Cocks Hanging Below the Knee

Lefty’s Tattoo Co.
1292 23rd Ave
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 682-4154
leftystattooco.com

Johnny at Lefty's

Johnny at Lefty's

Johnny Kimble
Owner and Tattoo Artist

MI: So this is the first tattoo shop that Metal Ink Crew Musings is interviewing in California! We actually started in New York and soon we’ll cover Los Angeles, where Metal Ink is based.

Johnny: How’d you end up here?

MI: Well I live down the street and I yelped tattoo shops in the Sunset. I figured I’d start near home and then branch out. You’re the only shop in the Outer Sunset. When did you open?

Johnny: May 2009.

MI: That’s super recent! Why did you name the place Lefty’s?

Johnny: I’m left-handed.

MI: That’s pretty obvious. So can you explain the logo? All the artists have the logo on their lower leg, I see…and you’re doing your apprentice right now.

Johnny: These are all very recent tattoos.

Matching Cocks

Matching Cocks

MI: Why the rooster?

Johnny: That’s a good story actually. We had a client who wanted a rooster on a surfboard with a noose wrapped around its neck, below her knee, hanging ten. So it’s a cock hanging ten below her knee.

MI: *Laughs*

Johnny: All of us have different ones—his has a pegleg , his has a bandana…

Ian: Mine is supposed to be mean. Who wouldn’t want a cock below the knee?

Cock Hanging Below the Knee

Cock Hanging Below the Knee

MI: Umm maybe that’s true for guys…

Ian: Well, Whisper is proud of hers.

Digby: It actually comes from an old bar bet. Like, “I got your mother’s name tattooed on my ass.”

MI: So Johnny, do you think that left-handed people are more creative?

Johnny: No, I just think it’s fucking awkward to cut shit.

Ian: His business card says Lefty’s do it better.

Johnny: That’s another pun.

MI: How is it that you all came to work at this shop?

Digby: It actually all started with a storm in a galaxy a hundred million years ago.

Graffiti Art by the Apprentice at Lefty's

Graffiti Art by the Apprentice at Lefty's

MI (to a client): What piece are you here to get done?

Kia (client): It’s a shoulder-back piece.

MI: So you brought that drawing? And now Digby is tracing over it and modifying it.

Digby: Well he wants it to fit in a particular area, shoulder blade to shoulder blade, but he doesn’t want it to go all the way down his back. I need to create the bottom half and so what I’ll do is I’ll scan this and I’ll flip the image and duplicate it.

MI: What kind of design is this?

Digby: It’s a Celtic design. It’s also called tribal, but it’s Celtic because of the interwoven part. I actually studied Celtic art in Scandinavia, in ‘97, ‘98. I went to the different villages where it still exists, including The Stave outside of Oslo. (shows picture) All the knotwork, all that’s Celtic. It’s the only structure that contains both Viking and Christian iconography. It’s commonly thought that Celtic is Irish but that’s just where it ended up. Celtic can be traced all the way to Tibet and the Middle East. Like the glorious endless knot. It’s originally from India. And the reason it was done was in order to get the brain going. It was to warm them up, since they couldn’t have caffeine.

MI: I thought that was merely decorative! So Celtic is ecumenical. Thanks for the mini-history lesson! You guys are awesome, and for sure I’ll be back to discuss my ideas for my first tattoo.

Indian-Celtic design

Indian-Celtic design

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