Tuttle was born in Chariton, Iowa in 1931 but grew up in Ukiah, California. At the age of fourteen he purchased his first tattoo for $3.50 (equivalent to $50 today). In 1949, he began tattooing professionally. In 1954 he opened his own studio in San Francisco. This first shop was open for 35 years. Tuttle tattooed Janis Joplin, Cher, Jo Baker,Henry Fonda, Paul Stanley, Joan Baez, the Allman Brothers and many other notable musicians, actors, and celebrities.
He has tattooed on all seven continents, been tattooed on six continents, and has never knowingly tattooed a minor.He officially retired in 1990 but will still occasionally tattoo his signature on a friend or acquaintance. His fame within tattooing was somewhat controversial, as many tattooists of his day disliked his statements to the press and “shameless self-promotion”. When Tuttle was on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in October 1970, Sailor Jerry put the picture inside his toilet.
His first shop when working for Bert Grimm at 16 Cedar Way, Long Beach, California. on “The Pike”. After tattooing in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska and California. Tuttle opened up shop in 1960 at #30 7th St., in between Mission St. and Market St., also referred to as South of Market, San Francisco, California. Tuttle tattooed at #30 7th St., San Francisco, California. for 29 and a half years, until the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused the building to be yellow tagged. The shop reopened soon after at 841 Columbus St. and continues to operate as a studio and museum.
Mr Tuttle leaves his art behind for everyone to enjoy and leaves as part of the Americana Tatto History as well.