Baxter's Tattoo Blog's Daily Blog

Sea Tramp, Portland’s Oldest Tattoo Shop Arises From The Ashes!

Sea Tramp Crew

Don Deaton and Crew


In early 1978 Don Deaton arrived in Portland, Oregon, to continue the legacy of Bert Grimm.  Through the decades, Sea Tramp has changed with the city’s evolving landscape, moving from its gritty Old Town studio to the more industrial Eastside area on Grand Avenue.  Its most recent relocation was as the result of a fire in their building in August 2014. It is a miracle that any of the legendary flash and art survived the smoke and water damage, but survive it did.  After the devastating fire scattered the crew to shops throughout the city, the latest incarnation of Portland’s oldest tattoo studio hosted a Grand Opening party February 23rd.

Sea Tramp InteriorThe Old School vibe remains intact at their second floor location at 523 S.E. Stark Street. As I entered the entrance and walked up the wide stairway, I remembered Lyle Tuttle saying his famous 2nd floor location across the street from the Greyhound Bus Depot in San Francisco, “weeded out the drunks the Miracle Theater,” Sea Tramp’s expansive space blends its traditional roots with the modern aesthetic of new floors, lighting, bathroom and separate clean room. An additional lounge/media area filled with couches provides a laid back ambience. The reassembled crew, ranging in age from 20 to 80, has all the experience and enthusiasm to keep Sea Tramp humming for many years to come.

—Mary Jane Haake, Dermigraphics, Portland, Oregon

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Written by Baxter

March 19th, 2015 at 7:09 am

Posted in Announcements

Help Wanted Tattoo Artist—Westbury, New York


Always know that any Directory Member may post (free-of-charge, announcements, photos, etc., by sending to or We often post next day.

Lark Tattoo is now reviewing portfolios for a full time position at our Westbury, Long Island, New York location. We are looking for a highly skilled, professional, full-time tattooer. Applicant must possess at least 5 years shop experience with a strong portfolio, excellent customer service skills, and the ability to be on time. We are a very busy, custom shop with an excellent reputation and atmosphere that is artist owned and operated. You must be able to draw and tattoo in all styles. If you think you have what it takes please email me ( a link to your portfolio and a description of your experience and contact information.

—Bruce Kaplan (Owner, Lark Tattoo

Feel free to check out our shop and the artists you would possibly be working with via our website:

Thank you and best wishes.

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Written by Baxter

March 18th, 2015 at 7:02 am

Friday the 13th —Your Lucky Day In Gotham City


I have no idea who started it all and I am sure there are several shops that will claim the title, but love ‘em or hate ‘em, the fact is that Friday the 13th Tattoos have become a staple in the tattoo world. The format is pretty much the same: you pick a design off a specially drawn sheet, you drop $13 plus a $7 tip and 15 minutes or so later you are out the door with your newest bit of ink. There are rarely variations on the designs. They are limited to arms or legs, and there is only one to a customer.


 On this Friday the 13th, I dropped in on a couple of my favorite shops*, Daredevil at their new digs downtown on Division Street and Fineline on First Avenue. They also have the appeal of being two subway stops apart and very convenient to the subway entrances. On an evening when the mercury dropped to the teens , this was a major consideration.  There was no doubt that the lure of the low priced pieces got people out despite the weather. Both shops had waiting lists of up to a couple of hours.




For some, this was going to be their first tattoo and face it, even for us seasoned collectors, this is  a cool event to share. There were others who had a sleeve of “13s” done over the years. There were  some folks waiting who sported bandages from pieces done that evening at other shops. These quirky little designs have an appeal all their own.

Next time I just may pick up one!

—Maury Englande {}

* And just a personal aside about why these shops are favorite places for me. Fineline at 21 First Avenue was opened by Mike Bakaty as soon as tattooing became legal in New York City. Mike had been tattooing since forever before that and claimed that his shop was the oldest continually operating legal place in the City. Mike passed away last year, but he left behind a collection of his original tattoo art, several thousand pieces that are on display in the shop. Probably the largest single collection of hand drawn flash in the world, it is worth a trip to see it. Mike’s son Mehai, a fine artist in his own right, has taken over and continues to run the shop.

