I'm hooked on the 'Tattoo Age' documentary series on Vice. I've always been really interested in tattoo culture, the iconography of it, the pin-up girls and asian dragons, the grit and intensity and the idea that people train up in this trade that isn't about getting famous or making lots of money, it's about being the best you can be and carving a reputation in the industry that means people will go out of their way to be tattooed by you over anyone else. This series really focuses on tattooing as a trade, an art, where often it's seen as this thing that drop outs and delinquents go into when they fall in with the wrong crowd. It's not shy about the fact that the industry is riddled with drugs, crime and fuck-ups, but they aren't all that these artists are. Each documentary focuses on a different American tattoo legend, traveling around the United States and looking at where these guys work, what made them the icons they are today, and where they are now. It looks at their work and their talent but also their lives, their families, what their day is like. It's really amazing to hear about this whole underground culture and how there are these people who are so famous and highly respected and that are so talented who don't get the notice of a much larger community, because there's this stereotype that says that tattoo artists are these thugs who hang out in dingy dark studios and drink and do drugs all day and draw on each other with needles. Warning: it may really make you want to get a tattoo.
Also, if anyone's interested, there's also another cool article by Vice writer Brad Casey entitled 'I had a face tattoo for a week'.