Ryan Pinkerton loved the Misfits.
The tattoo artist from Lincoln, the big, jolly man everyone called "Pinky," once played in a Misfits cover band called Psycho 78.
He had Misfits tennis shoes and a Misfits stocking cap, the logo of the punk rock band with its horror movie vibe emblazoned across them — a white skull with black-rimmed features called the crimson ghost.
So when he died on May 6, unexpectedly in the middle of the night, his friends started thinking about what they could do to honor him.
And what they could do to help his 15-year-old daughter, the girl he adored.
That image came to mind one night when friends gathered to brainstorm ideas, says BJ Nigh, owner of Big O Tattoo, where Pinkerton worked.
It felt right.
So Nigh got together with another friend, Sarah Rammaha, and they fine-tuned the idea — crimson ghost tattoos for $50, with proceeds benefiting Raven.
They created a poster. An image of the ghost in one corner. A photo of Pinkerton and Raven when she was small, posing in front of a snowman. They edged it in pink. They explained the fundraiser.
“If you chose you can have the crimson ghost face filled in pink for 'Pinky,'” they wrote.
And then they contacted every tattoo parlor in town, 16 or 17 in all, many were places Pinkerton had worked for a spell over the years.
“We wanted to open it up to everyone because everyone loved him, and it went from there,” Rammaha said. “Everyone was so on board, it was really awesome to see everyone come together.”
All over town, shops are fielding requests for crimson ghosts, often wedging the tattoos in after hours to accommodate customers for the fundraiser that continues through Father’s Day.
“I’ve got a bunch I’m doing,” said Tanner McCoy, who owns Tried and True Tattoo. “Mostly after work.”
It’s a way to help out a friend, said McCoy. A “good dude,” he said, hard to explain if you didn’t know him.
His friends try anyway.
“Ryan was hilarious. He always made everyone laugh and he loved to laugh, too,” Rammaha said.
“He’s the kind of guy if you’re trying to reference something from a movie and you couldn’t think of it, instead of Googling it, you’d just ask Ryan,” Nigh said.
He loved lifting the mood in a room. He loved boating. He loved music and playing the guitar. He loved painting and drawing and giving away his art.
But most of all, the tattoo artist loved his daughter, Rammaha said.
“He always said she was the best thing he ever did.”