The Museum of London's "Tattoo London," which opened January 29th, has been creating a lot of buzz with its exhibit that explores the history of professional tattooing in London as well as tattooing today. Featured artists who created original works for the show include Lal Hardy at New Wave, Claudia de Sabe at Seven Doors, Mo Coppoletta at The Family Business, and Alex Binnie at Into You Tattoo.
Now the prints of their commissioned works are available for purchase online here, including Alex's "Body of London" (above), which he describes as "a lyrical map of London, envisioned as a body, the beating heart of SOHO, the parks as lungs and the 'villages' blossoming flowers." The prints start at 25 BP for a small version, then up to 80 BP for extra large.
"Tattoo London" runs until until May 8, 2016. As I noted in an earlier post, on February 22, there will be an event "Tattoo London: under the skin," where you can meet these artists and also enjoy an illustrated talk by our friend and tattoo history expert Dr. Matt Lodder.
A good deal of the research behind the exhibit comes from Matt's work, which has been discussed in recent articles on the show, including this article in The Independent and this BBC article.
Doesn't look like I'll make it to the show, but I like that artwork from the show is available for all. Check it.
[Image copyright Kate Berry]
From January 29 until May 8, 2016, the Museum of London will show "Tattoo London," an exhibit that explores the history of professional tattooing in London as well as tattooing today. On display will be newly commissioned artworks by tattooists from the city's most renowned studios: Lal Hardy at New Wave, Alex Binnie at Into You, Claudia de Sabe at Seven Doors, and Mo Coppoletta at The Family Business.
On February 22, there will be an event "Tattoo London: under the skin," where you can meet these artists and also enjoy an illustrated talk by our friend and tattoo history expert Dr. Matt Lodder. It's a party, so there will be music and an after-hours bar.
A good deal of the research behind the exhibit comes from Matt's work, which is also discussed an article in The Independent on the exhibit. Here's a bit from that piece:
It has recently emerged that Macdonald was the first person in the Post Office Directory, the Yellow Pages of its day, to offer a professional tattoo service in London. The publication created the category of tattooists for him in 1894, and he was the only entry under that heading for the next four years.
More of Matt's findings in the Independent article.
It looks to be an informative and fun exhibition, with a good run, so I'm hoping to get to London before May 8th to check it.
Rose Hardy tattoo above.Todd Noble tattooing.
Joe Capobianco & co-organizer Justin Weatherholtz at the Kings Avenue Tattoo booth.Dream team Heather Bailey, Rose Hardy & Virginia Elwood judge the Saturday tattoo competition.
After back-to-back NYC tattoo shows, I was feeling a bit burnt out on conventions and figured I'd take a break this summer. I had a blast at those shows, of course, but big conventions can be intense with the crowds, cameras, competitions and general creative chaos. But after writing my post on the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest, I decided to drive down to Wyomissing, Pennsylvania this past weekend to check for myself what my friends had been talking up since last year's premier of the convention.
On the way there, I passed by billboards that promised damnation for abortion, special deals on rifles, and mega-mall retail therapy. And then there was the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest billboard--a good sign, literally, that all would be welcome to the party.
Just minutes after walking into the Crown Plaza lobby, filled with banners for the fest, I got hugs from friends who also traveled to be a part of it. At check-in, hotel employees were wearing the super-cool designed convention tees, just one of the many ways the hotel welcomed the tattoo take-over.
I dropped my bag off and headed to the convention area of the hotel, where I was warmly greeted by Joe Johns and, soon after, Justin Weatherholtz, co-organizers and well respected tattooers. This was a hands-on operation, not run by an outside convention company, but by tattoo artists for tattoo artists and collectors.
The Pagoda City Tattoo Fest is a small boutique show with very select tattoo artists of the world's best. As I walked up and down the aisles, I kept thinking as I passed by the shop booths, "Woah, she's here, he's here...in Wyomissing?" [The amount of talent is too much to name. You can check the artist list here.] And so many of them -- who have endless studio waiting lists -- were taking walk-ups. I wondered if those who just came in off the street knew how lucky they were.
While the focus was heavily on excellent tattooing, I also felt the strength of the show stemmed from the intimate community feel. I didn't just get to hang out with old friends; the way it was set up, with a great outdoor communal space by the pool and laid back vibe, I had the opportunity to meet new people, have a drink and share stories. It wasn't a bunch of posing tattoo models or reality TV tattooists holding court with fans. People were really connecting. It was ... lovely.
That's not to say there wasn't some hardcore partying and 3am splashing in the pool. Dirty jokes, dirty laughs, & dirty tattoo tales will always be my favorite part of shows. [I never get tired of hearing veteran tattooer Mike Skiver keep telling the story of how he mistook my butt for his wife's at a convention 14 years ago -- a grab that began our friendship.] Sex, whiskey and rock-n-roll will never leave conventions (even if I, myself, went to bed sober at a reasonable hour).
Because I was having too much fun, I didn't take many pics, but you can see a few on my Instagram and Flickr album. Find more on the Pagoda City Tattoo Fest Instagram.
Claudia De Sabe tattoo.
Zack Dunn painting.
Booty out with Mike Skiver.
Rose HardyFilip Leu
Claudia De Sabe
UPDATE: In just a little more that a month, the fine art exhibit "Time: Tattoo Art Today," on view at Somerset House in London, will close on October 5. Our friend Serinde recently visited the show and sent photos, which we've posted to our Flickr stream. Serinde described the show as "surprising, striking, and above all extremely well executed." If you plan on attending the wonderful London Tattoo Convention, make sure to put this exhibit on your must see list while you're there.
