Black Tattoo Art Book Release
Black is beautiful, my friends.
In fact, I've taken the statement to heart (and skin) with enough black ink in my dermis to fill the Library of Congress. And with this passion for blackwork tattoos, I began collecting images and some stories of the world's best tattoo artists only working in black ink with the help of my primary tattooist, former hubby, and friend, Daniel DiMattia of Calypso Tattoo, renowned himself for this style. The result ...
Black Tattoo Art: Modern Expressions of the Tribal.
The book will be released this Thursday, September 10 and yes, there will be some partying. Join me on Thursday at Tattoo Culture from 7 to 10:30pm for drinks, food, and an awesome playlist of tunes by the fabulous Ron Worthy.
Keep in mind that the book -- published by fine art and erotic publishers Edition Reuss -- is a 536-page, thread-bound hardcover with silver embossing that weighs over six pounds. A friend suggested that it will also nicely double as a home defense device. Or free weight.
Evan's sleeves by David Sena of North Star Tattoo
For more info on the book, I did write a fancy press release with big words. What I didn't mention in the release is the year-long process of seeking out pictures and stories of the top blackwork artists. Many of whom shun online communication and enjoy long stretches of time without any worldly contact so to rejuvenate and become inspired for the masterful tattoos featured. But try to explain large size 300 DPI format to 'em ... I joke. Kinda.
Seriously, it was a great honor to curate the very first English language book EVER dedicated to blackwork tattooing in its many forms. It was inspired by Ed Hardy's TattooTime premier issue entitled New Tribalism. In it, the legendary Cliff Raven said one of my favorite quotes:
"The perfect tattoo -- the one I believe we are all struggling toward -- is the one that turned the jackass into the zebra."Raven, one of the pioneers of the fine art tattoo movement, wrote that after 20 years of tattooing, he found "decorative art" was the tattoo style that best fit the human canvas. He explained that creating two-dimensional elaborations on a three-dimensional object is akin to "pin striping an auto as opposed to copying Frazetta paintings onto the sides of vans." It was a bold statement, but one perfectly suited to the tattoo movement it trumpeted.
He called this style "Pre-Technological Tattooing." Hardy called it "New Tribalism." Most have used the term "Neo-tribal" to define the tattooing of Leo Zulueta, one of the first contemporary tattooists to fully dedicate his body of work to interpreting the arts of indigenous cultures (also featured in Black Tattoo Art).
More recently, many tattooists have been defining their portfolios as "Blackwork," taking their tribal interpretations even farther but still adhering to the decorative arts tenets. Indeed, there is a rainbow of terms to describe this monochromatic art form.
Work by Vincent Hocquet of Beautiful Freak Tattoo
For this book, we kept it simple with the title "Black Tattoo Art: Modern Expressions of the Tribal" to encompass the various designs and aesthetics that have sprung from the Neo-Tribal movement; a movement which took root in the late sixties, flourished in the eighties and nineties, and pollenized the beautiful offshoots of today.
The title is deceptively simple, however, because what really is "modern black" tattoo art?
It's not a book on traditional tribal tattooing. There is a chapter that looks at a few artists today reviving their ancestral tattoo arts, but this is a very small part of this monster volume.
It is a book that looks at how today's tattooists have taken the tenets of tribal arts -- the soulfulness and harmony with the body -- and applied it in contemporary, imaginative ways.
To see sample pages of their work in the book, check the Black Tattoo Art Flickr set.