Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Robert Ryan writing from 2007

Thom Devita flash from Scott Harrisons website. It has the aura I was looking for.
One of the reasons why I haven't written anything new is I feel I dont have anything to say. So, I will just re-post this great writing by Robert Ryan, from February 2007. It illustrates the reason why this blog even exists.

Ps. I remembered this Robert Ryan gem when I was watching Juan Puente interview Hanky Panky. It just echoed the same tone.

Living through ghosts

This month it is down to the wire. Myself, Mike Schweigert, and Tom Yak had decided upon a location for a new tattoo shop last year. We chose a modest size spot in the downtown area of Bradley Beach. After a year of legal tangles and headaches we are almost ready for opening which leads me to the subject at large here, Hand Painted Tattoo Designs. 

One of the first ideas/promises we had made to each other is that the shop would be adorned with original hand painted flash. This is the way of the old school and a practice that is pretty much moot in this country. In our area alone, most shops have gone the route of color copied commercial tattoo designs or an even more homogenized approach of flat screen computers with websites of tattoo images to choose from. Im my opinion both routes are shrewd in the business department but also lack in showing the customer that the shop they have chosen are competent in drafting, composition, and style. The other drawback is that the images are completely drained of the intended power and light. This leads me to why I have chosen this subject to expand on. 

For The last 10 months I have been drafting sheets of classic tattoo designs. Many are shop standards of a time long forgotten yet still relevent today. It's far beyond the point of being nostalgic or retro. As I Study, Sketch, Scribe, Pen, & Watercolor paint these sheets an incredible feeling of history, lineage, and commitment have come over me. To see these designs in the way the masters had seen them. As well as to sit in a foxhole of a scared soilder waiting to meet his enemy or to swab the deck of a warship like many frustrated and lonely sailors have. To travel to exotic places and bring home these permenent mementos of rare tigers and dragons. To embelish ones self with indelible lodge symbols & lovers names or just to express simple emotions of Strength, Beauty, Love, Hate, and Faith. 

This has restored to me the meaning and the joy of tattooing. In a day when we are surrounded with high definition and multi layered special effects these designs and the ones that first brought them to fruitiion sing to me in song so true. As I render them in my own hand and offer them to all I can hear the chorus of many ghosts who have left a mark forever on thousands and also have nurtured a true American folk art. With respect and dignity may I do the same. 

Robert Ryan


  1. It's really cool that you guys are gonna stick to your own style and not commercialize yourselves. Have you heard of the new documentary Tattoo Nation? It follows the rich history of tattooing in America, I feel like you guys would appreciate it.

  2. I did not know this tattoo trend was going around. Sporting someone else’s brand name or logo - as a tattoo - is it just free promotion for all?

    Why do people get tattoos of brands? Is it because they own the brand? Because if I personally owned a clothing label/nightclub/company, I’d be able to think of a million better ways to spend $50. Is it because you think the CEO of said company will see your cool new ink and award you some merchandise? Even if so, the best you’ll get is a cap that probably has the same logo on it and you’ll end up looking like an even bigger dickhead…

    (if that is possible) than you did originally. I won’t lie, if Streets alerted me to the fact that a Bubble O Bill tattoo would result in a lifetime supply of free ice cream, I’d probably go get the tat today. However, (despite my many attempts to get in touch with Streets) this will never happen and I would end up looking like a moron with a sexually ambiguous cowboy on my lower back (I’d get it there for added lols).

    For the rest in our series, here’s the links….
    Top ten terrible tattoos no. 1: Southern Cross tattoos:
    Top ten terrible tattoos no. 2: Sleeves, the Clothing Replacement Edition:
    Top ten terrible tattoos no. 3: Your own name, the memory loss edition:
    Top ten terrible tattoos no. 4: The tramp stamp
    Top ten terrible tattoos no. 5: The Asian symbol tattoo
    Top ten terrible tattoos no. 6: Your significant other’s name
    Read Jade Fosberry’s introduction to the series here:

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  4. It's always important to be yourself, especially when getting tattoos !

  5. Can we ever see the drafts of your classic tattoos ?

  6. That is nice collective information about Tattoo making Art. Art in any field have work.

  7. Love the blog and the comments are hilarious! When you get a chance check us out at

  8. We at thank you for this useful info!!!

  9. Great to hear about artists trying new things and pushing themselves. Everyone should always be constantly learning, especially in the tattoo industry. Originality will fade overtime without people pushing the boundaries. Dealing with client expectations can be difficcult though. I usually suggest people check out a site like to get ideas and elements for their own design and then the artist can put their own unique spin on it. It is not often an artist gets free rain but when they do the results can be amazing.