Friday, June 21, 2013

R.I.P.: Chris Pfouts

Chris Pfouts grew up in Los Angeles in the 1950s and 60s, in the relentless heat of the California motor and surf cultures. During the disco plague years he hit the road, criss-cossing America like a bug in a shoebox. After graduating from N.Y.U.'s journalism school, Pfouts clocked in for a career in magazines. He kept old titles alive and put new ones on the stands. He has edited “International Tattoo Art” magazine since its launch in 1991. He has written six books, including “Lead Poisoning: 25 True Stories from the Wrong End of a Gun,” “Hula Dancers and Tiki Gods,” and “Vacation from Reality: The Art of Anthony Ausgang.” But Chris's biggest accomplishment wasn't his career, but his ability to connect with people. Chris will be missed by his family and many friends. Some folks have asked for a way to contribute to his memorial. There is now a PayPal account set up for that purpose at

As Chris wrote "I go through life like it's a Chinese grocery Store. I didn't understand half the stuff on the shelves, but here and there I find some special, toothsome treasure to keep for myself."


  1. I knew Chris Phouts since we grew up on the same street. I remember his dad, his mother Betty, and his sister Carolyn. I also remember they had a dog named Brutus, and he was! You would not want to mess with that dog! Chris gave me my first tricycle when I was five years old. He painted it a dark gold and it had black wheels and black rubber handlebar grips. When Chris was older, he built his own motor trike that had two wheels in the back and a single wheel in the front. He would drive it where ever he'd go even with his. Chris's ability to connect with people was evident to both me and my mom. She told me how he convinced a neighbor who had gotten so high late one night (on what she never knew) that he was riding his motorcycle up and down the neighborhood standing on the top of his seat and screaming at the top of his lungs and making it a practice for several consecutive nights at around 11:30 p.m., to take his bike up to dirt Mulholland. Why the cops took so long to stop this guy I do not know but Chris knew how to talk to him. Chris knew not to argue with him or make him feel judged in any way, especially in that condition. Chris convinced this guy to take his bike up to dirt Mullholland because it was so much better for riding up there. My mom could hear the conversation from her bedroom window and was glad Chris's handling of the situation was effective until something better could be done about it (which eventually came about). Chris's mom had told me about him working in magazines a long time ago, but it was only today, I learned of his passing. For more childhood stories, feel free to contact me. Though I have but few, I am connected with others who also knew Chris and may have more.

  2. Should have proofread this before publishing. Should read, " . . . even with his girlfriend."

    1. Should also note that dirt Mulholland was only a mile or two away from us.