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FutureStarrSailor jerry tattoos
Jerry Wilson was 14 when he arrived in Hawai’i from Alabama—a baby sailor. He was from a big family of traveling sailors, and he wanted to grow up to be a sailor, too. Jerry served in the US Navy for nearly two years before his passion for the sea found him on an open sea, where Jerry disappeared and would only resurface in one year later, tattooing his first “sailor” on his shoulder.
This is a brilliant documentary. Yes, I am also a tattoo artist, so I was delighted to find the Holy Grail of documentaries about the history of tattooing in America. I found it by linking to it from another excellent film from 1980, "Stoney Knows How"...about Stoney St. Claire, another historical figure of tattooing in this country. The narratives of Sailor Jerry's personally typed and VERY frank outlooks on life and people are hilarious, as is the daring use of the title theme, "Eff 'Em All". Appearances of notable figures of the industry offering their personal recollections are priceless (Don Ed Hardy, Eddie Funk, Mike Malone, Zeke Owens, Lyle Tuttle...all very famous and innovative artists). A fascinating look into the fascinating history of the most fascinating art form! Superb!
I recently read your Cap Coleman and Paul Rogers post and figure you know your tattoo history, so here’s a bit you might not know. Sailor Jerry Swallows (formerly of Halifax, Nova Scotia and now tattooing out of Victoria BC, Canada) was one of the guys who brought Japanese tattooing Stateside, if not THE guy as far as establishing an exchange of art, techniques and information in an otherwise closed community and industry before tattooing got mainstreamed. It is almost unconditionally accepted among tattooists that Jerry Swallows was the man who began the EAST/WEST dialogue that brought Japanese motifs to Westerners on a greater scale. (Source: selvedgeyard.com)
Im currently enlisted in the US Navy, and am veritably covered in strictly Sailor Jerry Collin’s flash designs. All I wanted to say is that for thier great influence to originally introducing tattooing to the Western World at large; the Sailor today is largely ignorant of any of the tattooing traditions of our forefathers. Talismans against age old mariners superstitions etched into my flesh are all but lost in meaning to my shipmates. How quickly the world can change. I see people at the mall who have never set foot on a ship parading tattoos of fouled anchors (as if they could ever guess what “fouled” means) Thanks for adding to the rich chronicle of an American sailing icon.
“Norman Collins’ work has left a lasting legacy not only on the arms of those tattooed by him, but his iconic designs have become famous worldwide and continue to inspire and influence the tattoo culture and appreciators of his craft to this day,” says Gemma Kane, Sailor Jerry Global Brand & Cultural Ambassador. “His work was bold, inspiring and timeless and pushed the boundaries both technically and creatively — we’re honoured to work with these incredible artists to celebrate his legacy with a new generation of Sailor Jerry fans around the world. (Source: cocktailsdistilled.com)