Wesleyan University The Honors College Wearing Your Dreams: Image and Imagination in the American Tattoo by Marina Kastan Class of 2008 A thesis submitted to the faculty of Wesleyan University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Bachelor of Arts with Departmental Honors in Art History Middletown, Connecticut April, 2008 2 Table of Contents Acknowledgements 3 Introduction cA Profound and Desperate Urge d 5 Chapter One cKeepers of the Images d: 16 The Origins of the American Tattoo Chapter Two cTo Express Current Mythology d: 35 Sailor Jerry and Tattoo Art Chapter Three cA More Interesting Surface d: 50 Don Ed Hardy and the Art Tattoo Conclusion cA Little Piece of Walking Surrealism d 66 Illustrations 73 Bibliography 108 3 Acknowledgements It is a pleasure to thank those people without whom I could not have done this: My advisor for this project, John Paoletti, for his willingness to tackle and keep an open mind about an unfamiliar topic, for assistance and understanding, and for his valiant efforts to purge clike d from my vocabulary. Clare Rogan, my second reader and academic advisor, for always making sure that I am on the right track. The art history department, ... more. less.
for teaching me what it means to look and to question.<br><br> My friends and family, for being endlessly supportive and offering the best possible kind of distraction. And especially my father, for all his help, love, and understanding&. and for reminding me that it 9s all just about having a good story to tell.<br><br> 4 There is no body but the painted body, and no painting but body painting. 4Michel Thévoz 5 Introduction: cA Profound and Desperate Urge d Whether we look at tattoos with awe or disgust, admiration or disapproval, it is a simple fact that tattooing is practiced all over the world and has been for thousands of years, reflecting what is perhaps an innate human need to decorate the body. Preserved bodies bearing tattoos have been found that date back as far as 4000 B.C.E, and it is not difficult to imagine that if more evidence remained it would be possible to trace the practice back even further in time.<br><br> Indeed, some of the oldest known representations of the human figure, like the Willendorf Venus, are painted with red ochre, suggesting that body marking was common as far back as the late Paleolithic era. Though its roots lie deep in human history, tattooing has not essentially changed. To create a tattoo, the skin is punctured, cut, or burned, and pigment is inserted into the wound; once epidermal tissue has grown over it, the mark is permanent.<br><br> In pre-industrial cultures, a mallet-like tool was used to tap a thorn, sharpened stick or bone that had been dipped in a solution of water and soot into the skin. Later, metal needles were used. Looking at a finished tattoo, we see the image through the upper layer of skin (the epidermis).<br><br> The pigment itself rests in the dermis, the skin 9s second layer. The electric tattoo machine, which made the process of getting a tattoo both quicker and significantly less painful, was invented in the late nineteenth century. In 1891 Samuel O 9Reilly, a British tattooist, patented a design for a machine that was 6 inspired by an electric engraver created fifteen years earlier by Thomas Edison ( fig.<br><br> 1 ). Edison 9s machine used a rotary system to move a needle rapidly up and down; O 9Reilly modified it by adding an ink reservoir. In the same year another tattooist, Thomas Riley, created a version of the apparatus that was powered by electromagnets rather than a motor.<br><br> The tattoo machines in use now are similar to those designed by Riley: needles are soldered onto a metal bar, and a capillary tube sucks ink into the machine, where it coats the needles and fills the spaces between them ( fig. 2) . When the electric tattoo machine was first invented, the only two colors in common use were black, made from soot or India ink, and a dull red, made from brick dust; water, saliva, or even urine were used as solvents for the dry pigment.<br><br> Tattooists were constantly experimenting to find other suitable pigments, testing possible formulas on their own bodies. Many shops used mass-manufactured pigments designed for sign painting or other graphic arts. Norman Keith cSailor Jerry d Collins (1911-1973) described how some tattooists would cspit in a box of kid 9s Prang watercolors and use that for red, green, and yellow. d 1 It was only by trial and error that tattoo artists learned how these colors would behave in the skin, about their brightness or permanence, and whether or not they might cause allergic reactions.<br><br> Indeed, many pigments were used that are now known to be toxic, such as cadmium red and cinnabar. (In large quantities, these are carcinogenic; in a tattoo, they might burn or irritate the skin.) Each shop had its own recipes and 7 sources that were kept secret and jealously guarded from competitors; the result was great variance in color quality. Even with so many tattooists working to find new color possibilities, the tattoo palette was limited until the 1960s to black, red, brown, green, yellow and white until, and it was only in the 1980s that pre-mixed pigments designed for use in tattoos began to be manufactured and sold.<br><br> The technologies for creating tattoos have changed over time, as have the reasons for getting them. Anthropologists have examined extensively the wide- ranging cultural functions 4 magical, religious, medicinal, and social 4of tattoos and the related practices of body painting and scarification. 2 Much has been written on the traditions of tattooing in tribal cultures, especially those of the South Sea Islands and New Zealand.<br><br> Noticeably absent from the body of academic work on body modification, however, are studies of the aesthetic aspect of tattoos and, until very recently, of the role of tattoos in Western culture. The reluctance of European and American scholars to study tattooing in the West, as evidenced by the lack of published work on the subject, would seem to indicate their discomfort with acknowledging such a tradition as anything but eccentric in their own society and certainly with treating it as a subject for serious study. This is unsurprising, considering the predominant negative opinion of 1 Letter from Sailor Jerry Collins to Don Ed Hardy, February 9, 1972, reprinted in Don Ed Hardy, ed., Sailor Jerry Collins: American Tattoo Master (Honolulu: Hardy Marks Publications, 1994), 116.<br><br> 2 For a comprehensive summary of the varying cultural functions of tattoos, see cGeneral Introduction d in Arnold Rubin, ed. Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body (Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural History, University of California Los Angeles, 1988). 8 tattooing in Europe and America, a view that has its roots in the prohibition of tattooing by the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.<br><br> The only explicit biblical reference to tattooing is in Leviticus 19:28, which reads: cDo not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves d (New International Version, 1973). This is a much-discussed passage, and it has been interpreted in any number of ways; it is unclear, for example, whether it prohibits tattooing in general or only tattooing in memory of the dead. Certain Talmudic scholars, including Maimonides, maintain that reference is being made to a Canaanite memorializing ritual in which the ashes of the deceased were rubbed into self-inflicted wounds, creating a permanent mark, and that other kinds of tattooing not related to these pagan mourning practices were allowable, perhaps even commonly practiced.