Tattoo Flash

Ralph Ashwell

The folks at Yellowbeak Press just opened up preorders on their newest book- a look at never before seen designs by Harrisburg, PA tattooer Ralph Ashwell. I’ve had a chance to check it out, and it holds up to the high standards of previous YBP volumes. Check it out!

https://www.yellowbeakpress.com/collections/books/products/ralph-ashwell-book

We are excited to announce our latest book about Harrisburg, PA tattooer, Ralph Ashwell! Born in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania in 1901, Ashwell was a tattooer from the 1930s through the early 1960s. Working as a trade laborer who held various positions while also tattooing, he was a hidden gem amongst the other practitioners of his day. His flash embodies the functional, technical, and artistic aspects that defined a multifaceted, visually oriented craft. With a career that spanned the Great Depression, at least two wars, and the accompanying waves of servicemen, Ashwell always had something to offer everyone – from roses and banners to military insignia and pop culture imagery. Despite a somewhat elusive history, he holds a place among America’s twentieth century tattoo artists. This book will contain over 100 never-before seen full-color flash sheets beautifully painted by Ashwell, spanning the late 30s to early 60s, along with a biography written and researched by Carmen Forquer Nyssen.

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Weird Wit

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.awesome@gmail.com

The Deck of Cures-Mike Moses

Now available via Mike Moses’s webstore- The Deck of Cures. Tattoo flash reimagined, the set contains 54 individual ready to tattoo designs.

Check it out here: http://www.thedrowntown.bigcartel.com/product/the-deck-of-cures

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THE DECK OF CURES is the first ever tattoo flash set from Mike Moses. The deck comes shrink wrapped in a mega glossy tuck box and is comprised of 54 individual 3.5×5.75″ high quality cards. The cards themselves are 310gsm linen with a durable and smooth satin finish and a light texture that won’t translate into photocopy.

The black only designs are easily transferable to stencils and have a built in hard shading reference. Use them as is, or add your own unique color scheme for a collaborative effort. The deck is durable, easy to carry, easy to use, and above all, friggin’ sweet.

(Ghost tattoo by Samantha Scott, Crescent Moon by Caleb Ledley)

OV Book Review: Vintage Tattoo Flash

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According to the online photo storage site mylio.com, in 2015 an estimated 1 trillion photographs were taken world wide. Even if that number is slightly inflated using their metric, it’s fair to say that in 2016 more pictures will be taken in a 365 period than in the combined 202 years since Joseph Niepce took the what is believed to be the first photograph in 1814.

It’s an easy parallel to apply to tattoo flash; with the amount of tattooers working today and the cross cultural influence that our community has had on the art world with amateur flash designs appearing on tumblr, instagram and even god help us for sale at rock bottom prices on Etsy… a case can be made that there are more sheets of flash being produced per annum than ever before.

Why is it, then, that when you crack open a book like Tattoo Flash: 100 Years of Traditional Tattoos from the collection of Jonathan Shaw you see the designs that scores of artists are trying to reproduce in great volume at their rawest; free of ego or cleverness or embellishment- just pure folk art drawn by tradesmen tattooers, each design tweaked and perfected for the purpose of tattooing within the limitations of their craft. What colors were available and what would hold up, details that needed to be softened because a tattooer who was looking ahead wasn’t thinking about how the tattoo would look when he finally dipped the sponge in the bucket (with a drop of lysol for sanitation) to wipe the blood off before slapping a bandage on but how it was going to look it ten, twenty years… things that tattooers knew that more highbrow artists wouldn’t even consider are reflected in the bold will hold simplicity of an Ace Harlyn designed horse head and banner from 1948. It’s just a design that’s perfect to tattoo.

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Luckily the book doesn’t try to make sense of all that. It’s not a commentary on tattoo culture present or future- just a loving look back at the roots of designing tattoos from some of the art’s acknowledged masters who, along with the unknown tradesmen who carried their designs from town to town- setting up near a military base or carnival, plying the trade for people who didn’t need a sociology degree to pick out the perfect tattoo, right there on the third sheet from the left, for $6 and who walked away with a story right here on their arm.

The book is hefty; coffee table sized to do right by the amazing collection of flash that legendary tattooer Jonathan Shaw  has amassed over his decades of tattooing and traveling. Flipping through the pages you find image after image that the average working tattoo artist could still make a buck off of without having to reimagine or overthink. Lady heads, skulls, Hot Stuff Devils and the ubiquitous snarling black panther already laid out and ready to go (though you may want to change the prices up a little; $12.50 for a chest piece may send the wrong message) for their clientele.

