After Stan got into some trouble with the law at 12 years old, a man called Jonesy urged his business partner (who also happened to be Stan’s father) to “make a tattooer out of him” They figured this was the best way they could keep an eye on Stan. With a fifth grade education Stan quit school and began practicing on the bums roaming around under the Third Avenue "L" train that covered the Bowery.
“It was mostly alcoholics there at that time. Bums, drunks, seamen who jumped ship. It was great down there” The Bowery was the stretch from Houston Street to Canal Street that provided refuge to these undesirables--men who wanted to hide from society.
The way Bowery Stan tells it Jonesy was the backbone of the tattoo business. An unsung hero of sorts who many tattoo historians have overlooked, misnamed, or completely left out of their (sometimes fabricated) tales. “Usually if a guy landed on the Bowery he was an alcoholic and he smoked, but not Jonesy” Word on the street was he got his heart broken something awful back in Pennsylvania and came to the Bowery to forget.
Jonesy was an honest man and hard of hearing. A genius of sorts who made his own hearing aids, could fix anything you gave him (“he could fix your car, he could fix your toaster”), made his own tattooing machines,and at one time would be the supplier to everyone in the tattoo world.
When Stan started tattooing in
his father’s barber shop at Number 4 Bowery, Jonesy kept a watchful eye.
Stan went on to open S&W Tattooing with his brother. There, they supplied the tattoo world for 40 years. They made the tattooing business possible for guys in the beginning like Crazy Eddie, Spider Web,Coney Island Freddy and beyond.
S&W was majorly successful but not without their own problems of discrimination… When the higher ups in NYC caught wind of two guys making a good living off tattooing, they wanted to put a stop to it.
They forced the brother’s
tattooing business out of NYC with violations.