Archive for May, 2011

better late than never

Posted in tattoos with tags , , on May 12, 2011 by barrelrider

So since my shift in workplace and schedule i have been busy and things have felt a little hectic. taking pictures of stuff hasn’t been a huge priority but i am getting back on top of things. I take the worst pictures which is retarded because with a digital camera you can take a million pictures and pick one good one. i am so lazy about that kind of thing. i have hordes of blurry photos that aren’t worth showing to anyone even though i love the tattoos. anyway, here is a tattoo i started the other day and am real stoked to work on it again soon.

look what four years in the mines have done to my hands

Posted in art with tags , , on May 6, 2011 by barrelrider

I think just about every tattooer has done a pair of praying hands. I personally love them and what makes them even better for me is they were originally designed by my all time favorite artist. Albrecht Durer. But only recently did i find out the story behind these hands. Albrecht Durer (Sr.) had two sons (Albrecht and Albert) who both had a dream to pursue art. They both knew their father could not afford to send either of them, much less both of them to study art. After many nights in bed discussing their options they finally came to a decision. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy. Then, when that brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he would support the other brother at the academy, either with sales of his artwork or, if necessary, also by labouring in the mines.

They tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to Nuremberg. Albert went down into the dangerous mines and, for the next four years, financed his brother.


On Albrecht’s return his family had a celebratory dinner where he lifted his glass to toast his brother for his years of sacrifice.  His closing words were, “And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you.”

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved, and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, “No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look … look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush. No, brother … for me it is too late.”

To pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother’s abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply “Hands,”


at daybreak the sea went back to its place

Posted in art with tags , , , on May 6, 2011 by barrelrider

The “Pharaoh’s Horses” has been yet another mainstay for over 100 years in the tattoo industry. Up until 1999 the credit for the originator of this design was given to  J.F. Herring Sr. He painted his version in 1848. But in 1999 R.E. Tyree, a painter and art enthusiast from Leslie, Missouri, came across an old square-shaped oil painting of three white Arabian horses charging into a stormy sea at a flea market and purchased it for $25. He had the fabric and pigments tested.  This is what Dr. Walter McCrone of the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago found.  “Most of these pigments were known before 1300. Only Van Dyke brown and Prussian blue date from 1700. This, plus the absence of 19th and 20th century (paints), strongly suggests an 18th-century date. The fact that the canvas is hand-woven further supports this conclusion.”  Unfortunately the painting is unsigned so no credit can be given but the story was fascinating enough to put in a book called “The Mystery of Pharaoh’s Horses” by R.E. Tyree.

This first painting is the original unsigned version. The second is J.F. Herring Sr.’s version now believed to be inspired by the former.

When mine eyes shall close in death

Posted in art with tags , , , on May 6, 2011 by barrelrider

The “rock of ages” has been a mainstay in the tattoo world for some time now but do people really know what it is?

In tattoos the rock of ages is most commonly depicted as a woman clinging to a stone cross jutting out of an angry sea. Sometimes the wreckage of a boat is seen in the back ground. This is of course based on many paintings with similar subject matter.

The ravenous sea represents sin and its’ potential to drown and kill us. The stone cross represents Christ as the “rock”, it being the only thing to stand firm in this world when everything else falls away.

It is widely agreed that Johannes Oertel was the first to paint such a representation. His painting is titled none other than “Rock Of Ages”. Unfortunately it is very hard to find a good picture of it, but if you are ever in Lenoir NC the original is there at St James Episcipal Church. Like many great things in art throughout history, His idea was placated by many people. Now there are hordes of different representations out there. Don Ed Hardy published an amazing little book titled “rock of ages” which is filled with traditional versions as well as tattoo flash versions.  Here are some classic rock of ages i found searching the ole’ world wide web.