Meet Bert Grimm
Bert Grimm tattooed thousands upon thousands of sailors. His World Famous Tattoo Shop is a historic landmark and one of the oldest continuously operating tattoo shops in the United States. It's where generations of sailors got tattooed before shipping out to sea!
Historians say it was Captain James Cook’s crew who first got tattoos while on their journey to Japan and the Pacific Islands. Fast forward 200 years to WWII. Young Americans who ordinarily might not get a tattoo were suddenly faced with war and uncertainty. Tattoos gave importance to what they were experiencing.
Sailor tattoos changed everything. These pieces of art held vivid color, bold iconography, personal meaning, and acted as badges of honor for millions. Tattoos were not always embraced by mainstream culture, but now in 2020 we can see the journey of acceptance and normalization of tattoos everywhere, especially in America. Now, everyone has one. It's no longer relegated to just sailors and crooks. Hell, even Grandma has one!
Tattooing is ancient. To read more about the symbolism and history of Indigenous tattooing, click here. To read more about Sailor tattoos and the significance of swallows, anchors, and more, click here.