Artistic respectability in Hawaii
Honolulu was home to famed
Hawaiian tattooist Norman Keith "Sailor
Jerry" Collins. "Everyone looked at him as God," says
Lockhart, "for giving the modern tattoo revolution a major
boost." It was Sailor Jerry who began moving American tattooing
away from a piecemeal approach towards more Japanese-style,
unified, custom designs. He also started what you might call "the
brotherhood" among tattoo artists, bringing them out of the
underground and into the growing light of artistic respectability.
A ship and big-breasted babe
While in Hawaii we'll track down an original "Sailor Jerry"
tattoo. Tom plays private Hawaiian detective, hitting a few flophouses and
sailor bars in old Honolulu. He finds one on an old timer who's happy
to roll up his sleeve. There on his bicep is Sailor Jerry's
all-American stock-in-trade -- a ship and big-breasted babe.
Lockhart directs our eye to the subtle blends of colour and the
sophisticated shadings. But the old gent wants to tell us the story of
the tattoo -- the ship he sailed, the girl he lost, the tattoo artist
in whom he trusted his one and only skin.
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