Guest Reader: Tattooist Mav Mess and ink on the page

I've always felt I belonged to another era. As a child I would stay up late Friday nights to watch old serials. Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon and Terry and the Pirates became my heroes. This led to scouring the local library for similar books. I discovered the pulps, with their fantastic cover art and stories of danger and adventure. As a scrawny and awkward kid I was often bullied at school, and books were my refuge, a place to which I could retreat and explore different worlds and times. Books, history, art, and my ideation of tough guy heroes led me into the very real world of tattooing. I've been a tattooist for nearly 25 years, and I am an expert in both the artistry and history of my craft.

As the father of four homeschooled children, books still play an active role in my life. As a family, we have traveled to Reichenbach Falls to visit Sherlock Holmes' place of death, to King's Cross Station where Harry Potter boarded the train, and followed the pioneer trail of Laura Ingalls Wilder. My family continues to plan trips based on our favorite characters, historical or fictional. 

The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, by Paul Malmont

This book is a veritable who’s who of pulp fiction, early science fiction and horror. It’s such fun while reading to see cameo appearances of other authors and artists: Walter Gibson, Heinlein, Lovecraft and more become characters in the story.  This book has it all — daring heroes, heroines, military intrigue, cliff hangers, and even a Chinese warlord anti-hero. This book takes me back to a time that never was. (Best read on the floor with a crème soda.)

Falcons of France by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall

This book follows a young airman’s journey though the war, from learning to fly, to fighting, and becoming a prisoner of war, to shortly after the armistice. While the book is fictional, the events described are true and are derived from the author's experiences. Hall himself had a career that reads like a pulp novel come to life. He fought in the trenches for the British in the early days of WWI, before joining the Lafayette Escadrille, a squadron of Americans flying for France. The 2006 movie Flyboys was based on this squadron. After fighting under three different flags he began a writing career with Charles Nordhoff, another American who flew for France. Together they wrote The Lafayette Flying Corps, then went on to write The Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy. This book gives us a snapshot into the time and experience of young fliers in WWI as only they could tell it.

The Electric Michelangelo, by Sarah Hall

Some of Mav's art

This story about an English tattooist working in Coney Island takes place during tattooing’s pre-golden age of the 20s and 30s. A good story with a great tattooing backdrop to give you a glimpse into its history as a sideshow attraction.

The Tattooed Lady: A history, by Amelia Klem Osterud

A lovely book, profusely illustrated and well researched. This book tells the stories of some of the lesser-known female tattooed attractions, as well as the bigger names and chronicles the changing times in which they worked. I love that most of these tattooed ladies, some tattooers themselves, were able to rise above discrimination and objectification to empower themselves on their own terms. These tough and independent ladies really blazed trails and paved the way for future generations.

For more great recommendations, customized just for you, try My Librarian.

Comments

Formerly Holgate Branch Supervisor I, Rosalie Grafe, and also formerly of MCL Sean Scott and his wife Dana Clark Scott, and my friend Donna Van Horn encountered Mav at his Tattoos DeLux location on Powell some years back. I brought in my own art, a simplified version of the Quaker Abbey Press logo, to have on my right foot. Mav spent extra time at no extra charge to get it just right and I've enjoyed it every day since. A picture of my tattooed foot treadling my spinning wheel was featured on a seminar brochure awhile back. Such a surprise to see this accomplished man featured on MCL. Good job Mav and all my homies, good find.
Not only is Mav an amazing tattooist, he has excellent taste in books, all of these recommendations are great reads. My arms are covered in Mav's work and I couldn't be happier with the work. If you're thinking about getting a tattoo, look him up and he'll treat you right!
Whether you know it or not (which you CLEARLY DO NOT). There is a passage in the Sacred Holy Bible about "inscribing any sort of marking or 'tattoo' upon one's Sacred Body" which allows 'evil' to enter into that person. You, Mr. Mess, clearly are NOT PAYING ATTENTION to the 'evil' you are inflicting upon unsuspecting young people (and probably don't care, since you're making a nice living at it). The very "second" you begin to INSCRIBE any sort of tattoo onto someone 'evil begins to enter into them'. Certainly you must have "noticed" that - a long time ago, now ? You are creating more misery and "allowing 'evil' " to enter into people (no matter that it's "all the fad" here in Portland). Then again, you probably hear my message here, since you've been doing this for 25 years ! Tattoos are 'evil'. Period. No matter "who", no matter "where" they put them on their Sacred Bodies. It's in the Bible, Mr. Mess.
Responding to the above comment: God is more concerned with the content of our heart than the content of our skin. The words used to rebuke this man are harsh and reflect a hard heart, which is not Christ like. May God bless you and I pray the consequence of such words has not gone far. Please speak kindly, if you must speak at all, especially if you claim to hold one to account. Another note, I know of this man and have seen his heart and ministry. God bless him and his family.
Responding to the above comment: God is more concerned with the content of our heart than the content of our skin. The words used to rebuke this man are harsh and reflect a hard heart, which is not Christ like. May God bless you and I pray the consequence of such words has not gone far. Please speak kindly, if you must speak at all, especially if you claim to hold one to account. Another note, I know of this man and have seen his heart and ministry. God bless him and his family.

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