The Story of a Tattooed Girl was the title of Cindy Ray’s first book. Back in the 60’s this was big news: a tattooed woman finally published her story about what it was like to be heavily tattooed at a time when only few women were tattooed, and those who were only had a small mark to remind them of their independence. After her first book, she published two more books.

Cindy Ray
Cindy Ray

Cindy Ray also had her name on a tattoo supply business. The company made and sold tattoo supplies, tattoo machines, power supplies and a variety of books, brochures, photographs and jewelry.

History will show that Cindy Ray, whose real name is Bev Robinson, never really owned that supply business. As a matter of fact, she was mostly unaware of all the publicity she was getting. She didn’t know of her fan club, the sale of her photographs, her name being used on so many products and the impact she was having in the tattoo community. All this was the invention of a photographer she met when she answered a small ad in the newspaper looking for models.

Cindy Ray
Cindy Ray

At the time she was young, a single mom, working in a factory and she took some photos to earn some extra money. Harry Bartram was a photographer who used her photos for all of the aforementioned things, and got all the money for it. However, she really was a tattoo artist in Melbourne Australia.

Bev Robinson "Cindy Ray", water-colour by Pepe
Bev Robinson “Cindy Ray”, water-colour by Pepe

She first got tattooed in 1961 when she was 19 years old, inked by the tattooist Danny Robinson. Cindy Ray ended up marrying Robinson in 1964 and he taught her to tattoo. They divorced in 1978 and she went tattooing with Vaughn Griffiths and Kevin Coppin at “Sailor Bill’s Grotto Studio” in Melbourne. In 1981 she teamed up again with her ex-husband and started with him a tattoo business for the second time. Bev finally opened her own tattoo studio in Williamstown, Melbourne, “Cindy Ray Moving Pictures Tattoo Studio“. Today Bev still works there.

Working at a time when a female tattoo artist was unheard of, she worked in a world of constant insults, wise cracks and prejudice. For over 44 years she has continued to tattoo, traveling to various ports of call, tattooing sailors, and living the tattoo lifestyle.
In 2005 Cindy Ray was inducted into the “San Francisco Tattoo Hall Of Fame” at the “Old School Tattoo Expo“.

Cindy Ray
Cindy Ray