Gus Wagner

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Gus Wagner
Birth Date 16 June 1872
Birth Place Marietta, Ohio
Death Date 10 June 1941
Occupation tattoo artist
Website none

August "Gus" Wagner (born June 16, 1872 in Marietta, Ohio) was a tattoo artist and performer.


He saw Captain Costentenus in a traveling show when he was 12. In 1897 he went on a cargo steamer Bellona at Newport News, Virginia, embarking on a four-year career as a merchant seaman. While traveling, he discovered his "true calling". He claimed to have learned to tattoo from tribesmen in Java and Borneo who showed him how to use their traditional hand-made tools. Gus reported to have had 264 tattoos by 1901. He promoted himself as "the most artistically marked up man in America" and became known as "The Tattooed Globetrotter". When he returned home, he began his forty-year career as a traveling tattoo artist, tattooed man and circus performer. He chose to continue using the hand-poked method of tattooing even after the tattoo machine was invented.

He married his wife, Maud Wagner October 3rd, 1904 in St. Louis, Missouri. They had one daughter, Lovetta Wagner, who was also a circus performer and tattoo artist.

He died June 10th, 1941 in Chase County, Kansas; he was struck by lightning.



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