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Since Chicago Tattoo has been on the same 2 blocks for almost 40 years we get alot of people who come in with old work from Cliff Raven and Dale Grande so i try to take photos of these tattoos to document them.

I often see old timers walking around the neighborhood or in the grocery store and see their tattoos and try to ask about them and photo them, there is just something about talking to old dudes about their tattoos that gets their attention and for the most part gets them into talking about where they got in and when and sometimes they can remember who it was.

Im sure we all do this so i wanted to start a little thread and put up pics of old tattoos that we have all documented.

The first three tattoos where done at Cliff Raven Studios (Chicago Tattoo) by Cliff Raven in approximately 1970.. since i cant figure out how to make these images larger you can click on them to get a better look.

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i look forward to the pics

Nick

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You guys are so lucky to have that kind of stuff happening over there. We're so brand new at my place that we're still settling in, I'm jealous!!

Sartori Tiago likes this

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I often see old timers walking around the neighborhood or in the grocery store and see their tattoos and try to ask about them and photo them, there is just something about talking to old dudes about their tattoos that gets their attention and for the most part gets them into talking about where they got in and when and sometimes they can remember who it was.

That's great, Nick. I remember reading an interview with Ed Hardy about 20 years ago (in the old Modern Primitives book) in which he talks about the shame that's been heaped on a lot of old guys for having tattoos. He said that he always approaches them, compliments them on their tattoos, and asks who did them. That really stuck with me, and I'm happy to hear that you're doing the same.

Will, Nallac94 and KYboy like this

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heres a few more..these where all done by Dale Grande at Chicago Tattoo. The dragon is from the mid 70s , the butterfly and the lion are from the late 70s early 80s and the skull is from the mid 80s..

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Lochlan, Mark Bee, YawkeyWay and 1 other like this

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I had a guy come in my shop who was tattooed by Dietzel 55 years ago! He had a skunk cover up and a panther head. Both were blobs that I couldn't make out and I tried getting a picture of them but when he was finished getting tattooed by another artist at the shop he had left before I was able to get a good pic.

I know alot is to be said about one of our legends out here in Northwest Indiana but I always get bright eyed when I see a Roy Boy piece. Its a shame that his shop closed once he passed away recently. That place was like a tattoo museum!

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i was at roy boys a punch in the last 5 years, i thought Roy Boy was rad definitely the last of the last, but museum is definitely not what i thought when i walked into his shop..

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i was at roy boys a punch in the last 5 years, i thought Roy Boy was rad definitely the last of the last, but museum is definitely not what i thought when i walked into his shop..

I don't mean like actual museum. He used to have a bunch of old original flash and original tattoo machines from the 60's and 70's he showed me awhile back. He used to have alot of Gill Montie stuff and Spider Webb stuff too along with sweet Jack Rudy paintings. I don't know, I thought it was neat.

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For sure he was a trip..he had a bunch of stuff thats for sure..that fire claimed alot of it

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Thanks for sharing Nick

I still haven't been able to upload any pics here. New Mac

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Thanks for the history and pictures of some midwest tattooers. Nick, I was wondering if you got to see a some of these older tattoos when you would go do the military tattoos on paydays (I can 't locate your original post on this so pardon my butcher of details/history) up north at your friends shop? Also is that blue/green originally blue or green that is so common in older tattoos that I and so many others see when we get the opportunity to see some history first hand? I love it and when someone says older military tattoos that is by far one of the first things that pops in my mind to that association.

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Anytime I see someone with an old tattoo, I ask to see it, and talk to them about the background of that tattoo.

I'm working on documenting old prison and homemade tattoos in Los Angeles.

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Thanks for sharing some of cliffs work. I know the world spins faster than ever but a topic of conversation amoung me and some friends is how little people talk about cliffs work anymore. he was one of the big three when i first started...him nolan and hardy. I have had alot of close friends work at Cliffs here in LA...many years ago now...like the last one was 83? ish...anyway Cliff had a thing about drawing everything on not using acetates(at least here) which at the time was unique to a degree.He was one of the first guys using the human body shapes to dictate tattoo work. not so much big Jap stuff but american. (also tribal which went hand in hand with body shape..tattooing to enhance figure etc...) i see alot of people talking about tribal in the late 80s early 90s but really it was late 70s early 80s.

maybe it stretched out by the late 80s and 90s...like became national...but the at coincides with how quick the world has gotten.now when a new thing in our industry pops up...it is everywhere within weeks...

