I Started tattooing under the strict guidance of California Jack Witt in Savannah GA in November of 1988. I worked under Jack for a good six months or so. I was an art student at the time and I started to neglect my obligations at class to be at the shop full time. Once the spring semester ended I headed back to NJ. I set up shop in my home for about a year. During this time I met Jim Heaney. He was a house painter that I tattooed. I worked for him painting houses when the tattoo business was slow. We became friends and I started to teach him to tattoo and we decided to go in on a shop together. Slingin' Ink Tattoo. We were partners for about 3 years and I was looking for a change. Around this time Jim Gildersleeve came to work for us at Slingin' Ink and we hit it off. He was a funny guy and loved tattooing. He kept talking about "going into supplies" and wanted to open a new shop. I met his friend Joe who wanted to be involved. He had a serious background in manufacturing and machining. We started what became Dermagraphics Supply and Eternal Images Tattoo. After it got rolling, I didn't feel I fit in with the plan and backed out. So again I set up a small work area in my living room in some crazy room decorated with orange fur walls. Really. During this time Robert Ryan was my roommate. He was the floor guy at Slingin' Ink . So one day we went out to some tattoo shops and we met Gene Bernardo of Body art World. He then offered me a job at the infamous Asbury Park shop. It was the dead of winter and it was a ghost town. It was so slow there at the time so I went back to my spot at home. After a couple of months Gene offered me a job running his new one man shop in Long Branch. It was a cool little shop and Gene was always a good time. Brandon Thomas came on as a piercer and we ran the shop together. That lasted about a year and I kept trying to talk Gene into opening a shop in Point Pleasant Beach and that I would run it with Tom Yak as the other tattooer and Robert Ryan (or Bink as some people know him) would be the floor guy. Gene finally went for it and we opened up a place. Gene had a partner named Arnie Olson. Real Funny guy. We ran that shop with that original crew steady full time with a bunch of people that came part time. Kevin Craig worked there for a year or so part time. Dave Shoemaker, Pat Dean, Brooklyn Stymie, Dan Mitchell, and would get visits from Dan Higgs and Zeke Owen. That was a fun shop. We had a miser of a landlord who loved to raise the rent drastically every time the lease ended and finally it came to about our 10th year there and he really started to get greedy and raised it $500 more a month and it was way too much. Things looked bleak and I started looking for a new spot to work. I knew the guys at Tradewinds so I called Kevin LeBlanc and he got me a job there. I worked there with Tommy, Q Ball, and Kevin for about two years when Tom Yak, Robert Ryan and I started to make plans to open our own shop, like we had always wanted to. It took us a long year and a half to finally win the court case and get approved to open what is now Electric Tattoo. During this delay I was able to continue tattooing by appointment at Tradwinds and would take walk ins at Slingin' Ink (now owned by Brody Longo). I am now a proud partner in Electric Tattoo and I think we have a nice little shop. we set out to have a nice comfortable yet humble street shop with all hand painted flash.
We have many original sheets of our own as well as a large collection of Original Classics by such tattoo legends as Sailor Jerry Collins, Ed Hardy, Mike Malone, Cap Coleman, Eddie Peace, Bob Shaw, Paul Rogers, Zeke Owen, Sailor Barney, Don Nolan, Sailor Eddie Sr. and Jr., Bill Loika, Mike Harpool, Tony Polito and more. So if your are in the area, stop by and check the place out.
When I sit down to do a tattoo, I try to apply the traditional values to all the styles of work I do. I believe a tattoo should be clean, solid, smooth, readable, and by doing this I feel your tattoo will look good for a lifetime. In my opinion, as the client, you are paying good money and will be dealing with a certain level of pain/discomfort so let's do it right the first time so you don't have to do it all over again.
In Sept. 2011, My friend Ernie Carafa decided to retire from Tattooing so I bought his shop in Brick, NJ and opened it as Black Panther Tattoo.. I now work there part time with a great staff consisting of Jim Weiss and Chris Pesonen.
How to care for your tattoo
The average tattoo takes one to three weeks to heal. Although, for one to one and a half months, we do not recommend the following activities:
Exposure to excessive steam.
Contact with ocean water (contamination).
Submerging/soaking under water (baths) - Showers are great (encouraged in fact); but, keep direct shower spray off the new tattoo.
Do not shave the newly tattooed area.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Remove bandages one to two hours after completion.
If redness or swelling occurs; use ice packs.
We suggest a good, fragrance free lotion such as Lubriderm, Jergens, or Eucerin. Apply a THIN layer and work in well - five to six times a day - for the entire healing process. DO NOT over lubricate your tattoo; however, don't let it dry out.
Should any seepage occur, gently dab off excess with a clean paper towel.
If a rash occurs (bumps on or around the tattoo, persistent redness, or any allergic reaction), discontinue using the antibiotics or lotions and contact ELECTRIC TATTOO for suggestions and alternative products.
SCABBING AND PEELING
On the fourth to fifth day, your new tattoo will begin to itch, flake, and peel. It is very important not pick or scratch at it because this might harm your artwork.
You may notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. You will also notice that your tattoo will start to itch - similar to sunburn when it begins to heal. A little scabbing can be normal; and there is no need to panic. The advice here is dont scratch and don't pick! If the skin itches; lightly slap it. If it's peeling; put lotion on it. If it's scabbing; leave it alone. Scabs will fall off as the skin heals. This process takes one to three weeks. Your tattoo is almost finished ~ and now is not the time to spoil it!
Wash gently with cool or lukewarm water using a mild antibacterial soap. Pat dry with a soft, clean towel - DON'T RUB!
PROTECTION FROM THE SUN
Exposing any brilliant or colorful tattoo directly to sunlight can quickly fade and damage it. After your new tattoo has healed, you will want to protect it from the sun's ultraviolet rays. ELECTRIC TATTOO recommends wearing lightweight or adequate clothing for protection from fading and damage. It is very acceptable to use sun screen (with 30SPF sun block); it's just not recommend it during the healing process. Your tattoo is a source of great pride and these suggestions will keep it vibrant over many years.
Consult your Tattoo Artist for any additional instructions or questions.