The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide


The Word Made Flesh

A beautifully packaged full-color collection of literary tattoos and short personal essays, The Word Made Flesh is an intimate but anonymous confessional book, in the vein of thought-provoking anthologies like PostSecret and Not Quite What I Was Planning. Gorgeous photographs and candid commentary are collected by authors Eva Talmadge—whose short story “The Cranes” was cited as Notable Nonrequired Reading of 2008 in Dave Eggers’ Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009—and Justin Taylor, author of Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, and editor of the acclaimed short fiction anthology, The Apocalypse Reader.TAT_Erica-Burton_500

From the Back Cover

The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide is a guide to the emerging subculture of literary tattoos—a collection of more than 150 full-color photographs of human epidermis indelibly adorned with quotations and illustrations from Dickinson to Pynchon, from Shakespeare to Plath. With beloved lines of verse, literary portraits, and illustrations—and statements from the bearers on their tattoos’ history and the personal significance of the chosen literary work—The Word Made Flesh is part collection of photographs and part literary anthology written on skin.


About the AuthorTess Adamski high res - credit Thor at Yonge Street Tattoos-thumb-350x350-54306 Eva Talmadge’s fiction has appeared in The New York TyrantThe Agriculture ReaderNew Orleans Review, and Subtropics, among other publications. Her short story “The Cranes” was cited as Notable Nonrequired Reading in Best American Nonrequired Reading 2009 (Dave Eggers, ed.).

Justin Taylor edited the acclaimed short fiction anthology The Apocalypse Reader, and is the author of Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever, a New York Times Editors’ Choice. The Gospel of Anarchy is his first novel. wallacefinished2In a five star review titled, “You are what you read” Susan Tunis says.

“I’ve never considered getting a tattoo. They’re fine, but never held any personal appeal… until I saw The Word Made Flesh. It’s a photo essay of literary tattoos, and in addition to the fine editors who put the book together, it owes its success to the creativity and literacy of the individuals pictured within. Don’t expect to see a lot of smiling faces. Most photographs are disembodied arms, legs, and other assorted body parts.
The tats pictured take all forms. Many are literary quotations, and it’s quite fascinating to see the words that moved a reader so profoundly that he or she literally wanted them to become part of their selves. Other tattoos were recreations of cover art, illustrations, bookish logos, punctuation marks, and even portraits of authors.

One of the sequences that interested me most was a press release and a series of photographs from “The Skin Project.” Writer Shelley Jackson has penned a 2,095-word short story entitled “Skin.” It will never be published anywhere. The only place it is being printed is word by word on the bodies of volunteers. The only individuals who will ever be privileged to read the entire text are the tattooed “words.” Five of them are pictured. And once the “words” die, the story will be gone. Very cool.

While the photographs are the central focus of the book (and they’re nicely shot and pleasingly laid out), the text is likewise pleasing and diverse. Much of the text is made up of brief discussions of the tattoos in the bearers’ own words, which are almost always interesting. The editors do a good job, as well, keeping things mixed up. I mentioned the press release earlier. At one point, a two-page short story that inspired a tattoo is printed in its entirety. Elsewhere, a man talks about his tattoo, and the writer quoted responds to being immortalized in this manner.

The pictures in this book are awesome! But after I’d done the quick flip, I went back and read every word of text. Literature is my greatest love, and I dig people who have been permanently marked by their reading. And I really dig this little book!”Dan-Slessor-Brighton-England-3-500x375


shige tattoo  Shige’s

vibrantly colorful bodysuits were the big award winners at the London Tattoo Convention in 2005 and 2006, where he was competing against massive names such as Filip Leu, Paul Booth, and Tin Tin. As a result, Shige has earned elite rockstar status in the world’s tattoo pantheon and this big beautiful book of incredible images further testifies to his mastery of the art.


In what could be called a tribute review of a book no longer in print. State of Grace created a book to rule them all, a monster of tattoo art at 328 full color pages. There are only a few of these books on the market, and when there gone, there gone.


