Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink

Tattoo Machine: Tall Tales, True Stories, and My Life in Ink

English | July 14, 2009 | ISBN: 0385530528, 0385530722 | EPUB | 272 Pages | 2.3 MB

A behind-the-scenes tour of the fabled tattoo industry on the arm of a swashbuckling insider and natural-born storyteller.

In the eighteen years he's been a tattoo artist, Jeff Johnson has worked on everyone from nervous young coeds who turn green at the sight of his needle (chudders) to cocky would-be artists with fancy design degrees and weak constitutions (night hogs). As the proprietor of the legendary Sea Tramp Tattoo Company, he's inked gangbangers, age-defying moms, and sociopaths; he's defused brawls, tended delicate egos, learned to spot and avoid bunnies, and made it his mission to perpetrate ingenious and awful practical jokes on his fellow Trojans. He's a true swamp panther: He knows all the tricks of the trade and, more important, he knows how to keep his legendary shop in Portland, Oregon, from becoming the scene of a nightly bloodbath.

In Tattoo Machine, Johnson lifts the curtain on an art form that has undergone rebirth and illuminates a world where art, drama, and commerce come together in highly entertaining theater. A tattoo shop is no longer a den of social outcasts and degenerates-it's a workshop where committed and schooled artists who paint on living canvases develop close bonds and bitter rivalries, where tattoo legends and innovators are equally revered, and where the potential for disaster lurks in every corner.

Discussing everything from his days as an apprentice to some of the greatest inkers in the trade to the incredibly vivid nightly spectacular over which he presides, Jeff Johnson has written a sometimes riotous, sometimes harrowing, and always riveting memoir about what it means to be on the front lines of a global art revolution.


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