FLO's 2 BITS Issue #4

November 2019

In my last column I said I was going to do a story about the Peter Tat 2 Association and how important they were to the beginning of the National Tattoo Club of the World Inc. later to be known as the NTA. But in order to do that I have to start 2 years earlier so you’ll know exactly how that all came to be. I know most of you know this but I have to include it for those who do not.


In 1976, two years after we started National Tattoo Supply, Crazy Philadelphia Eddie (my brother), Don and myself were sitting in our living room and Ed said, "Let’s start a Club and make all our customers members and send them all certificate’s." I wrote the newsletters that we sent out every other month and there were no dues as the National Tattoo Supply paid for the printing of the newsletters and the postage to mail them out to all of our customers. We called it the National Tattoo Club of the World and this was all it was supposed to be.


Also back then, there was an organization called International Tattoo Artist’s Association (I.T.A.A.). They held a couple of convention’s: one in Reno in 1977 and the other in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 1978, where things started to fall apart. Peter and Dyane called me and asked me to get in touch with their President and offer to run the conventions for them. I did and they said they didn’t need their help. I called Peter and Dyane back and told them they said thank you but that they didn’t need their help. This was in 1978 and I thought that that was it. However, Peter and Dyane called me back about a week later and said why not make the National Tattoo Club of the World a legitimate organization and charge dues and they would set up and run the conventions for us.


We talked it over and Don said if we are going to do that we should make it a nonprofit organization. We all agreed, so Don & I went to our lawyer and set it all up. He asked me what salary I wanted for being Treasurer and Secretary. I said none – we did not want anyone to receive any salaries that this organization was going to be all volunteers not paid employees. Ed was President, Don was Vice President and I was Secretary/Treasurer. We also set it up that the officers would serve a 5 year term and then we would hold an election for officers for the next 5 years and that the officers would be considered a quorum and they could change any of the rules and regulations that were set up. The rules and regulations were that we would limit the membership to 1000 members because we were looking for quality not quantity. You also had to be recommended by two (2) Artist members and you had to send in photos of your studio, yourself and the work you have done. Enthusiasts could also join and they too had to be recommended by two (2) artist members and send in photos of themselves showing their tattoos and the names of the tattooists who did their work. The dues back then were $15.00 a year. And so that is how we became a nonprofit organization called “The National Tattoo Club of the World, Inc.”


And so, Peter and Dyane volunteered to set up the first convention for National Tattoo Club of the World Inc. at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in downtown Denver, Colorado on March 23 - 25, 1979. They had all the people that worked in their studios on Long Island, NY, - Phoenix, AZ, and Denver, CO. work the registration desks and do the security at the doors to all the functions.  They actually ran that whole convention for us with Dyane being our Hostess and emcee at all the functions.


After the convention was over we sent out a questionnaire to see what those who attended thought of the NTC holding a convention every year. And if so, what would you like changed, added or deleted. The responses said you wanted them to continue and had a few suggestions on how to make it even better for the next time – like tattooing Saturday and Sunday not just Sunday as we did in the first one. I asked Peter and Dyane if they would be willing to be our security and they agreed without hesitation. They said their associates (because they called their people the PTA – Peter Tat 2 Association) would love to be a part of that too. And so that is how it came to pass that the NTC became a legitimate nonprofit tattoo club all because Peter and Dyane suggested we do so as they wanted to help show that  tattooing was a viable form of art and one you could be proud to say you were a part of.


And so… The PTA did our security and a lot of other jobs as well for us in 1979 in Denver, CO at our first one. We did not have one in 1980 because by the time we got the results back from our questionnaire, I couldn’t get any dates in 1980 in the cities we looked at. But, Guy Martynuik called me in the middle of 1980 asking me if the NTC would like to take over the convention he booked in Reno for 1981. He said his wife Carolyn was expecting and so they wouldn’t have time to do all the work involved in running a convention. I said we would be glad to as I hadn’t set one up yet for 1981 and it sounded like a great place to me to hold one. Guy did agree to stay on as our Host though since he did set it all up. Peter & Dyane and their associates also said they were on board.


