I’ve been obsessed with hand painted tattoo flash since before I apprenticed to tattoo. I use to work at Sacred Rose Tattoo, the original location in the Mission on Guerrero at 15th St. I was the counter help and the shop was covered in flash. Most of everything that hung in the lobby was double-sided, so there were thousands of images for me to study while I sat at the counter. I also sat with a library of reference book below the counter. I systematically read as many of these books as I could. The internet wasn’t the beast it was today and this was the first time I had access to books like New York Tattoo, Flash from the Past, and Doomsday Bonnet, not to mention the three ringed binders full of line drawings from all the artists who had worked there over the years. I was hoooked on tattoo flash. But, it was really the Sailor Jerry Letters book that had a huge impact on my ideas about tattoo flash. It was here that I decided I was gonna work on Arches cold press paper and use a nib pen #5 1/2 B, because Jerry did. Jerry was constantly producing tattoo flash and I wanted to do the same. The idea of trading tattoo designs with other tattooers via post was also an incredibly romantic idea to me. I have always been into mail art. This seemed like a natural extension of the art post cards I had been making and sending for years.
I have written about my flash trade project here before. It’s an ongoing project with no real due date. I just love making tattoo flash and I always have a sheet in progress. When the project is done, I’ll just know, and then I’ll publish the results. For the last 3 years or so I’ve really been working at it hard. I’ve produced a lot of flash. Currently I’m making about 2-3 sheets a month. One sheet a week when I’m really on top of it. Most have been traded away at this point, but I do have a small stockpile laying around at any given time for artists who want to trade. Here is some of the stuff I made at the end of 2013 and one sheet from January of 2014. Currently I’m working on all black and grey images which I’ll post next week.
And don’t forget tattoo flash is for tattooing. So if you see any designs you’d like to wear please come into FTW Tattoo Parlor at 6536 Telegraph Ave, Oakland Ca. 94609. (510) 595-0FTW I work every day noon-7pm Saturday-Wednesday.