I began tattooing in 1989. Although I was mainly self-taught,I studied art and drawing at The University Of Pennsylvania from 1992-1993. I worked at The University of Pennsylvania as a Laboratory Animal Technoligist from 1985 until after I opened Headlight Tattoo in 1995. I did quite a bit of tattooing on animals. I would anesthetize and tattoo baboons and other kinds of monkeys, as well as groundhogs and such. They were identified with their USDA numbers and letters and whatnot. I got real good at doing line work that way. One of the Veterinarians liked that, and brought her dog in for me to put it's ID# in it's leg, As per her instructions, it went in a banner with a rose and a heart. Later she told me that the kids in the neighborhood thought the dog's tattoo was cool.
In the beginning I would borrow the tattoo machines from work, and bring them home and tattoo myself and friends, but after a few weeks I got my own, with the help of my friend Sailor Eddie Jr, who was still in Camden on Broadway at the time.
After learning the basics of all things Tattoo, m y wife Linda and I traveled to tattoo conventions around the country for many years. I studied in seminars given by many prominent tattoo artists including DeanoCook, Jack Rudy, Kari Barba, Dave Gibson, Mike Malone, Rand Johnson, Sid Stankovic, Brian Everett, Bob Tyrell, Lyle Tuttle, Bill Funk, Bud Yates, Dave Long, Bill Hannong, the APT instructors Sister Bear, Dennis Dwyer, Peggy Sucher, and Mary Skiver and Dave Bein to name a few.
I've been tattooed by over 50 artists including Steve Potton, Shawn Anderson, Deano Cook, Dave Gibson, Bob Montagna, Sailor Eddie Evans and his Wife Ester ( yeah, nobody ever gives her credit and she was awesome), Sailor Eddie Denny, Eric Perfect, Jack Rudy, Stephane Chaudesaigues, Eric Stewart, Jimbo from Naples, Tin Tin, Tom Strohm, Jason Raleigh, Patty Kelly, My Wife, Kids, and neighbor Irish Kevin ( I wouldn't recommend doing that), Sailor Moses, Judy Parker ,Michael Culley, Jason Goldberg, Marcus Kuhn, Tony Olivas, all my Headlight Tattoo peoples including Candi, Sophi, Gerry, Eliz'bef, Doc, Holly, Chris, Lee Cramer, and Sarah. I was also tattooed by a kid that worked for Judy Parker, whos name I never knew (shame on me), - he did my "mom" tattoo, George Archer, a gentleman named Eric from Full Color Coverage in Maryland did an awesome sacred Heart on my back, and a cool dude in Nebraska did some corn on me, I was tattooed in an upstairs studio in LA, by an artist who drew a scorpion on me that went with my HJA initials, I have no idea why I got a scorpion, but 30 years later I had a son who was born a scorpio. Being a Christian man I don't go for the Zodiac stuff...I just found that to be an interesting coincidence. A courteous gentleman tattoo guy from Ft. Lauderdale did a nice reaper for $40, and another one in LA did my not so jacked up wolf for $20. A kid named Red that worked for Cherokee Chuck, a guy named Paul that traded me a JD crow angel for a not so good tattoo of Iron Maiden Eddie that I did on his leg. A kid in Canada did a cool angel on my chest but I had to cover it because I put a girl's name in it because she was watching my dog while I was on vacation......and that turned out not to be a good enough reason. I girl in Bayreuth Germany comemorated my trip there with
" Bayreuth" tattooed on my inner right arm. I kinda had to show her how to do it because she was really green. I've had most of my upper left arm lasered by Dr. Steven Snyder from Maryland, and had it re tattooed.-..cause I'm a freak like that. My armpit was tattooed with the Bounty paper towel logo, which won an award for Chris James at the Nationals in North Carolina in 2009 for most Unique Tattoo. One of my favorite tattoos is Lyle Tuttle's signature that he did on my right inner arm at one of Mario's conventions in North Jersey.
God has chosen to bless me and Headlight Tattoo with a lot of great press. Feature Articles include :
Tattoo Magazine( September 2001) for personal
collection of tattoo work. Other featured articles include Savage Magazine
(September 2001), and Outlaw Biker Tattoo Review (#98) Tattoos done by Harry
have also been featured in Tattoo magazine, Tattoo Flash Magazine, International
Tattoo Magazine, National Tattoo Association Periodicals, Tattoos for Women,
Tattoos for Men, Skin and Ink, Skin Art, Tabu , Tattoo Revue, and various
convention publications as well as multiple feature articles in Motorcycle Monthly Magazine. In 2009 Skin and Ink did an 8 page spread on Headlight Tattoo. The opening of Headlight shop #3 in Woodstown was blessed with a front page article on us in Salem County's Today's Sunbeam Newspaper.
My clients have received many trophies at various events for the quality of tattoo work. On an International level, I've received the following awards:
July, 2000 - Knoxville TN.; Tattoo Convention First Place Trophy: BEST COVER UP
Sept. 2002 - Palm Beach International Tattoo Expo: TATTOO OF THE DAY
Sept. 2002 - Palm Beach International Tattoo Expo: BEST COVER UP
Tampa Tattoofest BEST SLEEVE
Rock of Ages Tattoo Convention
Orange, California, 2003 :
Best Cover Up 1st Place Award
Best Cover Up 2nd Place Award
Best Black and Grey Flash 2nd Place Award
Philadelphia Eddies 2006 third place medium black and gray
Atlanta 2003 Tattoo Arts FestivalBest Cover Up 1st Place Award
Philadelphia Eddies 2004
!st Place Best Full Back BLACK AND GREY
2nd Place Best Use of TRIBAL
2005 Atlantic City Tattoo Extravaganza 3rd place awards for Black and grey,
Cover up and Full Back
2005 Bayreuth Germany Tattoo Convention
3rd Place for tattoo of the Day
I traveled to Paris, France to tattoo at the European de Salons Convention in 1999, and Puerto Rico's Tattoo Conventions on 3 occasions.
2005's Trip to Germany yielded a tophy, a new tattoo, and a 3rd place
rophy for a portrait of "Harry in Agony" tattooed on his own back side. I also has a nice trip tattooing in England in 2007.
Other conventions include Knoxville, Maryland ,Meadowlands, Tampa Bay,
Richmond Tattoo Arts Festivals, Philadelphia Eddie's Tattoo Conventions,Atlanta, Orange, CA, The Texas Tattoo Jam in El Paso; Tattoo Magazine's
Artistry in Ink in Miami, West Palm Beach, National Tattoo Association
conventions in Cincinatti and Reno,as well as conventions in Derby England
& Atlantic City. I've been a presenter at the National Tattoo Association 2008, 2009 and 2010 with a Cover-Ups 101 seminar.
Harry J Ake;
Member: National Tattoo Association
Member: Pitman Road
Church of Christ
"I'm often amazed and impressed by the talents of certain artists and their accomplishments. I'm even more amazed and impressed by the dedication
of their customers. They're great artists because they have great customers.One of the things that makes an artists' tattoos come out so good, is the client's
willingness and ability to sit for enough time to give the artist the flexibility to work in a way they need, to achieve a desired creation. Sometimes that means
paying them enough so that they can devote enough time, energy, and creativity to a custom tattoo.
I don't like to cause people physical discomfort, especially when it isn't necessary. Although there is a certain amount of discomfort involved in the tattoo process, I think it's really important to tattoo gently. That means being familiar with proper machine set up, and constantly in touch with a client's pain threshold. There are ways to withhold before pain limits are crossed, and we practice various methods for minimizing our client's discomfort. Our customers are comfortable, cared for, and respected while being tattooed