Peter & Dyane and their associates also were in charge of our security for our 1982 convention in McLean, VA and again in 1983 in Phoenix, AZ which was chosen as they had a studio there in Phoenix and so it would be a lot easier for them that way as they would have somebody in the area at all times before, during and after the convention. And then tragedy struck soon after the Phoenix convention. Larry Romano called to tell me that Peter had been killed. It was a shock to the whole tattoo industry – Peter was only 37 years old – much too young – we all lost a true friend to tattooing that day. Peter was gone much too soon, but his legacy continued on. Larry Romano was Peter’s partner at the time and so he took over the PTA and the studios.


While they no longer were our security directors many of the PTA members came and worked the NTA conventions through the years by working in booths, at the registration desks, being escorts for the contests, and manning the doors, right up until and including the very last one in Orlando on April 28-30, 2018.


So the reason for this column? To say Thank you to Dyane & Peter for calling up and suggesting we do conventions and become a legitimate organization. If they and their crew hadn’t offered to do what they did, the NTA, as we all knew it, would never have happened because there never would have been any conventions nor the newsletters to tell about all the good things that came about because of the NTA. So, their recognition is long overdue.

 
I would, at this time, like to mention the names of all of the members of the Peter Tat 2 Association here. I am going to list those who were in attendance at the first one in Denver in 1979 in the order that they appear in their official PTA photo after the convention was over on Sunday evening.


They are, Bottom row L-R: Barbara Chapman, Theresa Hannong, Larry Romano (Deceased), Peter (Deceased), Dyane, Mike Paterno (Deceased) & Kim Schaefer.   Middle row L-R: Just Plain Bud Pierson, Mike Bruno (Deceased), FU, & Bill Hannong.   Top row L-R: Cheryl Forgione, Richie Montgomery, Peggy & Greg Skibo, Jim Watson (Deceased) & Mike Armstrong (Deceased).

    
The following listing is the names of the rest of the PTA members. Some came and went and some stayed and still work the remaining PTA studios. They are, in alphabetical order: Blue, Cindy Burmeister/Stroeple, Ken Cameron, Cindy Chiarella, Erik Desmond, Charlie Esposito, Marguerite Freiberg, Eric Fischer, Flipper, Vicki Fuhrmann, Peter Giaquinto (Deceased), Angelo Miller/Mylonas, Jody Paterno, Florida Frank Romano, Frank Romano (Larry’s son), Richie Romano (Larry’s brother) Dave Saline, Samo, Glen Tackett (deceased), Keely Tackett/Smith (Deceased), Glen and Keely's sons Victor & Jason Tackett, and Tedd Tiedemann (deceased).


Unfortunately, those who are deceased couldn't include their stories. They were all a part of, not only the Peter Tat 2 Association, but also a big part of the NTA (two of which are Glen Tackett and Keely Tackett Smith.) I also wasn’t able to get in touch with everyone, as their whereabouts are unknown to me or the others. Those that I did have contact with, have sent me their stories as to how they became a part of the PTA and where they are today. As you will see, some joined the PTA after Peter’s death. I hope you will enjoy reading about them.


Even after Peter’s death, many of the PTA members stayed with the NTC that became the NTA in 1984. Not only were they members, but they came to the NTA conventions as well and volunteered their help as they always did, some of them have now joined the NTA Cruisers too.


Here are their stories in no particular order – please let me know if you enjoyed this column.  

And since this is my favorite time of the year – Christmas time! 

I’d like to wish you all:

A Very Safe, Healthy and Happy Kwanzaa

A Very Safe, Healthy and Happy Hanukkah

A Very Safe, Healthy and Merry Christmas

Or a Very Safe, Healthy and Happy Whatever 

Holiday you do or do not celebrate!

And…. As always – I just love this tradition…

My wish for you for 2020 is:

Whatever you wish for me and mine,

I wish double for you and yours!

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PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

A Message from Dyane Poulos

Peter Tat-2, Family and Friends are proud to have been with National Tattoo from the beginning. The start of the only "nonprofit tattoo club," improving the image of tattooing for artists & fans.

Thank you, Flo & Don for keeping "Our Dreams" alive all these years. 

Sincerely, Dyane Poulos

PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

My name is Frank Romano--my father's name is Larry Romano -- this is our story.

My father was a carpenter when I was a young boy. One day at a pool party where Mike Paterno, a family friend, was with us, my dad and Mike started talking about tattoos. At that time my father had only one tattoo, a hot stuff devil on his bicep. Before long, Mike and my dad were gone. A few hours later they came back and my dad went straight to the bathroom to take off the paper towels and masking tape. He had two outlines. One of them was covering the hot stuff devil that had been there my whole life. It’s funny that I never really thought about or noticed the little devil tattoo on my father.


