Being from Detroit, Michigan, Eddy became interested in tattooing at young age and influenced by people from his neighborhood and in the punk rock scene. With those images to work from he hand poked his first tattoo on his hand at age twelve. After practicing on himself he found that the Punk rock scene had lots of volunteers for receiving tattoos.
With them, he played with homemade tattoo machines until about age fourteen.
Around fourteen he had an opportunity to use professional equipment that he obtained from someone who was making a documentary about tattooing. “A friend arranged for me to do a tattoo on him with borrowed gear.”
Around 1982 a tattooist in Detroit called “Mel the Head” said that Eddy could find an apprenticeship in California. So, in 1983, Deutsche hitchhiked from Detroit to San Francisco. There, he swept up and cleaned at Lyle Tuttle’s shop on 7th street, but found that he was too young for an apprenticeship.
So, he went south to Los Angeles where he tried again to seek an apprenticeship. He had no luck, but he did collect some great tattoos from Bob Roberts and Marc Mahoney.
Finally, he got his first job tattooing in 1986 from Kinzie B. in San Diego. He worked day and night on marines, sailors and alternative types. A year later he started his trek working across the country. He spent a most enlightening time with tattooist Paul Rodgers in Jackson Beach, Florida. “Paul built and taught me to build my own tattoo machines. He blessed me and my career by contributing their (machines built by Rodgers and Deutsche), first marks, a tribal style tattoo on his 85-year-old foot.”
“When I moved to New York, my time was spent solely working, experimenting with my abilities honing skills, developing my craft and artistic range. My interest in Japanese style tattooing and culture was my main focus.”
His big break happened with an invite from Don Ed Hardy to accompany him on a work trip to Tokyo Japan. “Of course, I jumped at it and had one of the most amazing times of my life.”
Six months later Hardy decided he would open a street shop in San Francisco “Tattoo City” with Freddy Corbin, Dan Higgs and Eddy Deutsche, “if I were so inclined”.
“I was in New Jersey working at about 2:30 a.m. when I received the call. Of course, thirty seconds did not pass before I accepted.”
It was July 1, 1991 when Tattoo City opened. Deutsche moved to SF and worked at Tattoo City until July 1 1995. During this time Deutsche became friends with Horitaku of the Horitoshi Family. He made several trips to work with Horitaku at his studio in Sendagaya, Tokyo. Horitaku would also come to work with Eddy in San Francisco.
In October 1996, “222 Tattoo SF” opened, Eddy’s first tattoo shop. It was a dynamic collaboration of tattoo artist working there with Jeff Rassier, Scott Sylvia and Gary Kosmala, later came Jesse Tuesday and Juan Puente.
“During my career I have had the good fortune to be tattooed by many great artists who inspire me and continue to do so. I always try to have the capability to create many styles and looks. Playing with new things and combining old things help my versatility and flow. I feel these are my strong points.”
In 2000, Deutsche completed training one apprentice by the name of Hector Fong. “His dedication to the art and hard work continues to grow.” You can find Hector in Oakland, California at Tattoo 13.
222 Tattoo SF closed in 2000 because Deutsche found it to be too much to run a business and do the work that he loves so much. Eddy now works at his private studio in Los Angeles, CA. Check out his Convention Schedule for conventions and guest spots in other parts of the world.
All Photos © Eddy Deutsche 2015