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Sailor Jerry Motorcycle Skeleton Tattoo Art
Sailor Jerry Motorcycle Skeleton Tattoo Art
Sailor Jerry Motorcycle Skeleton Tattoo Art

Sailor Jerry Motorcycle Skeleton Tattoo Art

Manufacturer: Taboo Island
Price: $50.00
This item is in stock
This original painting celebrates the great vintage tattoo designs of the 1940s and 1950s, focusing mainly on the work of Sailor Jerry from Honolulu.  Here is featured a great skeleton riding a vintage motorcycle.  It is hand painted on a wood panel, then given a weathering treatment to give it that aged, vintage look.  It looks like it could have been hanging in his tattoo shop since the 1940s!

It measures 13"x13" including the aged wood frame and comes with wire on the back for your hanging pleasure.  Like most of our wood items, these are made of recycled lumber yard cut-offs, meaning eco-friendly artwork for your walls.  Because each of these is hand painted, no two are alike!!

About Sailor Jerry:

If you really want a true classic tattoo, you’ll have to go back in time and cross the Pacific. When your tramp steamer hits the port of Honolulu, jump ashore and head set straight to Chinatown.  Soon, you’ll hit Hotel Street. You’ll know this by the sudden progression of wide-eyed sailors, foul-mouthed roughnecks, and general sanctioned mayhem. And there, tucked away on a steamy side street, you’ll see the bright red neon glow of “Sailor Jerry’s”- the tattoo shop that marked the fighting men of the Pacific for nearly 40 years.

You see, there aren’t many men like Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins around anymore. The father of old-school tattooing, Sailor Jerry was a true classic in every sense of the word. A tough old seadog with a shrewd intellect,  Jerry stood up for himself and stood by his work; earning a legacy that is still felt today.

It was clear from an early age that Norman was destined to leave his mark. Born on the west coast in 1911, Collins soon gained the moniker “Jerry” after his father noticed a similarity in disposition between the young troublemaker and the family’s cantankerous mule. By his teens, “Jerry” was hand-poking pelican ink tattoos as he ventured around the country hopping freight trains. At 19, he arrived in Chicago, cutting his tattoo chops in the infamous arcades of State Street.  It was there that he enlisted in The Great Lakes Naval Academy. Skipping the globe on schooner ships, Jerry passed through the China Seas and other remote ports of call - beginning a life-long obsession with Asian culture, art, and imagery.

Finishing his Naval stint in the late ‘20s, Collins decided to settle in the then “remote” island of Oahu, Hawaii. In some ways, his timing could not have been better (or worse- depending on who you ask!) for this “last outpost” would soon become the stomping ground for over a million soldiers and sailors. All of which were ready to live life to the fullest –usually contained within a 48-hour Honolulu shore leave!

And so, for the next 40 years, Sailor Jerry had a constant canvas of carousing military men to obsessively perfect his deftly crafted, boldly lined, balls-forward style that incorporated both American designs and traditions with Asiatic coloring and sensibilities. His one-of-a-kind tattoos and flash would eventually find their way into the highly secretive world of Japanese tattoo masters known as “Horis”.  Thus, Jerry became one of the first American tattoo artists to correspond directly with these masters -trading colors, designs, and techniques.

Yet Jerry, as high-minded and noble as this endeavor was, never lost his edge - or his sailor roots. A strongly opinionated libertarian and genius level prankster, Jerry was the definition of a social chameleon.  Whether reciting poetry on his radio program “Old Ironsides” or tattooing; Jerry lived life to the fullest – with a bigger than life persona more akin to the sailors of yesteryear.

Boastful stories and folklore aside, it was Jerry’s visionary innovations and unrivaled craftsmanship that led future tattoo artists and devoted protégés to marvel at his work. His classic yet groundbreaking skin art portrays a legacy that’s as true today as it was generations ago on those wild, devil-may-care streets of Chinatown. Or, as Jerry’s business cards famously said “My Work Speaks For Itself”…no truer words have been spoken.

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