<br><br> 3 While the New Testament does not mention tattooing specifically, passages from 1 Corinthians have been used as further justification for the prohibition of tattoos. Paul 9s epistle declares that the body is a ctemple of the Holy Spirit d (1 Corinthians 6:19, New International Version, 1973) and warns against defiling it (1 Corinthians 3:17). Commentators have taken this to authorize various prohibitions against abuses of body and spirit, but have often used it to regulate sumptuary and decorative behavior.<br><br> Of course, one must decide whether or not to tattoo the body is indeed to defile it; many would argue that adorning the body with tattoos is to celebrate it and that tattooing is no different from the wearing of makeup or jewelry. 3 See Alan Govenar, cChristian Tattoos, d in Don Ed Hardy, ed., Tattootime No. 2: Tattoo Magic (San Francisco, Tattootime Publications, 1983), 5-11.<br><br> 9 Though both Old and New Testament can be (and have been) variously interpreted with regard to tattooing, the simple historical fact is that religious authorities upheld a proscription against the practice. Islam has similar prohibitions, based also on the idea that tattooing alters the body or face of God 9s creation, and opponents of the practice regularly cite the Qu 9ran, where such alterations are said to be inspired by Satan, who orders his cdevotees to change what Allah has created d (An-Nisa: 119). This general condemnation of tattooing by the dominant Western religions has led the un-tattooed majority to view tattooing as transgressive and those with tattoos as a-religious, anti-social, and deviant.<br><br> Unsurprisingly, then, in Western culture, tattoos are often associated with the most undesirable of groups that exist at the margins of society: criminals, gang members, circus freaks, and even the mentally ill. 4 Hanns Ebensten points out: Bearing in mind, also, the fact that tattoos are mentioned as distinguishing marks and thus noticed in police records and 8Wanted 9 posters, but not indicated, for example, on the pages of a passport where provision is made for just such characteristics, it is perhaps understandable that the criminal classes are still often erroneously considered to be the most widely tattooed. 5 This widespread association with underclass sub-cultures and social types that have been generally viewed in a negative light is no doubt what has led to a dearth of 4 A 1968 article by Richard S.<br><br> Post in The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Political Science declares: cthe purpose of this paper is to show that the presence of a tattoo, or tattoos, can serve to indicate the presence of a personality disorder. d 10 serious literature on the subject of tattoos and a refusal to consider the artistic aspect of the marks themselves, since to do so would be tacitly to condone the practice or to admit that it has some cultural or artistic value. This is not to say that there exists no relationship between these supposedly unsavory groups and tattooing. Many criminals are extensively tattooed, and in certain places there have developed complex lexicons of symbols amongst prisoners 4there even exists an encyclopedia of Russian prison tattoos.<br><br> 6 Some gangs do have distinct emblems that members tattoo upon themselves to indicate their affiliation with and allegiance to the group. The history of tattooed performers in circus and sideshows is particularly rich and forms a vital chapter of the history of the tattoo in the United States. It is important to understand, however, that these groups form a minority within a minority.<br><br> Just as one might choose to focus exclusively on the history of tattooing amongst these negatively-viewed segments of the population, it is also possible to cite a period in the late nineteenth century when tattoos became immensely popular amongst the European aristocracy and nobility. 7 Nonetheless, the reality is that from the time that tattooing was rediscovered in the West until relatively recently (from the 1960 9s on), the majority of those westerners with tattoos were young, working-class males. The earliest members of this group were sailors who came into contact with native peoples who practiced tattooing.<br><br> In some sense, then, the history of tattoos 5 Hanns Ebensten, Pierced Hearts and True Love: An Illustrated History of the Origin and Development of European Tattooing and a Survey of its Present State (London: Derek Verschoyle, 1953), 33. 11 in the modern Western world began with the first exploratory voyages made by Europeans in the late fifteenth century. However, it was not until the second half of the eighteenth century that a significant number of people who were not sailors were made aware of the practice of tattooing.<br><br> In 1769, the British explorer Captain James Cook traveled to the South Pacific, where he encountered and was fascinated by the body modifications of the peoples that inhabited Tahiti and Polynesia. There, abstract black tattoos covered the bodies of most of the men ( fig. 3 ).<br><br> Upon returning from a second journey to the islands, he brought back to England a heavily tattooed Tahitian man named Omai and introduced tattooing into the public consciousness. It was from the peoples of the South Sea Islands that European sailors learned the technical aspects of tattooing 4indeed, the very word ctattoo d derives from the Tahitian tatau , which meant cmark made in the skin d and which recalled the sound made by the repetitive tapping of a hammer on the comb used to puncture the skin in traditional Oceanic tattooing. However, the stylized geometric designs that possessed so much symbolic power for the people who had created them were meaningless to Westerners, and a uniquely Western style and iconography quickly developed.<br><br> Ex-sailors opened the first tattoo shops in port towns, and a clientele that consisted largely of other seamen dictated a set of images that grew out of their military and nautical affiliations. Designs served as souvenirs of voyages, indications of rank, charms against the dangers of the sea, or reminders 6 See: Baldaev, Danzig. Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia (Göttingen, Germany: Steidl Publishing, 2003).<br><br> 12 of loved ones left at home. These images were arranged on cflash d sheets 4pages of painted designs, usually organized by subject 4that hung on the walls of a tattoo shop and from which customers could choose an image ( fig. 4) .<br><br> Custom designs were virtually non-existent. In fact, only a minority of tattooists actually drew the flash they displayed; most purchased or were given sheets of designs and made stencils from these. The stencils were sheets of celluloid, and later acetate, in which the design was dotted lines made by pricking the sheet.<br><br> The image would be transferred to the skin by a method not unlike the Italian Renaissance technique of spolvere that was used to transfer drawings to a prepared surface for painting. The skin was coated with Vaseline and the stencil was placed on top; powdered charcoal was rubbed over the sheet so that a pattern of dots, made as the charcoal was forced through the prick marks, would remain on the skin to be used as a guide for the tattoo. The style in which these designs were executed was largely dictated by technical limitations and a desire for legibility.<br><br> A tattoo was heavily outlined with black ink and then accented with touches of color. Tattooists focused on completing tattoos as quickly as possible and aimed for clarity and consistency. Artistry was hardly a concern; the designs functioned as mementos or talismans, and their power was in what they symbolized more than how they looked.<br><br> Because of this, the tattoos were worn like badges: small, isolated images that were placed without concern for the way they might interact with the musculature of the body or with other tattoos ( fig. 5 ). Very little attempt at innovation was made, since more 7 Ebensten, 66.