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Member since April 23, 2007 - Page Hits: 119

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Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:52 am
by: jedhillArtist

nice gallery in your www. congratulations
rip Rollo, his flash was a huge influence to me and many around me in the early 1980's.
Good luck to you Keith

Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:18 am
by: AdamSkyArtist

Hi Keith, welcome to Tattoodles.

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Monday, April 23, 2007 - 04:48 PM


Michael Malone, Tattoo Artist, 64

Michael A. “Rollo Banks” Malone died at his Chicago home April 14 after a long illness. His death was announced by his partner and caretaker, Chicago tattooer Keith Underwood.

Mr. Malone was a key member of a small group of tattooers who transformed the ancient art into a sophisticated medium in the early 1970s, leading to its current enormous global popularity. Born to a blue-collar family in San Rafael, California, he grew up in the whirlwind atmosphere of counterculture California. After high school he studied ceramics briefly, learned carpentry, and became a licensed barber. He then worked in the psychedelic light-projection rock shows of mid-60s San Francisco and from there moved to New York, where he did the light shows at the Electric Circus, the leading club of that era. He also participated in the downtown arts scene, working with the nonprofit Experiments in Art and Technology project alongside such artists as John Cage and Nam Jun Paik.

Mr. Malone segued into photography, doing fashion shoots and pursuing his personal work on the streets of Manhattan. At this time, his encounter with seminal Lower East Side artist/tattooer Thom de Vita reignited his teenage interest in tattooing as a neglected “outsider” art form. From taking portrait studies of tattooed people he moved into learning the trade itself, operating word-of-mouth out of his apartment. He also co-curated a groundbreaking exhibition (Tattoo!) at the Museum of American Folk Art in 1971. At that time, tattooing was illegal in all of New York’s boroughs, and the police raided the exhibition after seeing a vintage neon tattoo sign in the museum’s window.

In 1973, after a brief period working on military personnel in a public shop in San Diego, Mr. Malone had the opportunity to buy the shop, art and equipment of his primary mentor, recently deceased legendary Honolulu tattooer Sailor Jerry Collins. As the “Cezanne of modern tattooing”, Collins had been the force behind a handful of sophisticated younger artists who were determined to revive the art, largely inspired by the Japanese tradition. Mr. Malone maintained that shop in Honolulu’s Chinatown, renamed China Sea Tattoo Company, until 2001. He briefly published a counterculture satirical magazine, Honolulu Babylon, in the late 1970s and formed several mail-order businesses, including handcrafted tattoo machines that set the industry standard and t-shirts featuring his original artwork. Perhaps his most significant impact was introducing thematic sets of printed “flash” (design sheets) featuring his original artwork under his business name “Mr. Flash.” These still grace the walls of tattoo shops around the world. In addition to improving the tools of the trade, he gave many seminars at tattoo conventions over the years, and apprenticed a number of people.

In the mid-1980s Mr. Malone lived in Austin, Texas, where he drew many covers for the premier underground newspaper The Austin Chronicle. Returning to Hawaii, he increased his production of personal art and began exhibiting paintings, drawings, and assemblages in the burgeoning exhibitions in galleries and public spaces that began to address tattooing as a serious medium in the 1990s. His work and contributions to the culture were documented in many magazines, books, and exhibition catalogs. Moving to the Midwest in the late 1990s, he pursued his own artwork in earnest. In 2002 his career was documented in a monograph, Bull’s-Eyes and Black Eyes. In 1996 Mr. Malone licensed his collection of vintage Sailor Jerry tattoo art to a Philadelphia company, which now produces a huge array of wearables and accessories under the “Sailor Jerry” label. Currently, tattoos and tattoo imagery have entered mainstream culture on an unprecedented global level.

Michael Malone was a seminal artist who radically elevated the potential of the medium. As a raconteur, humorist, wide-ranging intellectual and dedicated outsider, he took a dim view of the current fashionable status of the old art, preferring the fiery conditions of “true piracy” that were still alive when he entered it. His legacy is through mentorship, brilliance, and uncompromising standards. He is survived by Keith Underwood, Kandi Everett of Honolulu, and a brother in California.

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keith underwood

Location: chicago, Illinois, United States

Sex: Male

Age: 42

Marital Status: Married

Sign: Aquarius

Member since: Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:59 am


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