Norman Collins

Norman Collins - The ManIf you really want a true classic tattoo, you'll have to go back in time and cross the Pacific. When your tramp steamer hits the port of Honolulu, jump ashore and head straight to Chinatown. Soon, you'll hit Hotel Street. You'll know you're there by the sudden progression of wide-eyed sailors, foul-mouthed roughnecks, and general mayhem. And there, tucked away on a steamy side street, you'll see the bright red neon glow of "Sailor Jerry's"-the tattoo shop that put ink on the fighting men of the Pacific for nearly 40 years.... 

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Life Stories

At Sea

Jerry's time at sea became the overwhelming influence on his life. He relished camaraderie of the Navy...

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The Innovator

One of Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collin's greatest professional missions was to make sterilization-particularly in regard to needles-a standard practice in the industry...

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The Poet

Norman Collins' flair for poetry came directly from his dramatic and romantic outlook on the world...

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The Radio Host

Norman Collins was a true social chameleon. Late at night, long after he'd shut down the tattoo shop for the evening, Jerry would head over...

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The Apprentice

"Jerry first tried tattooing as a teenager by hand-poking designs on willing customers with whatever supplies he came across while hitchhiking and hopping freight trains across America...

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The Musician

Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins wasn't someone who needed to find ways to pass the time; he was a man of a million fascinations...

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The Prankster

Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins was a master at inking vivid colors into his tattoos...

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The Sailor

Norman Collins enlisted in the Great Lakes Naval Academy in his late teens and spent the better part of the next decade sailing around the globe on schooner ships...

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Letters and Quotes

Any of Jerry's friends could tell you that he was a prolific letter writer. Collins used the old pen and paper to stay in touch with people far and wide, and to share techniques and designs with fellow tattoo artists.

"I haven't done my best yet…only my best so far."
Sept. 15, 1969

"I don't have a single design that can't be improved on; every so often I get the urge to "renew" to keep ahead of the tattoo masters!"
Nov. 20, 1970

Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry The Movie

Homeward Bound The Book

The Book Sidebar ImageHomeward Bound: The Life and Times of Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry explores the life, times and artistic legacy of the father of the old-school tattoo, Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins. 
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