Tattoo (1975)

My buddy Scott sent me this link earlier today- a great look into the 1970s UK tattoo scene.

From the description:

A sample from a 1975 film by John Samson
Tattoo (1975) – 20 mins.
A documentary film based on the art of tattooing, tattoo artists and their clients, with interviews exploring the fascination for, and the reasons behind choosing to be tattooed. The film builds up to long climatic scene, often since replicated in other films on the subject, featuring tattooed bodies displayed as art objects. Typically, Samson had himself tattooed during the making of the film.

For more info visit:

The Warrior’s Fund


BROOKLYN, NY – Brooklyn tattoo shop Eight of Swords recently announced plans to host a fundraiser benefitting Lakota students from the Wounded Knee District School (WKDS) on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge reservation. The event, called The Warriors’ Fund, is slated for Friday, March 6th at 7:00 PM and will showcase original artwork from over fifty of the country’s top-notch tattooers, including veteran Scott Sylvia of San Francisco’s iconic Black Heart Tattoo, Timothy Hoyer, known for his decidedly non-tattoo style oil paintings, and Justin Weatherholtz from King’s Avenue, one of New York’s best-known shops owned by internationally recognized tattooer Mike Rubendall.


The WKDS serves 134 students ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade. Reservation schools throughout the country are often geographically isolated, contend with a severe lack of funding, and have some of the highest dropout rates in the nation. But one of the most immediate issues facing the students at the WKDS is hunger. While every student qualifies for free meals during school, the need is greater at home.


Newly-appointed principal Alice Phelps has made arrangements with Feeding America in Rapid City for a monthly food distribution for reservation families. Unfortunately, the need at home is more than they can handle. With only a single convenience store on the reservation and the nearest grocery store a staggering 80 miles away, Phelps started a food pantry that she runs out of the school for families that are the most in need. That’s what The Warriors’ Fund is looking to stock.


About the Organizers

 The Warriors’ Fund is being organized by Patrick Sullivan, a Brooklyn bar tender, along with tattooers Dave C. Wallin and Betty Rose, Eight of Swords’ owner and manager, respectively. Wallin, a Dallas native, has been tattooing for twenty-three years, with over half of them spent in New York. He opened Eight of Swords in 2011. Betty Rose is a ten year veteran of the business and began working at Eight of Swords in 2013. She has since helped organize previous events and is the creator of, an online community spotlighting women in the tattoo industry.


Patrick Sullivan  (347)563-6651
Instagram @warriorsfund

JD at Sailor Sid’s

I don’t have much information on this video; it was shot sometime in the early/mid 1980s at Sailor Sid Diller’s Silver Anchor Tattoo Studio in South Florida. The VHS tape it was captured from was a compilation from Sid labeled 1986, but the footage could have been filmed before that. The artist is credited as J.D.  Sid calls him John early on in the video and he mentions being from New Jersey) but otherwise it’s a mystery. If anyone knows more about J.D. please get in touch.

The video was filmed before wearing gloves was standard practice and is presented for archival purposes.

More from Cliff Raven

I was pulling over some footage from a 1986 VHS tape from Sailor Sid Diller’s collection today when I found another snippet of a documentary featuring iconic tattoo artist Cliff Raven. I have no information on this documentary; I’ve found several segments of varying quality on older VHS tapes in my archives. I’ve done my best to balance out the sound and picture, but with most of these older videos it’s a bit of a challenge.

A lot of these tapes were compilations; pulling footage from 8mm film, VHS camcorders and copied documentaries shared with other tattoo artists. I’ll continue to add footage as I find it.

Editing Bay: Cliff Raven

10403127_10205417398541902_351780316873670542_nI found a little more footage from “Tattoo Take Two” featuring Cliff Raven today while scanning a thirty year old VHS Cassette that belonged to South Florida tattooer Sailor Sid Diller. It’s a short clip- just over two minutes and forty seconds but it’s the cleanest footage I’ve found so far. Still has that faded ‘copy of a copy’ look, and obviously it’s over 30 years old, but… we’ll see what I can do in Final Cut Pro!

Sailor Vern Pre-Order @ Yellow Beak Press


Pre-orders have gone live over at Yellow Beak Press for their latest offering- SAILOR VERN.

From their website:

An upcoming biography: Sailor Vern Ingemarson, a tattooer for 30+ years, was a disciple of Cap Coleman. In the 1940s, he started his career working alongside Coleman and Paul Rogers in Norfolk, VA and later worked with Duke Kaufman in San Francisco. This book contains never before seen flash, acetates, photographs, and line drawings from Sailor Vern, Duke Kaufman, Cap Coleman, Paul Rogers, Percy Waters, and many more.

  • 258 Full Color Pages
  • 9×12 Heavy Hardcover Format

Yellow Beak consistently puts out the best tattoo history books on the shelves, so jump in early and get yours secured!

The Book of Antennae Reissued

Book of Antennae influenced tattoo by Chad Chesko (via Instagram)

Book of Antennae influenced tattoo by Chad Chesko.

ARMAGEDDON is a cloven brain captured in
hermaphroditic transubstantiation- Armageddon
is creations source and reason- Armageddon is a
union that supplants all that has been known, the
only destination, a war on superstition, a return to
the true tongue, violent storms of powerful
medicine, the lost home, a certain event mustered
in language- Enlist in metaphor or procrastination in
belief-  Dreams sabotaged by false instruction- A
mattress at the crossroads-  A theater of indecision-
The trough and crest of the Book of Antennae

It’s not really important if this story is true or not; if the details happened the way they were told to me or if they even happened at all.

A friend of mine was guesting at Tattoo City back in the halcyon days of Ed, Eddie, Freddy and Dan and in between tattoos a few guys came in for an appointment. He overheard them talking about a ‘crazy hobo in the park, yelling poems to the pigeons’ and making fun of his big bushy beard and his peculiar way of wearing layered oversized sports coats. When my buddy asked who they were there to see, they replied,  enthusiastically, DANIEL HIGGS!

Higgs has had many superlatives thrown his way over the course of his 30 year career as an artist: oracular, shamanistic, enigmatic and most importantly influential.

The ripples- the vibrations- of his influence extend well past his brief stint as a tattooer and even today, some fifteen years after the publication of his all text “The Book of Antennae” his resonance is still well justified.  While he’s probably much more celebrated for his graphic art, his poetry and songwriting add go hand in hand with his visual output. Book of Antennae, recently reissued by Chicago’s Now Testament, contains a self described ‘Alphabet Sequence As Composed By Daniel Nomo Higgs’ and while unlike The Doomsday Bonnet features no artwork other than the cover still deserves a place on any fan’s bookshelf. 

10932194_767627726650119_191207413_nOver the decade and a half since it’s initial release, Antennae has become eBay gold, commanding prices easily 10x the original asking price. Now Testament is reissuing it in it’s original format (save for the cover; the original green ‘eye cross’ has been transmuted to red) for the incredibly humble $15.
Do yourself a favor and grab these while they’re still available: