Apprenticed under: Ed Hardy
Shops: Owns and operates Tattoo Archive in Winston-Salem, North Carolina which was opened originally in California 1984. Also worked in places such as: Tattoo City, Smilin Buddah Tattoo, Swallow, Snow and Professor Baldwin Tattoo Shop and also with Dean Dennis in SF who later gave his shop to Henry Goldfield.
The ones who choose to dedicate their lives for educating us about the lives that others have lived, are usually the ones who don't get the much needed praise. This electrical writing, as all the others ones I do, is done that in mind. May we never forget the ones who help us remember. Here is the tale of the pitch black Tattoologist of 1891, mister C.W. Eldridge.
Chuck started his tattooing initiation in great hands. He got marked many times by lord Ed Hardy in the spawn of 4 years and after he had gotten deep enough in the pitch black blood cult, he got offered an apprenticeship by Hardy in 1978. At that time Bob Roberts and the late Jamie Summers were also working at Tattoo City. So the company he had from early on was world class. Scary even. Good people in other words. Unfortunately, that very year Chuck got his apprenticeship Tattoo City burned down. The fire was caused by some maniac who was trying to kill his girlfriend in the upstairs flea bag hotel. Forces were against the young seeker. But you cant kill the will of those who control the dead. A journey had to be taken. Good thing Chuck had already been 4 years in the navy and traveled all over the world, visiting those faraway corners, exploring, thinking... So traveling wasn't nothing new to him. He decided to head to the land of permafrost, Canada, where he worked with Paul Jeffries in Smilin Buddah Tattoo, but said that “I was not cutting the mustard. It was good experience though and Paul and I remained good friends”. Powerful ally to have. He also did a short stint with Sailor Jerry Swallow in Swallow, Snow and Professor Baldwin Tattoo Shop, where he also must have heard about the old rites and meanings.
Then Chuck headed back to good ol' SF.
In there he started working with Dean Dennis in a shop that was located in a old butchers shop and in there they tattooed inside old meat locker. Amongst the spirits of once there stored animal kin. When Dean found religion (the OTHER one) he gave the shop to Henry Goldfield. Chuck also decided to take a big step in his own path. Berkley called. Thus was the first steps of becoming Tattoologist taken.
Tattoo Archive was summoned to existence in the years between 1980-84 and in 1985 Chuck began conjuring full time in the Berkley location. That is when he started actively resiting the secret tales of tattoo history "by writing articles for many U.S. and overseas publications, including National Tattoo Association, Skin & Ink Magazine, and Tattoo Artist Magazine“. Tattoo Archive is one of the corner stones of tattooing world. For me it holds the same magical aura as Ed Hardy's Tattoo City, Freddy Corbin's Temple Tattoo, Grime's Skull & Sword and many other cult places.
Its not an overstatement when I say that what Chuck has done with Tattoo Archive is first creating and then upholding the collective memory of tattooing. If you are dying to see some work done, lets say, by Cliff Raven, you can go see Chuck and he will most likely help you out, as long as you are worthy by conducting yourself in manner suited to human. Or maybe you want to study old flash, those maps that will lead you to feel the ways of yesteryear people, created by voices such as: Cap Coleman, Joe Lieber or maybe George Burchett. If that is your desire, then go see Chuck in Tattoo Archive. He will put the spell on you. He is one of the few people who can provide information about tattooers that just cant be found electrically or even from old ancient books. With out him it all might very well be lost in the air as soon as it left the lips of old timers shooting the shit.
But as the story usually goes, behind every great man (men) there is a great woman. The lady who will bless as with knowledge if we choose to acquire it. Harriet, the book mistress (www.bookmistress.net). The shop (in same place as Tattoo Archive) where she resides is filled with tales from the noble ones still with us and also true myths of the olden timers, who are the roots of our saga. If we read, we will learn. And then we will respect even more. Mistress Harriet, you are also saluted.
As it is clear that history is about keeping the tales alive, it is only fitting that in 1993 Chuck, along with Alan Govenar, D. E. Hardy, and Henk Schiffmacher, formed a nonprofit corporation, The Paul Rogers Tattoo Research Center ("PRTRC"). It might be that the Tattoo Archive wouldn't even exist in the magnitude it does now, if the late and great Paul Rogers wouldn't have bestowed his extensive tattoo collection to Chuck in 1990 when he passed away. Because mister Rogers was from North Carolina, Chuck decided to relocate Tattoo Archive to NC (somewhere around 2007) to birthplace of arguably the greatest tattoo machine builder there ever has been. Chuck gave back what he had received. And he just keep on giving, day after day, moonlight after moonlight.
So this blog post is for you Chuck (and Harriet). May we all be like you. Deathless as the pitch black year of 1891. Forever I will follow
Hail and Metta