<br><br> 13 complicated designs were impossible to transfer to skin without a wider range of pigments and the possibility of more subtle line. Furthermore, there was no incentive to innovate: those practicing tattooing saw it as a commercial rather than a creative pursuit, and as long as the designs on the flash sheets sold, there was no need to create new ones. The catalyst for transformation came in 1868, when the Tokugawa Shogunate fell and Japan opened to the West for the first time.<br><br> Japanese tattoos resembled neither the Western nor the tribal equivalents. They were colorful, coherent images in which large areas of stylized, natural forms, such as clouds or waves, surrounded a primary subject. These mural style tattoos covered the back and often extended down the arms and legs, following the contours of the body.<br><br> Subtle shading and careful compositions imbued the tattoos with a sense of volume and dynamic movement ( fig. 6) . Japanese tattoos were unique in that they were primarily decorative rather than social in their function; the aesthetics of the tattoo were the principle concern of the tattooist, as well as of the person who was tattooed.<br><br> Exposure to this tradition did not by any means instantly transform tattooing in Europe and America. It did, however, expand the iconography; as sailors returned from Japan newly tattooed, others, seeing them, wanted similar images put on their own bodies. Yet with photography still a rarity, the only examples from which to draw inspiration were the actual tattoos, of which there were relatively few.<br><br> The impact of Japanese tattooing was, then, limited. Large-scale tattooing was time- 14 consuming and simply not profitable, so for some time, the most noticeable effect of Japanese tattooing on the West was the sudden popularity of dragon tattoos. It was not until the early twentieth century that Western tattoos began to show evidence of the East 9s influence in any substantial way.<br><br> The catalyst for this change was, to an extent, the growing accessibility of cameras and photography, but it was more essentially the concerted efforts of certain individuals to learn about and incorporate the Japanese style into their tattooing Sailor Jerry is the most significant of these. Having served in the navy and settled in Hawaii, he was certainly a part of the conventional sailor tattoo tradition, and indeed many of his tattoos look very similar to flash images of the time. He was, however, unique in the way he viewed tattooing: he believed that the medium had a great deal of unrealized aesthetic potential and should be regarded as an art every bit as legitimate as drawing or painting.<br><br> He was also a technical innovator, and he offered up his extensive knowledge of machine tattooing and pigments in order to begin a correspondence with the leading tattooists of Japan. Using images they sent him for inspiration, Sailor Jerry forged a style that combined aspects from both the Eastern and Western traditions. Though Collins sought to cupgrade d the profession of tattooing, his ability to create change was limited by time and place.<br><br> Working in Hawaii, he was far from urban centers where his images would be seen by a larger and more open-minded public. It was not until the next generation, then, that tattooing began to be more widely understood as the art form that Collins believed it to be. One man in 15 particular, Don Ed Hardy, was largely responsible for the further transformation both of the tattoos themselves and of society 9s view of them.<br><br> If Sailor Jerry was a tattooist who did his best to make tattoos into art, Ed Hardy was an artist whose chosen medium was the tattoo. Having graduated with a B.F.A. in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, Hardy was one of the first tattooists with a formal education in the visual arts.<br><br> His understanding of a wide range of pictorial traditions gave him the means to create tattoos that combined images and techniques from various traditions sources of inspiration, establishing hybridity as a creative principle that continues to characterize tattooing in America today. This thesis seeks to track the development of modern American tattooing by establishing a trajectory from the sailor tradition of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through Hardy 9s work on the West Coast in the 1970s and 880s and into the early 890s. I will look especially at the influence of the Japanese style of tattooing as fully introduced to the West by Sailor Jerry Collins and Hardy expansion of the repertoire of images and styles.<br><br> Certain recent studies (notably those by Margo DeMello and Clinton Sanders) have addressed the changing social functions of tattoos and what Arnold Rubin calls the ctattoo renaissance d of the 1970s as a cultural phenomenon. No significant work has been done, however, that looks at the images themselves; this study will analyze visually the tattoos of both Collins and Hardy, which speak of the rich and multi-pronged history of the medium and are themselves distinctly modern. Finally, having mapped the 16 transformation of tattoos from ritual to art, I wish to discuss the implications of the tattoo as art object and its place in the commercial art world.<br><br> 17 Chapter One: cKeepers of the Images d: the Origins of the American Tattoo When we think of tattoos, inevitably a few specific images come to mind: the anchor, the pinup, the heart that reads cmom. d These are stereotypes, but they do point somewhat accurately to the beginnings of the tattoo tradition in America. Around the turn of the twentieth century, when tattoos were first becoming popular in Europe and America, the majority of those getting tattooed were sailors, and the images that they chose to have inked on their bodies reflected their profession and lifestyle. By the time tattoos became popular among a larger demographic (though one that was still made up primarily of working class men), a limited iconography was already codified.<br><br> It is possible to divide the images of this early American tattoo tradition into fairly concrete categories: inscriptions in honor of loved ones, erotic images, images related to profession or rank, patriotic images, talismans designed to ensure safety at sea, and souvenirs of places visited. Alan Govenar describes the style in which these conventionalized images were executed: Drawn with a directness of line and form, a folk tattoo represents its meaning in a concrete image. Ultimately, the content of the image is primary to its understanding and appreciation, regardless of the virtuosity of the drawing itself.<br><br> Folk tattoo designs tend to emphasize the two-dimensional 18 plane of the surface on which they are drawn, although shading is often used to create a chiaroscuro effect. 8 Heavily outlined in black and filled in with solid colors, the goal was not realism but legibility ( fig 7) . A red heart, a rose, a cross 4 each is immediately recognizable, even from a distance.<br><br> Indeed, it was, as Govenar suggests, a form of folk art, a decorative tradition that was developed by artists without formal training and without a self- conscious relation to any sophisticated artistic tradition. Long voyages at sea meant extended periods of time away from friends, family, and lovers, and certain tattoos served to remind sailors of those left behind, or perhaps to convince those left of a sailor 9s allegiance. These tattoos generally consisted of a name or initials, usually written in a banner (serving as a frame for the text), often wrapped around hearts or flowers.