Results tagged “sailor jerry”

08:04 AM
Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry.jpg Today is Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins' 105th birthday, and to celebrate, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum will be providing free streaming of the "Hori Smoku" film on the Sailor Jerry website for the rest of January.

"Hori Smoku" is a feature length documentary exploring the roots of American tattooing through the life of Norman Collins. The film showcases rare interviews from Collins' protegees, Don Ed Hardy and Mike Malone, features archival footage of the birth of tattooing as we know it, and explores the evolution of the global tattooing phenomenon.

Here's a glimpse from the trailer below. Watch the full film here.

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.
08:32 AM
Normally, when I get a press release about "free tattoos," I'm wary, as per Sailor Jerry's famed maxim: "Good work ain't cheap. Cheap work ain't good." But when the tattoos are Sailor Jerry's own flash, timeless and powerful, then I have to share the news.

Tomorrow, June 12th, is the 40th anniversary of Sailor Jerry's passing, and to celebrate his life, top tattooers across the US will be offering free tattoos of iconic Sailor Jerry art in the "102 Tattoos for 102 Years of a Legend" campaign. The cities include NYC, LA, New Orleans, Ybor City, Chicago, Austin, Denver, Jersey City & Secaucus. See details on each city here.

Some venues will be making you "Aim for your ink"; that is, you'll have to throw a dart on a board of Sailor Jerry flash and wherever it lands, that's the tattoo you'll get. So ya better practice your throw. And as usual, there will be Sailor Jerry Rum on hand.

Sailor Jerry Day events are also taking place across the UK in London, Brighton, Edinburgh and Manchester, where 40 Sailor Jerry fans will be able to get tattooed for just 12BP. And again, there will be rum.

For more, check the Sailor Jerry US Facebook page and UK Facebook page.

Sailor Jerry Day party poster.jpg
03:20 PM
Every now and again, I get asked by the fine folks over at The Daily Dot to talk about two of my favorite things: tattoos and technology. While my previous piece focused on tattooists who are utilizing the social-media power of Instagram, my current piece "Tattoos to Go" steps it up a notch to discuss my top five favorite apps for your smartphone/tablet.

Click over to the article for direct links to apps from Tattoo Now, Sailor Jerry, Horiyoshi III and Tattoo Culture Magazine!

09:07 AM
sailor jerry party.jpg Today, one of tattoo's most iconic figures would have turned 102 years old:  Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins. And the fine folks at the Sailor Jerry brand naturally want to celebrate in the way they are accustomed, with tattoos and booze.  The parties tonight go down in Chicago and Brooklyn. I've vowed to go "alcohol-free till forty" myself (don't worry, just for a few more weeks), but we may check out the action tonight nevertheless.

So, in NYC, the festivities will take place tonight from 8:00pm to 3:00 am at the brand new spot The Passenger - 229 Roebling St, in Williamsburg. A Pop Up tattoo shop will be set up in the Passenger by Three Kings Tattoo. Dj Steve Lewis from Blackbook mag will be on the decks serving up punk.

In Chicago, the fabulous artists at Chicago Tattoo will commemorate Sailor Jerry by giving away 102 anchor tattoos, from noon to 3:00 am. After getting tattooed, each person will receive a complimentary drink token redeemable around the corner at Trader Todd's.

At both parties, they'll be serving up Sailor Jerry Hot Apple Cider rum. Yum!
11:41 AM
Gunnar_Turkey_Tattoo.jpgOn Tuesday, July 31st, Elixirs and Eats presents Inks, Drinks & Hi-jinks! - a celebration of indie spirits, hot sauce, The Blues and tattoos here in NYC! 

The price of admission will get you unlimited tastings from distilleries like Tito's Vodka, Scorpion Mezcal and Philadelphia Distilling (amongst many others); food and hot sauces from Scoville peddlers like Jimmy's No 43 and High River Sauces; live music; and most importantly, a food-related tattoo competition, MC'd by yours truly and judged by an esteemed panel, including our own Editrix-in-Chief.

So, if you have a food/booze/cooking-related tattoo and you're interested in competing, send your info and a photo to - not ONLY do you get to waive the admission fee if you're selected to compete, but you also have the chance to win prizes from Jarlsberg, Sailor Jerry and Father Panik Industries!

