THE ART OF TATTOO
By Timothy “Tattoo Timmy” Adams
Eddie Funk – Crazy Philadelphia Eddie
The 21st Annual Philadelphia Tattoo Arts Convention just happened, and I cannot but feel compelled to speak of Crazy Philadelphia Eddie (Eddie Funk) who was the original founder of this event. Many tattoo shops in Philly still have his name on their signs and none of those shops plan on changing that anytime soon since he was a mentor and friend to so many.
Eddie was born in 1936 in Queens, New York City. The first tattoo he received was a “skull and crossbones” because he wanted to feel like a pirate in real life. He started tattooing when he was 15 years old. He robbed a grocery store to pay for his apprenticeship under Max Pelts. Later he worked under tattoo artist named Brooklyn Blackie, also known as Electric Rembrandt.
In 1961, New York City started the mission of banning tattooing due to a rise in hepatitis cases, and also to clean up the city for the upcoming World’s Fair.
Tattooers from around the world were desperately trying to battle the ban and Philadelphia Eddie was one of the biggest to help in this. His mission was to show that tattooing can be safe with regulation. Most tattooers had left the state by 1966 when the New York Health Department won the battle of the ban. Eddie tattooed all over and met many tattoo legends but settled in Philadelphia to be a shop owner again. In 1976 Eddie founded the first US tattooing association, the National Tattoo Association (NTA). He started this to organize safe practices in tattooing and making information accessible to legal tattoo artists. Eddie also manufactured tattoo equipment and invented safe inks that are still used to this day.
Eddie retired from tattooing in 1992 but wrote books and attend conventions until his recent passing 2016.
Having been in the business for more than a decade, I have seen many tattoos done by this industry legend in and around South Jersey. He did a lot for tattooing and will not be forgotten.
“Tattooing, they say, is one of the first two professions. Prostitution and tattooing- We don’t know which came first, but I like them both.”- Crazy Philadelphia Eddie
If you have a question you would like for Tim to answer, write to him C/O The Clayton Free Press, P.O. Box 201, Clayton, NJ 08312
Editor’s Note: For those questioning the “longevity” of the tattoo industry, you’re in for an education. Last year, the industry generated an estimated $1.6 billion in revenue, according to the market research firm IBISWorld – and its continuing to grow rapidly. Over the next decade, the industry is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 7.7%.
Tim Adams is the proprietor of Tattoo Timmy’s in Turnersville, NJ. and an artist in his own right, having practiced the art of tattooing for more than a decade. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Tim relocated to New Jersey area about 12 years ago, and opened his own establishment in 2012. Tattoo Timmy’s has operated from the same location at 127 Greentree Road in Turnersville for nearly seven years. More than an artist, Tim is also a tattoo historian, producing six documentaries on the art and history tattoo legends, currently available on available for anyone to see at https://www.youtube.com/user/tattootimmy666
Feel free to drop by, talk to Tim about making the right tattoo selection, and see his world-renowned Museum of Tattoo History, including tools and artwork dating back to the early years of the art. Visit Tattoo Timmy’s at http://tattootimmys.com/, call 856-302-1311 to make an appointment.
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