So I have this co-worker, his name is Lindsey and he is slightly older than me, has been in the industry a little longer than me and knows more about music than the average music historian. Lindsey Carmichael first tattooed me over a decade ago, while he was sitting in a small, condensed, walk-in friendly shop known as Laguna Tattoo...
We had met earlier in each others lives (not too far back) only as a result of tattoos and mutual connections. I gained a respect for him right away, from his clean traditional tattoos, his apron that was worn daily, down to the cigarette smoking outside the shop. He pegged his pants, had them tapered in a way no one else was wearing at the time.
When I was given the opportunity to guest spot at Gold Rush Tattoo, I immediately thought about what it would be like to work next to Lindsey. Now, after three-and-a-half years of being a full-time tattooer at Gold Rush... I know. He has been a man I have grown to love, simply for who he is, a character like no other.
There isn’t one description that can be attached to this man; from his voices, screeches, stories or mannerisms that makes one think he may be manic, Carmichael simply is. “Hi everybody,” are the first words out of his mouth as he rolls into the shop, backpack over shoulder, Kéan coffee in hand, possibly his phone connecting him to the world in the other hand. Lindsey loves life for what life has shown him, his experiences are golden and can never be replaced, only contributed to by new memories.
Like every other tattooer, he is not above self-doubt when it comes to reassurance of the work he has produced. Just as I get to learn one portfolio Lindsey is showcasing, another is dropped on the table, and just like that a body of work that makes me strive to work harder.
The man is meticulous from start to finish and nothing is overlooked in his tattoo process. The craft of tattooing is shown great respect with Carmichael’s actions, I can only imagine who he thinks about while he works, Corbin, Deutsche, Puente, Conn... The list rambles on inside his brain...
I get to work next to this daily (not enough even at that) I am a man of greed when it comes to my friend. We have traveled the world together, made great strides together, been able to pay respect to our heroes together, sitting down to dinner with them, starstruck.
We would walk back to our hotels gossiping like school children about who we just listened to speak about tattooing and life. I think we both agree more times than not how lucky we are to share such company, we still love this industry because of our heroes and the paths they have paved before us.
There is much more that can be said about this man, once you meet him, you make plans to meet him again, and again… The things that I appreciate about Lindsey are not the loud, obvious characteristics, but the ones I feel he only shares with me, whether this is true or not.
I show up to work, look over my station, find that there is a new drawing taped to my cabinet, not one I have done, but one Lindsey has already tattooed, I smile to myself. The “Eric, bro, listen to this, you’ll never believe this…” story-time where he asks me to sit down and give him my full attention.
This is a testament of my friendship with one of the greatest, strangest, most talented men I have come to known. I am willing to share him with you, only because if you love someone/something, you have to release them into the world… Lindsey can be reached at Gold Rush Tattoo, or seen in Europe traveling with our three-piece techno group known as SHUGGA BEAR.
(Eric Jones is a tattooer and blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine and can be found on the road and sometimes at Gold Rush Tattoo in Costa Mesa, CA.)