When you walk into my home, one of the first things you'll see is the art of Ramon Maiden, an artist who has been described as a "marker magician" for transforming existing, often vintage media, into entirely new, exciting and even controversial works. His illustrated women have particularly inspired me, and when chatting with friends over my progressing body suit, I can just point to Ramon's prints on my wall to demonstrate the ornamental coverage I'm working towards.
While not a tattooer himself, Ramon counts many tattooers among his influences, which include Lola Garcia, Dr. Lakra, Annie Frenzel, Sebastian Domasche, Matthias Boechtter and Amina Charai. As he writes on his blog, he is inspired by historic motifs -- the world wars, the Victorian era, the American 20s... He says, "I like to shake consciences," particularly in his use of religious iconography and political representations.
Last month, Graffito Books London published a collection of Ramon's work in a beautiful 176-page hardcover entitled, "INKING THE BORDERS OF HEAVEN AND HELL - The Extraordinary Art of Ramon Maiden." The publisher offers a glimpse of what's inside:
Working with old religious prints and magazines, Ramon usurps them with startling inkings which add a whole new dimension to images which might otherwise have been consigned to extinction. Madonnas with serpent tattoos, photos of male torsos in vintage medical books overlain with mystical imagery, and 1930s pinups smiling sweetly yet inked with dragons and daggers, all suggest another, very contemporary, dimension.If you are looking for a last minute holiday gift, this book is a great find. You can also purchase it from Amazon as well as Graffito. If you are looking to buy Ramon's prints, head to his Etsy shop page.
You can also check more of Ramon's work on Instagram.
Artwork by Horiyoshi III.
Artwork by Thomas Hooper.
Apparel artwork by Titine Leu.
This Friday and Saturday, November 13 & 14th, more than 1,000 artworks by international tattoo artists will be sold at The Peter Mui Collection of Original Tattoo Art Auction. This is arguably the largest collection of tattoo art to ever go up for bid, created by some of the world's most renowned artists, such as Horiyoshi III, Filip and Titine Leu, Horitomo, Bob Roberts, Thomas Hooper, Robert Hernandez, Guy Aitchison, Michelle Wortman, Leo Zulueta, Roger Ingerton, Kim Saigh, Stephanie Tamez, Jondix and much, much, much more.
The auction will take place in NYC at 22 Little West 12th Street, and bids can also be made via email, phone/fax, and online. Bid online via Liveauctioneers, and also via Invaluable.
On Liveauctioneers, here's a list of items for bid on November 13th, and items for bid on November 14th.
Peter Mui was a musician, actor, and designer, who founded the tattoo clothing brands Yellowman, Misplaced Cowboy, Samurai Surfer, and Mui Mui. It is because so much of the artwork from tattooers was sought for apparel that the majority of the items for auction are torso-sized original paintings -- some crafted on templates for sleeves, and others as tank tops, as shown here; however, there are also original flash sheets and paintings on canvas, board, and paper, among other mediums.
Mui died in 2009, leaving this massive collection to his family, who chose Guernsey's auction house for this sale. In this CBS TV piece on the auction, Guernsey's President Arlan Ettinger states, when asked who potential buyers are, "You know, I get asked that a lot, who is going to be the big buyer in this auction or that auction. And the answer is, you never know. It's always a surprise," adding, "I'll bet you that 50 percent of the work will get sold to people who don't have tattoos, probably never had interest in it, but see the excitement, the beauty in some of these works." He also anticipates that some works will go in the tens of thousands, "30, 40, 50,000, we think."
Also in the CBS report, tattoo historian Dr. Anna Felicity Friedman is interviewed, although, on Facebook, she makes it clear that they did not consult her on the weak pop tattoo history lesson that is thrown into the piece. On social media, she also notes that it will be interesting to see what the sale prices end up being. If you look at the starting bids, some start as low as $200 while others start at $6,000. Dr. Matt Lodder commented that, from a tattoo art collector's perspective, some pieces appear to be highly undervalued while others significantly overvalued. He noted that some original flash sheets have minimums that go for not much more than prints sold at conventions or online.
Personally, I think there are a number of factors in the valuation of the pieces -- including how much artwork is already in the market by a particular artist, and let's not forget an artist's "platform" and notoriety, which can be derived from those reality TV appearances, can also play into the bidding.
There are some concerns I have with the auction: first, Dr. Lodder pointed out that, on Twitter, Valerie Vargas, stated that none of the works listed as hers were created by her. How many other artists are incorrectly listed -- and is it by mistake or fraud? Also, I question the fairness to the artists.
Over ten years ago, Peter Mui contacted blackwork tattooer Daniel DiMattia (whom I was married to at that time), sent him these clothing templates to design, and offered a one-time flat fee for them. I thought the fee was significantly low for the market, and Dan did not participate. I wonder what deals the other artists were offered. I don't think it was in the "30, 40, 50,000" range.
That said, it is an impressive collection, and assuming that most are works created by those they are attributed to, it can be a great way to get your hands on originals by one of your favorite tattoo artists. I'll be seeing how the auction plays out online this Friday and Saturday.
Apparel artwork by Bob Roberts.