(Additionally, if you can't attend the event, you can always send us your food/booze/cooking related tattoo and we'll feature the best in a special blog post!  Please include your name, the artist's name and shop when submitting to us.)

More information about the event can be found here and you can order your tickets online over here.

["Mad Chef" tattoo by Gunnar]

09:29 AM

The latest Hold Fast video profile from the Sailor Jerry folks features New Orleans badass Annette LaRue of Electric Ladyland Tattoo. With a sharp wit, low tolerance for bullshit and a trove of brilliant tattoo stories, Annette does the Sailor Jerry legacy proud.

I interviewed the veteran tattooist for her Inked mag profile last summer, and it was a blast. You can check that full Q&A here.
06:23 PM

The Hold Fast video series of tattooist interviews are so good we don't need to make up a drinking game to watch 'em -- despite it being produced by Sailor Jerry Rum.

I particularly like the video above with renowned Japanese tattoo specialist Chris Trevino aka Horimana, who studied under master Horiyoshi III for five years and now works his craft at Perfection Tattoo in Austin, TX (which was founded by Bob Moreau in the late 70s).

Also check the videos with Deluxe Tattoo's Ben Wahhh, Think Tanks' Adam Rosenthal and Julie Becker, among others.  

The Sailor Jerry peeps have been traveling around in their infamous Airstream interviewing tattooists across the country, and a number of those artists have even offered Sailor Jerry tattoos right inside. They've also organized pop-up tattoo shops at numerous venues.

This Saturday, May 12th, the Airstream will be on NY's Lower East Side outside of the PKNY Tiki Bar, and inside, in the back-room pop-up shop, will be Alex McWatt from Three Kings Tattoo offering a limited number of iconic classic flash. You can watch Alex's Hold Fast video here. The fun runs from 10:00pm to 4:00am.

And try not to have too much rum before the tattoo please.
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.
06:45 PM
sailor-jerry-tattoos-voodoo-56.jpgOne of our favorite guerrilla photographers, Igor of Driven By Boredom, was in New Orleans at the Voodoo Music Experience last weekend where he hooked up with the fine Sailor Jerry folks and photographed the insanity inside their killer vintage airstream.

There, tattooist Terry Brown worked for three days putting on free Sailor Jerry-inspired tattoos on rock stars, crew members and Igor himself. One such rock star was Jesse Hughes of Boots Electric (shown below) who got a Fuse logo tattoo, old school styled. For more on the fun (with more pics), check Igor's blog.

The Sailor Jerry airstream heads to the Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin this weekend, where Terry will be doing more free Americana tattoos. More on their Facebook events page.

For NY area punk fans:  Igor also fronts the punk cover band, F*ucking Bullshit, which includes our Brian Grosz on bass. Next Thursday, November 10th, the band will be playing Lit Lounge in the East Village, NYC  at 11PM. Hope to smash faces with you there.

10:57 AM
Holly Azzara Alice in Wonderland tattoo.jpg

Tattoo by Holly Azzara

It's party time tonight at the fabulous Sacred Gallery NYC in SoHo, from 8-10PM, celebrating the release of Color Tattoo Art: Comics. Cartoon. Pin-Up. Manga. New School. The 496-page hardcover -- which is graced with artwork such as those shown here -- will be available for the reduced rate of $150. [I'll also be selling any leftover books online for that same rate plus shipping. Hit me up at marisa at if interested.]

Special thanks goes out to sponsor Sailor Jerry Rum and to Sacred for hosting the event. There will also be other drinkies and pretty people. Hope to see y'all there!

Tony_Ciavarro_tattoo.jpgTattoo by Tony Ciavarro

Color Tattoo Art Book Release Party
Sacred Gallery
424 Broadway 2nd Floor Rear
(Between Canal and Howard)
New York, NY 10013

04:54 PM

Last Friday, Oliver Peck held his annual and infamous Friday the 13th marathon tattoo special at his Elm Street Tattoo studio and The Dallas Morning News was there to cover it [video above]. It's an interesting look at the melee with classic quotes from Peck, including talk of the myth and lore behind "13" tattoos and why he's been doing this marathon for years:  "I just love gimmicks. I love partying. I love tattooing, and I just put it all together. [Sailor Jerry Rum helped with the partying.]

