Anyone who’s seen any of Andres’ tattoos knows that he’s a very talented tattoo artist. I mean, come on! The man can INK. This month’s newsletter gives you a little bit of insight at the man behind the needle!
Andres, a native of Argentina, has been tattooing for freaking seventeen years. He got his start at Tattoo Lou’s in 1999 during a chance encounter at the Philadelphia Tattoo Convention. While Andres was tattooing at the convention, he met Lou, Sr. and Lou, Jr., and when they saw his stuff, they loved it! Andres was immediately offered a job with Tattoo Lou’s, and he’s been a member of the family ever since. He’s gone back to Argentina a few times in between, but Andres prefers to tattoo here in the United States, and on Long Island: “I couldn’t get used to it when I went back,” he said. “There was such a lack of information on tattooing in Argentina. I knew that this was the best place to grow my skills. I fell in love with the place, and this is really the best place to raise my two daughters”.
Andres’ style is varied, and he prides himself on being able to tattoo it all. “My favorite categories are black and grey, realism, and biomechanical”, said Andres, “but really I’ll do everything. I just love tattooing”. Andres loves Tattoo Lou’s and tattooing so much that he recently got his own bit of ink inspired by Tattoo Lou’s: The Tattoo Lou’s “Tattoo Power” insignia on his leg. Andres added, “it’s my small way to thank Tattoo Lou’s for everything they’ve done for me”. His most memorable and favorite tattoo? The tattoo that started it all! “I was tattooing at my first convention, and I was tattooing a giant piece on my wife’s back (two angels protecting a baby). Nobody knew me then, but as I worked on her tattoo, people started watching and noticing what I was doing, and then everything blew up. It won “Best Tattoo ” at the convention, and that was really what opened up all these doors for me in the industry”.
At home, Andres is a self-described family man. With two daughters and a wife, he enjoys nothing more than going home to them at the end of the day. And what else would you expect from a guy who is loved everywhere he goes? Joel, Andres’ fellow tattoo artist at the Saint James shop, says, “I’ve worked with a lot of people, and Andres is a really nice guy to work with. He’s just an awesome guy to be around”. Client Demetri Verikokkos, who was being inked at the time of this interview, echoes Joel’s statements, noting, “I definitely wouldn’t go to anyone else [for my tattoos]. Andres is the best”.
Spring has sprung, and since flowers play such an important role in all cultures, it’s not surprising how common floral tattoos are. Flower rituals are present all over the world—universally, they’re seen as symbols of youth, life, and victory over death. Many cultures associate flowers with the sun and, most obviously, love. Tattoo Lou’s is taking a page from Mother Nature herself, and we’re showing you the meaning behind your favorite flower tattoos. Maybe it will spark some inspiration for your next and newest ink!
Cherry Blossom: Because the cherry tree blooms for such a short time, cherry blossoms can symbolize Spring, purity, and short-lived beauty. In China, the cherry blossom is the official flower of the month of April, and it commonly symbolizes hope, youth, virility, education, and feminine beauty. The Japanese look at the cherry blossom as a symbol of prosperity; it is also known as an emblem of the samurai.
Daisy: The oldest known symbolic usage of the daisy comes from ancient Roman myth in which a nymph turned herself into a daisy in order to escape the wrath of the god Vertumnus. Nordic legends say that the Daisy is sacred to the goddess Freya, and Christians replaced the lilies in their early artwork with daisies to symbolize the innocence of the Virgin Mary. Today, daisies are seen as symbols of purity, luck, and love, especially in the Spring. But watch out! Some cultures also use daisies to symbolize death!
Sunflower: The sunflower has, obviously, given its name, been long associated with the worship of the sun. Big sunflowers are also a symbol for loyalty, whereas smaller sunflowers mean adoration.
Lily: Lilies remain among the most popular choices for floral tattoos. However, there are different types of lilies, and their meanings vary greatly. The traditional lily (such as an Easter lily) is seen as a symbol of Christianity, and with purity and chastity. The fleur-de-lis¬ (French for “lily flower”) demonstrates a three-petaled flower connected at its base. Adopted as a symbol of the French monarchy, it is still used as a symbol for royalty and to represent female virtue. Water lily tattoos look very different from “normal” lily tattoos—more like a lotus flower, some would say. The water lily represents death and rebirth, and in some cultures, purity and chastity. Lilies that are blue or yellow (depending on the culture) in color are also said to ward off evil spirits.