<br><br> The words ctrue love d might accompany the name, or appear on their own; one common placement for this tattoo was across the knuckles, one word on each hand. A similar tattoo could memorialize a loved one who had died, though in this case the banner was generally wrapped around a cross and might also include the dates of birth and death. In contrast to these inscriptions that stood in for a wife or girlfriend were the erotic, figurative female images, usually called pinups, which represented in a more general way the absent gender.<br><br> Perhaps the design with the most variation, many types of women adorned sailors 9 bodies; some simply embodied a generic ideal, while others corresponded to specific clichés. In either case, the specifically 8 Alan Govenar, cContinuity and Change in the Aesthetics of Tattooing, d in Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos (New York: Drawing Center, in association with Hardy Marks Publications, 1995), 81. 19 feminine sexuality of the figure was exaggerated.<br><br> Parry explains, cwhether it is a flyer-girl, an angel-girl, a pirate-girl, a Red Cross girl, a geisha girl, a butterfly-girl, or any other girl, her features and curves are suspiciously like those of a hefty dancer from the burlesque: sensuous, coarse, attainable. d 9 These were tattoos of true lust rather than true love. Certain designs acknowledged the trouble that indulging in such fantasies might cause: a pinup might include a banner reading csailors beware, d and one popular design featuring a woman seated in a martini glass holding alcohol and cards or dice usually bore the caption cman 9s ruin d ( fig.<br><br> 8 ) But more common than these warnings against the dangers of women, liquor, and gambling were tattoos that served as talismans against the dangers of the sea. Religious tattoos were common, a show of piety in exchange for the protection of God. Images of the crucifixion and Christ wearing the crown of thorns were standard, most likely because they were immediately recognizable.<br><br> These were two of only a handful of designs that were executed on a large scale, often covering a man 9s entire back. This placement ensured that the tattoo also possessed a more literal ability to protect: the most common punishment for misconduct on the ship was lashing, and a devout captain might refuse to whip a man 9s back if it featured a picture of Jesus or other religious image on it. The images of the face of Christ (or at least those executed by the more adept tattooists) were some of the most realistic tattoos of the time.<br><br> Covering the 9 Albert Parry, Tattoo; Secrets of a Strange Art (Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2006), 21. Originally published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1933. 20 back, they were large enough that more detail was possible than on the much smaller badge-style tattoo that would be placed on an arm or leg.<br><br> The hair, beard, and lines of the face were often rendered with a great deal of care ( fig. 9 ). Unlike many tattoo images, images of Christ were common in other mediums and could be used as examples; it is clear that many tattooists took advantage of this fact.<br><br> In contrast, crucifixion scenes were more complicated compositionally, and, given the narrative depicted, the figure of Jesus is much smaller in relation to the tattoo as a whole; the result is that, as in most tattoos, detail is sacrificed for clarity. Amusingly, without a source from which to glean what such a simplified body of Christ should look like, many tattooists depicted the Messiah using the conventions of representation of the other great figurative category of tattoos: pinup girls. The result, then, is a number of crucifixion tattoos in which Christ 9s features and curves are strangely feminine ( fig.<br><br> 10 ). The other common religious design generally executed as a full back piece was the Rock of Ages, an image inspired by the story of a preacher who took shelter in a fissure of rock during a storm and was saved from drowning, purportedly by the hand of God. A popular hymn was written in the late eighteenth century about the miracle, and in the early nineteenth century lithographs depicting a woman clinging to a cross-shaped rock in the middle of a stormy sea became popular ( fig.<br><br> 11 ). 10 Tattooists copied the compositions of these images exactly, simplifying them to suit 10 This image is striking in its similarity to depictions of Perseus and Andromeda. While there is no reason to believe that tattooists of the time were knowingly referencing this myth, it is highly likely that the Victorian prints of the Rock of Ages were executed with reference to or at least awareness of the Greek myth.<br><br> 21 their technical abilities. It is clear why the image held particular resonance for sailors, hoping that their God would save them, too, from a stormy sea. Most talismanic tattoos, however, were superstitious rather than religious.<br><br> A swallow, for example, represented a safe return home, since the bird 9s landing on a ship was understood as a sign that land was nearby. The words chold fast, d usually tattooed across the knuckles, were supposed to ensure that a sailor wouldn 9t lose his grip while in the rigging high above the deck. A pig and a rooster, two animals that can 9t swim, were an ironic amulet against drowning; a man would often have one tattooed on the top of each foot.<br><br> One of the most poignant of this type of tattoo was a full-back image of a ship in full sail, captioned chomeward bound. d A counterpoint to this design was an image of a sinking ship with an inscription that read csailor 9s grave. d This seemingly morbid design might be ctattooed as a simple statement of the perilous life of the mariner and his probable fate, or worn in a kind of reverse psychology as a talisman warding off just such an unhappy end. d 11 Either way, to admit resignation to the possibility of death at sea by wearing such a tattoo was in some way a statement of the dedication of one 9s body to the profession. Patriotic tattoos were, understandably, especially popular during times of war. Eagles and flags were ubiquitous.<br><br> Military images also became popular, though the pictorial range is suggestively limited, Ebensten, writing in 1953, alertly notes: 11 G. Irons, cSailor 9s Grave and The Great Wave, d in Don Ed Hardy, ed., Tattootime No. 3: Music and Sea Tattoos (Honolulu: Hardy Marks Publications, 1985), 40.<br><br> 22 The modern instruments of war, the tanks, battleships, submarines, and sten-guns find no places on the bodies of the tattooed. It is the scenes of nostalgia and olde-worlde charm which the seaman or soldier relishes, and even if the sinking ship on his vignette is not a schooner but a steamship, this is at least fifty years old and almost historic. Crossed rifles still follow an archaic gun pattern.<br><br> Uniforms or flags show no effort to keep up with the changing styles. No atom bomb explodes on any lusty chest. Patriotic and military tattoos, then, illustrated a romanticized, nostalgic image of war.<br><br> In an era when war had become depersonalized, characterized by destruction en masse that meant that both triumph and death had become anonymous, images that called to mind one-on-one combat were somehow reassuring. This kind of tattoo offered up a kind of hope that the individual would be acknowledged and remembered the way he would have in times past. Certain men might wear tattoos bearing the numbers of their naval battalion or the name of their ship, as they might the initials of a lover.<br><br> These were marks of commitment. In a similar show of pride, certain images represented specific benchmarks in the career of a sailor: When you had gone 5,000 miles at sea, you got a bluebird on your chest. When you 9d gone 10,000 you got the second bird on the other side.<br><br> When you made your second cruise you got a clothesline with skivvies and girls 9 stockings between them. If you crossed the equator you got a Neptune on your leg. .