Michelle Myles’ shop, Daredevil at 141 Division Street, is brand new but is already a tattoo landmark. On display in the shop is a collection of some of the rarest tattoo art and memorabilia: hand drawn flash from legendary artists, antique machines, signs and banners from old time shops and lots more. And of course Michelle and a bunch of talented artists.


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Written by Baxter

March 14th, 2015 at 6:56 am

Spittin Image Tattoo—Fairbanks, Alaska


The newest member of our Tattoo Shop Directory is Mike Mayotte of Spittin Ink Tattoo in beautiful Fairbanks, Alaska. Currently a one-man shop, Mike has created the ultimate, one-stop resource for locals as well as big city dwellers. From pork chop flash to full-on single-needle portrait chest-pieces) have allowed Mike to combine longstanding ethics and technical know-how in creating a truly respected and popular meeting place for tattoo talk and lots of Mike’s time-honored body art.

 —Spittin’ Ink Tattoo Studio, Fairbanks, Alaska

Note: Click images to enlarge.

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Written by Baxter

March 13th, 2015 at 11:14 am

Commentary About Filip’s Ferocious Bali Neckpiece


There was lots of squabble when (I think) Guy Aitchison and Amil Gupta jumped on Filip Leu at a U.S.-based tattoo event to allow Filip to follow his dream and get throat-inked. Yikes! That ought to sting. So, on of our avid readers got involved and asked me for Loretta’s address, since she is the family leader. Keep in mind that, after 300 years in the tattoo business I may have got the tattoo artists confused as to who did Filip, but you can see the results.

Dear Loretta,

Thank you VERY much for your prompt and kind answer.
Yes, the thought of a tattoo as an entrance ticket to the right place in afterlife can be found in many religions like the coptic christians (a cross on the inside of your wrist) and among the Buddhists in Thailand practicing the Sak Yant traditions. But I am sure this is no news to you. And a tattoo makes sense as it can speak for us when we are dead – for at least six months, as the saying of Samuel Stewart goes!
About half a year ago I listened to an interview with your son Filip where he says that he sometimes regrets that as an art form he did not chose working in bronze.
He is soooo talented, I understand well what he means.
Once more thank you for taking time answering my questions.
Love and Peace to you, too.
Me ka aloha pumehana
–Agneta Sandelin
Stockholm, Sweden and Honolulu
27 feb 2015 kl. 23:28 skrev Loretta Leu <>:


On 28 Feb 2015, at 08:59, M. E. <> wrote:


Hi there,

I am writing you from Honolulu, where at this moment I am finishing a book about tattooing over time.
I wrote a master a couple of years ago about Polynesian tattoos with the title “With Pride or Prejudice” (with a cover picture taken at my last visit to Samoa of a guy with a pea) and then I realized I had enough interesting stuff about tattooing through history and cultures “left over” to write a book. I found a publisher who thinks so to.
images (1)And of course I write about you, the Leu family, and that is why I have a question. Loretta and Filip have a very interesting throat tattoo: what does it symbolize? Is there a history behind it? And are you the only family members wearing it?
I e-mailed Bob Baxter and just got an answer back where he suggested I ask you personally, telling that he advised me so…

You might try to contacting Loretta Filp’s mom at the Family Iron website . Tell her I told you to ask her. Give that a try a nd let me know what happens. Good luck.