Lotus Flower: Lotus flowers are arguably the most popular floral tattoo (besides the rose). Commonly paired with other eastern Asian images (like koi fish), lotus flowers are seen as a metaphor for life: lotus flowers grow up from the mud at the bottom of water and push through the water until they reach the surface—it is only then that they blossom. Many people who have faced struggles in their lives get lotus flower tattoos as a symbol of overcoming obstacles. Lotus flowers are also seen as a sign of spiritual growth and beauty, and because it opens during the day and closes at night, it commonly represents opposites: life and death, sun and moon, male and female, etc. Sometimes, the tendrils of the flower are depicted as flames, showing the duality of fire and water.
Orchid: Did you know that orchids are the flower of choice for corsages (prom season IS upon us)? Many orchid interpretations relate to sexuality and procreation, but some cultures see the orchid as a symbol of luxury, death, education, or even the blood of Christ.
Rose: The rose is among the most popular tattoo component for both men and women. As most of you know, roses are frequently seen as a symbol of love and beauty. Many “old-school” tattoos incorporate roses into the design, so they’re great if you want one of those looks. But there are some other strange meanings you may not know about! For instance, a withered rose is the sign of fading beauty (makes sense, right?). And the phrase “sub rosa”, meaning “under the rose” denotes that roses can also be associated with secrecy. The colors of roses also change their meaning: Red: Red roses usually mean love, but in Christianity, red roses signify death because they are seen as the blood of Christian martyrs Yellow: Yellow roses are a sign of friendship here in the US, but in some cultures, they’re a sign of infidelity or jealousy! So watch who you send ‘em to! Pink: Pink roses mean grace and admiration White: White roses are symbolic of innocence, virginity, and purity Black: The black rose is associated with death Gold: The gold rose is a symbol of the Vatican
Grapevine & Ivy: Vine tattoos are popular because they can be drawn into a variety of shapes and symbolize growth and harmony. Grapevines are used in religious symbolism, commonly used for the creation of crowns. Ivy vines symbolize friendship and immortality, and the Greeks associated ivy with fertility.
Last July, we got wind that Melissa, a local girl, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Thinking quickly, we organized a “Bike Run and Benefit” for her, inviting all Long Island bikers (and non-bikers) to join us for a ride and a giant party afterwards. Thanks to EVERYONE who came to and donated to the Bike Run and Benefit! We raised a TON of money for Melissa and her family, and we couldn’t have done it without all of your help!
It was a beautiful day – the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the bikes were roaring! Green Machine and Completely Unchained rocked it out, and Insectivora put on a great show, complete with swords and fire-swallowing. A big thanks is also due to Popei’s and all vendors who participated in this great event. Again, we couldn’t have done any of this without your help, and we’re proud to have donated to such a great cause.
Since it was such a resounding success, we’re bringing it back and helping out another cause! This year, the money raised will go to F.R.E.E.! F.R.E.E. provides aid to over 3000 people with disabilities such as autism in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
This year, the Bike Run and Benefit will be held on Saturday, July 30, 2011! Once again, the ride will start at the Oak Beach Inn on Ocean Parkway and end at Popei’s in Coram for the food and fun. Don’t have a motorcycle? So what? Come on down to Popei’s anyway! Bring the kids, too – there’s plenty of family fun. Same great event – live bands, freak shows, cool raffles, and great people – for a different great cause! Stay tuned to Tattoo Lou’s for more event details!
This year’s Baltimore Arts Tattoo Convention took place April 8-10, 2011, and once again, Irish Jay brought home another trophy for his collection! (Would you expect anything less?) But this tattoo was a special one—a portrait of Tattoo Lou’s founder, Lou Senior, on the leg of his son, Lou Junior. Talk about a labor of love.
