Banner Article Skin and Ink 2001

When I was in Berlin Guen and I were talking about hand painted banners and she suggested that I bring back my article on banner painting that I did way back in 2001!

I hope you can read this easily. I may be able to edit this article soon with the text typed by hand. Thanks for looking!

First Tattoo

Here’s a photo of me executing my very first tattoo.



These have got to be the funniest photos ever taken of me. I was really just starting to change my musical tastes from garage/60’s into rock-a-billy. I was 16 years old. I’m wearing creepers, striped stockings, a black velvet mini skirt, a Brian Jones shirt, a 50’s car coat and Sonny Tufts’s hat. I think my mom took these photos of me while I was staying with friends in the tenderloin. 1986. I either totally had my own style or I looked ridiculous!

During this period I was working at The Wax Museum, Fisherman’s wharf and hanging out at Lyle Tuttle’s shop on 7th street or his home on Columbus Ave. after hours. Sonny Tufts was his apprentice at the time. Soon after Erno opened his shop in the lower Haight, I was briefly hanging out there too.

What was your biggest fashion faux pas?

Sci Fi Western Movie

Cowboys and Aliens: the film

not to be confused with Cowboys and Aliens the group

If you’ll remember in 2003 I currated an art show called “Sci Fi Western”

I mentioned in the foreword to the catalog that movies in the 1950’s were either Sci Fi or Western but never both at the same time. My theory was that they spoke of the mythic past and future of America, so you couldn’t combine the two.

Do you think the creators of this film saw my art show or catalog? I’ll have to let you know what I think after I’ve seen the film.

My painting from the show.

Me and one of the artists.

Some of the people who came in costume:

Check out the website Space Western for more crazy Sci Fi Western stuff.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love hand painted banners. The history is rich from old fashioned sign painting to circus side show banners. It sure beats some ugly computer printed vinyle monstrosity!

I once wrote an article for Skin and Ink tattoo magazine about how to paint banners. At Goldfield’s we painted a new one every year.












The banner I painted myself:


photo by Yvan Rabe






Some gorgeous banners by Leanka Platt from the last Paris Tattoo Art Fest






Poor Eatting Habits of Dermagraphics

Check out Cockroach Ralph,

Who thought tattooing would be a riot.

So the Machine, he did buy it!

He was dumber ‘n shit,

…So he knew he would fit…

But he died from a tattoo artist’s diet.

1994 San Francisco

Words of Wisdom to you!

Henry Goldfield (under whom I served an almost 6 year apprenticeship)


Some of our bad habits:

eatting fat San Francisco burritos over a garbage can (to catch the fallout!)

asking for no mayo at the healthfood store sandwhich counter to get back to shop and Henry would go ballistic because there was heaping gobs of mayonaise on his sandwhich.

yelling over the phone to Viva because they delivered with no utensils!

discovering in Chinatown Cubirop japanese cube candies in exotic flavors (lychee, pineapple, mango)

Chef Ghia’s honey chili yams!

Golden Boy pizza

Mario’s Cigar store hot sandwhiches (well worth the walk to Washington Square)

sending Mike the bum out for coffee (he expected a $5 tip!)

Pho on Broadway (what was the name of that greasy restaurant?)

candy bars from the porno magazine shop

the horrible chinese restaurant a few doors down suddenly one day turned into a great one (General Chow chicken)

Famous People

Me with Pierre et Gilles the day I tattooed them. Look how shiny my hair is!


Nostalgia Year 2000


Photo by Florence Amblard

Here I am in a portrait sitting with Henry. I served an apprenticeship of just under six years with Henry Goldfield. He used to be in the navy, that’s his hat from those days. He was in ways like a father to me. His hands were a bit twisted from tattooing. He taught me a lot about painting and the public. He was tough! I hope I can be as good a master tattooer for my apprentice minus some of the bad side.