As I mentioned I watched Martin Scorsese’s “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” from 1974 and re-fell in love with it. When I was watching the film I was doing so half heartedly through a Feminist lens and also just for pure pleasure. If you haven’t seen the film its about lower middle class Alice (Ellen Burstyn), an early 30′s mom whose shitty husband is suddenly killed in a car accident. We feel great relief that this asshole is gone, but Alice soon realizes with this new freedom comes terror. The terror from being a woman whose husband refused to let her work and now finds herself having to provide for her and her son without many skills. Alice remembers she was happy once in Monterey, CA when before she was married she wanted to be a singer; so she sells the house and her and her son Tommy get in station wagon and try for a new start. It is hard to find a working gig as a singer, so soon Alice is “stuck” waitressing in little diners.

I don’t want to spoil this old film for you, but it boils down to Alice (and women) are always expected to put their dreams or wants on hold to support some man’s dream or a family she wasn’t even sure she wanted. While doing things her way Alice finally runs into a mostly good rancher named David played by Kris Kristofferson who genuinely loves Alice and Tommy, Alice is cautious (because you know, men), but she soon falls for him too. At the end of the picture they have a falling out because as you might have guessed it, David wants the family and draws a line in the sand, “Is it me or is it singing in Monterrey?” Alice knows she could be happy here and she loves David, but she walks because no one is going to put her wants or Tommy in the backseat ever again. 

David shows back up at the diner and Alice goes to take his order and they stare in silence. All David can say is, “Please.” Alice turns to go back into the kitchen and David storms out, but stops just before the door and yells in front of the diner “God damn it Alice I said please!” This infuriates Alice who snaps back, “My life — and I’m supposed to give it away on a please?! Just because you say please I am supposed to turn into Dale Evans!?” David, stammers back, “What’s the matter with you I never said that.” “You didn’t have to say it.”

Now, this is interesting because this reinforces that even good men expect women to change because they did the bare minimum, he said, “please” and he expects that to be enough for Alice to change what she wants from life. But Scorsese is smart here because during this David also starts to realize this.

“What do you want Alice?”

“I want to sing. I’m a singer! Whatever I do that’s going to be part of it.”

“Are you any good?”

“I. Don’t. Know.” 

“If you don’t know, is it worth all of this?”

“…yes. Yes. YES!”

“Is Monterey part of it too?”

“You don’t understand.”

“Explain it to me.”

“I was happy when I lived in Monterey–”

“You’re not a little girl anymore, you can be happy here!”

Alice almost crying, “You don’t understand. I was stopped once before, and I am not going to be stopped again.”

“Who’s stopping you? Sing for God’s sake, sing! I TOLD YOU BEFORE WHATEVER YOU DO, I’LL BACK YOU UP!”

“You have to understand what I just said.”

“I do. <beat> I don’t give a good god damn about that ranch, I’ll sell it let’s go. Alright?”

And it is at that moment that a man was willing to give up their life and dreams for Alice, that a woman could be put first, even if her dream isn’t “good” or even if Alice won’t make it, her desires and hopes have value and are of worth because she is a person whose dreams are equal to any ranch or family fantasy. The film ends with Alice and Tommy (David is nowhere to be seen because this has never been about David) saying maybe they will hang around here a little longer to see what happens. In the background is a hotel with the name “Monterey”, suggesting maybe Alice has found her home on her terms.

So this all felt Feminist as fuck to me. So I dug up some books and wanted to see what Scorsese had to say about the subject and what I found was pretty interesting. When asked if the film was Feminist, Scorsese said, he didn’t think so because he was a dude and he had never been through what Alice had to go through, he fears that Alice will still end up washing David’s dishes. “I can only show Alice’s truth as honestly as I can, it doesn’t feel right for me to declare Alice a feminist picture, I would guess that is up to the ladies who watch the film to decide, but I can say I understand Alice. No, Alice wasn’t intended to be my feminist film, my feminist film was Taxi Driver.” 

Scorsese talks about how the best way he can make a feminist statement as a man is to tackle masculinity and show what the endgame of macho bullshit will be. In Travis Bickle Scorsese finds a violent man and shows the violence clogging up his insides and his inability to communicate with a society. “All this violence comes out because he was rejected by a girl. I mean we have all been rejected– but there is now a certain kind of man that all of a sudden is all around us that feels he is owed something if things don’t work out.” 

