father / daughter THink tattoo editorial: larry + dominique pruitt

Well, yes, it’s true, we are eyeball-deep in wonderful wedding season + all of the editing that is implied in that statement, but it sure feels time to share another THink interview!  This series is definitely becoming one of my favorite parts of my/our portfolio, and I want to be more deliberate about sharing the stories + images with you before too much time goes by.

Today, it’s time to meet Larry + Dominique, or ‘Tiki’, depending on who you ask. Some of you might recognize Tiki’s face from a few things here on the blog, like that time she was a bridesmaid, or that time I photographed her with flowers on her head, or maybe even because she’s the babest of rockstars.  She’s become a dear friend, and I will say that I never get sick of shooting her!

So anyway, a few months back, I put a post on my Facebook page, asking if anyone knew someone that was a little bit older than the folks I’ve so far photographed for THink, and whattayaknow?  Tiki posted an image of her dad, and it was love at first sight.  I knew I had to interview him, and including Tiki to turn this into a father/daughter interview addition to the series was a [super happy] surprise! When I reached out to Larry to ask about photographing him, he was nothing but warm + inviting.  A man with charisma, confidence, and his own brand of sophistication, Larry is the kind of guy that I was dying to interview.  Not to mention, since I grew up in Wisconsin, where people see a tattoo and say, “Yeah, but what will they think about that decision when they’re older?!” – a sort of deterrent to getting inked, I suppose – Larry was my chance to prove them oh-so wrong.  😉

I’m thrilled to say, Larry did not disappoint!  He had me laughing, he told me gritty, fascinating stories of being a touring session guitarist throughout the 70s/80s, and he reminded me how truly wonderful it is to embrace who you are unapologetically; respecting the fact that all of our choices in life, the wise ones and the not so wise ones, have helped shape who we are today.  And that in itself is a gift.  Larry is a refreshing glimpse of a life that doesn’t conform to social expectations — perhaps this is why we found him to be a bit of a kindred spirit + inspiration.  🙂

I absolutely adore these two; their outlooks, their stories, and their willingness to share them with us, and I am so thrilled to be sharing glimpses of these gems with you today:Caroline: So!  The beginning.  When + where did you get your first piece?  Do you still love it?

Larry: My earliest tats were homemade at around the age of 16 using a sewing needle with thread around the end and India ink.  I was born rebellious.  Not rebellious in a malicious way to other people. I like people, but rather in extremely non conformist ways.  Having spent the earliest years of my childhood in Beverly Hills, when I moved to the San Fernando Valley and encountered other hoodlums like me, I was thrilled. Tats just seemed a natural part of the picture. I knew some folks who had acquired homemade tats in jail and although I had not been to jail and criminality was not part of my story, I think I empathized with the anti-establishment vibe of that type of tat. I later covered a couple of those up, (such as this one tat of a chick’s initials on my leg), with my other early tats.
Is there a theme or story you try to follow with your ink, or is each piece individual / random?  Do you have a fave?

I suggested the theme for all of my tats except the one on my right forearm done by Jim Hayek, a fabulous local artist, who does a thing called “music in a brush stroke”.  I gave him a recording of a song I wrote called “A Cowboy Could Fall in Love” and he interpreted the lyric of the song with a graphic. I did not even ask to see what he did before I let him apply it. Knowing his work I just said go for it, “You’re the artist”. This is easily the most, and possibly the only, very sophisticated body art I have. The rest are all sort of rank old fashioned biker-ish tats and I’m fine with that, too, it goes with my proletariat nature, but If I had a favorite, Hayek’s piece would have to be it.  I really like all of them for different reasons and I love how sleeves work altogether.

Tell me a story about one of your pieces.  (Anything.  You choose.)

Easily, the best story I have about my tats is the time I went to see the Joe Cocker tour documentary film, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, which was around 1970. At around the same time, guitarist, Jerry Reed, had a hit single entitled “When You’re Hot You’re Hot”. So this drummer friend and I dropped some acid and came out of the theater in the wee hours of the morning and decided it would be a great idea to go downtown LA and get tats. In those days they really only had a couple of colors, basically, red, green and black and tats were considered disreputable. Being a Jerry Reed fan and wanting color, I told him (I am reluctant to call him an artist but rather a tattoo guy who was shaking like a leaf from whatever drugs he was taking to stay awake) that I wanted “the Devil holding a pitchfork” and above and below I wanted a banner which said “when you’re hot, you’re hot” as in, the title of the song. Well, this guy was one of those not particularly well educated dudes with some regional linguistic peccadilloes who instead of saying “you” said “yous” as in “yous guys” and being on acid, I did not pay a whole lot of attention to his spelling. As a result, I wound up with a tat with two misspellings and an erasure. He used the wrong tense of “you’re” both times writing “your” instead, and then when I looked down and saw that he had placed an “S” on the end of one, causing it to read “when your hot, yours hot” he used a blotch of black ink to cover the S. Two misspellings and an erasure babe. How many folks have that? I was too high to care that night, and although I have been stone cold sober for many years, I still don’t care.

