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Paula Grimaldi-Reardon, 65, photographer of tattoos, bikers and outlaws

BY CLAYTON PATTERSON | Paula Grimaldi-Reardon, a photographer who documented the subcultures of the early New York tattoo scene and outlaw motorcycle clubs, died Dec. 3 at her home in North Brunswick, N.J. She was 65 and had battled a long illness.

Paula was born in Jersey City. 

Her photos appeared in magazines like Tattoo and Biker Lifestyle, which dubbed her “Pulsating Paula.”

Paula was one of the honorees at the first NY Acker Awards, in 2013, recognizing avant-garde underground artists. 

Though a very sweet person, no gangster, she documented many “1-percenter” bikers (outlaw motorcycle club members) and gangsters. She lived the biker lifestyle and documented it.

In 1985, when Ari Roussimoff and I started the Tattoo Society of New York, Paula Grimaldi-Reardon was one of the regulars who always showed up at our events. She would come with her two lights, a background cloth and her camera.

Magazines Biker and Tattoo that featured Grimaldi-Reardon’s work. (Photo by Clayton Patterson)

When I helped Dick Zigun organize his Coney Island tattoo show, Paula would show up to take shots.

In addition to Paula getting her photos into biker magazines, I also saw from the magazines that she documented the exotic dancers scene, as well.

No question, she was a pioneer, a true art warrior, a great photographer. She went where few dared.

Eventually, I learned Paula also photographed the major biker events, like Daytona. This was the ’80s and early ’90s, when it was considered a very dangerous place to take photos, but there was Paula.  She is one of the only photographers I know who had the ability to cross the 1-percenter lines and get photos of the outlaw bikers. 

She was an actress in Ari Rousimoff’s 1991 movie “Shadows in the City.” 

In my opinion, Paula is one of the most overlooked and underrated documentary photographers in the world she inhabited. I hope her archive is saved and protected.

She was beautiful, always friendly and everyone loved Paula. She was one of jewels I met doing the TSNY. She was a loving wife and she loved her dog and motorcycle. 

She was the 4 of spades in Annie Sprinkles’s deck (Annie Sprinkle’s Post-Modern Pin-Ups: Pleasure Activist Playing Cards).

Like the true warrior she was, she fought a long hard battle. Forever in our memory.  Love and Respect. Condolences to Douglas Reardon, her loving husband.  


  1. Michele Michele February 8, 2020

    See pretty lady,
    You are not forgotten. I miss you

  2. Phyllis Martin-Borrero Phyllis Martin-Borrero January 26, 2020

    To the memory of my dear old biker babe friend and fellow self made artist,. You Paula, are and always were a true free spirit who boldly went where no-one had gone before you- with STYLE! Best friend of my husband Henry since forever ago in New Brunswick days. You meant so much to him and he wanted you to know that. From his own hospice bed, he watched you through my camera and usual buzzing stories on Facebook. We’d sit and then in between stories of how the family was doing, I’d always share any news of Paula’s travels with Henry. We simply love you Paula and we too, hope you are right where you wanted to be.
    Peace, love and Happiness
    Fineline Phyllis and Laughin’ Henry

    • Phyllis Martin-Borrero Phyllis Martin-Borrero January 26, 2020

      Yes, Henry is out of hospice and actually stable right now for those who know him from back when.

  3. Psycho Psycho January 24, 2020

    She was a True pioneer, she loved photographing people doing what they loved, Riding, partying, and the capturing the Brotherhood in a World that could turn in an instant….. She was there snapping away it didn’t matter who you were…. in New Jersey she captured events everywhere but was always seen at Just Plaine Janes, in Jackson, there was always a motorcycle Run or party that ended there….. and Great times where had and she captured those memories for us…. Thank you Paula we miss you already !

  4. Ted Arsen Ted Arsen January 23, 2020

    I USED TO SEE PULSATING PAULAS,name quite often in numerous Biker magazines,i was Facebook /friends with her ,yet never met her,she seemed like someone i would of enjoyed knowing,as we had a lot in common,very sad to see her gone,her photos qill live on forever………

  5. Marjorie Kleiman Marjorie Kleiman January 23, 2020

    What a lovely tribute to our dear friend Paula. I know she loved and admired you as well. Thank you for writing this wonderful piece.

  6. Douglas Mancuso Douglas Mancuso January 23, 2020

    This is an awesome write up for Paula .I met and knew her for years .she was the beautiful one in the crowd that always showed up and brought with her her free spirit rest in peace Paula .you are missed and so are your posts of everything you experienced

  7. Michael J Grimaldi Michael J Grimaldi January 23, 2020

    Wonderful article about my baby sister Paula. No one in the world loved & respected her more than I did. I lost a gem but was extremely fortunate to have known & loved her for 65 years!!!
    Paula, I hope you are where you wanted to be!

    • JJ JJ January 23, 2020

      Your sister was one of the most amazing people I ever got to meet. Her work of the biker lifestyle is the best that will ever be. The world is a poorer place without her. May she Rest In Peace.

    • Popeye Popeye January 23, 2020

      Is there a facebook page in honour of her life

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