Shotsie Gorman

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Shotsie Gorman
Birth Date 11 December 1951
Birth Place Paterson, New Jersey
Death Date living
Occupation tattoo artist

Shotsie Gorman is one of the old timers of modern American tattooing (about twenty-five years now), having bridged the gap between the old and the new. As of this writing he has two New Jersey-based studios. When asked about what his role has been, Shotsie writes,

My main focus for the last 23 years has been tattooing. After a short stint with Spider Webb in Mount Vernon NY 1979, I opened my own shop in Union City NJ after having an underground shop on 26th street in NYC for one year. My real first taste of the world of professional tattooing came via Mike Bakaty who tattooed me in 1976-77 and co-owns Fineline Tattooing in NYC with his son Mehai. During my time in NYC trying to crack the art gallery scene with my sculpture Mike Bakaty and I became fast friends in fact Mike's family became my surrogate family. He my mentor. We worked together doing interior renovations to generate capital for art materials and such and I assisted him in his sculpture studio. His interest in tattooing inspired mine. All that led in a tangled fashion to the Spider Webb experience. I had an opportunity to work in a real tattoo shop through Spider's good graces and gained much in the process. Being driven I opened my own shop. In retrospect a bit too soon for my skill level. I developed more slowly than I could have if I had a solid apprenticeship in the beginning. I worked seven days a week for twelve to fourteen hours a day. I created a clientele for my own personal brand of tattooing. I have stuck in principal to my own approach to this art form ever since, learning more with each year.
After being in the tattoo world for 23 years I've been helped along the way by too many great tattoo artists to list them all. I have finally achieved my dream place in my tattoo shops. A place in which I am the teacher and the student. Shotsie's in Wayne and Shotsie's West are magnets for creative people. I am lucky to have found such a unique crew of artists to work with. The friendly and creative energy in the studios is formed by all of us making critical and positive commentary on the work we produce. In fact each artist has his own space creates an environment of powerful forces of creativity held firmly in a family like atmosphere. We are always open to welcoming new folks to our tattoo house.

Jeff Cardell writes to add,

Shotsie Gorman was Born December 11, 1951, in Paterson, New Jersey.
Shotsie grew up in the projects in Paterson NJ, and began to get interested in tattoos at the age of 25 while he was living in New York City. Shotsies earliest teachings were by Mike Bakaty current owner of Fineline Tattoo who was a dear friend to him. Both of them learned a great deal by teaching each other the trade. From there, Shotsie ventured out to the west coast of U.S.A to learn from one of the old time masters Cliff Raven. After his trip out to the west coast, Shotsie came back to NYC and took a job with the infamous Spider Webb. The two of them had very different personalities and did not get along very well. After a short time, Shotsie left Spider's shop to work by himself. He advertised in the Villiage Voice with the slogan, "Feeling stuck in the web? Try Shotsies Tattoo!" From then on, Shotsie Gorman had worked for himself in his own studios and has taught many fine artists how to tattoo (including Scotty Lowe AKA The Flying Ace, Kerry O'Neil, Christopher Depinto, Gary Walsh, Randy Prause, Jonathan Bergen, Jen Carmine, Eric Newman, And Tommy Silva to name a few).
Mr. Gorman is a former martial arts instructor and Arts educator. He is currently making art as a sculptor, painter, ceramic tile and furniture designer, professional tattoo artist, co-founder and former vice president of the Alliance of Professional Tattooists (APT), journalist, poet, author, publisher of Tattoo Advocate Journal, current owner of Shotsie's Tattoo Studios in Wayne and West Milford NJ where he has seven tattoo artists and one body piercer working for him. Contrary to popular belief, Shotsie is alive, very well, and is still taking apointments for custom tattooing (among lots of other things, two of his specialties and favorite things to do include large scale custom work and portraits).
Shotsie exhibits tattoo related art, furniture, hand tufted carpets, hand made boxes, ceramic tiles, and traditional media art works in galleries around the world. He is a lecturer on the art and history of tattooing and the relationships of the blending of art/philosophy of eastern and western religious traditions, lecturing at universities and art institutions around the US and Europe. Recently he held a retrospective of visual and literary work at The Jersey City University Museum Gallery, Jersey City in 1999 and the Paterson Museum in Paterson New Jersey in the year 2000.

In 2005, Shotsie sold his Newfoundland, NJ shop to Jen Carmine, who renamed it Monarch Tattoo.

As of early April 2006, Shotsie Gorman sold his other shop, Shotsies Tattoo in Wayne, NJ to shop manager, Gary Walsh. Shotsie is currently making plans to move to the Arizona/New Mexico area.

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