Norman Keith Collins was a red-blooded American that revolutionized tattooing under the better known moniker of Hori Smoku or Sailor Jerry. He was born on in January 1911 in Reno, Nevada. As a youngster, he hopped shipment train cars all over the nation and came to understand the art of tattoo from a guy called “Tatts” Thomas. Tatts was attributed as his mentor teaching him the way to use tattoo equipment by practicing on drifters. Jerry traveled and sailed mainly in the Pacific Ocean prior to settling in Hawaii. A big ‘ol brute with a filthy mouth, he usually dressed in plain T shirts which showed his ink sleeved arms.
Hori Smoku: The Life of a Sailor
Mike Malone, inherited Hori Smoku’s business following his death, referred to Jerry as being a ‘class A pirate’. By the age of 19, Collins enrolled in the U.S. Navy. It was in the course of his subsequent journeys at sea that he was shown the artwork and imagery of Southeast Asia. He remained a sailor all of his life. Throughout his career as a tattooer, he sailed as a registered captain of a big three-masted schooner, where from he conducted organized tours of the local islands.
Sailing and tattooing happen to be merely two of his professional undertakings. He played the saxophone together with his very own band. For many years, Hori Smoku regularly hosted his own radio broadcast on a local station, giving him the ability to lecture against the upcoming demise of the United States political process by infiltration of hippies. He was a respected writer and maintained close contact with numerous pen-pals across the world.
Believe it or not, Sailor Jerry tattooed for only a mere twelve years. In his 20s to his late 50s, he ceased tattooing completely as a result of a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service. Hori Smoku thought of tattoos as the greatest rebellion from “the Squares”. His renowned sense of humor is mirrored in his artwork, but he in no way sacrificed his professionalism or took his art or obligations lightly. He despised gaudy tattoo artists and what he referred to as “hippie tattoo” culture and those quality lacking “scabbers”.
Initially there were only a small handful of colors out there for tattoo artists. Hori Smoku broadened the range by creating his very own risk-free pigments. He also developed needle formations which inserted pigment with a lot less damage to the skin. Furthermore he was among the first to employ disposable needles and medical-quality sanitation.
Hori Smoku: Legacy
Hori Smoku trusted his flash artwork to his friends, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone, each of whom turned out to be well known tattoo artists. Hardy, declined a scholarship grant to Yale to be able to engage in tattooing, is noted for his artistic complexity and massive-scale tattoos. Malone, who also is known by the name “Rollo Banks”, is acknowledged for his conceptual style and unique designs.
Norman Collins found his final resting place in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in June of 1973. Following his death, buddies located the formula to a spiced rum in his possessions, this later grew to be the foundation that produced Sailor Jerry Rum. The label gained its influence from Mariners journeying all over the world gathering barrels of rum in the Caribbean for shipmen to enjoy during the course of their journeys. Rum was of low quality during this time, and they would frequently acquire spices and flavors out of the Far East and Asia. They would include the spices in the barrels which infused flavors and was considerably more pleasurable for the sailors to gulp.