Last week, we noted that a new mural had joined the outdoor gallery that is 45th Street (Tattoo U). Readers wondered where the image came from so we asked Melissa Bell, owner of Slave to the Needle, for the backstory:
We love all the murals in Wallingford along 45th St.; and have wanted one for quite some time. Besides that wall keeps getting tagged with graffiti and we thought some nice artwork would hopefully put a stop to that and look much nicer.
Then one day Alex Forster came into the shop and said he did murals and would be interested in doing one for us. Once we took a look at his past work, we said when can you start?
We waited months for the weather to change to make it possible. Alex and Aaron Bell talked about doing an old vintage tattoo photo. They went thru books and went back and forth over the choice until Alex suggested this piece because the composition would fit the building so well.
The original photo is of Danish tattoo artists in the 1940’s. From a tattoo shop called Nyhavn 17 in Copenhagen; which is one of the oldest running tattoo shops in the world.
A few readers took umbrage at the prominent display of cigarettes in the mural. Melissa responded:
The mural is a period piece of a time past. It’s kinda like a nod to Mad Men. We certainly don’t condone smoking while you are tattooing nor do we condone tattooing without gloves! The images in the mural are not there to glorify or encourage anything, I think it can be a good conversation starter with kids; people can talk about how smoking is probably what these guys died from.
Honestly we just liked the history of this photo; and it goes to show how much things have changed with time.