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Flash from the Bowery: Classic American Tattoos, 1900-1950

by Charlie Wagner

Between these pages are the original acetate rubbings from Charlie Wagner's turn-of-the-20th-century tattoo shop, The Black Eye Barbershop, located in the Bowery at Chatham Square in New York. This is the only art known to have survived from the shop where Samuel J. O'Reilley's modern-day electric tattoo machine was born and patented.

The imagery of these classic tattoo designs preserves the origins of American tattoos, when tattoo art was transferred to the client from these templates via an acetate stencil. Everything was done by hand until O'Reilley's electrified tattoo machine changed history. This rich heritage of folk art has more than 900 individual designs that provide commentary on the shop's clientele and reveal some of the social, economic, and political ideas of the time. Including nautical themes, Asian imagery, flowers, boxers, circus characters, and plenty of girls, this is an exciting collection of early American flash.

Images are mostly in black & white, but there is a tiny bit of color.

Hardcover in slipcase. 400 pages. Measures 9" X 11 3/4"

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