<br><br> . . A dragon showed you had crossed the International Date Line and every sailor that had, or if he wanted you to think he had been to Honolulu, wanted a hula girl on his arm so he could make her dance.<br><br> 12 23 This description also points to the tradition amongst sailors of getting souvenir tattoos, iconic images of far-away places they had visited. With its extremely rich tattoo culture, Japan, after its opening to the West in 1868, became a location in which many sailors chose to get tattooed. As a significant number of men returned to the United States with tattoos acquired in Asia, tattoos that offered a new vocabulary of images and new styles of representation, American tattooists took note and began gradually to widen the American repertoire.<br><br> This surge of interest in Japanese tattooing among Europeans and Americans is ironic given the fact that the Japanese government, determined to Westernize and concerned that the new visitors to the country would view the existence of a tattoo culture as barbaric, outlawed tattooing in 1872. Realizing that tattooing was a source of Western capital, the Meiji rulers changed the law such that Japanese tattooists could tattoo foreigners, though the ban on tattooing fellow citizens continued; this legislation remained in place until after World War II, when it was lifted by the occupying U.S. government.<br><br> 13 As in America, tattooing had developed certain negative connotations in Japan. Specifically, many had come to associate tattooing, especially full-body tattoos, with members of the yakuza , or gangsters. While it is true that many 12 Doc Webb, cSailors 8n Tattoos, d in Don Ed Hardy, ed., Tattootime No.<br><br> 3: Music and Sea Tattoos (Honolulu: Hardy Marks Publications, 1985), 10. 13 cA high-ranking official in General MacArthur 9s Occupation government saw the work of Tokyo 9s Horiyoshi II (Tamotsu Kuronoma, 1914-1991), and was sufficiently impressed to request a visit to the artist 9s studio. When informed that tattooing was a banned art, the officer ordered the law to be revoked, as he felt it ranked equally with other respected indigenous arts and crafts. d Quote from Don Ed Hardy, cJapanese Tattooing: Legacy and Essence, d in Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos (New York: Drawing Center, in association with Hardy Marks Publications, 1995), 62.<br><br> 24 members of the yakuza did (and still do) wear tattoos, the art in fact has its origins in the culture of the merchant class of Edo Japan and was closely related to more widely accepted art forms, developing side-by-side with the popular woodblock prints known as ukiyo-e. In Japan, tattooing is a serious art form, whose association with the yakuza is misleading. The Japanese tattooist Kazuo Oguri insists: ctattoo artists call yakuza tattoos 8odoshibori. 9 It means a tattoo that is just meant to frighten people.<br><br> The yakuzas don't care if it is artistic. d 14 For Oguri, tattoos only meant to frighten are something less than art, however artfully rendered. The fact that Japanese tattoo artists have a specific word for this kind of tattooing is revealing, and indeed the precise Japanese vocabulary for tattoos serves to create a clear distinction between types of tattooing that might be viewed with disapproval and those highly artistic tattooing that developed during the Edo period. While the popular term for tattoos in Japan is irezumi , meaning literally cthe insertion of ink, d this referred originally to a kind of punitive tattooing practiced by the government to mark criminals, a custom last carried out in the 1720 9s.<br><br> Japanese tattooists refer to their work instead as horimono , which means ccarved object, d and to themselves as horishi , the same word used by carvers of woodblock prints. The prefix hori , combined with part of the given name of the artist or the master under which he studied, became a tattooist 9s professional moniker. Oguri, for example, is known in the tattoo community as Horihide.<br><br> 14 Kazuo Oguri, cMy Apprenticeship, d in Steve Gilbert, ed., The Tattoo History Sourcebook (New York: Juno Books, 2000), 87. 25 It is important to examine the unique social situation from which horimono arose and in which it flourished, in part to understand its visual achievement, but as much because it was the particular middle-class social context and appeal of Japanese tattooing, as much as its aesthetic, that registered so powerfully with American tattoo artists like Collins and Hardy who were trying in their own cultures to erase the notion of tattooing as necessarily low-class. Until the beginning of the seventeenth-century, Japan was a feudally structured state.<br><br> Through the efforts of the warlords Oda Nobunaga and his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the country was unified and a centralized government, called the Tokugawa shogunate, established in 1603. The new rulers chose the city of Edo, now Tokyo, as the nation 9s new capital. With this overhaul of the empire 9s power structure came a restructuring of society.<br><br> Previously, three distinct social strata were recognized: aristocrats, samurai, and commoners. The shogunate looked to Confucianism for an alternate division of social classes, called shinôkôshô , which broke down society into warriors, farmers, artisans, and merchants. 15 Not only members of the new government but individuals from all these groups came to the new capital at the beginning of the seventeenth century.<br><br> Having been nothing more than a small fishing village prior to the arrival of the shogunate, Edo was then forming as the samurai counterpart to Kyoto (the Imperial center) and to the great commercial hub of Osaka, and it offered many opportunities for sudden and substantial prosperity. The merchant class especially was in a position to increase its already significant wealth in this atmosphere of rapid urbanization. 15 See W.<br><br> Scott Morton, Japan: its History and Culture (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1994). 26 Despite this favorable economic situation, however, merchants were the victims of a certain prejudice from the ruling class. Though they were already some of the wealthiest individuals in Japan and would become even more prosperous, they were considered to be at the bottom of the social ladder because they ccreate[d] nothing, living only on the exchange of goods. d 16 Regarded with distaste by the shogunate, the merchants living in Edo were subject to repressive sumptuary and other legislation.<br><br> Concerned that the laws limiting the behavior of the merchant class, known as the chônin , would cause the development of potentially explosive resentment towards the government, the shogunate established certain areas of Edo where these laws would not be enforced. The brothel and theater districts, then, became the quarters of the chônin. The merchants 9 unique social situation and rapidly growing disposable income meant that these areas became a kind of ccultural cauldron d where the arts of kabuki, ukiyo-e, and horimono developed and thrived.<br><br> We can look to the word ukiyo-e to provide some sense of the atmosphere of the chônin quarters of Edo. E means cpictures of d and ukiyo is most often translated as cfloating world d: that is, a realm in which rules did not apply and fantasy ruled. Ukiyo can also be taken to mean cthe here and now, d which indicates a constant focus on what was new and chic, ca hedonistic preoccupation with the present moment, with the latest fashions, pursuits, and lifestyles of urban culture. d 17 It is important to note, however, that in this liminal social place where nothing was 16 Sandy Kita, cFrom Shadow to Substance: Redefining Ukiyo-e, d in The Floating World of Ukiyo-E: Shadows, Dreams, and Substance (New York: Harry N.