Sailor Jerry was tagged with the name Norman Collins at birth, but he began to distance himself from normalcy when he was 19 (that’s why he became a sailor). He traveled around the world, not only getting his first tattoos, but also gaining exposure to the art and imagery of Southeast Asia. This later became a crucial influence when he opened his first tattoo shop in Honolulu’s Chinatown, ground zero for swaggering sailors, drunken soldiers and whoever else wasn’t afraid to hang around volatile levels of testosterone.
The Honolulu Tattoo district was designed to accommodate a time in men’s lives when they drank heavily, paid for women, and imprinted their biceps with pictures solid and resonant enough to last a lifetime. Back then, Chinatown was the only place on the island where a man could get a tattoo, creating fierce competition among the many tattoo parlors.
Roving sailors weren’t looking at the nuances of shading and color, they were seeking pictures worth showing off to their buddies back home. Sailor Jerry built his business with bold designs that artfully expressed the mind set of his clientele. When you look at Sailor Jerry’s "flash", it’s immediately apparent why he spawned the kind of following that made it necessary to begin printing "The Original Sailor Jerry" on all his business cards. This is man stuff. Filled with the grit, romance and heartbreak that drives some men to do what most would not. There’s a tension about port cities filled with men who consider themselves on a mission to have a good time and return with evidence of such. And it’s drawn into all of Sailor Jerry’s tattoos. Keep your eyes out for his work, not in galleries, but in bars and on the street. If you find yourself strangely captivated by the girl on an old man’s arm, we suggest you go ahead and offer to buy the guy a drink of Sailor Jerry Navy Rum. Hopefully, he’ll be so impressed with your taste in rum, he won’t punch you out and maybe he’ll tell you some stories.
Here is some of the tattoo flashes done by Sailor Jerry. To see more of Sailor Jerry’s stuff you can go to www.sailorjerry.com
Tagged: , Sailor , tattoo , man , crazy , cool , old school , flash , old bones , pirate , ugly