They were also warriors, regarded by the Romans as fierce fighters, and this pride in their prowess and warrior culture is evident. Most fans of Celtic lore will notice that there are many examples of Celtic crosses and other Celtic artwork throughout Ireland.
Modern Celts have developed these motifs even further into an established symbolism and cultural touchstone. Celtic lore depends on oral tradition – they have no true written history, unlike the work done by monastic scribes in Central Europe, so this symbolism became all the more important. These symbols and forms of knowledge have been passed down through generations. It is perhaps this lack of written history that Celtic tattooing has become so popular in recent years: this tattooing of famous motifs like the Celtic cross and Celtic knotting helps to keep the Celtic tradition alive to those proud to have Celtic ancestry.
Trinity College, founded in Dublin, Ireland, contains a great number of manuscripts documenting the myriad of Celtic symbols and customs. The zenith of Celtic tattooing occurred during the era when stone and metal work was most popular. The Celtic knot tattoo is one of the most popular and perpetuating designs, featuring unending loops that symbolize a never ending cycle of life and death, dying and rebirth. Also present are Celtic animal tattoos, which resemble their knot tattoo siblings. The cords in this design commonly terminate in heads, tails, and feet, whereas the pure knot tattoo designs are typically never-ending, unless the artist wishes to add an end to symbolize a spiral. Pictured to the left is a great Celtic cross by Irish Jay (Selden). We all figured that it was appropriate!
We had the pleasure of tattooing a local hero several months back which we featured in “Newsletter Volume 2.” Brian was tragically involved in an accident which left him paralyzed from the neck down. His family and friends were left to care for him, as his condition prohibited him from leaving his house or even breathing on his own.
So how did Tattoo Lou’s get involved with Brian? We received a letter from Brian’s family reaching out to any tattoo studio that would be willing to drive into New Jersey and tattoo Brian in his condition. Brian’s dad, Howard, said, “Brian had wanted a tattoo since we could remember and told us when he turned 18 he was coming home with a tat.” Well Howard, the tat came to Brian. Tommy from our Selden shop packed up his stuff and took off with Mark for an experience of a lifetime.
Although you would think meeting Brian for the first time in his condition would be a sorrowful experience, it was everything but for Mark and Tommy. It was an inspiration to see someone so young and with such a huge heart and ongoing will. His personality, determination, and charisma were extraordinary, and it was apparent to Mark and Tom that the trip to Jersey was worth more than they could ever dream of. Tommy said, “It was a tattoo I will never forget, and I felt honored to tattoo Brian. He didn’t want us to feel bad for him. He wanted us to tattoo the heck out of him like anyone else getting a tattoo.” Brian was so grateful for what we did and could not thank us enough. We only wish he could understand how grateful we were to be a part of his life.
Shortly after the tattoo we received a thank you letter from Brian:
Dear Tommy, Mark, and Lou, I was planning on getting my tat five months ago before I had a severe car accident that left me paralyzed from the neck down. I would like to express my gratitude for what you have
done. It was the greatest thing ever and made a dream come true. It all began when my sister saw Tattoo Lou’s in the “Top 10 Best Tattoo Parlors in NY” article. She knew how much I wanted a tat and she sent out emails to all ten places. Lou’s was the only one to respond (f&%$ all you other guys)!. Mark and Tommy drove all the way from LI to Jersey and brought Tattoo Lou’s to me. Mark set up the music and Tommy set up the inks and my tattoo began. Before I knew it, Tommy was done. It was a perfect replica of the sketch and exactly what I had in mind!!!!. You guys were great!!!! I already have the next one planned out and I definitely know who I am going to call.
Well a month or two later, the call came – Brian wanted another tattoo, a St. Michael tat on his chest. Brian decided that he was going to donate his body to help other people in need. Although Brian was paralyzed, his organs were still in great shape and could save many lives. Of course, that meant pulling the plug on himself, a decision only Brian could make. “If anyone from Tattoo Lou’s would be willing to come back to NJ for Brians final tat, it would mean the world to Brian and grant one of his final wishes.”
This time David, another great tattoo artist, hopped in the car with Mark and made the trip to Jersey – yet another artist touched by this young kid who had more strength than all of us combined. David completed a tattoo that he too will never forget. After finishing the St. Michael piece, Brian looked up and asked if we would be willing to tattoo the donor symbol somewhere on his body. He wanted people to see it at his funeral. (Picture talking to a kid about his funeral and not wanting to ball out in tears) It would be enough to make a gladiator cry, and yet Brian’s strength rubbed off on all of us. We recommended tattooing his right hand this way at his funeral people would see it. Brian’s eyes lit up and we got to work on his third tattoo, which came out great!