Maybe Travis was able to ease the violent pressure valve inside him while at war (he is a Vet) or maybe it made it worse and now there is no place to put it. He is drawn over and over to vulgarity and ugliness, he continues to drive his Taxi down areas that only fuel his rage. Travis sees himself as a nice man, who sends his parents cards, but he also takes his date to a porn film and when she isn’t interested there is something wrong with her not him. It is the politicians that are wrong not him. He views himself as moral as pure as an white avenger who is going to free Iris, a 13 year old prostitute in a hail of bullets. When Travis reaches Iris, a woman he claims to care about or love; much like Ethan Edwards in John Ford’s “The Searchers” we do not know if Travis is going to “rescue” her or kill her. Surrounded by blood and bodies Travis attempts to kill himself, but there are no more bullets, his violence has been released, at least for a little while, and it’s ok anways because he is such a nice guy who one day is going to get organized. 

When I think about Taxi Driver I can see Scorsese even then warning us about 4*Chaners, Gamegaters, MRAs, with Travis, maybe we should have worried when people were viewing Travis as heroic, maybe we should have took notice when Travis literally looked into the mirror that Scorsese was holding up at toxic masculinity and when he asked “Are you talking to me?” We should have replied, “Yes, we are and we are fucking terrified.” 


Here’s my shot for the Super Mario World Reanimate collab! This was a ton of fun to work on!


Iconic age gaps.

Manhattan - dir. Woody Allen - 1979

Trainspotting - dir. Danny Boyle - 1996

Ghost World - dir. Terry Zwigoff - 2001

Léon - dir. Luc Besson - 1994

Whatever Works - dir. Woody Allen - 2009

American Beauty - dir. Sam Mendes - 1999


Tattoos are an art form. And to me, art is creativity. So no list will ever be complete, until there will be someone out there working on something new. But this (a rewriting of an old piece I wrote for ET on tumblr) can help to know a little bit more about modern tattoo styles. Take your time to understand the differencies, go through the names in the list, find your style. A good tattoo lasts forever, and knowledge is the roots of a good choice.

Old School/Traditional: Is usually referred to American classic tattooing. Artists like Amund Dietzel, Sailor Jerry, Herbert Hoffman or Bert Grimm, from the firtst decades of 1900, are the names to start from if you want to know its roots, Classical subjects (anchors, ships, roses, daggers, eagles, horses etc.), simple designs, bold lines and  basic color palettes. Traditional tattooing is definitely more than a trend, with its own philosophy and unwritten rules.

Tony Nilsson, Cassandra Frances, Samuele Briganti, Paul Dobleman, Paul Fulton, Florian Santus, Moira Ramone (pics: Moira Ramone, Paul Fulton, Mauro Quaresima)

There is also a different kind of traditional, widly diffused, enough to be considered a style, that people keep considering part of traditional or neo traditional. It keeps bold lines, and part of the classic imaginery, mixed with weird, modern, surreal, pop stuff. No limits for color palettes, no rules. Tradition meets creativity, one of the personal favourites.

El Carlo, Ron Wells, Luca Font, Pietro Sedda, Ray Wallace, Dane Mancini, Laura Yahna, Ibi Rothe, Deno Jr (pics: Ray Wallace, El Carlo, Laura Yahna, Dane Mancini)

Japanese: Originally called Irezumi, its roots runs deep in the history of its country. Its meaning in Japanese culture changed through the centuries, from tebori (tattooing by hand) to Yobori (tattooing by machine), to became part of the classic Japanese imaginaery, as we know it. Not every asian themed tattoo (common subjects like dragons, yokai demons, tigers, hannya masks and so on) is japanese style. Everything from colors to placement, to the shapes of the untattooed areas has its rules. As any other ancient styles, of course, you can find its modern, contaminated, version too (Gakkin or Wendy Pham’s works are a good example).  

Shige, Pino Cafaro, Caio Pinero, Bill Canales, Gotch, Rodrigo Souto, Yutaro (Bill Canales, Pino Cafaro, R. Souto, Shigenori Ywasaki)

Modern tribal and ornamental: usually referred to a mix of geometrical shapes, patterns, mandalas, asian motives, and Maori influences.

Guy le tatooer, Thomas Hooper, Marco Galdo, Chaim Machlev, Little Swastika (Guy, C. Machlev, T. Hooper)

Realism: From portraits, to a custom piece, to the perfect reproduction of a picture/painting. Realistic tattoos is one of the most spectacular styles in tattooing. No black outline, and lifelike shades, black and grey or colors. It easily mixes with different styles, like with Simone Pfaff or Andrey Lukovnikov, where realism is just a technical part of their own style.

Robert Hernandez, Chris Gherman, Alex De Pase, Scrappy Uno, Sandra Daukshta, Lippo, Sam Stokes (Lippo, A. Acosta, S. Daukshta)

Biomechanical: A trend in the late 90’, basically made of mechanical parts that looks like fused with the flesh. Organic and unorganic elements are realistically drawn, to create the illusion to be carved in the onwer’s body.

