There is always room for one more… by James Peterson

Ink Life Tour1When I was nineteen, I had it all figured out.

Join the military. Get cool tattoo. Get laid.

Yes, life was much simpler back then, and even though my grand plan was never fully executed, I often wonder what MY tattoo would have been like. Would I have opted to follow the crowd and get some type of tribal arm band? Would I pick something off the shop wall, like a Tasmanian Devil? Could I have designed my own – a screaming Phoenix composed of fiery orange and yellow ribbons, wings spread across my shoulder blades and rising from a pyramid of blue-green flame – and found someone to ink it?

Probably the latter – especially if I’d happened to encounter any of the talent on George Galindo’s Ink Life Tour. Lotus Comics Press caught up with George in Oklahoma City, and learned how his amazing tattoo convention came to be.

George has been in the industry for over 20 years, and founded the oldest tattoo studio in El Paso, House of Pain Tattoo in 1999. As the renown of his shop grew, so did the talent of the artists George currently employs. He mentioned that at least 8 of his tattoo artists have art degrees, which isn’t surprising in this rapidly growing 2.3 billion dollar industry.

Ink Life Tour3When he decided to break out of House of Pain and bring tattooing to the people, George created the Texas Showdown Festival with a collection of local and national tattoo artists, musicians, and other ‘unique’ performers. To stock the festival, he personally selected a variety of tattoo talent, each delivering their specialized expertise in style, color, and creativity. The event was a big hit, and is now in its fourth year.

Since the Festival was local to El Paso, and George again felt the need to expand, he launched the Ink Life Tour to bring the action around the nation. The benefit of this is obvious – instead of traveling out of state for a highly talented artist, the Ink Life tour brings THEM to YOU. Now in its third year, the convention has been a massive success, including breaking a record for ATM withdrawals at a convention – a cool $252,000 in one weekend!

His visit to Oklahoma City allowed us to meet Sarah Miller of Ink Master’s (SpikeTV) fame. We asked Sarah how she came into the industry, and she told us that she had a good job doing graphic design, but felt constrained in that ‘career’. She really wanted to draw comic book art, but had no outlet. Finally, she was daring enough to leave the corporate rat race a few years ago and has been delivering incredible tattoos ever since. While weaving vibrant colors with sweeping curves, perspective, and imagery, Sarah’s expressions are a far cry from the traditional ‘MOM’ tattoo. Accordingly, don’t call her a tattooist, because she explained that “…a tattooist is someone who tattoos, but a tattoo artist is someone who takes it to the next level.”

Ink Life Tour2Another artist we encountered at the Ink Life Tour is Cesar Castaneda – AKA Bigg Ceeze. He has more than eleven years of tattoo artist and airbrushing experience, and along with his wife Sandy, he runs the Mi Familia Tattoo Studio in Anaheim, California. Boasting several awards for his work, Cesar’s primary media is blacks and grays, though he is very comfortable working in all colors. And, as a devout Christian with an incredible eye for realism in his designs, Bigg Ceeze blends elements of spirituality into his work, with roses and crosses adorning much of his art.
All I know is that after viewing the artistry presented at the Ink Life Tour, I’m glad that I didn’t end up getting that Phoenix tattoo so long ago. Instead, I’m looking forward to the next Ink Life Tour visit so I can finally get it done the way I’ve always dreamed.


All That Glitters Is Gears by James Peterson

053

Dream with me.

We’re sailing – five hundred feet above the chaotic grey-blue sea beneath us. Our steel and silk airship is buffeted by the strong prevailing winds, but the steady hiss of the boiler powers the swooshing props which drive us headlong through the gale.
As the wind whistles up, I instinctively sandwich my coke hat between my head and a fingerless gloved hand and look over at my mysterious passenger. In the bluster, your violet seersucker and lace dress flails about you helplessly, so you slip on a pair of leathery goggles and protect your ash grey eyes. A glint off of the sterling silver octopus broach on your bosom catches my attention. Its long, seductively curling tentacles and gleaming jadestone eyes betray a superhuman flexibility and depths of ageless wisdom, as if silently beckoning to me “Approach… if you dare.”

