Skin & Bone is a combination gallery and tattoo studio. The gallery will exhibit art and ethnographic handicrafts related to tattooing, while the studio will have Colin Dale tattooing alongside various guest artists throughout the year. Through his years of travelling and tattooing around the world Colin has had the pleasure to meet and work alongside a wide range of tattoo artists and experts working in ethnographic and other specialized styles. Amongst these friends, we have hand-tattooists from Borneo, Polynesia and Japan as well as some of the world's leading artists in Blackwork and Dotwork coming to visit. Check the homepage http://www.skinandbone.dk/ to see some of the work



Thursday, 28 February 2019

Loki... Bird Box Challenge




Lightened restrictions and a new interest in metal detecting in Denmark has resulted in many new finds in the last several years. Not only is this a great source of historical information it also provides inspiration for traditional craftsmen... woodworkers, embroiderers, silversmiths and even tattooists.

Nano gigantum humeris insidentes

However transcribing any designs into another medium requires a bit of knowledge regarding the craft. Although I really enjoy working with historical designs it is not a matter of just copying the images... it often requires that I change the design in order to make it suitable for a tattoo, while still trying to maintain the aestetics which make the piece recognizable for what it is. 
A lot of details of a three dimensional design cannot be seen when drawn on a flat surface due to foreshortening of the design and rounding of the surface. Similarily, many smaller details will not hold in the skin as they spread and fade over the years.
I try to break the image down into it's basic form using alot of negative space and strong graphics so that it will survive the test of time.

This Fibula/Brooch was found in Denmark last week depicting a bird's body with a human face. People began by calling it Odin, probably due to the All Knowing/Owl like face. However Owls were not always known as keepers of wisdom. In ancient times there were connected to the spiritual world and messengers of the dead. If I were to guess, I would say my preference is more toward Loki. The image could be one of Loki taken from the saga Þrymskviða where Loki steals/borrows Freya's falcon cloak Valshamr to turn himself into a bird. 

Loki is also depicted in other Viking artifacts as having horns as well
The Kirkby Stephen stone from the 8th Century depicting a horned Loki chained until the time of Ragnarok
























 I contacted the Detectorist (Geoffrey De Visscher) responcible for the find about if he wanted it as a tattoo... however he said that he wasn't really a tattoo person. However I still really wanted to do this design, so I did up a drawing and offered a cut rate to the first person to receive it.

So within a week... Find to Flash to Finished Tattoo
(of course this was all done using tools and techniques which could have been used at the time)

























We had to change the design abit from the original as most of the small patterns have been removed... leaving just a simple double negative border. The design was also done as a mirror image as in tattooing figures are usually placed facing forward... this had the added benifit of flowing better with the forearm, as the center of elbow is never in line with the center if the wrist. 

Thanks to May Britt for sacrificing her right arm for this tattoo

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Skin Deep 297: Child's Play

Thanks to Beccy for including me in another article for Skin Deep Magazine after such a short period. We got to talking while interviewing for the "Kings & Queens" article last year, featuring 12 artists in Copenhagen. She knew that Nanna and I travel alot with Loki and are very active in the tattoo community. When Beccy became pregnant she got an idea for an article on pregnacy and tattooing and figured as a tattooist and parents Nanna and I might have some opinions on the subject. I'm sure alot of my comments were edited for space, so I've included the questions and answers as well as a few extra photos I sent if you scroll down

The article is out this month... Enjoy

 Cover at the news stands

 Every designer knows that parallel line make you look fat! ;-)

A few family photos included

Pregnancy and Tattoos



> What is your experience of pregnancy and parenthood, are you parents? Tell us about your family.

   Nanna and I both have grown children from previous marriages and had never really expected to have Loki come into our lives at such a late date. We had already been traveling a lot, both to Viking markets in the Summer and Tattoo Conventions throughout the year. Loki quickly became a part of this and had already been on 50 flights by the time he was 2... traveling mostly in Europe, but also occasional trips to Canada, India, South Africa, etc. When we opened Skin&Bone 9 years ago it was to have a studio close to home where our friends from other countries could come to work and visit, but also where we could be together as a family despite my late hours. Skin&Bone is like a second home.







> What are your experiences of pregnancy and tattoos - do you think it’s OK to get tattooed whilst pregnant and why? If so, why do so many people shy away from it, and if not, why is it best for women to rest in pregnancy? Feel free to write as much as possible! Have you ever tattooed anyone who was pregnant?

   While I would recommend against it, I have tattooed a handful of women during pregnancy with no problem. It might not be advisable for the first months or for a first time client as hormones and stress can be unpredictable. Everything in moderation... I don’t think a glass of red wine is gonna hurt the baby either, however a couple bottles or on a daily basis is probably not the best life choices. A whole backpiece or long sessions might also not be advisable, as your body will be under stress and using it’s energy to heal rather than grow. 
   I tattooed Nanna forearm when she was 4 months pregnant, while in Tahiti. She has had more than one child and many more tattoos... was not stressed and generally falls asleep while getting tattooed. The Tattoo Festival was in an open air venue on the beach and I tattooed her by hand which takes more time but is also less stressful on the body. The difference between Festivals and Conventions is that Conventions are made for entertaining adults, with loud music, freaks and burlesque shows... while Festivals are more about the culture of tattooing, with traditional art, song and dance. Lots of children were in attendance as well as school groups who came to learn more about the varied traditions of the different cultures attending.