The tattoo depicts Lou Senior doing what he loves and what he’s known for—tattooing. Inked as a testament to Tattoo Lou’s past, present, and future, this bit of ink is definitely among Irish Jay’s best (we’re glad the folks in Baltimore thought so, too!).
Since the birth of Tattoo Lou’s in 1958, no other tattoo shop in New York has been able to compete with our immaculate shops, highly talented artists, and extraordinary work. This two-generation family-run business is home to over thirty “world famous” tattoo artists, piercers, and management staff. Tattoo Lou’s is the king of tattooing, the best shop on the avenue, working on and completing more tattoos and piercings in a single day than some of our competitors do in a month. What’s the secret? “Experience,” says Tattoo Lou, Sr. “The trick is to do quality work at the right price. Why overcharge for doing something we love?”
If we’re talking about classic, old-school tattoo artists, there is only one man to be crowned king of the Long Island tattoo shops – Tattoo Lou, Sr. a.k.a. Lou Rubino. Raised in Brooklyn in the early 1950s, by age fourteen, Lou knew that his career would be in tattooing. Lou would hang around Coney Island, watching One-Eyed Max Peltz tattoo in his sidewalk booth, and it was here that he got his first tattoo by Max – the infamous heart with “MOM” written inside. At the booth, Lou would sit and draw flash, cut stencils, build needles, and make machines for Max in return for his knowledge and his tattoos.
As the years progressed, he found a permanent home, moving to Long Island’s Suffolk County in 1958. The shop, located on Selden’s main avenue, Route 25, remains Tattoo Lou’s busiest shop. Today, Lou hosts a staff of internationally known and award winning artists, and he is proud of each and every one of them.
At Tattoo Lou’s, our artists are the king of the crop—apprentices must have months of training experience by master artists like Irish Jay before they’re even allowed to touch a tattoo gun or piercing needle. This apprenticeship is like boot camp for a tattoo artist or piercer. “You can learn something from anybody,” says Tattoo Lou, Jr. “I love to come into one of my shops and see one artist explaining a shading technique to another artist sitting next to them.”
Of course, Lou Jr. has been around the industry his entire life. As a kid, he would hang around the tattoo parlor, staring at the artwork, drawing, coloring, and watching his dad, Lou Sr. Lou Jr. knew that one day, he too would be sitting in the same chair that his father sat in, tattooing customers on a regular basis. His dreams came true when Lou Sr. decided it was time to hand some tools of the trade over to his son. The prince, it seems, would also become king! Before he knew it, Lou Jr. had developed into one of the finest tattoo artists around. After traveling and working with many great artists, Lou Jr. began performing tattoos and conventions worldwide, gaining unbelievable recognition and awards of artistic merits.
Like his father, Lou Jr. is not only an artist: he is a businessman and a family man. The family’s other company, Technical Tattoo Supply, is the Internet’s king resource for top quality, affordable tattoo kits and tattoo and piercing supplies. TTS is the number one supplier of tattoo inks in the world! Someday, Lou Jr.’s offspring will carry on the tradition of the Tattoo Lou’s name, sending the best tattoo shop in New York into the next generation and beyond.
Since 1958, Tattoo Lou’s has been crowned the number one tattoo shop in the industry. With five locations (and a sixth opening Summer 2011), Tattoo Lou’s has shown what it takes to make it to the top: the best artists with the best management held to the strictest and most safe health standards possible. Tattoo Lou’s also boasts the greatest collection of body jewelry and tattoo flash—try out our patented Virtual Tattoo program for a completely different experience in choosing your flash inspiration! Come on down and visit any of our shops for a royal tattooing experience! If you’ve been thinking about a piercing or getting ink, you know you know where to go: the world famous Tattoo Lou’s!
Vaughn (pictured right) is one of Long Island’s finest artists. He focuses on each tattoo and takes pride in every piece. Vaughn loves doing portraits and as you can see he really kicks ass at them. Vaughn also has a really great style of shading which makes him one of New York’s finest artists. We are very excited to see what Vaughn wacks out within the months to come… Check him out in our West Babylon shop and don’t forget to check out his full portfolio here.