Dean Schubert / Yapese Tattoo Adventure. Reviving the Traditional Tattoo of Yap
Just wanted To drop this on everyone here on Last Sparrow. Haven't been in the mix here too much lately, but I have a lot of respect for all the people that make Last Sparrow happen. Enjoy, Dean
i feel a little weird asking this, but has anyone ever worked for Sailor Jerry Clothing? opinions on tattoo clothing brands aside, i'm looking for personal experiences if anyone has them. i'm not going to say anything more because i don't want to jinx myself. thank you kindly in advance!
I apologize ahead of time for such a long post; hopefully you guys don't mind reading my long-winded thoughts.
I made it through security without getting searched or anything. Got to the gate about 45 minutes before my flight, and wasted some time on my iPhone since there wasn't much else to do. Bought two bottles of water for $6.95 (mistake), and waited to board. Boarding time came around, and it went by without any turbulence (haha). Cramped seats were waiting for me, but that's what you get when you fly coach. I got also a window seat towards the back of the plane, without any view obstructions from the wing.
Waiting at the gate.
Saw some awesome views of a river in the first ten minutes of the flight.
After that, there wasn't much to look at except dry hills, farmland, and clouds.
Arrived in New York at around 11:30, and was in bed by 1:30:
The dorm room at the New York Loft Hostel
Woke up the next morning at 8:00, and headed over to Tina's Place for breakfast. I had the corn beef, hash, and eggs, which was very filling, and pretty tasty. It was a pretty divey place, but that's what I expected and wanted from a cheap breakfast diner.
Then I headed over to Gasper Como's barber shop for a shave. Gasper is from Sicily and has been a barber for 48 years. He said he was shaving faces at age six in the old country. Such a great experience, and the closest shave I've ever had. Some of his regular customers were there with me, and they all seemed to respect Gasper a lot. He was really kind and welcoming.
After my shave, I went over to McCarren Park to take a look around before the next thing on my to-do list, which was a last minute cancellation filler appointment with Ron Wells to do the outline of a skull and mandala at Three Kings. Ron did a great job on the design, and killed it on the tattoo. Man, the stomach is one helluva painful spot to get zapped!! Also, judging from other people's feedback on Ron's tattooing pain meter and my past encounter with him, I think he saves all his strength for my tattoos and just punishes the hell out of me; HAHA! Three Kings is a great shop. It was a really cool atmosphere, with all the tattooers and shop help checking out everyone's work, and everybody having a good time. We also made plans to finish my tattoo at the SFO Convention this year. After feeling the pain that is a stomach tattoo, I can definitely be thankful that I split it into two sessions.
Two shots of McCarren Park.
The tattoo Ron made for me.
After my tattoo with Ron, I went to get something to eat at GreenStreets Salads. They made me a giant turkey breast, romaine salad with a bunch of stuff thrown in and honey dijon dressing. It was really great. Forgot to snap a picture, though.
At 5:30 it was time to head over to Carroll Gardens for my Smith Street appointment with Bert Krak. I got there a little early, so I went gift shopping at Olive's Very Vintage for my sisters and mom. I picked them out two sets of earrings (for my little sister and my mom) and one bracelet for my older sister.
When the time rolled around to go to Smith Street, I headed over, and was greeted by a friendly, helpful counter guy. I signed a release, gave him my ID, and started to look at the flash on the walls to pick out my tattoo. Bert and Eli came in a minute later, greeted me, then took their pups out for a short walk. I found it really cool that they had shop dogs, and that one was a pit bull and the other, a Staffordshire terrier, as I have two pit bulls in my immediate family, and one Staffordshire that belongs to my cousin. Such awesome dogs.
Anyway, there were so many pieces of flash that I liked, so choosing just one was extremely difficult. Eventually, I settled on a lady liberty design by Jonesy that was in a manila folder with a ton of other New York themed pieces. Bert got to setting up for the tattoo, and I waited in the front, looking at all the flash. It was a really mellow night, since only Bert and Eli were there, and it had been busy earlier in the day. A few people came in and had questions for the guys.
