Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ink"d:A Look into Tattoo Design

Ink'd was a great sucess and 140 to 150 people came to this intimate exhibit. I just want to thank all those who took the time to check out the exhibit. For those who were not able to make it, here's a video of what you missed:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ink'd Video

Just a sample of the tattoos found on Purchase College. Some of them will be in the exhibit Ink'd.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ink'd: A New Tattoo Exhibit!!!!

   I love tattoos and I feel they are an under appreciated art form, so when I was asked to come up with a senior project for my Arts Management degree from Purchase College I thought I should do something on tattoo art. After a lot of thinking I came up with Ink'd.  
Ink'd: A Look into Tattoo Design is an exhibit that showcases not only tattoo art but the people behind the tattoos.
I originally set out to show how tattoo art can be viewed from a formal art perspective by taking images of only the tattoo itself. However, as I began to take photographs, I realized that tattoo art, more than any other kind of art form is uniquely personal. Often times, I would see common designs like the humming bird, rose, wings, etc. Each design was not only interpreted differently by the artist but also each was given special meaning by the wearer. Tattoo art has gone back to a time when art and images belong to the masses and both the artist and the viewer helped in creating a single piece. I have come to realize that to look at a tattoo is to look at the person; they are inseparable. I hope to communicate this though images of tattoos and portraits of its wearers that I have taken over a period of time and I have been lucky enough to do a small, one night exhibit at the Neuberger Museum of Art on their First Wednesday event that is open to everyone and has a lot of great programs. Here is the info:

When: Wednesday, March 3
Where: Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College
Time: 4 - 8pm

  It is important that tattoo art is taken as a serious art form and that people realize it is not simply a fad but an art movement for this generation, through exhibitions like this. So come by to see some great tattoo art and free food!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tattooed Women in Freak Shows

(Betty Broadbent; Tattooed Woman 1950s)
Today tattoos have become mainstream and it seems that everyone has tattoo including women. However, during the 1800s, it was taboo for anyone to sport tattoos openly especially women. In the West, tattoos were seen as a sign of primitivism and crime. They are even cases of tattoos being used as a form of punishment in antiquity. With more and more contact between the West and other cultures especially with Native Americans,  people begin to be both disgusted yet intrigued by tattoo art. The practice of tattooing is picked up by sailors who develop the basic designs based on sailing that become the base from Americana tattoos.
It is during this time that the freakshow act, the Tattooed Woman began to emerge soon replacing the tattooed man and made money displaying her skin art. The Tattooed Woman was usually came from a working class background and choose to become a "freak" by marking their body that would be displayed to a usually male audience in freak shows. Many of these women came up with fictional stories of how they got their tattoos usually saying they were forcefully tattooed by Native  Americans.                                                          

          Early tattoo women usually were inked with sailor designs since there wasn't many designs available and were crude but as tattooing got better so did their designs. Tattooed Women were a major act in freak and sideshows from the late 1800s till the 19995 when the last working tattooed woman, Lorett Fulkerson retired.

Today there are many female performers that have tattoos but they are more of a form of personal decoration or a way to enhance their main performance. However, tattooed women really helped in making tattoos acceptable for the mainstream.

(Nora Hildebrandt; early Tattooed woman)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tattoo of the Week: Sideshow Ink

While I was at Coney Island I stopped by the Coney Island Museum and saw their freak show. A lot of the performers had some beautiful tattoos that decorated their skin. One of the female performers was kind enough to let me photograph her tattoos. I loved her arm piece with the mermaid and child on an anchor. It looks like all those classic paintings of the Madonna and child but with a sailor twist. It is a great example of tradtional Western tattoos of the 1800s where there were a limited selection of designs and many of the designs of the time based on sailing since many of those who got tattoos were thought to be sailors and criminals.

Her tattoo of the female ninja is pretty cool; kind of a spin on the classic pin-up.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Prison Ink

Its only recently that tattoos and those have them have lost their association with thugs and criminals. While its true not everyone with a tattoo is a criminal, tattoos are a huge part of prison culture. Prison ink is used mainly to show gang affiliations usually the name of a gang done in ornate letters. However, they also show what position you hold, skills and specialties. There are many designs with meaning behind that has developed into almost a code. A few are:

A teardrop, usually near the eye, means that they have either killed or a friend has been killed.

A clock with no hands or hourglass means doing hard time

The Ace of Spade with an 'A' is associated with Aco Town or the Asian Boyz gang

The number 14 is associated with the Nuestra Familia

Since there are no tattoo studios in prison, many of the tattoos are done using a homemade tattoo machine sometimes made using the inside of a pen and a motor from an electric shaver.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tattoo of the Week: BAM! POW! Ink

I use to love comics as a kid and this tattoo from a woman who works at the Coney Island museum brought me back to that time. The artist not only got the font right but the colors were bright and vibrant and the shadow that surrounds the tattoos is a really nice touch. She also had this day of the dead skull, not the best I have seen but I love skulls.