Jul200924
Artist Profile: eX de Medici
08:56 AM
In early May, I wrote about Geoff Ostling, a 65-year-old retired teacher from Australia who pledged to donate his full bodysuit -- which he calls "All the Flowers of a Sydney Garden" -- to the National Gallery in Canberra.

Click here for an extensive slideshow of that beautiful suit.

While the press was focused on logistics like taxidermy, legal bequests and funeral arrangements, the artist who created the work was largely relegated to a short quote, despite the 20 years of work put into it.

That artist is eX de Medici.

Since the 1970s, eX de Medici has been painting, photographing, and performing; she began tattooing in the 90s. Her work has been exhibited in Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, among many others.

Indeed, it's her fine art that has garnered her the most press and accolades in her native Australia and abroad, despite the hype around her tattoos possibly hanging in a museum next to her watercolors.

In this video interview, which I highly recommend, she talks about her work, including a series where she studied moths and other insects to inform her paintings. She also discusses her ever-present gun and skull imagery.

ex demedici.jpgPerhaps, the most interesting is her take on tattooing and it's influence on her fine art. However, she makes it clear that she does not consider tattooing a fine art itself. She says it's "more naughty than art," explaining that the process of tattooing, the pain, blood, time constraints, etc. lends tattoos to more "emblematic" representation -- although she notes the difference between emblematic tattoos and those full bodysuits she's created.

She adds that tattooing is collaborative -- the artist works for somebody and a compromise is reached to create a design "in a compressed way."

Interesting arguments no matter where you are on the "tattoo as fine art" fence.

The video and link to eX de Medici's site was sent to me by my friend Zhan, a fan of her work upon first meeting in her tattoo studio Deus ex Machina in Canberra. He says:

"I met her in '96 when my old friend Megan was apprenticing with her and was struck by her deep intelligence, quirkiness, her love of tattooing bikers and her ability to discuss anything with anyone. I think we spent all my sessions talking about antique Persian rugs!
...
What's incredible is how a tattooist now produces formal art which is being collected by all the major art museums in the country."


See more of eX de Medici's fine art works here. And for more on Geoff Ostling, check the documentary on his quest to hang post-mortem in a museum, entitled Anatomy.

[Thanks again, Zhan!]


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Marisa Kakoulas
CONTRIBUTORS:
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Craig Dershowitz
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