Then I sat down and Bert put the tattoo on me. It was a pretty easy affair, as it was on my arm, a less painful spot for me than the stomach. Bert and I talked about my weekend in NYC, the last SFO Convention, and tattoos. A pair of ladies came in, and one of them was getting an anchor and some initials on her forearm. I had heard her talking with Eli earlier, and she wanted some whacky ideas like having the rope be the letters, having it really detailed, etc., but Eli set her straight for the most part. He did let her have it upside down on her wrist, though. lol. The girls were from Brazil, so I got to hear some about Eli and Bert's recent trip there. One could really tell that the guys working were really good friends, which meant a positive environment to get a tattoo.
Overall, it was a good experience going to Smith Street. I hope I can make it back to NYC sometime in the future. I'm kinda bummed that I didn't get a piece that Bert had drawn himself, but he comes to the SFO Convention every year, so I can always get something from him there.
Last night like many three year olds my daughter was passed out on my lap. Of coarse she neglected to take a nap opting for rambunctious play instead. I went to put her down for bed after a busy day for us all. I tucked her in and she began to lightly sob. I asked why like any man trying to fix rather than console. A minute passed or for me seemed like forever. She pointed up to the ceiling and said "My brother is in heaven and its sad" This choked me up like a bad boxed cookie sold at holidays. I held her tight and let her know it is sad but we are very fortunate. That's what this rambling is about I suppose, most of use are very fortunate and the day to day living life sometimes gets in the way of us realizing just how fucking great life is. So I for one am going to make it a point to love my life a little more today than I did yesterday. I am going to be cognoscente not just go from day to day anymore. Less work more travel more family.. Life is potentially too short to get stressed over small details in ones life. So Ya love yours hard let them know your there take a deep breathe and Smile
People of Earth I'll be hanging out in PDX August 26-29th, I have a few friends there but am always down to make more. No plans to tattoo while I'm there, but I guess that's subject to change if theres any interest. If you're in the Portland area and want to show a brotha around, please message me!
Just wanted to drop a line and let youse know that the Penthouse article is on the newstands. It is in the july/august issue called th 6th annual BADASS issue. I hope everyone likes it,the next ones for penthouse are not tattoo related but indirectly everything in my life has been and is tattoo related.when Bob and I went to NYC last fall i tattooed one of the main editors at penthouse. It is about our history and the media/public , kind of a guide on why you shouldnt believe what you see on TV etc....I would reprint it here but they own it so whaddaya gonna do...
Also Freddie Negrete s article is out in the new TAM. I have not seen it yet but I have heard it is good. With all the buzz about the black and grey movie coming out I am glad i got the interview done before the shitstorm that film is gonna cause. I am hoping the film will be good,I have had some contact with the directors as someone gave them my number, though i did not do the film( i did not feel like I had anything to contribute more than the people already in it) I did manage to get a someone i felt they had missed that were beyond important in the genesis of that all...I was really surprised they were not in it but THEY ARE NOW...
Scott and my summer trip has been postponed til august but we are gonna interview "Rattlesnake Johnny" who was a nefarious tattooer for decades..He is now 70 but this guy led a crazy life,do any of you know him??? One quick johnny story he was working at a shop across the street from a friend of mine...he came in the friends shop asked if they had a baseball bat, borrowed it,about 5 minutes later cops were converging on the shop across the street,Johnny is led out in handcuffs, 3 days later he came into my friends shop and returned the bat.I guess someone took a walk in out of turn.
I dont think TAM will want it,it has been harder and harder for me to get them to realize they are missing out on some great interviews I have done and Scott and I have done together, nonetheless I will tell you guys about the trip when i get back, we usually head south but this time we are Philly bound.
Anyway sorry i dont have much to write about but i just wanted to stay in touch
Here is a small taste of what we are up to these days at the shop. We are so lucky to have some of the worlds finest tattooers come work with us and with the amazing clients we have. I am truly blessed!!! Hope you enjoy this!
Also feel free to share
On Friday June 29th Shotsie Gorman will be interviewed about his writings and recite his personal POETRY at
That's KSVY 91.3 FM streaming live a sonoma sunfm.com Tune in at 8am Pacific time to hear and or call in!
thanks friends please repost!
