“Blame it on Rio”

Rio_BenefitAugust 19th at the White Owl Social Club


Please come join us to honor Rio DeGennarro.

We are having a benefit to raise some money for Rio and his family.
He was recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.
Poison Idea, Witchburn, Justin Kagan and friends(members of the oregon symphony), the Peacock’s Eye belly dancers.
There will be a silent auction and raffle.
Rio DeGennaro started tattooing in 1962 under the watchful eye of his father, Lou Lewis, and legendary tattooer, Bert Grimm. Over the next 50 years, Rio travelled from the Pike on Long Beach, to San Diego, to San Jose, and New York, until finally settling in the Pacific Northwest. In 2002, he joined former student, Don Deaton, at Sea Tramp Tattoo Company, After taking over the Sea Tramp Tattoo School in 2003, and renaming it the Oregon School of Tattoo Arts, Rio continues to educate and instruct the next generation of Oregon tattooers, He encompassing all aspects of the tattoo history, process, and business, and helps new tattooers lay their ground in Oregon. 


Maitripa College, the first and only Tibetan Buddhist college, will host H.H. the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, for the environmental summit May 9-11, 2013.



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“Reveal What’s Real”. Seth and I speak candidly about our profession.

04/08/2013 / Art, Editorial, Mikki / 0 Comments /

Watch video>>>>Reveal What’s Real<<<<<

Gap fills.

1.Tattoo schools ran by people that cannot tattoo and charge huge amounts of money to teach people what they don’t know how to do within my trade, is a scam that needs to stop.

My shared opinion that reputable tattooers are not teaching the main public how to tattoo in Oregon, says a lot for the climate of who is making a living at pushing forward new fledglings into our industry. There are maybe two people I would suggest going to in this state that will teach a person, how to tattoo and all that comes with that responsibility. That’s it. Two.

The system is not perfect. It never was and is long due for a new standard that eliminates the possibility of a defunct tattooer that couldn’t make it tattooing from taking ten thousand dollars a pop from some naive person, just wanting a career change or looking for a life profession. Am I going to make this change by starting a school? No. I have no desire to make a living off of making more tattooers. I’ve had two main apprentices in my twenty six years. Who earned their apprenticeships not by paying for them. I helped flame a few other fires that I believed in, that if they could make it, would aspire to making a good change in this business for the better. And they did. If you are wanting to be a tattooer. Ask yourself, what is your reason for wanting to become a tattooer? I’m wondering what motivates everyone these days. Is it really only to make money and be famous? Yicks. Since only a couple of decades ago, we weren’t regarded with much respect in society or acknowledged as being a viable trade.

2.There are tattoo pigments that are food grade and not harmful to the body. We use them daily.

The sad part of firing off answers in this type of format, is not all of a conversation is conveyed to point or made in the cut. Our filmed conversation was about the changes that came in the nineties when tattooing started getting more main stream. There was a huge surge of new companies (not ran by tattooers) popping up that were making easy to apply pigments. Bright easy to put in colors that ended up being toxic. I stayed true with my first supply company if I was not using my own pigments. At one of the shops I was working at we banned in coming artists from using a particular brand of pigment in our shop and was then threatened by the company not to slander their product after we requested a material safety data sheet. Which they refused to give us upon request.

I guess my point in bringing up something like this was how important it is for people to use the available technology to inform oneself as to whom they are getting tattooed by. If you are going to invest your money on body art, make sure you are going to someone who is qualified, educated, practices some ethics, and is trained in knowing what they are doing to you as well as what they are putting into you.

3. Fad or Art?

I’ve got some really beautiful work on me and I’ve got some really goofy tattoos on me that I got with other tattooer friends. Spontaneous tattoos to mark some silly bonding moments in some forgotten city adventures.

Do I care what I put on people…yes and no. I do practice a huge amount of responsibility as to what I am tattooing and on whom. Every person is different. Every single one of you. If a person comes in that hasn’t figured out what they want to do with the rest of their life, or is in a questionable mental state and just wants to say fuck off to their parents/society by having me tattoo their face or hands. Yeah, I’m not your girl.