My father began getting tattooed frequently that summer and before long started spending many hours at the shop, which, at the time, was called Long Island Tattoo. At some point, my father began to do tattoos. He was still a carpenter at the time but was doing double duty working days as a foreman carpenter and nights at the tattoo shop. One morning at breakfast he had his hands under the table doing something. He began to throw money crumpled into little wads at my Mom, who was at the stove making breakfast. That was a significant moment in our lives because it seemed to mark a moment when carpentry was about to be set aside and tattooing would be his new career.


It wasn’t long before my father and Peter were spending lots of time together talking and making plans for expansion. Soon, they were off to Colorado to build the first of what was to become several shops in the Peter Tat-2 association. My father and Peter had a friendship and partnership that I really looked up to as a young man. It seemed that together the sum of the two became a very strong force in a wild and character-filled era of the tattoo world .They went shark fishing and hunting together. They went to casinos and gambled. They ate and partied together. Kicked asses and created people, who under their guidance, would become anchors and disciplined stalwarts of our world.  They lived as they wished. It was a very different time that seemed much easier to enjoy. 


As a young man I met lots of cool people.  One of the first (probably and mainly because of geography) was Richie Montgomery, who by this point was running Peter's original shop in Elmont, and Bill Hannong, who came to our house for a vacation with Peter one summer.  


Bill rode me around on his motorcycle and treated me as a young passenger to my first motor cycle wheelie. I also met Kim, who I remember, had the first bottle of Jim Beam I ever saw. Later when I moved to Colorado I lived with Diane, Peter’s wife. That’s where I got my start. I met the whole western crew which included Erik Fisher, Cindy Burmeister, Robert, Kim Schaefer, Keely Tackett and Chas. Thanks to Erik, Cindy and Kim who tolerated me and spent time showing me around town and taking me to parties. I spent the better part of 2 years learning to deal with people and do tattoos.


Before I started tattooing, I pretty much idolized Peter and my father, Larry, for being tough and cool men. At times trying to measure up to them as a model wasn’t easy. I still hear stories of how they lived and ruled their domain of shops. I long for a time when people used a different standard to show respect. That said, it’s been a wonderful and exciting life in tattooing and I haven’t heard the fat lady sing yet.




Frank’s Studio is:

Da Vinci Tattoo 

3247 Sunrise Highway

Wantaugh, NY 11793

516-78-5030

Frank Romano today

Frank Romano today

PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

Richie Montgomery

I, Richie Montgomery, was already tattooing for two years before I met Pete, well actually one year. Pete threw me out a year before as I was only 17 years old and not old enough to be legally tattooed in Nassau County, but that’s the way it was and Pete wasn’t bending the rules for anyone. So on my birthday, I returned and Pete tattooed me. I could tell he was a no nonsense guy and if I didn’t want to get shown the door I better not ask too many questions haha. But, before Pete tattooed me I was talking to Dyane for a while and I think she could tell I was sincere about learning more and she put the good word in for me with him.

We spoke a little and I asked if I could come out every so often and watch him work and I did every chance I got. Eventually Pete asked if I wanted to have a job and it was a dream come true. Tattoo shops then were definitely not like today (it was like Friday the 13th almost every day 20-30 tattoos some quite large) hahaha so many times I remember walking into the waiting room to see who was next and getting what design and I looked around the room and there were some scary looking people wanting tattoos but they were all nice most of the time because we were going to work on them and they didn’t want to piss us off.


Pete was unique, he drew and he would get the pen and just make a few lines and circles and start and bam there was a dragon or skull or flowers. Now you have to remember this is 1973-74 most tattoo artists didn’t do custom stuff and I was lucky enough to be an artist but seeing Pete work like that was so inspiring. I always tried to copy his style and designs when Pete did something beautiful on one of the lady’s that worked with him. Later on he would tell them don’t show Richie because he’ll do it on someone tomorrow. hahaha I do owe Pete for that as it made me a better artist and inspired so many people. He was one of a kind for sure.


