Let’s take a fascinating look at tattoo history now with this great master of old school tattoos. Jerry Collins is considered the father of tattoo, and his pinup tattoos have become extremely popular today.
Born in 1911, and died in 1973, Jerry was a sailor for most of his lifetime. He resided in Hawaii, where he had access to the great mysticism of the far east… he kept in close contact with the Japanese tattoo masers, and learned much from them.
He practiced his early tattoo art during a period in tattoo history when only sailors, bikers and social deviants got tattoos. He elevated the art of tattoo to a new level of respectability, and perfected methods of sterilization. He referred to the other tattoo practitioners working in less sanitary conditions as “scab artists”.
He is most famous for his girly tattoos, his demon tattoos, she-devils, etc. Jerry really perfected the concept of the pin up girl as the the supervixen that would lead a poor sailor down the path to his destruction. She, in combination with liquor, gambling and fast cars, would come to be known as “man’s ruin”.
Sailor Jerry mentored such modern day tattoo masters as Ed Hardy, Cliff Raven and Mike Malone. Ed Hardy and Mike Malone inherited the rights to all of Jerry’s tattoo flash art and tattoo drawings!
With the resurgence in popularity of old school tattoos, Jerry’s vintage pinup girls have become iconic. There is a line of products sporting his images now.. from clothing, ashtrays and playing cards, to 92 proof rum! Talk about ubiquitous and iconic– I even saw his rum the other day at Rite Aid drug store!