Why would I write a story about a tattoo artist? because in 1973, this guy was the ONLY tattoo artist working in Maine (in 2013, the state of Maine issued 196 tattooing licenses).
By ARTHUR FREDERICK
NEWPORT, Maine (UPI) — Tom Breitweg can chrome your bumpers and tattoo a battleship on your belly while you wait.
Breitweg runs a chrome plating shop a short distance from his home here. But it is in the room over his kitchen that “Tats Tommy,” Maine’s only tattoo artist, does his finest work.
“I learned years and years ago in New Jersey,” Breitweg said. “My uncle taught me. He was one of the oldest down in Jersey; did a lot of handwork, you know, like Japanese handwork. I’ve yet to find anyone who can do handwork like he could.”
The Japanese, apparently, are revered in the tattoo artists’ ranks. Or at least by Tats.
“Some of those Japanese pieces take months,” he said. “They’re all over the body. When they die they take the skins off.”
The apprenticeship to his uncle ended in 1939, and Breitweg went into the Navy where he polished his craft and collected a few tattoos of his own.
“I twirled the needle in the Navy. And I had some done on myself, too. I had one done just about every time I stopped,” he said.
Breitweg said he has between 30 and 40 tattoos, including a huge eagle and an American flag flanked by roses on his chest.
“Fellow did that for me in Australia,” he said.