<br><br> Abrams, Inc. in association with the Library of Congress, 2001), 28. 27 fixed and the pleasures of the current instant ruled, there was a potent sense of the transience of things.<br><br> This bittersweet understanding of the brevity of human life shaped much of the art that came out of this world. Prior to the establishment of the shogunate, most of the art of Japan was commissioned by the aristocracy. The Edo period, then, was the first instance in which there was a market for mass-produced art.<br><br> With no real precedent, the woodblock prints that would satisfy this demand developed more or less spontaneously in the second half of the seventeenth century. While the technical process of woodblock printing had existed in Japan since the eighth century (used primarily to print the text of prayers and Buddhist seals), it was used in an illustrative manor for the first time in the Edo period, alongside the text of a new genre of literature called kanazoshi that cvividly portrayed the hedonistic life styles of Edo-period urban culture. d 18 Because this world was perhaps better depicted pictorially than with words, the images in these books gradually began to eclipse the text in size and importance, and finally began to be published and sold as single- sheet prints ( ichimai-e ). The style of the first ukiyo-e prints represents not only an attempt to break with traditional yamato-e painting that was the art of the imperial court, but also the way in which artists were discovering the possibilities and limitations of this new medium as they went along.<br><br> Though the prints were rarely if ever drawn and carved by the same person, the inventor of each image had to work with an understanding 17 Tadashi Kobayashi, Ukiyo-e: An Introduction to Japanese Woodblock Prints , trans. Mark A. Harbison (Tokyo: Kodansha International Ltd., 1997), 65.<br><br> 28 of the way in which his image would translate to a wood block. In fact, the kind of simplification that proved necessary was particularly appropriate to the task: bold, dynamic images illustrated the world of Edo poignantly ( fig. ).<br><br> Kobayashi explains this phenomenon in describing the work of one of the first notable ukiyo-e artists, Hishikawa Moronobu: Moronobu turned the as-yet unrefined techniques of early woodblock printing to his own advantage, deliberately emphasizing contrasts achieved by rough-hewn lines and stark black and white compositions, and his prints wonderfully suggest the aesthetic consciousness of the Edo townsman, who was fond of frank lucidity. 19 As with most things in the floating world, subtlety was not the goal. Quite the opposite, in fact 4life in the chônin quarters was a kind of over-the-top performance, and the art that imitated it just as much so.<br><br> This visually aggressive work that was immediately legible made ukiyo-e a perfect source of inspiration for tattoos, in which boldness and legibility are key, since the ccanvas d is in motion most of the time. If the style of ukiyo-e prints reflected the world for which they were produced, so did the choice of images. The most common subjects were well- known geishas, courtesans, and actors or scenes from popular Kabuki plays.<br><br> In the latter category, stories of heroism were especially popular. In feudal Japan, the figure of the samurai, with his code of chivalry, served as a kind of national hero. 18 Ibid, 69.<br><br> 19 Ibid, 70. 29 However, in the new social order of the Edo period, the samurai came to be seen by the merchant class as a corrupt oppressor. A new kind of heroic figure emerged, that of the cchivalrous commoner, d an underdog or Robin Hood figure, and stories and images of men of this sort became extremely popular.<br><br> 20 Of course, this kind of folk hero was not an entirely fresh invention. One of the most widespread examples of such narratives was a translation of a sixteenth century Chinese novel, the Suikoden (in English, cWater 9s Margin d), which told the story of a twelfth-century gang of bandit warriors. Multiple editions of the book were published throughout the Edo period in Japan, each illustrated with ukiyo-e prints representing the charismatic brigands.<br><br> Especially popular was the edition published in 1827 with illustrations by Utagawa Kuniyoshi depicting each of the 108 protagonists, sixteen of them with extensive tattoos ( fig.12 ). Indeed, the original text describes explicitly the tattoos of four of the heroes. This edition not only spurred a widespread craze for tattoos by creating an association between tattooing and the values of strength and courage represented by the characters of the novel, but also provided much of what would become the standard imagery for Japanese tattoos: both the tattoos worn by the figures in his prints and the figures themselves.<br><br> By this time, the ideal of the cchivalrous commoner d had become a reality in Edo in the figures of the otokodate , or street knights, and the hikeshi , or firemen. The former was kind of roving protector of the weak against injustice, and the latter played a crucial role in battling the destructive fires that constantly plagued the city, 20 Takahiro Kitamura, Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in the Japanese Tattoo (Amsterdam: KIT publishers, 2007), 28. 30 with its dense population, houses built of wood and paper, and frequent earthquakes.<br><br> Both the otokadate and the hikeshi were extensively tattooed, and their tattoos served to highlight their valor and courage. As Kitamura explains: To be an otokodate or a fireman required an understanding that death was not merely possible but probable&.This encapsulates a uniquely Japanese aesthetic, not just of bravery but also of brevity, best conveyed by the idea of mono no aware ( 8the pathos of things 9): 8The deep appreciation of an object 9s beauty, coupled with a sense of longing or sadness at the transience of that beauty. Accepting the ephemerality of all existence and understanding that its very transience renders a moment or creation more precious is a core concept of the [Japanese] culture.<br><br> It is also intrinsic in understanding tattoo art. 9 These men accepted and reveled in the fleeting nature of their high-risk lifestyles. Much like their lives, their tattoos were temporary, and though permanent to the bearer, ultimately destined to live only for the span of the host 9s life. 21 In this world of the flesh 4both in the sense of the focus on physical pleasures and the understanding that the current bodily moment is all there is 4this flesh art was particularly poignant.<br><br> The tattoos worn by the men of Edo drew heavily upon ukiyo-e images, and indeed many of Japan 9s first tattooists were the carvers of the woodblock prints 4 fully aware of the aesthetic tradition but eager for a different medium in which they would have the opportunity to exercise more individual creativity than in the printmaking world, where they were required to copy exactly the designs of the inventor. Indeed the Edo tattoos were not simply ukiyo-e prints taken off the page 31 and transposed onto the body. They radically extended the subject matter of these images and exploited the new ground of the print-making, perhaps most remarkably in the near full body tattooing that came into fashion.<br><br> Because the otokodate and the hikeshi were shirtless much of the time, their tattoos served as an alternative to clothing, and were shaped and composed to resemble fashions of the time, extending cfrom the torso down the limbs, traditionally open in the front and 8vented 9 around the armpit to mimic the coverage of an Edo period worker 9s jacket ( fig. 13 ). 22 The tattoos also resembled clothing in their all-over patterning that recalled rich brocade fabrics, especially those used to make costumes for Kabuki theater.