This collection of sailor tattoos is in homage to the pioneers of traditional tattooing: the sailors, rough wave riders, sea farers, and the captains of the craft of tattooing. Of course we acknowledge that way before these folks even thought of being inked, tattoos were commonplace in tribes across the globe, but it's hard to ignore the lasting effect that the tradition of sailor tattoos has had on the tattoo community. Sailor Jerry is a name that is synonymous with American traditional tattoos, and tattooing wouldn't be the same without his work, and the work of many others in the same form.
The heritage of sailor tattoos is believe to have started with Captain James Cook's crew. After his ships visit to various ports in the Pacific, sailors were beginning to be seen dotted with tattoos gleaned from the techniques of the tribes that lived there. Part of the attraction for sea farers to get their sailor tattoos was the aspect of emotional armor that it created: sailors were reminded of their mothers, sisters and other loved ones through roses, the Rock of Ages became a symbol of strength in religious beliefs, swallows, nautical stars, tropical themes, and more started popping up on their skin as well.
Todays tattooing is heavily saturated and supported by the work, aesthetics, designs and techniques of so many tattooers and clients who came before us. It's always a good idea to give respect to those who paved the way so that we could have the freedom of expression that many of us enjoy today. These sailor tattoos will continue to carry on a tradition that deserves reverence and deep appreciation. Think of the power you carry on your skin when you get tattooed, and how through getting the best ink as possible upholds the best of the tattoo industry.