This has been a really frustrating process so far.
I’m not sure what the issue is, but my video capturing system has been un-synching the audio of any longer recording (it seems to be over 10 minutes now) and I’m not sure if it’s the software, the hardware or just dumb luck. In any case, I’m going to have capture smaller sections and flex my editing muscles to get it back into one piece. Until then, I apologize that the audio is slightly off in this first excerpt from Michael O. Stearns’ PHILLY GETS INKED.
This clip features a very young team of Bernie Luther and Guy Aitchison tattooing in their hotel room due to an overbooked 1990 NTA Convention in Philadelphia. It’s strange to think that Aitchison, who’s widely regarded as one of the most influential tattooists of his generation, used to be the new guy. He tattooed me not long after this video was filmed (which is also strange to think about- it’s been almost 25 years) and while his style has evolved over the years you can see the roots of his aesthetic in this clip.
Bernie Luther was also coming into his own during the early part of the 1990s. As spoiled as we are with Instagram, Tumblr and blog culture it’s easy to forget the impact that ‘the magazines’ had on an artist’s career before the rise of social networking and instant uploads. The magazines- most notably Outlaw Biker’s TATTOO REVUE and Easyrider’s TATTOO were content machines, needing constant grist for the mill. An artist getting magazine coverage would expose them to a worldwide audience and provide bragging rights and validation with some tattoo fans becoming ‘collectors’ who sought out artists who regularly appeared in print. Obviously same can be said for Social Media, but back then it was a much smaller community.
But I digress. I’ll work on getting the audio synch issue fixed and to get the tape back to it’s generous owner as soon as I can.
A very generous OV reader has lent me a copy of the 1990 Michael O. Stearns documentary “Philly gets Inked” for digital conversion. I was expecting more interviews like Stearns other films, but this is more a straight up ‘virtual convention’ film. There are lots of familiar 1990s tattoo culture faces in the hour running time; Bernie Luther, Guy Aitchison, Steve Tiberi, Philadelphia Eddie, Paul Jefferies, Shotsie Gorman, Elizabeth Weinzirl, and a surprise appearance from my mentor Jack Yount. I totally didn’t expect to see Jack’s smiling face.
I started the conversion last night and I’m hoping to start cleaning it up tomorrow. Check back for updates!
Scott Harrison recently released the second volume of his WELTWORLD series, featuring “24 pages of extremely dark humor. Meet the Netherberries, and Rick Rudkus of Laser Patrol. Go on a date with Josh and Teagan. Make a wish on the magic monkey hand, and of course, make inquiries into the nature of Mrs. Goldberg.”
“Well, of course there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Pete, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail, and he carries a hay fork”
Flash sheets by Dayton, Ohio’s Jacob Des are usually packed with so many rad designs that it’s hard to process it all without repeated viewing. A ship here, a row of ducklings there, the Infernal Majesty himself popping up with a creepy baseball player mentoring a young boy in the fine art of swinging. You’re usually left with a wondrous sense of what the fuck am I looking at, followed by the realization that everything you’ve just seen would make a hell of a strange tattoo.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Des is on the very short list of tattooers I’m saving my remaining skin for. If you’ve got open space and want a killer tattoo you can find Jacob at: http://jacobdes.com
I first met John Himmelstein in 1992 in Daytona Beach Florida. I was checking out the shop he was working at on behalf of Guy Aitchison, who had decided to come down and tattoo during Daytona’s chaotic BIKE WEEK celebration. Guy had been invited by the shop’s owner to do the guest spot, but not wanting to go down sight unseen he asked if I’d check the shop out to make sure he wasn’t getting in over his head.
John was working that day, thankfully, and his presence at the shop made me feel comfortable recommending it to Guy. John’s artwork really stood out in the more Biker oriented world of Daytona; almost a quarter of a century later he still stands out; more Tex Avery and Bob Clampett than Sailor Jerry or Ed Hardy. He was a major influence on the younger generation of Florida tattooers who came up after him including Mike Wilson who used some of John’s artwork as inspiration on his first flash set.
Visiting John’s apartment was always a trip; going through stack after stack of perfectly lined drawings which each one more crips than than the last, combing through his epic laser disc collection (laser discs will never die) for the newest and weirdest import…
Strangely, he’s always shied away from social networking. It was a total surprise to see the FOLLOWING notification on Instagram this afternoon from Himmelworks… I didn’t even take the time to finish checking it out before I started this entry.
The films of Chilean born director Alejandro Jodorowsky have made an indelible mark on how I see the world around me. Back in the 1990s I developed an interest in semiotics just to break down the sigils in the Holy Mountain and that opened the doors to finding out more about the Tarot,. Jewish mysticism and film as a vehicle for magic realism.
Last year I took a twenty two hour (round trip) bus journey to Toronto to see JODOROWSKY’S DUNE. Synchronicity found me sitting behind the director- a very talented fellow named Frank Pavich- and we were able to get to know each other a bit while talking about Jodo’s legacy. Before the DUNE documentary, Jodorowsky had several aborted attempts at making a new film- his last being 1989s Santa Sangre- but no matter how strong the script or how talented the actors he never seemed to get anything off the ground.
Pavich’s DUNE project reunited Alejandro with producer Michel Sydoux and the two teamed up for La Danza de la Realidad- the Dance of Reality. It opened in the States on 23rd May and is hitting select cities nationally.
Philadelphia will be getting it for one week only starting tomorrow- 30th May.
The film opened to rave reviews- scoring a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.6/10 on IMDB. If you’re a regular Occult Vibrations reader, I can almost bet this film will be right up your alley and absolutely worth seeking out.
And Jodorowsky’s DUNE has a June release date on DVD/Blu-ray.
I think it was somewhere around 2000 or 2001 that I visited my friend Skip Sampson in Ybor City, Florida and had a little Mr. Burns head tattooed on my knee along with my brother and our friend Mike. The idea- a riff on the classic Sailor Jerry POISIN girl, featured C. Montgomery with crossedbones and was originally going to have POINTLESS under it. My other two bro-tat wearers decided they didn’t want the lettering and just like that, the classic tattoo overtones drifted away.
Our friend Ash Davies, who was previously featured on OV back in April of 2013, just put out a new 60(ish) page ‘Zine that would do that POINTLESS idea proud. Titled WORST ZINE EVER, it collects some of his best renditions of our favorite Springfield residents (along with art by Billy Hay, Brad T, Gavin Rose, Fil, Mark Ford, Marcus McGuire, Marcos Attlewood, Nick Baldwin and Swambo) with just enough whatthefuck to appeal to us here at Occult Vibrations.