1. No single area of modern culture has helped popularize tattoos like the music scene. Musician tattoos are controversial, edgy and an inspiration to ink enthusiasts everywhere. In part 2 of Lous look at tattoos in society, we check out the most famous musicians who sport (or sported, R.I.P.) tattoos.

Janis Joplin

The counter-culture movement of the ’60’s is when tattoos first became connected with popular music. The soulful Ms Joplin sported two herself, one on her wrist, and a small heart on her right breast. “I wanted some decoration” Janis said about her tats. “See, the one on my wrist is for everybody; the one on my tit is for me and my friends. Just a little treat for the boys, like icing on the cake.”


2Pac Shakur

2Pac had many tattoos, from the large  “Exodus 18:31” Cross on his back, to the word “Outlaw” on his left forearm. His most famous, however, are the words “Thug Life” across his stomach with a bullet for the “i,”  which stood for “The Hate You Gave Little Infants Fucks Everybody.”



The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bass player is another artist with an extensive collection of ink, from a band of elephants around his arm below a picture of Jimi Hendrix to a round Celtic symbol on his chest and a large tribal tattoo on his back.

Steven Tyler

The Aerosmith front man is not one for commitment. Not because he is headed for his third marriage, but because he only has one real tattoo. This might surprise many people who have seen extensive body art on Tyler, but everything besides the ink on his left bicep are temporary, and he enjoys frequently playing with non-permanent designs. His one tattoo is of red flames with the words “Ma Kin” in the middle.

Vanilla Ice

Just kidding

Tommy Lee

If we were to pick one musician who’s image  is most strongly connected to his ink, it would be Tommy Lee. You can’t think about the drummer from Motley Crue without the extensive body art he displays. Sure Tommy is one of the edgiest looking musicians out there, but his ink reveals the soft spot for his family as well. When his boys, Dylan and Brandon were young, he had them write their names on his wrists so that he could go get them permanently inked.

What is your favorite musician tattoo? Have you every been inspired by a rocker or rap artist to get some ink of your own? Share with us in Comments!



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Asian-inspired tattoos are among the most popular choice for today’s tattoos. From koi to dragons to ninjas and kanji, the meanings of each tattoo vary greatly. Do you know the history and meaning of your favorite Asian-inspired design? Check some of them out here:



The dragon tattoo has long been a popular choice for those looking to get their first (or tenth!) ink. Japanese dragons are commonly more slender and fly less frequently than their Chinese counterparts, and their breath changes from clouds into either rain or fire. Japanese dragons represent balance—dragons are creatures that are able to balance both the yin and yang of life. Though in the West, dragons are seen as dark creatures, Eastern dragons are intelligent, kind, and in some cases, lucky. They tend to represent freedom and physical or spiritual power.

Dragon tattoos are also popular because they can wrap around and flatter the contours of the body, working with your natural shape. Full back and full body dragons are common, and half-sleeve dragons are also very popular.


Lotus Flower:

The lotus is considered the favorite flower of the gods, featured in religious myths from around the globe. Associated with many “creation” myths, many deities are depicted with lotus flowers. Buddhists see the lotus as the “throne of Buddha”, and its eight petals represent the eightfold path to the Buddhist law of dharma. The Chinese see the lotus as an inspirational piece for poets and artists, citing that if one simply gazes at a lotus, one would be inspired to create. It is also a sign of marital fidelity, as the stem of the lotus flower is hard to break.


Fan Blades:

Fan blades represent a wish for unlimited success—a lucky tattoo if you’re hoping to start a new business venture.



Koi, the Japanese word for “carp”, are common in public ponds and fountains all over East Asia. The koi is Chinese in its origin, but it is also celebrated today in Japan and in many instances of Japanese art. The meaning of a koi tattoo can change depending on the size, number of fish, and direction of the fish depicted in the tattoo. Generally, though, koi fish are symbols of good luck. Because koi swim upstream, they are seen as symbols of advancement, world aspiration, strength, and determination to overcome obstacles. If a koi is shown swimming “upstream”, the wearer of the tattoo is still fighting his obstacles. If the koi is swimming “downstream”, the wearer has defeated whatever it was that was in his way.

