Lyle Tuttle is one of the most important American tattoo artists of all time.
Known as the “father of modern tattooing” he is a revolutionary protagonist in the history of tattooing. He was born in 1931 and grew up in Ukiah (California). He has been tattooing since 1949. At the age of fourteen he purchased his first tattoo for $3,50. He has been working for Bert Grimm and has been tattooed by him. His first shop was open in San Francisco for 35 years.
He has tattooed on all seven continents and has become a legend within the industry. Mr. Tuttle tattooed Janis Joplin, Cher, Jo Baker, Henry Fonda, Paul Stanley, Joan Baez, the Allman Brothers and many, many other notable musicians, actors, and celebrities. He officially retired in 1990 but still occasionally tattoos his signature on a friend or acquaintance.
He also opened The Lyle Tuttle Tattoo & Museum in San Francisco. It features his own collection of tattoo memorabilia, in an effort to preserve the tattoo history for future generations.
He says that “tattoos are travel marks, stickers on your luggage. Tattoos are special, you have to go off and earn them. You can go into a jewelry store and buy a big diamond and slip it on your finger and walk out. It’s not like that when you go into a tattoo shop and pick a big tattoo and pay for it. Now you got to sit down and take it.”