Richie Montgomery has been working at the shop in Elmont, Long Island, NY since 1973. The studio name now is: 

Tattooing By Richie
1548 Hempstead Turnpike

Elmont, NY 11003

516-488-8282

or you can look him up on Instagram- @Richie Montgomery

or on his web page: tattooingbyrichie.com

Richie holding his Paul Rogers Award, present day.

Richie holding his Paul Rogers Award, present day.

PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

Peggy & Greg Skibo

Well here goes, I tried to keep this short and on point as there are still a few other people alive who were there with Peter and his/our involvement with the National Tattoo Association.


I started working for Pete in 1974 soon after his arrival in Denver. And, worked with him in NY, CO and AZ till the fall of 1981, when Peggy and I moved to WY and opened our 1st shop in partnership with Peter. We stayed in business with Peter and then Dyane till we closed the last door in 2015.


When I was originally hired on, I had tried several sources prior to meeting and getting tattooed by Peter. That experience was wonderful compared to the cold shoulder I had received elsewhere. He had learned the art of tattoo properly and was willing to pass that on. I came to realize what a great opportunity he was offering. He had done his due diligence and was known or knew everyone of stature in the biz especially the “old-timers”. I remember him saying “you need to meet this person or that guy”. I did and he was right.


He and Dyane both always encouraged and advocated raising the bar of respectability relating to tattooing. And indeed felt that the NTA would be a good vehicle for that. A sort of a Tattoo Artist Union, so to speak. And I believe it was, and became an integral part of the changes in tattooing in the last 40 years. It was certainly a reflection of the times, probably the times were as much a reflection of the NTA too. Look around at the number of tattooists and shops that there are now and how different society views them, they are more accepted in the art and/or business world today than they ever were in the blood and guts “good old days”. During those years, the 1970’s, we were young, and it was a time of change. 


Peter was always trying to improve his art and the technical aspects of what he did and to improve those around him to the same end. New styles, new pigments, new ways of doing things, better machines and equipment. A proper platform for someone to learn the art, and established artists to flourish. He lived by the motto live, eat and breathe tattoo, and did till the end. 


He was involved in almost a dozen shops when he passed, all were top notch shops. They were at the time considered on the cutting edge of the “New Generation” tattoo studios, clean, modern, professional, with artistic designs on the flash and custom work available producing good quality tattoos.


Most of these shops still exist and have stayed true to the original concepts. They have continued to produce new generations of good professional and responsible artists. Also, those that spun off on their own to create more shops, maybe not under the same name but of the same linage and attitude to carry the same banner forward…...I think Peter would be proud …..


As far as us; kids are grown and gone and doing well. We see and/or hear from them regularly. We finally closed the doors on the last 2 shops (Ft Collins CO, Cheyenne WY) in 2014 and 2015 about a year and half apart. I continued to tattoo areolas on breast cancer survivors for the local Doctors until last fall when I turned it over to the artist that bought our Greeley CO studio. These days I still do a few tattoos (45 years now) and I have access to 6 different shops owned by people that we brought into the biz; so between Denver and Cheyenne I can get a chair whenever, to do a little tattoo work, and have been, a few big projects but mostly small stuff. Which, is alright with me. I still enjoy tattooing, just not the running of a business. We decided quite a while ago that we didn’t want to be the richest people in the graveyard.    We love retirement and wish we’d done it 20-30 years earlier ! The rest of our time we try to enjoy life, see family n’ friends and so far so good. We’ve had no trouble staying busy just with the living of life and the taking care of our little place plus 2 cats, 2 burros and 5 dogs. Life is good….just keep’n on keep’n on…. 


Greg Skibo

Tattooist since 1974 

Greg and Peggy Skibo, present day.

Greg and Peggy Skibo, present day.

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Greg Skibo

This is the only picture...

 ...I have of everyone in Florida (a couple of guys got cut out on the ends.) I'm pretty sure there are better pics out there. This whole affair was put together by Eric D and Angelo. They were responsible for the shirts, etc. I was totally unaware of anything and I was indeed talked into it by Nik Pew. He's the artist that employs Kim these days (Denver City Tattoo Club.) I taught him to tattoo years ago; and since he was sharing a booth with Richie & Mary and of course Kim, thought it sounded like a fun weekend sharing a booth with one of my proteges' and a couple of old friends, very nostalgic. I even drew a small souvenir rose on Scott Sterling for Kim to tattoo, Just like we did in the old days on Broadway in Denver. Deja Vu !


