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If you are not familiar with the Two Dollar Tattoo Project please CLICK HERE! to get the 411 or read the sidebar info. To clarify this project is for industry professionals and not meant to be a way for the general public to get a tattoo for only Two Dollars. Please be sure to click on the images to see them large enough to really appreciate them. Our little project is run exclusively by the volunteer time of working professionals and the generosity of our industry sponsors. Help keep the lights on here, please comment if you like what you see and check out our great sponsors. To see our recent winners click here!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Two Dollar Yellow Jacket Tattoo By Boris

I will not lie, wasps, bees, even mosquitos give me the heebie geebies! I opened my email to see a submission from Boris at (Stinger tattoo in Richmond Hill, Ontario) and should have known by the spoiler alert in the title I was in for real treat. Yellow Jackets (not the kind you pick up at the truck stop) or predatory wasps of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula hold an especially scary place in my psyche and must say this was executed well enough to make the hairs on my arms stand up a little. The little single needle stinger done at Stinger is on the shops body piercer Danni.

Two Dollar Russian Criminal Tattoos By Rich Handford & Jacob Mikolash

Russian prison tattoos have a long and fantastic history, if you want to know more I highly recommend you get your hands on a copy of the Mark of Cain a documentary film on Russian Prison Tattoos. I checked in with Roman Belenky, when it comes to Russian Criminal Tattoo Culture this guy knows his дерьмо. Roman also runs "MIR" a great website you should check out if you are into unique clothing.

He had this to say when i asked about the symbols these lads tattooed on each other:

About the guys tattooing Russian Criminal images on themselves, I wouldn't really say anything positive about that. A lot of those tattoos had to be earned, have deep meanings behind them that you should live by and believe in before you tattoo something like that. Basically its just out of respect for those people that lived that life that a normal cat shouldn't tattoo those images. Basically thats all I can say about that. Thats kinda one of the reasons why I made the shirts. I think its better to get a shirt if you like the Art of Russian Criminal Tattoos, than to tattoo it on your body. After the books came out I started seeing young kids popping up with Russian Criminal tattoos. I thought it would've been better for them if they got a shirt instead.

I asked if he would not mind having a look at the tattoos just to give us a little more info on what the symbols chosen are:

Yeah, those are status and rank tattoos. The suit of clubs is the suit of the sword or the suit of the thieves. Thats not something you wanna tattoo on yourself unless you're prepared to answer for it. Especially the skull from the star. The stars are the "holiest of holies" to the thieves. Back in the days, you would be killed on the spot if you didn't earn them, no questions asked. Of course they probably never will have to answer for those tats. But if they did, they would be given some sandpaper or a piece of glass and told to take that shit off and fast. And that the best-case scenario...

The reason you see a lot of this great artwork on peoples bodies come out of the soviet era, is because a lot of great painters and artists were imprisoned for one reason or another, or usually for nothing since that was a big thing during the soviet times. Imprisoning people for nothing, I mean. Thats how the artists made extra money for themselves, by tattooing. Theres a lot of masterpieces walking around to this day.

And No, you cant earn any rank if you're just an artist. If you didn't live your life as a thief, you cant earn rank or any status just by tattooing. You earn status and rank and tattoos by committing crimes inside the zone or violating the rules or killing someone.You may be respected a little more than just a regular guy in prison, bu tthats only because you can provide a valuable service. Thats it.

There you have it folks, a little lesson on Russian prison tattoos. I still believe Rich and Jakob (of Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg Manitoba) did a fantastic job, tattooing this was is not easy, and certainly if you watch the Mark Of Cain you will see how not easy it really is when when you have to make everything out of found objects.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion Two Dollar Tattoo By Carrie Warner

I have been chatting off and on about this project since its inseption with Gordon Bouchard, el presidente of Golden Horseshoe Tattoo (in St Catherines Ontario). Gord is a big tattoo collector and has been rapidly running out of real estate so this project was a perfect fit for him and an excuse to also challenge his staff of tattooers. He is also a rabid self promoter as anyone who has friended him on FaceBook can attest. In all seriousness creative self promotion is how small business stays afloat in this tough economic climate. Gord went to the (smallest possible) extreme with this and convinced his tattooer Carrie Warner to ink the shop logo on him with a single needle. Carrie is also responsible for the mini Boba Fett tattoo you may notice if you scroll a few entries back.