If you have figured out who the hell you are in this life and can live with the consequences of your actions and want to take the shock out of the closet…yeah, I may help you with that experience. All depends on who you are and how you will live it. I’m not here on this planet to help anyone compound their life with more suffering. I learned early in my career how terrible that can be.

I love tattooing and would rather make some beautiful piece on you that you can share with your future grand kids. Knowing you will not regret it later in life. Every ten years it seems the fads come back and reinvent themselves. Bastardized tribal is out now, which means it will be back in again someday not too long from now. Just like traditional americana was out for awhile and then made a huge comeback. Just like jail house single needle style tattoos were out and now are the bees knees again. I’m a walking bill board of my life career trends. You can look at my body suit and see all the fads I road in on. Today the small print text on the rib cage is hip with the kids, because they saw some rock star sporting it in a magazine.

My wish for people to make better decisions is to help them be aware of these pressures and how they make us do shit to ourselves without our completely understanding why. I can live with my goofy tattoos. I am a tattooer. Have been my entire adult life. In saying this, I would rather say no to you, than take your money.

End cap.

My intention on doing this show was to share my view point as to the condition of my industry at this time and how some positive changes could occur if some facts were made public.

I wanted to caution people to make better educated decisions about getting tattooed. To share some of the things that are bothering me and some of my colleagues. I had hoped to use this format to let people know how much of a racket the tattoo schools are and how they are hurting this profession. Not just by squirting out certificates to anyone who has the money to pay for one. But also by the lack of integrity that is being practiced in exploiting this wonderful art. Like I said in the above paragraph, no one reputable is teaching here in Oregon because anyone that is reputable, other than the two that I know of, are tattooing for a living, not teaching just to get by. There is no job placement once you get your certificate. With no portfolio to work from to show your abilities. You will not get a job at a reputable shop. I have met way to many strippers with tattoo certification that can’t get a job because they haven’t tattooed enough people. Hence why we made the comments as to how these fledglings after not being able to acquire a job with working tattooers, go and open up their own shops. Which over saturates our market. These same people are charging the same rates that someone with experience is charging, only to practice on you. If you are an educated collector, you know the difference. Not everyone knows.

If you are a want to be tattooer, I would hope after spending thousands of dollars to have someone shuffle you through the required hours of training to be in this industry you would want to have something to show for your investment after making it. I believe the true path to preserving this trade for the future, if you want to be a tattooer, is by taking an apprenticeship with a world class tattooer. If you don’t have what it takes to inspire a master tattooer to teach you what they know, then maybe you shouldn’t be a tattooer. It’s really not for everyone nor was it meant to be for everyone.

This trade has such a rich history that was long over looked and under appreciated by main stream for way too long because it wasn’t accepted in the norm. Now that it is accepted by society for the time being. I would like to preserve what is left of it’s dignity. Real deal.

Mondial du Tatouage 2013

Fortune will be visiting Paris during the spring for Tin-Tin’s World of Tattooing 2013.


Here’s a sweet trailer for the show.

In 1999, Jennifer Billig and I worked together at Tin-Tin’s first Tattoo Du Monde.

I was flying under the Outer Limits banner  at this time.

What do I recall from this first experience? Walking through the Charles du Gaulle airport with bubbles coming off my boots. I had been thrown into the pool by some of my tattoo gal pals in Florida at a poolside party just before I left for Europe. Being ridden around the city on the back of Bruno’s 55 BSA. Buying flowers at the market for our booth with Jennifer after enjoying our morning continental breakfast. Coming out of a drunken stupor to find myself surrounded by real vampyres. Thankful P.M. was there to pull me out of that spell. Realizing if I hadn’t left when I did, I never would have been able to. Rummaging through the flea market with Seth and some pals on the look out for brass thing-a-mick-gigers and special souvenirs. Every night we had a bottle of champagne delivered to our booth. Spitting off the Eiffel Tower and having half of it flip back into my face. Having Tin-Tin make me look at Robert Hernandez’s portfolio. Robert was up and coming then and had not reached the U.S. yet with his talent. I was blown away and couldn’t wait to tell everyone at home about this phenomenal artist and what he was doing with his tattoos and paintings. The venue music was picked by artist’s for the artist’s pleasure.

