The Greatful Crane

Cranes are common symbols and themes in the folklore of East Asia, including Japan. The Grateful Crane or the Crane Wife is a particularly well-known tale in Japan, see the resources below:“The Grateful Crane” (Japanese fairy tale) Thomas Berg, circa 1910 (Detail) Cranes are an important motif in Chinese mythology. There are various myths involving Read more about The Greatful Crane[…]

Saving Thomas Berg

Tom Berg sheets previously laminated sometime in the recent decades but dating back to the earliest times of the 20th century find new life in harsh solvents and patient restoration. Learn how to remove glue based laminate from water color and inked paper while removing glue or rubber cement without damage in the process.

First Tattoo Pinup Ever?

 Samuel F. O’Reilly  After emigrating from Ireland in 1871, Samuel F. O’Reilly set up his tattoo business in the back of a barber shop at 11 Chatham Square, New York City. This image, showing a woman’s legs was considered quite racy in the late 1800s.  “A lady, when crossing the street, must raise her dress a Read more about First Tattoo Pinup Ever?[…]

Captain Jack Howard

Just in to Lift Trucks: A tattooists interpretation of the Italian Renaissance. Note Christ tempted by the babe in the rose (bottom right.) Captain Jack Howard, Barbary Coast, San Francisco, ink and watercolor in heavy paper, 22″ by 29″, c 1920’s. And just for fun, the sheet as a blueprint. The Barbary Coast was a Read more about Captain Jack Howard[…]

True or False

This is from the book  “Pierced hearts and True Love.  A Century of Drawing for Tattoos” The Drawing Center, 1995. They label it as “Unidentified tattooer, c. 1950” A most excellent book. There are lots of 3d tattooed arms supposed to be old and supposed to have been employed in tattoo shops. Here’s a pair Read more about True or False[…]

Baby Don’t Cry

One dry hot day, in the California High Desert, we looked through table upon table of tattoo flash in the garage of a very neatly kept tract home. The gentleman turned out to be the last man standing at the Nu-Pike in Long Beach. He ended up with flash sheets by Brooklyn Joe Leiber, Chris Read more about Baby Don’t Cry[…]

Ed Smith Rocks

  America’s Tattoo Master, Mr. Samuel F. O’Reilly, trained Ed Smith along with Charles Wagner in the 20’s and 30’s on the Bowery in New York City. Bums, empty bottles and the elevated train ran the streets back then. We have all seen photos of tattooed people but not too many self portraits of the Read more about Ed Smith Rocks[…]