A ONE-OF-A-KIND VISUAL EXPLORATION OF A REMARKABLE COLLECTION
VINTAGE TATTOO FLASH is a beautiful and serious addition to the understanding of one of the world's oldest and most popular art forms.
While most tattoos are inherently ephemeral, transported on skin until the death of the collector, a visual record exists in the form of tattoo flash: the hand-painted sheets of designs posted in tattoo shops for customers to select from. Painted and repainted, stolen, traded, bought and sold, these sheets are often passed between artists through one channel or another, often having multiple useful lives in a variety of shops scattered across time and geography. The utility of these original pieces of painted art has made it so that original examples can still be found in use or up for grabs if you know where to look.
VINTAGE TATTOO FLASH draws from the personal collection of Jonathan Shaw - renowned outlaw tattooist and author - and represents a selection of over 300 pieces of flash from one of the largest private collections in existence. VINTAGE TATTOO FLASH spans the first roughly 75 years of American tattooing from the 1900s Bowery, to 50s Texas, through the Pike in the 60s and the development of the first black and grey, single-needle tattooing in LA in the 70s. The book lovingly reproduces entirely unpublished sheets of original flash from the likes of Bob Shaw, Zeke Owens, Holt + Rowe, Ted Inman, Ace Harlyn, Ed Smith, Colonel Todd, the Moskowitz brothers and many, many others relatively known and unknown.