Back to the hotel now to collect my bags and make my way to Chambers Street station.
Before I leave I take a few final pictures around Battery Park.
So I get to Chambers Street and guess what I get on the right train.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with all the drama suffice to say I share the rest of the journey with a lovely young lady, from Austria, who is in the same boat. We say goodbye at JFK terminal 5 and I continue on to terminal 7.
So with plenty of time I buy some duty free and head for the departure gate.
Guess what. Was I at the correct departure gate?
So here I am sitting there like a delusional arsehole when I get my wake up call. Over the tanoy comes the message "Mr Forrest Gump please make your way to Gate 9, immediately!
I had to run all the way all the way from Gate 1 to Gate 9. I have to swerve to avoid a small child, my bag nearly topples over. I bitch slap some old lady in a wheelchair. Nothing is going to get in my way.
I get to Gate 9 in world record time. What happened I ask? , I thought it was Gate 1. The correct answer of course is " You were at the wrong Gate you dozy limey prick". But I get the diplomatic answer.
Before long I am on the plane and 10 hours later I arrive home exhausted but safe and sound.
So that’s it. Despite the hiccups I had such a great and memorable trip. I’ve had a blast writing this and hope you’ve enjoyed reading. :D
So it’s Sunday, the final day of my trip. I get my bags packed and check out. There will be no cock ups today on the subway (yeah right).
I get to Chambers Street Station and get on the Brooklyn bound train to Jay Street Metrotech and then onto the F train to Carroll Street.
With plenty of time I take a casual stroll down Smith Street. I must say Smith Street, Brooklyn, on a warm summers day is one of the most beautiful and interesting places I have visited.
I walked past a school with the sweetest murals on the wall painted by the young students.
I had plenty of time so I headed to Prime Meats in Court Street for some brunch. I ordered the Farmers breakfast (Sausage, breakfast potatoes, free range eggs and toast). All their sausage is hand made and prepared in house. Perfect.
After brunch I had a little time to spare and so I headed back to Smith Street. Walking away from the studio I took a few photos and bought some stuff from a local farmers market. There were some musicians playing. Could it be more perfect?
So now its time to take a slow walk back to Smith Street Tattoo Parlour.
The parlour is amazing. The most incredible flash adorns almost every inch of wall space. I introduce myself to Chris, the shop guy and tell him I have an appointment with Eli.
Eli comes over and we shake hands I tell him what I want. I take off my shirt to show him where I want the tattoo. Immediately he spots the tattoo on my sternum. Chad did that one right? And the one underneath Daniel Albrigo? Eli studies the other tattoos on my arms back and upper chest and comments "No pressure then". I point out to Eli that we both share the exact same tattoo on our left thumb, a Sailor Jerry fly . His was done by Steve Byrne. How fucking cool is that!
I sit down and wait. Steve Boltz comes in and we say hi. By now this other young guy is in the shop he’s wanting a walk in from Steve. He’s got some really nice tattoos including a stunning Japanese style severed head tattoo on his hand. He says to Steve that he wants a panther tattoo on his inner forearm with solid black shading as a filler. I was just watching Steve listening to this guy and watching Steves facial expressions as the customer explained what he wanted. I sort of knew what was coming next. Well, said Steve, solid black won’t look good as a filler but as a its a panther I can curl the tail into that space and that will look good. The customer agreed. That young guy going to get one hell of a great tattoo.
After a while Eli calls me over. Before placing the stencil I visit the washroom to powder my nose. I have to tell you the Smith Street washroom is amazing. Flash all over the walls. Who needs porn when you’ve got this. I could have spent all day in there, make no mistake.
Now its stencil time. Eli asks about the two very old tattoos on my forearms. They are 41 years old I tell him, done when I was 15 years old. Hey Steve says Eli check these out. Steve looks at my old tattoos and says how glad he is to see I didn’t get these touched up and comments that the guy who did these tattoos really knew what he was doing.
