Review: Tattoo Nation

As you probably already know from this week’s posts, I went to see Tattoo Nation last night at its only showing in Newcastle. After hearing so much about it, I was dying to see it myself and see what the buzz was all about. Now I’ve seen it, I get it.

The film is a documentary that focuses mainly on the rise of black and grey Chicano tattoo, and how it helped to shape tattooing today in a way that many people never really realise. It features some amazing tattooers too, such as Freddy Negrete, Jack Rudy, Ed Hardy, Charlie Catrwright, Mark Mahoney, and Kate Hellenbrand.

The first thing you notice about Tattoo Nation is that it is a very honest and simple storytelling of what these tattooers got up to when they worked at some of the best shops in the world, like Tattooland and Good Time Charlie’s. It doesn’t pretend to be a definitive guide to tattooing, nor does it pretend to speak on behalf of every tattooer in the world. It’s genuine, which is something you don’t always see within tattoo related media these days.

Narrated by Corey Miller, this film is something that shouldn’t be confined to one night only in the UK. It tells the story of American black and grey work in a way that made me think about this style of tattooing in a way I never had before. You won’t get bored for a second watching this, as you’re taken from Charlie Cartwright and Jack Rudy’s first shop opening, all the way to the opening of the Amsterdam Tattoo Museum last year. Half of the film makes you feel like you’re sat in each tattooer’s shop, just listening to them tell you these stories about how it was ‘back in the day’.

If you love tattooing, you need to see this. In fact, even if you don’t love tattooing, and someone has asked you to go with them, you’ll love it either way. It’s a ridiculously inspiring documentary, and it sure as hell beats going to see yet another Jennifer Aniston chick flick.

If you’re living in the UK, you may have missed your chance to see this film unless you’re going to the Liverpool tattoo convention. However, you can always check cinema times on the official Tattoo Nation website, here.

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  1. […] film, mostly focusing on black and grey American styles of tattooing. You can read my review here, if you missed it. The film was really fantastic, but if you live in the UK you probably noticed […]

  2. […] a showing of Tattoo Nation, one of my favourite tattoo documentaries of the last few years (review here!). This will be the Republic of Ireland’s first ever showing of the film, and you need to […]



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