It’s a good dream, but reality instantly crashes my fantasy with a text on my iPhone. “LOL jk”
Wouldn’t it be nice to return to the fantasy and live it? Or suppose we bring the fantasy to our reality?
Perhaps we can.

Amy and Todd Hogan, pirates turned tinkers turned entrepreneurs, started Punk’dWorks in Houston eight months ago by creating Steampunk themed jewelry and accessories. Todd was apprenticed to a 3rd generation master horologist (that’s a clock repairman to you and me) and Amy recovered/recycled unique materials for their gear. Together, they carefully crafted some of the most unique pieces of jewelry rarely seen on this side of Victoriana. Since then, they have visited at least two dozen various conventions and art shows, where their wares are a big hit – including selling 28 of their 30 items at their very first show!

It gets better. These folks don’t just craft their fantasy visions into reality, they create custom Steampunk themed jewelry as well. So please visit their facebook page to find out about their upcoming schedule, check out some great pictures of their gear, or drop them a line – they love feedback from their customers and friends. If you do, tell them Lotus Comics sent you.

I’ll be ordering my own little bit of fantasy from them… maybe something with an octopus.


FOCUS!! Independent Film Spotlight by James Peterson

The Needs of Kim Stanley – The Extraordinary Legacy of an American Original

Kim StanleyAt Lotus Comics, we have the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the many artists who have inspired us. We often ask our participants ‘who inspired you?’, and in this installment of FOCUS!! Independent Film Spotlight, we have the wonderful opportunity to learn about one of Hollywood’s most influential actresses, Kim Stanley.

Likely, you can’t immediately place her name, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t dig deeper to learn more about the impactful woman’s life. Kim Stanley’s career in front of the movie camera was limited to only four films: The Goddess (1958), Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964), Frances (1982), and The Right Stuff (1983). But like Nikola Tesla, her overall effect on Hollywood is profound, even in relative anonymity.

Dani Minnick, Melanie Jones, and Randall England have been developing their insightful documentary, The Needs of Kim Stanley, which explains her legacy through the words of those she inspired. Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), James Cromwell (The Green Mile), Louis Gossett, Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), Lord Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park), Anthony LaPagila (Without A Trace) – these are just a few of the A-list actors who were either directly trained or positively influenced by Kim Stanley and her powerful technique – an acting exercise she created called ‘The Needs’.

To Celebrate.
To Destroy.
To Charm.
To Plead.
To Entice.
To Accuse.
To Seduce.

Two actors, two boxes, no dialogue – only raw emotion – with each actor privately assigned a ‘need’ that they must communicate to the other. Psychology, interpretation, and body language collide, creating a mash of non-verbal interaction that helps actors to craft and deliver powerful expressions in a movie scene. Although we tend to take these skills for granted, it was Kim Stanley’s brilliance – on screen and off – that showed actors how to provide significant depth to those popular characters recognized and loved worldwide.

Please visit their Kickstarter campaign to learn more about their project, and how you can help make this documentary a success. It is time that more people learned about the source of inspiration to their favorite artists, and possibly, to one of the greatest actors ever:
“The past is gone, yes, but the past is full of Kim’s brilliance, and I think we–I think you–need to remind people of what they didn’t see and can’t understand.” – Marlon Brando


Genuine COA by James Peterson

Genuine COABoys will be boys.

When I was seventeen, I gave my brother an autographed Charles Barkley card for his birthday. He loved it, he thought the world of me and he never knew the truth.

Chuck’s signature was bogus. I know, because I forged it.

I had no malicious or otherwise felonious intent; I just thought it would be cool to give my brother a once-in-a-lifetime gift.

