Jojo Ackermann: I love pre-Internet how-to-make-it-work stories. It’s putting the footwork in that makes you appreciate what you’ve got down the road.
Robert Atkinson: I was a totally different game, man. It really was. But it wasn’t until after the L.A. earthquake in ’94 that I moved down to Redondo Beach. I was painting houses with a friend to pay my rent and doing tattooing on the side. I really wanted to get into a shop and this friend of mine knew this guy (that had a lot of work from Kari Barba. He had a bodysuit of all these clowns and shit, remember him? He bought Melrose tattoo from Kari… He gave me my first real job tattooing.
I worked there with Stephanie Suhm. She had done a real apprenticeship with Kari. She taught me how to mix colors, make needles and make stencils. I hadn’t ever made a stenciled tattoo before that.
When I was at Melrose Tattoo I met Clay Decker. I met Dan Dringenberg there, back in ’94. Then in ’95 I got a big panel from Pote Seyler. Pote had tons of work from the Leu family… battle royal on the back, a Hardy design tattooed by Felix and Filip, rib panels from Alex Binnie, Eddie Deutsche had done huge snakes on his upper legs…
He started Body Electric on Melrose. He was Swiss and learned a lot from the Leus… No one was doing tattoos like he was in the early to mid 90s… not around here… Riley Baxter, Jesse Tuesday… Running Bear… that was Body Electric back then… (more…)