Don McDonald, Carson Hill, Guy Hatchinson (who creates bio organic style) (itp: Carson Hill, Don McDonald, Guy Atchinson)

New School/Cartoonish: Fantasy, big eyes subjects, rounded shapes, bright colors, crazy proportions and prospectives. Another style that was more popular in the 90’, now is often fused with different styles, specially with neo traditional.

Kati Berinkey (she fuses new school and sketchy/illustrative styles for her designs), Adam Hawtorne (another one with his own distintcive illustrative style), David Tevenal, Nathan Evans (mixing neo trad e new school) (A. Hawtorne, A. H., David Tevenal)

Neo Traditional: Illustrative like tattoos, where classical subjects like women, crows, snakes, triangles, wolves etc. (from the classic old school imaginery), are drawn with bright colors, and realistical shading, in a aperfect mix between traditional and realism.

Emily Rose, Dusty Neal, Lu’s Lips, Christophe Bonardi, Debora Cherrys, Rodrigo Kalaka El Uf, Jack Goks Pearce. (E. R. Murray, R. Kalaka, Teresa Sharpe, Lu’s Lips)

Lettering: Text tattoos are usually a bad idea, unless they are done in the proper style, and from a specialized artist.

Norm Will Rise, Justin Wilson, Big Meas (N. W. R., J. Wilson, Big Meas)

Chicano: the word “Chicano”, referred to American citizen of Mexican origin, ceased to be a slur in the 60’, while the style itself was born a couple decades before. Common subjects are wemen, skulls, roses, and religious icons, usually in black and gray.

Boog, Macko (Macko, Boog)

These are the most common, radicated, worldly reconized style. But is just a partial view of what the contemporary tattoo scene can offer. In the last 15 years, more and more styles are born. Some of them still don’t even have a name, some have more than one. Some of them will became classic and some are just a trend.

Fun fact: wikipidia’s italian “tattoo” page have “genital” listed as one of the most common styles.

Watercolors: The colors are spread to simulate watercolors. Often mixed with other styles. People keeps debating about how watercolor tattoos will age. Only time will tell.

Klaim, Amanda Wachob, Niko Inko (A. Wachob, G. Smash, Klaim)

Photoshop: the names probably comes from a folder where the artist Xoil (still one of the best in this style) used to store his works’ pics.

If you have ever used PS, you know what I’m talking about. PS style is basically a collage of different images and techniques, from watercolor to dotwork to lettering.

Xoil, Niko Inko, Voller Kontrast, Little Swastika, Jef Palumbo, Arlin ffrench (J. Palumbo, Xoil)

Illustrative Geometrical style: geometrical elements are common in modern tattoo designs, but some artists  generated a new trend, mixing illustrative elements, modern tribal patterns, and geometrical lines.

Maxime Buchi, Daniel Meyer, Valentin Hirsch, Kamil Czapiga  (C. Machlev, D. Meyer, Maxime Buchi) 

Illustrative, sketchy: The artist draw on skin all the lines that usually are ereased in a finished design, to create the illusion of a pencil sketch.

Lea Nahon, Sam Rulz, Nomi Chi, Sven Groenvald (Lea Nahon, S. Groenvald, Nomi Chi)

3D: Again, not exactly a style.  The artist uses realistic shading, shadows and prospectives to give the illusion of depth.

Russ Abbott, Jesse Rix (itp: Jesse Rix, Russ Abbott)

Engraving: on a thin line between illustrative, sketchy, and traditional tattoos, engraving uses black lines to simulate ancient wood engraving techniques, taking inspiration from medieval like illustration.

Sam Rulz, Maxime Buchi, Andrei Svetov (A. SV, Sam Rulz)

Next style has no name yet, and it’s slightly less diffused.. But I like it, so it’s in the list. ;) Tipical traditional pieces but coloured with flat colors, almost no shades, and twisted, experimental, original designs. 

Adrian Edek, Sany Kim, Aivaras Lee, Patryk Hilton

Girly: It’s a definition I hate, cause I’m convinced there is no room for sex differencies in art. I’m a big bearded boy and still I would proudly wear a Jody Dawber or Cassandra Frances’ piece. Still, this is how people call it. Bold lines and flat shading are mixed with bright colors like pink, yellow, light blue, that perfectly fits the “cuteness” of the subjects, often inspired from pop culture and cartoon characters.

Jody Dawber (basically a traditional artist), Alex Strangler, Sasha Mezoghlian (A. Strangler, J. Dawber, S. Mezoghlian)

The last style of this list have no name yet, but it’s still worth to be considered cause of it’s diffusion and people response to it. Basically the artists recreates a simpler, geometrical, version of the subjects, with no black outline, and a watercolor effect.

Sasha Unisex, Marius Trubisz, Marcin Surowiec, David Cote (M. Surowiec, Sasha Unisex)