Words by Chris Gibbany
“This is my half sleeve dedicated to my 1956 Harley Panhead, the second bike I have designed and am building. All tattoo work was done by the talented Dessa Blackthorn
aka “Sassy”, owner of Tattooz by Sassy
in Mountain Home, Arkansas, who specializes in portraits, realism and watercolor tattoos. It took a total of five sessions to complete the work. Each session was about 3 hours long.
Tattoo by Dessa Blackthorn of Tattooz by Sassy
When I first formed the idea of the tattoo (all my tattoos are gearhead related), I knew I wanted to start with my Panhead’s engine and our motto “Old Iron Never Dies.” When I went in for the second session, we added the front end profile of my bike, which is really special to me. A few years ago while designing my bike I fell in love with this particular front end while surfing the internet. I didn’t know anything about the front end at the time, I just knew that I had to have it for my build. I later found out it was a Spartan springer, so I ended up contacting George Counes, owner of Spartan Frameworks who hand crafted this awesome Spartan riveted springer to fit my Chica gooseneck frame. At the time I was going to just pay with a credit card but found out he only accepted cash and I had to have it to him within 30 days. To make a long story short, I sold all of my guns that year in order to pay him for this magnificent piece of work that is on the front of my bike. What better way to commemorate a piece so great than to have it permanently inked on my arm.
After rolling several ideas around, Dessa and I agreed to finish up my tattoo with 4-speed gears from my tranny, my antique license plate on my bike and we added more motorcycle chain. Dessa had inked a piston and chain tattoo on my shoulder about 8 years ago which has won several tattoo contests, made a couple magazines and even made an appearance in Sara Liberte
‘s book “1000 Biker Tattoos
My 56 Panhead, which I named “Panacea” (a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases) was built in my living room. I slept beside it for almost three years, had it there while having coupon parties and even when we had our house up for sale. I still have people ask from past parties if I still have the bike in the house. Nope, now my Knucklehead is in the house!”