This was the first time I had experienced a promoter working hard to make not only the public but the artist’s experience worth the while.

We were entirely spoiled to great dinners by some of the finest chefs in Paris, and had carte blanche to all the after hours clubs.

I stayed up with the late night creeps til’ the wee hours of the morning and made it back to my room in time to join the sober folk to see all the sights I could.

I learned from this experience to take in everything.

Sleep? There would be time for that when back on the plane headed for home.

All these years later, I am excited to seeing how Tin-Tin will top himself this time around.

Much love and respect.



When a client wants “someone else” to finish an existing piece.

11/29/2012 / Editorial / 1 Comment /

When a client wants “someone else” to finish an existing piece. This can be a very heated topic for some. I’m not exactly sure why, since it is not our bodies to be territorial over and or our artwork once we put it on other people that pay for our service. Most people that come to me are not looking for a deal to get their work finished. They just want to see their work finished and done properly.

There are many variables to consider with this process. Over the years I’ve had this situation come up and have tried my best not to offend anyone. When a potential client comes to me to finish existing work, I ask them [the client] to let the other artist know first. This is not always possible. Since most times when these situations come up, it’s because the client has had a falling out with the original artist, cannot find them, the artist moved to another state/country, or wishes to not have them [the artist] work on them [the client] any longer because they are not happy with the results.

I rarely get clients that will come to me from well established artists. Though it has happened in the past due to the artist/client not getting along and not seeing the relationship ever reconciling. In this particular case, a man came to me that had had a falling out with his artist and just wanted it done. I requested he get permission nonetheless. Which he told me would try. I finally agreed to help him. He had an outline established which I filled in for him, keeping to the integrity of the piece. I worked as if I was doing a collaboration with this artist. Of course after we completed the project, I find out from the original artist that they had reconciled their friendship. Go figure.

It’s a rather delicate subject to consider, this helping people achieve a finished piece that was started by someone else. The end result is making the client happy and making effort to be respectful to the original artist if possible. So what if the client just doesn’t like the results, because the artist working on them is not at the caliber that they had hoped they would be when deciding to take on a large project? Who is my loyalty to? After considering the options, my loyalty is to the client. And to this art.

There are enough botched attempts out there in the world. I’m sure I have many from my own efforts over the years at trying to develop my own techniques. Am I offended when someone leaves me to go to another artist to get the work I started finished? No. I’m sure it has happened many times over the years. If they leave me, it’s most likely because they have good reason. I can only hope they leave me because they have found someone that can do a better job than I can, instead of their having found someone to finish the work for a deal or due to their impatience from having to wait to have the piece finished. In closing. If I can help someone not have to cover their arm in solid black or have to under go many sessions under a laser to remove the mess. I will, respectfully.

June and July 2012

Keeping up with keeping up.

Having started into our summer guest cycle.

Summer is really here.

Though today we have had some needed showers, for those that have gardens.

After a week of eighty plus weather in consession, its a small relief for those like myself that enjoy the cool breaks between the heated kisses summer bestows upon us here in the North West.


First up and presently happening is Olivia’s Stick n’ Poke fun day.

So far….she is 7 down…20+ to go.

What a fun and unique way to mark the day then with an original handpoked tattoo.

The wait is worth the while!


At  the end of June, Danny Boy came up for aweek and brought his beautiful girlfriend Rosie along to share our paradise here with her.

They took full advantage of our bicycle friendly city and put some good miles down figuring their way around town.

Between nailing out some epic tattooing, eating at many of our tasty restaurants, digging through our vintage stores and some site seeing, the time flew by too fast.

For a final epic moment, after missing their plane home, we jumped on the Motorcylces and road up to my local cemetery to enjoy a splendid view of the sun setting over the Willamette valley.