Anyway i digress I dig the refferals to cliffs work i have been seeing as of late...thanks for sharing it

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You know my husband Don and I worked for Larry Allen from2001-2008.

Larry apprenticed with Cliff about 35-40 years ago. He's retired now but i'll ask if he has many or any photos of Cliff's work to share.

Larry's work was in one of the old Tattoo Times and his picture was that great photo on the back or inside back cover of Spider Webb"s Pushing Ink --- He holding his baby son. It's a classic.

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yeah cliffs work was pretty amazing for the time, me and a good friend where lucky enough to purchase almost all of his photos from his estate after he passed its an amazing mass of work. Shane you are right cliff is pretty much credited with the tribal resurgence in the mid 70s. Leo credits him as one of his biggest influences. I just recently spent the day with Pierre Mitchell (Bob Raven) to try and learn more about Cliff, he was a pretty amazing guy and really isnt talked about much but i guess its a different generation. Pierre mentioned that Cliff pretty much drew everything on thats why there isnt alot of his artwork around. We have around 40 15x20 sheets in the shop and theres probably around 50 more that ive seen, other than that he spent most of his time drawing for the body. Super impressive

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Deb

i would love to get to see more photos of Cliffs work, im trying to get as much of Cliffs work back to Chicago so if anyone knows of any please let me know

thanks

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I just got this sent to me and thought it fit this thread well. Unfortunately don't know the history on this.....anyone?

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First try with photos. Hope this works... The parrot and skull with top hat are Bert Grimm. The man who had them said the parrot was done in 1980, when Mr. Grimm was 80 years old in Oregon. He also had the rose from Sailor Jerry. The snake was on a guy that came in to the shop here in Juneau that said he'd gotten it at China Sea and that it was lined by Jerry, but that it was shaded and colored by a female with him watching over her. Artist unknown on the devil head.

Nallac94, Lochlan and shell like this

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all these photos are awesome..keep em coming , i have to do a search of my photos to find a bunch more as soon as i do ill post em up..

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I just got this sent to me and thought it fit this thread well. Unfortunately don't know the history on this.....anyone?

possibly a yakuza bath house? or a public bath house for tattooed people? i know that women are not allowed in most public bathhouses if they are tattooed (though i've heard there is an exception for foreigners, either way, i didn't push my luck).

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possibly a yakuza bath house? or a public bath house for tattooed people? i know that women are not allowed in most public bathhouses if they are tattooed (though i've heard there is an exception for foreigners, either way, i didn't push my luck).

Thanks Robin. Yeah I know friends when on tour over there get turned away from places often...the most recent story being turned away from a gym just two months ago! The picture is awesome.

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Thanks Robin. Yeah I know friends when on tour over there get turned away from places often...the most recent story being turned away from a gym just two months ago! The picture is awesome.

yea my ex-best friend lived there twice, once for 7 months and the other for just over a year, and had some large work done while she was there (a full phoenix back piece by Ton at Chopstick Tattoo in Osaka, also a chest piece and some work on her upper leg). i know she was able to go to one public bath house with her friends, but i don't know all of the details surrounding it. the ones for women are more like spas (hot tubs/hot springs, sanas, etc.) so that's the appeal in going if anyone is curious why one would go in modern times. i also know that while she was teaching, she had to cover up really well, in order to not offend anyone.

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yeah speaking of working at Cliffs and everything being drawn on...that was Bobs (roberts) biggest problem while he worked there...(not that bob could not draw shit on ..every tattoo he has done on me he drew on...he is big on hectograph paper)but I gather from our conversations on the subject that he could not fathom why he had to draw shop panthers on when there were perfectly good acetates that could do the job quicker and perhaps more adequately depending...

But i guess Cliff was pushing towards that higher art form that we find so often today in our midst...So perhaps his rule of drawing it all on was not in vain...I do hope he does not get lost in the shuffle....I tink the time period when he was one of the big 3 is a strange and sometimes overlooked period...people run to the 50s and earlier..but mid sixties thru very early 80s...well not so much..at least from what i see

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