In the city of Chicago, mid-2007 at the memorial celebration for legendary tattoo artist Mike “Rollo Banks” Malone upwards of 25 tattoo artists, family and friends concluded the day by getting tattooed with an ink batch containing a spoonful Malone’s ashes. It was a loving act of tribute to the man perhaps most responsible for the gigantic growth of modern tattooing in the mid to late 20th century, both inside the craft of tattooing and in the larger public perception of tattooing itself. Mike changed the world, (our world, anyway), even co-curating New York’s very first exhibit of tattoo-based art and history, represented as a true form of American Folk Art. That was Mike’s introduction to the tattoo world, by the way. The rest is history.
Chase LIsbon filmed and photographed for all of us that day and created this touching 3 min video to commemorate our ongoing celebration of Rollo, his art and his legacy. For us and for posterity.
To this day, it’s hard to get through this video without an uprising of tears in my eyes. Tears of sadness, yes, but also tears of joy.
— Long Live ROLLO BANKS!! —
Teacher. Friend. And Mentor..to so many.
Tattooing would not be what it is today without you, Mike. (Neither would I.)
[Video edited by Chase Lisbon]
Read this touching account of Rollo by famed artist Dave Waugh- “Happy Birthday, Rollo”
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