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My Interview with Krooked Ken, Part 2

16 Apr 2012 | Categories: Featured Blogs, General, Interviews, News, Travel, Videos | Posted by: Sean Herman

Here’s a small exert from Part 2 of my interview with Krooked Ken for TAM blog. This is Ken telling a story about advice he has been given by other tattooers, and I think that it really holds true for everyone in any field of work.

“We made our own needles and a lot of ‘em. I’d go to him with questions and he’d be like, “Ah, you’ll figure it out,” and I always thought, “Damn it, why does he hate me?” But thank God he did that, because I haven’t forgotten, you know what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t make my needles anymore but maybe I should?

I’ve been so lucky to be able to have a lot of good friends that I’ve known a long, long time. I’ve gotten great advice from Stanley Moskowitz. We sat down one time and he said, “I see you at all these conventions, doing this and that and I’m really proud of you. You got a fucking family kid, you know, family… you can give your kids a million dollars at graduation but they are still going to remember that one baseball game you missed.”

They are going to remember, and I could tell that was something from his heart. He was telling me, “Look man, don’t fuck this up.” I have got to plan, none of us are working forever, so I have to make sure my family is taken care of forever but part of that is being there. So that kind of advice and Tony Teleda years ago, same thing, you get sat down like you’ve been neighbors for years, “Things are different, you aren’t going to make a million dollars, so don’t worry about all these other tattooers say this or that, it’s bullshit.”

Check more here at TAM blog

Also, if you get a chance, you should pick Last of the Bowery Scab Merchants, it’s amazing. It’s an example of what is one of the amazing things about tattooing, the story telling. The oral tradition found on these cd’s is price less. The stories from Walter Moskowitz are rich in history, along with the zinger’s we all love about tattooing. Tracing back his linage from his father, to Charlie Wagner, it’s amazing to hear, along with the extra history tid bits about Civil War tattooing and the rise of the electric tattoo machine and Jonesy. I would recommend that if you love tattoo history, tattooing in general, you will be glad you picked this up. Pick it up at

I am also going to leave you with a David Bazan documentary, because he is amazing, and I am excited to see him in a few months.

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For the Love of Tattooing: CW Neese

05 Feb 2012 | Categories: Featured Blogs, General, Interviews, News, Travel, Videos | Posted by: Sean Herman

I recently wrote a blog for Tattoo Artist Magazine about my friend CW Neese, the founder of Royal Street Tattoo. Here’s a short exert:

“I still remember the first time I ever saw CW Neese. He lived in Daphne, Alabama when I was a kid, and was a few years older than me. One day a few friends of mine and I went by my friend Jonah’s house. At the time, a band his brother was in was having a practice, which for us being young kids getting into punk rock, it was a big deal to see. A skinny kid, with black tattoos all over him, and pad locks in his ears came out screaming like Jello Biafra. I remember being like, “That is awesome, that is what I wanna be one day.” That was CW Neese.

Years later I had moved to Birmingham and started to get heavily tattooed. My friends here at home also started to get a few tattoos here and there, from CW. They would talk to him about me because I was getting so tattooed so fast, and he told them that he wanted to tattoo me. I visited home once and they relayed the message, so I stopped by the shop he worked at. It’s still so funny when I think about the first words we really ever spoke.

I walked in the shop, and I asked, “You CW?”,

“yea” he replied,

“I heard you want to tattoo me” I said,

“sure” He replied.

He drew up an awesome poison girl, which is still one of my favorite tattoos to this day.

When I was finishing my apprenticeship I came down to Mobile to visit and he told me all about his apprentice, Pony (who is now one of my best friends and a huge influence on my tattooing). From there it was years again until I saw CW. I was down in Mobile visiting, and some friends of mine where out at a restaurant. Out of no where I heard his epic radio voice, and anyone who knows CW knows that his voice precedes him. We talked for a minute, caught up, and went back to eating. On his way out he ran up to me with a fortune from a fortune cookie he had just gotten, it said, “A run in with an old friend will begin a life long family”. He handed it to me all excited and smiling, and I still have it to this day.

CW founded Royal Street in 2007, and I started doing guest spots at Royal Street not too long after it opened, and started working here about a year later. I was at a place in my life where I needed Royal Street, and am so thankful to this day I got to be here.

Anyone who has been around CW can tell you he has a way about him. He has a voice you would hear on radio, and can be intense, and will say things that have a way of changing your life. It’s always the little things he adds, little words that end up being part of such larger ideas, and it’s talking to him that helps remind me of my passion and love of tattooing. So, without further ado, here’s how CW Neese got into tattooing, in his words.”

Check out more at here at TAM blog

Thanks again Tattoo Artist Magazine for letting me share CW’s story.

