RIP Tennessee Dave James
Portrait of Tennessee Dave James by Shawn Barber.
Yesterday, the tattoo community lost another great legend, Tennessee Dave James. I read about his passing from Baba Austin online, owner of Vintage Tattoo Art Parlor in LA, where Dave made his home in the recent years of his long tattoo history. He was a mentor and father figure, not just to Baba, but to so many artists. Laid back, with a gift of storytelling, Tennessee Dave James put on a strong tattoo. His tattoo calling card was his little outhouse tattoo design. If you find it inscribed on one of the many bodies around the world, you know that collector has a good Tennessee Dave story.
To read more about Tennessee Dave's incredible stories, check this extensive Skin & Ink Q & A from 1998, with his tales of being tattooed at 15 in the fifties to tattoo turf wars to the Greek Mafia.
You can also read tributes to Dave on his Facebook page.