Shawn Barber's "Memoir: The Tattooed Portraits Series"
Painter, tattooist and artistic mentor to many, Shawn Barber, has a tattoo that reads "GSD" -- Get Shit Done. That he does. At his Memoir Tattoo studio in LA, which he co-owns with partner Kim Saigh, Shawn divides his time expanding his explosive tattoo portfolio, hosting art workshops, and painting portraits that largely document the tattoo world.
Shawn began his tattoo portrait series in 2004, coming to the art as a collector then tattooist himself. He already has published two books on this series, "Tattooed Portraits" (2006) and "Forever and Ever" (2008), and now has a third book and solo show of all new works coming up.
"Memoir: The Tattooed Portrait Series", a 256-page, 10x12 hardcover, will be released by Last Gasp in July. It features 110 full color paintings, 30 color photos and essays. The wonderful Margaret Cho wrote the foreword and introductions are by Kim Saigh, C.W. Eldridge and myself. I am honored to have contributed in a small way and also be a subject of one of his paintings -- being in the company of Don Ed Hardy, Bob Roberts, Grime, Paul Booth, Marcus Pacheco, Jack Rudy, Thomas Woodruff, Aaron Cain, Mike Giant, Adrian Lee, as well as Kim and Margaret, among many others.
In conjunction with the book is Shawn's second solo show at the Joshua Liner Gallery, located in New York City's Chelsea Arts district. The "Memoir: The Tattooed Portraits Series" exhibit opens June 28th through July 28th. The opening reception on June 28th is from 6-9 PM.
The gallery says of the show:
Memoir, the exhibition, will
include over twenty oil-on-canvas paintings by Barber that have been reproduced in Memoir (the book) in rich,
Many of these subjects are tattoo artists, such as the celebrated Shige of Yokohama, Japan. A stunning 9-x-6-foot
triptych, Barber's Portrait of the artist Shige (2010-12) is a panorama with nine full-length views of the artist,
rendered in the nude to reveal the splendor of his own corporeal canvas. [...] Other works, like James Spencer Briggs at Work (with Aaron Wahlman) (2011-12) and Freddy Corbin's Temple (2011-
2012), evoke the milieu, processes, and protocols of the tattoo parlor, with its paraphernalia and intense concentration.
Barber further captures this intensity with a taxonomist's precision in a group of small still lifes that isolate the
distinctive hardware of specific tattoo artists, such as Daily Driver, Micky Sharpz Liner Machine, Single Needle Shader
(2012). Still other works, like Abstracted Self Portrait (2010-12), group multiple views of arms and other body parts
as free-floating examples of contemporary tattoo--they are inextricable from their fleshy surfaces and innert
without them, for artist and viewer.
Read more on the exhibit and see a preview of works here. Looking forward to the show and hope to see you there!
Portrait of the artist Shige, 9 views, Triptych, 2010-2012 (oil on canvas)
James Spencer Briggs at Work, (with Aaron Wahlman), 2011-2012 (oil on canvas)
Freddy Corbin's Temple, 2011-2012, (oil on canvas)