Yellow Beak Press

Polishing the Black Stone: Scott Boyer

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Earlier this week I was asked to appear on a podcast. I declined. Luckily for us, Scott of Yellow Beak Press isn’t as curmudgeonly as me; he sat down with artist Nick Filth for an episode of Polishing the Black Stone. You can listen to the episode (or check out previous casts) here: http://www.nickfilthtattoos.com/polishingtheblackstone/

Scott Boyer is one of Nick’s closest friends despite the distance between them. Nick had recently taken a trip to Colorado Springs to visit Scott with the intentions of doing Sensory Deprivation. It was Nick’s first time, and they immediately recorded the podcast after. The hour an a half podcast is the result.

 

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The World’s Greatest Tattoo Fan

“In all societies, the man or woman who is not decorated in some way – changed from their natural state – is, in a sense, decoratively inarticulate…body decoration is a type of language or code, which is spoken through hairstyles, mutilations (pierced ears), tattooing or painting (makeup). In the West, because of our obsession with clothing for almost all parts of the body…we have restricted the amount of skin available to be used as a cosmetic language. Most of us have forgotten that perhaps the first works of art dedicated to the combination of form and color were carried out on the skin.” – Mary Jane Haake

Another VHS tape sent in for archival by the fine folks at Yellow Beak Press, The World’s Greatest Tattoo Fan is a 1989 documentary on legendary tattoo fan Elizabeth Weinzirl. I’d write something up about Elizabeth and her friendship with Bert Grimm and her connection to the tattoo world, but that’s all covered in the documentary. Instead, I’ll encourage you to read the Wiki page on director/tattoo artist Mary Jane Haake to find out more about a very under documented tattoo culture personality.

 

 

 

 

 

Tattoo Totem: Sailor Vern

In 2015 Scott and Kayla of Colorado’s Yellow Beak Press released a comprehensive book on the life, times and art of Sailor Vern Ingemarsen (which can be found here: Yellow Beak Press) and they’ve just recently loaned me a copy of an obscure tattoo film called ‘TATTOO TOTEM’ that belonged to Calamity Jane. I’m in the process of capturing, editing and preserving the contents the whole video, but this first clip was too good to wait for the finished archival so we decided to let the cat out of the bag a little early.

The VHS- which was provided to Yellow Beak by Aaron LeGore- has some audio and tracking issues which I’ve done my best to fix. All things considered, given it’s age, it’s held up fairly well and is a great chance to put a voice to Sailor Vern.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Sailor Vern by Yellow Beak Press.. treat yourself. Like all of the YBP books it’s made by and for the tattoo community and their dedication to collecting stories from it’s golden age.

 

Lost Love 2 is coming!

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Our friends at Yellow Beak just rolled out the pre-order for their latest volume in the Lost Love series- 232 pages of vintage tattoo flash and never before seen photos. Scott and Kayla are adding special goodies to the first 200 pre-orders (a photo print of Cap Coleman, a flash print, and a Lost Love themed enamel pin designed by @timbecktattoos) so get in early and secure what’s sure to be one of the best tattoo books of the year!

**Pre-Order** Lost Love Volume 2

 

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

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.

Occult Vibrations Book Shelf: LOST LOVE

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Bob Collins

Things go in cycles.
Back in they glory days of the 1990s, before large publishing houses realized that there was money to be made by mass producing generic tattoo books, we had it good. The books that were available pretty much fell into three basic categories:

Independent Press.
Scholastic./Medical.
Art Books.

1579927_10203135474375783_1196755382_nWhile clearly for profit, these books were niche sellers, made for a specific demographic (though in the case of Scholastic or Medical texts, often a shared one) who generally had to seek them out. I spent almost every Saturday during those years driving to Ybor City to check out the new pickups at Cindy Wheeler’s Three Bird’s bookstore; a one-stop-shop for zines, cult authors and tattoo books. The majority of my Hardy Marks collection came from those visits; Rocks of Ages, Forever Yes, Pierced Hearts and True Love… the best of the tattoos books were put out by and for tattooed people.

Things changed. Things always change. Someone realized that books on tattoos- culled from stock photos with a hack-for-hire to churn out ‘expert’ text illustrating biomechanical, tribal or newschool tattoos for casual readers in middle America- were a guaranteed seller. You went from Permanent Curios to The TOTAL Tattoo Book! overnight.

For a while it was absolutely possible, with due diligence, to track down and purchase almost every commercially released tattoo book available, and what’s more,  most were good. Better than good really. Some transcended and became iconic. Then things went a little crazy, with books by authors or photographers you never heard of flooding retailer shelves, each more bland then the one before it. The soul was gone.

After the mass production/consumption phase, we were in a black hole. Hardy wasn’t releasing books with any regularity. The internet became a depository for a quick fix (after all- photos could be uploaded real time from conventions and shops the world over; no more waiting for the latest issue of Tattoo Revue or Hardy compilation to be released) and things got stale.

Lost Love preview.

Lost Love preview.

The cycle thankfully started to shift back in our favor a few years ago when tattooers began investigating the self publishing world, and thanks to online retail, were able to skip the middleman and find a global audience hungry for content. Dave Fox’s HAUNTED, Grime’s TWO YEAR AUTOPSY and a handful of others became instant classics and started a wave that we’re now fully enjoying.

For my money, the best and brightest in this new generation of tattoo publishing has to be Yellow Beak Press. Started by tattoo collectors Scott Boyer and Kayla Grosneth, YBP burst onto the scene with 2012’s mammoth undertaking ‘Tattooing as you like it: The Legacy of Milton Zeis.” The book was an instant success; Boyer and Grosneth not only researching the life and times of Milt but also gathering 95 of the world’s top tattooers to reinterpret classic Zeis designs.

They followed it up with my personal favorite Yellow Beak offering, 2013’s ‘Born Weird’, a companion book to the art show of the same name with 29 amazing tattooers contributing disturbing, vile, prurient tattoo flash for a no holes barred adult audience. It remains my most recommended tattoo book that was released in 2013 though I admit given it’s lower than lowbrow designs it has a hard time ingratiating itself to casual readers.

1477700_10202668090211471_567420024_nFor 2014 they’ve taken another look into the past with ‘Lost Love’,  collecting (some for the first time) classic tattoo flash by  icons like Cap Coleman, Sailor Jerry Collins, Stoney St. Clair, Percy Water,Owen Jensen, Bob Shaw,  Zeis Studios and more. The pages lovingly highlight the roots of European/American tattoo designs that we all but take for granted today; dice, cards, snakes, panthers, Girl heads, Skunks and Ducks, Hotstuffs and Horses… 260 pages packed with designs that are as “ancient as time, as modern as tomorrow.” Scott and Kayla present the flash sheets along with archival photos, newspaper clippings and ephemera that influenced what went on to be classic designs and very little in the way of text. These images speak for themselves and will undoubtable influence a whole new generation of artists.

With more and more publishing being done digitally and Kindle and iBook editions starting to take market share, it’s nice to see a small publishing house stick to tradition and release honest to goodness print books, particularly when it comes to tattoo culture. With their third book they’ve proven themselves to be committed to properly documenting the best of tattooing’s past, as well as the brightest of it’s future. 

You can purchase Lost Love directly from Yellow Beak Press.