> And how about breastfeeding - I know women who get tattooed whilst breastfeeding but others who prefer not to, do you think it is OK and is it different for every person or tattooing method?

I tattooed Nanna’s second forearm a few years later on Vancouver Island while she was breastfeeding Loki. Again this was done without machine so it took much longer but was less intrusive on the body. Traveling as much as we do breast milk was indespencible... pressure changes in flights and changing sleeping patterns were no problem as well as less luggage to handle. If someone is stressed about tattooing it might affect the milk... but I’ve heard of more people being affected by strawberries than by tattooing when breastfeeding. 










> Here in the UK a lot of children aren’t allowed in tattoo studios… as a tattoo collector I am keen to show my child what tattooing is, from a young age, as it’s such a big part of my life, but I feel this may be difficult and I may not be allowed to bring my child into the scene. What are your opinions on this? Do you think there’s a way children can learn about tattooing without it interrupting the regulations of a studio and the artist trying to concentrate working?

  In some ways this is understandable... children can’t be tattooed and in the old days studios were a haven for men to get together and “shoot the shit” without wives and children about. There was a bit of danger and romanticism to that time, however it hasn’t always been that way. Tattooing in most cultures would start as a rite of passage to commemorate stages in ones life. Passage from child to adult would be attended by the whole family... to mark the birth of a child, it makes sense that the child was also present. Children can be a distraction, especially if a tattoo is over many hours... they get bored. Loki has always had a place at the studio to draw, eat, see films, play computer, etc. He would often come after school for a few hours until I was finished work and he is also with us everyday for a month tattooing out of a Viking tent in the Summer. However if he gets bored and is a distraction he will also be asked to leave. 
   The street the studio is on will hold several annual events... flea market, street party, Halloweėn, Christmas market, etc. For many of the weekend events held during the day we have been open for children’s tattooing ;-) We have an old barber chair at the studio and I’ve renovated a few of my old machines to have a pen cartridge on the needle bar or to hold a sharpie instead of a grip and tube.  The kids climb up in the chair and get all the sights and sounds (and fear) of getting a real tattoo... and walk away just as proud as any naval cadet back in the day :-)
   I actually had a client the other year whos mother contacted me about getting him a half sleeve dragon done using hand tool for his 18th birthday. Seemed strange, but after further inquiry I discovered that his two (much) older sisters had been tattooed by my mentor. However it didn’t stop there... it turns out that I had actually did a sharpie tattoo of a dragon on him at a Viking market about 15 years earlier which he still remembered :-) 

> Is there anything else you want to share about tattooing and parenthood?  
Thank you for your time!

Actually we just returned from French Polynesia where Loki finally received his Tahitian name given to him by Mammi & Papi Sam, the tribal elders from Moórea. 
He is now "Loki Paitoa Dale-Grandberg"


Friday, 31 August 2018

100 Denmarks Historier


"100 Denmarks Historier"
is a series of small books on various historical topics from Denmarks past published by the Aarhus University. The lastest edition is on the history of Runes from past to present day and I'm very proud to have one of my works printed on the very last page of the final chapter on the revival of Runes in present day.
Thanks to Lisbeth M. Imer for contacting me and including my work :-)
The book is due to be released in mid-September.

Enjoy! 




 Eric's leg based on a Runestone from Näsby Odensala in Uppland, Sweden.
We thickened up the body to fit the Runetext and also made the heads bigger. This meant that the knotwork had to be much tighter than the original but I think it works much better as a tattoo. 
The Runetext is from Hávamál, stanza 18
"Only he is aware who has wandered much,
and far hath been afield,
what manner of man be he who he meets,
if himself be not wanting in wit."

Eric's leg won awards both for Best Ornamental as well as Best of Show (best tattoo made at convention) at the Malmö Tattoo Expo in 2007 




Skin Deep #292 "Copenhagen's Finest" Interview

Just a quick thanks to Beccy at Skin Deep Magazine for once again featuring my work.
Although I am just a small part of a much larger article it is still humbling to be included as one of the 12 best tattooists to visit in Copenhagen. 
However as the article states this is just an overview of many different styles and not a "Top 10" list. As such I'm very proud to represent Neo Nordic handpoking in Copenhagen among so many other talented artists. 

Enjoy!


Cover photo

 View of Nyhavn, home of Tattoo Ole... the oldest still functioning studio in the world at Nyhavn 17 

Some of my more recent hand tattooing along with some ramblings... and my muse, Nanna

Monday, 19 February 2018

Under the Sea: Out of Step Books

Just wanted to thank Jinxi Caddel for including a few of my pieces in Out of Step Books new publication, "Under the Sea". I don't usually do too much Marine Life tattoos, unless you include Thor fishing for the Midgaards Serpent. Most of my Krakken designs were already used in Jinxi's first book, "Eight Legs of Inspiration" 
and a lot of my dragons in, "Slithers and Scales of Inspiration" 
so I had to dig into the archieves to find some worthy contenders.