The koi is also thought of as a symbol of family strength and unity. On Children’s Day in Japan, flags are flown with different-colored koi on them, denoting a person’s place in the family. Black koi represent fathers, flame red represent mothers, etc.



Geishas were once seen as living symbols of calm, beauty, and grace, and tattoos depicting them represent these same qualities. Geishas, contrary to popular belief, were not prostitutes but highly-trained professionals whose occupation was to entertain men. They were educated in singing, dancing, literature, and the art of conversation. As a tattoo design, the geisha also represents feminine allure and mystique.



Kanji is the calligraphy style letter writing method used by the Japanese. A popular choice for tattoos, the wearer is able to pick out nearly exactly what they want their tattoo to say. With kanji, it is easy to display whatever message you’d like. If you’re looking for a kanji tattoo, make sure you do your research! The last thing you’d want is a symbol that you think means “love” or “mother” or “life” and have it mean something not like that at all, inappropriate or otherwise! Make sure you and your artist know exactly what you’re looking for.


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Biomechanical tattoos are a new style of art that’s come about only in the past fifteen years or so. Coming from the words “bio”, referring to biology or the study of living creatures, and “mechanical”, referring to non-organic machine objects, biomechanical tattoos combine the living with the machine to make alien-like hybrids on your skin. It’s like Alien vs. Predator on your body. The human body is intertwined with robotic parts.



When done properly, biomechanical tattoos look as though they have always been a part of your body. It must be a good size for your body—the biomechanical technique is very detailed, so the area being tattooed must be large enough to showcase it all.  There also must be some sort of movement within the tattoo, like you can see through your skin or your body is being attacked by some crazy mutant disease. This movement is created by layering the organic “bones” in your tattoo with other objects such as gears and other mechanical objects. Attention can be directed at certain areas of the body as shapes change and mold to the area being tattooed.



Biomechanical tattoos work well in sleeves, and they’re featured in both black & grey and color. Black & grey is the most popular of the two, though, because it allows the artist to better blend the mechanical parts of the tattoo into the human flesh. These look more realistic. Red can be used to emphasize the human parts of the tattoo, and sometimes blue shows up in wires and tubing.



The artist H.R. Giger, who created all of the aliens and robotics for the Ridley Scott-directed Alien, is probably the man most responsible for creating the biomechanical art design. After the 1979 release of the film, tattoo artists began to tattoo images taken directly from the movie. Tattoo artists like Aaron Cain and Guy Aitchison began to design their own original art inspired by Giger’s drawings, and the biomechanical tattoo was born.



Biomechanical tattoos can transform the wearer into an alien or a cyborg. New designs are also being created in which the tattoo displays animals and/or humans with mechanical and biological parts.  No matter what the design, biomechanical tattoos usually require a few tattoo sessions to complete, due to the high amount of detail and, sometimes, color used in the design.



These tattoos are a great way to create a futuristic vibe on your skin. Though the trend is fairly new, biomechanical tattooing looks like it’s here to stay.


(Sleeve by Andres of Saint James)



A sleeve tattoo refers to any type of tattoo that completely covers the skin in a specific area. Typically sleeve tattoos are done on the arms and come in a variety of lengths. A full sleeve tattoo begins at the shoulder blade and ends at the wrist; a half sleeve covers shoulder to elbow or elbow to wrist; a quarter sleeve is elbow to half way down the forearm or shoulder to half way down the biceps.


The word “sleeve” comes from clothing, as in T-shirt sleeves. Therefore, a sleeve tattoo essentially covers your arm as a T-shirt sleeve would. However, with a lot more artistic style and flair! If you have already taken the plunge and gotten some ink done on your body, then you probably know by now how incredibly addictive tattoos can be. Many people have stated that once they get started – they just can’t stop! In fact, many people think tattoos are very therapeutic. Must be something about needles, pain and art combined which seem to have that magic effect.


