ARTISTS WHO WORKED ON THE PIKE!
These are either confirmed or speculated (it will be mentioned in the post if it is unconfirmed) tattoo artists who worked on The Pike of Long Beach at some point. This page provides a brief overview of artists. If you have any information you'd like to share with us, please email OuterLimitsLongBeach@gmail.com!
Don Ed Hardy (b. 1945) was born in Costa Mesa, CA. He was a student of Sailor Jerry and that led to him being able to study tattooing in Japan in 1973, with the Japanese classical master Horihide. He became recognized for merging Japanese tattoo aesthetics/techniques into his American style work.
When Ed was about 10 or 11, he frequented 22 Chestnut Place, aka Bert Grimm's on The Pike.
Grimm said, "Well, when you're 15, I'll teach you to tattoo."
"So I learned how to draw, but then I drifted off to other things. I started stand-up surfing and my life went a different direction. And then I got really serious about art when I turned 16 and realized it was my destiny."
Mark Mahoney is an American tattoo artist, considered one of the founding fathers of black and grey art with a single needle.
Many in the business consider Mahoney a living legend. He currently owns the Shamrock Social Club on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Mahoney started his work as a tattoo artist in Boston in 1977 (when tattooing there was illegal). He was pivotal force during the 1980s black and grey movement, and has tattooed some of Hollywood's biggest names. He has always been attracted to the idea that tattoos are "art for the people", art for the everyday person. He is most known for his black and grey work, and more specifically images of religious icons, old school collages, girls, bombs, and guns.
When Mahoney first became interested in tattoo art, it was during a time period "when you had to be an outlaw, or you had to be a real brave soul to get a tattoo." With today's ease of tattoo removal and creams to make the process less painful, some of that appeal is gone, he said. He worked on The Pike from 1980-1984.
Joe credits his sense of design to his worldwide travels and extended stays Tattooing in Japan where he was able to observe and absorb the skills of Japan’s master tattoo artists and painters. Joe studied at the Art-Center College of design in Pasadena California. Vegas’ Tattoo work is primarily influenced by Bob Roberts (who Joe apprenticed with in 1984), Ed Hardy, Zeke Owen, and Horiyoshi 3. “Not only have their creative talents influenced my work, I’m also very fortunate to be friends with these Masters of Tattooing as well”.
He now works at and owns Thunderbolt Tattoo in Atlanta, GA.
Joe worked on The Pike in this shop from 1986 - 1992.
Dave Orlowski worked at 22 S. Chestnut Place (our shop) in the 1980s.
When Bert Grimm sold this shop in 1969 to his protege and nephew, Bob Shaw, he opened a shop in Portland, Oregon.
Bert fell ill in 1977 and so in the middle of January 1978, Colonel Todd asked Deaton to move up to a Portland, Oregon to help run Bert Grimm’s Tattoo Shop there along with Todd’s nephew, Dave. Todd only asked them to stay in Portland for two years.
Bert sold his establishment to Don Deaton and Dave in 1980 under the agreement that they could retain the ‘Bert Grimm’ name, but eventually decided that Don and Dave needed to rename it. That was when Don changed the name to Sea Tramp Tattoo - which Don still runs as the oldest tattoo shop in Portland and perhaps all of Oregon.
Larry Riggs used to tattoo down on the "Pike" Long Beach anongside Bob Shaw until opening his shop in 29 Palms. After falling out with his business partner, Col. Todd, he opened another studio down in a place called Escondido that was operated by his friend, Don Bishop. The 29 Palms shop closed due to his retirement but the other one is still open in Escondido. The guys that took it over kept his name over the door as a tribute to him.
Larry was an ex-marine who served four tours of Vietnam and was deaf in his right ear. It was said that he was a real old timer with a temper who only allowed country music in the shop. Apparently, he hated anyone from New York and would throw them out if he heard that accent drifting over to his good ear.
Mike Brown was one of those legendary artists that refused to seek the limelight. Instead, he aims the limelight at others.
His pedigree is first rate and the list of people he’s worked for and influenced are a veritable who’s who of tattooing. Working away from the mainstream, Brown began his career in Hawaii, buzzing around the tattoo scene that Sailor Jerry Collins built, almost single-handedly, in Honolulu. Sailor Jerry’s Tattoo Joint was the ink spot for sailors on leave. Collins died in ’72, leaving Mike Malone to carry the flame. Brown entered the scene a few years after. He eventually worked on The Pike as well.
He passed on November 17, 2011.
BIO & IMAGE COMING SOON!
Catfish Carl used to work on The Pike, and eventually became legendary alongside names like Jimbo and Rick Walters. He opened Realistic Tattoo in the 1990s in Twentynine Palms, making it the oldest tattoo shop there - although ownership has since switched over to Ron & Annie Hoffman. Ron Hoffman actually started as a helper/gofer at this shop in 1996.
Chris Winn of Studio City Tattoo did a year long apprenticeship with Catfish Carl in Twentynine Palms after a year long apprenticeship with Rick Walters at Bert Grimm's of the Long Beach Pike.
Carl is a custom coil machine builder as well, and you're still able to purchase machines from him today.
Skully, Catfish Carl, & Rick Walters
Jimbo is a tattoo artist who owned shops on the Long Beach Pike, Twentynine Palms, Lancaster, and the Ace Company in San Diego in the 1970s & 1980s.
On the Pike specifically:
Long Beach Tattoo Studio: The World’s Largest & 7 Master Tattoo Artists to Serve You was a bar in its earlier years. Legends worked at this shop, and they made it known by calling themselves the 7 Master Tattoo Artists. Most, if not all, of these artists had been working at different studios (including Bert Grimm’s) at The Pike for years and years before working at Long Beach Tattoo Studio. At one time Capt. Jim Malonson, Al Orsini & Fred Thornton, owned this shop. Capt. Jim Malonson was Bert Grimm’s biggest rival and enemy. Jim “Jimbo” LaPorte was also one of the many part owners in this shop -- it seemed to be a kind of a co-op. Jimbo said that when he went to work there, he was working for Capt. Jim and Phil Sims worked for Orsini.
JIM "JIMBO" LaPORTE
"Jimbo" LaPorte, Catfish Carl, & Rick Walters