After printing and selling 5000 copies of the first ever monograph on the legendary Japanese tattoo artist, Shige, State Of Grace has finally made the PDF available as a download! 320 pages chronicling the life and work of Shige, this is a must have for Japanese tattoo enthusiasts and tattoo artists. In full vibrant color.

tumblr_mn70fnsHlY1qhjkuyo1_500  The best Irezumi there is! May 3, 2011, By Lee,

If you have any interest in Japanese Tattoos and like Shige’s work then this is a must buy the stories are enlightening and the Pictures are awesome, and the price is the best out there.shige_japanese_tattoo_back_piece

Portrait of a Genius August 23, 2010 By Richie Jingles

An absolute sublime treat for the eyes and soul— an visually in depth study of one man’s tattoo journey and we get to go along for the ride. Shige is on par of the great tattoo master Horiyoshi, but has forged his own singular style within Japanese tradition. This kind of magnificent work enriches any one who gazes at it. Let the fine art critics who rhapsodize with great and undeserved verbiage about smeared paint on canvas take a real look at work that shows both great vision and great skill, qualities which the fine art world dismisses these days. “Craft doesn’t matter” is their refrain… Let them gaze on this and despair.

Tribal Tattoo Designs and Their Meanings

Tribal Tattoo Designs and Their MeaningsSexy Tribal Back Piece

             The art of tattooing is probably as old as humanity itself and tribal tattoo designs have always been at the forefront of the most favorite tattoo designs throughout the ages. Even though the technology used in tattoos have evolved from the crude ink and needle techniques of yesteryears to the modern tattoo- making tools and machines that can create colorful, very intricate and very complicated works of art on a human body, the preference for tribal designs never waned.

The following is a short discussion of the various tribal tattoo designs that many people prefer and a look into the meaning behind these designs.

The Traditional Meaning of Tribal Tattoos

It has been the tradition of many tribes around the world to sport a form or two of tribal tattoos on their bodies as part of being a member of that particular tribe. Some of the more popular traditional designs that we see today originated from Borneo, the Celts, the Haidas in Southeast Alaska, the Native American Indians, the ancient Chinese, the Aztecs and other South American tribes, and the Polynesian tribes particularly the Maori people.dragon-tattoo-ideas-8 

Tribal tattoo designs and meanings vary from each tribe and it depends on their mythological roots and how each tribe view and interact with there surroundings and with the world. Most of these designs are associated with their beliefs and religions and form part of rituals and rights of passages. These tattoo designs also have significant social meanings ranging from a unique identification system for families or tribes or as a record of the individual’s accomplishments and phases in life. Others believe tattoos can bring out magical powers or they can drive off evil spirits.

Tribal Tattoo Meanings in the Modern World


Tribal tattoos are really great-looking designs that stand out despite their monochromatic characteristics. The modern world and tattoo enthusiasts have combined certain elements of traditional designs and mix it up with modern lines, curves and other elements. These designs can be adapted from traditional patterns used by real tribes, or designs can be created from an original variation of the artist using traditional tribal elements.Tribal-Tattoos-And-Their-Meanings-For-Men 

However, a person wanting such variations or adaptation from original designs should be careful not to offend the original tribe by making more careful studies on tribal tattoo meanings particularly for a specific tribe. Some traditional designs used by native tribes signify their identity and if used by an outsider, the act would be considered a serious insult to the original tribe.   Tribal tattoo, tattoo, tattoo designs,  

In most cases, tribal tattoo designs used in a modern context does not have the same meaning or connotation as traditional tribes have intended them to be. Most do not have a real meaning in itself and were just created because of plain, artistic and aesthetic beauty that the image possesses. Despite that, a lot of people are enamored and would prefer the tribal design over the multi-colored variations.

Tattooing is an age-old tradition used by many tribes all throughout the world. The black images used in tribal tattoo designs have different connotations and meanings as they are used throughout the tattoo world – both traditionally and in a modern sense.


The Mammoth Book of Tattoo Art

Tatto designs

The Mammoth Book of Tattoo Art

By: Lal Hardy

This all-new collection of hundreds of full-color photographs features the work of more than 70 leading tattoo artists from around the world, including superstars such as Hannah Aitchison, Paul Booth, Chris Garver, Corey Miller. Discover images of striking, abstract “tribal” pieces, elaborate air-brushed designs, all-over “body suits,” “sleeves,” and intricate, distinctive motifs.

Tattoo by: Pat Fish

Pat Fish, an artist featured in this book, and also the artist in all these pictures talks about celtic tattoo. 

“It is a natural inclination to take pleasure in ones ethnic and genetic heritage. We are, all of us, the distillation of our ancestors, connected to those who came before by our bloodlines and genetics.So it makes pefect sense that anyone with a Celtic heritage would look to the wealth of iconography and symbolism in Celtic art as inspiration for their tattoos.