How did you feel when your kids started to get their own pieces?  Did you ever tell them to get (or not to get) their own ink?

I am fine with my daughters having tats, but I am not so wild about tats on the neck, which one of them does have.

Oopsies.  I wonder who that might be.  😉  When you were getting your first tattoos, did you ever wonder what it would be like to be an older adult with tattoos?  What’s it like now being ‘past the adolescent years’ and having tattoos?

When I was getting my first tattoos in the 60s, it would be gratuitous to suggest I was “thinking” about anything and if I was, it sure as Hell was not “getting older”, which is something I truly believe I never thought would happen at that age. I love being “past my teenage years” and having tats and I am every bit as rebellious and non conformist as when I was a teenager, maybe even more so, but I am far more capable of channeling my nonconformity into political activism and making it count for something that benefits society. When I speak before the city council, I usually cover my tats so that our stiff-assed provincial world does not tune me out without listening.

Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on — either related to ink, or totally random?

My advice for anyone young or old which applies nicely to ink or any other life pursuit, comes from my late Father in Law. He said “do what ya like and like what ya do”.  If you do that and let your conscience be your guide, you cannot go wrong presuming you have a healthy functional conscience. I am not a religious man but I love the passage in Mathew 25:40 which says [and I paraphrase], “when you are kind to your fellows, you are doing the Lord’s work”. This is as true figuratively as it is literally and no matter which way you view it, this is an excellent formula for being a good human being and is how I try and live my life.

Next up: Miss Tiki! Caroline: So! The beginning. What was it like growing up with a dad that had a lot of tattoos? Did you always like them + want to get your own? Did he ever talk to you about them?

Tiki: Growing up, he had told me the stories behind his tattoos. I guess I always thought tattoos were kind of normal, and not weird because my dad had them… I loved the look of them, and probably the rebellious aspect too, and as long as I could remember I wanted my own! When + where did you get your first piece? Do you still love it? I have a tiny 1 inch long treble clef on my right foot, and I got it immediately after my 18th birthday- the second it was legal! Haha. It’s so tiny and simple, I do still love it. AND, I literally had NOT thought about it for a long time until you just asked me, ha!

Are you picky about who you allow to work on you? Do you go to the same artist(s) a lot?

YES. It’s SO permanent, and so very easy to screw up. I’m picky about all things related to art and aesthetics in general, so tattoos are no different in my mind. A long time friend of mine is the ridiculously talented Dr. Woo from Shamrock Social Club, so he is my go-to guy.Uh, yeah.  He ink’d my sister, his work is absolutely nuts!  So nice, too.  What’s an estimate of how much you’ve spent on your bod?

I’ve probably spent close to 2 grand. Worth it!

Which one’s your fave?

I love my big traditional gypsy piece I have on my thigh, and my super simple heart that says “Cry-Baby” on my inner arm.

Johnny Depp in 1990, anyone?!  I could never get anyone to watch Cry-Baby with me when I was a teen, but darnit, I sure owned the VHS!  Is there a theme or story you try to follow with your ink, or is each piece individual / random?

Each one is totally random, really. Although I could say I’m consistently always drawn to color.

Who designs your tattoos?

I have designed them all myself.

Have you ever gotten matching pieces with anyone?

Haha. Two of my friends and I got little pot leaves tattooed on our ribs. It was impulsive and we found some random girl to do them on the fly–it is THE worst tattoo you’ve ever seen. Like if you handed a child a tattoo gun. I kind of don’t think she had ever tattooed before. It makes for a hilarious story though! (THIS is why you should be picky about who inks your bod, kiddies!)

What’s the most common question people ask you / make comments about?

I have the name Wanda tattooed on my neck, so that gets a fair amount of comments. “Is your name Wanda?!” Nope. It’s for one of my heroes, the musician Wanda Jackson.

Tell me a story about one of your pieces. (Anything. You choose.)

I have Cry-Baby tattooed in a heart on my arm, and it’s for my absolute love (and obsession) with the John Waters film of the same name. I saw that movie when I was a kid and it changed my life!

What’s next? Is there one you’re in the middle of / one you have planned?

I’m dying to get tattooed by this girl Jenna Bouma who goes by Slowerblack. She does strictly black ink hand poked tattooes, and her style is rad and so unique. She’s from Toronto, but travels and I can’t wait until she stops back in LA.

Any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on — either related to ink, or totally random?

Wait until you’re 18 (OR OLDER if you can wait) to get a tattoo, because your taste probably sucks a little and probably will change. I am SO thankful I didn’t get the tattoos I wanted at 16, they were awful.After interviewing + photographing Larry + Tiki separately, Larry suggested we duck inside his buddy’s saloon for a few shots.  As I shot, Larry sang this song (a lil Milwaukee reference in my honor!) + it was a few short minutes in my life that I’ll never forget.  I’m so in love with the mood of these images, the soundtrack that follows them, and the stories that they carry.

Until next time, my friends… Happy Weekend!  xo