So we get underway with the tattoo. It was agonising. The tattooing was fine, for a big guy Eli has a nice light hand but the way my arm had to be positioned was horrible as I have tendonitis in my shoulder. Eli was very good about it though and got me an arm rest, which helped a bit. The pain is worth it though. I just love the tattoo.
After we were done I got a picture with Eli. Such a funny picture. I look like Colonel Tom Thumb next to him. He’s one big guy.
Just as I finish who walks into the parlour but our very own [MENTION=1611]Reyeslv[/MENTION]. He’s getting a tattoo from Steve Boltz. [MENTION=1611]Reyeslv[/MENTION] has some other friends and family getting tattooed .We have a great time chewing the fat with my leg getting pulled about the mistake I made when I posted a picture of one of my tattoos ( I said it was on my thigh when it was on my lower leg).
So I hung around until [MENTION=1611]Reyeslv[/MENTION] got his tattoo from Steve (which was amazing by the way) and then we both had a photo taken together outside the shop before heading back to my hotel for the final leg of my journey.
Saturday morning up nice and early. After a shower and an altercation with the in room Nespresso machine (I called it a cunting piece of shit after it presented me with, what looked like watered down piss). I depart for the subway station in Chambers Street.
As I made the short walk I felt a little nervous. As a NYC subway virgin I hoped she would be gentle with me. I arrive at Chambers Street, down the stairs and towards the turnstiles. I swipe my card and nothing. I swipe it again. Nothing. Now I read on the interweb that there is a bit of a technique swiping the card. This time I push the card through the scanner, but slowly and I’m in. Yippy ky yay, motherfucker, this is easy.
So I’ve got all my route printed out, maps I’ve given myself loads of time. What could possibly go wrong. Really? I choose my platform. This must be the right one it’s headed toward Brooklyn. Big mistake as I realised 15 minutes into the ride. I should have reached my station in 8 minutes.
Shit..I get off with the intention of heading back to where I came from. The only way I could get to the other platform appeared to be to exit the station via the street. As I ascend the stairs all I can hear is reggae music booming out from the street and as I step out into the street I can see I am the only white guy in the area. At that moment a feeling of fear, excitement and hilarity washed over me. That moment will stay with me for a long time, I can tell you.
So the trick here is not to look lost. Ok, so how do I play this? First impressions are sometime all to do with deception. As I see it I have two choices I could be a) the, obviously, crazy/badass cracker motherfucker checking out the hood or b) the totally lost inept douchebag tourist carrying lots of cash. Under the circumstances I thought option a would be a good choice.
So I casually crossed the road and down the stairs back into the station. Good job I packed plenty of spare underpants. Luckily a very nice lady told me how to get to my destination station, Marcy Street. I wasn’t that far away but more by accident than design.
So my first lesson learned (or so I thought, more about that later) if the train don’t say what you have on your instructions it aint going there.
I finally reach my "mystery destination in Williamsburg" in time for a nice spot of brunch.
After I’ve eaten my delicious short rib burger I head for the pre- arranged meeting place and I spot Bailey arriving on his push bike. I walk over and introduce myself. I’ll be with you in just five minutes he says (now we all know there’s 5 minutes and there’s a tattooers five minutes) but five minutes later he’s back inviting me in and a short while after we’re climbing several flights of stairs to his studio.
The studio is amazing, stuffed animals heads, including a really fed up looking brown bears head, adorn the walls. There’s a beautiful glass covered display of butterflies on the wall. Dominating the room is an imposing life sized wooden Native American Indian who stands proudly on a upturned crate with the words "Kirkmans Borax Soap" printed on it. And on the other wall there are loads of tracings, some of Baileys paintings and other fascinating little bits of antique brick a brack.
Where you from? asks Bailey. I’m from the West Country UK about 80 miles from London, I reply. You over here on vacation? No I came over to get tattooed by you. Wow you’re crazy man, says Bailey.
So after about half an hour of making some adjustments to the drawing the stencil is made up. Its an Indian women on a horse, which is rearing up on its hind legs. Bailey checked out my tattoos on my legs asking me who did them. He particularly liked the one I got a couple of weeks ago from [MENTION=14]mario desa[/MENTION] on my lower leg and the one on the front of my right thigh from [MENTION=212]Stewart Robson[/MENTION].
