The spirit of the old school

manygoodtips.com_24.10.2014_ftvMq3WLKHQJ2Today you will learn about one of the most exciting, outstanding and interesting tattoo styles – oldskool (Old school – old school, eng.). Probably everyone at least once in the life heard these for someone native, and for some mysterious and incomprehensible words.

As an old school tattoo style appeared in the late NINETEENTH century, however, the father of old school can be considered to be Norman Keith Collins, better known as Sailor Jerry (Sailor Jerry). One of the greatest masters of the XX century, Sailor Jerry left a huge mark in the cultural history of tattoos by typing a new Chapter, a Chapter with such a romantic name of «old school».

Sailor Jerry, as a 19-year-old got in the Navy of the United States, so he met with a tattoo, having made a journey to the shores of Polynesia. There while tattoo culture was well-developed. Devoting a considerable part of their lives to the sea and travel, he resigned and moved to Hawaii, where he opened a tattoo shop in Chinatown in Honolulu, which quickly caught the fancy of sailors and the military. In Chinatown he was inspired by Oriental themes in his work. A distinctive feature tattoo of a Sailor Jerry were images on the marine theme, made using the far Eastern polychrome technique. «Beat the Japanese at their own games», said Jerry, filling American Patriotic motifs in the Japanese tattoo style.

Good tattoos are not cheap, and cheap tattoos are not good.

Good tattoos are not cheap, and cheap tattoos are bad.

(The Motto Of The Sailor Jerry)

Old school tattoos are usually simple drawings with large clear margins and a modest but colorful color scheme. They began to gain popularity in the 20 years of the twentieth century, when there was high-quality equipment. Other reasons of simplicity, there are stencils that are traced in charcoal with acetate, for which the sketches were quickly erased, and the lack of professionalism of the masters, because the simpler the tattoo the more chances to fill it well. Since that time, and to this day the main image in oldskula is roses, birds, ships, anchors, snakes, daggers, hearts, cherries, dice, and, of course, the Busty girlfriend in the style of pin-up.

Let’s try to understand the values of some of them:

1. Rose

Portrayed both individually and in composition. And the value of it, as you might guess – love.

2. Cherry

A symbol of fertility, lust and sexuality.

3. Dagger

Symbol of a brave warrior, death, justice, courage. Soldiers with daggers was trailing the line of defense, after the firearms and swords, so – last hope for victory in battle.


4. Dice and horseshoes

Signs of luck, however the value can vary from the fallen figures. For example: 2 (snake eyes) – unfortunately, and 7 is a lucky number.

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5. Heart

The image of the heart speaks for itself. As a rule, it is encircled by a ribbon with the name of a loved one or parent.


6. Compass

An essential attribute of a sailor, who, like a guiding star is a symbol of the return home. Tattoo compass are sailors who have sailed around the world.


7. Ship

Vehicle image is impregnated will, healthy adventurism and spirit of travel. Ship in oldscale, as a rule – the old Galleon cut through the waves.


8. Snake

Because of the ability to change the skin of the serpent may be a symbol of the beginning of a new life, but in different cultures the image of the snake has different meanings from a biblical character to the fine line between life and death.

9. Swallows and sparrows

It is not strange, have totally different meanings. Swallow – the faithful companion of sailor, who bears the news that the earth is close, the symbol of the return home, while two sparrows represent freedom and eternal love for inmates in prison.


10. Tattoo of an eagle

Patriotic symbol of the naval forces of the United States, which characterizes the honor, courage, strength and will became popular during the First and Second world wars. Often depicted on the background of the American flag or military emblems.


11. Anchor

One of the main old-school tattoos, its popularity for nearly two centuries. The bearers of the tattoo with an anchor more often sailors or travelers who has dedicated his life to the open sea.


12. Razor

Symbolizes irritability, incontinence, urgency, explosive. In 70-e years the image of a straight razor was used by the people who used cocaine. With the help of razor it was divided by the dose.


13. Diamond or diamond

Often associated with success and luxury but also strength of character.

14. The eighth layer

Associated with the risk, as you might guess from the rules of billiard games pool, which in turn hammered black eight ball means losing the game. Carrier life of such a tattoo is associated with challenges, excitement, willingness to take risks, to go over the edge.


In addition to creating a style of tattoo, which is still a popular, modern tattooists are bound Sailor Jerry because it added variety to the palette of paints for tattoos and invented a needle for less painful make coloring pigment under the skin. He, being a man is not stupid, first took seriously the sterility of the tattoo equipment and work process and began to apply disposable needles and syringes. The rights to his name and the works of the great master bequeathed no less prominent tattoo artists don ed hardy and Mike Malone, but the world of his sketches are perceived as a subject of national wealth. Now they can be seen on Souvenirs, clothing lines, accessories, and even bottles of rum produced by Sailor Jerry Ltd brand, founded by Don hardy and Mike Malone in 1999.


It should be noted that in 2012-2014 the fashion has returned on old school tattoo and tattoos in General (no wonder they say that fashion is cyclical). Of course, sadly, many senselessly and mercilessly slaughtered dudes have been exactly the fashion trends, which many old school tattoo designs have become quite «pop». Let’s not forget that a tattoo is first and foremost an art, not a fashion accessory, and approach it with all responsibility and seriousness, because this is not a trip to the store, is a kind of ritual, cult, brings aesthetic pleasure. But an ideal is possible only when you are on your body art, memory, moments of life, not the hackneyed meaningless cliches.

We are sure, no matter how much time has passed, the spirit of the old school will live!

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