Over the weekend, some friends and I were sitting at a restaurant and when we over heard a tatted bunch sitting next to us babbling about who had the most ink, and how this person copied them, and that person was trying to be like the them. The group varied in age from their 20’s, to a few who looked like they were in their late 50’s. Of course it was the oldest guy that was the loudest and as he carried on and said, “I did this before all you kids even knew about ink. I was an OG in tattoos. A real rebel. I was responsible for making this art.” As the group sat in awe, and listened on in, our party ended tuning out because something miraculous occurred – our food came.

It was interesting to listen to their conversation for a quick minute, but the harsh reality is that if you’re capable of holding a conversation about ink, then you’re already too old to be an OG,  a pioneer or whatever you want to call it. Not to take anything away from anyone, maybe the guy was a pioneer of his time, but to say that you’re a pioneer of the game is a bit outlandish. Long before any of us that are living and breathing, there were previous generations of tattoo artists and collectors who were the true pioneers of the ink revolution. They practiced this art when it was looked down upon, they did this when it was really rebellious, and these are the folks that deserve the title. Even at that,  Neolithic tattoos were discovered on modern day Romania back in 4700 BC and if you ask me, they were real OG’s. But again, I’m not here to take anything away from anyone but I truly believe that if you want to truly understand a culture then you have to understand the history, and if you dig deep into time you’ll find that there were many before us who created the foundation for what we now enjoy today. Here’s a few of pics of some of those legendary pioneers, as well as artifacts of the tattoo world.

Contributed by SDT contributor Sandy Mc Gee

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