A very generous OV reader has lent me a copy of the 1990 Michael O. Stearns documentary “Philly gets Inked” for digital conversion. I was expecting more interviews like Stearns other films, but this is more a straight up ‘virtual convention’ film. There are lots of familiar 1990s tattoo culture faces in the hour running time; Bernie Luther, Guy Aitchison, Steve Tiberi, Philadelphia Eddie, Paul Jefferies, Shotsie Gorman, Elizabeth Weinzirl, and a surprise appearance from my mentor Jack Yount. I totally didn’t expect to see Jack’s smiling face.
I started the conversion last night and I’m hoping to start cleaning it up tomorrow. Check back for updates!
I was going through the ‘unmarked’ VHS tapes in my big bin the other day when I came across this little gem: a homemade video filmed in 1988 at Grandpa Groovy’s Richmond Convention. I really have no information on it; my friend and mentor Jack Yount pops up several times during the tape so it’s possible it was one of his vacation videos; that or it was sent to him because he’s in it. I’m not sure. WIth no label it’s really hard to tell the story, but I’d rather the story be told, so here you are.
Since it wasn’t a commercially produced tape it suffers from loud background noise (which I tried to lessen; to mixed success) and shaky camera work- but it also features the legendary Paul Rogers tattooing, so I figured the compromise was worth it. Other familiar faces include Randy Adams, Gil Montie, Sailor Moses and Lyle Tuttle.
I probably could have tightened up the edit a little and removed some of the camera panning, but I thought it added a little bit of character to see the folks who came out for Grandpa Groovy’s show versus just focusing on the tattooers. I’ll be scanning through the rest of the tape soon to see what else is there to be had; until then- enjoy!
I have to admit it; I’ve had a great time recently going through all of the Royboy tapes that I have in my collection. They really capture a distinct time in tattoo history, and while the content can seem a little gauche by modern standards they’re a lot better than folks (myself included) have given them credit for.
Exotic Expression (which is video #7 from Royboy) was filmed in 1990 at tattoo conventions in Philadelphia and New Orleans respectively. I pieced together about eight minutes featuring Royboy, Debra, Spider Webb, Gil Montie and a baby tiger.
I really hope that whoever owns the rights to the Royboy/Badlands videos puts them out as a dvd release.