Dale, 1977. Tattoos by Cliff Raven. Photo by Robin Ryan.
Dale’s nipple piercings were done by Buddy Mcfall at Chicago Tattoo Company when it was at 900 Belmont. Buddy performed the piercing with a pair of needle-nose pliers with needle and thread, and Dale had to move the thread back and forth through the piercings during healing. Piercing wasn’t always welcome at early tattoo conventions, so walking around displaying pierced nipples must have caused a few raised eyebrows.
“A regular contributor to the magazine was a local gay artist who went by the name of Bud. His work occupied thirteen of the first fourteen covers and after we went to color appeared regularly inside. I had seen his work in the gay S/M magazine Drummer. How we actually met and connected, I’ve forgotten. I do remember that he did some tattoo designs for some clients of Cliff Raven, a T&P group regular. Bud’s imaginative pen and ink drawings show the strong influence of both comic and early fantasy and sci-fi art.”
We launched our new print zine project at this year’s APP Conference and Expo with issue #1 of NODAL POINTS; 100 pages of body modification history and culture culled from twenty five years of archival that includes:
A. Viking Navaro polaroids/prints.
Evolution of a subculture: Modcon 1.
Subtracting. (Voluntary Amputation)
BSTA: Blake Perlingieri.
Correspondence with Bud Larsen.
Annie Sprinkle/Fakir Musafar.
Ari and I are hard at work on Issue #3 1 but for folks who didn’t get a chance to grab a copy in Las Vegas- we’re stocked up at Hex Appeal.
Are you tattooed everywhere? Genital tattoos have seemingly slipped in popularity over the course of the last few decades. Flip through photos from the collections of Jack Yount, Sailor Sid and Mr. Sebastian or the pages of Jim Ward’s PFIQ or Fakir’s Body Play & Modern Primitives Quarterly and you’re likely to find as many people with erotic tattoos as without. It’s a shame really, and something I hope to fix in my own tattoo collection sooner rather than later.
Bob had his penis tattooed in the early 1980s by Cliff Raven; this photo sees him displaying it after a bit of vacuum pumping.
The tattoo community was a much different place back in the 1970s when this ad for Cliff Raven’s Sunset Strip Tattoo Studio ran in the pages of the venerable DRUMMER magazine; being an out, gay tattooer was a much bigger deal than it is in 2017. Despite a clear lack of diversity and a culture that was considerably less evolved than I like to think we are these days (though watching the news has me wondering) Cliff was able to maintain the respect of his peers through clean, solid, built to last tattooing. In the last few years I’ve been lucky to see a handful of 30-40 year old Cliff Raven tattoos that have stood the test of time. Attempts have been made to capitalize on his name- including a clothing line and branded wine- but to date, thankfully, nothing has materialized.
While he excelled in tattooing traditional Japanese subject matter, I’ll always have a soft spot for his muscle boys and homoerotic imagery.
From the background it appears to have been taken in the mid-1970s at Cliff Raven’s studio in West Hollywood at or near the completion of my first tattoo. ~ Jim Ward
It’s always a treat when piercing and tattoo history intersect; here we have The Gauntlet/PFIQ’s Jim Ward with a freshly worked on tattoo by Cliff Raven. Inspired by Japanese tattoo designs, Raven’s work was bold, clean and made to last.
Over the last few years there’s been a rise in popularity of smart phone photo apps and filters that mimic, with mixed success, the imperfection of antiquated camera and processing anomalies; over exposure, light leaks and just enough distortion to make pictures that will likely never exist outside of the digital realm look like well aged prints.
It’s always a trip when I’ve got a photo in-hand where you can see the basis for those filters and gimmicks; like this polaroid positive of Viking Navaro’s black graphic phallus tattoos by Cliff Raven with really distinctive light spots that add tons of character to an already larger than life subject.
Another example of solid black tattooing by tattoo legend Cliff Raven. Taken at his Hollywood studio in 1982 featuring a glimpse of Bob (last seen in Bob’s back) and Sid Diller’s fresh blackwork. While primarily known for his large scale Japanese influenced work, Raven was also an early adapter of solid black ‘pre-technological’ style tattooing.
Raven, born Cliff Ingram, won the Tattoo Artist of the Year award from the First Annual International Tattoo Convention in February 1976. 1