Gallery Tattoo
Gallery Tattoo
12:48 AM

The History of Tattoos

Most people assumed tattooing has been around for a very long time, but in 1991, we found evidence proving that the art of ink has been used by humans much longer than many would guess. What happened in 1991? Otzi the Iceman was discovered frozen in a high altitude region on the boarder between Italy and Austria. Good ol. Otzi, dead since 3300 BC, had a whopping 57 tattoos on his body. Otzi's tattoos were very primitive. Many of them consisted of nothing more than a few dots or lines. Hardly a fashion statement, it is suspected that Otzi's tattoos were used as a way to ward off the presence of arthritis.
Ancient tribes in the Middle East have also been discovered to have employed some interesting tattooing practices. The cremated ashes of a loved one were often used to fill a self-inflicted wound. This was done as a sign of respect and as a way of grieving the departed.
Modern tattooing may owe some of its popularity to British Royalty. After visiting less advanced cultures, such as the Tahitians, King George V was inspired by their practice of tattooing so much that he asked one tribe to ink him with a cross. Later, on a trip to Japan, he received a dragon on his forearm. After that, he hopped on his motorcycle and went cruising for chicks. Err. that might have been one of his distant relatives.
While it might seem counterintuitive to think of tattooing as an upper-class activity, it became just that in 19th century Europe. Even Winston Churchill's mother had a tat, a snake around her waist. Inspired by his her, Winston himself sported an anchor tattoo on his forearm for most of his life.
In the Western world, tattoos have evolved from a way of distinguishing oneself as upper class to a fashion identifier or attention grabber. In America, tattoos are rampantly popular. It is estimated that as many as two-thirds of young Americans have at least one tattoo. Ironically, this popularity was fueled significantly by World War II. Many American soldiers were tattooed while touring Europe, which was a more popular continent for tattoos at the time. When they returned home with freshly inked skin, the practice made its way into mainstream culture.
Tattooing really spiked in popularity during the 1960s. The hippie generation of free-spirit dope-smoking youth brought tattoos front and center with what was deemed "cool" at the time.
Criminal and gang subculture have also embraced tattoos. Because of this, tattooing could not be more distant from its once "high class" reputation of yesteryear. Many hold negative associations towards tattoos due to their use as a way of identifying one's self as a member of a gang or prison inmate.
The negative implications that gang members bring to the tattoo world are at least partially offset by a very benign form of tattooing, temporary tattoos. These became popular among grade-schoolers in the 1990s since they provide the impact of a normal tattoo without causing permanent damage to the skin. Most of these tattoos are made with nothing more than glue and pigments extracted from vegetation. Temporary tattoos are not held in a respectable light by tattoo enthusiasts. It would not be wise to walk into a parlor and ask the artist if they have any temporary tattoos.

12:47 AM

Tattoo Placement, Design, and History

Getting a Tattoo is a multi-tiered process that begins with education on the topic.
Browse through the topics below to learn about tattoos throughout history, tattoo design and placement, and some precautions to take before getting a tattoo.

12:45 AM

I have seen some of your paintings and they are awesome! How often do you paint compared to Tattooing? Do you have a favorite painting?

Adam Potts - Skateboard Deck Watercolor Painting
Thanks! Generally, if I’m at the shop, and not tattooing, I try and paint. I do go through lazy periods though, where I don’t do a lot of painting, but they are usually followed by very productive periods.
What are your top 3 favorite movies of all time?
Good question. The Jerk, Mad Max (the first one, not Road Warrior or that Thunder-dome turd), and Jaws. I also really liked The Dark Knight, but those other three are classics.
If you hadn’t become a Tattoo Artist, what do you think you would be doing today?
I’d love to say something really cool and sexy, but in all honesty, I think I’d probably be an accountant or some other boring office type worker.
Shout out time! Feel free to list any events you will be attending, things you want to promote, people you want to throw some love to.
There are really too many people I like to mention, so I think I’ll just make this about me. That way I can’t hurt anyone’s feeling if I forget them.
My website should be up soon:, until then you can keep up with me on facebook or twitter and myspace, if anyone still uses it.
I’m working on putting together a fun little art book soon and I’ve got some ideas for some art auctions I’d like to do in the near future. I can’t give to many details now, but I’ve also got something really BIG in the works, but you’ll have to
wait to hear more about it.

12:44 AM

Nice armory. Who is your favorite ? Why?