While hoping to hear from you I send you all lots of

Hi, Agneta,

Our throat tattoos are designs from the Iban people in Borneo. The one I wear was tattooed by machine by my husband Felix Leu in 1982. Filip’s was tattooed by the traditional hand-tapping method by Ernest of “Borneo Headhunters Tattoo” in 2000.
The designs represent stylized frogs.
I’ve read that in Iban mythology tattoos are essential for our passage to the next world. They believed that when we die the tattoos burst into flames and show us the way across the narrow log that crosses the river to the other world. No tattoos ….. you might fall in the river and never make it.
In the early 80’s I saw a photo of an Iban wearing the tattoo and thought it a most powerful image. I decided then and there I wanted it on myself.
No one else in the family wears one.
images (2)Good luck with your book.
Love ’n’ peace,



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Written by Baxter

March 13th, 2015 at 9:31 am

Posted in Guest Bloggers

Tanya Magdelena—Above the Pearl, Portland Oregon


studiopanocopy_wTanya Magdalena is a well-rounded artist, working within many mediums and disciplines. Award winning tattoos, drawing, painting, graphic, web and publication design, sewing, bellydancing, stained glass, and stained glass pattern-making, jewelry, leather working and Zen-Art of motorcycle maintenance. Tanya earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications/Graphic & Publication Design, from California State University, Chico in 1994. In 1997, she moved to Portland, Oregon, and make quick work of the corporate ladder, rapidly earning herself a position as a Senior Designer at Xerox. In 2003 Tanya “lost her taste” for the corporate culture, and has since devoted her passion and talent, to operating a successful tattoo business, other artistic pursuits, and strives to bring happiness to herself, and those her art touches.

Tanya’s love affair with tattoos began in 1986, at the age of 14. Tanya got her first tattoo in 1988. After going to college, and spending 15 years in the graphic design field, she was ready to pursue her childhood dream. In 2005 Tanya got her tattoo education/apprenticeship from her teacher and mentor, the infamous Rio DeGennaro, learning the art and craft of tattoo, along with the strictest tattooing and sanitation regulations in the world. Rio has been tattooing since 1962. Like his father before him, he worked down on the Pike in Long Beach, California with Bert Grimm, among others. After a year in a street shop, Tanya opened Above the Pearl Tattoo, LLC in NW Portland in September 2007. After 7 years in downtown Portland, Tanya moved the studio to a new light, bright, private location, in charming Historic Milwaukie, just 10 minutes south of the old location. Above the Pearl Tattoo, LLC was awarded Best of Citysearch: Tattoo Portland 2009 and 2011, was published in Bob Baxter’s and Mary Gardener’s Tattoo Road Trip : The Best of Oregon, National Tattoo Association’s Friends, Family and Faith – a tribute to Tony Edwards, and various online publications. Tanya continues to gather rave reviews from her clients.

Note: Click images to enlarge.


Written by Baxter

January 23rd, 2015 at 2:19 pm

American Eagle Tattoo—Tulsa, Oklahoma


With over twenty years in the business, American Eagle‘s Maj Mathhews  is updating her Tulsa, Oklahoma, tattoo shop, including the wallpaper and the staff. If you are looking to work alongside Maj, click HERE for her contact information.


Note: Click images to enlarge

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Written by Baxter

January 8th, 2015 at 4:26 pm

Tattoos that Protect You from Harm!


IMG_1004_oBy Kimberly Bryant

Here’s an informative and well-written guest post about a subject we are fairly familiar with. But Kimberly adds some insights and facts that make her posting worth the time to read.

Do you believe in magic? The folks that tough it through the pain of getting a bamboo tattoo just might. Or, here’s another question for you: would you let another person — a stranger, no less — pick out a tattoo design for you without even speaking to them? Again, the brave people who opt to be marked forever with a magic Sak Yant tattoo do.