The rest of this deal with all these other people was a pleasant surprise to me. Richie and I talk all the time and see each other every couple of years, so we were due. I've also included a nice pic of Rich, Kim and I at the same event (I'm the old fat guy with a big beard LOL).

This show was May 2019, I believe it was the 1st show I've actually participated in;

 for probably 10 years.


 As far as the people in the picture above:

 Back Row Nik Pew, Eric Fischer, Richie Montgomery, Eric Desmond

Bottom Row: Ken Cameron, Kim Schaefer, Mary Montgomery, myself (Greg Skibo), Angelo Miller/Mylonas and Cindy Burmeister/Stroemple. 

PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

Erik Desmond

After an early introduction to tattooing, and a few failed attempts at seeking an apprenticeship, I was lucky enough to stumble into Peter Tat 2 of West Hempstead, Long Island, N. Y. in 1988.


I began my formal apprenticeship under the tutelage of Frank Romano, who was the son of Peter Tat 2’s then owner Larry Romano, the surviving partner of Peter Poulos.   Larry had taken over the shops after Pete’s passing. I was fortunate enough, at the time, to be able to work alongside of some other already established, well rounded tattooers, such as Marguerite, Cindy Burmeister, and would later go on to gain my introduction to Eddy Deutsche and Alex Herman. This all went on to be crucial parts of the mold that made me into the Tattooer I am today.   During that era is when the overall sense of morality and the standards of being a successful and respectful Tattooer were introduced and ingrained into me.


These standards are still important to me and are fully maintained even today, at my shop: Loyalty Tattoo

419 Great East Neck Road

West Babylon, NY 11704

631-864-1917

www.facebook.com/loyaltytattoony 

Erik Desmond in front of the Peter Tat*2 neon sign

Erik Desmond in front of the Peter Tat*2 neon sign

PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

Bill Hannong

It was Greg Skibo who started tattooing me in 1975, and it was Greg who introduced me to Peter. Greg had done a couple of cover-ups on me, and I wanted to be more heavily tattooed so we started working on my sleeves. It was during this time I got to know Peter better, and he got to know me. In late 1976, I don't remember the exact date Peter asked me if I would like to learn how to tattoo. By this time we were all doing things together after store hours so when he asked I jumped at the chance. As you know it was a lot different back then. So being offered the opportunity by someone as talented as Peter was a once in a lifetime chance.


Without going into detail, when he handed me my equipment, life changed for Theresa and me. Peter demanded loyalty, respect, honor, trust, and the drive to be the best you could be. Not just to him, but to the other artists under him as well as to the customer. My apprenticeship was long and difficult, and at times it seemed like it would never end. But when I earned my snake tattoo I knew I had earned his and the other artist's respect.


I remember when Peter told me Crazy Eddie was coming to Denver to talk to him about helping with the National Tattoo Club. Of course there was a story about Eddie and Peter meeting outside of Peter's Long Island Tattoo Studio years before, and it not being all that friendly. In fact someone came back after hours and threw a rock through Peter's window. Time heals all wounds, and now it was time to help develop something bigger than both Eddie or Peter. Things started moving quickly to start a nonprofit, and to plan a convention for the NTC, which later became the National Tattoo Assoc... Peter and Dyane suggested Denver, and the Peter Tat-2 Assoc. would host the convention at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in downtown Denver. It was the beginning of something that would change the world of tattooing forever. The people in the industry that attended were the who's who of tattooing. The list is long and golden. I'm sure Flo has a list of the tattooers and their families who were there. The Peter Tat-2 Assoc. continued to help with the yearly conventions in many areas such as security.


I feel humbled to have been a very small part of this, and grateful to Peter for the opportunities. The people I got to work with, play with, laugh with, and cry with, will always be with me. Some are gone and others have scattered around this wonderful country of ours. Taking with them the lessons learned so many years ago.


Wishing Health and happiness to all of you, the rest we can get.


P.S. During the first convention in Denver, Peter called Eddie up on the stage and gave him the rock back that was thrown through his window so many years before. We all had a big laugh.


Bill’s studio is:

Amazing Tattoo Studio

1017 Cape Coral Pkwy E.

Suite A

Cape Coral, FL 33904

239-540-0159

amazingtattoostudio.com

billhannong@gmail.com  or amazingtattoostudio@gmail.com

Bill Hannong took 3-1/2 years to restore this bike. Looking brand new, he's riding it, too!

