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A Hello from from the High End of Bums


Gloomy Inks
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Hello. Gloomy here making my entrance. Tattooing, on and off since I was 22. Seriously for about three years now. Much more to learn of course, but I'm not one to have a big head. I'm very much into the "old masters" although people like Paul Booth, Caleb Morgan, and many more I can't think of at this early hour for me.

I'm writing as well as gearing up to start a shop here in Central Florida, although there are so many fine artists here, truly, that I'm humbled every day to see fine work, and being my worst critic, strive to do the best work I can.

I'm pretty gregarious. I'll pull a hunk of pork chop out of my mouth, put my beer down, and run after an old guy or gal on the off chance that they'll tell me about an old green one. The wonderful thing about tattooing that I feel sometimes we miss is that we're artists, we have more in common than not. There is room for everyone, it isn't going to die. Sure, the art will on skin, as we all have a shelf life. The flash, the machines, the crazy, scary, and down right funny stories (and what is up with the old time guys and monkeys? My grandfather had one once, terrible stories he told me, and every time I hear about an artist with a monkey I brace myself for something worse) that bind us, rather then tear us apart.

It's not us against us, no matter what the back biting of the current and past maybe. For me it's balance always. I'm a 'mersh artist, I just happen to be one with a really friggin' cool jobby job. You can't go swimming without getting wet, so I put on my mask and snorkel and dive deep into as much of the art, the history of it, and the mechanics as I can. From making machines, tuning (things I'll admit I'm getting better at, but still I'm way lame), to cutting acetates, to dealing with people of all walks as we do these days, to taking classes with the retired folks at the library on watercolors. My goal is not to be the best, as Stoney St. Clair (a true inspiration when I'm feeling burned out) said, "Just as good as the rest."

Sometimes I get asked what I do best. My answer is simple: clean, quality work. You walk away happy, smiling, and without a fatal liver disease.

I do have other interests too. I love to write, and I'm doing some tattoo history research, albeit slowly, as well as working on a novel about tattooing, revenge, and redemption set right before world war two. I'm a big US Civil War buff. I've played music since I was 12 and have not let up on that either.

Somehow, I even find time to be with my stunning woman, who I have no idea what she sees in me.

All that aside I have a bit of the rebel in me. I hated school from the first day of kindergarden. It was a 14 year (I wasn't held back, but I was too big for another year of the little kid stuff, and too dumb for 1st grade) prison sentence. Even in art class, even though I didn't know what flash was, that's the kind of stuff I would draw. I used to be a bad kid. Anything I could think to do I would. Took me a long time to realize that my Mom, one of the five best women I know, had raised me with manners. Like to 27!

I got a DUI. I liked to play two hand tag. Stay out late with the boys and I got my first ink on my 18th birthday, the first in my family. My sister may have beaten me in tattoo numbers by now. I dunno.

These days though I try to take things slow, reason them out, and keep my head about me with a liberal dose of humor, much of which I pointed right back at me. I have a terrible temper that I try to control, and every now and again flares up big time. More often then not though it's for about five minutes, and then I have doughnut and some coffee and babble about the fierce look on Cap Coleman's mug, or how on my 10th birthday all I wanted was a Gameboy. That same day Paul Rodgers passed away and now I'd sell my left hand (yeah, I'm a lefty. Bad genes. I know. I know...) for a honest to goodness J frame or Mad Bee.

Might just have to make it myself, ja?

I'm currently learning German, and as well, even though I have no business doing it, I'm drawing with my best bro, who has recorded much of my music and puts up with my pique, and plays mean drums and keys, and he's into the idea of tattooing now too. We're learning from each other, bouncing ideas back and forth, delving into all sorts of dark corners of this "black art".

Um... hmmm. I like animals. I hope one day someone asks me for a sheep tattoo rather then a wolf. My sister is 100 times the artist I am. She can paint! I'm just rocking the high end of bum, the lowest bottom man on the pyramid of greatness. If I can pull myself up to just being a solid worker, I'll feel pretty good.

I expect nothing, but I will show all of you respect, and will do my best to help, inspire (such as I can), prod, poke and joke all of you, be you artist or client, into being better then me.

Which certainly won't be hard for you all.

All the best, and I mean it!

-Gloomy Gus

PS- Trust yourself in everything and you can't lose.

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  • 5 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Maybe we were all out getting tattooed that day.

Oh, I see, getting tattooed and not coming to me. For shame!

I'm joking, but thanks guys, it means a lot to me that you liked the intro. I don't consider anything I do all that great, but I figure others do. I got a sleeve and some big black work this week to do, so that should be fun. I do like black work, even though you sorta go into yourself when you do it.

However, while I was outta town this week I found out a few things:

1. Not the first person in the family with tattoos. My uncle Ole got ink from Coleman in Norfolk (my 90 y/o Grandmother said he called him, in his Norse, "Dat Bastard Col-man!") and Wagner on the Bowery. Never met the old cat, as his idea of breakfast was a pack of Camels and coffee! And my Uncle Frank in TN got work in Phenix City (sp?), AL, and alls I can figure it must have been done by Stoney. He was in that tank killer brigade, in Patton's 3rd Army.

2. My Mom told me I hated pre school too. See, just a mean kid!

3. People say damned nice things when I'm not around. Which is much better that being told I'm a hack.

4. Made some calls, found a CNC shop that will take my frame order and turn it out for me. None of that BS casting or prefab. I used to build guns (the shooting kind!) so I have a bias for 0% flaws, and I hate finish sanding. So I'm thinking that machines will be up for sale, barring my lame illness, in December. Hand wound coils, with your cap of choosin'. Or no cap, getting real old time with silver contacts. And for the brave, with a condenser as used in automotive ignitions. I know it works, as I found a big thing on Walter Cleveland here. Figured might not be a bad idea. Sort of looks like a propane tank on the upright.

No rubber band "spring" though. Maybe later.

So I was thinking a Waters #2 liner, J frame shader, and Dietzel color packer. Unless anyone has better ideas. Please let me know, and you all take care, you hear?

Edited by Gloomy Inks
"Those who can write, have editors." (and Malone was a lousy speelller too.)
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