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  • Writer's picturePaper Plane Ink

What is a Flash Tattoo?

Flash Tattoos / Flash Art are ready-made tattoo designs that are very popular within traditional/old-school tattoo artists and traditional tattoo studios and are usually personally designed by the resident tattoo artist(s) but Flash Tattoo designs may also be the work of other artists through gifting or purchase and are often displayed prominently on the walls of the tattoo studios to allow walk-in clients have a better perspective of what the final product looks like and perhaps feel inspired to get a design off the wall.

Many of the iconic Flash Tattoo designs that you may notice in tattoo studios originated from legendary tattoo artists such as Norman"Sailor Jerry" Collins, Bert Grimm, Owen Jensen, Charlie Wagner and Lew "the Jew" Alberts. Lew "the Jew" Alberts was one of the first to develop and popularized Flash sheets. These iconic designs include clipper ships, roses, skulls, daggers, eagles and pin-up girls, all of which had certain meaning attached.

The concept of Flash tattoos was designed for rapid tattooing to cope with large walk-in clients, as well as a solution for people who can't decide on a specific idea for an upcoming tattoo session. Since the early days, hand-drawn flash tattoos were common practice and as the tattoo industry progresses, professional Flash artists began selling and sharing their artwork at tattoo conventions as well as on the web and social media platforms that reach tattoo aficionados much easier.

2 Types of Flash Tattoos

  1. Collector Flash Tattoo - Designs that are unique to the tattoo artist's style and although reusable, some tattoo artists may prefer it to be the one-and-only piece.

  2. Market Flash Tattoo - Designs that are recycled, classic, popular and many of the iconic imagery originated from the early 20th century.

Why is it called 'Flash'?

The word was derived from a time when tattooing was an uncommon occupation and tattoo artists were mobile and had to deploy at locations like the barbershops or bars that were only frequented by men, and if the tattoo artist had to leave for any reason, he would seize his belongings and disappear in a flash.

Why American Traditional Flash Tattoo?

With the foundation of bold black lines and highly concentrated solid colours, this tattoo style has stood the test of time and aged well.

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