“Raven” was in San Francisco for a brief time on 9th street. I got there when he opened and decided to get the “wind god” tat. He said I was lucky because it was early and he was still fresh and awake after breakfast and not worn out by some of the difficult people that he had come in and bust his chops.
He also gave me a choice of by the hour or a given price. I took the given price and he said it was a bargain because he was fresh and full of energy, as you can see he was, and his work has stay bright after all these years. I believe it was 1982-3. -JD
The first story JD told me, as I was setting up our interview at an Ybor City Pizza shop, was about the time he found himself making an ad hoc tattoo studio out of his van, having discovered a bar full of carnies in Tampa who wanted tattooed. With a mischievous twinkle in his eye he described the good natured degenerates, tough guys and hucksters who joined him in the back of the van, getting skulls and names and roses added to their arms and chests. Continue reading →
Ken – I just moved to Seattle Tattoo Emporium. All these dudes have been there thirty fucking years, like Jimmy the Saint, it’s crazy. It’s also a tattoo museum so they’ve got all this really old shit. Lyle Tuttle will just stop by like, “hey whats up guys?” Old school legendary shit. I don’t really make a lot of money there, but for the experience alone it’s fuckin worth it. I’m not having that bad of a time. I can come and go as I please, I only have a small set schedule. No drama. So many times it’s just stupid shit, but you know how the business is, it’s a constant barrage of bullshit that I would rather not deal with on any level. That’s why I love where I’m working now, because there’s none. These dudes are my fuckin age, they don’t wanna do anything besides go to work, be happy, and come home, and I love this! No drama, no shit, no nothing, I’m good with it. I talk to friends who are really young in the business and it’s all he did this, she did that, blah blah blah, I just don’t fucking care, I couldn’t care less to hear about piercing/tattoo shop drama, it’s just endless. I can’t even go out to a bar without someone coming up and going “Are you a tattoo artist? Let me tell you what I want!” Continue reading →
Ok… tell me this… why were you dressed up like the easter bunny, driving me and a few other people around in a boat in one of my dreams last night?? You took us to a little island where you had hidden a bunch of rather large easter eggs for us to find… you didnt slow the boat down as it was coming into the beach.. just went full throttle and tipped the boat, flinging everyone aboard it out onto the sand. ~Wayde Dunn
I have stacks (ok. digital files that take up no physical space) of photos of cuttings and tattoos made by Australia’s Wayde Dunn; each one better than the next. I have some great procedural photos of him working at the second Scarwars event 1 that are probably much more in line with what people want out of a body modification blog. I even had a big piece written about the parallels I see between Wayde and Keith Alexander- both being people who never accepted being the best at something- when they’d achieved the goal of working towards perfection both gladly move on to something new and start back at the bottom; the thrill of knowing something new being much, much more important than the accolades for having done it.
But a photo of him looking cheeky and him telling me about a dream he had where I was the Easter Bunny is a much truer snapshot of our friendship, so I went with that.
I’ve been talking a lot lately with friends about how to make Sacred Debris appeal to a broader audience. As a non-profit enterprise that finds clickbait abhorrent, we stand nothing to gain from new viewers aside from the satisfaction of uniting a bunch of nerdy piercing, tattooing and body modification fans with access to things that most folks wouldn’t really care about.
We would probably get more viewer engagement if I posted fancy septum clickers every few hours instead of 40 year old mailing labels, but… tell me.. how COOL is this?
Peeled from a letter from Mr. Sebastian (Alan Oversby) to Sailor Sid Diller it’s history in your hands!
Legendary photographer/anthropologist Charles Gatewood, under his FLASH VIDEO label, had a successful line of VHS documentaries called Erotic Tattooing & Body Piercing. It used to be taken for granted that people who were into heavy body piercing were more likely to be involved in alternative sexual lifestyles- the roots of the piercing scene were firmly embedded in the gay leather scene and was popular with straight/bi S/M players who used their bodies to display their kinks.
Since tattoos were usually kept hidden in the early years of the scene they provided an avenue to take that concept- using the body to display kinks- quite literally. If simply being tattooed could arouse an erotic response it would only make sense that sometimes the tattoos themselves would be erotic, like the mermen on piercer/tattooer Sailor Sid Diller’s legs.
This photo, scanned from a 3×5 print dated 1978, features Alan Oversby tattooing a Tom of Finland styled Leather Man on Sid’s leg. Sid’s legendary tattooed/pierced penis and scrotum are also on display.
Another tattoo photo borrowed from the Occult Vibrations collection, this scan from a 1978 print features Alan Oversby tattooing a client at his London studio. Check out Jack Daw’s youtube page for an audio recording with Sebastian:
Borrowing from our Tattoo site Occult Vibrations, this 1978 photo features Alan Oversby at his London studio doing a small flower tattoo on a client’s posterior. Before his career as a tattoo artist and body piercer Alan was an art teacher, leaving the secure world of higher learning to follow his passion for body art. Alan passed away in 1996.
My impression of Alan was of a rather private man who was a bit difficult to get to know. Not that he was particularly shy. He would casually disrobe and allow himself to be photographed, but there was always a reserved quality about his actions. He could converse with intelligence and ease, but to access the man behind the mask was a challenge. – Jim Ward, A visit to London.
Tattooist and body piercer Alan Oversby- better known in the modification world as Mr. Sebastian- photographing a client at his London studio. March 1978.
Scanned from a 3″x 5″ print originally from Sailor Sid Diller’s collection.
Alan is generally considered to be the godfather of the European body piercing revival, but he was also an accomplished and respected tattoo artist.
For more information about Sid, Alan and the roots of the western piercing scene, visit http://www.runningthegauntlet-book.com/ to pick up Jim Ward’s indispensable book Running the Gauntlet. It features the uncensored story of the piercing community and the creation of the piercing industry and is a must own.