Tattoo Stories: Dave's Bavarian "Capo Girl"
During our calendar contest, I asked y'all to tell me, on the Needles & Sins Syndicate Group on Facebook, what you'd like to see more of on the site. A few people said they wanted more personal tattoo stories from collectors, as well as the artist interviews. Well, I hear ya!
Here's a great story from Dave Copeland. Dave & I started chatting about the artists in my "Color Tattoo Art" book and how he was collecting work from many of them. I asked him to send me a pic of one of the tattoos, and he graciously sent his latest one, which was done by the wonderful Joe Capobianco -- renowned for his signature style of pin-ups, which are so distinct, people call them "Capo Girls." [Check my Q&A with Joe from a couple of years ago about how he developed his style.]
Dave also shared the story behind the tattoo (which just won "Best Large Color" at the DC Tattoo Expo):
"I was in the Army for 14 years, and my first duty station was Augsburg, Germany in Bavaria. While there, I learned fluent German, I got married, had my son, and all in all had the most enjoyable years of my life. One of the biggest things we'd do (before the marriage and kid) was to go to festivals (fests) and drink copious amounts of German beer from the 1 liter beer mugs (Mass). The women at the fests wore dirndls--and traditionally in Bavaria, they wore blue and white dirndls. One of my favorite places to go was a full-time fest haus in Munich called The Hofbrauhaus (hence the HB on the mug). I later did another tour in Mainz where the tradition continued, but Bavaria was always my favorite part of Germany. I even speak German with Bavarian accent.
When deciding on my tattoo, I wanted either a hula pin-up for my time in Hawaii, or a beer pin-up for my time in Germany. I saw that Joe has done a ton of hula tattoos, but I didn't see a beer girl in his repertoire, so that's what I went with. He is going to do the other side with a Hawaiian theme, and I'll be hard-pressed to not have a pinup on that side, given how well this one turned out.
Maybe this is more detail than you care to hear, but Joe was a super cool dude on top of being a great artist. He was very humble and down to earth, and talking with him was like talking with an old friend. Sometimes, trying to connect with your artist can be difficult, but Joe made it easy. He gladly signed the "Color Tattoo Art" book and his own book and drew me some purdy pictures to go with his signature.
Joe's Hope Gallery was awesome and the people there were awesome. The shop is ultra-professional, and this is literally, the first time I had an artist meet with me and start on time. Joe does all his own setup and break down, and the air of pretension that comes with a lot of artists, simply wasn't there. It was also pretty cool to get tattooed while listening to a mix of doo-wop and music from across many decades, and not be bombarded by constant death metal.
All in all, by far the best shop I have been in."