Through the years, each section of the military has acquired its own set of own iconic images which often appear in military tattoos: wings or airplanes for those serving in the Air Force, a bulldog for those in the Marines and chickens or pigs for those in the Navy, usually tattooed on the feet. The stories behind these designs create a sense of tradition and camaraderie as the individuals sporting these tattoos join a historical band of brothers with shared experiences.
The choice of tattoo design can tell you a lot about someone’s beliefs and experiences, where they have served and whether they are a member of the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force. The chosen image can be a way of showing solidarity and national pride or can be worn as a badge of honor or as a personal memorial to honor a fallen comrade.
Other individuals choose to merge sacred geometry and tattoos, believing that positioning certain shapes over a particular part of the anatomy will enhance some aspect of their health or spirituality. While the validity of this tactic is debatable, the key element here seems to be the tattoo wearer's belief. There may indeed be a psychological influence, similar to the placebo effect.
Adam West inspired me with his ability to whip an image up with mastery and bold artistic understanding. I apprenticed under Adam in Panama City Beach, FL in 1990. The one and only time I called a Tattoo Machine a "gun", he pulled out a .38, put the barrel to my forehead, and quoted "this is a gun boy, that's a simple machine, know the difference".
We've never featured a shop quite like SikInk Studios. Rob McClurg was nice enough to answer a few questions, share his insight about where the industry is headed, impart some advice for newcomers, and reiterates the fact that it’s a machine, not a gun. Sikink Studios Tattoo and Special FX has been open since September 2011.