Getting a sleeve tattoo is much like sitting down to write a ten-page paper: the first paragraph is always the hardest. You will find once you establish your concept, the ideas will start to flow. To get your own ink rolling, ask the artists at Tattoo Lou’s to see their portfolio books and other sleeves they have done. We find that people usually fall into two different categories when getting tattoo sleeves:


1) The Individual Tattoos Path To A Sleeve Tattoo – This way happens by accident. It starts with one or two tattoos, and then you’re addicted. Individuals then continue to get tattoos in the area until most of the arm is filled with individual tattoos. Often at this point people still want more tattoos, thus they design a way to connect up all of the individual tattoos into one large sleeve tattoo.


2) One Complete Project Part To A Sleeve Tattoo – The second way people end up getting a sleeve tattoo is when they plan the whole thing out before starting. This takes a great deal of foresight, time and effort to come up with a unique and yet meaningful design that can cover the entire arm. However, these can often be very significant projects. Do a lot of research online – you will find tons of ideas out there.


If you are truly contemplating getting a full sleeve tattoo then you will probably want to spend some time thinking about it. Of course you may have stumbled upon a sleeve tattoo through the “individual route”. However, if you are planning from the beginning to get a sleeve tattoo done, you will want to spend some time contemplating what types of tattoo designs you would like to get. It is important before starting the actual tattoo to spend some time thinking about the designs, styles and types of tattoo images you would like to get.


Typically the tattoo that you spend the most time designing will be the one that you are proud to wear the rest of your life. If you plan ahead and pick a meaningful tattoo design that is full of important symbols and expresses something about your individuality, then you will be proud to show it off!

Selden artist Sidney is an expert at covering up or rearranging those unwanted or regretted tattoos! Check out some of his work here and make an appointment with him at Selden at 631-732-9585!



Tattoo Lou's Selden Sidney

Tattoo Lou's Selden

Tattoo Lou's Selden

Ask your artist about our blacklight/UV light sensitive tattoos! You can use them to make up your whole tattoo, or even as just highlights – they look AWESOME. You can point a high-intensity black light at your tattoo and see it glow right off your skin! We exclusively use Mom’s Nuclear Ink colors – they’re proven safe, organic, and vegan, and manufactured by our sister company, Technical Tattoo Supply – the largest supplier of tattoo inks in the world! We’ve made the only UV colors to also pass EU regulations! Come on down to any of our shops today and check it out!


Black Light Tattoo Flyer

Best of Long Island Tattoo Lou's


Each year, the Long Island Press holds the “Best of LI” contest, and the rules are simple: the public votes on local businesses on Long Island to see who is the best. Tattoo Lou’s would like to thank all of you who voted us because, once again, in the “Tattoo Shops” section, Tattoo Lou’s has claimed the gold for five consecutive years! As far as Long Island tattoo shops go, we plan on staying at the top for many more years to come. So, if your next question is “why is Tattoo Lou’s number one?”, take a look at just a couple of the reasons:

1. Over FIFTY freakin’ years of incomparable experience
2. Five easy-to-find locations (and a sixth on the way – July 2011!)
3. Over 30 of the world’s best-trained tattoo artists and piercers
4. Immaculately clean and well-kept shops
5. Highly trained management staff
6. No “used car salesmen techniques”
7. Huge selection of body piercing jewelry at the best prices around
8. The BEST .com Tattoo Gallery
9. Sponsors of New York’s Best Nightlife
10. State of the art tattoo and body piercing equipment
11. World Famous clothing line by Tattoo Lou’s: the official clothing of the tattooed public
12. The biggest online tattoo community at Tattoolous.com
13. Donation programs for people in need
14. The world’s largest tattoo flash library on our patented tattoo program Virtual Tattoo (come to a shop and take a look!)