I was first introduced to Sak Yant tattoos when I saw Angelina Jolie’s hah taew magic tattoo. I thought it looked quite beautiful, but I was curious what it meant: I’ve heard so many horror stories of people getting tattoos in foreign languages that mean something completely different than what the person wanted. (One of the many reasons for scouting out a reputable tattoo artist before taking the plunge!) …More

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Written by Baxter

January 8th, 2015 at 10:27 am

Posted in Guest Bloggers

Help Wanted—Crucible Tattoo—Kent, Ohio



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Written by Baxter

January 2nd, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Posted in Help Wanted

Photos from 10th Annual London International Tattoo Convention


Our reporter across the pond is longtime friend and contributor Tim Coleman. Although Tim has been spending the last few years making videos about extraterrestrials and voices from beyond, Tim has produced numerous images and stories that have raised eyebrows and surprised many readers back when I edited Skin&Ink.  Always a top-notch photographer, Tim was kind enough to send along some snaps from the 10th Annual London International Tattoo Convention.


First held in 2005 the London International Convention has morphed into the largest and most spectacular tattoo convention in the world. Originally located in the Old Truman Brewery in London’s ultra trendy East End, the convention has hugely out grown its initial venue and was forced, in 2007, to find a far larger one. Now held at Tobacco Dock, which is only stone’s throw from one of London’s most famous land marks, Tower Bridge.

Tower Bridge, although perennially popular with tourists from around the world, could not even begin to compete with the immense pulling power of the London Convention, which now attracts around 30,000 people over three days (Sept 26, 27 and 28.) The organizers of the convention pulled off a brilliant publicity stunt, when, in 2009, they were immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records. They broke the record for the largest number of people being simultaneously tattooed: a staggering 178.

I’m not sure if this record was again broken at the 2014 convention, but I wouldn’t be surprised since there were over 300 tattooists working feverously among the vast and cavernous Victorian architecture. Some of the best artists included Filip Leu, Nervio, Diego Mannino, Ching, Hua, Yang, Chris Crooks, Carlos Torrst, Brent McCown, Anna Paige, Bugs and many, many more. For a more complete list go to TATTOO THE LINE -1 LR

I was pleased to see that both Lal Hardy and George Bone also had booths and were busy working. Certainly Lal Hardy deserves a huge place of honor since it was his collaboration with three other British tattooists in the ’80s and ’90s that resulted in the first big U.K. tattoo conventions, held in Dunstable.

It’s astonishing to realize now, but before this tattooing in the U.K. was a completely closed shop and conventions were not open to the public. Dunstable changed all that and revolutionized the way the public perceive tattooing, dragging it out of the back streets and into the mainstream. It was the popularity of these initial conventions that laid the ground for the massive popularity of today’s London super conventions.

As well as hosting some of the best tattooers from around the world the convention put on a dazzling selection of performers and entertainers including: Lucky Hell, “The Sword Swallowing Painted Lady”; The Fuel Girls; The Nerdy Stripper, Burlesque performer Elegy Ellem; Les Soeurs Tribales, a Tribal Bellydance & Modern Urban Fusion Dance troupe from Italy; and pinup Sabina Kelley.

LON TATTOO WOMAN IN CROWD LRIn addition to this the convention hosted a number of fabulous art exhibitions including paintings and sculpture from a number of tattooists that had previously been exhibited at the hugely prestigious Courtauld Gallery in London. An event that in of itself carries great significance and shows how far tattooing has come in its containing effort to become a respected mainstream art form. There is no doubt that each year the London Convention continues to outdo itself, and its reputation as the world’s largest and most spectacular tattoo event seems certain to endure for some time.

Call me old fashioned and elitist, but I can’t help thinking nostalgically about my first tattoo convention organized by the Tattoo Club of Great Britain, in 1985.  It was small, a few hundred people. It was intimate; everyone knew each other. It was closed to the public, so no gawkers, and the standard of tattooing was, by today’s standards, dreadful. But it was also charming and magical. Perhaps today’s super conventions, in their efforts to attract ever-greater numbers, have lost some of this magic. Perhaps the innocence has been lost and the corporatization of tattooing has well and truly taken over. Either that or I’m just getting old.

For more information go to

—Text and Photos by Tim Coleman

 Note: Click images to enlarge

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Written by Baxter

December 30th, 2014 at 9:25 am

Posted in Events,Gallery