I had an epiphany today! Sitting in my quiet nook in Los Angeles, a thought shot into my mind like an asteroid. It landed there and dispersed little bits and pieces into my brain for me to scavenge through. People, we are living through a really amazing moment in tattoo history.
Months ago, right around the time that I started apprenticing at Speakeasy Tattoo, I went to the Natural History Museum in Downtown LA. I specifically went to check out the Tattoo exhibition. I meandered the halls, read all the literature and learned a bit about the past and present state of the industry. It was cool to see the art form take center stage in a museum setting and to think about the perception expansion that has had to take place in order for an exhibit like this to exist. It was especially enriching to see the impact that Los Angeles artists have had on moving the needle. (Get it…moving the “needle”?! Hah!) But, I don’t think its significance really set in, until now.
The breadth of artists and generations of practitioners that are currently active is mind-blowing. But more so, the fact that we live in a time where communication is so immediate and travel so accessible that each and every one of us can be in contact with this wide variety of tattooers is astounding. How often will there be a tattooer that’s one hundred years old working at the same time as the new generation enters the scene? How much longer will there still be exceptional unknown artists hiding under nooks and crannies that you have to really seek out while others have millions of followers? At some point those unknowns may very well come to the surface.
My grandmother on my mom’s side lived to be ninety nine years old. She was born in a tiny, little village in Cyprus. I think the current population is less than thirty. A few years before she passed my mother, my niece, my grandmother and I were all together at my parent’s house in Lake Placid, NY. On that same trip home, my grandmother taught my niece how to make traditional Greek dolmathes. My niece was six. My grandmother ninety six. Four generations, ninety years apart, three thousand miles and an entire continent between us converged in a moment that the progression of time could never rush past. We were all there together and forever changed by it. This is the potential that exists in tattoo world right now.
I’m pretty lucky to have been born an artist and I’m super grateful that now is the time that I’m growing into tattooing.
Wanna see the lot of us from Speakeasy all dressed up? Why not! Here we are at Perch in Los Angeles last week. We had an awesome shop meeting and took some time to enjoy each other’s company while overlooking the city on a beautiful summer night. That’s Jesse with the skeptical look on his face. He often looks at Scott like that.
We also have a new mascot at the shop. A lizard I’ve named Little Guy. He comes and goes by the front door and has started to warm up to the fact that I come and go all the time. He’s even shuffled along side me when I enter the shop. It’s typically for just a second or two, but he does walk by my side.
I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you back here next time! 💋