Shawn Barber's Tattooed Portraits: Chronicle
02:36 PM
shawn barber tattooed portraits.jpgPainter, tattoo artist, and overall mensch Shawn Barber will be showing new paintings in his wonderful tattoo series at the Joshua Liner Gallery in Manhattan from April 24th to May 22nd.
Entitled Tattooed Portraits: Chronicle, the exhibit is Shawn's first solo show in NYC and comprises twenty paintings and eight works on paper.

I'm particularly excited about this exhibit because, well, I'm in it! [I'm particularly restraining myself from adding more exclamation marks.] In December, Shawn and Kim Saigh came over to our Brooklyn hood and photographed me in my naked tattooed glory for a portrait evoking the Hindu goddess Durga. Kim, a yogini, inspired the idea of representing Durga's ten arms with symbolic hand gestures (and wild curly hair) framing my backpiece. [See below] I loved the idea because Durga's a warrior badass with a sense of humor -- something I aspire to should I ever leave my computer. But enough about me ...

For more on the show and Shawn, check recent interviews in ChinaShop Mag and Arrested Motion. The Q&A in Arrested Motion is a great read covering everything from Shawn's first tattoo to his new studio with Kim, Memoir Tattoo, to the tattoo portraits series. Here's a taste:

AM : Since 2005, you've been documenting and painting the portraits and tattoos of many of today's best artists including Mike Giant, Jeremy Fish, Natalia Fabia, Sylvia Ji and Scott Campbell to name a few... who's next on the list?

SB: I've painted several fine artists but my interest is going much more in the direction of focusing on contemporary tattoo history and the artists living and working today making tattoos. It's been the natural progression of things, and now, as a tattooist, my passion lies in the life of the community. It's a world that if you're not in it - you don't have a fucking clue. And you will never know. It is the most amazing artist community in the world, with it's own sets of rules, unspoken hierarchy with a ton of respect for the past. It's a family of transients that connect with humanity on a daily basis and are permanently tied to everyone they work on. Humbling and intimidating, tattooing is truly awesome.


AM: You've got an upcoming show at Joshua Liner...an extension of your Tattooed Portraits series. Your "Tattooed Portraits: Snapshots" show at the Shooting Gallery last year featured amongst it's subjects Scott Sylvia, Margaret Cho and Jo Harrison, who can we expect to see painted at your upcoming show in NYC?

SB: Oh man, this show is the best one yet! I'm working on life size nude of the artist Thomas Woodruff inside one of his paintings; a diptych of the twin tattooists, James and Tim Kern; a couple of interior scenes and still life paintings that are the most elaborate pieces for me yet, an homage to Velaquez' Juan de Pareja with Damon Conklin; portraits of my girlfriend, Bob Tyrrell, Michelle Myles, and Camila Rocha; a large scale painting of Marisa Kakoulas; torso studies of Turf One, Chris Garver Anna Sheffield and Bryan Bancroft; and a slew of watercolors that I'm challenging myself with.

My favorite painting has to be the James and Tim Kern piece, also a fave of ChinaShop Mag and highlighted in their article. ChinaShop also previews other works and offers a look into Shawn & Kim's Memoir Tattoo in LA. [For a closer look, check the Fecal Face videos.]

The opening reception for Tattooed Portraits: Chronicle takes place April 24th from 6-9PM. [Here's a map for the gallery] Planning for an after-party is in the works. Can't wait!

tattooed portraits marisa.jpg


this makes me wish two things:
1. I could buy all these paintings and spend my time with them in lieu of human company (okay, not that last bit)
2. I lived in NYC (or not 4000 miles away) so I could visit them.
I love his style, such a perfect blend of realism and illustrative style. If only I were so talented... le sigh.
melina bee

What an honor to be painted by Shawn Barber!
The painting is beautiful, and you look great.
,There must be a million little details in your tattoo that he has captured on canvas forever.
I am looking forward to seeing this exhibit.

I wish these exhibits weren't in NYC alone. Every exhibit seems to take place there and I have to miss every one of them.

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