Scott Campbell's Jailhouse Tattoo Rigs
Homemade tattoo machines made in Mexican prisons are the subjects of Scott Campbell's solo exhibition Things Get Better at OHWOW, in Los Angeles, on view now through June 22, 2013. The exhibition comprises "a series of ink wash paintings on paper that realistically illustrate novel objects and improvised tools." OHWOW offers more on the story behind this work.
The NY Times featured the exhibit last week as well. Here's a bit from the article:
"I was looking for a way to fall in love with tattooing again," said Campbell, the Southern-born, Brooklyn-based founder of Saved Tattoo, who is renowned for both his artwork and for having inked the likes of Marc Jacobs and Terry Richardson. "Prison tattoo culture holds a certain amount of gravity. There's a population given orange suits and known by numbers -- it's homogenized -- tattoos claim the little personality that these guys can have." [...] The pictures depict his "Frankenguns," jury-rigged contraptions he built inside Mexican prisons to administer tattoos to inmates -- a personal project he pursued two years ago as an antidote to the superficiality of the contemporary tattoo world.
The article further runs down a list of what Scott had to do for this project, from bribing prison wardens to experimenting with different materials. Definitely worth a click through.
The Times article also has more images from the show as does Arrested Motion.
While the series of paintings is new, this isn't the first time Scott's homemade guns have been featured in the press. In 2011, we posted on this video in which Scott takes viewers along as he rummages through trash to build a machine and then tattoos someone in Thompkins Square Park. I wasn't a big fan of this how-to video, for safety reasons really. But the series of paintings I can get behind.