Two Dollar Fetus Tattoo By Shwa Keirstead

It has been a busy week for all of us. My partners in this project are getting busier with the noble profession of tattooing and well i am always busy with the dozen or so media based projects I am juggling at any time. So getting back to this project, we have a great Da Vinci inspired tattoo. Shwa Keirstead ( at The fall tattooing in Vancouver BC) has paid tribute to the great polymath Leonardo Da Vinci, art, science and philosophy you name it he did it! I have heard Shwa him self is a bit of a polymath him self but more so when it comes to video games. If you like what you see here Shwa tells us he has a few more already in the works, so check back often!

Note: i do have a photo of the original stencil with the twonee, i just cant find it right this second.

No Free Tattoos!

The Two Dollar Tattoo Project is not promoting Tattoos that Cost Two Dollars! If you care to read further do so, otherwise there it is in plain English!

So, I have received numerous complaints from the kind folks that have been submitting to this project regarding inquiries of the general public getting $2 tattoos. It appears that there are rumors running rampant on the internet that you can get a tattoo for only $2. This is not the case and we will (for probably the third time on this blog) set the record strait again!

The Two Dollar Tattoo Project is meant for industry professionals not the general public. The project was launched to be a fun game of comradery to challenge working professionals in the tattoo industry. If the artist so chooses as a professional courtesy to only charge $2 to partake in the original spirit of this project it is only by their choice not yours. If you are not a Tattoo Industry Professional you should not just expect to be invited to participate. Asking you to work for a minimum of an hour at your job for $2 dollars by labor standards in Canada would be illegal and down right un-ethical why demand that they do this for you?

I realize for a lot of people reading the one page of rules for the project meant for Industry professionals may be a little much but its written in plain text and can be read over by clicking here.

That said I have personally been very busy and have not had a chance to post the large backlog of images I have received. Today and tomorrow will be spent with me catching up. My appologies to those who have not seen their submissions up on the site as of yet. I have them and they will be up very soon.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two Dollar Baby Cthulu Tattoo By Carly Montgomery

Keeping up with famous un-earthly creatures we move on to this recent submission.
Credit goes to Carly Montgomery (of Soul Survivors in Winnipeg Manitoba) for taking about the scariest darn thing ever published and making it about the cutest little thing I have seen all week! B.J. Lequire (piercer at Soul Survivors) is the lucky recipient of Carly's juvenile interpretation of the Lovecraft monster!

For those of you not familiar with who Cthulu is you might recall mention of the sea monster in a Metallica song or not since the tune was an instrumental. The real history on the monster that looks like it should be hanging in a China Town deli started round about 1928 with a short story by the late great American fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft titled "The Call of Cthulhu". There was a recent and terrible Hollywood adaptation loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's story... If you love H.P. Lovecraft don't watch the movie you will just make you angry.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Two Dollar E.T. Tattoo By Picasso Dular

Finally, a Sci-Fi related tattoo I can relate to! When I was growing up I was freakin' obsessed with E.T.! When I first got the email it came to my black berry while having coffee with friends. The small screen was hard to read what the large attachments actually were. I thought to my self that I should really re-live this moment of trying to decipher an image on my little 2.7" screen with reference to the original E.T. film.
Michael: Maybe it was an iguana.
Elliot: It was *no* iguana.
Michael: Maybe, um - You know how they say there are alligators in the sewers?
Gertie: Alligators in the sewers.
Mary: All we're trying to say is, maybe you just probably imagined it. It happened...
Elliot: I couldn't have imagined it!
Michael: Maybe it was a pervert or a deformed kid or something.
Gertie: A deformed kid.
Michael: [mockingly] Maybe an elf or a leprechaun.
Elliot: It was nothing like that, penis-breath!
Mary: [laughs in shock] *Elliott!* Sit down.
Big thanks to Picasso Dular (at Sacred Tattoo in NYC) and his industrious friend Alicia who mailed a shop business card and a note to us in trade for a Twonee! I guess the twonee is one thing you cant just buy a reasonable facsimile of on Canal street? Picasso is not only our first submission from a American shop but as well the first I know of that used had to really go out of his way to track down a single needle for his alien looking Hawk Tattoo Machine... this will only be a big deal to other artists who use a Hawk to tattoo though it gives them something to phone home about.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Dollar Boba Fett Tattoo By Carrie Warner

