Leicester Square, May 1982
Tuinol Barry, Chelsea 1982
Skinhead, Leicester Square 1980
To see more of the exceptional photographs of Derek Ridger’s documentation of British youth culture have a look here.
John Samson’s of Dressing for Pleasure’s fame also made this incredible documentary called ‘Tattoo’ in 1975. The documentary examines why people choose to get tattooed before a final climatic scene in a dark room where the naked tattooed body is offered to the viewer as pieces of art as the camera spans across the bodies in various ways making them resemble some kind of precious statues. Reality versus Fantasy all within the subject of flesh encapsulate this film in a truly iconic way.
Watch out for Rusty Skuse in part 4 before the films exhibits some piercing shock tactics at the end of the film.
I saw Bill on Columbia Road on Thursday, he was having a cigarette outside a betting shop and I noticed how great his arms looked. I followed him into the shop and he showed me his tattoos which he got in between 1975 and 1980 in Chingford, North East London. Sadly the microphone on my camera wasn’t working but I think the tattoos speak for themselves.
Yesterday while walking to work I saw Barry painting a door on Kingsland Road. I noticed that he had some great tattoos so I decided to stop to speak to him and ask if I could take some photos. Incredibly all of his tattoos were done by Les Skuse in Bristol in 1968! Barry was keen to confirm with me that it was Les who tattooed him and not his son.
Born in South Africa in 1896 little is known about Van Dyn’s life, but what is known is suitably sensational and shocking. Other than being well know for having a highly decorated face in more conservative times Van Dyn was also known for being a regular at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park telling whoever would listen about his scandalous life. Tattooed by the great George Burchett in the 1930′s and rumoured to have worked for Al Capone as a gun runner, he worked on the Southampton Docks most of his life until his death in the 1980′s.
He made the newspapers in England on many occasions – most famously with the story of him selling his heavily tattooed head to anyone who cared to have it after his death. Tattoo artist’s Ben Gunn, Tattoo Jock, Cash Cooper and Jack Ringo all appeared in newspaper stories – telling of them buying Jacobus head – which they would receive after his passing (which of course they didn’t but worked as a great publicity trick for them).
This is what George Burchett had to say about him:
“The World’s Worst Man, my most plucky client, J. P. Van Dyn, who now works as a stevedore in the Southampton Docks is sixty three years of age. He claims to have been in every famous prison in the world, including Sing Sing, Devil’s Island. Very few of my clients, except professional fair-ground artist, would decide to ornament their faces in such an elaborate and distinct manner as Mr. Van Dyn. He sketched some of the designs himself.” (source)
Photographs by Howard Grey taken in 1959. More images can be seen here
Sam Ricketts has become a name synonymous with nautical subject matter, morose and mournful themes and a love for the galactic unknown. His love for the sea, stemming from a childhood fascination for Sharks and related animals, has a frequency within his work; with many of his pieces seeming akin to the tales of an old-world whaler. His style; powerful and somewhat dark, is able to exist on the skin with boldness and presence, as does his paintings which are full of a malevolence and romanticism. Working equally as coherently with small flash to full back pieces, he seems to be able to create with ease a narrative in any given context or direction.
Citing inspiration from the likes of H.P Lovecraft, Jef Whitehead, Jeff Zuck and Steve Byrne, he has gone on to create a following across the U.K and beyond as well as respect & affiliatons with other strong names in U.K Traditional tattooing such as Simon Erl and Frank Carter.
Ricketts, who is as equally humble as he is talented, has no plans for slowing down and a future full of optimism & progress as well as one day (as he tells me), a life by the sea.