Monday, February 23, 2009


Passion is and ingredient that allows dreams to come true. It is a very important component in everything we do because without it, we wouldn't have the motivation to press on. It is required in achieving our goals and having healthy relationships with others. If you are passionate about you craft, as in my case art, you will walk through hot coals to reach your destination. If it is your friends, you will sacrifice any and all that you have to ensure they are well taken care of when in need. And if you are passionate about someone you love, you will go through extreme measures to express that to them so that they know you're there for them, even when it is assumed.

Your passion is what keeps you up late at night working on multiple projects...or what keeps you in front of a canvas for hours upon hours, leading into days, to complete a masterpiece. It's what allows you to give your last $10 to someone because your desire to help them is greater than helping yourself.

I've been passionate about a lot of things early on in my life. My art, my family, my friends, the pursuit of truth...these are things I would die for. I remember me and my creative crew use to take chances looting art stores and hardware stores for supplies and paint because we were determined to be heard through our art. We couldn't really afford those things at the time, however our passion drove us to expropriate these items because the ends justified the means. Although many of us have taken different routes in pursuing our dreams, I can look to each one of them today and see that their passion has continued to carry them on.

I've always been very big on my family and friends. It is a great fortune to have such a supportive network of people around you. Family and friends, if they're true, will always continue to motivate you and remind of you why it is you're doing what you're doing. I know sometimes I get so caught up in playing circus clown, juggling all these responsibilities, that I sometimes lose my focus. But it's usually someone close who reminds me of what I've set out to do, and why it is important to keep going strong. They remind me that I've always been passionate about my work, even when I don't think I am.

Some people lack passion, or operate on a half tank of it. They try to pretend with themselves and others that the are deeply involved in things, but you can tell by the fruits of their labor, or by how it rubs off on you. At some point it will become evident that they are not only posing, but risk the chance of sucking you dry of energy necessary to achieve your own goals. Be careful of these people as they often lack purpose and will detract you from yours.

So what are YOU passionate about? Is it someone special? A project you've been working on? Helping another person when in need? Whatever it is, identify with and latch on to it real strong. Use that to get through those tough times...and at some point all that hard work and focus will manifest into positive things.

"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."


This is one of those cool projects! I am in the process of designing a basic website for Master Tattoo Artist, Miya Bailey, co-founder of the infamous City Of Ink Tattoo Shop and Art Gallery. After I completed phase one of the City Of Ink site, Mr. Bailey decided that he wanted to create a more personal path to his world by establishing his own site. The site will be dedicated to keeping his fans and followers abreast on his personal projects like his book, solo art shows, etc.

This is just a screen shot of the work in progress. I will make another post when we're done.

"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."

Saturday, February 21, 2009

PROJECT: Sekou Odinga

Sekou Odinga is a freedom fighter and political prisoner currently held in the United States super max prison ADX Florence located in Florence, CO. My generation is very familiar with his son Yafeu Fula, b.k.a. Yaki Khadafi, 2Pac's comrade and fellow member of the Outlawz. Check this out for a brief statement on the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement website about Sekou.

This came about as a referral by a good friend/big sister/client, Aiyisha over at Disturbing Tha Peace (Thanks Aiyisha!). I was instantly honored to be awarded the privilege to work on the project seeing as how I was familiar with his story as well as the stories of similar freedom fighters such as Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Jamil Al-Amin, Mumia Abu Jamal, Angela Davis, Malcolm X. These are the ones they don't want us to learn about. They'll teach us about how courageously some of their "heroes" fought for things like slavery (The Civil War), and against this concept of terrorism. Don't get it twisted, there were/are a lot of GOOD people fighting the GOOD fight, but at the same time, we are also taught about the ones who died just so we could stay slaves, or violently take over somebody's land or natural resources.

This is a work in progress, and the general layout for the site. I'll more than likely change/add a few things, but we're currently awaiting feedback on the layout and design from Sekou. I'll definitely keep you posted!

"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."

PROJECT: 382 Financial Group

382 Financial Group is a loyal client I've had for a couple years now. Ariaka came to me through a longtime client and friend, BJ who actually gave me my first big shot in Atlanta by providing me with a plethora of work from Patchwerk Recording Studios 12 years ago. I've come a long way since 1997 and have continued to provide creative services for Patchwerk and BJ's various ventures.

So 382 Tax & Accounting is helping you get your taxes together this year! Give Ariaka a call to have her work it out for YOU! Tell her you found her by visiting my blog and she'll show you some MAJOR humbly thanking you for coming to support a Black business!

"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."

PROJECT: Artistic Sole

Artist Sole is my client and extended fam', Imani of D.C.'s infamous Pinz-N-Needlez Tattoo Shop. City Of Ink artists make this shop home when they're catering to clientele in the D.C./Baltimore area.

So Imani, a super dope tattoo artist (who I'm patiently waiting to ink me!), fits the mold of most artists. That would be having a foundation in art, but being all over the board with the application it. So her company, ARTISTIC SOLE, caters to her endeavors as a tattoo artist/fine artist/kicks customizer/hustla of creative skills.

I was given the honor of re-mixing her logo and creating male and female versions. The elements were pretty much all in place, I just had to tie it together by giving it some SOUL! Here's the before and after:

Thanks Imani for allowing me to provide you with some visual soul! And if you are in and around the D.C. area looking for some soulful tats be sure to take your ass to Pinz-N-Needlez and get that shit right the first time! ;)

"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."


I've been slackin' on my blog mackin'. Truth is that as much as I've intended to keep you posted on the artwork and expressions of mr.soul, I've been pulled in various directions to do a multitude of things. Definitely not what the average person should be taking on alone, but I welcome the challenges. They're what make you greater, stronger and more adapt to the ways of the world.

