101 Most Influential People in Tattooing

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Most people with an iota of intelligence will avoid listing the top ten anything. Name your favorite ice cream flavor and, sure enough, the chocolate-mint-chip people will be all up in arms because they got beaten out by vanilla. Even a list of your favorite movie stars will have irate theater owners refusing to sell you a ticket. No matter how hard you try to assemble a non-threatening roster of favorites, somebody’s going to be miffed. Name a “top one hundred” and the bottom fifty will never speak to you again. The top two-thru-ten will be horrified that they’re not Number One. And the ones you leave out? They’ll spit whenever your name is mentioned.


Joe Vegas once said, “Make a list, and everybody will want to be on it.” But before I once again become an object of derision (during my fifteen years with SKIN&INK, I earned the nickname “Target”), please know that I love everybody! Even the idiots, I love. Even the people who swallow parakeets and hate Elvis, I love. Even the numb nuts who are somehow on my list (solely because they are influential), I love. They probably know who they are, by the way, and should thank their lucky stars that I’m in a good mood and don’t compile of list of Tattooing’s 101 Biggest Jerks.

So, here I go leaping into the breach, counting down with numbers 101 thru 92. It is done this way, ten at a time, to both stay organized and build suspense. By the way, all you potential candidates who are thinking of influencing my vote—since this feature will be monthly and run for almost a year—keep in mind that there’s at least one Christmas, my birthday and a Father’s Day in there somewhere.
—Bob Baxter


  1. Hi Bob.
    I have been reading your list of 101 Most Influential People in the tattoo industry. It’s always nice to see your friends get the recognition and admiration they deserve. May I suggest you include a very dear friend and influential artist, who you have already mentioned, when mentioning who broke Gill Montie in: Doc Dog.
    Las Vegas Tattoo Company, founded by Doc and Smilin’ Paul, was the very first tattoo shop in Las Vegas, actually in Nevada proper. I believe some of the bylaws that still exist today were written by these two. LVTC has had shops in Puerta Villiarta, London, Vegas and now Doc and Belle run the shop in Tampa, Florida. I think they actually had the first tattoo TV show, too; years before the now famous “Miami Ink” and the like.
    Doc was roasted this year in Richmond, by Philadelphia Eddy, Lyle Tuttle, Tony Olivas, Mike Parsons, Rikki Bailey and Bob Tyrell, among others. I could probably go on and on, but since this is just an email, I will attempt to keep it brief. Let me know if there is anything I can do to facilitate an introduction, if you do not already know Doc.

    —Halia Key

  2. Hello,
    These are great stories. I am certainly enjoying the reads and learning about people I have never heard of but who obviously made significant contributions to the industry.I am lucky to have some old school work by people who I now consider friends like the Dutchman (Vancouver), Tattoo Molly (Amsterdam) Juli Moon (Lynn), Dennis Dwyer (Tuscon), Tattoo Leslie (Den Haag), among others. I am certainly looking forward to the final count-down.
    Thank you.

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