Mike Malone

Blowguns Beach Whistles and the True Definition of Powerlessness Converted

“I’ve heard that the Internet is a powerful form of communication”- Scott Harrison.

A much less embiggenable version of this video used to be available on Scott Harrison’s HEADBAND BROTHERS website. It’s probably one of the greatest films ever made. Much more enjoyable than, say, Citizen Kane or The Godfather. Check it out.

Blowguns Beach Whistles and the True Definition of Powerlessness Converted
A Video Project by Scott Harrison, featuring stories told by: Michael Malone, Oliver Peck, Daniel Higgs, Kevin Q, Annette Larue, Michael Palmer, Jason Mast, David Quale, Jerry Ware, Bobby Love, Jennifer Reeder, Ernie Gosnell, Seth Ciferri, Eric Perfect, Robert Winslow, Clio Weisman, and Don Ed Hardy. © S.D. Harrison 2005

Thom DeVita Part 1: Tattoo Age

All tattooing is folk art.
Vice.com  has finally begun airing the Thom DeVita arc of their ‘Tattoo Age’ series, with episode 1 currently streaming.
You can check it out here.

The first episode features Ed Hardy, Nick Bubash, Clayton Patterson, Scott Harrison, Angelo Scotto, John Wyatt, Robert Ryan, Bubba Reeves and of course Thom. If you use the Freddy Corbin arc of season 1 as a yardstick for quality, it’s really hard to imaging it getting any better. But seeing the enthusiasm that other people have for Thom and his work wins you over. Harrison’s face lights up when he talks about his ‘bad’ DeVita tattoos. These episodes- five in total- will end up being a once in a lifetime view into the life of an iconic artist.

Check it out.

The late, great Mike Brown

November 2011 saw the passing of tattooer Mike Brown.
I remember seeing Signatures of the Soul for the first time (where this clip originated) and being blown away by that big ol’ frog on his back (which I think Rollo did) but I never really saw much of his tattooing until the mid 2000s.

The clip also features a young Jack Rudy.

Mike lived a hard life, but also lived tattooing. Bob Baxter interviewed him in 2005- what follows is a short excerpt; click the link at the end to read the full interview.

(about Mike Malone)
MB: I met him in Honolulu. I moved there in ’73 and just started hanging out in tattoo shops. Back then, white people were definitely in the minority, so we hit it off pretty good. You know, one white guy to another. This was Sailor Jerry’s shop. Yeah, we became good friends and then I started from the ground up. My first job was doing the floors. I used to mop and wax and get the floors real clean. Then I became the shop gofer. That was my whole life. I worked during the days in a cardboard box factory. That was my profession, during the day, and I hung out at the shop at night. It was the old-style apprenticeship, the way it should be done today, which nobody seems to even do. The fucking kids are just spoiled today―I can’t believe it―thanks to Huck Spaulding selling everything to everybody in the damn world. Anyway, Malone just started showing me things. I don’t think he had any idea that I was going to become a tattoo artist. I helped him; I made shaders for him. We’d make 20 set-ups every two weeks. He’d make 20 shaders and 20 liners, because military paydays were every two weeks. And we’d use the needles over again. Back then, you used them again. We’d clean ’em. We sterilized everything.

The full interview is worth reading, and can be found So Long and Fare Thee Well.

Mr. Grosso from Vice (responsible for the outstanding TATTOO AGE series) got in touch to share with us the interview he and the Vice team did with Mike in Hawaii in January of 2011. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mike, but he reminds me of the old guys I met when I was coming into tattoo culture; guys who packed more living into the years they had been given than most people twice their age.

Folk Art from the 50th State.
Rest in Peace, Mike.

Does your monkey say, Aloha? Well it should…

I have been hoping to put some badass blog entry together, in hopes that I would hopefully make a good impression, or at least not harsh the vibe…

Four SIX attempts later, I was sitting where I usually am: The Tattoo Shop.

Only this time I found myself in Minnesota! Yes it was 11:04pm, not too late then, it was 9 degrees outside, a nice 68 degrees inside The Aloha Monkey Tattoo shop in Burnsville, Minnesota, a small town on the south end of Minneapolis…

Where a lot of History, Art, and LOVE come together like a Beatles song…

So… If you didn’t know the following: you soon will.

The Aloha Monkey got its name from an old Sailor Jerry tattoo design, which is fitting as Mike Malone, the original tattoo artist that founded this shop worked for Norman Keith Collins AKA Sailor Jerry for a pretty good chunk of time, took over when Collins passed, Malone moved around a lot, but he’d always revisit Sailor Jerry’s Shop out in Hawaii.  Well Malone has passed on, but the Monkey is still here, only Josh Arment has been passed the torch, and it’s a new flush of different generations making this place vibrate nowadays.

We only got to hang out with Arment for like an evening because he was heading to Milan to work the Convention…  But, it’s always a good reminder when you realize damn, I missed this dude, Richard said he didn’t get enough time to chill with Arment, so another trip is in order… But when it’s warmer riding weather…. I agree 100%!.

I often talk about magic, the magic within a tattoo shop, I mean a shop can look cool, and feel pretty, but the vibe has got to be there, and there has got to be a funk about the place that leaves a lasting impression on the taste buds of your psychy… And this place has the magic. It was a good night. I had never been to the “Monkey”, but it like a handful of other truly unique places, like: Spotlight Tattoo in Hollywood, or Electric Ladyland Tattoo in NOLA, or Jinx Proof in DC, or Rock of Ages in Austin… I could go on and on….


Nostalgia is Coming Back

I just captured this footage from a 1987 Documentary called “Colored People Invade San Diego” and by sheer coincidence it features a Kaiju themed bodysuit from Mike Malone and two amazing Japanese Tattoo artists working in the traditional hand poke style. Synchronicity at it’s best given what’s been going on in the world over the last week. My thoughts go out to the citizens of Japan and their loved ones abroad who’ve been affected by the terrible Earthquakes/Tsunami. I’ve spoken to my friends in Japan and everyone is alright. Small blessings but so much devastation to work through.

The end of the excerpt features Paul Rogers talking about machine building. I could have listened to him talk for hours, regrettably the documentary only featured this short clip. Sometimes we have to take what we can get.