Shanghai Kate on the Sailor Jerry Legacy
By Pat Sullivan.
Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand is pissed. But that's exactly one of the reasons I admire her so much. Regardless of your opinion (and do the opinions vary), you can't discount Kate's impact on modern tattooing. She busted her way into the tight-knit, dudes only tattoo circles when it was virtually unthinkable to apprentice a woman. And not only did she hang tough, she's made a lifelong career of it, posting little flags along her trail so other women tattooers would know where to pave.
This brings us to Old Ironsides, Sailor Jerry, the man himself who apprenticed Kate. A lot of mud's been slung her way since Jerry's passing and it's only been made worse with the Sailor Jerry brand. Now, Kate's ready to sling some herself. On Sunday she posted to her Myspace a long explanation about Jerry, his stencils, the brand and Louise Collins, Jerry's widow who's never seen a penny from the Sailor Jerry folks and lives off her social security.
Read up here.
I also want to take a quick second to thank Kate for allowing us to publish this. I finally met Kate this past spring at Roseland and not only is she hilarious, whip-smart and tough, but she's unbelievably nice. (Hey, nobody ever said blogs were supposed to be unbiased.) I wanted to pick her brain about anything and everything, but figured there was enough craziness happening at the booth without someone pestering her with nerdy questions. That, and she was tattooing my girlfriend and still getting interrupted every ten minutes.
Anyway, thanks a ton, Kate. Hope to run into you again somewhere down the line.