‘Museum of Tattoo History’ is Almost a Reality on the Lower East Side

Posted on: June 9th, 2015 at 10:15 am by
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Daredevil Tattoo counts itself as one of the few longstanding parlors on the Lower East Side. The ink spot debuted in 1997, the year when the artform was finally re-legalized in New York City. They were priced out of 174 Ludlow Street a couple years ago after a 50% rent gouge, yet still had the good fortune of finding a store for sale at 141 Division Street. The new location is permanent as the ink it peddles.

Over their two-decade tenure, Daredevil co-founder Brad Fink managed to amass a substantial collection of tattoo memorabilia and artifacts. While much of the trove was incorporated into the new shop design, Daredevil would like to take it a step further. Fink and co-founder Michelle Myles are on an ambitious mission to create an in-house “Museum of Tattoo History.”

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Mildred Hull tattoo sign

The duo has taken to Kickstarter to help realize the dream. One that requires some $30K in funding.

Last year Daredevil moved into a new larger location on Division Street a few blocks from Chatham Square and the Bowery. The new space incorporates Brad’s collection into the tattoo shop for customers and visitors to enjoy. Michelle and Brad have been doing extensive archival research to document and map out the earliest New York tattooers in the Bowery area. We need your help to complete the work on the space and finish the display cases so the entire collection can be brought in and put on view.

Small businesses are having a harder and harder time staying in place in New York City. After we were priced out of our old location with a 50% rent increase we chose our new location because we had the option to buy the storefront we moved into. In December last year we closed on a mortgage and bought the space making us the only shop in NYC to own the property we’re in. We’ve managed to secure a forever home for our shop and the collection but we need help to finish a few more things. Getting to where we are now was the hardest thing we’ve ever accomplished but we feel we have something important to bring to the tattoo community and that we have something valid to contribute to the heritage of the Lower East Side.

Its nascent 141 Division Street location is quite appropriate given its proximity to the birth of modern-day tattooing – ye olde Bowery. You can read more about the rich history here and here.

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