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Tattoo Designs

Recently we realized that considering all of the tattoos that we have on we have a shockingly small amount of flash posted to the site. Wait, what's that? You don't know what "flash" is? Allow us to catch you up to speed.

Long before tattooists posted all of their work on Instagram there was one way to judge their talent before the needle hit your skin—by checking out their flash. Artists would draw or paint designs on pieces of paper and hang them up at the front of the shop, customers would then pick out a design they liked and get it tattooed. Many of the legends of the industry—Sailor Jerry, Bert Grimm, Charlie Wagner—have had their legacies live on through their flash sheets.

Even as the industry has shifted more towards artists creating custom work through Photoshop, tattoo flash has not lost its importance. Besides the obvious aesthetic appeal flash brings to a tattoo shop, it can also be used as a way to help artists hone and sharpen their skills.

Over the coming months we will be added more and more flash to this list. You'll quickly learn that although flash has its roots in the American Traditional style that dominated the industry 50 years ago, it has adopted as tattooing has changed through the years. Flip through the gallery and learn for yourself.