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For newer tattoo collectors who frantically try to keep up with their favorite artists via Instagram, this book will be an eye opener. That weird “neo-traditonal” piece your favorite social media tattooer just dropped a stencil of on tumblr? Bert Grimm designed that when your great-grandfather was out raising hell as a new boot recruit in the USN, piling into the shop with his friends and finding the right Hula girl or WHO ME? duck to add to the growing collection he has under his whites.

Either way, artist or collector, your money will be well spent if you pick up 100 Years of Traditional Tattoos from the collection of Jonathan Shaw. It’s packed with never before seen flash sheets from Shaw’s exhaustive archives; eye-poppers from Tennessee Dave and Greg James circa 60s/70s, Bert Grimm, Bob Shaw, Ed Smith, Tex Rowe…  every page a reminder of the power of simple, clean, bold traditional tattoo designs.

You can find out more about the book at PowerHouse Books, or order it on Amazon.com.

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Rob. Williams and Jonathan Shaw

 

 

 

Sailor Vern Pre-Order @ Yellow Beak Press

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Pre-orders have gone live over at Yellow Beak Press for their latest offering- SAILOR VERN.

From their website:

An upcoming biography: Sailor Vern Ingemarson, a tattooer for 30+ years, was a disciple of Cap Coleman. In the 1940s, he started his career working alongside Coleman and Paul Rogers in Norfolk, VA and later worked with Duke Kaufman in San Francisco. This book contains never before seen flash, acetates, photographs, and line drawings from Sailor Vern, Duke Kaufman, Cap Coleman, Paul Rogers, Percy Waters, and many more.

  • 258 Full Color Pages
  • 9×12 Heavy Hardcover Format

Yellow Beak consistently puts out the best tattoo history books on the shelves, so jump in early and get yours secured!

http://www.yellowbeakpress.com/collections/books/products/sailor-vern-book-pre-order

Tattooers on Instagram: Wayne Bernard

 

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Yet another “I miss the 1990s” post.
We have things really good these days; you pick just about any major city and there’s probably a handful of quality tattooists represented. Some of them may have only been at it a few years, but they’ve gotten it down and are Instragramming the hell out of their work building a book of devoted clients. And if their work doesn’t grab you, the four other artists in the shop just might. But in my beloved 90s when magazines took forever to come out (think a three month lag time between when a tattoo was photographed and when it was printed; and that’s if it was even accepted by the editors) and you may have to travel hours just to find the right tattooists… we were lucky. Where I was living at the time (just outside of Tampa) we had it better than most. There was a boom that was the biggest I’ve ever seen in a non-military town- of tattoo shops in the early 1990s that saturated the city with solid work. We had John Hinmelstein, Skip Sampson, Chad Chesko, Wayne Bernard, Annette Larue and a handful of other stellar tattooers who made their name the old fashioned way- by doing great work, not by having the most “likes” on Social Media.

But since OV is technically social media….

I met Wayne Bernard almost 25 years ago. He was working with Himmelstein at a little tiny shop with no flash. They drew every tattoo that came in the door in the heyday of strange tattoo requests. He’s moved along since then- Currently in Southern California- but he’s still doing really solid, strong American tattooing.
Follow him on Instagram here: http://instagram.com/wayne_b

 

Blueprints!

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It’s always a good day when I get information on a new Yellow Beak Press project in the mail.

In 2015, Yellow Beak Press will be releasing their upcoming biography Sailor Vern. Leading up to the release of the Sailor Vern book, Yellow Beak Press will be selling limited prints of selected Percy Waters blueprint sheets from Sailor Vern’s personal collection. They will be 18×24 offset printed posters on 80lb gloss paper. Every one of these sheets carry with it classic imagery from one of the greats, presented in Waters’ unique printing method. We will be releasing each sheet individually over the course of the next few months and will reveal more detailed descriptions of each as they are listed. The first in the series will be released this week! Available now in the Yellow Beak Press store. Aaron LeGore will be selling them as well on ebay and through his shop, Calamity Jane Tattoo (970)424-5065.

Stay tuned for more details about the Sailor Vern book and follow us on instagram @yellowbeakpress or check our blog for more updates!  

The photos I’ve seen from the book are amazing; when the pre-order comes out I’ll get the information up.