Host Traven Rice spoke with tattoo artist and historian Michelle Myles for this week’s episode of The Lo-Down Culture Cast. Michelle started tattooing on the Lower East Side in the early 1990’s, before it was legal. She opened Daredevil Tattoo in 1997 with her business partner, Brad Fink. Michelle was one of the first female tattoo artists around.
Brad has always been an avid collector of antique machines and tools. They ended up with so many interesting historical tattoo artifacts on hand, they created The Daredevil Tattoo Museum, which features artifacts amassed over the last 30+ years of tattooing. Tattoo flash, machines, and ephemera from the early roots of modern tattooing, which was established by sailors on the Bowery in the 1800’s.
The shop is located on the border of the historic Lower East Side and Chinatown just a few blocks east of the Bowery and Chatham Square where O’Reilly, Charlie Wagner, Millie Hull and other legendary tattoo artists plied their trade. The museum is part of the tattoo shop and is viewable during regular business hours.
Michelle is now a licensed New York City tour guide and regularly hosts tattoo history walking tours of the Bowery which can be booked online through Airbnb experiences.