Results tagged “Tattoo Archive”

06:43 PM
new yorker tattoo romney.jpg
While it's not even out on newsstands yet, the "Skin Deep" cover by Barry Blitt for next week's The New Yorker magazine is getting tons of buzz. The image is a play on Norman Rockwell's classic painting, The Tattoo Artist (1944). The traditional sailor flash background is replaced with tongue-in-cheek critiques of Mitt Romney; for example, the pin-up is styled as a "Binder of Babes," and the classic schooner tattoo reads "Cayman or Bust." And of course, Blitt has fun by taking the crossed-out names of the sailor's old girlfriends and changing them to political positions. [If this was a Bill Clinton satire, I'm sure the girls' names would've stayed.]

For some history on the original painting, check the Tattoo Archive's page on Norman Rockwell, which offers insight into the work, including the following info:

Rockwell worked from various photographs while painting The Tattooist, which was used as The Post cover on the March 4, 1944 issue. In fact, Rockwell used photographs as an aid in doing most of his paintings. For The Tattooist, Rockwell borrowed a tattoo machine from the Bowery tattooist Al Neville. Tattoo shop signs seen here is from the Rockwell collection. Rockwell obviously consulted with Al Neville along with former sailors to insure accuracy in his painting of The Tattooist.
The Selvedge Yard also has a great post on the painting, with photos like the one below.

07:43 PM
Photo by Edgar Hoill

Today is the 120th anniversary of Samuel O'Reilly's electric tattoo machine, patented in 1891. As noted in this post, the New York tattooist's invention is "based on the design for Thomas Edison's autographic printer, which was essentially a motorized engraving tool [which] sped up the process of tattooing while vastly improving the quality of the final product."

The Tattoo Archive has an extensive article on the machine's history. They also have cool posters for sale with the original patent text and illustrations (shown below).

Also check Jinx Boo's writing on the electric machine (and her entire blog if you haven't).

[ link via the Hope Gallery Blog.]

03:13 PM
The fabulous Selvedge Yard blog has done it again with more archival goodness on tattoo culture: a look at the story behind Norman Rockwell's iconic painting The Tattooist.

With a little help from the equally wonderful Tattoo Archive, they provide interesting facts surrounding this painting and others by Rockwell. For example, the painter often worked from staged photographs as an aid, and for The Tattooist, positioned a fellow illustrator as the tattoo artist and a neighbor (in Arlington, Vermont) as the sailor. But Rockwell did consult with Bowery tattooist Al Neville and borrowed a tattoo machine from him to ensure accuracy in the painting.

A fun side note: Despite the long list of (crossed out) ex-lover's names on the sailor's arm above the new one he's adding ("Betty"), Rockwell's model-neighbor, Clarence Decker, was never tattooed at all. His great, great nephew told the Tattoo Archive:

"Clarence didn't have a single tattoo in real life.  Also the last name on his arm is Betty-that's because my great, great aunt Belle told Norman that if he put her name in the painting, she wouldn't speak to him ever again. So Norman crossed the L's and added a Y."

Read more on historic tattoo culture from the Selvedge Yard here and here.

Thanks, Matt, for looking out while we were on vacation!
11:31 AM
seoul tattoo.jpg
Will have a double tattoo news review for you Monday as I've been working through the proofs  (all 500 pages) of my book on blackwork this week, but I wanted to highlight two news stories that I particularly enjoyed:

The GlobalPost's look at tattoo culture in South Korea today and a look back on the forefathers of American tattoo culture on The Selvedge Yard.

Jiyeon Lee's photos and story of underground tattooing in Seoul reminded me a lot of my own first tattoos when the art was still illegal in NYC (it was legalized in 1997). Lee paints a picture of studios with "dark tunnel-like entrance with graffiti covered walls" that are found only after the "proper" steps are taken, which are set out: "first you run a search on the web, then you hook up with a tattooist who will guide you to a nondescript space, and finally you sit down for the illegal procedure."

[No Internet searches and hook-ups back in my day. I also walked miles without shoes in the snow to get tattooed.]

In South Korea today, only those with a medical license, like Kwon Yong-hyun pictured above, can legally tattoo, but with the increasing popularity of tattooing -- in part thanks to tattooed soccer stars that played at Seoul's 2002 World Cup -- tattooists believe that regulation of the art is in the near future.

paul rodgers tattoo.jpgWith tattoo culture budding in South Korea, I enjoyed the juxtaposition of The Selvedge Yard's
look back on the evolution of American tattooing with a tribute to "Cap" Coleman and Paul Rodgers in their "forefathers of tattooing" post. Thanks to Jake for that link.

The post is a fantastic collection of stories and archival photos of the tattoo parlors and the sailors and sideshow stars that frequented them. My favorite image is of a service woman getting tattooed in the 50s, surrounded by other female soldiers.

Many of the photos and other tattoo memorabilia were amassed by Paul Rodgers over the 60 years he tattooed; he had a stroke on that 60th tattoo anniversary and died two years later. In 1993, Chuck Eldridge, Ed Hardy, Alan Govenar and Henk Schiffmacher (Hanky Panky), created the Paul Rogers Tattoo Research Center to house the collection. That collection moved from Chuck's original Tattoo Archive home in San Francisco to where it is now in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Chuck said:

"If we can't find a building here,we'll take the collection back to North Carolina. It's where Paul came from and would be the right thing to do. It would be like taking Paul home."

They did just that. Learn more about the research center here.

The rest of the news will be up Monday. Have a great weekend!
12:03 PM
tattoo museum.jpg
A new museum is opening in North Chicago featuring art and memorabilia of Americana tattoo culture -- dating as far back as 1838 -- from the personal collection of retired tattooist John "Pops" Henderson, owner of Modern Tattoo.

To promote tattooing as a fine art with a long rich history, Pops hired art historian Christine Galvez as the museum curator and is working with Chuck Eldridge of the Tattoo Archive in North Carolina to further his collection, which includes some of the earliest tattoo machines, flash and stencils from the early part of the century.

The museum opens at 11am, Sunday, July 12th but Pops says he'll also offer private, after-hours tours to school groups.

Here are some already established tattoo museums and collections across the US:

* As mentioned, the Tattoo Archive is one of the richest collections, online and off, with Chuck being its greatest resource.

Triangle Tattoo & Museum, housed in an classic Victorian storefront in downtown Ft. Bragg, CA, has been presenting tattoo artifacts to the public since 1986, and like Chuck, owners/tattooists Mr.G. and Madame Chinchilla remain the best attraction with decades of tattoo tales to share.

* The Baltimore Tattoo Museum, not only houses top tattooists, but also an extensive collection of old school flash, photos and machines and tattoo tools, beautifully presented. See photos of their collection here.

* The Vanishing Tattoo's Virtual Tattoo Museum allows you to learn about tattoo, from the ancient to the modern, without even leaving your laptop.
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