Sailor Jerry always had a passion for exploring the unknown. He left home as a teenager, hitchhiking and train-hopping to see the world. He eventually ended up in Chicago and met a man that would greatly change his life, Gib 'Tatts' Thomas. Gib is the one that taught him to use a tattoo machine. Soon after he joined the Navy, still pursuing tattooing while enlisted. When Sailor Jerry started learning his craft, working primitively with only a needle and black ink, creating designs freehand, one poke at a time. The Annual Sailor Jerry Festival is coming up and we want to pay tribute to the trail-blazer himself. See info about the festival below.

During his time in the Navy, he developed a love of ships that would stay with him for the remainder of his life. After getting out he moved to Honolulu. This is where he built his legacy. He opened his first tattoo shop and gained a reputation for his unique style and interesting stories. He combined two seemingly contradicting elements: American and Asian sensibilities, which became his infamous style of tattooing. He also taught himself to be an electrician, which helped him innovate his tattoo machines.

Sailor Jerry faced many challenges during his life, but each obstacle provided him with a new skill and new outlook. He broke away from conventional thinking and persevered passed the copycat tattoo artists.

There's a quote from a letter Jerry wrote to his protégé, Don Ed Hardy, regarding his popular design of the yin yang dragon design, “keep them fighting, it's the way that Yin Yang functions; if there is no opposition of forces there is no evolution of life!”

The Sailor Jerry Festival will feature Sailor Jerry influenced art, live music, burlesque performances, live comedy, tattoo specials, a fashion show, a pinup pageant, local area tours, and drink specials presented by Hawaiian Express Records and 86Productions.

Get your tickets here:

Hey! It's the perfect day to take home Sailor Jerry Red. We know you want to. Go on, click the link below.