Book Review: "Tatted"
In December, we wrote about the release and exhibition of Tatted: A Documentation of Self Expression the Most Permanent Ways. Father Panik got the book and offers his thoughts.
Guest review by Father Panik:
I'm here to tell you what the problem with tattoos is. It's OK, I don't mind.
Too much damn thinking. That's the problem with tattoos today.
Like when you watch those tattoo reality shows. All the tattoos start with the artist asking "So what does this tattoo mean?" which is bullshit in the first place because those guys really don't give a shit what your tattoos mean. They're not therapists or dream interpreters or whatever. Besides, all we ever hear are tales of woe. It's like there's a country song behind every tattoo. In order to get a tattoo today you need to have some deep story to back it up. It gets all wrapped up in convoluted symbols, fancy script and general all around jerking off.
We need to stop forcing ourselves to be deep thinkers. That's how you end up with NBA quality or minor Hollywood celeb tattoos. Garbled deep/stoopid quotations that don't make no sense. People are working too damn hard to squeeze something out of the sphincter between the ears.
Now take Philly. Philly is a good tattoo town. Your average tattoo fan in Philly knows we're all kind of thick skulled. They take pride in it. Philly is to tattoos what Papst is to beer. Trailer park porn stars.
Tatted, published by Grit City Inc, gets it. Photographed by Marlanne Bernstein in Philadelphia, it's a large coffee table-style book filled with fantastic, deceptively simple photos of tattooed locals. A small, hand written, one-page note where they write about their tattoo, accompanies each photo of a person and their tattoo. Not a lot of room for over-analysis or deep thinking. We get lots of spontaneous wise-assness, accidental ballpoint haikus, misspellings and attitude.
You get the feeling those being photographed kind of resented being given homework. What you have are average people with average tattoos and it's beautiful. A rare honesty is conveyed through the photos and notes. The cover blurb says, "Stunning photographs and simple hand written notes." That's pretty much it.
The first 30 pages or so are filled with interviews with tattoo artists and writers. I don't know, I just sort of skimmed through that part. Like I said: Too much thinking.
I like to look at pictures.
You can purchase Tatted for $20 from Grit City here.