Colin Dale Profile by Lars Krutak
Skin stitching by Colin Dale. Photo by Claire Artemyz.
There's been some buzz over the break-up between Skin & Ink magazine and its long-time editor Bob Baxter--who now has his own tattoo blog. Ignoring the gossip and focusing on the content, it seems Bob has rallied his old team of writers and photographers to contribute to his new site. Yesterday, he featured a profile of one of my favorite artists by one of my favorite writers:
Check out Lars Krutak's Colin Dale and the "Forbidden Tattoo."
The article discusses Colin's signature Neo-Nordic tattoo style and intricate dotwork, his hand-poked techniques and skin-stitching (as seen above), and his new studio Skin & Bone in Copenhagen, Denmark. [The article was written before the studio officially opened. Today it is thriving with art exhibits and guests artists as well as Colin's own stellar tattooing.]
The central focus of the article, however, is how Colin fulfilled the wish of Julia Machindano by giving her the facial tattoo worn by her Makonde ancestors called the dinembo. Lars offers more on the history behind these tattoos:
Traditionally, Makonde men and women received facial tattoos at puberty and before marriage. Often times these designs consisted of a series of stacked chevrons called lichumba or "deep angles." Incisions were made with a knife-like iron instrument called a chipopo and vegetable carbon from the castor bean plant was rubbed into the incisions, producing a dark blue color. When the extremely painful facial tattooing was executed, boys and girls were sometimes buried up to their necks in the earth so that they would not flinch as the tattooist cut open their living flesh. For the Makonde, facial tattoos were not only symbols of great courage; they were also the truest expressions of Makonde tribal identity itself.
Read more of this fascinating story here.
As a side note: Lars will soon be releasing his new book, Kalinga Tattoo, published by Edition Reuss--the publishers of my Black Tattoo Art book (in which Colin Dale's work is featured--it's all very incestuous).
Lars, Colin and I will be working at the London Tattoo Convention in September. Colin will be hand-tattooing. Lars will be presenting his book and exhibiting photos of the vanishing tattoos of this Filipino tribe. And I will be releasing my new Black & Grey Tattoo book with my co-author Edgar Hoill. And drinking cider.
But in a few weeks, July 10th and 11th, Brian and I will be meeting up with Colin for the Traditional Tattoo and World Festival, an intimate gathering of tattoo artists and collectors in Cork, Ireland. Join us for a fun tattoo vacation.