<br><br> Ed Hardy describes how the primary subjects were surrounded by environmental fields of stylized natural forms 4clouds, whirlwinds, waves, rocks, etc. 4that did the real work of following body contours and imparting a sense of life and movement to the finished epic tattoo. These deceptively simple and highly abstracted energy fields [were] characterized by a complex interplay of spiral forms. 23 It was in this respect that tattoos deviated most obviously from ukiyo-e images, in which the central figure or figures were usually placed against a solid or more simply decorated ground to clarify rather than complicate the picture space (as in the tattoo).<br><br> 21 Ibid, 35-6. Quotation from Don Ed Hardy, cJapanese Tattooing: Its Legacy and Essence d in Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos , 69. 22 Don Ed Hardy, cJapanese Tattooing: Legacy and Essence d in Pierced Hearts and True Love , 63.<br><br> 32 Not only the background, but also the main figure of a tattoo could form a kind of patterning. The dragon, the carp, the tiger (which, though a real animal, was not indigenous to Japan and was known to the Japanese people only through legends and stories), the karashishi (Chinese lion), and the phoenix were all common tattoo designs, and their scales, stripes, curls of fur, and feathers were stylized to create an effect of patterning in the tattoo as a whole. Of course, these mythical creatures were not chosen for their formal qualities alone, but acted as symbols for the various virtues they embodied: strength, ferocity, courage, wisdom, endurance.<br><br> In choosing to be tattooed with such an image, an individual hoped totemically to imbue himself with its power. The dragon was perhaps the most common figure chosen from among these animals, especially by the hikeshi , for whom it served as a kind of amulet: cas a deity of the sea and water and impervious to fire, the men of the fire-fighting brigades believed that the tattooed image of the dragon would protect them as they fought the fires of Edo. d 24 Not only a protective talisman, the dragon also stood in for one of the most popular heroes of the Suikoden , Kumonryu, who according to the text was himself tattooed with nine dragons. Of the book 9s 108 protagonists, Kumonryu perhaps best exemplified the virtues championed by the chônin : a skilled martial artist, Kumonryu left a life of privilege as the son of a wealthy land owner to join a gang of bandits and fight the corrupt elite.<br><br> As an alternative to the dragon, a tattoo might depict the figure of Kumonryu himself. 23 Ibid, 62. 24 Kitamura 2007, 78.<br><br> 33 Other heroes of the Suikoden commonly depicted in tattoos were Busho, who fought and defeated a giant tiger, and Kaosho Rochisin, who devoted his life after the bandit wars to Zen meditation. Known as the ctattooed priest, d Rochisin was described as having flowers tattooed all over his body. In Edo-period depictions the flowers are usually cherry blossoms, selected for the short time during which the flowers bloom and commonly used as a symbol of the brevity of life that was such an inherent part of Edo culture and especially of its tattoos.<br><br> Peonies, a symbol of prosperity, are another flower commonly used in Japanese tattoos, especially in conjunction with the motif of the Chinese lion. The figures that feature most commonly in Japanese tattoos, then, were generally chosen more for the values or qualities they were seen to embody than for any purely aesthetic consideration. Not all tattoos, however, were so lofty in their symbolism; another kind of imagery common in tattoos was drawn from the genre of woodblock prints known as shunga , or spring pictures, that were erotic in subject.<br><br> These images ranged from more-or-less innocent depictions of courtesans with their clients to graphic caricatures of characters with genitalia for heads. These tattoos were, after all, part of the culture of hedonistic pleasure that characterized the chônin quarters and existed largely in the pleasure quarters of Edo. Whether images of inspiring virtue or of titillating vice, Japanese tattoos were (and are) visually dynamic images that are extremely colorful figuratively, if not literally.<br><br> Though ukiyo-e prints had, by the time Kuniyoshi 9s illustrated edition of the Suikoden was published, developed from monochrome prints with one or two colors added by hand to fully polychromatic images, Japanese tattooists (like their 34 Western counterparts) struggled to find pigments that were both steadfast and safe. While Japanese tattoos today are extremely colorful, it is important to remember that most tattoos at the time were executed in black and grey, using pigment made from cuttlefish ink or burnt sesame oil and diluted with water to create various shades of grey. Varying the concentration of pigment made possible the adept representation of volume and depth through subtle variations of tone.<br><br> Even when Japanese tattooists were introduced to a wider range of pigments through contact with the West, the adroit control of black and grey remained the most important feature of Japanese tattooing, with color serving only to fill in or accent the forms described. It is not difficult to understand why these adeptly inked images, dynamically rendered and composed to reflect the flows and contours of the body, were so attractive to Westerners when they first encountered them at the end of the nineteenth century. The tattoos of sailors returning from being stationed in the Japan started a craze for Japanese work not only among the working-class men who made up the majority of tattoo clientele in Europe and America, but also among the elite of society.<br><br> Certain wealthy ccollectors d traveled to the Japan for the exclusive purpose of getting tattooed or paid for Japanese tattooists to come to them. Even the sons of the British King Edward VII, one of whom would become King George V, had dragons inked on their forearms while they were in Japan, giving tattoos a social caché that encouraged their spread in Britain and America. Though the integration of some elements of these tattoos into the American tattoo vocabulary was immediate, limited access to the range of images and the fact that most Western 35 tattooists at the time were nothing more than adept tracers at best meant that it would be almost a century before Eastern-style work of any real quality was produced outside of Japan.<br><br> Chapter Two: cTo Express Current Mythology d: Sailor Jerry and Tattoo Art 36 As the atmosphere of Edo Japan was largely responsible for the development of a unique Japanese style of tattooing, so the environment of Hawaii was instrumental in inspiring Sailor Jerry Collins to create a new style of American tattoo. In the years during which Collins lived and worked there 4from 1933 until his death in 1973 4Honolulu was a vital seaport, both commercial and military, imbued with a palpable Eastern influence. Ed Hardy describes the city as a ctropical, nautical scene, flush with the aura of the exotic, mysterious, and forbidden. d 25 In fact, Honolulu 9s Chinatown, full of bars and restaurants, strip clubs and dime-a-dance halls, licensed brothels, and tattoo parlors 4a neighborhood where sailors came to get cstewed, screwed, and tattooed d 4was a twentieth-century version of the pleasure quarter of Edo in which the Japanese tradition of horimono was born.<br><br> In the midst of established American sailor culture in a city with an unavoidable Asian presence, Sailor Jerry was able to draw on elements from each to create tattoos that were images of his own cfloating world. d Though Hawaii became both a personal paradise for Sailor Jerry and an immeasurable influence on his art, he didn 9t arrive in Honolulu until his early twenties. Born in 1911 in Reno, Nevada, Collins was raised in California but left home in his teens, working various jobs across the United States and eventually joining the Navy. He was an extremely patriotic man, and took great pride in being able to serve his country.