Apparel artwork by Filip Leu.
Artwork by Jondix.
For those on the East Coast, I have another fantastic event, also on Saturday July 21: The worlds of tattooing and visionary art will come together in a live event at Alex Grey's historic Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in upstate New York. Veteran tattooists Guy Aitchison and Michele Wortman will be teaching a workshop on Visionary Tattooing -- that is, tattoos that come from the imagination that are done with the intention of healing, empowerment or positive transformation. There's limited seating available. Click here for ticket info.
For those who can't make it in person, there will be a free live webcast of the evening's events beginning at 5:00pm EST. Go to www.tattoonowtv.com/visionary_tattoo.html to tune in and be a part of it online.
The events will include the following:
** A screening of the documentary "Innerstate," nominated for Best Documentary at the 2010 Great Lakes Film Festival, about tattooists creating visionary paintings. Here's the trailer below.
** A dynamic panel talk on visionary, magical and ritual tattooing, featuring Alex and Allyson Grey, Guy Aitchison, Michele Wortman, James Kern and Natan Alexander.
** A live painting event that will go from the end of the panel talk until the wee hours. Alex, Allyson, Guy and Michele will be creating visionary paintings while DJs keep the energy going. You can check out some previous live painting events here and here.
Check this short promo trailer for The Visionary Tattoo below.
To view Guy & Michele's tattoo work, including the pieces below, head to Hyperspacestudios.com and their studio's Facebook page.
Tattoo by Guy above.
Tattoo by Michele Wortman.
Artists often use the tattoo medium in metaphors, particularly in commenting on societal ills. Last week, we looked at how Dietrick Wegner used tattoo imagery in his art to make a statement on consumer culture.
Today's post reflects one artist's criticism of zealots who use religion as an instrument of exclusion and hate. Using a CNC tattoo machine as an instrument to convey this, Chris Eckert created "Auto Ink":
[...] This public face of religion is always so certain, self-confident, even arrogant. That anyone could possibly know the 'truth' when that truth is randomly assigned at birth is just funny.For a look at how it works, see the video below.
[Via Cool Hunting.]
It's been a while since I threw up an events post, but I'm excited about this first time art show in Staten Island -- a show that sets out to prove that the borough is home to a lot of tattoo and fine art talent, not just Jersey Shore cast members.
This Friday is Bound for Glory's 40+ artist exhibition "First Taste," curated by tattooist Maggie Serpica. The show features paintings, drawings and photography, including the image above by Mike Shane.
A portion of the proceeds from art sales will benefit the Project Hospitality charity. The opening runs from 8-11PM. Check their Facebook page for the list of artists and details.
Celebrating its sixth successful year, A Convention of the Tattoo Arts will take place October 22-24, this year in SF at The San Francisco Airport Hyatt Regency. Organized by State of Grace Productions, the show is run by tattooists for tattooists and collectors, and not by a convention corp trying to squeeze a buck out of the "tattoo fad." In addition to the hand-picked roster of artists, there are a number of exciting events that weekend.
For one, there's the groundbreaking seminar by Chris Conn Askew: "Drawing Women for Tattoo, the Chris Conn Way." The class, which costs $200 a person, entails a slide-show presentation and lecture, live sketching, and Q&A with the artist (who retired from tattooing in 2006). Program details can be found on Chris's Tumblr blog. Each attendee will also receive an instructional sketchbook, signed and numbered, exclusive to this convention. The seminar is a limited-enrollment event and is already 90% booked, so if you're interested, it's best to get in touch with Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org right away (no drop-ins will be accepted). You can view more of Chris' fine art, like the one above, on his gallery page.
A number of book releases and signings are taking place as well: Grime's much anticipated book covering his last ten years, and Jill "Horiyuki" Mandelbaum's Tattoo Artist: A Collection of Narratives. Also for sale will be the Bob Roberts: In a World of Compromise I Don't and These Old Blue Arms: The Life & Work of Amund Dietzel, among other books.
The show kicks off Thursday evening, October 21st, with an opening party hosted by Black Heart Tattoo. For more info, check the convention site.
On September 9, 2009, Matty No Times (Three Kings Tattoo) noticed that his legs had become severely swollen. He went to an emergency room and three hours later, after multiple blood tests, was informed that he was in liver failure (see details below). Now, about 8 months later, Matty is on his way back but is in severe financial debt.
A group of all star artists have joined together for a remarkable show to help Matty pay off his medical expenses. The show will be at the YES Gallery located at 147 India Street and Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint (Brooklyn) The exhibition will run from July 17th to July 23rd with a special opening reception on Saturday, July 17th from 5 - 10PM at YES Gallery with special Guest DJ Jesse Jones (Yuppicide).
ALL ART IS $350 OR LESS, and raffle goodies from KCDC Skate Shop, Tattoo Elite International, Waverly Color Company and more. The goal of this exhibition is not only to support Matty No Times, but to also present a spectacular array of noted artists, allowing our friends and peers, art lovers and collectors to view and obtain works that are both affordable and of exceptional quality, and to do this while we help out our friend and colleague. This is going to be an amazing, HUGE art exhibition with some incredible artists donating art. Don't miss it!!