Cliff Raven


I first saw Emil Gundelach in an early 1990s video by photographer/anthropologist Charles Gatewood. His tattoos- decades old and sun faded- were amazing; old pieces by Raven and DeVita and a host of oldschoolers who’s names were lost with him. He was a friend of a friend and though I never had the pleasure of meeting him I occasionally find photos of him in my archives from the tenure of his friendship with Jack Yount.

I’m working on digitizing his appearance in the video, Erotic Tattooing & Body Piercing volume V, for the Sacred Debris site. This entry will be amended with a link when it goes live.

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!

Raven 82

Professor Bud Huizinga (the spelling could be off; I’ve seen it several ways) had quite a few amazing tattoos from Cliff Raven, including this avian piece that was completed sometime around 1982.

Cliff was an interesting figure in the history of Tattooing; an educated man (with a B.A. in Fine Arts) as well as being openly gay, Cliff pushed boundaries on a variety of fronts and left a lasting legacy that has influenced generations after his retirement. As such, I really hope that the ‘Cliff Raven licensing’ thing ends up flopping. Jeans. Wine. Bottled water. While Ed Hardy is still around to balance out the negative (at least by some of our standards) effects of Christian Audigier’s douchebaggery, the commercialization of Raven will end up being a soulless cashgrab with no positives.