By Danny Boy (A letter to Crash)
Just wanted to let you and your readers know where we are at with the museum. We got 12 days left and going into the last round. This week should be pretty hectic, but that's how we like it. The permanent exhibitions are just about finished as far as painters and carpenters go. Henk is working around the clock, painting away, having meetings, interviews, barking at everyone, overseeing some 50 people with the help of Annemarie Beers and Almar, still squeezing in some tattoos here and there, and still showing up in the mornings with new ideas and drawings of rooms and exhibitions he had made the night before. And all this is for you, tattoo lovers of the world...
A lot of people have been writing me asking if they have to be invited. If you are hopping on a plane, train, or coming from out of town and are a tattooer or collector you will not be left outside to look through the window or read about it in the next day's paper. Please bring a business card however. The evening will be open to the general public, but they will need to have a museum night pass. All that information is on the website www.amsterdamtatttoomuseum.com.
The exhibition is set up kind of like the, "It's a Small World" ride of Disneyland, without little singing dolls though, of course! When you first walk in you will see some Mayan ruins, then North African and Middle Eastern tattooing (Coptic & Berber) and then into Polynesia where you will see a Samoan hut (where there will be live tattooing) along side Maori tikis, carved panels and all sorts of artifacts from New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Hawaii and the Marquesas.
After that you arrive into a Borneo longhouse where guests from Borneo can tattoo. Then you make your way up north into Japan, which has a beautiful collection of woodblock prints, hand tools, scrolls, etc. After Nippon you end up in India where you can see some great Bombay street flash full of little ohms, crosses, cobras with hearts, ying-yangs and other Hindu, Buddhist and Christian designs. That completes the "round the world" tour taking you upstairs to Western tattooing.
When you first walk up stairs you will see Tattoo Peter's old shop (Peter opened the first shop in Amsterdam in 1955 and great friend and influence on Henk going back to the late 1960s). After that comes the circus sideshow with old banners, pictures and collectibles of the wonderful world of "Freaks." There will be a section dedicated to our dear friend Capt. Don Leslie who passed away a few years back. This brings us into American tattooing spanning through the beginning of the 20th century to the end of the 1960s.
Then you get shipped off to the joint to check out prison tattoos from California to Russia. (For those tattooers who have mug shots and would like to be immortalized please send them to the museum.) You can also pick up a jailhouse tat while you are there and for what I understand they will be using tattoo ink instead of burnt chess pieces mixed with body fluids. Next up you step into European tattooing where there is a small shop for old-timers to tattoo out of, plenty of old flash and machines and, last but not least, an old pub based on the one of Les Skuse's Bristol Tattoo Club. The top floor will be the cafe with a Hawaiian 40's-50's theme as well as all the rock n' roll tattoo memorabilia.
Apart from the cafe, bookshop and gift shop we also have a permanent tattoo shop. Henk left that department up to us, being: Tattoo Molly, Chris Danley and myself, which was not an easy task. Fortunately, Chris is a much neater painter then I am and with the help of Anthony Vicar of 808 Tattoo and my wife, Tiziana we were able to get shit done yesterday and can start decorating as soon as I'm done writing this. Last week we received some great flash from Ritchie Clarke and Jeroen Franken and I already took a peek at the fantastic sheets Tommy from Dublin and Ben Radtats from New Zealand made for us.
During the opening days we will be hosting Lucky Bastard, Tony Salgado, Chuey Quintanar, Antonio Mejia and Eric Gonzalez. For appointments please check out the museum site. Next to the shop there will be a permanent Japanese tattoo studio for horimono artists. During the opening days we will have Horishige of the Horituku Family. The museum will also host a very distinguished guest, Mr. Petelo Suluape who will be doing beautiful traditional Samoan tatau. Also, in the near future we are making a machine shop and are very proud to have Dan Dringenberg come over to head that department. He will be tattooing with us as well.
Well, it's almost 8:00 a.m. here and I will head down to the museum soon. I want to thank you, Crash for your support and ask your readers to do the same. This is for all of us! Doors will open to the tattoo world on November 5th, 2011 sometime in the afternoon and please remember to bring your business cards! You will NOT need a formal invitation if you are a member of the tattoo community and not a dick-head.
Hope to see you all soon, Danny Boy
For more info on the New Amsterdam Tattoo Museum please visit their Facebook and Twitter pages:
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Danny Boy can be found at:
The Italian Rooster
Via Madonna, 12
20017 Rho Milan, Italy
+39 02 93949508