If you’re reading this blog, you probably already know these reasons! Why do YOU choose Tattoo Lou’s for your piercing and tattooing needs?

tattoo software

At Tattoo Lou’s, we’re all about the newest and most technologically advanced equipment we can get our hands on, because our clients deserve the best. Everyone has seen the flash racks on the wall of any tattoo shop – you browse through hundreds (sometimes thousands) of photos until you FINALLY find the one you want. Then you have to change it and edit it to what YOU want your ink to look like and finally, you get inked. Long process, right? Well, Tattoo Lou’s is changing all that thanks to our newly-patented software, Virtual Tattoo. While we will still have some flash racks in all five of our shops, Virtual Tattoo takes tattooing to the next level. To use it, you walk up to a station in our shop, type in a keyword or select a category, and browse through thousands of tattoo designs, artist portfolios, and more! When you’ve found the ink you NEED to have, you can resize it, create a stencil, whatever – and ALL on the computer. When you’re done, you can print it out and give it to your artist. Virtual Tattoo gives a greater amount of options to your tattoo selection, while making it easier, faster, and more convenient! The best part? Virtual Tattoo is FREE to anyone who stops into one of our Long Island locations. Drop in and try it out – you won’t want to go back to regular flash, we’ll tell you that!

Black and Grey or Color

One of the hardest decisions to make when selecting a tattoo is the choice of color: do you choose a tattoo with a rainbow of pigment? Or do you go straightforward in black and gray? There are benefits and downfalls to each choice, so today we’ll examine both types of tattoos. And by the way thanks Irish Jay(Selden) for the color tat and Mike(Huntington) for the black and grey. You guys are the bomb!


Black and Gray Tattoos

Black and gray is the original – the oldest form of tattoos. Performed by the proper artist, a regular black and gray tattoo can produce stunning results. The work is described as “black and gray” because the highlights of the tattoo are natural flesh that is not tattooed, and occasionally, some white is added to the tattoo for a more dramatic effect.


Some of the ingredients in black tattoo ink can be found in common India art ink. All of the ingredients found in black tattoo ink as well as color ink are 100 percent non-toxic and safe. At least at Tattoo Lou’s they are! (can’t speak for other shops) There is a real cool company called Technical Tattoo Supply that know all about tattoo ink manufacturing…google it. They make all sorts of tattoo supplies and equipment. Everybody says they are the best around.


Black and gray tattoos are the most resilient to damage from the sun. If you find yourself outside a great deal and refuse to wear sunblock (which, come on – you should!), a black and gray tattoo is a better choice for you.



Full-Color Tattoos

Generally speaking full color tattoos can open up another world for you and your artist. Color can give your tattoo dimension and life….. or death if you don’t go to Tattoo Lou’s.


Basically, do you prefer black and white photos or do you prefer color photos? Most people will tell you, “I love both.” If your one of those people then your most likely not gonna just get one tattoo. One thing to keep in mind is that lighter skin tones show off color tattoo ink better than darker skin tones. Tattoos are not any different than drawing on a dark brown piece of paper or drawing on a white piece of paper. Obviously the white paper will make the color look more vivid and brighter.


In order for color tattoos to retain their color, you must keep them out of the sun. The UVA and UVB rays from the sun can break down inks in a matter of years, so much so that even a single bad sunburn could cause your tattoo to lose some of its original luster.



Which is More Painful: Color or Black and Gray?

Black and gray tattoos don’t hurt as much as color tattoos(in theory). The main reason for this is that with a color tattoo, you must apply pigment to every square inch of the skin. With black and gray, shading is achieved using less pigment than a color tattoo would require, so it is less painful. HOWEVER. Both will hurt so good you will not seem to give a damn!

Microdermals are one of the newest and most popular new piercings available! Microdermal jewelry allows you to wear a single gem or flat disc in many areas that were previously unsuitable for “regular” piercings. These small pieces of jewelry are inserted underneath your skin with as little effort as a regular piercing. Your skin adheres to the jewelry, stabilizing your piercing. Microdermals are a new and exciting way to get pierced! Check out the pictures below to see just how we do it! Now, seeing these piercings does not mean that you can pop a needle into your arm and stick some microdermal jewelry in it! Microdermals, as all piercings and tattoos, are best left up to the professionals. Tattoo Lou’s offers microdermals at all four of our shops so come on down and you’ll be walking out with some shiny new microdermals in no time! Check out this page for more information on this cool new piercing trend!


microdermal piercing

microdermal clavicle piercing

tattoo lou microdermal


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