Peck was also in the news for his recent opening of True Tattoo studio in LA (which he purchased in January). Gossip blogs particularly loved his shit talking against ex-wife Kat Von D, saying that his studio will "make real tattoos" as opposed to Kat's "gimmicky tourist tattoos" close by.

I thought he just loved gimmicks.
01:01 PM
Homeward Bound_Sailor Jerry.jpg

This week I received a copy of Homeward Bound: The Life and Times of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry and devoured it instantly. This limited edition hardcover is 128 pages filled with rare photos of the tattoo legend and his work, as well as images of turn-of-the-century newspaper clippings, vintage flash sheets, circus sideshow promos, snapshots of WWII sailors on shore leave and "hula girls," and so much more. It is quite rightfully described as using "the life of Sailor Jerry as the conduit to deliver a visual ethnography of American tattooing."

Beyond the images, what makes this book noteworthy are the essays on his Sailor Jerry's life and the historical information on tattooing in America that precedes it. Tons of fascinating facts and stats can be found right at the beginning, including bios on the first notable tattooers in the US, a glossary of sailor tattoos, and the general income of brothels that surrounded tattoo parlors in Hawaii where servicemen shipped off and returned home. ["Honolulu brothels took in $10 million during the war."] Then there are tattoo tidbits on the man himself, like the story behind the iconic Aloha Monkey design, and how Sailor Jerry got his name:

Although born Norman Keith Collins on January 14, 1911, his father nicknamed him him "Jerry" after the family's unruly mule. The nickname and the stubborness stuck.
As we noted in January, this year Sailor Jerry would've turned 100 years old. Perfect timing for this tribute. The book is a companion to the Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry film written and directed by Eric Weiss, who is also the creative director and a contributor to the book. Other contributors are Jason Buhrmester, David Farber, Beth Bailey, & Nick Schonberger.

Homeward Bound can be purchased for $75 on the SJ online store. For a better look inside the book, check the video below.

11:40 AM
tattoo typography.jpg
For my typography geeks, PC World magazine recently reviewed a new font by designer Daniel Gauthier called "Tattoo Lettering," which can be downloaded for free here (for personal use). Here's what they said:

Tattoo Lettering captures the inventive stylings of the legendary Sailor Jerry (aka Norman Collins), the father of modern tattoo culture and mentor of artists Ed Hardy and Mike Malone.[...]The line work is true to form with thicks and thins, but no in-betweens. The serifs are single weight flourishes, slightly nervous in appearance; the stems narrow at the foot giving the characters a swagger when they line up. The overall appearance is cartoon-like, matching vintage animations such as Steamboat Willie, Betty Boop, and Krazy Kat.
Yup, sexy talk!

As for lettering options on skin, I'd recommend sketchbooks like BJ Bett's Lettering guides. There's also Ina Saltz's collection of typographic tattoos in her Body Type books.
12:29 PM
Sailor Jerry Norman Collins.jpgToday, Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins would have turned 100 years old. He's famous for saying "My work speaks for itself" and probably wouldn't like many people yammering about him, so I'll just leave you with links and images of the old salt.

Sailor Jerry Tattoo.jpg"Reason #7 For Not Getting a Tattoo: People will know you are running your own life, instead of listening to them!" -- Sailor Jerry Collins
10:58 AM

We wrote up Hori Smoku's first NYC appearance about a year ago, but I can safely say that this weekend's screening at Rooftop Films will be a heck of a lot cooler than how Marisa and I originally watched the film (streaming it through Netflix on my laptop).

Saturday night, on the roof of the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn, there will be live music by Cheeseburger at 8:30pm, followed by the screening at 9pm and then an afterparty in the courtyard with Sailor Jerry rum.

(Sadly, they've closed the RSVP option for the event, but a lucky few will get access to the event at 8pm on Saturday.  I'd keep an eye on their Twitter feed for details, if I were you.)

And if you're in NYC but haven't yet heard of Rooftop Films... what's wrong with you?  For 13 years, they've been screening amazing independent films on rooftops around the city.  They've partnered with IFC and every year they donate money to filmmakers looking to complete their projects (they've also gotten a hell of a lot more money from me than I donate to that girls' school from which I graduated way back when).  Most importantly, we all know how cool it is being on a city rooftop - but when you combine that with great music and awesome indie cinema, it's like turning gravy into gold (and I looooooove gravy).

