Remembering Sailor Jerry
Anyone who started learning how to tattoo, most likely referred to Sailor Jerry tattoos and his vintage flash designs.
If you are a beginner in tattooing, you may want to know its history. And this is why I decided to introduce you to Sailor Jerry tattoos.
Here are some fast facts about the man who revolutionized tattooing and some of popular Sailor Jerry tattoos and flash designs.
Sailor Jerry, as a child, hopped freight trains across the country and learned tattooing from a man named “Big Mike” using the hand-pricking method. In the late 1920s, he met Tatts Thomas, who then taught him how to use a tattoo machine. Who would have thought that Sailor Jerry tattoos will have such a huge impact on the industry?
Sailor Jerry enlisted in the US Navy at 19 and set out to see the world. During his subsequent travels, he immersed himself in the art and imagery of Sailing and of Southeast Asia. These reflected in his works.
Recent from Tattoo Artists
After Sailor Jerry’s discharge from the navy, he set up a shop in the Hotel District of Honolulu. After World War II, it became a popular place for thousands of soldiers and sailors on shore leave looking for 3 things: women, booze and tattoos. It was from here when his tattooing career began and Sailor Jerry tattoos found their way into tattoo enthusiasts' hearts.
Sailor Jerry expanded the array of tattoo ink colors available back then by developing his own pigments. He was one of the advocates for medical-grade procedures by being one the first to utilize single-use needles and an autoclave for sterilization. He created needle formations that embedded pigments with much less trauma to the skin.
Sailor Jerry took on his bold line style of tattooing and learned from his correspondences from Japanese masters also known as the “Horis”.
Collins (“Sailor Jerry”) entrusted his work to his 2 proteges, Ed Hardy & Mike Malone. In 1999, Hardy & Malone established a clothing company under his name: SAILOR JERRY Ltd. It houses all of Collins’ flash designs, art, letters and a rad collection of ash trays, shot glasses, playing cards, sneakers, & church keys.
Sailor Jerry Ltd. Produced a 92-proof spiced navy rum that has a hula girl which Collins designed on the label. As the bottle emptied, additional pin-up girls appear on the inner side of the label. The rum takes its influence from Carribean rum, which sailors would spice with flavors to make the drink more enjoyable. The rum is distilled in the US Virgin islands.
Here are some design concepts popularized by Sailor Jerry tattoos: bottles of booze, ships, anchors, pinup girls, eagles, falcons, and other birds of prey. Nautical stars, the infamous “Aloha” monkey, snakes, classically styled scroll banners, wild cats, knives, guns & other weapons
Now you’ll recognize Sailor Jerry tattoos when you see one. Let’s all thank the Man for Sailor Jerry and for what he has brought to the table of tattooing, which we are subconsciously benefiting from to this day.