Results tagged “Fineline Tattoo”

Jan201430
08:38 PM
Mike Bakaty.jpg
The NYC tattoo community -- rather, the worldwide tattoo community -- has lost a true gem with the recent passing of Mike Bakaty of Fineline Tattoo, the longest continually running tattoo shop in Manhattan since 1976.

I learned of Mike's passing through his friend Dana Brunson, who also pointed out a touching tribute by former Skin & Ink editor Bob Baxter. Bob encouraged Mike to write a column for Skin & Ink called "Bakaty's World," which showed the world what an amazing storyteller Mike was as well as an artist. In Bob's memorial post, he published one of Mike's stories. Here's an excerpt:

Back around the time that it dawned on me that I could draw better than what I was doing off of the few sheets of commercial flash I had, I was tattooing a number of young guys from the Lower East Side, aspiring bent-nosed types, you know what I mean? Whenever they got work, you'd be paid in single dollar bills. If you did an eighty-buck piece, you got eighty singles. The one time I asked about it, the response was, "You do dollar action, you get dollar bills."

One of these guys showed up one day wanting to get a grim reaper, which, of course, I had. The thing was, it was a piece of commercial flash. The image had passed through a hundred or more hands before it landed on that particular sheet. I thought it was really lame. The skull was lumpy and the teeth were disproportionate to the size. The fingers and arms looked like a bunch of weenies on the end of a stick. The drapery in the robes was non-existent. In other words, it looked like shit. I knew I could draw it better.

I ran this down to the kid and told him to give me a couple of days for the redraw. I did the skull without the lumps and made the teeth proportionate. The arms and fingers looked like bones, and it was more gestural. The robes looked like drapery out of a Renaissance painting. Not a bad job, if I said so myself. The upshot of the whole thing was, when the guy came back a few days later, I had him look at my drawing and compare it to the original. "Yours looks too real," he proclaimed, as though he'd come face-to-face with the Reaper himself. "But the other one looks more like a tattoo. That's the one I'll have." A tattoo's a tattoo's a tattoo.

Read more on Baxter's Tattoo Blog.

I'm lucky to have had to pleasure of meeting Mike. Back in my old Needled.com days, Mike and his son Mehai were the first artists featured in our tattooist video profiles (published in 2007), which I've embedded below. In the video, Mike talks about tattooing underground during NYC's tattoo ban, which was lifted in 1997, and also how he came to tattooing as a fine artist ("You didn't have to kiss dealers' asses to get an exhibition"). The video is a good way to spend 4:54 minutes.

Mike left his mark, and he will be fondly remembered by so many.


Jan201210
10:56 AM
sailor jerry tattoo.jpg
This Saturday, January 14th, to commemorate what would have been the 101st birthday of Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, the rum brand inspired by the iconic tattooer will be sponsoring events in Chicago and NYC where lucky Americana fans could get original Sailor Jerry tattoos ... for free.

The Chicago Tattoo Co. and Fineline Tattoo will each be offering 101 complimentary tattoos from the flash sheet above, on a first come-first serve basis from noon to midnight at Chicago Tattoo and to 10PM at Fineline. Must be 18 or older to get tattooed and obviously 21 or older to get in on the rum drink specials. The Sailor Jerry peeps will be offering those drink specials at nearby Lil' Frankies in NYC and early customers in Chicago will get drink vouchers to be redeemed at Schuba's Trader Todd's (3216 N. Sheffield Ave). SJ swag will also be handed out to those who beat the rush -- definitely expect crowds. [While there are tons of freebies, tipping your artists and bartenders is appreciated.]

The two tattoo studios are a perfect fit for this celebration. As Nick Colella says:
Chicago Tattoo has a direct lineage to Sailor Jerry through Tatts Thomas. Jerry got his start in Chicago in the mid-twenties with Tatts on South State St. He later moved on to Hawaii. Tatts stayed in Chicago on South State St. until the early sixties when he traveled to work with Amund Dietzel in Milwaukee. After Milwaukee outlawed tattooing, Tatts moved back to Chicago to work with Cliff Raven at what is now The Chicago Tattoo Co; thus, Chicago Tattoo is in the direct and unbroken lineage to Sailor Jerry.
And Mike Bakaty's Fineline Tattoo -- the longest continuing running shop in Manhattan -- also keeps the Sailor Jerry tradition of letting the work speak for itself in its non-pretentious, hardworking old school storefront that welcomes everything from large intricate work to a piece of Traditional flash.

If you can't make it this Saturday to the events, check the artists' portfolios at both shops for Sailor Jerry strong tattoos.

UPDATE: AAlso this Saturday, from 12pm to 12am, Uptown Tattoos at 575 S. Carrolton Avenue in New Orleans, is offering 101 free tattoos of one of several original designs from the flash sheet above. Afterward, patrons are invited to join in on a bar crawl kicking off at 10pm at Flanagan's Pub (625 Saint Philip St.) where they can raise a glass to Norman Collins and sip on signature Sailor Jerry cocktails.
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EDITOR IN CHIEF:
Marisa Kakoulas
CONTRIBUTORS:
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
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