Pin Ups

Published: 01 July, 2008 - Featured in Skin Deep 162, July, 2008

The term ‘Pin Up’ first came into use in the 1940s with film actresses such as Theda Bara gracing the silent screen and Betty Garble ready to jump out from many a soldiers’ locker in World War Two.

These women along with many others inspired the minds of many artists. -The ‘Gibson Girl’ by Charles Dana Gibson opened a new genre that gave rise to many well-known artists such as Alberto Vargas and George Petty. This well loved genre carries on in the hands of many skilled artists today; from silent screen to silver screen starlets, ‘Cheesecakes’ are a much-loved icon of the tattoo world.

Whether you are looking for a pin-up design to get tattooed or a collection to grace the walls of your studio or living room, these artists are extremely accommodating and helpful. So if a lovely lady catches your eye, don’t hesitate to contact the artist for more information!

Darin Michau

I have loved drawing from the age of three - twenty four years down the line, nothing has changed. I have worked as a graphic designer for five years now, but my real passion lies with drawing and character design and I am currently working on that side of my portfolio. My inspiration comes from Anime and comic books and my hero is Stanley Lau, whose work can be seen on Deviant Art - he is known as Artgerm. I also really enjoy the work of Udon comics. You can see more of my work at

Jessica Dougherty

Jessica’s Pinups Dougherty Fine Art Portrait Studio:
I grew up moving from place to place but consider myself a good ‘Southern girl’ from Baton Rouge, Louisiana where much of my family still resides. Most of my family, being scientists and technical types, do not understand why I paint nude women but seem to be content with the fact that it makes me happy. I now live with my husband and two young children in Seattle, WA. I received my B.A. from the University of Washington in June of 2001 and I have been painting freelance for private collectors and gallery shows and illustrating for lingerie and beer companies ever since.

Artist’s Statement:
I believe that what makes a woman beautiful lays not only on the outside, but must also radiate from the inside. Therefore, I find my favourite subjects to paint are those women whose distinct personalities I already know. Often it is not your run-of-the-mill super model that elicits a physical or emotional response, but rather the woman you see in your local coffee shop. The mere fact that they are ‘real’ and attainable makes their image more seductive and personal. All of the women that I paint (including myself) are women who truly exist in the world. They are soft and supple, opinionated and bitchy, inviting and compassionate, strong and smart. Most of all, they are not victims but instead, proud and unashamed of their sexuality. To me, that is the ultimate form of feminism.

Olivia. I saw a calendar of hers at a friend’s house for the first time when I was in art school and decided immediately that that was what I was going to do with my art. That lead me to research pin-up artists and art throughout the 20th century and I’ve been on that one track ever since so I thank Olivia for inspiring me and giving me my direction and passion in my artwork.

Rachael Huntington

Well, reaching the point where I’ve found myself in a job (tattooing, for those who haven’t been paying attention) that I genuinely love has been quite a long and winding road. I spent the first portion of my professional career as a graphic designer (re-designing the packaging for the computer game ‘Lemmings/Oh No! More Lemmings’, creating a range of greeting cards and such), then got into the world of computer games and worked at EA for around three years. That was all rather fun as I got to work on some of the Harry Potter games as concept artist and even got to walk around the Great Hall at Hogwarts and meet Harry Potter and Ron themselves (well, the actors), but it never quite felt as though computer games was my true calling.

After leaving EA I began drawing alternative characters again, but it wasn’t until friends and acquaintances began asking for prints/t-shirts of my work that I started to see the potential for such products and set up as a freelance alternative artist, which really started to ball rolling for me. I FINALLY plucked up the courage to pursue the idea of becoming a tattoo artist in 2006 (something I’d thought about for years, but fear of messing up stopped me doing anything about it) and luckily for me the good folks at Rampant Ink offered me an apprenticeship after inviting me down to the studio for a nosy around in August ‘06. Roy at Skinshokz really helped me out in the beginning too with advice and encouragement, so thanks Roy, and Gray has been the best mentor and teacher an apprentice could wish for since I joined the Rampant team (although his constant demands for tea get a bit wearing for myself and my fellow apprentice Danica, but he’s the boss so it’s good to keep him supplied with hot beverages!).

A year down the line and I’m still LOVING tattooing and working in the Rampant Ink studio, and now even get paid for the privilege! For now I’m concentrating on the basics to get my technique up to speed, but my goal is to be tattooing my pinup girls on people soon. Watch this space!

Dee Whitcomb

Dee Whitcomb is a Lakota Indian enrolled on the Lower Sioux reservation in South Dakota. Born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1967 and raised in southeastern Connecticut. Dee was taken by lithography and printing in tech school, although his love of art was put on hold as after graduating from Griswold High School, he spent many years as a professional musician.
Dee eventually discovered tattooing and was an instant success, becoming an award winning artist within his first 3 years of conventions worldwide.
Dee Whitcomb has appeared in over 30 publications worldwide including national and international publications in the United States, Canada, UK, and Germany, Italy, Poland…and the list gets longer!