However, while my actions might be chalked up to teenage naïveté, in reality, there is a massive criminal market of fake memorabilia in the U.S. According to the FBI, the autographed merchandise industry is more than one billion dollars, and “industry experts concede that over half of the most sought-after athletes’ and celebrities’ autographed memorabilia is forged.”

Christopher Owens and Debra Anderson were two fans who had their own experience. They were looking online to purchase signed memorabilia and found some collectibles that seemed too good to pass up. After the purchase, they learned the reputation of that dealer, and how prevalent forgery actually was in the market. After a struggle, they were able to get the money back. They then educated themselves on the autograph memorabilia market and found that most signings aren’t documented, and that hand writing analysis, one of the most common forms of autograph authentication, is based solely on opinion.

Even though they were disappointed with their autograph experience, their loss gave them a unique business idea: What better way to verify the authenticity of an autographed item, than to have a witness to the event?

Genuine COA was born.

For a small fee, Genuine COA provides an independent witness to the signing of any autographed item, presents the proud owner with a Certificate of Authenticity bearing a serialized, holographic sticker, and places a matching, tamper-proof sticker upon the signed item in a location of the owner’s discretion. The witness signs an affidavit that is filed with a third party, which along with the witness name and event details, is made searchable in the Genuine COA database by that unique number.

The benefits of this service are obvious. Fans who invest so much time and money in obtaining their memorabilia can secure the value of their items with a Genuine COA Certificate of Authenticity, and prospective buyers can purchase the merchandise with confidence. What’s more, should anything happen to a valued piece of memorabilia that is now serialized and documented, the owner is capable of filing an insurance claim for the fair market value of that item. In other words, insurance must pay the owner what it is worth. In most cases, the value of an autograph typically increases over time.

In the unlikely event that the Certificate of Authenticity is lost, verification of the item can still be cross-referenced by searching the serial number through Genuine COA’s database.

Genuine COA also offers other value-added services beyond their namesake. For fans that cannot make it to major conventions and events, Genuine COA will also obtain merchandise and autographs by request, with all items getting the Genuine COA certification.

I will be taking advantage of this myself, because twenty-two years have passed since my first and last forgery, and my brother’s birthday approaches again. This time, I’m going to do it right.

I’m going with Genuine COA.


Ghouls Gone Awesome! by Chad Elijah

Photo Courtesy of: Justin Kimberling

Lotus Comics Press got to enjoy the amazing Gazette Ghouls Gone Wild Halloween parade on Saturday, October 27th. Starting in 2007 with a mission of celebrating “artistry, creativity, and diversity” this event is one of the coolest events seen in the Mid-West region.

 

The parade had many very cool floats, such as little shop of horrors, to zombies. Patrons participated in the spirit with elaborate costumes and the judges were absolutely awesome judging all the floats as they went by. What was so amazing about it is that practically every one in Oklahoma City either participated in the parade, has costumes evolving the parade or simply had a great time involving the family.

 

With the press work that we do at Lotus Comics Press we delve into all of the realms of geek or might you say geekology and Ghouls Gone Wild had all of these realms. The parade floats were spectacularly done in the fact that so much creativity, attention to detail and passion were represented. The Halloween Spirit was tremendous in this Oklahoma City based event.

 

Photo Courtesy of: Justin Kimberling

Despite Halloween traditionally being associated with dark spookiness, Ghouls Gone Wild did an absolutely amazing job keeping the spirit light and fun for the whole family.

 

Geek in general is associated with the fact that whether you are into comic books; old horror movies; Halloween; or holidays in general that there is a certain drive of passion that carries through the people that participate in these events. Ghouls Gone Wild certainly had that passion of geek in their event, which I think hits home for a lot of people that are into movies, music, and different genres. Me personally, I am a geek and into movies, comics books, and different geeky events, dressing up in a cosplay outfit. Regarding the event, the event demonstrated all of these facts in an amazing way.