Bailey has got some really nice hand tattoos and he showed me them, some done by Thomas Hooper. He told me his first palm tattoo was done by a guy who had never done one before. All I can say, he said was it was so painful it was like someone tattooing your soul.
So I asked Bailey why he never usually tattoos his own flash (this came out during our email exchanges). Bailey explained that once he’s painted something that’s it. Why would I want to do it all over again, the moment has been and gone. I just can’t get excited doing the same thing again, he said. Bailey then said he made an exception a short while ago when he tattooed a bison head on this guys leg and posted the picture on his blog. Within days he was getting loads of requests to do the exact same tattoo from the same piece of flash. So I totally get where he’s coming from.
Before long the stencil is on my leg. Bailey doesn’t like the initial placement wipes it off and puts it on again. Much better this time with the horses rear hooves nicely centred with my knee.
Within a short while we are under way. We chat about a few things, tattooing, guns even a story of how I injured myself twice in a short amount of time when I was working as a milk delivery man many years ago. Bailey was telling me how nerve damage in one of his legs made tattooing that area more painful than usual. As we had been talking about palm tattoos I mentioned I have slight nerve damage in the small finger of my right hand. That’s how I got on to the subject of my milkman injuries. I think I posted about this on the "Stupid Ways You Have Injured Yourself " thread. He though that was pretty funny.
I mentioned that he did a tattoo on [MENTION=675]Iwar[/MENTION] recently. Bailey commented on Iwars collection of great tattoos.
After we are done Bailey asks if he can see [MENTION=212]Stewart Robson[/MENTION] other work and the backpiece I have from [MENTION=211]Valerie Vargas[/MENTION]. He comments how much he admires both Stewarts and Valeries work.
Before I leave I give Bailey a framed piece of original flash from Frank Carter. We shake hands and then back down the stairs and after a happy and uneventful trip on the subway I am back in my hotel room.
So it’s my last night in the Big Apple so I’ve booked a table at the North End Grill which is slap bang next the hotel. It’s a Danny Meyer restaurant and is rapidly getting a very good reputation. The head chef is Floyd Cardoz. He’s of Indian extraction and has a reputation for his subtle use of Indian spices so I’m really excited about eating at this restaurant.
Before I go I pop back to the shop I mentioned earlier to pick up a couple of sodas some fresh fruit and beer. While I was in the store I saw some bags of salted in shell peanuts. These look interesting so I grabbed a bag. Before long I am back in my room with my provisions. The Beer is a quart of Mississippi Mud, a porter pilsner.
The store even put it in a nice brown paper bag to drink it out of. Now that’s what I call good customer service. So what should I do? head for the hotel lobby sit and drink the beer out of the paper bag and scare some Japanese tourists or shall I go back to the comfort of my hotel hotel room. Quite a dilemma. Although the first option was looking increasingly attractive getting tasered by the NYPD and pissing my pants in the lobby of the Conrad Hotel was the deal-breaker. So it was back to my room.
So there I am minding my own business sitting in the lounge area off my suite (only suites in this hotel) in my boxers drinking a beer watching one of my two TVs (I’m just showing off now) and eating some salted in shell peanuts when the door bell rings. I just ignore it.
Next thing the door opens and the maid walks in. The look on her face was a fuckin picure. I bet she wasn’t expecting a semi naked bald headed tattooed freak in one of their lovely rooms. "Turn down service sir" she asked. No you’re ok, I replied with a nice big smile, as she beat a hasty retreat from my room.
Now this is what happens when hotels offer special deals, it attracts all the low life and riff raff guests. On an aside the salted in shell peanuts are amazing. You peel the shell and peanuts inside have a lovely hint of salt and they taste so fresh. They achieve this by soaking the nuts in the shells, in a brine solution, before roasting.
Oh and another thing they might have two TVs but there is no phone in the shitter. WTF.
All fur coat and no drawers as we say over the pond.
