Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry - My Work Speaks For Itself

Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry - Now Available to buy & on Netflix!


Review on Metro Pulse.com


Metro Pulse.com

Review on Metro Pulse.com

Thrust isn’t an issue for Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry (IndiePix). Erich Weiss’ film about legendary tattoo artist Sailor Jerry is one of those docs that fairly wriggles with rude energy, as irascible characters spin tall tales over a flashy mix of vintage images and crazed graphics, here all laid over relentless ukulele music. Sailor Jerry is now a burgeoning brand, with retro tattoo flash, a fashion component, and its own signature rum, but back before World War II, Sailor Jerry was just a nickname for a swabbie named Norman Collins who took up tattooing back when visible ink was something that made people cross the street. Setting up in Honolulu’s Chinatown, Collins made a living catering to the hordes of seamen in port to get “stewed, screwed, and tattooed,” and in the process helped transform Western tattooing into a genuine artform.

Collins died in 1973, and thus appears only in stills, excerpts from a few letters, and one brief radio recording, but his presence couldn’t be more vivid. Through interviews with Collins cohorts and peers such as Eddie Funk, Don Ed Hardy, Michael Malone, Zeke Owens, and Lyle Tuttle, Weiss reanimates his subject, and everyone involved has got great stories, even if they have nothing to do with Collins himself. Indeed, Hori Smoku is just as valuable as a window into the forgotten world of tattooing as taboo and the legalized debauchery of wartime Honolulu as it is for biographical purposes. Fascinating and tons of fun, even for the uninked.