There are a few great books about tattoo shop life and its related social history out there. Most notably, Samuel Steward’s Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos, based on his experience in Chicago street shops during the mid-20th century. Jeff Johnson’s approach might be a touch different – he’s not scholarly as Steward – but the passed knowledge in his new book, Tattoo Machine, is no less engaging. Johnson has 18 years experience under his belt and is co-owner of Portland’s Sea Tramp Tattoo Shop. It’s safe to say, in his years, he’s seen a lot. And, in the books pages he revels in passing along the stories, lore, and a few basics that make tattooing one of the most amusing things to discuss and read about.

Out now, get it from Amazon.

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