Joe Darpel (1900-1968)

Bert Grimm tattooed Joe Darpel from head to toe and then Joe took his Bert Grimm body suit on the road and worked as an attraction and tattoo artist for such outfits as the Greater Alamo Show in 1921 and the Wortham Show from 1925 through 1926. Joe met his wife Mabel (1910-1976), who was a knife-thrower in the show business world. By 1927 they were teamed up and tattooing together. Over the years they worked in Kansas and Texas. Many flash sheets created by the Darpels have survived and are prized by collectors worldwide.

Legend has it that Joe and Mabel worked up and down the riverfront towns on the Mississippi. They supposedly invented the color green for tattooing which regretfully was comprised of lead and mercury. This caused very unwelcome itching and redness for the knee of said tattoo.  On many occasions the Darpels would have to scoot out of town to avoid the tar and feather parties arranged for them.  Mabel was reportedly the real artist of the duo.