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Friday, December 30, 2011
BMX Ink -- Round Two


Anthony Napolitan. Launch Gallery »

Earlier this year, I started compiling tattoo photos of the many riders I had been shooting with. After the gallery was published in May, I decided to continue compiling tattoo shots, and today, we're presenting round two of the BMXers with tattoos series. Included in this round are pros such as Anthony Napolitan, Chester Blacksmith, Ben Hucke, Tony Malouf and more. Because tattoos aren't always the easiest things to explain (and because we have a word limit in our galleries), I'm posting the full transcript from each rider below. Check out the photos in the gallery and then take a look at what everyone has to say about their artwork. Have a safe and happy new year.

Anthony Napolitan
Well first off, a lot of people comment on how much they love the colors. I love color tattoos! I got these because I straight up just love nature. The world has given us some of the most beautiful things visually. And the best part about traveling for me is seeing all of those things and the detail that comes with them. My leg was my first tattoo. I got it when I was 18. It took me a couple years to finish because I only have time to get work done in the winter. And my tattoo artist (Don McDonald) has almost a year waiting list for new customers. My chest is a new project that I just finished. And I'm actually continuing the theme down my left arm this week! I love art and that's a big part of the reasons that I get tattooed.

Ben Hucke
I try to stay away from serious tattoos. Every one I have has some sort of humor in it to me at least. I traded a car for my right sleeve; still have several hours of cleaning up and detail left to do. Chad Degroot's signature is another, "Baco 7" was my first BMX video, and I never thought I'd end up at a Baco contest getting my favorite rider from that video signature on me. Memories is what they are all about, when I'm 70 and they are all faded and look like blobs of ink under my skin I'll be telling stories of wild times in Russia, Baco jams, running from the police, being in the military and everyone will just think I'm crazy.

Caleb Quanbeck. Launch Gallery »

Caleb Quanbeck
At the time when Cody took these photos, the only tattoos I had that were professionally done were the ones on the tops of my hands. I got them when I was 16. I think I love them and have never regretted getting them. They say "North West" because this is where I was raised and grew up, the other tattoos you see in this picture was done by my friend Matt Oulmen. Now only two months from when this picture was taken, my left sleeve is now almost complete thanks to Jeremie at Alibi tattoo and I'm starting my right one tomorrow.

Chester Blacksmith
The eagle on my right arm I got when I was 19 on my first BMX trip by airplane to Austin, Texas. I couldn't get into any of the bars with the dudes cause I was under age. I got sick of watching the bikes outside the bar so I headed over to a tattoo shop and picked that one off the wall. HAHA! It was my first one and in a way if I could go back and change it I would. But I think it's cool, even though I don't agree with a lot of what our country does nowadays... The Snub Nose .38 tattoo I got in Louisville on Leland's couch. My dad, brother and sister all carry concealed guns on them and since I'm traveling a lot I thought it would be a good Idea to get a gun tattoo on my ribs. My good friend Barlow did this and messed up the lines. It was one of his first tattoos that he had done. Let's just say he wasn't the best at straight lines... I got the sleepless knife on the back of my right arm, it's the sticker from my signature frame. It's something I always wanted to get but never wanted to really go out and pay for. I traded two éclat tires and my old bike bag to a homie from NYC that was out visiting in Portland. It's my favorite out of the three.

Seth Klinger
I have my sisters name (JO) down my side. Below I have the year she passed with a few roses and filler around it. She passed before I was born and I've always felt a connection with her so I wanted to do a tattoo for her... In this photo, I'm starting a Viking battle type scene. I was born and raised a Winfield Viking (school mascot) and I thought it would cool to run with that idea. I'm just really proud of where I'm from and even more grateful to live the life I get too. Kansas folk just don't know what's out there.

Tony Malouf
The PH on my left forearm stands for Prospect Heights. It's a suburb of Chicago where my parents live and where I grew up... The TGF behind my ear is the first ever Gully Factory Tattoo. I got it done 5 minutes after we created the original logo which has now evolved into the Splat TGF symbol... There was an entire year where I hardly listened to anything but Biggie Smalls. Decided to get a Biggie tat to pay homage to the Brooklyn legend&. The inside of my left forearm has a few different things. The biggest one says Chicago and has a fitted cap hanging on the O. And the "7!9" is just part of one that wraps around my arm and stands for 91847! Which is Prospect Heights and Tulsa's area codes combined.

Troy Merkle
My tattoo is basically an owl with an all seeing eye or eye of Horus. He's calm and alert to ward off evil. I thought it was a rad image. So I took the idea to my friend and fellow BMX rider Matt Burchett who did it for me and has since then added to it. It's kind of a present to myself for some of the things I've accomplished lately.

Vince Smith. Launch Gallery »

Vince Smith
Most of my tattoos are traditional, Sailor Jerry-esque style done by Afro Pat Schreader and Greg Christian of Tattoo Faction in North Olmsted, Ohio. All the ink I have has tons of meaning, from the 'BOOM!' on my elbow from all the slams I've taken to the crocodile on my leg for wrestling crocs in Colorado. My leg sleeve consists of things I've seen on the road, which even includes Mike Corts second tattoo he's ever done, the gypsy tent, while we were on the last gypsy tour. I have matching S-luck bird tattoos with Leland Thurman and Fids, my dad and I also have matching cats riding motorcycles, on top of having four FBM themed tats. Hands down my favorite piece of is the Rattfink riding the Sting-ray bicycle, so rad!

Mike Hinkens
At the bottom of this back piece is my first tattoo: a straight edge tramp stamp. I rushed out at 18 and tattooed one of my deepest convictions on me. Sadly, I didn't think too much about quality or placement. A few years later I learned a bit more about tattooing and decided to integrate the old one into something a bit more well thought out. This tattoo is simply a straight edge piece. It states, "poison free" and "till death" and it is no joke... The feet tattoos were done on a whim after a long sleepless night. When I blew my back out I thought I might never ride again. Riding was the only thing on my mind as I tossed and turned one night, unable to sleep due to pain. Laying there I thought over and over again that I would not quit riding until I absolutely was unable to ride and I told myself I would get through all of this. I got this tattoo the next day. Every morning in the shower all through the year of painful and stressful rehab I would read my feet: "better to die trying...than to live dying." This remains one of my favorite tattoos. The ankle tattoo is my favorite souvenir from my BMX journey. While on Props "Road Fools" with the Madera team, Catfish was tattooing random stuff in low quality on everyone. On the last day at Matt Beringer's house, Catfish gave me this permanent reminder of Road Fools 18 and the great fun we had... The arm tattoo is more about the art than the rest. I see this one more than the rest so I wanted it to be more visually timeless. It has a meaning but I wanted it to be more appealing to the eye and less literal than many of my others. This tattoo just reminds me of my favorite times out in the world: spring, summer, and fall. The summer storm in the midst of it however is a reminder of the ups and downs on life and the beauty that can still be found after the storm so to speak.