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story time with famous gabe, new interviews and more

12 Dec 2011 | Categories: Featured Blogs, General, Interviews, News, Travel, Videos | Posted by: Sean Herman

My newest Tattoo Artist Magazine blog just posted, this one is about my good friend Famous Gabe. Thanks again to TAM for giving me this opportunity.

Here is a short exert:

“It’s been almost 10 years since I got some of the greatest advice I’ve ever been lucky enough to receive. I was getting tattooed in Pensacola, Florida at a beautiful shop called Hula Moon. Famous Gabe, a name he received from Bob Montagna, was tattooing me, a little skinny 19 year old. I had just received news that I was going to start my apprenticeship at Aerochild Tattoos, and was so excited that it was all I could talk about. While I was going on and on about it, Gabe said something that stays with me to this very day, he said, “Some people want to be rock stars in tattooing, ya know, but fuck that, I would rather tattoo the blue collar working guy and give him the best tattoo he is gonna get.”. Years later, I found myself in a situation where I felt like I completely lost touch with my roots and where I had come from, and those words rang in my head. In Gabe’s words, “You took the road less traveled, the strange road, and you came home.” Here is the story that comes from my home, about a man who has changed my life, and how he got into tattooing.

First, a little background about him. Famous Gabe Smith has been tattooing over 20 years now and is the owner of Hula Moon in Pensacola, Florida, which has now been open for over 10 years. He’s traveled the world, done enough paintings that could line 10 shops, and put in more hours of tattooing than that of 10 tattooers careers combined. Gabe has traveled the world tattooing and has a good story about every place he has been. To me, Gabe truly is tattooing at it finest, storyteller, artist, and honest. Without further ado, here’s how Famous Gabe Smith got into tattooing, in his words.

Famous Gabe:

“It seems like yesterday all this started but it wasn’t overnight and now I look back at a road traveled and it has been such a long road, over many mountains, and rocky steps. There were the ups and downs but that’s life. I learned from a crazy native american guy called Captain Billy. He taught me a lot not just tattooing but becoming a man too.”

Check out the rest of the story at here at TAM blog

Also, I recently did an interview with They just posted it, and I was really happy with how it came out. Check it out here at

and as always, thanks for reading.

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For the Love of Tattooing…

28 Sep 2011 | Categories: Featured Blogs, General, Interviews, News, Travel, Videos | Posted by: Sean Herman

Recently I was fortunate enough to have Tattoo Artist Magazine ask me to keep up a blog on their site.
Here is a small exert of the blog I started doing for them,

“There is nothing like the sound of a solid, in tune tattoo machine. The thick buzz, the pop as the needle first hits the skin, and the feeling as you pull a clean, solid line. Any tattooer will tell you, “that’s addictive.” The feeling of tattooing, it’s like nothing else. That is why I tattoo. All I can think about day in and day out is that feeling. It’s like when you first fall in love and nothing matters but you and that other person. That is tattooing… It’s a passionate love affair that found me in a small town in south Alabama over 15 years ago, it has taken me half-way across the world, and brought me right back to the same small town…

I wanted to write something for the TAM blog that showed the positive light of tattooing, something that all tattooers could identify with, and something that people who were interested in tattooing could also find themselves in, and what better than the love of tattooing.

The first few of these blogs are going to be about how certain tattooers got into tattooing, how their passionate love affair began and where it is taking them today. I am going to talk to friends of mine, people who found tattooing and realized that it is something they could never live without. First, I’ll tell you how it grabbed hold of me…”

Check out more here at the Tattoo Artist Magazine blog.

Thanks again everybody at TAM for asking me to be involved.

In other news, have you heard about the Occupy Wall Street Protest.

And lastly, check out this video, it’s pretty awesome.

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today is a day…

11 Sep 2011 | Categories: Featured Blogs, General, Interviews, News, Travel, Videos | Posted by: Sean Herman

It’s something that we all face, and will ultimately experience.
It’s been on my mind quite a bit lately, and a quote from my step dad that i’ve shared before keeps coming to mind.

“You know, we take advantage of so much.  We have to be always learning, always looking, always seeking.  Ya gotta learn til ya die son.  I try to walk a different way to the mailbox to see something new, something that was always there, but I didn’t notice it.  A different angle of a tree, a different yard, something new.  That’s what life is about, never taking for granted all that is around you and everything you have.  Always learning, never giving up.”  

“Always learning, never giving up.”

That keeps ringing in my ears, over and over again.

“Always learning, never giving up.”

Today is one of those days that people spend remembering, and thinking about times past, and in that, I feel we should remember, “always learning, never giving up.”
Honoring those that we love with our lives by “always learning, never giving up.”

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