Okay this is the last Star Wars Tattoo for at least a few more days! Either way it seems that when we post one of these little bad boys there is a huge rush of geek traffic to the site. In fact I do have more Star Wars two dollar tattoos waiting in the cue but there is a video to go with those so you will all have to wait for the prequel.

Carrie Warner (of Golden Horshoe Tattoo in St Catherins) tattooed this little Boba Fett valentine on her pal Paul Westlake. I have exhausted my limited knowledge of things Star Wars with the last few posts so I checked in with Two Dollar Tattoo Co-Creator and Star Wars super fan Matthew Ellis (we like to think of him as our own Yoda only not green and taller, much taller with a real smart mustache) to get his thoughts on this piece.

"Always two there are, a master and an apprentice."
"The Force is strong in this young Jedi"

On a Side note, I discovered recently there is a planet in Star Wars named after this project, the planet Tatooine!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Two Dollar AT-AT Tattoo by Colin Wiley

Now, I mentioned earlier about the persistence of the crew at Tattoo Zoo and here is more of what happens when you dare a small group of hard working tattooers. Colin Wiley (another ZooTattoo'er) could not let his friend and co-worker Bryan J. Turnbull be the only one credited with doing a Star Wars tattoo so he stepped up to the plate and hit one right out into the cheap seats! Bryan had this to say about his Two Dollar Tattoo:

"It was Two Dollar Tattoo Day at the shop today. Colin Wiley did this amazing Imperal Snow Walker on me today and blew our minds!"

Gathering from the response we received earlier on with Bryan's R2D2 Dollar Tattoo it would appear that the Jedi force is strong on the left side of Canada.

Two Dollar Ship In A Bottle Tattoo By Gerry Kramer

And we are back! I lost internet for a few days on account of my crappy choice of ISP resulting in a delay in moving the site to a WordPress Format as well as a now embarrassing backlog of content I have to get caught up on posting this week.

Reaching my ISP for tech support and getting a ship into a bottle... what do they have in common? Damn Near Impossible! However a little skill, patience and persistence can in fact pay off. Some might even say the same about doing a small single needle only tattoo. Gerry Kramer (of Tattoo Zoo in Victoria, British Columbia) demonstrated his skills with a single needle on the very appreciative shop receptionist Nova and even showed a little charity by only charging her two dollars for the tattoo.

Persistence has recently been demonstrated as well with the Zoo Crew. One by one, I have been receiving fantastic submissions to this project from each of their artists. It is even rumored that there is one lonely little fish tattoo missing lost in the sea of the internets waiting to be sent in to join its other little tattoo friends on the site.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Two Dollar Tattoo Is moving

Just a heads up, things have been a little hectic lately. I do have a few posts to get up real soon but we are sorting out the issues of moving the blog to a WordPress format rather then keeping it on Blogger. We recently put a call out for sponsorship for the project and it was answered by two fantastic companies that each uniquely cater to the needs of the tattoo industry. To better serve our generous sponsors with the representation they deserve we are moving to a more suitable more powerful set up away from the rules and constraints of blogger.

I have a few days worth of posts to get up tonight so keep your eye's peeled and please bear with us as we make this new change in hosting and format. If you are new to the site and just discovering us please do check all the pages we have grown a lot since just starting the site one month ago.

If you think you might have some time or skills to offer in the assistance of the migration of the site please drop me an email at as I am learning this is going to be a painful endeavor.