Friday, June 4, 2010


Apprenticed under: Tux Farrar

Shops: Not allowed for the Internet

Daniel Higgs started tattooing somewhere around 1984 and apprenticed under a person by the name of Tux Farrar. It was trough Tux that Daniel was introduced to that great lineage of tattooers, most notably perhaps Thom Devita from who Tux also got the aura and path from. And you know the path that I am talking about. It is in all the flash sheets that you see. In every tattoo shop that looks like one. It is the CODEX PBBC1891 for all this. And that is what Daniel also recognized – even if he didn't completely know what IT really was – and started to expand the vocabulary of tattoo artists. In fact he was one of the few people who re-wrote the book. He took what was before, embraced it and then gave it another birth. He re-introduced the overlooked path of using black like it was the truth and made his designs simpler, more dynamic and bolder than was accustomed that time (a secret hint: take a look at the Owen Jensen flash in the book Pierced Hearts and True Love if you want images to those words), but most importantly he was one of the few who brought outside influences to tattooing. That is the Seed motherfucker's, The sacred seed.

There is that spark in the work he put out. CODEX PBBC1891. Why is that? Well, I think if you are a tattoo artist and want to see tattoos by The Higgs, you really shouldn’t. Don’t copy, discover. Because One thing is certain. Daniel didn’t sit in front of his computer looking at Myspace while hitting refresh to Chad Koeplinger's page. And neither should you. Stop looking at other tattooers work for influence. Now people are doing it because they think it is cool, but they used to do it because it meant something. Because it used to be – back in the day – unusual to see work from other artists. The sailors and travellers were the calling cards. It was exiting to see the same images done with slight moderations. We are part of something bigger they might have thought. But now when tattooing is more bigger than ever with more tattoo artists than you can count, it's not the same as it used to be. Daniel himself, in cold blood, refuses anyone to share his tattoo work in the internet. If he hadn’t done that then tattooing would start dying because of the standard of mediocrity and non creative copying. Because people don't respect the myths or want to learn from them, they just want to beat them and don't even stop to THINK about what they are doing. It seems that everyone just wants to be the king and I think Daniel saw that. He knew that by just sharing his stuff openly to everyone there would be the danger of people making it into a competition. And that in turn would make all the symbols that he used in his work meaningless.

I think it can be said that what Daniel did is bring the occult back to tattooing. But he didn't do it in a way that separated him from the rest. No. He wasn't this so called “Jock tattooer”, one who just wants to beat the guy who came before by making a “better” design that is more “out there”. He wasn't out there to beat any records. No, he just gave tattooing back to itself. Brought it closer to us as human beings. He knew that tattooing had something in it that you just cant explain. The feeling you get when you are looking at a old flash sheet. It is at the same time mysterious but familiar. Timeless but still rooted to the present day. It is the lifeline of us. It is here all the time but it changes constantly. And at best tattoo artists are those who bring to life those unique images that still resemble each other to a degree. It's not a competition. It just is.

No one path is the same, that is what Daniel gave tattooing. He made it matter. Because we matter.

BE THE YOU and give tattooing back to tattooing, give it back to all of us.

With love, wonder, curiosity and more questions than answers,