<br><br> He intended to make naval service his lifelong career. 25 Don Ed Hardy, ed., Sailor Jerry Collins: American Tattoo Master (Honolulu: Hardy Marks Publications, 1994), 18. 37 Initially, then, tattooing was for Collins just a hobby.<br><br> He had picked up some basic technical knowledge from a tattooist he met while working in a shipyard on the Great Lakes and honed his skills as many others had: by practicing on his shipmates. However, medical problems led to his honorable discharge from the armed forces. Unable to continue his career in the navy, by the early 1930s Collins had moved to Hawaii and opened his first tattoo shop.<br><br> Though Collins had never intended to pursue tattooing as a long-term profession, he saw it as a medium that was full of unrealized potential, and he was dedicated to creating the best tattoos he could possibly produce. As he described it, he wanted to celevate tattooing out of the gutter into respectability status. d 26 He was disgusted by cscratchers d and cscab artists, d the unskilled tattooists who worked with the goal of making a maximum of profit with a minimum of effort and who made no attempt to improve their skills or innovate in their designs. His passionate conviction that tattooing should and could be understood and practiced as a legitimate art is one reason that so many people regard Collins as the father of the modern American tattoo.<br><br> He was one of the first American artists to be concerned both with hygiene and with minimizing the pain and trauma to the skin associated with getting a tattoo, both of which were to be crucial factors in creating a more widespread acceptance of the art. Though there was some government regulation of the conditions in tattoo shops, even as early as the 1950s, many tattooists continued to practice with 26 Letter from Sailor Jerry Collins to Don Ed Hardy, February 20, 1969. Reprinted in Sailor Jerry Collins: American Tattoo Master , 29.<br><br> 38 little concern for the health of their clientele and the possible spread of disease. Reusing needles, moistening them with the artist 9s own saliva, and bandaging tattoos with paper napkins swiped from local restaurants and rubber bands were common practices. Sailor Jerry 9s shop was one of the first to make use of sterile gauze pads and surgical tape for bandaging and an autoclave to sterilize the needles and tubes of his machines.<br><br> Collins recognized that the integrity of tattooing would be affected as much by the conditions under which he tattooed as by the images he applied to his clients 9 skin. Interestingly, though he self-consciously sought to transform the practice of tattooing, Collins for the most part did not deviate from the traditional iconography described in the first chapter of this thesis. To an extent, his continued use of imagery deriving from naval culture had to do with the fact that in Oahu, many of his clients were sailors for whom these designs still had resonance.<br><br> However, this limited visual lexicon was equally significant for Collins himself, a man whose close personal connection to life at sea and all that came along with it is made evident by the very nickname he chose as his professional moniker. It was not, then, in the realm of subject matter that Collins made his mark on tattooing, but in the way in which he executed the designs. His images were simplified and stylized so that they were bold and legible and at the same time extremely elegant, capturing with a minimum of lines and shading the essence of whatever it was he depicted.<br><br> One of the most recognizable characteristics of Sailor 39 Jerry 9s tattoos was the thick, black outline that described them; he insisted, cIf you can 9t do it with 7 needles make it bigger or get rid of it. d 27 This prominent outlining ensured that the tattoo would be legible even as the body on which it was placed aged. Collins was acutely aware of the canvas on which he worked, even on a cellular level. His own description of how a tattoo is made explains the changes that take place in the skin over time, affecting the appearance of the images embedded within: Some of the subcutaneous cells are punctured or injured by the imbedding pigments, and during the healing process collapse and become a sort of subcutaneous connecting tissue with the quality of a scar that will hold the pigment in place.<br><br> These injured cells are no longer capable of subdividing, and the surrounding cells continue their normal processes of dividing and sloughing off the surface of the skin as minute dry scales, thus fulfilling the prognosis that the human body renews itself completely once about every seven years. The injured cells do not take part in this constant process of body renewal, and with the passage of time are jostled about by the changes going on around them and are somewhat dislocated from their original positions giving rise to the appearance of line spread and fade so common with old tattoos. 28 For Collins, then, the thick black line was crucial.<br><br> A wider line was less susceptible to distortion and would serve to chold d any color or shading within its perimeters. 27 Letter from Sailor Jerry Collins to Don Ed Hardy, May 10, 1971. Reprinted in Sailor Jerry Collins: American Tattoo Master , 54.<br><br> 28 Hellenbrand, Kate, ed., His Book: Sailor Jerry (Buffalo, NY: Kate Hellenbrand, 1994), 1. This is an unedited version of an unpublished manuscript written by Collins sometime in the early 1970s, which he titled: Tattoo Tales: A Book . 40 This heavy outlining, along with a system of regularized simplification, gave Collins 9s tattoos a distinctly stylized appearance, which he called the ccomic-book style. d This is not to say, however, that the images are in any way crude; in comparison to more typical flash images of the same designs, Sailor Jerry 9s work much more elegantly and effectively captures the realities of the subjects depicted.<br><br> Compare, for example, his rendition of a peacock with a version by an unknown artist of roughly the same era ( fig. 14) . Peacock feathers are comprised of many fine branches or barbs; where the flash image describes each one with a realistically thin line, Collins uses far fewer lines and broad, flat areas of color.<br><br> It is the latter that far more effectively captures the softness of the feathers and the lush thickness of the bird 9s tail. It is also clear how Collins 9s design would read much more readily on the contoured and mobile surface of the skin. Sailor Jerry 9s pinups offer another telling example of his ability to create images that, while firmly in the realm of cartoon, recall reality with a surprising succinctness of line and shading.<br><br> His women boast exaggerated curves and unrealistically round, perky breasts, and yet display a clear understanding of the female anatomy in the way the soft contours of the belly and back are modeled, with brown (rather than the typical black) shadows ( fig. 15 ). Facially, there is a more distant relationship with the realities of human form.<br><br> Collins 9s pinups have a very recognizable facial type, characterized by bow-shaped lips and overstated, arching eyebrows ( fig. 16 ). He deliberately chose to caricature the female face, fully aware of the visual history his work at once evoked and reversed.<br><br> He describes his intentions by comparing his work to the stylized depictions of women in ukiyo-e prints of 41 Japan: cThe blank stares on their geishas were to symbolize innocent purity (certainly a dream), so