I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in September of 1957, and spent most of my childhood running the streets of the city. My interest was sparked by two very interesting characters and their profession, which by the way, I thought was the coolest thing I had ever seen.
Those two characters were Crazy Philadelphia Eddie and Harry Von Groff. I hung around for awhile often getting kicked out for being up their ass too much, but I was persistent. Soon I was a shop fixture and spent my time between the two shops.
I ran errands and kept the shops clean, but I was learning to tattoo the old school way. I spent the next few years learning everything I could from them, finally earning a chair at Harry’s ShangHai Tattoo. I traveled around the country on my Harley, setting up at runs like Daytona, Sturgis and Laconia with the likes of Jack Rudy, Bobby Rosini, Larry Allen and the late great Mr. Tramp. Believe me when I tell you that getting into the tattoo world was not as easy in the 70’s, you couldn’t buy a “NO TALENT NEEDED” tattoo kit off the back of a magazine for a couple hundred dollars to start messing up your friends with as you learn. You had to earn the respect and then learn the trade. But enough from an old man bitchin about scratchers.
I love to draw and in one way or another I have been drawing all of my life. Tagging everything from school desks as a kid to els as a teen, (that’s elevated trains for you non-city folks). My family comes from a long line of artists. My father drew fake tattoos on us all the time at his shop and my Aunt Adele still hand draws the Christmas cards she sends out each year. My younger brother Rob owns Tidewater Tattoo in Elkton Maryland and is a great artist, so I guess art is in my blood and after 38 years I would guess it’s here to stay.
I thank Harry (RIP) for taking me in when I was a lost teenager and Eddie for teaching me manners and values. God bless all the friends I have met throughout the years, and thank god for my family who has supported me through thick and thin, my brothers Rob and Tony, my sister Donna, the rock of the family and my Aunt Janet and Uncle Jerry who gave me the guidance and the faith to come this far. Thanks Jack for giving me a second home and his family to share whether were in Maryland golfin in the cold or here in the sunshine playin some pasture pool. And special thanks to my new Lady Kim, her son Nick and her parents Ken and Nancy for restoring my faith in people and reminding me that when God drops your life from your hands, he does it so you may fill your palms with something more deserving.
I love it here in Florida. I can ride, golf and be on my boat year round. I have a great girlfriend, a beautiful home full of pets, a lot of good friends and a very wonderful life. I am doing my part to keep Florida a beautiful and colorful place, and you know what, I still think this is the coolest thing in the world.
Remember, Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely, in a pretty, well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming “WOW, WHAT A RIDE”!
Winner of over 300 national awards