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 Ralph Bakshi 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 crisp 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.
If you’d like to follow John- and you should- his Instagram is: http://instagram.com/himmelworks