Bill Hannong took 3-1/2 years to restore this bike. Looking brand new, he's riding it, too!

PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

Just Plain Bud Pierson

I met Peter around 1976 while staying at life-time-long friends, Bill and Theresa Hannong’s house in Denver. Bill was getting tattooed by Greg Skibo who was working for Peter in the Broadway Studio. I liked what Greg was doing on Bill, so I had Greg start tattooing my sleeves. Peter liked the way I would come in and throw down $200.00 to $300.00 and say do what you would like. So it wasn’t long before Peter said sit down and let’s do something on your chest. Greg and Peter continued to tattoo me for many years & I have the work to prove it.


I was working full time in the oil field and coming to town ever so often to visit and get tattooed. Over time, Peter asked if I wanted to learn to tattoo, and of course I said yes. I got my equipment and went to working on people that didn’t care so much about the tattoo but the low price. That is how we all got started. As my work continued to improve Peter asked me to go to Phoenix and open a second studio for him and Jim Watson. So off to Phoenix I went feeling like the world had just smiled at me.


During this time Peter and Dyane were talking with the NTC, which later became the NTA, to see if there was something they could do to help grow the industry in a positive way. When the date was set for the first National Convention in Denver, I was there to help with the rest of the Peter Tat-2 Assoc. and the NTC. That convention started a history that would change the way tattooing would be viewed from then on. I am proud to have been a part of it.


The tattooers and their families that came were the top of the industry. And they were dressed to the nines. Evening gowns on the women, and suit and tie for the men. Some had custom made outfits. Since the convention was held only once a year it was always a great time to see everyone the next year.


I owe Peter and Dyane for opening up the world of tattooing to me and I will always hold them near my heart. As time went along I moved on from working for Peter and opened my own very successful studio in Evanston, WY. A few years later I moved to Salt Lake City, UT. and opened my second studio. In 1987 I moved back to Florida and had one of the busiest studio’s in Florida. I continued the heritage I learned from Peter in all of my endeavors.


Because of my association with Peter and National and being there in the beginning guided my career to be a tattooer that you and Peter could be proud of... Knowing that National set the standard by which I hope all tattooers could adhere to. Thank you NTA and the PTA for a life-time of tattooing joy.


Just Plain Bud Pierson

   
P.S. Flo is the reason I’m called Just Plain Bud. She listed me in the newsletter as Bud Tat-2 and I told her not to do that. I said my name is just plain Bud. Well she is a smart ass from time to time and so there it is, I’ve been Just Plain Bud ever since.

   
(Flo’s note  – And that’s the true story as to how he became Just Plain Bud) 

If you want to contact Just Plain Bud (LOL) his number is: 307-631-6451

Just Plain Bud present day

Just Plain Bud present day  

PETER TAT•2 ASSOCIATION

Cindy Burmeister (Stroemple)

 Hi Y’all Most of you know that I got my start in the tattoo industry through the Peter Tat-2 studios. Just wanted to share my story. To tell y’all how lucky I feel to have been a part of something that I think to this day was so incredible. And what became the building blocks to a career that led me to where I am today.


My name is Cindy Burmeister (Stroemple) and I grew up in Miami, FL. I left to chase a boy across the country when I was 17 and landed in Denver, CO. Within the first couple months I ended up in a Peter Tat-2 shop downtown Denver on Broadway Avenue. There I would get my first tattoo and start a long time friendship with Barbara Chapman. I spent all my days when I wasn’t at work hanging out at the tattoo shop with Barbara. Greg Skibo was there a lot of the times I was there. I don’t know why I never got tattooed by him. I would take two buses to get there almost every day for an entire summer in 1980. Needless to say I got tattooed as well every two weeks on payday. I also bartered with Barb and babysat her daughter for trades sometimes.


My boyfriend at the time had started a sleeve with Peter at the Colfax shop. Apparently they had a conversation about me working for Peter Tat-2. One evening at our apartment my boyfriend said Peter wanted to know if I would like to give tattooing a shot. I was just wondering why he had never asked me? At this point I had met the man a few times. But I said sure, why not? I loved drawing. I never had any formal art training.


