Tattoo Nation – Tattoos used to be a sign of rebellion. A middle finger salute to the rest of the world. Outlaw bikers got tattoos. Sailors on leave in Singapore got tattoos. Lifers in the joint got tattoos.
Now, your mother’s got a butterfly on her ankle and your kid’s sporting a tramp stamp.

What happened? How did tattoos go from readymade cartoons inked as fast as possible to the art form they’ve become today?

That transformation is the subject of the new documentary film, TATTOO NATION.

Tattoo Nation tells how some incarcerated but determined artists changed the world of ink forever. The film then follows three tattoo pioneers, Charlie Cartwright, Jack Rudy and Freddy Negrete, to show how their new, single needle fine-line technique using detail and shading turned the tattoo world upside down.

The iconic tattooed actor Danny Trejo, star of the cult-classic film, Machete and a regular on the TV series Sons of Anarchy, is featured with his daughter Danielle in the film and is scheduled to narrate. Trejo’s tattoos literally embody the movie’s storyline, which traces the Black and Grey tattoo style from prisoners who secretly developed their craft in Southwest prisons during the 1960s and 70′s, to the blossoming high-end artists and their eye-popping tattoo boutiques today. The chest tattoo that Danny Trejo received via hand poke in prison (his signature flash in many films), has been named by several tattoo publications as the most famous tattoo in the world. His full-back tattoo, enhanced while filming Tattoo Nation, was done with a professional tattoo machine that owes its roots to “Goodtime Charlie’s” Tattoo Parlor the first tattoo shop in the heart of East LA’s Chicano community founded by Charlie Cartwright in 1975 .

Tattoo Nation also examines the concerns of tattoo expression and acceptance. Tattoo is still a topic that provokes intense controversy and debate — and it’s an issue that will not go away as generations X and Y grow older. Now, a surprising one out of every three American adults under 40 has a tattoo.

As the first widely distributed documentary on the topical subject of tattoo, Tattoo Nation presents a streetwise history of the Black and Grey story with archival footage, original interviews, and a vibrant music score. The legendary artists, at the forefront of the movement, tell their stories for the first time. Original interviews include Jack Rudy, Freddy Negrete, and Charlie Cartwright, along with other key artists, the iconic Ed Hardy, celebrity tattooers Mister Cartoon and Mark Mahoney, LA Ink’s Corey Miller and female tattoo legend Kate Hellenbrand, among several others.!/TheTattooNation

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