While I am proud of my work being included amongst so many fine artists I think that what makes me even more proud is that my apprentice Just Sofie had some of her work included as well.
 Sofie had just started tattooing at the time that they were looking for submissions and due to her years sailing and diving in French Polynesia she was already directed toward marine life and Polynesian designs... but with only a handful of tattoos under her belt at the time the chances were slim. However I submitted a few of her better designs with my own just in case... and this is the result.

Enjoy!



 Under the Sea
ISBN: 978-0-9961870-7-7
Limited edition of 500... mine is number 481, so if you want one you better act fast!
(cover art by Pommie Paul)


Jinxi's own words on the book as well as the out reach projects Out of Step Books does to provide art supplies to schools... and part of the reason so many artists are willing to donate their time and work to these projects.


A few of my older marine life tattoos along side a piece by George Bardadim (again) :-)


 Herring tattoo by Just Sofie included in the book


 Sailfish drawing by Just Sofie included in the book


Sofie back at work drawing more marine life after her 7 month sailing and diving sabbatical in French Polynesia


Some of the progress in the last year... with much more to come


Thursday, 23 November 2017

Ancient Ink: The Archaeology of Tattooing

It's funny how sometime in ones life all the stars align and what might to others seem a random series of events can suddenly merge into something more profound. Such it was with Lars Krutak and Aaron Deter-Wolf's new book "Ancient Ink"... collecting a series of archaological finds from around the world all related to tattooing and then having the researchers write about the finds. However this isn't just a dry book about the past, as Lars and Aaron are also well known in the tribal tattoo community, they wanted to add some more "modern" examples of the living cultures as well as those which have had a revival in recent years.
Likewise with myself... how does my study of ancient art, experimental archaeology, traditional tattooing merge together with my life in Canada and Denmark combine with my travels to Russia?
Well there is a thin red line which connects all of these events and people together. I just wanted to thank Lars and Aaron for letting me be a small part of this endeavour and the modern revival of a lost tradition.
I am also so pleased to see the new Pazyryk tattoos found by Svetlana Pankova and Sarmatian tools discover by Leonid Yablonsky (RIP) finally receive publication... but to discover those you'll have to buy the book :-)











Burn&Pillage Tour 2017: Moesgaard


Finally the end of our Viking Tour and vacation we land on the beach at Moesgaard
This year we were placed in No Man's Land... a little clearing amid the rose bushes situated between the large warrior camp on the beach and the actual market place. Nanna (as always) tidied up all the under growth and planted a little garden of herbs and flowers to make it more inviting to the public, as they filed past down the main road.
On the final day of the weekend a storm hit hard at the start of the first battle... thunder and lighting lit the skys as torrentual rain soaked the warriors. Because of mud the second battle had to be cancelled... but I'm sure the public got more than they expected with the elements adding to the rumble of the battle.

See you all next year 


Michael, an incredible potter by trade, had a God awful Kanji & Sun design on his shoulder. It had been attempted to fix at one point with less than favorable results :-( So I was actually quite flattered that he would risk another attempt to make something good out of it... especially when I explained that I would have to go much bigger. Thanks for the confidence Michael :-)
I don't usually do coverups... but when I do...

Love this piece and am looking forward to doing a similar cover-up on his other shoulder next year


The Brakteat from Naglum depicting Tyr losing his hand to the Fenris Wolf



Whenever I'm approached about doing an historical piece I am challenged to find a way to translate the design to the medium of tattoo.I'm not trying to do a photo realistic version of these designs but I have to extract the basic elements of the design and then make it into a workable tattoo design.
Strong graphics, which can be recognized at a distance, as well as a good balance of positive and negative space, which will hold over time. I also wanted to keep this one more traditional, working only with black and no dotwork shading techniques.


Vejviser, to keep this Viking on the right path.




A Nordic Wolf on Steve from England
Kept the design simple so that we could complete it in one shot... may add another wolf on the right side at a later date.




"The Lovers"
A Family tattoo combining the lovers petroglyph with twins hanging from their knees. The sunwheel binds them together with a flower of life pattern in the background


Life is a Beach

Loki... King of "Loki's Freemen"

Bifrost the Rainbow Bridge

Burn & Pillage

The King and his Old Man



The Midgaard's Serpent bites his own tail around Mjølner.
Did this piece many years ago... good to get some photos to show how well they age.




A little petroglyph Mother for Annik (Nick)... 
given to her by her sons, Janjesper and Kjartan, on her birthday



Sarah wanted a Nordic Fox tattoo and allowed me to decide how big I could make it and still have it look good. Went for a full sleeve :-)
Not specifically Nordic, but more inspired by the even older Pictish standing stones. The Picts were also tattooed and named so by the Romans using the Latin root as used in "Picture"
I really enjoy working with these designs as the spirals and S curves have a strong natural flow on the body and the simplicity allows me to cover a lot of area in minimal time.
Look forward to finishing this one soon