…they’re a bottle of fun…. however, you’re left with a hangover that not only kicks you when you’re down but they’re going to steal your wallet too – Bad Jerry!
Sailor Jerry A.K.A. Norman Keith Collins was a prominent American tattoo artist who was made famous for his practice of tattooing
sea-dogs sailors. Collins enlisted into the US Navy as a young man, taking inspiration from his travels and subsequent exposure to South-east Asia before settling in Hawaii.
In 1999 Sailor Jerry Ltd. starting making Sailor Jerry (a
evil delicious 92 proof spiced rum) taking inspiration from their namesakes work (the iconic Hula Girl) and influenced by Caribbean rum – which back in the day sailors would infuse with Asian Spices to make it more palatable… apparently the available rum had a lot of full body flavour… but that body had been dead for some time.
Now, his unique style of tattooing is known as “Sailor Jerry” and is synonymous with simple yet bold designs such as: Swallows, pin-ups, wildcats, knives/dagger/guns, snakes, nautical stars, scroll banners (think “Mom”) and Hawaii themes.
“If a design is good enough, it will find its own buyer. We don’t have to sell it.” Norman Keith Collins A.K.A. Sailor Jerry (1971)
My siblings and I were exposed to Sailor Jerry (calm you’re titties; I mean the tattoo style) from quite early on – as our ol’ Man is ex-Navy. Not only that, but we also learnt by rote that, “Girls, don’t trust sailors… don’t ask why. Just don’t” (I was able to ply some further information from His lips following half a bottle of rum, that’s not something I’d want to cover here though). So there’s always been somewhat of a wistful, forbidden and fascinating component to these types of tattoos.
So this looks is – all nude talons, excluding the feature. Feature talon is a layer of blood red, then 2 layers of red glitter and then 2 layers of black with the centres smudged out. Finish with the same typography made famous by Collins, and I did a “S” and “J” – for Sailor Jerry, featured on the Logo and bottle typo-graphics.
This is where you can experiment with what symbols you like – I chose the Swallow, Banner Scroll with Heart, North Star and a Dagger – all really identifiable and with vibrant colours and a few shimmers (to make the look pop a little more).
I used gel polishes and a fair amount of patience; trace out your design with black polish and stylis. Move colour through the black-outline and be careful not to mess up you’re design with TOO MUCH COLOUR – there’s nothing worse than ruining good line-work with a sh!thouse colour-way, sometimes more is just more and not better.
If you need to clean up you’re outlines for each symbol, do so and the topcoat the bad boy. Out of all of them… I’m hating on the North Star. With my perfect 20/20 hindsight I would do either an anchor or snake in that talons place… bah. Maybe I can inflict this look onto some… hmmm.
I adore this look – I got a ton of compliments about them and even from people who don’t like the Tattoo Medium but appreciate the art form. I’ve got a fairly healthy crop of friends/relatives who also adore Sailor Jerry and flash card tattoos – it’s been really awesome to do this look, extraordinary amount of detailed work went into these little piggies! Enjoy and drink responsibly *cough* don’t attempted this wasted!
So what you think, Darling?
Share your experiences with all things Sailor Jerry; the Dude, the Style, the Drunk… I mean Drink. Any funny sailor based stories? I was once in Sydney (Australia) when the US Navy was in town – sh!t got real… awkward for the sailor, after been notified that he’d struck out chatting up a Highschooler. Ha!