Scott from Yellowbeak pointed me in the direction of this great video of Chuck Eldridge/Tattoo Archive from the folks at Paint & Paper Films. It’s always a treat to hear Chuck talking about tattoo history; particularly the history of North Carolina tattooing.
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.
Donald Edward Talbot Hardy was born on 6th January, 1945.
Almost his entire life has been devoted to tattooing. Happy birthday, Ed!
This photo, scanned from a 3″x5″ print, dates back to the 1970s and features Ed tattooing a unicorn on his client’s hand.
I hate that, to most people, the name Ed Hardy is synonymous with heavily cologned, spraytanned douchebags who hang out on the Jersey shore or at overpriced bars with stabbing problems. I prepare myself, every time I bring him up to non-tattooed friends, for the onslaught of easy jokes and snide comments about the t-shirts and hats and Valentine’s cards and perfumes that were adorned with his name/artwork during the Audigier years.
What we’re concerned about here at OV is his legacy as a tattooer; the artists he inspired with his work and with the Tattoo Time book series and that when you look at a 35+ year old photo of a ‘golden era’ Hardy tattoo you still think “man that’s cool.”
This photo was scanned from a 3×5 print that could date from the late 70s/early 80s that had no annotation. Other artists unknown.
This clip is an excerpt from an 8mm (film) recording made by Sailor Sid Diller at the Kissimmee, Florida shop of Ken Meyer sometime in the 1970s. It was converted to VHS tape in the mid 1980s and reimported to digital earlier this week at 720p and restored as much as possible though the tape has suffered considerable digital rot.
I first met Rudy in the early/mid 1990s through the UNIQUE classified ads. A self described ‘tattoo and piercing enthusiast’, Rudy and I exchanged letters and photographs over the years, sharing stories of our own tattoos and experiences. Our correspondence eventually fell off and, as is prone to happen, we lost touch with one another. I’m not sure what ever happened to him, though many of his letters are still in my collection.
Clipper Ship (center of chest) by Sailor Eddie Evans.
Dragons by Alan Oversby.
Rudy is briefly mentioned in an article by Gauntlet’s Jim Ward: http://runningthegauntlet-book.com/BME/jimward/20050715.html
In 1996 Rudy sent me a photocopy of a profile on him from the NTA’s magazine- what follows is a transcript. He did not provide a month/year/issue number.
My interest in tattoos became activated as a youngster in 1954 when I read a critique about Hanns Ebenstein’s book “Pierced Hearts and True Love” in a local newspaper in my native Switzerland. I wrote to Hanns, who in return put me in contact with one of the most famous British artists, Rich Mingins in London. 1955 I was sent to London for further education and then met Rich in person. The same year, probably the first national convention to place in a pub in London, organized by Rich Mingins, , Les Skuse from Bristol and Jessie Knight from Aldershot. This was also the start of my photo collection.
In 1957 I emigrated to the United States and got really involved in tattooing. My first tattoos were done by sailor Eddie Evans in Camden, New Jersey and Paul Rogers who then work with him. Work by Phil Sparrow (Chicago), (then Crazy) Philadelphia Eddie Funk, Huck Spaulding (Albany, N.Y.) and Buddy Mott (Rhode Island) followed.
I then realized that very many people are interested in tattooing, but had difficulties meeting others of the same interest. Therefore, in 1963 some friends and I in New York decided to do something about it. We found it the “Tattoo Club of America “, probably the first American Tattoo club. I collected news items related tattooing and in January 1964 published the first periodical dedicated tattoos, the “Tattoo News”. As a supplement the “History of Tattooing” was added from time to time. Tattoo tidbits and instructive news items, very much in the vein of the column now written by Lal Hardy for “Tattoo international”, where the main attraction of the publication.
On 5 October, 1964 I organized probably the first tattoo convention in the U.S.A. – and if you hadn’t already guessed it, Elizabeth Weinziril was, of course, there. That was the time when a few young artist such a sailor Jerry Collins of Honolulu started to change the style of American tattoos. The beginnings were small and the magazine only mimeographed, but it was a start. Unfortunately my job became more and more demanding so that the December 1966 issue of “Tattoo News” was the last to appear. I had nothing to do with the later magazine which took over my title.
In 1970 the cutback in the defense industry in the USA for which I worked as a physicist, forced me to look around and I went to Munich, Germany to work for a German firm. In 1973 this firm sent me to England, where George Bone and Alan Oversby in London have mainly worked on me since. I have not missed a single convention of the TCCB be since its beginning and felt very honored when I was asked on several occasions to be on the jury of the beauty contests.
It is good to see that the Tattoo tradition continues, many more people get tattooed with better designs, more clubs are founded , more publications printed and more conventions held. It shall continue.
I recently turned in an article for a new British tattoo zine about the tattoo videotapes that were mainstays in the advertisment section of tattoo magazines of the late 1980s and early 1990s; highbrow offerings like the more structured documentaries that Michael O. Stearns put out through his Metamorphosis II label, erotic offerings from photographer/anthropologist Charles Gatewood’s FLASH VIDEO line and the gonzo films of the legendary Royboy & Debra Cooper of the Badlands of Gary Indiana. The Royboy series especially captures a time/place in tattoo (and biker) culture that’s really unique and were always among my personal favorites.
This photo, scanned from a 3×5 print in the Occult Vibrations archives, features Debra Cooper with work by Royboy. it was taken at a Tattoo Convention in Tennessee in 1986. You can see more of Royboy and Debra by using the Royboy tag.