Deciding which design is calling your name is the best part!

It seemed so far away but somehow it has creeped up on us again. Twenty four hours of madness, a tattoo marathon, dozens of artists, and hundreds of clients! Yes, you probably already know but I will remind you in case you forgot.  It’s the Elm Street Tattoos Friday the 13th celebration. The event was started sometime in the mid 90s by Oliver Peck and Dean Williams as a way to show thanks to the patrons who make it possible to do what we love. But more than anything, I think it was, and still is a good excuse to stay up all night and party!  For over 20 years, Elm Street has offered 13 themed tattoos on every single Friday the Thirteenth. The cost of the original flash designs are a customary Thirteen dollars plus a seven dollar tip to invoke the gods of fortune. There are hundreds of designs to choose from. If you don’t see what you want the first time, look again!

Old Sailor Jerry 13 flash design

One of the greatest parts of the Thirteenth is the tradition of choosing your tattoo from a sheet of pre-drawn designs referred to in the business as Flash. This method was the only way to choose your tattoo design in the western world, up until the early 70s, when custom tattoo became the popular style. The influence of Japanese,  Polynesian, and Southern California artists custom free hand  artwork directly drawn on the skin changed the game. Prior to the 1970s, Americans chose their tattoo designs from Flash sheets. Think of it as a page on google search, only its an actual page of designs on the wall! Imagine that, a simpler/cooler time in tattoo history! Of course I’m a custom artist, but I still have a love of classic flash designs and that style is one I choose to emulate as much as possible in my own style.

Dean and Oliver early 2000s

The event started with small designs a couple inches in size but has expanded over the years to include larger, more detailed images for more serious collectors with a little extra coin in their pocket. This year, Ive decided to draw up a new sheet of designs for my customers. I will be posting the designs on my InstaGram. Ive pre booked all of the time slots for September 13th, but there will be another Thirteenth right around the corner in December. And, as always, you can pre signup to be tattooed by one of the many talented artists who will be working the event. Or just show up and wait in line. There is a benefit to making appointments in advance as the number of customers has been known to reach up into the nine hundreds.

Line of customers stretching down the block.

As we have expanded the collection of designs, Elm street has also expanded its Tattoo territory in Dallas. Under the Elm street umbrella, Oliver and Dean have opened up Heart in Hand Gallery on Elm street, and Heart In Hand Lower Greenville. All three locations will be offering 24 hour tattooing. I will be at my usual spot at Heart in Hand Deep Ellum from 10:00am to 11:00pm. In years past I’ve stayed the whole 24 hrs and it is a whirlwind experience to say the least. It really is similar to other marathon type events that requires a lot of prep work, and a good game plan.

Oliver putting one on a very sensitive spot.

Some people may ask, what is the point of a 13 tattoo? Well… there are plenty of good reasons and I have heard them all!  Some people believe the 13 is an anti jinx, laughing in the face of superstition. Some folks are out for a good time and some late night fun. Some people just can’t say no to a bargain! No matter what your reason is for coming out, its all good, no judgement. Good luck to all my Elm Street sisters and brothers! See you all there!

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