Three days later, Brian’s life came to an end. We lost a true friend that week. He was an inspiration to all of us at Tattoo Lou’s, and he gave us all much needed strength. We all think of Brian often and it brings a tear of joy to our eyes. We know Brian would not want us to cry or weep over his passing. He would want us to carry on our day and stay strong. He would want us to face life’s endeavors with the strength and courage he portrayed. We at Tattoo Lou’s know Brian is in a much better place now. His suffering is over, and his story will live on forever. If we had to make a guess, Brian is probably looking down with a big grin saying, “I told you I was gonna get those tattoos, Dad…”
From Lou, Jr, Owner: Brian came into my life early on Saturday morning: while sitting with my wife over a cup of coffee, I came upon an e-mail from Brian’s sister sharing a bit of Brian’s story and a heartfelt plea to please grant her brother’s wish., a wish that seemed so simple in theory: tattoo him. We sat reading the letter with tears in our eyes, wondering if it was even possible to make Brian’s wish a reality. We knew NO MATTER WHAT we had to figure out a way to make it happen! The hard part was that we would have to bring Tattoo Lou’s to Brian, but we did it. About a month later, we received an e-mail telling us that Brian had decided to stop all life support so that he could donate his organs while they were still viable. His last and only wish was for another tattoo. So of course, we sent Tattoo Lou’s to New Jersey to tattoo Brian again. Brian wound up getting two tattoos that day, one being the symbol for organ donation on his hand. In our short time knowing Brian, he has become a hero and inspiration to us. He has created a tremendous impact on us by showing how someone so young could be so courageous and selfless. We are so lucky to have been able to be a part of his short life, to make a dream come true for him and most of all to put a smile on his face in his last days. Thank you, Brian!
From Rich, Unfortunately, I never got to meet Brian. From what I hear from my co-workers and his dad, Howard, Brian was definitely a person I would hang out with and call a friend. Having two sons myself I couldn’t fathom what Brian’s family went through. I can see why he was such a special person and why he did everything he did. Brian was surrounded by such a special group of people. His amazing family and friends were there for him and never left his side. We at Tattoo Lou’s have received emails, blogs, and even had friends come from New Jersey to get tattooed to thank us for what we did. Well, you don’t need to thank “us,” we need to thank you and Brian. You guys have really touched our hearts. God bless Brian and may he rest in peace, for he is in a better place now, guarding heavens gates as an angel.
From Mark, Dear Brian. I realize that you’re no longer with us, but I will address you directly because I know your spirit is very much alive. I learned a lot from you. If I can be half the man you were, I will be a successful person. Your strength and unselfishness taught me much about life. Your family welcomed us into your home with the upmost gratitude. I will forever be grateful to them for giving us the opportunity to tattoo you. I pray for you and your family often and will never forget the short time we spend hanging out. You’ve touched more peoples lives than you could ever dream of. Since I hate good byes, I will leave off saying, “I’ll see ya later kid…”
From Tommy, When I heard Brian’s situation and how badly he wanted a tattoo, it was really a no brainer to go to Jersey. I figured I would give him something he always wanted, but what ended up happening was pretty ironic. HE GAVE ME SOMETHING. He made me realize that we as people get caught up in the everyday petty problems we may have and lose sight of what’s important. Of course Brian could have been anger and salty about his situation, but instead what I saw was someone who was going to enjoy the rest of his life no matter what and let no bullshit bother him. So with that being said I THANK YOU BRIAN and you’re always in our hearts!
We’ve been getting a ton of great feedback about our radio commercials, so we figured we would bring you all up to speed. We got bored of the same radio commercial shenanigans we’ve been hearing, so we started recording our own! You can check them all out on the home page of tattoolous.com and listen for yourself. The radio should start paying us to play these freakin’ things!! Here’s a list of our newest works:
“Lou’s Paralyzes Them” – inspired by “Paralyzer”: A cool rock song with a tattoo twist
“Imma Be Rockin’ with Lou” – inspired by “Imma Be”: The song you hear just about every 3 minutes on the radio, but ours is better! Shorter, too, and hard to get sick of!
“Lou’s Jungle” – inspired by the classic of all classics, “Welcome to the Jungle”. Rock on!
“You Know You Want Ink” – inspired from that catchy-ass song by Pitbull. We should play this commercial every time we hear people say, “I want a tattoo but I’m scared of needles.” Like Nike says, “Just do IT.” Maybe we should make some shirts that say, “Just get IT”
One of NY’s finest DJs stepped into the shop a few weeks ago! We were going to write up an article about Joe because he’s a great guy and fantastic DJ, but he sent us a thank you letter that pretty much sums it all up. Check it out:
“Ladies and Gents, I have three other tattoos and never once have I experienced the level of art and professionalism I received from Tattoo Lou’s. I don’t mind spending the money for perfection… The piece I wanted represents my faith and is for someone very special that I lost in my life. I brought in an idea of what I wanted and what I got was a dream come true. My artist, Ray, is not only fast and precise but took my design and blew my mind! Making my dream tattoo come true. This is not only ink…. It’s art and it’s me! The shop has sick furniture, is beyond clean, and after having Ray at Tattoo Lou’s work on me,
I will never consider using any other shop. It doesn’t matter if its in LA, Miami, or Vegas… The real deal is in West Babylon.
I have never gotten so many compliments from people in my life on a tattoo. Ray was easy to work with, on time, and worth every sitting. I will promote this artist and company until the very end. I am extremely happy and really proud to wear my ink from Tattoo Lou’s. I feel there is no competition! Ray, you’re the man! Drinks on me at the Beach Bar Hampton Bays this summer!!!”