Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos: A Social History of the Tattoo with Gangs, Sailors and Street-Corner Punks, 1950-1965

Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos: A Social History of the Tattoo with Gangs, Sailors and Street-Corner Punks, 1950-1965

by John Dececco, Phd, Michael Williams
     
 

ISBN-10: 1560240237

ISBN-13: 9781560240235

Pub. Date: 07/28/1990

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Explore the dark subculture of 1950s tattoos!

In the early 1950s, when tattoos were the indelible mark of a lowlife, an erudite professor of English--a friend of Gertrude Stein, Thomas Mann, Andre Gide, and Thornton Wilder--abandoned his job to become a tattoo artist (and incidentally a researcher for Alfred Kinsey). Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos tells the story of his

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Overview

Explore the dark subculture of 1950s tattoos!

In the early 1950s, when tattoos were the indelible mark of a lowlife, an erudite professor of English--a friend of Gertrude Stein, Thomas Mann, Andre Gide, and Thornton Wilder--abandoned his job to become a tattoo artist (and incidentally a researcher for Alfred Kinsey). Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos tells the story of his years working in a squalid arcade on Chicago’s tough State Street. During that time he left his mark on a hundred thousand people, from youthful sailors who flaunted their tattoos as a rite of manhood to executives who had to hide their passion for well-ornamented flesh.

Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos is anything but politically correct. The gritty, film-noir details of Skid Row life are rendered with unflinching honesty and furtive tenderness. His lascivious relish for the young sailors swaggering or staggering in for a new tattoo does not blind him to the sordidness of the world they inhabited. From studly nineteen-year-olds who traded blow jobs for tattoos to hard-bitten dykes who scared the sailors out of the shop, the clientele was seedy at best: sailors, con men, drunks, hustlers, and Hells Angels.

These days, when tattoo art is sported by millionaires and the middle class as well as by gang members and punk rockers, the sheer squalor of Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos is a revelation. However much tattoo culture has changed, the advice and information is still sound:

  • how to select a good tattoo artist
  • what to expect during a tattooing session
  • how to ensure the artist uses sterile needles and other safety precautions
  • how to care for a new tattoo
  • why people get tattoos--25 sexual motivations for body art

    More than a history of the art or a roster of famous--and infamous--tattoo customers and artists, Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos is a raunchy, provocative look at a forgotten subculture.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560240235
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
07/28/1990
Series:
Gay and Lesbian Studies Series
Pages:
214
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword1
Introduction3
Pt. IFrom Academia to Skidrow7
Pt. IIA Cut-Throat World19
Pt. IIIDr. Kinsey [Prometheus] and the Shop37
Pt. IVSex and the Tattoo: Motivations45
Pt. VThe Folklore of Tattooing81
Pt. VIThe Clientele91
Pt. VIIBarnacles and Leeches139
Pt. VIIIExcuses - Mine and Theirs, Before and After149
Pt. IXMasters, Methods, and Maladies157
Pt. XArt and the Tattoo167
Pt. XIThe Tattooist and His World173
Pt. XIIThe Vanishing Art ...?179
App. AA Brief Historical Sketch of Tattooing183
App. BA Note on the Literature of Tattooing193
Index199

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