Tattoo Masters Flash Collection
08:08 AM
tattoo-masters-2.jpgTattoo-Master-Flash-Sailor_Jerry.jpgSailor Jerry flash above.

Tattoo-Master-FlashHoriyoshi III.jpgHoriyoshi III flash above.

Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins
Bert Grimm
Horiyoshi III
Don Ed Hardy
The Leu Family
Leo Zulueta ...

The names of these iconic tattoo artists can be found on tattoo shop walls across the globe, signed on sheets of their artwork, inspiring generations of tattooers. Ready to be copied onto skin or viewed solely as a piece of art itself, tattoo flash of great artists has furthered the evolution of tattooing as an art form and as a business. While custom tattooing garners the most attention these days for unique one-off works, flash offers collectors an opportunity to get a tattoo designed by someone they may not have an opportunity to meet, while providing tattooers a pre-made design to faithfully reproduce or use as a jumping off point for their own work.    

Large libraries can be filled with all the books of flash that have been published; however, a collection comprised of the noted artists above and other world-class tattooers has not existed until the recent release of the gorgeous volumes TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - PART 1 and TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - Part 2.

Curated by Edgar Hoill and Matthias Reuss, these large-scale panorama books contain 168 pages of historic flash and also new works created specifically for this project by 78 tattoo artists. Printed on extra thick high quality paper, bound with a durable metal spiral, the sheets lay flat for easy flipping, and also easier removal should you wish to cut out and frame the art.

The books offer a broad spectrum of artistic styles, including lettering, realism, ancient marks and mandalas, woodblock prints, abstract graphic designs, Japanese and Chinese mythology, Neotribal, Nordic, black & grey Chicano tattoo motifs and much more. Not all pages are stylized with individual tattoo designs on one sheet; some sheets are drawn or painted as one complete work of art.  

TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - PART I includes works by Horiyoshi III, Don Ed Hardy, Gau Bin, Jondix, Tim Hendricks, Brian Everett, Genko, Alex Horikitsune Reinke, Zele, Doug Hardy, Elle Festin, Tomasi Sulu'ape, Sanya Youalli, Yushi Takei, Enrique Castillo and many more. Also in this volume are flash from Ed Hardy's personal archive, including sheets by Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, Owen Jensen, Joe Lieber, and Bert Grimm.

TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - Part 2 includes works by the Leu family, Leo Zulueta, Luke Atkinson, Colin Dale, Indio Reyes, Jess Yen, Naoki, Goethe Silva, Krazy K, Olivier Julliand, Kurt Wiscombe, Chris Ayala, Andy Shou, Jean-Luc Navette, Brent McCown, Dimitri Hk, and Takahiro Horitaka Kitamura, among other greats. This volume also contains archival sheets from the Polish Tattoo Museum collection, including flash from Sailor Jerry, Ray Emms, Milton Zeis, Ted Hamilton and Leonard St. Clair.

Beyond the artwork, what makes this an important collection are the contributions by Dr. Matt Lodder, who provides a introduction on the history of flash, dating back to the birth of the Western professional tattoo industry in the late 19th century. Matt cites early examples of designs on paper specifically intended to be traced and transferred onto the skin as tattoos, including the famous C.H. Fellowes sketchbook, dating from around 1898.

There are countless gems of historic information, including a discussion on the term "flash" itself:

The very term 'flash' seems to have been appropriated from carnivals and sideshows, where a 'well-flashed' concession was particularly eye catching, bright and appealing, able to beckon and intrigue customers from across a thronging midway, though the term also has deep connotations as an adjective in English slang of slightly dangerous, swaggering ostentation, often used to refer to thieves and prostitutes in the early part of the 19th century and then to young sporting men - the kind of boisterous, raffish cads who would have been turning over tables in polite drinking circles.
It is through flash, as Matt notes, that much of the history of the first century and half of modern Western tattooing is traced because, well, tattoos die with their owners. [Ok, not always.]

Matt also interviews Don Ed Hardy for the first volume, discussing the flash sheets he created as a child, and also how his 1995 book "Flash from the Past," with its historic collection, drove contemporary rediscovery of flash history and celebrations of artists such as Sailor Jerry.

In the second volume, Matt interviews Filip Leu about the roots of artistic practice in his famed tattoo family, and his thoughts on flash. In this Q&A, Filip explains that flash is any design you can tattoo -- "from the traditional pork chop sheet to the full Japanese bodysuit, passing by Tahiti black work and East LA lettering." He adds that, to him, "flash represents the artist who made it." Following this is another great read, Matt's interview with Piotr Wojciechowski of the Polish Tattoo Museum. This text provides some wonderful context and background to the works displayed in the book.

You can purchase them online at the Edition Reuss site and on Amazon Part 1 and Part 2. They'll be timeless additions to your tattoo book collection.

Filip Leu flash above.

connect with us

Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
Needles and Sins powered by Moveable Type.

Site designed and programmed by Striplab.

NS logo designed by Viktor Koen.