When I spied Henry Goldfield and Dean Dennis sharing a booth together at the 2010 Tiger Rose Tattoo & Music Festival in Santa Maria, California, I was a little surprised. My wonder was easily glazed over by this array of gorgeous 9′ by 5′ hand-painted banners of Henry, his staff of tattooers, San Francisco, and his shop. They were hanging all over the convention room. I commented on the quality of these artworks and Henry told me he was teaching a seminar about how to create these banners a few hours later.
I felt incredibly honored to sit in on this talk, as did a few sign-painters from Reno. Henry immediately got down to it. He said, in essence, that if you are a tattooer and you are not creating all of your own signage, from your hands, then you are being lazy and misrepresenting yourself.
Step one: Pick up a fucking pencil. If you don’t try to draw something, then you’ll never know how much improvement you need to make, because the first few will probably suck. The entire talk was just as pragmatic, from stenciling with a pencil, to going to vinyl-makers directly. They will put in all the eyelets you want, and sew to the requisite size of 9′ by 5′, as that is the best size for hanging a banner on the back wall of a booth at any tattoo convention. Henry is full of awesome stories and has a long line of history of trying new things and perfecting innovations. If you ever get the chance to sit down with Henry for a while, you will likely learn something and leave inspired.
Crash made a point recently on the TAM blog in regards to apathy amongst tattooers. Creating his own environment from his imagination and from his own hands (and the hands of his staff) seems to have aided a steady foundation for Henry, and Goldfield’s Tattoo, to maintain for decades with a message of “Come on in to a clean, comfortable studio for a unique, custom tattoo.” Let the artwork you create represent the business you operate and the tattoos you apply.