Mitch O Connell

Mitch has been creating these wonderful pieces of artwork for quite some time. He just loves to see them on skin!

First, a bio that gets right to the point... Mitch O’Connell can be summed up in 3 words: Hot, Handsome and Hunkalicious! And an excerpt from the introduction of my book that seems to answer the question...

I always loved and admired tattoo flash. When I look at a sheet of old school flash I can actually feel a tug in my gut. My attraction to tattoo art wasn’t something I had to think through, it’s a physical reaction. So, since I liked ‘em so much, I often incorporated designs in my illustrations. At the same time I started getting photos from folks who were having my illustrations tattooed on ‘em. It floored me. You can’t get a much higher complement that having someone permanently engrave your stuff on their flesh! I do a drawing for a newspaper, it’s thrown out the next day. An illustration for a magazine might stay on the coffee table for a couple of weeks (unless it’s at the dentist’s office), and a gallery show is only up for a month, but a tattoo... that’s gotta be the winner for hanging in there! Since I was  so inspired, I thought I’d might as well take it one step further and actually do designs that were meant to be tattoos. It was a pleasure and also intimidating to come up with my own.

To prepare myself I spent hours staring down the art of the old school guys, Sailor Jerry, Dainty Dotty, Owen Jensen, Ralph Johnson, Stoney, Bert Grimm and a hundred others hoping that some of their skill and wisdom might seep into my skull.

Old school tattoos are to me something solid and classic, like a 200 year old oak tree, a hand sewn Revolutionary war flag, freak show banner or Mount Rushmore. When drawing I try to keep that solid base of tradition, substance and  craftsmanship as the goal. I realized that technically this was a whole different art form and that I’d have to be the one to adapt to make it work right. After I drew up the lines for most of my first set of flash I pestered every local shop to get some feedback. What makes a design work? What designs are most popular? What makes a tattoo easier to do? Where’s my wallet?  I know that years ago, since the tattoo community has a history of being a closed shop, having the chutzpah to think I could draw flash without being a tattooist would have resulted in a back alley  chain beating, but since some folks had heard of me and could see that I was sincere, I got a lot of very helpful suggestions. O.K. some people did tell me to drop dead, but hey, there has to be a little truth to stereotypes!

And from an old interview...

I read that you don’t have any tattoos yourself, so why create a whole book full of them? What’s the appeal?
I love old school tattoo flash (just in case someone doesn’t know, those 11 by 14” sheets that have multiple tattoo designs hanging on the walls of tattoo shops). It combines everything I like, cool subject matter (vices, ladies, skulls, love, etc.),a folk art intuitive edge, plus it’s functional art, honed to perfection from doing them over and over and over. At about the same time I was getting bug eyed over the Sailor Jerry, Owen Jensen and Stoney art (to name just a few) folks started mailing me photos of my own illustrations they had adapted into tattoos. I thought, why not go whole hog and do art meant to be tattoos? I put out 3 sets of tattoo flash (about 12 sheets each) over the last 7 years, and now, since I always have the notion to milk a drawing for all it’s worth, got (begged) Last Gasp Publishing to collect ‘em all (and more) into “Mitch O’Connell Tattoos”.

Did you get any flak from drawing flash but not actually being a tattooist? As you say in your book, tattoo artists are a notoriously closed shop.
Everyone in the tattoo community has been extremely nice, open and helpful. Plus, coming from an angle of love and respect for old school tattoo designs and trying my best to make my stuff not a pain in the ass for the person doing the hard work, the tattooist, might take the edge off anyone who’s inclined to be annoyed with me. Also, it’s not like I’m hiding anything up my sleeve, my designs are what they are. Tattooists and customers can easily decide if they like ‘em or not. Plus, I’ve been giving out free back rubs to anyone who even gives a hint of being irritated.
But if these aren’t helpful I’d be happy to answer any specific questions (or unspecific questions for that matter!)
Thanks! Best, Mitch

Jon Reynolds

“We all love pin-ups; I’ll bet every lad out there has a picture of a sexy girl favourite. Every one has a different idea of what beauty is. Joe does some lovely colourful and pretty women, but as a fan of Hellraiser and Resident Evil, my drawing has been influenced. Then after seeing Silent Hill came the new set, my ‘Barbed Wire Babes.’
The sleeve in progress on Cathy is one of my favourites; the Medusa, a woman so beautiful you could only look at her once. She is then surrounded by the crumbling stone women that dared take a peek. Jonny Handsome x


Text: Cath Williamson


Skin Deep 162 1 July 2008 162