by: Dane Stevens
We recently received the two new books released by STRANGLEHOLD PUBLICATIONS ( www.strangleholdmerch.com ) which were both created by the crew of ALL or NOTHING TATTOOS in Atlanta, and were absolutely blown away. We get "tattoo books" regularly and have never seen anything like what we found in that press package. These books are insane in every since of the word.
The first of the two books is "WHORE" Created by Brandon Bond who probably needs no introduction if you are involved in tattooing any any form. The book itself is incredibly impressive, heavy, and thick. The 170 pages are relief printed using etched metal plates and printed on an extremely high quality slick gloss paper. We are familiar with Brandon, (we featured a photo of him on our cover of the Volume 6 November 2005 issue) and expected this book to probably have a lot of offensive and lewd material and some great drawings, but what we found inside was something completely different in every way The book overflows with art, layered upon art, layered upon BRUTAL motivational honesty and drive. We did locate some of that nudity, shock type, chaos that we expected, and definitely recommend this book for viewers 21 and up ONLY. Surprisingly, the volatile content is an extremely minimal aspect of an elaborate and well put together work of art.
Every single page of this book is exploding with a meld of photos, personal stories, inner thoughts, tragedies, triumphs, pain and joy. Any page in the book I randomly select reveals something new to me upon each view. I find small subliminal photos layered with hidden text and writings. Drawings melting into backgrounds of broken memories and emotion. It is a book I read cover to cover in one long sitting, and then looked back through repeatedly every day since.
The artwork is incredible, the photos take you into an inner circle of family, love, and shock, but it is the writings that constantly burn through the reader and bring consistent revelations while beating you with motivation. The stories and secrets he reveals about his life, career, success, financial explosions, art, loves, chemical habits, sex life, family, and past amaze me. I have never read anything like this. It is obvious that Brandon Bond is a true artist. This piece of work is incredibly uplifting and touching. He has created something more powerful than any other tattoo publication that goes FAR beyond tattooing and allows you a window into an extremely brutal and uncomfortable reality, while constantly reinforcing hope, and perseverance.
The second Book is entitled "Burning Bridges and Breaking Hearts" is a sketchbook that also caught us off guard. Most sketchbooks are one style throughout, displaying an artists talents and creativity in ONE medium and line weight. This sketchbook is a collection of the ENTIRE STAFF of ALL OR NOTHING TATTOO, which is one of the nations most sought after and award winning studios located in North West Atlanta. Every piece included is extremely different and every piece is at a different stage of completion. It is almost an instructional guide on how these guys create art. Some are actual stencils taken from photos and portraits that can be cross referenced with thewww.allornothingtattoo.com website. Some are sketches that show you the creation and evolution of an image that you have already probably seen the finished product in dozens of tattoo magazines. These guys are some of the best tattooers around and this book is a highlight reel of all their favorite pieces.
This sketchbook represents 14 different published artists who have 14 different styles of tattooing. Guest artists from three countries are included along with the full time staff members of this ever impressive collective studio created by Brandon Bond. This book is on sale for only 20$ with the purchase of "WHORE" which is priced at 50$. This is a collection you can not miss, these guys have outdone themselves again. I got the opportunity to ask Brandon himself a few questions on the phone after reading his book, here's the conversation.
(DS) I just read WHORE and I gotta tell you it wasn't what we expected at all was that your intention?
(BB) In a way yeah, I think a lot of people formed opinion about us from all those articles and the photos and the guns and the hats and the "private gallery" on my old website and all, and anyone that knows me knows that was all about making loot, we wanted to make something that was "real" something hard to read from an emotional perspective, and honest. I think the book is cool, we worked for over two years on it every day while building the new studio ( www.antiartelite.com ) it has been a rough ride for sure. I wanted to reveal a little more of how I feel about tattooing, retirement, money, love, abortion, sex, what the f*** ever ya know? I get a different reaction from everyone I talk to about it, but no one has EVER told me "that was boring", or" I got what I figured Id get outta that". I felt we had to take it to a new level.