Garnering rave reviews in London, "Time: Tattoo Art Today" presents the fine art of 70 some of our finest tattooers around the globe, including Filip Leu, Ed Hardy, Horiyoshi III, Paul Booth, Guy Aitchison, Kore Flatmo, Rose Hardy, Mister Cartoon, Chuey Quintanar, Volker Merschky and Simone Pfaff, among other artists. "Time" opened at Somerset House in London last week, and drew a great deal of media attention, highlighting just how skilled the artists in our community can be in mediums beyond skin. For a glimpse into the exhibit, the BBC offers this video.
Curated by tattoo artist Claudia De Sabe and publisher Miki Vialetto, the tattooers were asked to create a new work for the exhibition on the theme of time. Here's more from Somerset:
The resulting collection ranges from oil painting, watercolours and traditional Japanese silk painting to paint layering on real skulls, airbrush and bronze sculpture. Time and all it infers (such as life and death) is a classic, common motif in tattoo art, expressed through a vast variety of iconographic combinations. For example, the popular inkings of butterflies, blossoms and the handled cross signify life, while memento moris such as skulls or the goddess Kali denote death. Many of these symbols are also present in the original pieces displayed.See more works from the exhibit on the museum's site and on Miki's Tattoo Life site.
"Time: Tattoo Art Today" will be on view at Somerset House until October 5, 2014. All artworks on display, as well as the show's catalog, prints and other memorabilia, are available to purchase at the Rizzoli Bookshop.
Around the beginning of the month, I received the premier issue of Things & Ink magazine from the UK. I dragged myself home after an extremely trying day at work, and in zombie mode, made my way to the mailbox; as usual, I started opening up the envelopes in the notoriously slow ride up the elevator to our apartment. I get to Things & Ink just as the elevator stops at my floor. I stay in the elevator pouring through the magazine. Brian says, "Babe, let's go." I say, "Look at this," and show him the magazine. He says, "Ah, you're finally happy now."
With Things & Ink, editor Alice Snape has created a love letter to tattooed women.
It's an answer to the growing misogyny in tattoo media, especially in the US, where the presence of female tattooists is limited, but there's an abundance of women sucking on their fingers and grabbing their breasts, barely showing any tattoos at all. Now, I have no problem with T&A. Hell, some of my good friends (as the cliche goes) are porn stars. But porn is porn. Don't dress it up in the name of body art when it's just about young, skinny, and mostly caucasian bodies. The great hypocrisy here is that I write for such magazines. The editors have graciously allowed me to feature women artists and also men who don't normally get the press they deserve. For this, I'm grateful. But my little articles are sandwiched in between the hot tattooed chick of the month and an interview with some rock star with bad tattoos. And it makes me sad.
What Alice has done is show the tattoo world that you can have a sexy but also smart, inclusive, and fun publication without bowing down to the lowest common denominator of sleaze and celebrity gossip. I'm getting real tired of reading about Kat Von D's different boyfriends.
Things & Ink describes itself as a "magazine that embraces female tattoo culture, for artists, collectors and those yet to go under the needle. [...] Each issue is filled with beautiful images, real-life stories, tattoos, opinion pieces, fashion, inspiration, art, artists, history, beauty and much more." And it absolutely delivers, all 92 pages, from front to back cover.
Speaking of, it was a fabulous idea to put well respected tattooist Claudia De Sabe on the front cover, recreating the iconic image of Artoria Gibbons, a heavily-tattooed circus lady in the 1920s. All the wonderful people behind the creation of the cover are listed in this blog post, and you can check the backstage footage from the shoot in a video by Papercut Pictures, embedded below.
Inside the magazine is everything from beauty and fashion to personal essays to artist profiles to tattoo history (including text from the wonderful Amelia Klem Osterud, author of "The Tattooed Lady: A History," a must read). I particularly dug the Old School for Girls article, which recreates the traditional pin-up for a female audience, exploring "women's ruin," with fun artwork of some male cheesecake in old school tattoo fashion. But really, it's hard to list all my favorite things in the mag because it's all a refreshing delight. So I asked Alice what her highlights are and here's a bit from what she replied:
The current issue is everything I want to read about myself. I love reading people's opinions about tattoos, so I love the pieces about people's first time. Before I got tattooed, I would love to have read something like this. The thing I am most proud of is the cover, it is perfect. I adore the picture of Artoria and I have always admired Claudia so it is so perfect. It was an honour that she said yes to being on the cover, it really does mean so much to me.Things & Ink can be purchased online here -- either a single issue or full subscription.
It's a quarterly magazine, and the next issue is out in February, just in time for the Brighton Tattoo Convention. Alice says the issue will explore cosmetic tattooing and face tattoos. Even more awesome, they just wrapped a photo shoot with Mo Deeley, a 54-year-old woman who is covered in tattoos and only started getting tattooed a year ago. Also, Amelia will be writing about Lady Randolph.
We'll let you know when that next issue is out. Meanwhile, you can view the latest news about Things&Ink on Twitter and Facebook.
The fine folks over at Zeitgeist Magazine have recently launched part two of their "Behind The Needle" video series from the 2011 London Tattoo Convention (you can view part one here). While part one centered mainly on artists' attitudes toward this monster expo, part 2 focuses on four tattooists (Chad Koeplinger, Michelle Myles, Uncle Allan and Claudia De Sabe) discussing their respective styles and how they got started in the business.
(Thanks to Alice Th'ink for the tip!)