This year, the tattoo industry lost some of his biggest icons, who made a tremendous impact on tattooing as we know it. From television tattooers to old school icons, tattooing will never be the same without these artists. Take a look who will be missed in the gallery below, then let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments section.
In 1949, Lyle Tuttle began his tattoo career at the age of 18 and went on to become one of the most renowned artists in the world. He was known for tattooing many of the biggest stars in Hollywood, including Janis Joplin and Cher, effectively making tattooing far more mainstream. On January 21st, 2014 Tuttle became the first person to tattoo on all seven continents, inking a client at the Russian Bellingshausen Station in Antarctica. Tuttle passed away on March 25th, 2019 at the age of 87 at his home in Ukiah, California.
Rick Walters began getting tattooed at the age of 14 in 1959 and went on to begin tattooing himself at the Pike in Long Beach, California. Walters took over Bert Grimm’s World Famous Tattoo in 1978 and went on to revitalize the shop to its former glory until the changing of the guard in 2002. Walters taught many tattooers in Southern California the rules and rites of American Traditional and throughout his career, maintained an grizzled old school mentality about the industry—going so far as handing out "Rick Walters Hates You" stickers at tattoo events. Walters passed away on March 4th, 2019 in Sunset Beach, California.
On October 28th, 2019 geometric black-and-grey tattooer Jayce Wallingford passed away suddenly and shocked the tattoo industry. Wallingford worked out of All Sacred Tattoo Studio in Denver, Colorado and attracted clients are the country for his intricate mandalas, delicate florals and bulletproof technical application.
Norm Will Rise
On October 11th, 2019 SoCal lettering legend Norm Will Rise passed away. Although he was born and raised in Baltimore, he made California home, first as a graffiti writer then as a tattooer. Norm left behind an incredible legacy in the industry and will continue to inspire artists around the world for many years to come.
Yoji Harada shot to stardom after appearing, first as the apprentice and then an artist, on Miami Ink. For six seasons, audiences watched him grow, however, on March 27th, 2019 Harada passed away at the age of 46. After the show went off the air, Harada continued to tattoo and make music in Miami, Florida.