antique tattoo


A brand new grimoire page all done! A compass-inspired pendulum board coffee stained on top of a collage of newsprint. Now that this is done, I can continue going through all the asks in my inbox! Sorry for the delay!

Also! Thank you so much for 1000+ followers! It’s honestly amazing how far this blog has gone in a short span of several months and I hope to continue watching it grow. I plan on posting lots more grimoire pages and perhaps if you guys are interested, some process work? Like how one of my pages comes together, from first idea to final piece? Any suggestions as to what you’d like to see more of would be great!


My new industrial barbell. I’m in love. I put a faux opal in for the first time and my favorite pair of my grandmothers earrings. I wonder what she’d think if she saw my ear hahaha

Sam + Max + tattoos, bc of course

“I meant to say,” Sam says. “That is. I should have said, at the house, at Asa’s place, before we left. I think you and Alicia should get tattoos." 

Max’s eyes narrow for a second before his face relaxes into a smile. “Oh yeah?” he says. “Anything particular you had in mind?” 

Sam isn’t the bumbling romantic embarrassment that Dean seems to think him but there’s something about this guy which makes him feel teenage, stupid and clumsy and too big for his skin. Which is dumb as fuck, considering that Max is like, what, must be coming on for ten years younger than him. Eight years, maybe. Regardless, Sam should be cooler than this. 

He should be, but he isn’t, so when Max asks about the tattoo he doesn’t produce the smooth line that he’ll no doubt think of in the shower in two days’ time. Instead, he blushes and stammers and scratches the back of his head, and answers Max’s joking question with a straight response. “Yeah,” he says, and he slides a napkin towards him over the table and digs a ballpoint pen from his jacket pocket. “Something like this.” 

Seeing Sam’s seriousness, Max frowns, and watches as he sketches a wonky approximation of the symbol that he first drew out for Dean, in a bar not dissimilar to this one, almost ten years ago. 

“It’s not, uh, it’s not fancy,” Sam says. “But it works.” 

Max puts his fingertips to the edge of the napkin, just brushing Sam’s. They linger there a moment before Sam moves his hand, allowing Max to take hold of the napkin. Max picks it up and holds it in front of him, rotates it, takes a look. 

“Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, I can see that it would.” He looks at Sam over the folded paper, not kidding now but earnest. “You have this?” 

Good question. 

It’s the first thing that Sam would ask, himself, the obvious thing and he knew Max would say it but he still finds himself lost for words. He looks down at the symbol, blue lines curving familiar, looks at Max’s elegant fingers framing the shape. He takes a breath, looks up again to meet Max’s eyes. 

“Dean has it,” he says. “I, uh. I lost mine.” 

Max’s eyebrows draw together in a frown. He’s not stupid. Sam can see him considering the implications; can see him choosing not to ask. This is one of the things Sam likes about Max. It’s refreshing to be around somebody who doesn’t take it personally when Sam has secrets. Perversely, it makes him more inclined to share. He wonders. Could he tell Max about Gadreel? The thought tightens his chest, makes his thoughts swim dizzy. He hasn’t really ever explained it, not to anybody. Charlie picked up bits of it, but not enough to understand. At least. Sam hopes that was it. He remembers again Max and Alicia frowning up at Elvis, after he asked about Lucifer; their instant, easy intervention in Sam’s defence. “Seriously, dude,” Max had told the guy. “Back off.” 

Jeez. No wonder Sam feels like a teenager. Fucking… damsel in distress. But. 

“You gonna get it redone?” Max asks, interrupting Sam’s fantasies. 

“Uh,” says Sam. He’s been meaning to. He has. But it’s so bound up with all the shit that surrounded its removal that he hasn’t been able to bring himself to do it; finds himself both perversely anxious of going under the needle (the needles in his brain and Crowley twisting them, clinical) and absolutely unwilling to mention it to Dean. If he said something now then Dean would probably lay into him for not having fixed the thing fricking two and a half years ago. “Christ, Sammy,” he’d say, the kind of angry that he gets when Sam puts himself in jeopardy. “Christ, Sammy, what the fuck did you think you were playing at?” Sam’s on a good run, lately, of not disappointing. He’d really like not to rock the boat. 

Max is studying him, a focused golden-green gaze that doesn’t help Sam’s thought process. As Sam stutters and chokes, he shakes his head a little, grins easy, breaks the tension. “I just have some suggestions for improvement,” he says. 

“Oh yeah?” says Sam. 

“Yeah,” says Max, and he reaches for the pen.

I first met Johnny Depp in 1984. For decades I had been living in Brazil, where I had begun tattooing, and I had decided to move to Los Angeles. I knew a bunch of crazy musicians in a band called the Rock City Angels, who were all living in this historic building in Hollywood called the Fontenoy, and I started hanging out with those guys. They had a new guitar player, who turned out to be Johnny Depp. Back then, he was just some kid hanging out on the fringes of this bunch of drug addict rock’n’rollers.
A few years later I’d established myself as a fairly well known tattoo artist in New York, and Johnny had quit his TV series 21 Jump Street and taken the lead in a John Waters film, Cry-Baby. He came to New York in 1990, looked me up and invited me to the premiere of the film. That’s where I met Iggy Pop and Jim Jarmusch. The four of us gravitated together and became pretty much inseparable. Our usual meeting place was my tattoo studio, Fun City Tattoo, which is where this picture was taken.
Fun City Tattoo was an illegal tattoo parlour behind a boarded-up store front on the Bowery that you had to walk past bums and addicts to get to. It had no sign or anything – you’d call from the corner and I’d come and let you in.Inside, it was a colourful, crazy other world filled with antique tattoo memorabilia, shrunken heads from the Amazon in glass cases – just all kinds of weird shit covering every inch of the walls and ceiling. That became our clubhouse.
One day I was showing Johnny, Iggy and Jim my collection of antique tattoo design sheets. Iggy came across a skull and crossbones with the words death is certain around it. He became obsessed with that design. The idea was born that we would all get the same tattoo to commemorate our friendship. I wore a skull ring and, at around the same time, everybody decided they wanted a skull ring like mine. So we all wore this ring, we all got the same tattoo – and we became the Death Is Certain Club.
This photograph was taken on the night I did the tattoos – you can see it on my knee and on Jim’s calf – and we are all displaying the skull rings. Iggy is not in the picture, and that’s why Jim Jarmusch is holding up a photograph of him. Iggy got the ring, but he never got the tattoo. We all still wear the rings to this day.

Tattoo artist Jonathan Shaw X