After a shit, shave and a shower its off to the restaurant.
In the restaurant I choose a nice glass of a local IPA and half a dozen oysters as my first course. They are amazing native oysters. Beautifully fresh served on a bed of ice with a lemon wedge and mignonette. Nice and simple just as it should be.
For my mains I order the aged Creekstone Ribeye Steak cooked medium rare with a side of asparagus. The steak is cooked just right, it’s juicy tender and so flavoursome. The asparagus is amazing I can detect some spice, a little cumin and some chilli.
My other half [MENTION=2604]Jade1959[/MENTION] would have loved this place. On the plus side the tab only came to half of what it would have done, had she been there and it was nice to finish the evening without the usual drunken brawl with one of the other female diners.
Well here’s my first effort with a travel blog. I originally planned to set up an appointment to get tattooed by Bailey Robinson in October but I couldn’t wait that long. The hotel prices and flights were good and I had some vacation in June so fuck it.
I contacted Bailey again and set up my appointment. Time 12 noon, June 9th on the corner of two streets in Williamsburg. Text me when you get there and I’ll come and get you. All very cloak and dagger, but I can see why.
Now you can’t visit New York without visiting Smith Street Tattoo Parlour in Brooklyn. So I set up an appointment with Eli Quinters for Sunday, my last day. A nice rose with a banner with Brooklyn in it.
So after leaving a tearful wife at terminal 5 Heathrow on Friday June 8th I was on my way to NY JFK. It was a good flight, apart from some arsehole getting his luggage out of the overhead locker while the plane was still climbing with the seat belt signs still on (twats like that deserve to be maced given a damn good thrashing and thrown out of the plane).
We arrived at JFK on time only to wait in a queue for nearly 2 hours, clearing through security. That’s the last thing you need after a 7 hour flight, but hey ho.
Finally I’m on the shuttle to the hotel sharing the ride with 8 or nine people, including a very excitable Australian woman on crutches (she had torn some ligaments in her leg apparently). She shrieked when the Manhattan skyline first came into view and again when you could make out the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. I’d seen it all before so I refrained from shrieking. I just keep a stiff upper lip and shriek silently.
After a short journey through Queens and across the Brooklyn Bridge (I was dropped off first) we arrive at my hotel in Battery Park. I got a really great deal at this Hotel, The Conrad. So after tipping the driver I was inside the hotel.
After stepping off the hotel escalator I am greeted with the most incredible lobby. The interior design is by Monica Ponce de Leon, and installed by Feature Walters: One of the wall sculptures required 77 tons of aluminium and 16 miles of Vectran cable. I have absolutely no idea who these people are by the way but if one of your names is Ponce it must be good quality shit.
I check in and leave my bag in my room. First task get my bearings and top my phone up, so I could call home and buy a $25 Metro Card from Chambers Street Station. Anyway on the walk back to the hotel I find this food/deli store that is open 24/7. Inside they have an amazing range of craft beers in the cooler. As I perused the beers I spot a beer bottle with a picture of the Coney Island Steeplechase guy and at that moment I knew that was what I wanted Eli Quinters to tattoo on me with the word Brooklyn. ( I had originally asked for a rose and a banner)
So I buy a bottle and a bottle of Arrogant Bastard IPA a turkey, beef and cheese deli roll with Mayo and head back to the hotel. An early night for me tonight. A quick shower and then bed. Big day tomorrow.
hey y'all...I am officially on the road now, for those that give a damn. I'm currently working at "The Ink Shop" in Baton Rouge, La. with Brad Andrus.A real nice group of people.Notsure where Im going from here. Im open to suggestions.
A very concrete note: Some supplements can, like prescription blood thinners, affect bleeding and clotting. High doses of Vitamin E may cause people to bleed more freely. Also, some, like St. John’s Wort, affect sun sensitivity. I suspect that whatever changes happen in the skin from SJW could also affect tattoo healing.
Blow-outs happen and there is nothing you can do to fix them. Tattoos take 4 - 6 weeks to fully heal; you'll know what it's going to look like then. No tattoo is perfect. Enjoy the big picture, don't sweat the details.