Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Milan-back-P2, originally uploaded by Tony @ 'Kirituhi Tattoo'.

This Maori inspired Kirituhi tattoo design is unique as the koru spell the names of the clients two daughters Nadia and Elena. The overall shape is a stingray, symbolizing Grace and beauty.

I miss u bruh...

Its been 9 years and everyday I think about you lil bruh. I never thought someone younger than me could teach me so much in life, but you did. Your life & death inspired me in many ways. You taught me what a real hustla was. You didn't hustla for vanity you hustled to make your families lives better. Kodi I remember how we use to sit on the steps in the projects looking at the sky dreaming of better days. Watching dope fiends creeping around in the middle of the night, our friends running up to cars trying to make a sell, and skinheads & the polices fucking with us everytime we walked to the corner store. Life was hard but the love we all had for each other kept us together. I remember when you stepped off the steps for the first time and started hustling yourself, following your big brother. You didn't need me to protect you in the streets you were a warrior but I still made sure if anyone ran up they would feel hot slugs. We were wild back then, doin things we watched the older hood niggas do... They were our role models. You became the ulimate hustla, you didn't have a vice, you didn't smoke, you didn't drink, you didn't even curse... You just hustled to make sure your family would be ok... And you made sure me & my brother Dada was always ok and for that love I would die for you....Kodi I miss you bruh... These niggaz not hungry, they not go gettas, they never had to really struggle....one of the reasons I don't like these fake ass rappers... They never been in shoot outs, they never had to pull licks, they just "rappin" a lifestyle we really lived....you made sure I never had to sell one rock, all I had to do is be there for you and if I had to light a nigga, skinhead, or police or whoever up for you I would without second thought... I love u, I miss you, and that hustle you had lives in my soul... You are forever with me my brother...

RIP Kodi aka "lil' Phuk" BGP / PVA
Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Ryan-upper-arm, originally uploaded by Tony @ 'Kirituhi Tattoo'.

This Kirituhi design, I will be tattooing I will be tattooing in the coming weeks.


Milan-back-P1, originally uploaded by Tony @ 'Kirituhi Tattoo'.

This challenging design is the main part of a back piece for milan in PA, USA. The Koru spell out his daughters names, abstract and unique. the tail section of tall stingray (beauty and elegance) is to follow.


I have been inundated with design requests recently, i am unable to tattoo everyone due to location in the world but I would always be willing to travel.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

FLASHBACK: The first year of City of Ink

I just wanted to share this video with the people "our first year of COI"...before it was a movement it was just a tattoo shop & art gallery trying to teach the masses about quality tattooing and the difference between a professional TRAINED tattoo artists, and a scratcher....the hip-hop & rap community and NBA are known are having poor quality body art...and for the record, most of the tattoos seen in this video were NOT done by us....I guess when they were filming this tattoo they wanted to only use "GHETTO" tattoos..lol but I'm thankful cheddar DVD picked us to do this video clip on...enjoy

Monday, September 21, 2009

Everyone want to be a Tattoo Artist (without paying dues)

