This Tattoo portrait of Charles Lindberg was the culmination of 40 hours of work over a 16 month period. It was one of the first large scale photo-real portraits seen in the tattoo world. It made it’s debut in Dunstable England in the early 1990. It was a technical nightmare of sorts . I had to find a way to create broad areas of soft grey with out a trace of overlapping or leaving marks of the process. At the time Most artists were not using over a Seven needle magnum. During the creation of this tattoo I experimented with many needle configurations. I tried to curve and stack my needle clusters so as to mimic the Japanese approach to needle grouping. It did not go so well, as the hand technique of Japanese tattooing and the machine application did not fit well together. After chatting up a number of European Artists who were experimenting with needle clusters outside of the standard “Flat six” and slow growing use of “weaved Magnum clusters” , I decide to try to create a round cluster. I soldered a fifty needle .o12 Stainless steel pins in to a cluster by first tying them with thread and soldering them solidly together. I measured with a micrometer the diameter and had a machinist created a jig that was the diameter and depth of the needles and created a curve at it’s base that was exactly the diameter of the fifty needle cluster . I then packed the needles down into this jig creating an almost Pencil eraser type of rounded cluster at the sharp end . Once solidly soldered I placed the needle cluster in a drill press careful not to damage the tips of the needles and drilled down the center of the back end of the cluster and then placed the needle bar down into the well and soldered it dead center on the cluster. I asked a fellow tattoo artist and machine Manufacturer, Dennis Dyer to create some tubes to fit this sized needle cluster. That is how I completed the task with no trace of starts and stops over the large soft graduated areas of the face. Now there are up to thirty five needle curved and weaved magnums in common use.
This collector decided to get the portrait not just because of Lindberg’s celebrity for crossing over NY to Paris in a solo Flight on the Spirit of St Louis in 1927, but because he admired the relationship between Lindberg and His wife Ann Marrow. As she was his co pilot/navigator and totally dedicated wife. The collector was hoping to have a similar relationship with his wife. He also was working toward his pilot’s license at the time. Although this image was taken from a fairly common Photo of Charles it had never been seen as a tattoo in this heroic scale before or since. The ironic nature of it was left unknown until 2003. It was often believed that Charles was a NAzi sympathizer as her certainly ly admired the German aircraft engineering. He received an award from the Nazi’s and was an outspoken believer in our abstaining from the war this isolationist stance so enraged President Roosevelt that he was denied any commissions in the American Air Force during the war.
was was unknown was at the time Charles was either a bigamist or just a philanderer. here is the understood reality of his desire for America’s not participating in the allied attacks on Germany.
In August of 2003, three German siblings, Dyrk, Astrid, and David Hesshaimer made a startling announcement at a press conference in Munich: Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974), America’s national hero after he became the first pilot to fly across the Atlantic in 1927, was their father. As evidence, the three Hesshaimers, then ranging in age from 36 to 45, whipped out more than 100 love letters that the aviator had sent to their mother, Brigitte, from the late 1950s until his death in 1974. A DNA test taken a few months later confirmed their assertion. This revelation turned out to be just one of many secrets that Lindbergh had kept from the world. As the trio noted in a book that they co-authored with a German journalist the following year, Lindbergh had also engaged in long-term relationships with two other German women, with whom he had fathered four other children.
From birth on, Lindbergh had difficulty connecting with others. As an adolescent, he developed crushes not on girls, but on machines; his first one was on “Maria,” the family’s Model T Ford. While Lindbergh never responds, Benjamin offers an explanation. In her Author’s Note, she argues that “the kidnapping truly broke Charles Lindbergh beyond repair; it can be seen as the explanation for all that he did after—the long absences, the tyrannical behavior toward his children….And finally the secret families.”
For the “Lone Eagle,” women were not so much other human beings, with whom he could build intimate relationships, as machines, whose services he needed rather frequently. His four “wives” weren’t even enough to keep him sexually satisfied. Unmentioned in Jacob Benjamin’s novel are any of this sex addict’s other lovers such as the Filipina or the stewardess, nearly 40 years his junior, whom he met for trysts in exotic locales all over the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as biographer Susan Hertog reported in The love of his life was not a woman, but The Spirit of St. Louis. As Anne Lindbergh notes after one of her first meetings with the aviator in Benjamin’s novel, “He patted the plane in the same manner as a cowboy caressing his favorite horse. I almost felt as if I was intruding on an intimate scene.” But while his obsessive love of machines caused him to be a lousy husband, it was precisely what he needed to march right into the history books.
Perhaps it was not the plane he loved after all…