Lyle Tuttle's Tattoos
Has worked at
Lyle Tuttle is considered the first 'celebrity' tattoo artist. He has tattooed a lot of famous people, including Janis Joplin (considered the first tattooed celebrity), Cher (on her ass), Peter Fonda and one or more of the guys from Kiss, among others. Doing so, he also become famous himself. He has appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. "The printed word has done more for the tattoo industry than anything" he once told Prick Magazine.
Tuttle witnessed more than one tattoo renaissance, the first coinciding with women's liberation (and the doubling of potential clientes that came with that), and the second coming from increased African American interest in the art.
Although officially retired from tattooing in 1990, Lyle continues to educate and promote at tattoo conferences and expos worldwide.
"I was 10 years and two months old to the day, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. All through the war servicemen returning home either on leave or maybe discharged from being wounded, many were sporting tattoos. To a kid my age, those tattoos were "hot shit". Those tattoos were living proof of a great adventure, with travel and romance combined. It meant that this guy had been out of the valley, over the horizon and places I had never heard of. WOW!
So that's why tattoos have always been special to me. Tattoos are travel marks, stickers on your luggage. Tattoos are special, you have to go off and earn them. You can go into a jewelry store and buy a big diamond and slip it on your finger and walk out. It's not like that when you go into a tattoo shop and pick a big tattoo and pay for it. Now you got to sit down and take it."