(DS) You mentioned retiring and without ruining anything from your book, what can you tell me about that?
Well, people work to make money, so I worked hard... real f*****g hard, for a really long time. 7 days a week 14 hour days for over a decade, people don't even believe that, hell I don't even believe that, but we got a LOT done in a short period of time and I think no one can argue that. The money was good, and so was the ride. I made a lot of good investments and built a studio that produces a generous amount of revenue. I no longer HAVE to work so I'm slowing down. It hasn't worked yet, cause working is all I know. I still work 7 days a week on something, I still run three businesses, I have a staff of over 20 people, and I still tattoo every week, so its not like I'm fishing or sleeping in past 9 am yet... but I'm working towards that. There is a secret message written backwards at the bottom or every page in "WHORE" that explains it all in a pretty upsetting and rude kinda way. The text starts at the last page and ends on the first one, its pretty unique.
As far as tattooing goes I am no longer tattooing at conventions because I want my guys to get some spotlight, I love them and they are family to me. Also I personally have never liked tattooing at conventions and guest spots anyways, I prefer working in solitude without a million retards asking me a million stupid questions and telling me they met me 8 years ago or something. I will still be AT the conventions supporting my guys and teaching seminars, while partying it up. Guest spots are not something I'm interested in anymore either. Packing all that equipment and moving around and flying and getting cabs and all that f*** IT! Its not fun, and its not cost effective so why do it, if I want to fly somewhere, its not going to be to do work, I never flew anywhere without my equipment until I went to Hawaii THIS YEAR, and it was awesome. To not have to check all my gear and wake up to go to some strange shop and listen to a bunch of people I will never see again??? not fun at all, but to fly somewhere and actually enjoy the food, and do dumb s**t like snorkeling or cliff diving, now that's f*****g awesome. I still tattoo because I love tattooing but I never planned on doing that forever, in fact I did it all saying to myself, "this is not forever, if you kill yourself now working, you wont have to later" and I hired a great financial advisor... my father. So now when I tattoo its because I want to tattoo, not because I need the money or whatever. I think the current pieces I'm doing reflect that different motive now.
(DS) Your book really isn't about tattooing at all, its more of a"LIFE" book about so many different aspects of your experiences, what would you say are some of the underlying themes throughout?
(BB) Never let anyone tell you that you don't deserve the things you want. Don't let anything hold you back from achieving your goals, and if someone opposes you don't ever lay down. Use that resentment, jealousy, anger, fear to surpass your enemies, and enjoy life more than them. Love those closest to you as hard as you can, and above all else, live your life for yourself first because you only get one shot and time is running the f*** out for everyone as soon as they are born.
(DS) Thanks Brandon, I know how busy you are and I appreciate your time.
(BB) f*** that man I appreciate you reading my book and enjoying it, the write up you do will be celebrated over here with wild abandon. Next time you're in Atlanta let us know, we will take care of everything!
That was a great (short) interview with the man himself, if you would like to get a hold of the new books, or any of the cast and crew at Atlanta's All or Nothing Army check out these great websites.
All or Nothing Tattoo
2569 S. Cobb Dr.
Smyrna, Ga. 30080
MLB Players get tattooed at All or Nothing
Tattoo Convention Photos
All or Nothing Invades Europe
Mike Busey Visits
Around the Shop
Tattoos that say All or Nothing
THE GREAT PIT BALL
Shop Expansion Photos
Behind The Scenes
-VICKtory to the Underdog
Our Film Wins Film Fest Award
The Apprentice Corner
Atlanta Braves get tattooed at All or Nothing Tattoo
Brandon Bond returns to All or Nothing
Guest Artist Galleries
Filming of LA Ink with Kat Von D
AoN Studio Tour
Halloween Party '05
It's A Wild Ride '05
Past Party Pictures
Tattoo enthusiasts would surely love the collection of tribaltattoos at rankmytattoos.com