To start with, Shotsie began his tattooing career in late 70s NYC (specifically in 1977), giving him over 45 years of experience! During that time, tattooing was illegal, and tattooists had to work underground. If caught tattooing, one could face arrest and spend a year in jail. It's an understatement to say that being a tattoo artist was a completely different world back then, but this isn't the place for an extensive history lesson. If you want to know what it was like, just ask Shotsie!
Shotsie was among the new wave of tattooers who emerged from fine arts traditions, breaking the rules and traditions of the old school of tattooing. He quickly gained prominence as a tattoo diplomat, making appearances on numerous television talk shows and news programs across the US. His efforts elevated the art form of tattooing to a new level of respect within American popular culture. With 36 years of research and experience, Shotsie co-founded the Alliance of Professional Tattooists.
Aesthetically, Shotsie pushed boundaries in tattooing by creating heroic proportioned black and gray portraits. He is recognized by his peers as one of the tattoo artists who changed the course of tattoo history, leading to its current popularity and widespread presence.
As if that's not enough, Shotsie also published an award-winning glossy magazine called "Tattoo Advocate Journal." In it, he explored socially unusual subjects for their time, such as Malcolm X tattoos, women's rights in the arts, and the Radical Feminist Gorilla Girls.
For the past 15 years, Shotsie and his wife Kristine have made their home in Sonoma, CA, where they established a pioneering tattoo business known as "Tarot, Art & Tattoo Studio." It served as a hub for literary arts and tarot education, while also providing a platform for innovative tattoo work and continuing education for tattooists. Additionally, they ran an art gallery showcasing the work of local and national artists.
And now, Shotsie and Kristine have decided it's time to return to the East Coast! While Shotsie will continue to actively work conventions and travel for guest spots, he will also be booking regular appointments at Mercury Tattoo Studio in Doylestown. You can click here for the link to start the scheduling process. Kristine will remain deeply involved in the Tarot community. We will provide updated information about her once she has settled in her new location.
Beyond his tattooing and fine art, Shotsie is available for poetry seminars and performances. He also gives lectures on the art and history of tattooing. Currently, he offers a one-hour PowerPoint seminar titled "Unblocking Your Creativity" under the name "A Conversation with Shotsie Gorman."