So for the past few weeks, a lot has been going on. I've been organizing an art show (that you should make it a point to attend if you're in Atlanta!), working on several projects, developing a few other projects all while trying to maintain my sanity. The good thing is that I have an inspirational circle of people around me who help to keep me grounded and focused, and who help me keep my eyes on the prize.

Sometimes all of this responsibility can appear to be overwhelming, but the key is mastering the art of controlling what you can, and not stressing about the things you can't.

So let's see, in the past few weeks, I've gone home to visit Cleveland in all of it's 6 degree glory! I've definitely been spoiled by the southern comfort. But the warmth of being with my family and childhood friends, who I hadn't seen in almost a year, make the Cleveland cold feel like a hot sunny day on South Beach. There's something special about re-visiting your roots and getting re-connected to the energy that gave birth to who you are. As pitiful as my hometown looks, I am still proud to be a native! Seeing how things have changed over the 12 years I've been in Atlanta does much to fuel my desire to make it, to succeed. I know a lot of people trapped working jobs they don't like because they don't pay shit, or because they're just shitty jobs. I know people who want to up and leave but can't. I hope to inspire these people to keep strugglin' and strivin'. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.

I look forward to going back home this summer though. I don't get to see everybody during the winter because no matter how long you've lived in Tha Land, you STILL don't care to deal with the harsh realities that a mid-western winter will remind you of! But in the summer, everybody's out enjoying the sun and the crazy Cleveland streets. I especially like and remember going down to the lake and watching the sun set. Me and my big homie Rashad used to make that a ritual after working all day and nite on our weeky hip-hop publication, Planet Black Magazine which was based out of Cleveland of course. We were a featured insert in the Call & Post, a Ohio Black newspaper which I believe is currently owned by Don King. It was different times and management back then. That was '95.

Me and my creative comrades at City Of Ink did a photoshoot last month for one of the biggest tattoo publications on the newsstand right now, INKED Magazine. This is a historic event seeing as how City Of Ink is the first Black tattoo shop to be featured in the publication. We have deemed ourselves "The Obamas" of the tattoo industry! The photoshoot was done b a very talented Michael Blackwell, who has been shooting a lot of Atlanta's urban scene for magazines like Vibe, XXL, The Source, etc. Stay tuned for the publication date, and make sure you pick a few of them thangs up!

Aight, now that I'm caught up a little bit, let me proceed to give you what you need!

"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

ENOUGH IZ ENOUGH!: Artists United Against Police Brutality


ATLANTA, GA – January 27, 2009 – The City of Ink, Atlanta’s best dressed tattoo shop and art gallery, will be hosting its second anniversary show on Friday, February 27, 2009. The show, "ENOUGH IZ ENOUGH!: Artists United Against Police Brutality," will showcase a range of artists and their interpretations in regards to police corruption and violence against citizens. Last year’s one-year anniversary show, "Schizophrenia," drew over one-hundred spectators to the small shop situated in Atlanta’s historical Castleberry Hill District. The interest from artists and art lovers alike has already ensured that the gallery will be overflowing.

The controversial theme shall be reflected upon by 30 artists and the show promises to be thought-provoking, revolutionary and necessary. The day of the show is also the 23rd birthday of Oscar Grant, the young father in Oakland, CA who was fatally shot in the back by a BART Officer on New Year’s Day. While the date of the show was not intentionally planned to fall of Grant’s birthday, the show’s organizer, Kevin “mr. soul” Harp, realizes that it was much more than happenstance.

“I feel that the recent revelation that February 27 is Oscar Grant's birthday is a divine revelation that we are doing the right thing. Miya (City of Ink’s Co-Owner) selected the date randomly, so we had no way of knowing,” expresses Harp.

Along with Oscar Grant, the names Fred Hampton, Kathryn Johnston, Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, Malice Green and Rodney King, resonate in the hearts of citizens who have more than grown tired of the abuse at the hands of those who have taken an oath to “Protect and Serve.” The City of Ink is encouraging artists of all kinds to express that pain on canvas, on paper and in song.

“Pain inspires art and seeing people in pain because of the abuse of power has inspired me to make a statement for this injustice. No matter what your race is, when the police treat humans like animals, we as a people must stand up together against evil,” shares Miya Bailey (Master Tattoo Artist & Painter).

Other shows at The City of Ink have been very successful, attracting Atlantans who yearn for art that tugs at the heart and touches the soul. These shows include, “24 Reasons to Live (Tattoo Edition),” Miya Bailey’s solo show “Miya's Dreamland” and “Transgression,” featuring the works of mr. soul and Goldi Gold and the “Life In Motion” photography show.

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About The City of Ink

Under the ownership of Miya Bailey and Tuki Carter, the City of Ink—which opened its doors in February of 2007— fosters and homes the talent of many established and emerging fine artists. The shop is decked with paintings and prints that challenge gallery visitors to think and inspires artists of all mediums to create.

As tattoos are becoming a more common accessory, cookie-cutter and ambiguous tats no longer attracts the shock and awe from the general population. As more and more people are finding new ways to express themselves by being inked, our talented and artistically diverse group at City of Ink customizes pieces for each client, be it a bold statement or a muted visual motif.

In a little over a year, City of Ink has tattooed artists like Sean Garrett, Young Jeezy, America’s Next Top Model Eva Pigford, Big Pooh of Little Brother, Nivea, Young Joc, Gorilla Zo, DJ Don Cannon, Latoya Luckett, and Canibus, to name a few. We’ve also hosted five art shows to date:

There’s a reason tattoo lovers are frantically trying to schedule appointments at COI. Beyond being the most versatile, and encompassing such a range of talents, City of Ink is the best-dressed tattoo shop in ATL.

"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."