Little John Bury -- A Tribute to His Legacy
In NC, No One Has Done More for the Art and Business of Tattooing Than Little John
Tattooing, as an art and a business in North Carolina, would not be as advanced as it is today without the dedication and work of "Little John" Bury. John was the original owner of Carolina Tattoo, the first high quality tattoo shop in Greensboro, NC. As a tattoo artist and a business man, John lobbied state and county authorities to created laws and standardized regulations for tattooing that would protect both the customers and the artists involved in this art form.
Little John's efforts created a cleaner, safer environment for exploring the art of tattooing in the Triad area, and throughout the state. Eventually, John left behind Carolina Tattoo and opened Little John's Tattoo. For almost twenty years, Little John's has been my choice for the best place in Greensboro to get tattooed or pierced. Today, tattoo parlors all over North Carolina are clean and safe places that adhere to standardized methods of sterilization and tattoo application.
Twenty years ago, even a customer getting their first tattoo could readily see that John and his staff were leading the business in cleanliness and procedures. I visited tattoo shops all over the NC Triad area in 1993 when I was looking for my first tattoo. John and his artists were the only ones bagging the tattoo machines, and even the electrical cords, to prevent any chance of cross contamination between customers or artists.
John Bury's dedication to raising the art of tattooing has left a lasting impact on the business that is still noticeable throughout the state. Although John's life was tragically cut short in 2008, his legacy lives on at his tattoo shop and in the many lives that he has impacted. The extensive collection of tattoo art on his body, and his occasionally gruff demeanor, could give a person the idea that John was an unapproachable character. In fact, John was well know among his peers and the community for his kindness and generosity. He often gave people in need a meal, a place to stay, or a spot at his dinner table during a holiday.
John may be gone, but his ship, Little John's Tattoo sails on. His family and friends continue his legacy and pay tribute to the man that he was. John was a great enthusiast of all aspects of body art, a martial artist, and a self styled pirate. He is well remembered by the tattoo community of North Carolina and beyond.
Right: John's sister, Jami Forsch, remembers him with this tattoo. One of John's great loves was pirate culture. He is depicted with a pirate hat and eye patch.
John Bury's Dragon Backpiece
Right: Little John's dragon back-piece would later be recreated as a tribute from a friend.
Below: John's long time friend, Jesse "Mule" Hembree, had his back tattooed with a recreation of Little John's dragon backpiece, after John's untimely death in 2008.
"John was cremated, so his artwork isn't around anymore. I had his back-piece recreated so that this part of him continues on."
Jesse Mule's Backpiece
Little John's Tattoo Links -- Event Coverage & More
- Best Place to Get Tattooed in Greensboro, North Carolina
Little John Bury had a mission in the 90's, to raise the art and professional standards for tattooing across the city and the state.
- 17th Annual North Carolina Tattoo Convention Coming to Greensboro
Information on the upcoming 17th Annual North Carolina Tattoo Convention coming to Greensboro, NC
- Coverage of the 17th Annual North Carolina Tattoo Convention
Coverage of the 17th Annual North Carolina Tattoo Convention in Greensboro, NC. This is the main hub for convention coverage with pictures and links to more detailed content from various convention events.
- Art Fusion -- From the 17th Annual North Carolina Tattoo Convention
Pictures of the Art Fusion exhibit at the 17th Annual North Carolina Tattoo Convention.
- Family Fun at the NC Tattoo Convention
Pictures of families and kids at the 17th Annual NC Tattoo Convention.
- Creatures of the Night -- Wood Carvings by Otto Long
North Carolina Triad area artist Otto Long has been carving his "Creatures of the Night" sculptures for nearly 20 years. See pictures of his work and read about his artistic style.