When I began my tattoo career in 1984, it was my fervent goal to learn to tattoo this unique style of art. I didn’t see much of it being done except in Northern Europe, but I felt a deep resonance with the intricate complexity of this art from antiquity.

In the years since, I have specialized and studied; and I take great pleasure in working with clients to bring the knotworks of the ancient illuminated manuscripts and carvings from the Pictish stones to life in skin. Instead of being confused or frustrated by the complexity of the patterns, I think I am never bored by them!”

Tattoo by: Pat Fish Tattoo by: Pat Fish

Buster Paris, Rates 4/5 stars and says

“It’s funny, when I grabbed the book to put next to my laptop so I can type the review, I flipped through pages and rediscovered just how great this book is and sure – there are tons of tattoo books out there, heck – there’s tons of tattoo images we can all just Google to look at, but The Mammoth Book of Tattoo Art belongs in your collection. It’s full of interesting, beautiful and unique tattoos.

Some reviews really depend on your (the reader’s) intentions in buying the book. However, for this book, it pretty much covers them all.

If you’re looking for tattoo ideas/inspirations – this is a great book with PAGES of beautiful tattoos

If you’re looking for an art book with an emphasis (ok, total focus) on tattoos – this is a great book with PAGES of beautiful tattoos

If you’re looking for a gift for the tattoo enthusiast the artist in your life – – this is a great book with PAGES of beautiful tattoos

I think you get where I’m going with this.

This book really is a great book. The pictures are beautiful, the art is beautiful and one thing this book does that stands out amongst the rest is that it has “chapters” (several samples) from tattoo artists – so if you see something you LOVE and want it OR want THAT specific artist, it gives the artists information and a little bit of information on them. Not overly in your face, and not too little information.

Great book, buy it and enjoy it.”

Tattoo by: Pat Fish Tattoo by: Pat Fish

Tattoo World

Tattoo, tattoo design, tattoo world

Tattoo World

by: Michael B. kaplan, Marisa Kakoulas

Once considered part of the counterculture movement, tattooing is now undoubtedly a mainstream practice. Although the history of   tattooing is rooted in ancient customs and beliefs, it is a constantly evolving art form, as skilled practitioners continually reinterpret traditional motifs and experiment with new ones. With more than 1,000 illustrations from 125 of the most important artists working today, this book is the most comprehensive survey of tattooing ever published. Collected here are designs from around the globe, spanning a broad range of styles, including Japanese and East Asian iconography, classic Americana, and photorealism, among others. Featuring the work of tattoo legends alongside pieces by pioneering artists pushing the limits of the medium, this visually arresting survey is the essential reference work for anyone interested in this exploding art form

Tattoo, tattoo design, tattoo world

William Clemo, gave Tattoo World 5/5 stars, and wrote.

“This book is a great end table book that shows pretty much all styles and gives a brief bio of artists who specialize in that style. Wonderful pictures and a the price fits into everyone’s range for great books. I have books that I’ve paid more for that aren’t as nice as this.”

Tattoo, tattoo design, tattoo world

Ashley give 5/5 stars and says,

“Best coffee table tattoo book I’ve ever read. Completely filled with beautiful pictures of various types of styles, explaining what they are and mini bios on the top artists specializing in those styles. Definitely worth the read.”

Tattoo, tattoo design, tattoo world

Oleg Turyanskiy an artist featured in Tattoo world writers about it on his site,

Tattoo World Book by Marisa Kakoulas and Michael Kaplan, which was released a few month ago, features some of my black and gray animal portrait tattoos. This hardback book includes more than a 1000 illustrations from 125 tattoo artists from around the globe and represent different tattoo styles on 384 pages.

I also want to add that it was honor for me to be a part of this project which came out fantastic.

Tattoo, tattoo design, tattoo world

About the author Marisa Kakoulas is the author of Black Tattoo Art and Black and Grey Tattoo, and has written about tattoos for Inked magazine. Michael Kaplan is the author of three books and has written for publications including WiredDetails, and the New York Times.

