Tattoo flash, in particular, pin-up flash, has been a large part of Western tattoo history since the late 19th century. Tattoo flash can be defined as the repetitive American Traditional imagery that was developed by the legendary tattoo artist, Norman Collins a.k.a Sailor Jerry.
Typically, tattoo flash is done in the classic American Traditional style, which can be characterized by its bold black outlines and a limited color palette. American Traditional was the first tattoo style to be developed using a modern tattoo machine and helped to build a culture around tattooing in the Western world that was centered around the masculinity identity.
Much of the common imagery of American Traditional that we continue to see today comes from early 20th century references, such as pin-ups, swallows, anchors, mermaids, and clipper ships, these were developed by sailors, who learned about tattoo techniques upon traveling to Japan and Hawaii during WWII, to represent their experiences at sea. Many sailors began to get pin-up tattoos to represent the women that they had left stateside; ever since then people have paid tribute to the style of American Traditional through pin-up tattoos.
At the time, most pin-ups tended to be illustrated in the same style, often drawn with hyper-feminized features and posed in seductive positions or situations. They were personalized to fit the wearer, taking on different roles such as hula girls, nurses, geishas, and soldiers. Today we continue to see pin-ups represented in tattooing, both within traditional tattooing and throughout other tattoo styles. Despite the variations in technique, however, one thing remains the same: pin-ups are almost exclusively portrayed as women.
Illustrator and tattoo flash designer Mitch O’Connell plans to change this perception. In his second tattoo flash portfolio, Mitch O’Connell Tattoos Volume 2, O’Connell has included a handful of male pin-ups alongside classic female designs. That’s right, let me introduce you to a handful of the seductive and cheeky male pin-ups included in O’Connell’s tattoo book. O’Connell addresses stereotypical pin-up imagery head on with provocative male pin-ups that are sure to make you blush.
It's about time that men had a taste of the way that women have been portrayed in tattooing for well over a century—we are well overdue for some male eye candy with which to modify our bodies. So take a peek of some of the saucy and sensual male pin-ups of Mitch O’Connell and decide for yourself if you’d wear one of these designs!
I'd board this ship in a heartbeat.
A man's place is in the kitchen.
Photos Courtesy of Sailor Jerry and Mitch O'Connell
More from BUST