Vinage Tattoo Flash

Jonathan Shaw
Vintage Tattoo Flash

Tuesday & Wednesday Only! May 3rd&4th, 6-9pm

Jonathan Shaw
Vintage Tattoo Flash signing party & classic tattoo flash art exhibition
Tuesday & Wednesday Only! May 3rd&4th, 2016

Vintage Tattoo Flash by Jonathan Shaw from Mariana Thome on Vimeo.

La Luz de Jesus Gallery & PowerHouse Books
are pleased to announce the May 2016 release of

Vintage Tattoo Flash: 
100 Years of Traditional Tattoos from the Collection of Jonathan Shaw
2-Day Pop-Up Show with Book Signing on the 4th.

“Tattoo flash” is the term for the printed or hand-drawn tattoo designs found on the walls and binders of tattoo shops that walk-in customers can select from. Flash is either drawn by individual tattoo artists for display in their own shops, or traded for or bought from other artists and distributors. Once exclusively hand-drawn, original tattoo flash has largely been replaced by professional “flash artists” who sell prints of copyrighted flash at tattoo conventions and online. Vintage, hand-drawn flash is incredibly difficult to come by, and collectors and enthusiasts alike devour any new discoveries of long-lost original flash.

Renowned outlaw tattooist and author Jonathan Shaw owns one of the largest collections of vintage tattoo flash in the world, and Vintage Tattoo Flash is an incredibly rich overview of the early years of American flash art. Vintage Tattoo Flash spans the first roughly 75 years of American tattooing from the 1900s Bowery to 50s Texas, and from the Pike in the 60s to the development of the first black and grey, single-needle tattooing in LA in the 70s. The book lovingly reproduces entirely unpublished sheets of original flash from the likes of Bob Shaw, Zeke Owen, Tex Rowe, Ted Inman, Ace Harlyn, Ed Smith, Paul Rogers, the Moskowitz brothers, and many, many others relatively known and unknown, many of whom are represented in the artwork that will be displayed and for sale–ranging from $900 to $20,000.

SHOW IS SOLD OUT NO WORKS ARE AVAILABLE Below is a small sampling of that artwork. If you saw a piece in the book that you don’t see below, please call for availability.
(323)666-7667 or

Electric tattooing as we know it today was invented in New York City at the turn of the 19th century. In the first days of American tattooing, tattoos were primarily worn by sailors and soldiers, outlaws and outsiders. The visual language of what came to be known as “traditional tattooing” was developed in those early days on the Bowery and catered to the interests of the clientele. Common imagery that soon became canon included sailing ships, women, hearts, roses, daggers, eagles, dragons, wolves, panthers, skulls, crosses, and popular cartoon characters of the era. The first tattooists also figured out that using bold outlines, complimented by solid color and smooth shading, was the proper technique for creating art on a body that would look good forever. In the over 100 years since then, techniques and styles have evolved, and the customer base has expanded, but the core subject matter and philosophy developed at the dawn of electric tattooing has persisted as perennial favorites through the modern era.


Jonathan Shaw is a world traveling outlaw artist, novelist, blogger, head doctor, anti-folk hero, whorehouse philosopher, legendary tattoo master, and notorious innovator and creator of underground art. Shaw was born in NY to big band legend Artie Shaw and movie star Doris Dowling, and was raised in LA where he learned to tattoo on the legendary Pike boardwalk from old-school California masters. After running with the likes of Jim Morrison, the Manson Family, and Charles Bukowski, he fell prey to heroin addiction and a life of crime. He finally left 1970s Hollywood to travel the world and founded Fun City, the first street tattoo shop in NYC since tattooing was decriminalized in the 1960s.


A pop-up exhibition of original, Vintage Tattoo Flash art from the book will be displayed for two days only, Tuesday & Wednesday May 3rd/4th.
The Book Signing will be on May 4th only.

Only books purchased here will be eligible for signing.
Contact the book store to reserve your signed copy today!
Click HERE to buy online now.

Tattoos / Ink Art / Americana
Hardcover, 12 x 10-1/2 inches, 256 pages
ISBN: 978-1-57687-769-2, $60.00 US/CAN

Press images are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the mechanical file are strictly prohibited. Mandatory credit line: From Vintage Tattoo Flash by Jonathan Shaw, published by powerHouse Books.
A partial preview is available by clicking here: Vintage Tattoo Flash

© Copyright 2016 powerHouse Books