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Tattoo Tantalizers! ... Part 3

... the most asked for gallery in our existence!
... cameron's cabin ...

Photos & text courtesy of Rick Martinko ... Tattoo Department, LOTM

The next location we moved to was the mountain side for the Cameron family'scabin. I'm pretty certain that it was north of Asheville. The second day of shooting there, I managed to ditch my car when I missed a T in the road in a heavy fog bank at the base of the mountain. My car was okay, but my passenger, David George (the principle tattoo artist), banged his head on the windshield and ended up going to a massage therapist. I felt terrible, but he assured me that he was fine. It wasn't my finest moment, but as the production wore on, vehicles getting banged up in the early hours became a normal occurrence.

This sign was on the road up to the base camp. The residents wanted us to drive slow and flash our lights, I guess...

This was the base camp, with the make-up tent surrounded by the production trailers. The transportation guys would break this thing down in an evening and move everything to the new location over-night. It was an impressive task considering the short time period from the wrap totheearly hours whenthe first crew members showed up the next morning. This camp was pretty far from the set, which could be reached by van. If was the first week of July and was very hot, so not many people tried hiking to the set.

Chris and Pierre from the tattoo crew. The extras came through the hair, tattoo, make-up, costume and props areas like an assembly line. The tattoo crew for the extras started off with about 10 people at the start of theproject and dwindled down to 3 or 4 of us by the last days of shooting.

One of the Mohawk extras, and a really nice guy.

Mohawk extras lined up for inspection by Michael Mann.

Themake-up crew talking with the 2nd Assistant Director, Danny Stillman. The girl in the tie-dyed shirt was named Heather, and across from her in the blue shirt with the bandanna around her neck is Mitzi Gunter. I think that the child that they were talking to is one of Russell Means' kids. Michael Mann is holding the clipboard to the left.

The colonial extras waiting for inspection, and burning up in the heat. Up on the set, one of the little girls collapsed from heat exhaustion.

Dennis Banks witha bunchof the extras from Cameron's cabin.

This guy was responsible for my upcoming promotion to principle tattoo artist. At the base camp, there were several pre-production sketches of various tattoo designs being passed around, and I was given one that was very elaborate. I decided that it would be a good opportunity to show off what I could do, so I spent close to an hour on his tattoos and they came out looking pretty damn good. Unfortunately, you can't see them very well in this picture, but they were across his chest, down both arms and on his cheeks. He was supposed to be wearing a shirt, but during inspection Michael Mann commented that his tattoos looked great (a glowing compliment)and should be visible, so the costumers gave his this blanket instead.Word got around that my tattoos impressedsome people, and later that day I was approached to assist on Daniel Day Lewis's armtattoos. I was told that the principle tattoo artist, David George (who was a very quiet guy) got seriously chewed out in front of everyone because one of Wes Studi's head tattoos was 1/8 of an inch off. Dave got pretty shaken, and Daniel felt that he was uncomfortably nervous applying the tattoos and requested that someone else do it. So I got called in, and as the weeks went by I got more involvedwiththe other actors and eventually David quit and I replaced him. He was a very nice guy and an outstanding artist, but I don't think that he was crazy about the daily grind of film production and the negative attitudes. One thing I should mention about Daniel, is that he has an amazing memory. I was introduced to him on the my first day, and two weeks later I walked into the tattoo trailer and he said "Hello Rick!" like we'd known each other for years. I can't even imagine how many people he'd been introduced to since the production began, but I could barely remember the names of the other tattoo artists I saw every day. Amazing...

Danielnear the make-up tent.

The set of Cameron's cabin.

The extras spent a lot of time practicing lacrosse.

Mohawk extra's in between takes.

The crew was given the option of shooting on Thursday, July 4th with Friday off and bonus pay, or taking the holiday off and returning for shooting on Saturday or Sunday.Of course, we voted to shoot on the 4th, and I remember that as the shooting ran into the night (for the exteriors of the cabin), we could hear and see fireworks going off all over the area. We were on top of a small mountain, so we could seea lotfireworks off in the distance. I was worried that it would screw up the shooting and delay the wrap that night, because as soon as filming stopped I was jumping in my car and driving north to spend the weekend with my girlfriend and her family.


One of the down sides to being a principle artists was that whenever one of your actors is on the set, you have to be ready and waiting to touch them up ASAP. So, long after all of the rest of the tattoo crew had gone home, I was sitting there in the heat/rain/bugs etc. This also applied to moving to and from the set. Once the extras were ready,a fewof the artists would go to the set for touch-ups and the rest would clean up the tattoo area then wait until someone told them to head out to the set or go home. As a principle artist, I had to be on the set for Daniel, Wes, Eric, Russell and Mike Phillips, but because I was already there I also touched-up extras when needed. So, I ended up spending about 99% of my time on the set which was cool because I saw every scene being shot, but it also mean that I hauled a lot of equipment to and from the sets (which were often in hard-to-get-to areas) and I worked 18 hour days in a hot North Carolina summer. I used to joke that during those weeks of shooting, I thought I was going to die and when I didn't I was a little disappointed. How people can do it for a living is a mystery to me. UP NEXT: LAKE GEORGE & FORT WILLIAM HENRY  || BACK TO INDEX OF TATTOOS



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