Tattoo, tattoo design, tattoo world

Vintage Tattoos, The Book of Old-School Skin Art


Tattoos have gone from badges of rebellion to fashion statements fully absorbed into mainstream culture. They are enjoying a renaissance, with graphic designers and artists creating specialty tattoos for a growing audience, unleashing a revival of interest in the bawdy vintage tattoo. Old school tattoos are being rediscovered (sometimes ironically, sometimes not) by a new generation. Originally embraced by rebels, sailors, and gangsters, these tattoos-broken hearts, naked girls, floral motifs, and maritime emblems-are now showing up on the fashion runway and in music videos. This book chronicles vintage motifs in thematic chapters interspersed with profiles of influential tattoo artists and their distinctive designs: Sailor Jerry Collins, Don Ed Hardy (“the Godfather of Tattoos”), Mike “Rollo Banks” Malone, Bert Grimm, Japan’s Horiyoshi III, and Shanghai’s Pinky Yun.


Carolyn James gives The book 5/5 stars and says in a recent review.

“Becoming an increasingly more inked individual, I’ve become more and more fascinated with the history of tattoos. I’ve been drawn to exploring works with a more vintage feel so this book was right up my alley. I love that I learned the reasons people got certain types of ink in the past and was able to see what basic vintage designs look like. As tattooing becomes more mainstream and reasons for inking changes and styles expand, it’s always great to go back to the basics and learn some history. I hope in the future to get a piece inspired by some of the works in this book!”


Ashley gives 5/5 stars and says.

“I really love this. It’s the perfect coffee table book really, something you can look through a million times and never get bored of all the crazy old school designs. It’s a pretty short summary of all the most influential artists, dating back to the 1800’s and whatnot. It’ll definitely help you to gain a respect for the industry, by knowing the history of it. I only wish it was still the forties.”

In a more critical 3/5 stars review Maryjane writes.

“This had a brief overview of tattoo history, some of the well known artists and lot of picture of artists’ designs. This was a pretty quick read, and had some interesting info”


Look before you Ink

Look before you Ink

By Thomas Miller

Getting a tattoo, especially for the first time can be either an exciting or a difficult process often ending in disappointment for those who do not do their research. Good artists, price ranges, a tattoo design, and placement are all things to be considered heavily. Especially before dishing out a hefty sum for an unimpressive dragon tattoo.

Walking into any old ink parlor is certainly one way to go, yeah. Maybe not, because on the other hand sitting down and doing some research could be exponentially more helpful in getting inked. Plenty of websites offer reviews, recommendations, and even pricing rates for the shop in question to better help prepare those about to be inked. Thus preventing any unsatisfied customers or unpleasant sessions.

Kimberley Vlaeminck, 18, claimed that she'd asked for three small stars but fell asleep during the procedure and woke up with a whole galaxy on her face.

Kimberley Vlaeminck, 18, claimed that she’d asked for three small stars but fell asleep during the procedure and woke up with a whole galaxy on her face.

Customarily in a parlor or shop, there are a couple cool looking designs on the wall. After having picked one out, and getting the customer settled in the chair, the artist would then prepare his equipment. A gun consisting of a power supply, foot petal and needle assembly. Usually fresh needles are preferred and legally they MUST be used. Since no research has been done, it wouldn’t be known to ask about this aspect of the process, and the artist wanting to save money doesn’t use fresh needles, nor does he tell you of this. Now not using fresh needles could result in infection, the skin rejecting the ink, or the design to look unsavory. In these instances the tattoo will heal, painfully, crack and peel and then be fully healed. A good practice for the care of fresh ink is any one of multiple ointments applied to skin to keep the ink and needle burns from getting agitated. Hopefully a friend or family member will bring this up. Not many people are aware of this, especially if they have never been tatted. Now, the area of the body where the ink will go is then shaved if needed and cleaned. Then the artist gets to his craft. Carefully and slowly inking out the outline of the dragon tattoo. Who knew it would hurt so much? Sixty bucks for this? Maybe it will be bigger than I thought? These questions race through many minds of almost every patron ever during their first session. The answers are as follows in order. Everyone. Sadly, yes. No it will be smaller than you hoped.

Yes this is real. read the story in vice-

Yes this is real. read the story in vice-


At the end of the day, there is absolutely zero reasons NOT to take time and gather as much information as possible on getting a tattoo, pricing, and processes. Some people may not care, but ink in the skin is ink for life. It should look as cool and professional as possible, not like some eighth grade doodle. Even coming up with a tattoo design at home should be a well thought out process. A dragon tattoo is a tattoo design worth the money and time spent on getting it right the first time. After a little research of course. Careful though, the first ink is never the last ink.