Occult Vibrations: Classic Tattoo Videos
05:20 PM

No amount of exclamation points could possibly convey my excitement over Shawn Porter's Occult Vibrations, a site for those interested in "the symbolic legacy of tattoo culture." While the site is a new venture, it will fast become a primary tattoo destination online, particularly with Shawn's archival footage.

Videos include the (above) excerpt from Frisco Skin & Tattoo Ink, featuring Daniel Higgs, Freddie Corbin, and Ed Hardy. Released Shot in 1990 at Ed Hardy's Realistic Tattoo, the film has clips of Hardy talking about his studio, which was appointment-only, something just not done at the time. [Update: The interviews were done around 1988-89.]

But the real focus of this clip is the "young turks, tattoo tag team" of Freddy Corbin & Dan Higgs. Right at the outset the narrator says, "Some of the best of whatever is new in the nineties will be done by Corbin and Higgs. Your skin can bank on it." Indeed, Corbin & Higgs tattoos are invaluable.

What is truly priceless about this footage is hearing Higgs discuss his tattoo work at that time -- particularly in light of him leaving the art and moving into various other mediums, most notably music. Today, Higgs rarely talks about tattooing, but even listening to his thoughts over 20 years ago still left me more puzzled over this enigmatic character.

These videos will not take away the mystery that surrounds tattoo icons. For many watching, they will inspire. At the very least, offer a history lesson.

When I asked Shawn about the blog, he humbly said: "I made the blog to focus on artists I like...the videos just sort of came out of that. It's important to get these films off of VHS and onto more stable digital platforms; if 1000 people have something, it's a lot harder for it to get lost."

Watch more here.

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