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Signatures of the Soul - Tattooing Today

Television (Full Length) – 1984

Tattooing — "the world's oldest skin game" — is the subject of this iconic documentary. Writer/director Geoff Steven scored a major coup by signing Easy Rider legend Peter Fonda as his presenter. Travelling to Aotearoa, Samoa, Japan and the United States, the doco traces key developments in tattooing, including its importance in the Pacific, prison-inspired styles, and the influence of 1960s counterculture. Legendary tattooists feature (including Americans Ed Hardy and Jack Rudy), while the closing credits parade some eye-opening full body tattoos. Steven writes about making his tattooing documentaries here.

Then of course most everyone that comes in here treats us real good. I guess they'd better, since they’re going to be on the other end of the needle.
– East Los Angeles tattooist Mike Brown

Key Cast & Crew

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Julienne Stretton


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Graham Smith


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Wayne Laird

Musical Director

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Peter Fonda


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Alf West


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Geoff Steven

Director, Writer, Producer

See all 11 credits