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Tony D'Annessa: Canada's Oldest Tattoo Artist


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I found this short video about Tony D'Annessa online and figured that people here would be interested in it. Tony tattooed in New York City before tattooing was outlawed in 1961 and you can find him talking about NYC in Michael McCabe's New York City Tattoo book. He opened PSC Tattoo in Montreal in 1976 and the shop is still going strong and these huge roll-up sheets of his flash hang on the walls. I've been getting my back done there and Tony is there pretty much every day, occasionally doing a tattoo, but mostly hanging out, watching TV and making wisecracks. I got tattooed by him about three and a half years ago and I would definitely recommend getting tattooed by him if you're ever in Montreal.
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I think a lot of people in Canada are also ignorant about Canadian tattoo history, and for a pretty good reason too: as far as I know, there isn't a lot of easily accessible information out there that gives a broader picture of things. You can get things here and there from books, sometimes the internet, or from getting tattooed and talking to people, but there isn't anything that really lays it out. There is a documentary and perhaps also book called Hold Fast and Stay Gold in the works, and Nick Wasko in Vancouver may be working on a book about some of the older guys like Doc Forbes, so hopefully there will be something out there soon because there are a lot of great people tattooing in Canada, both past and present, and there are some interesting stories to tell.

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Oh sure, I actually meant history in general. I was thinking specifically about the first time I heard about the First Nations people and how similar some of their history is to US Native Americans, and yet theirs is much less known to us below the border. Tattoo history is even more obscure to the general public, though equally important to a select few (including many of us LSTers).

Basically: history is cool.

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