Well, me, of course.
Adam Potts - Ninja Turtles Tattoo
Yeah, duh right? Do you have any friendly rivalries with other Tattoo Artists? Is there anyone in the
community who makes you push yourself?
I have a rivalry with every other tattooer I’ve ever met or seen. I want to be better than everyone, I never will be, but I want to be and that’s what pushes me.
Words to live by man. Who is your favorite band at the moment?
For the past few months now I’ve been listen to nothing but the Boss or The Drive-by Truckers, with a little Lucero thrown in there every now and then.

12:42 AM

Both awesome motivations for ink, I must say. If there are any famous people you’ve done ink for, who are they, and what did they have done?

Well, there is this one adult film star, maybe you’ve heard of her, Misti Dawn? I’ve done all her work and I’m such a professional/gentleman I’ve never had her take off her clothes to do any of them.
I do know Misti Dawn, and if you weren’t married…I’d think you missed an amazing opportunity haha. Tell us the funniest experience you’ve had as a Tattoo Artist?
One of the guys I used to work with at Tattoo Charlie’s was a bit of a mentor to me. He had been tattooing for awhile and had lived a very “eventful” life, he had since turned his life around and was now a great father, good friend, pacifist, teetotaler, vegatarian, NA sponsor, the biggest Ramones fan I’ve ever seen and gave talks at prisons about drug abuse. We were eating lunch at the shop one day and he turns to me and says, “I’ve been through and seen a lot in my life and there is only one thing I would have done different.” I knew what he was about to tell me was going to be golden. The kind of thing you can only learn from going through hell and coming out on the other side. “If I had it all to do over again,” he continued, “I’d have had sex with more fat ugly girls.”

12:40 AM

What is your favorite Tattoo style

I’m a sucker for American traditional. I think it’s what tattoos should look like. Charlie told me once, if you can’t tell what a tattoo is from across the room than it isn’t a good tattoo.
What is the most memorable piece you’ve created? Describe it? Who was it done for?
I’ve done a lot of pieces that I am very proud of on a lot of really great people, but the one that I will probably always remember was a Taz. Years ago, a guy came into the shAdam Potts - Undead Portrait Tattooop and wanted Taz with some words arched above and below. I sat down and drew, well traced, the Taz and then I draw a circle around it to use as a guide for the lettering. When I showed him the drawing I had not erased the circle but explained that it would not be part of the tattoo. He liked the circle and wanted it instead of the letters. I tried to explain to him that a Taz with a big circle around it might not look the best, but he insisted, so I did it. When I finished he looked at his circled Taz in the mirror and said,”I think you were right. This does look kinda stupid.” I said,” It sure does,” then I bandaged him up and sent him on his way.
Tell us about your experience getting your first Tattoo? What did you have done?
I got my first tattoo when I was eighteen, for my mother, who died when I was fifteen. I drew it myself and its a traditional mom heart with a dagger through it.
Is that your favorite Tattoo that you own?
I’ve never thought about “owning” tattoos, but I like all my tattoos. I guess, if I had to pick, it would be my first one or the anchor and heart I got on my wedding day.

12:39 AM

Adam Potts Talks American Traditional Tattoos

Adam Potts WatercolorHi Adam Potts! So tell us, what’s your short story?

I do tattoos at Acme Ink in Louisville, KY. I do them as clean and nice as I can and I do them very fast. I also paint a little.
How long, and with whom, did you apprentice before coming into your own?
I apprenticed under Tattoo Charlie Wheeler for around fourteen months before I started tattooing for money in November of 2001. I don’t feel like I came into my own until a year or two ago, but that’s not to say I’m finished learning or moving forward. That’s one of the things I love about my job, there’s is ALWAYS more to learn and room to improve. If I ever feel like I can’t learn anymore I’m going to quit.
What was it like apprenticing under 30 year veteran “Tattoo Charlie Wheeler”?
Charlie was a real character. I was always a little intimidated by him. When I first started tattooing friends during my apprenticeship and he was watching over my shoulder I would sweat a ton. I would literally have to change shirts afterward. It got so bad he made me go to a doctor to make sure nothing was wrong with me. There wasn’t I was just very nervous. My fear was actually pretty unfounded though, I think he had mellowed out a lot as he got older. He never once hit me with his “apprentice stick”, which was a two fought long double ended black dildo. When it comes down to it, though, I couldn’t be more grateful to him for giving me a chance and I wish I had told him that before he passed.