Rest in Peace Howard Saunders.



It’s funny how connections work.
Howard was friends with and wore tattoos by a score of people that I know and love. He worked not far from where I live and we attended many of the same conventions over the years, but the first time I met him in person was at, of all places, Sabrina’s Cafe in South Philadelphia. We were both waiting for a table for brunch and gave each other that up-and-down look you give other heavily tattooed people of a certain age; that “I’m not sure, but I probably know you” look. We said hello, compared friendships and had a laugh at the tourists clocking the heavily tattooed weirdos while we waited to go in for our pancakes and good times.

I still remember his early tattoo magazine appearances back before the new hot tattoo was only an instagram hashtag away; large work from Bill Salmon, Daniel Higgs, Mike Wilson… just being blown away with how he fit all of the clashing styles together. Every friend that we had in common had nothing but nice things to say about him and I regret not getting to know him more than the occasional upnod and hello.

Howard passed away today at 3:45pm. His family was able to be with him and say their goodbyes.

My condolences go out to his friends, family and loved ones.

Rest in Peace.



  1. Howard and I apprenticed together under Steve Ferguson in the early 90’s, along with Thane Sawyer and Squid (Sid Silver from Lunachicks)- what a motley crew we were! I was barely 21, fresh out of art school, and Howard told me all the things I needed to know about the rougher side of life, all about small-time professional wrestling, and more drug terminology than I knew existed. There was never a dull moment around him, really. Sad to hear of his passing.


  2. I only knew Howard Saunders as “Cosmo”. He did my tattoo of a fairy on my back. Very talented man.
    Sad to hear of his passing.
    Jo Ann Frangiosa


  3. Being a fan of his musical endeavors and pre-hashtag tattoo culture, I would love to be able to see more of the Commander’s works. It would be nice to see a nice, respectful tribute/overview in OV. Just a suggestion, since I don’t know how he felt about having his work online, etc… Always a great blog. Thank you.


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