When I started tattooing back in 1993 there were no other black tattoo artists around. Then I read about Jacci (the first african american) tattoo artist who lived and worked in New Orleans. After reading about Jacci, I knew I had to honor the steps she had to follow to become a professional tattooist. I went over to Liquid Dragon tattoo in Asheville, NC and the owner/artist Robert sat me down, and told me all the steps I had to follow to do it the right way. In 93 I was just a "scratcher" a tattoo term used for people who tattoo out their homes, tattoo parties, or in the hood who was NEVER professionally trained by a tattoo master (a person who has been tattooing for over 10 years professionally) I knew I would never make real money being a scratcher and I knew I had to leave Asheville. I picked up another tattoo magazine and I seen other black people in the pages but they were not black tattoo artists they were a rock band called "Fishbone" from Atlanta. I thought to myself black rockers with tattoos? hell yeah my type of scene. I began reading all I could about tattooing and Jacci was the only other black tattoo artists I knew about at this time...I moved to Atlanta in 1994 in seek for a master artist to train me in the art of professional tattooing. I picked up the yellow pages and I called every single shop in Atlanta..everyone told me "NO" so I was STILL a "scratcher" but my name was buzzing in Atlanta and I was only 19 years old at this time. This young up and coming r&b singer name, Usher Raymond (only 16 at the time) asked me to tattoo "Bad Boy" on his arm...I thought to myself he's not even signed to Bad Boy, so I talked him into getting someone else...so he got "Usher with a sword" on his arm, a few months later he came back and I tattooed a K & Heart on his hand...I guess it was for his girlfriend at the time...I really needed a tattoo master and I wanted to learn how to do better tattoos...I heard there was a tattoo artists from Miami tattooing in downtown Atlanta in the 5 Points Flea Market. The tattoo artist was the legendary "ROB-G" R.I.P. I really wanted Rob-G to train me but I was really nervous and didn't like taking orders at the time. I had got in some trouble in the streets so I had to cover up a "BGP" tattoo I had on my left arm...so Rob-G did a black panther cover-up on my arm...I remember how he didn't use a "shader" and used a liner the whole tattoo..lol.I guess for only $40 in 94/95 he wasn't going to do his best work on me..BUT Rob-G let me hang with him for a few days and showed me a few things before going back to Florida. While hanging with Rob a few people told me about West End Tattoo...and they had black tattooist and the owner of the shop had just tattooed Tupac Shakur..I was a big fan of 2pac so I wanted to really get in this shop...I walk into West End tattoo nervous as hell, the owner Julia looked at my old scratcher tattoo photos, she told me my tattoos were really bad and told me to throw those photos away and she will train me in the art of tattooing. 2 Weeks laters I tattooing names and doing small roses tattoos at West End tattoo under the training of Julia, Freddy, and Bash...a few months after Atlanta tattoo legend, Lord Yatta left West End to work for Superman Tattoos...I learned how to do calligraphy lettering from Freddy a cuban tattoo artist from Miami, I learned the fine art style of tattooing from Bash, and Julia taught me the basics (outline, shading, etc) and business of tattooing. West End was a perfect vibe...then one day Julia asked to me look for more artists who might want to learn how to tattoo...my first thought was artist, Craig "Flux" Singleton but Flux wasn't into tattooing...so I asked Tuki Carter (back in college I let Tuki color in a moon tattoo on the back of my arm because I couldn't reach it myself) Tuki said he was down so Tuki joined me at West End tattoo, a year later tuki's cousin, Tylee joined us and then my college buddy, Tee joined us...It was a good year until some haters ran up in Tuki's apartment and shot Samba & Chris Carter (The shop managers of City of Ink) we sent Chris back to LA and me, Tuki, Bash, & Tee flew to Philly for our first tattoo convention, where we ran into tattoo artist, Paul Booth one of my heros at the time...he was really cool and humble...he was also in town for the tattoo convention...now this is 95 or 96 so there were not any other black tattoo artists at this tattoo convention...at the convention is where I found out what me and Tuki was calling "tattooing" wasn't shit compared to what Paul Booth and others were doing at that time...Cap a fellow Atlanta tattoo artits (Timeless Tattoos) told us we could sit down and watch him do a tattoo, I was amazed and humbled...there were only about 3 tattoo artists who were nice to us in the whole tattoo convention, the racism Julia told us about was crystal clear...one tattoo artist even told me and Tuki to "stick with flash"..flash are the sheets of premade tattoo designs on a paper.. street shops use those stencils to do the same tattoos on everyone. I felt disappointed on how they treated us because of our race..then we ran into another black tattoo artist from Popcorn tattoo in Philly and she offered us a job if we wanted to move...Bash years later left Atlanta and took that job at Popcorn tattoo...in 1997 I left West End tattoo...I couldn't do flash tattoos anymore I wanted to move over to "custom tattooing" but I was under contract with West End so I decided to open the shop in Asheville, NC 3 hours away from Atlanta....I would tattoo 2 weeks in Asheville and go back to Atlanta to be with my girlfriend (now wife) for 2 weeks...I had that shop for 3 years but being in Asheville which was very racist in the 90's I knew the police would end up killing me..so I closed that shop and moved the business back to Atlanta...now I was ready to return to Atlanta tattooing with a new custom style of tattoos

Now it's 2009 and everybody wants to be a tattoo artist..they just want to skip all the training and paying dues just for the fame of tattooing...they never mopped the floors, they never seat next to their tattoo master for hours watching them tattoo, they don't even know who the first black tattoo artist is, they just want to tattoo..without following the right steps...and it really sucks when your BLACK and don't even know the history of "black tattoo artists" they don't even know Miya Bailey, Tuki Carter,Gino, Bash, Chris Mensah, Lord Yatta, Roni Zulu, Randy, Twig, Jacci, Dueler, Ant etc...Black artists who paid dues and opened doors for other future black tattoo artists...we made the blueprint to follow but we still have people disrepecting this art form and picking up tattoo machines just because its a "cool" thing to do...tattooing is NOT a fad...Lil' Wanye, Swiss Beats, Chris Brown, Rihanna, please get PROFESSIONAL training before you touch another person with a needle. It's cool to love this artform and it's cool to dress like US tattoo artists and look like us but don't tattoo without training...it sends out the WRONG message...real artists paid dues...if you really what to help professional tattooing invest in tattoo shops, give your tattoo artists CREDIT in your cd covers, shout out your tattoo artists on those award shows...teach the youth about the tattoo artists who created your IMAGE...but don't tattoo...thats a dangerous message to send out to the kids...many blessings and much love to all yall....

Shout Out to all the Black tattoo artists out there following the RIGHT steps...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jay-Z Rhapsody Commercial

This has to be the DOPEST Rap Album Commercial I have ever seen....Jay-Z is a true King...much respect..

Friday, September 4, 2009

Welcome back College Students...

What is Atlanta without the college kids?? I remember when there were only 2 shops in Atlanta back in 94 where students would go, West End Tattoos or Superman....now there are LOTS of shops open...some dudes I have NO CLUE who trained even opened a shop on the same street as us a few days ago...this is VERY confusing to new people to the city or people who don't know the history of tattooing in Atlanta or the difference between a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL Tattoo artist and a scratcher tattooist who just bought tattoo equipment and decided to open a shop up WITHOUT the 2 to 3 year tattooing ALL professional artists have to do to get respect in this game...

we decided to give student discounts to the future leaders of this country....make sure you have college ID...and call 404-525-4465 (1pm-10pm) closed on sundays...for details...ask for Corey, Melvin, Sophie, or Chris...the Might 4 of COI...

Who are the "4" ?

The Chosen 4.....Photos by TT Coles (thanks sis, amazing job!)

For Oct, Nov, and Dec..I will only be taking LARGE tattoo appointments..a lot of my LOYAL clients are very happy about this because I can spend more time with one client at a time those months..and some of my clients are upset because they want me to do small tattoos...I have been tattooing for 16 years and I'm at a point of my career where I want to pass the torch to younger tattoo artists I feel who will do smaller tattoos better than I can...I LOVE doing big pieces, shit I'm in LOVE with doing sleeves, backpieces, side rib pieces, and legs...I have been studying a lot if Shige's work (yellowblaze.net) and the way his work flows covering so much of the human body is PURE beauty...I'm looking for new muse, human canvas so do LARGE pieces..I will even do them for FREE..I would like my LOYAL clients to TRUST me and please let "THE 4" dripping stars of COI do the smaller work for me....they do large tattoo too..don't get it twisted..all 4 are amazing talents..but I really want to move away from small "walk-in" style tattooing...I feel I will be happier...and if you believe in my dreams you would do your research and check out Melvin Todd, Corey Davis, Sophie, and Chris McAdoo...I want to REALLY introduce the world to the "4" they ARE City of Ink...they are the ARTISTS, and they are open for walk-ins 6 days a week. Each artist have their own style of tattooing...no clones...but ALL were trained so they can add on to MY work and do MY style of tattooing when needed...we are family here so I don't mind my clients letting for of the COI artists ink them....my beef only with the ones who go to other shops after I spend YEARS with Tuki Carter training these young artist...and I PROMISE you each one is making a solid name in this tattoo business...starting low as $40 for walk-ins...they guys are trendsetters....watch out world for the "CHOSEN 4"

Damn Maia Campbell

Damn Maia Campbell...what happen to you?...I remember how nice she use to be I would see her around the AUC and she would always be nice and speak...I pray she will be ok, drugs and hollywood...

go to worldstarhiphop.com and do a search on "Maia Campbell"

Walk-Ins @ COI

It's 8:43pm and I'm in art gallery area of COI...I love Fridays.... We are listening to Blue Print 3....every single customer in here right now are females.. Oh except the brother up in Tuki's chair...Which is cool ass hell, he shared his Toyko stories with me which inspired my mind a million times over..Sophie is also tattooing a male...it was a private session so I didn't even see him back there.... He is doing 2 sleeves of Sophie style tribal, chest & ribs...hes whole body... Damnnnnn he's a soldier, she do have a gentle tattoo hand.. So I know he was relaxed....my last appointment canceled so I'm just talking to the walk-ins folks... Very cool crowd in here today... No place like "The City"

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I hate court....

This morning I had to be in court today at 8pm...Can you believe this was the 4th time I had to show up for that Rick Ross shit that happened at City of Ink...I'm just glad it's over now... All charges dropped... I guess that asshole cop tried to teach me a lesson for video taping them fucking with people who didn't do anything .. Time for me to jump in the shower and change clothes for work ....me & the COI hosting a party at Sutra Lounge today for "Love thursdays" .... Tomorrow we will be at Hola....

-- Post From My iPhone