American History : Norman Keith Collins

2119 Words Dec 4th, 2014 9 Pages
The word “tattoo” is actually the combination of words from two different cultures. The Polynesian word to strike something, “ta”, and the Tahitian word meaning to mark something, “tatau” (Designboom, 2010). The form of body art known as tattooing has developed artistically, improved technically, and changed stylistically throughout the past two centuries. Not only has the public perception changed over the years, but the methods and machinery used to create these wonderful pieces of art has also changed drastically. Once viewed as only acceptable for sailors, criminals, and circus performers; tattoos, have taken a giant leap from their humble roots. However, they couldn’t have become as popular as they have without the inspirational works of Martin and Nora Hildebrandt, and perhaps the most renowned tattoo artist in American history: Norman Keith Collins, A.K.A Sailor Jerry.
Tattoos in America got their humble beginnings courtesy of a German immigrant named Martin Hildebrandt, who is widely known within the tattoo community as the very first professional tattoo artist in America. In 1842, Martin Hildebrandt established the first tattoo shop, which was located in New York. In that small tattoo shop, he would start tradition of sorts, by tattooing sailors and soldiers from both sides of the Civil War (Pednaud, 2014). He would also travel throughout the United States, constantly following both the Union and Confederate armies. Martin was welcomed in both camps and he…
Open Document