Who is Dr.Who?
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Born, Joseph C. Woodell Jr. in Portsmouth Virginia, he has been and is a well respected and internationally
known Tattooist ,now for over 40 years.
He is an award winning artist (33 so far and had one named after him in 1986 at the Knoxville Worlds Fair International Tattoo Convention,
making him the first living tattoo artist to have a major award named after him)
in many fields including painting and sculpture (which are on
display around the world)
, but loves Tattooing people with their dreams the most!
He is a “Life Member” of the National Tattoo Association (the first and oldest Tattoo Organization in the World), being a member since its’
inception in 1977.
One of the founding fathers’ of the Tattoo Association of the Confederacy, its’ first Vice-President and second President and later served on
the Board of Governors. He is also a member of the European Tattoo Artist Guild, The Underground Tattoo Association, The Living Art Tattoo
Society of the Wasatch, and the Tattoo Artist Guild.
Dr. Who has been licensed in Virginia, Florida, California and Texas.
Before his illness (which is over, he had contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), he was the owner, editor and publisher of Tattoo Life
(still the only tattoo magazine ever published multilingually!)
Dr. Who is a professional writer for trade magazines and has been published by OBO, Piasano, Moore Productions, Peterson…etc. He is
also a lecturer, film documentarian and historian of Tattooing.
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His work has appeared in National Tattoo, Tattoo Life, Tattoo, Tattoo Review, Skin and Ink, Easyriders,
Outlaw Biker, Choppers Magazine, Playboy, Club, Genesis and over 400 newspapers.
He has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and many of their affiliates and independent stations throughout the years from Washington
D.C. to St. Petersburg, Florida; from Tampa Bay, Florida to Long Beach, California; from Hollywood, California to Woodbridge, Virginia,
from Carrollton, Virginia to Arlington, Texas, from Dallas, Texas to
Portsmouth, Virginia (the city of his birth and the city that denied him
the right to work at his chosen occupation even though it was legal within the confines of both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the
United States of America for 38 years!)
He was finally granted a license in December of 2006 after two extremely difficult years of legal
Through the years he has known the generations old and new. Bert Grim, Bob Shaw, Col Bill Todd, Doc Web, Spider Web, Gregg Irons,
Lyle Tuttle, Paul Rogers, Huck Spaulding, Philadelphia Eddie, Johnny Walker, Tex and Ann Peace, Leroy, Stone, Carol Nightengale to
mention a few and so many, many more….
He had been doing tattoos as a weekend (a kind of hobby thing for 13 years), because after his 1st service discharge; he found he wasn’
t living in a country that defended everyone’s civil rights and not having the money to find an honest lawyer to represent him.
So like most guys he worked to support his family and didn’t get the bug to become a full-time tattooist again until 1977 when he
resigned his post as Chief Instructor at the Deep Sea Diving School at Fort Pierce, Florida.
His work had been seen up and down the Eastern Seaboard for years, so when he called Flo at National Supply and asked if she knew
anybody that might hire him, she had him call Philadelphia Eddie who hired him on the spot and put him in his first professional chair.
He worked for Eddie for about a year and a half between Virginia and Florida and then went to the West Coast and worked for Bob
Shaw for another year and a half. It was while he was in California that he was awarded the dubious title Dr. Who. He didn’t want to get
his cuticles dirty so he had been wearing rubber gloves for several years
(back before aids and the other stuff that has come along)
and when he got to So-Cal (where he chose “JC of Hollywood” as his trade name) one of his clients made fun of it and said he should
wear a Doctor’s smock too. Well, as a joke he did and people started calling him Dr. J
(short for JC); but when a basketball fan saw one
of his creations and asked who did it, the guy said Dr. J, and the other guy said, Dr. Who? And so the nick-name became the joke of
Hollywood Blvd. and he has been known as Dr. Who ever since.
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He re-enlisted during the original Iranian Crisis and when Jimmy Carter decided we weren’t going to do
anything, he was allowed to withdraw his enlistment application and then in the spring of 1980 he opened the
first Tattoo Studio, South of the James River in Virginia since 1965
(This was 17 miles outside of the city of
Portsmouth in Isle of Wight County).
He had hoped that by showing the City Fathers of Portsmouth that he was a legitimate and reputable businessman, they might relent
and let him open in the city, but was refused again yearly from 1980 – 2006. During that time he was instrumental in helping states
and localities formulate their regulations by using his handbook that was printed in 1988 and accepted as the guideline for the
International Tattoo Artist Guild. Because of that acceptance and Dr. Who’s efforts in 1993-1994, it was used to formulate the
regulations for the State of Texas and many more since.
He has spent his lifetime in tattooing trying to improve the image of the trade and finally, after years of pleading with the
Commonwealth of Virginia to get involved, it started to regulate the industry and with the advice of the editorial pages of the local
paper “The Virginian Pilot”, the City of Portsmouth decided not to waste the public’s funds on a fight; that the courts had already
proclaimed as illegal, a losing battle and finally allowed tattooing back into the city.
As always his studio only does custom work and it is a one man show. There is no one else who Tattoos there. He is the one and
the only, the original Dr. Who and everything from sterile medical cotton dressings to written handbooks and ointments are part of
the deal. You buy nothing else nor need to. Under his guidance, using his instructions and procedures, your tattoo will normally heal
in 3-4 days without scabbing!
He has his own personal library of art reference on premises (so whether you are seeking Celtic, Tribal,
Polynesian, Persian, African, Oriental American Indian or anything else, mechanical to historical),
there are
not too many things he doesn’t have a picture of! However, if you must be a follower and wear a band or groups
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