In the late 1980s/early 1990s, Charles Gatewood’s FLASH VIDEO label was responsible for a series of documentaries focusing on subcultures that, at the time, rarely had any uncensored media attention. Charles, with his camera in tow and anthropology degree on his wall, could have easily been another predatory voyeur who set his sights on outlaw communities- bikers, S/m clubs, body modification- to return to the safety of academia or the art world with impersonal artifacts from his perceived slumming. But Gatewood was, at heart, an outlaw himself. Having collaborated on books with William Burroughs and Spider Webb, Charles had a genuine love for fringe groups he met with in his photos and Flash documentaries, which unfortunately never made it en masse into the digital age.
I’ve been archiving and cleaning up select titles from my archives- most of which aren’t really appropriate for Occult Vibrations- but this clip from his ‘Erotic Tattooing and Body Piercing Vol 5’ VHS fits perfectly. Charles, at the Meadowlands tattoo convention in the early 1990s, speaks to (then) SF resident Avery Badenhop who shows off his mind-blowing full head tattoo by Tattoo City’s Daniel Higgs, as well as work from Bill Salmon, Greg Kulz and Filip Leu.
Scanned from a 3×5 print dating back to approximately 1986, this photo features Gary, Indiana’s Debra Cooper with tattooing by Royboy. I’ve sorted through stacks of pictures taken at this convention and with about 10 more in queue to scan I have yet to find a single photo that makes reference as to where it was hosted but I’m thinking Tennessee based on nothing more than an educated guess. Either way- any time I come across photos of Debra I make it a policy to post it.
Do only good.
The latest episode of Scott Harrison’s MIRROR CAVE podcast features a 30 minute chat with Electric Tattoo’s Robert Ryan. The episode’s focus is on Robert’s connection with Eastern religion, experiences with Ayahuasca and his first visit to India; while not directly connected with tattooing it’s a great insight into his aesthetic output.
The folks over at Featherproof Book are offering a deluxe bundle of Robert Ryan’s INBORN ABSOLUTE this Holiday Season, featuring the hardcover book, Raking Light Productions seven color letterpress print of Robert’s PURUSHA AND PRAKRITI (edition 100) and a t-shirt available only through Featherproof.
These are only available until 25th December or as the inventory lasts. You can find out more information at Featherproof‘s website. I’m working on getting a proper review up for Inborn Absolute by the end of the year, but needless to say most OV readers should know that it’s a must have. From the press release:
The Inborn Absolute collects the artist’s past five years of Eastern deity paintings, mandala studies, and even an unfettered glimpse into his sketchbook. It also includes interviews with iconic performer and artist Genesis P. Orridge and legendary tattoo artist Freddy Corbin that serve to contextualize Ryan’s work and his progression as an artist. Ultimately, The Inborn Absolute is a celebration of an artist’s masterful blend of skill, tradition, and a knowledge which can only be passed down through oral traditions and ancient practices.
A few months ago our friends over at Yellow Beak Press sent a box full of VHS cassettes for archival and preservation. The tapes were a few decades old and in various states of magnetic decomposition; audio loss, video loss or spot on perfect. It’s always different and surprising what I’ll find when I pop a tape into an equally aged VCR and push play.
This short clip that dates back to the early 1990s features Calamity Jane of Tomboy Tattoos talking about her career and being a female tattoo artist in a time where it wasn’t so common. The audio had degraded substantially (I bumped it up 400% and tried to balance out the resulting hiss) but it’s worth watching.
Late last night I had a conversation about bullfrogs. Earlier tonight I had a conversation about Philly tattooists and Chris Kline’s name came up. These two events are probably not directly connected, but Mr. Kline’s affection for the noble Bufonidae is well known so, really, who can say.
Chris is one of my favorite local tattooers; if I were to do a ‘five to watch in 2017’ you can bet his name would be on the list. You can follow him on Instagram or shoot him an email for appointment information: Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org