ERIKA STANLEY arts .com

AMERICAN GRAFFITI'S SKIN FLICK

Skin & Ink Magazine, October 1999

OTR skin flick m

Written and Photographed exclusively by Erika Stanley

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On the Road with Erika & Danielle (automatic credit given to absentee Danielle)
SKIN FLICK, Sacramento, Ca

Waking up at 5:30 in the morning and jumping into a car to drive six hours wasn’t exactly what we thought would be part of our job description. We just can’t help it though, being the carnival side-show lovers that we are. We found our treasured invitation only days before the first Skin Flick Tattoo Event. Hosted by Eric Hogan and the crew of American Graffiti in Sacramento, in order to generate investors’ interest on throwing a future international tattoo convention. The invite to this fund raiser boasted an eye feast with a gourmet menu including a tattoo art exhibit, slide show presentation courtesy of Chuck Eldridge’s Tattoo Archive, the amazing Captain Don’s circus side show, tattooed magic acts and six bands. We would have to be gutless to miss this one!

We arrived earlier than we thought at Sacramento’s American Legion Hall and was greeted by Eric Hogan, busily talking into his cell phone smoothing the last details for the event. We were amazed to find that things were well organized and off to a smooth start. Anyone who has tried to organize an event knows how hard it can be to get things off the ground properly. Eric made it look simple. He hung up his mobile and took us to his tattoo studio to get us settled in. This place was huge! He even had a spare room for usErika to set up a private photo studio. When we got upstairs, we spotted Gil Montie tattooing in the main room. Erika set up the photo gear to be ready for dragging people two blocks away from The Post to be photographed.

Back at The Post, the bar at the American Legion, the tattoo art exhibit flowed throughout the billiards room and into the bar itself. The exhibit featured fine art by Hanky Panky, Eric Hogan, Wrath, Grime, Tycho and more! As the crowd showed up, we got a chance to rub elbows with Masayoshi, C.W. Eldridge, and Captain Don. We watched tattoo videos pumped through the monitors over the bar, including Hanky’s world tour, until Chuck turned off the lights for his slide show.

C.W. Eldridge, better known as Chuck, gave a presentation on military tattoos, quite fitting to be presented in the American Legion’s Hall. Chuck also served in the military on an aircraft carrier in Viet Nam. He showed slides of tattooers, flash designs and talked about the icons of tattooing from the past. Some of the flash we know well, but may not know what they stand for. For example: the nurse tattoo was for those who wanted to remember the nameless heroines who nursed wounded soldiers back to health. The lighthouse was a good luck image for sailors. Some designs allowed for the soldier’s service number to be included, just in case they didn’t make it home alive. Some of the tattooers Chuck spoke about included George Burcham, who tattooed in England through two world wars. “Cap” Coleman of Northern Virginia, who was so famous, he didn’t even print his address on his business cards. “Doc” Forbes of Vancouver, Canada who got his nickname because he kept medical magazines in his studio, focused on cleanliness and wore a clean, white coat. And then came the sad tale of Owen Jensen who tattooed on the Pike in Long Beach until some thugs beat him for less than $30. He never made it out of the hospital.

I’ve spent many hours sleeping to the monotone voice of someone with a projector button in their hand. I once swore I could never stay awake in any class. This is one presentation I had no problem paying attention to. Chuck gave us all a gift that evening. One that can never be stolen.

After picking Chuck’s brain and looking through the merchandise from his Tattoo Archives, we went into another room to witness Captain Don swallowing swords accompanied by Suzi Ming, contortionist and Miss E. Lectra a highly charged entertainer. Then the first of the six bands went on. In a room filled with helium balloons, which many couldn’t resist, the evening progressed into night with Flogging Molly, American Heartbreak, Swingin’ Utters, The Alley Boys, The Pushers, Pressure Point and Smut Peddlers (who by the way has one of LFP’s tattooed employees, Julia, on drums).

Eric, his key assistants, Ian, Channa, Satu and the rest of American Graffiti did an excellent job. They plan on having more fund-raising events this summer to gather more sponsors and exhibitors. So keep your eyes open for an invitation to Skin Flick, this is one event you shouldn’t miss!

For more information on how to participate in Skin Flick, contact American Graffiti at (916) 443-7778.

Author's note: RIP Eric Hogan 04-08-2001