By Deb Yarian
Early in my tattoo career, I was blessed by the friendship and mentorship of Eric Inksmith and the late legendary Paul Rogers.
At a time when secrets of the trade were highly guarded, their willingness to share their knowledge with others was a rare commodity. It was that, their shared love of tattooing, and their hospitable natures that drew travelers from all over the globe to the first Inksmith and Rogers shop that Eric and Paul opened in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1984.
Three decades later, those same qualities are what drew me and hundreds of fellow tattooers, friends and their families back to Jacksonville for a two day celebration of their 30th anniversary. Paul passed away in 1990 but hosts, Eric Inksmith, Mike Wilson, and Angelo Miller succeeded in carrying on in that same spirit of generosity during the two day event.
Inksmith and Rogers consists of five shops now, spread across the city, home to more than 25 devoted tattooers known throughout the tattoo world for their bold, colorful, beautifully executed tattoos.
Throughout both days of the celebration resident and guest artists tattooed at all of the I & R locations.
People lined up for hours waiting to get tattooed by Eric, many hoping to get The signature Inksmith and Roger’s smile and a “30” year mark.
Their flagship shop’s large outdoor area resembled a carnival midway festooned with tents and flower covered tables. Guests, Philadelphia Eddie and Bowery Stan Moskowitz manned a table, selling their machines, books and CDs and entertained with their stories, reminding all of a bygone era of tattooing.
Master sign painter Phil Jarvis was on hand creating beautiful custom hand-painted plaques.
Guests were treated to gifts and souvenirs commemorating the event. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was served and spirits were also complimentary and flowed freely.
The second day culminated with a lavish banquet with 200 people in attendance!!!!
Those that came to celebrate came out of friendship, respect and admiration…
Admiration for thirty years of unwavering devotion to the art and trade of tattooing, and the sharing of knowledge and the camaraderie that epitomizes the Inksmith and Rogers name.
Thank you and Happy 30th Anniversary Inksmith and Rogers.
Job well done!!!