So off to the Peter Tat-2 shop on Colfax I went to apprentice. There I would get the opportunity to watch Peter tattoo every day and apprentice under Kim Schaefer. Kim was so much fun to work with, and she helped me out a lot during those times. Barbara would stop by on her way home and give me the run down on all the things I did wrong in my tattoo for the day. Not just to me but in front of the person I just tattooed. She was tough on me and I was a little naive back then and got my feelings hurt easily. At some point I remember going home and telling my boyfriend I wanted to quit this apprenticeship. He said absolutely not!!! By the way, he sold a really special firearm to get me my equipment. So I stuck it out.


I eventually went to work a few months later down the street still on Colfax to American Tattoo which was also Peter’s shop but it was run by Bill Hannong. Bill ultimately became sorta my second boss. He was in charge of me, let’s say. Bill was tough and I didn’t really care for him too much at first, but he was tough for a reason. It took me years to figure out why, and I am thankful every day. We are still friends to this day.


American Tattoo was near Lowry Air Force base. I worked with quite a few tattooers that came through the shop over the few years I was there. Eric Fischer, Keely Tackett, Frank Romano, Blue and a few others as well as Bill. That shop was always so busy. Those fly boys were there every payday. Such great guys to tattoo. I was limited to the tattoos I was allowed to do at first, as I was a newer tattooer, and teaching me traditional clean work was the agenda. As much as I wanted to do some of the newer flash coming in (Jack Rudy, Mike Malone, Greg Irons etc.) I realized years later why I was taught the way I was. It made me a stronger tattooer.


After a few years working for Peter he was laid to rest. His time on earth was cut way too short. He had taught me, amongst tattooing, so many life lessons and street smarts. I wanted to learn so much more. He literally was like a second father in some ways, always watching out for you and teaching you. I only had a short period of time that I got to know him but it felt like a lifetime. RIP Peter Poulos.


Peter’s wife, Dyane took over the shops, but things and people just seemed to be moving in different directions. I did get to go to my first ever tattoo convention with Dyane though. NTA Philly 1984. I was so enamored with it all. I met so many tattooers I had heard of in other states across the US and the world. It was life changing for me. I also entered a tattoo Peter had done on me in one of the contests. I was so scared up on that stage in front of so many people. Those shows were one of the first and best conventions around at the time. Peter Tat-2 was a big part of the NTA back then. The NTA eventually became a second family for me throughout the years. At that point, my time in Denver was over. It was time to move on. I moved to Long Island, New York to work for Peter’s partner, Larry Romano.


I started working at the Peter Tat-2 shop in West Hempstead the winter of 1986 where I worked with Marguerite Freiburg and many other artists, including Frank Romano, Cindy Chiarella, Eric Desmond, Angelo Miller, Eddie Deutsche, Mike Ledger, Tedd Tiedemann and so many other tattooers that came and went. I was also introduced to Richie Montgomery who worked down the street in the Elmont shop. I had seen lots of Richie’s work when I was living in Colorado.


New York was intimidating for a westernized girl per se. Since I lived in Denver for 6 years, the Miami in me was gone. I was young when I left Miami anyways. I wasn’t sure I had made the right move. But Marguerite was kind and welcoming and helped me out so very much. A new style of tattooing was emerging in the mid to late 80’s. Plus with new diseases coming around, we had to start wearing gloves and there were always new things evolving with tattooing as years went on.


I became the runner for the tattoo supplies and would head over to New Hyde Park to National Tattoo Supply. This would be Don and Flo’s house at the time. I would hang out with the kids while they put my order together. I still think about that often, knowing how big the company finally grew as the years went by. I started going to more of the NTA conventions over several years and then went every year from then on.


Larry opened my eyes to a lot in the tattoo industry as well. I was honored that he took me in and gave me a new home in tattooing at that time. I am grateful for all of the tattooers I worked with at Peter Tat-2 over the 15 years I was there between Colorado and New York. Every one of them gave something to me to get me where I am today. I may have forgotten a few names and I apologize for that. My life was forever changed when I met Peter and I think of him often, as well as all of the wonderful tattooers I’ve worked with over all my years of tattooing. It’s a journey that I still push hard to strive for my best...everyday!!!


Cindy’s studio is:

Tattoo Faction

30584 Lorain Road

N Olmsted, OH 44070

440-686-1311

tattoofaction.com  

Cindy Burmeister/Stroemple with Gregory Christian today

Cindy Burmeister/Stroemple with Gregory Christian today

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