Tattoos & Scrimshaw: The Art of the Sailor

Captain Elvy

Photograph from Tattoo Archive, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Opening April 11, 2015: Tattoos and Scrimshaw: the Art of the Sailor is the newest temporary exhibit. Learn how contact between early British sailors and the Tahitian people brought forth the origins of Western tattooing culture, and how sailors used tattoos to document their own histories. Enjoy a gallery of sailors’ tattoos from the lens of photographer Kathryn Mussallem, along with video clips featuring the work of ¬†famous American tattoo artist Sailor Jerry. ¬†Learn how tattoo artist Terri Morgan‘s first customers were Long Beach sailors, and see vintage photographs of local tattoo parlors.

Sailors’ tattoos were not their only type of art. Historically, the practice of hunting whales meant that whale ivory became a “canvas” for the sailors’ art of scrimshaw. Learn how etchings on ivory teeth and tusks became treasured works of art, and view some intricate modern examples, courtesy of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

This exhibit is made possible by: Vancouver Maritime Museum, Maritime Museum of San Diego, So Cal Tattoo, and the Friends of Los Angeles Maritime Museum, and will run until December 13, 2015.