Come One, Come All and Witness The Amazing Tattooed Boy!

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From the collection of The Mariners’ Museum, Catalog Number: P0001.001-01- -P239

Throughout the years that I have been working at The Mariners’ Museum, I have compiled a list of photographs that I love. Photos that catch my eye in terms of their composition, or tone, or, often, their subject matter. One such picture came back to my attention recently when we put together a little popup exhibit for a group of local tattoo artists.

It is an image of a boy no older than 14, topless, and reclining on furs. He wears fringed shorts, ankle-high boots, and tattoos cover the young man’s exposed skin. His eyes pierce through your own while a cocky smile pulls the corners of his mouth. All the while, an older gentleman with a bushy mustache and newsboy cap presses a tattoo needle to the youth’s outer thigh. Above his hip stands a panel of tattoo flash and below that, a  small square of the image is deliberately cut away.   Read more

The art of the tattoo

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P873ColemansPlace

We have many collections to be proud of here at The Mariners’ Museum, but one of our most popular, which also happens to be one of my favorite, is the collection of tattoo pieces that belonged to the famed August “Cap” Coleman.  Coleman opened shop in Norfolk in 1918, but was forced out after WWII due to a law was passed in Norfolk making tattooing illegal.

Our collection of Coleman objects came to us through the years, with the bulk being purchased directly from Coleman in 1936.  Two of my favorite pieces are sheets of tattoo designs that were both signed by Coleman, making them extra special (pictured below).  The designs are are very colorful and showcase Coleman’s artistic ability.   Read more