I missed them as soon as they left the city.

Til next time.


Riding the waves.

Fortune Tattoo has been included in some awesome projects this year.

We were included in Bob Baxter’s Tattoo Road Trip book on tattoo shops around Oregon. The book is being published by Schiffer Book Publications and should be available for purchase sometime in 2013.

An entire day was spent with our clients here at Fortune while Bob took photos of their work.

We had a great time seeing the diversity our works in one room.

Bob also did small interviews with all the shop owners included in the book, so make sure to check them out on his site.

They are all well worth watching.

We will keep you posted on when the book comes out.

Oregon Represent!

“Alis Volat Propriis”.

Also, Fortune Tattoo was included as one of  Matador Magazine’s top twenty Iconic Tattoo shops in the world.

I had not done an interview for them, but was pleasantly surprised to see something nice being written about us by someone outside of our Tattoo community.

There are many good articles about other shops on this site, if you are wandering the globe and wish to know the short list to some places worth dropping into.

Olivia also participated in the Pretty Pretty collective down in SF. Hopefully I will be able to participate next year.

I have been in school this summer and have been nailed down to making my brain stretch a few new miles of synapsis growth.

It is a delight to know old dogs can learn new tricks.

I will try to get back to this and update more of our fun happenings.

Next on Track is Lisa Schmoldt and Matt Howse, Faerie Worlds, Seattle Tattoo Expo., among other history making events coming soon.





Custom tattoo design for client reproduced without permission.

04/20/2012 / Editorial / 1 Comment /

So…this was a shock.

The tattoo I did is on the left. I was really pissed at first but now that I’ve had some time to think about it and get used to the fact that nothing is sacred to people anymore, especially with the internet, I’m at peace with it. It’s up to us to educated our clients and also be the ones to give someone their own tattoo and not someone else’s. We must use this discretion since what we do as tattoo artists is permanent. This was not on a flash sheet, it’s an image I painted, put on my business cards, and tattooed on a good friend. It’s personal to me, and probably to them as well.

While I’m flattered (maybe?) that someone liked it enough to reproduce it (without permission or credit, and literally copying it almost exactly), it’s still disrespectful. I won’t name who did it because everybody makes mistakes, but I want to take this opportunity to try to let other people know that it can happen to them, and also to think about it before you just grab something and use it.

In this age of instant gratification, blogging, and reblogging, please credit your sources, or if you want to be even more decent, ask permission. It really goes a long way.


O. Britz

Oregon Ink 5/6-8/2011

05/18/2011 / Art, Editorial / 0 Comments /

Olivia and I drove down for the Oregon Ink convention held in Eugene. Load in was easy. We were surrounded by pals who had opened up all six booths. There was plenty of room to work. Which is not usually the case at many show venues. Since being close to home, we were able to bring our massage tables and some added comforts from the shop. We even had a lounge area for our clients and friends. All three days sped by quickly. I was stoked to hang with some old friends and had the pleasure to meet some new people. Thank you Oregon Ink for having us. Til’ next year.

Tattooed ladies make it to Portland

These beautiful tattooed ladies flew up from Oakland, California to Seattle, to join some other pals. They rented a car and drove down to Portland, Oct. 1 to sit the day with us. We had started Zulma’s peacock half sleeve down at SkullandSword in SF over a year ago. It was nice to get back in and put some color down for her. Something new to look at for the next couple months, til we can sit together again. Dani has been here a couple times since weve opened the shop. Yesterday we added the line work for the inside of her left sleeve, and added some more color to blend the old and the new piece together. Next session will be to either color the inside or lay out the lower part of the sleeve. After our tattoo session, the grrrls followed us over to the Heavy Metal Heart Show at Nemo. That was a great turn out. I was so stoked to see Molly Quan’s beautiful work. Nice to see some old friends on the walls as well. After the run through the show we blasted over to Namaste to enjoy the musical genius of the Advisory. The grrrls kept stride, even after being tattooed all day. Til’ next time. Love and light. Safe travels, ladies.