In this updated edition, the extraordinary life of Stoney St. Clair—circus performer turned tattoo artist—comes to life in photos, tattoo flash, and his own words, edited by writer and filmmaker Alan Govenar. Born Leonard St. Clair in 1912 in West Virginia, Stoney discovered his passion for drawing at Johns Hopkins, where he was being treated for rheumatoid arthritis. Not deterred by his disability, he joined the circus at fifteen as a sword swallower, and then learned tattooing from other circus performers. From travelling with the circus to setting up tattoo shops in Tampa and Columbus, Stoney met, tattooed, and worked with some of the greatest. Vincent Canby, writing in the New York Times, described Stoney as “an ebullient little man with the gab of a circus tout (spoken in the accents of Appalachia) and a fund of bizarre stories about tattooing and unrelated matters.&rdquo.

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