Be sure to check out their extended schedule for the rest of the summer's screenings.
04:09 PM
I don't try to have 'a flowing design sleeve,' that's all going to run into each other. I just really want to look like my grandfather, right when he got out of the brig in 1946.
--Jesse "The Devil" Hughes

What do Sailor Jerry, Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal and Eastwood Guitars have in common?  I'm not quite too sure, myself - other than the obvious response that Jesse has an extensive collection of traditional, Americana tattoos; he wrote a song about Kat Von D; and he also plays guitar (albeit, mostly in open-tuning). 

But the good news is that all three have banded together for a contest in which you can win an Eastwood Airlines RS-II guitar that's been signed by all the touring members of the Eagles of Death Metal - Jesse, Dave Catching, Brian "Big Hands" O'Connor and Joey Castillo.

So, while it will decrease my own chances of winning this hollow-bodied piece of single-coil retrotasticulousness, I feel the need to encourage all of you to enter by filling out this form.

Seriously, what's NOT to love about Jesse?

10:27 AM
Tattooed Wonder.jpg
Freaks & Flash at Intuit, the Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art, in Chicago is a brilliant exhibit featuring tattoo flash designs along with sideshow banners.

Tattooist Nick Colella of the Chicago Tattoo Company says the highlights of the show include flash by George Burchett, Sailor Jerry, Amund Dietzel, Samuel O'Reilly ...
A Who's Who of Old School Masters!

In fact, many of the pieces have not been on public display since they were taken down from the walls of the shops in which they originally resided.

In addition, the exhibition features four sideshow banners depicting tattooed performers by banner artists Fred Johnson, Jack Cripe, and Snap Wyatt.

The show will run until January 9th.
You can view the work from Tuesday to Saturday 11am-5pm (Thursday it's open until 7:30pm) and admission is free.

08:52 PM
By Pat Sullivan.

Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand is pissed. But that's exactly one of the reasons I admire her so much. Regardless of your opinion (and do the opinions vary), you can't discount Kate's impact on modern tattooing. She busted her way into the tight-knit, dudes only tattoo circles when it was virtually unthinkable to apprentice a woman. And not only did she hang tough, she's made a lifelong career of it, posting little flags along her trail so other women tattooers would know where to pave.

This brings us to Old Ironsides, Sailor Jerry, the man himself who apprenticed Kate. A lot of mud's been slung her way since Jerry's passing and it's only been made worse with the Sailor Jerry brand. Now, Kate's ready to sling some herself. On Sunday she posted to her Myspace a long explanation about Jerry, his stencils, the brand and Louise Collins, Jerry's widow who's never seen a penny from the Sailor Jerry folks and lives off her social security. 

Read up here.

I also want to take a quick second to thank Kate for allowing us to publish this. I finally met Kate this past spring at Roseland and not only is she hilarious, whip-smart and tough, but she's unbelievably nice. (Hey, nobody ever said blogs were supposed to be unbiased.) I wanted to pick her brain about anything and everything, but figured there was enough craziness happening at the booth without someone pestering her with nerdy questions. That, and she was tattooing my girlfriend and still getting interrupted every ten minutes.

Anyway, thanks a ton, Kate. Hope to run into you again somewhere down the line.

03:30 PM
As I'm going through the tattoo news, I'm reading a bunch about Skin & Bones - Tattoos in the Life of the American Sailor. So much so, that the exhibit deserves its own post here.

Curator Craig Bruns says, "If you have a tattoo, you really have a sailor to thank."

And so the exhibition explores the Western history of tattooing by delving into "the beliefs, mysteries, traditions, and power of the tattoo in American maritime culture."

The show opened at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philly on Friday and runs until January 3rd.

It features traditional tattoo machines, old school flash, historic photos and artifacts, a recreation of an old-time parlor, and a mini-documentary of the recorded personal stories of tattooed sailors.

There will also be screenings of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry on May 12th (7pm) and October 2 (8pm).

Mark your calendars for the panel discussion on October 22 featuring Weiss; tattoo historian Nick Schoenberger; C.W. Eldridge, director of the Tattoo Archive, in Winston-Salem, NC; and U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Office Richard Sambenedetto Jr., whose tattooed feet are the poster piggies of Skin & Bones.

And if you're wondering what the pig and rooster on the feet mean, read the Tattoo Archive's article on the symbolism of sailor tattoos.

For more about the show, check
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