In 1977, eccentric copyright lawyer and chastity belt collector Albert Morse released the self-published “The Tattooists” 1, a 127 page book featuring interviews with 50 respected names in the tattoo community including Bob Shaw, Bob Oslon, Doc Webb, Vyvn Lazonga, Lyle Tuttle, and Ed Hardy and photographed other notable artists who were fighting the ‘badboys and bikers’ stereotypes associated with tattooing in the latter half of the 1970s. The book was ahead of it’s time in presenting tattooists as artists and their clients as collectors not degenerates; publishing houses told him that there were no interest in tattoos so he published the book himself, an embodiment of Morse’s stubbornness and resolve.
While working with cartoonists, he noticed a similarity in their art with that of tattoo artists. Mr. Morse had been collecting postcards, posters and photographs of carnival folks and circus freaks for years, so he decided to photograph and write a book about them. He found tattoos both fascinating and appalling, Valenza said.
At the time, tattoos were still mostly found only on bikers, sailors and the like. Publishing houses told him there was no mainstream interest in tattoos, so in 1977 Mr. Morse published “The Tattooists” himself. The photographs were also displayed in the Oakland Museum and at the Pompidou Center in Paris. 2 -Mary Constantinou
Featured on the cover was a Doctor working in Internal Medicine named Andrew John Lemes; the majority of his body covered by a large (and purposely phallic) squid by then rising tattoo star Don Ed Hardy; his back, abdomen, legs and arms adorned with writing tentacles and crashing waves. Piercer and Modification practitioner Jack Yount would cite Lemes’s squid as an influence on his considerably less subtle ‘cock head squid’ tattoo by Orlando’s Bud Pierson, which he was having worked on the day I met him.
Sacred’s tattoo site- Occult Vibrations- has previously featured Dr. John having his squid tattoo applied: https://occultvibrations..com/2011/08/12/dr-johns-squid/
- The Tattooists; Morse, Albert. ISBN-10 0918320011 ↩
- Albert Morse– lawyer, collector, self-publisher by Chronicle Staff Writer Mary Constantinou: http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Albert-Morse-lawyer-collector-self-publisher-2505743.php ↩