Results tagged “Clayton Patterson”
The discussion of NYC's gentrification is nothing new, but it still stings every time I learn of another institution of art, music & grit close its door to make way for mega-store or "luxury" anything. One living institution, who has had a profound effect on NYC's tattoo scene, is documentarian, fine artist and tattoo artist Clayton Patterson. And, as the NY Times reported this weekend, Clayton will be shutting his Outlaw Art Museum and leaving NY's Lower East Side with his wife Elsa Rensaa, explaining, "There's nothing left for me here."
In a time where our own tattoo community feels gentrified -- complete with "celebrity" tattooers working in glass cages -- it's understandable why Clayton and Elsa are leaving town and heading for Bad Ischl, in Austria, where, for almost 15 years, he has collaborated with the Wildstyle Tattoo Convention.
Wildstyle is one of the many projects Clayton has worked on for tattoo artists and collectors. In 1986, Clayton and Ari Roussimoff started the Tattoo Society of New York (TSNY), with the assistance of Elsa, and the group was instrumental in working to overturn the NYC tattoo ban in 1997. When asked by Vice, what about the role of TSNY, he explained:
It was difficult to learn to tattoo in the city, but the TSNY changed much of that. Those interested in art and tattooing gathered at the Society meetings. The whole 1990s New York City new wave came out of the TSNY. The magazines came to the Society meetings. It is through the Society that Debby Ullman, who had worked at Outlaw Biker and Tattoo Review, moved over to Pat Rusians of Pink Coyote Designs, who was looking for an editor to start a new magazine. I introduced her to Jonathan Shaw, and they started, International Tattoo Magazine. At that time there were not that many photographers on the tattoo scene. Early on, there was Charles Gatewood. Then Steve Bonge started taking photos in the mid 70s. He was instrumental in getting photos of tattoos into Biker magazine. He became the lead photographer for International Tattoo.
When, in 1998, Steve Bonge and his partners, Lawrence Garcia and Wes Wood (Wes was a partner for the first year) created the New York City International Tattoo Convention, Clayton came on as an organizer and manager of the show, making it one of the iconic tattoo events worldwide.
Beyond the tattoo community, Clayton is renowned for documenting the culture of the Lower East Side since the late seventies, particularly the Tompkins Square Park Police Riot. One of Clayton's most well known work is his Captured film.
The NY Times offers more on his background documenting this scene:
Almost from the moment he arrived from Calgary, Alberta, in 1979, Mr. Patterson's world has been the downtown demimonde of squatters, anarchists, graffiti taggers, tattoo artists, junkie poets, leathered rock 'n' rollers and Santeria priests. When he and his companion, Elsa Rensaa -- she, too, is an artist -- landed in New York, they took an apartment on the Bowery where their $450 monthly rent was paid by their jobs producing commercial art prints, and where one of their neighbors was the not-yet-famous painter Keith Haring.Four years later, the couple bought the building where they live today -- once a dressmaker's shop, at 161 Essex Street -- at a time when Art in America magazine described the neighborhood as a "blend of poverty, punk rock, drugs, arson, Hell's Angels, winos, prostitutes and dilapidated housing." This was the culture that Mr. Patterson seized as his subject, wandering the area on endless expeditions with his camera and gradually acquiring an archive of ephemera that grew to include graffiti stickers, concert posters, images of tattoos, thousands of hours of audiotape and videotape and empty heroin bags he had picked up off the streets.Clayton's collection of photos and several ink-on-paper prints, as well as Elsa's paintings, will be on view in a pop-up gallery in NYC's Meatpacking district (58-60 9th Avenue, off West 15th Street), opening next week, April 15th. The show entitled, "$16 Burger" (Clayton's taunt of the price of this city's food), will be a fitting send-off for such a force in the tattoo and art world.
More Thom deVita goodness from Vice's Tattoo Age series.
In the fourth installment of this five-part feature, Thom talks about living and working in NYC's Lower East Side, with its grit, guns and junkies, before the luxury hotels and couture boutiques of today. An added bonus is artist and documentarian Clayton Patterson offering some history of the tattoo and art scene of LES, including stories and photos of Mike Mallone and Kate Hellenbrand's time with Thom, which changed their lives. Ed Hardy, Nick Bubash and other tattoo legends also share some of their own personal stories about Thom's innovation and influence.
For me, the highlight is right at the beginning: Thom removing his shirt to show his Huck Spaulding dragon backpiece done in the sixties, a massive work tattooed at a time when people just didn't get big work. And you know, it still looks fantastic -- true to the adage, "Bold will hold."
Check all the Thom deVita episodes:
Photos by Clayton Patterson
In the Villager, artist, activist and documentarian Clayton Patterson offers some history on the NYC Tattoo Convention, which runs this Friday through Sunday at the Roseland Ballroom. He also notes in the article what you can expect from this weekend's show, including traditional tatau by Brent McCown. There will also be other artists doing hand tattooing in addition to buzzing machine work from stellar artists from around the world.
I'll be there Saturday and Sunday. Hope to see y'all there!
Because I didn't want to leave you with the taste of that Diana image for the weekend, here are some events to check out in NYC, LA and Portland.
In LA tomorrow, from 8pm until Midnight, Canvas LA will present a solo show of new works by NORM AWR MSK, tattoo, graff and fine artist. Since October 1st, NORM has been doing an installation piece on the front of Canvas Los Angeles, and everyday, they've been posting the progress of the installation. The show should be full of eye candy in various mediums like his work above.
In NYC, LES fixture and tattoo culture veteran, Clayton Patterson, will be signing his book Captured this Sunday at the A Life Gallery from 3 to 5 PM in conjunction with his photo exhibit LES Captured -- which Bobby Fisher wrote about last week. You can also read more about Clayton & his art on the latest NY Times article profiling him.
And in Oregon, the Portland Tattoo Expo kicks off today and runs through the weekend with your standard fare of contests, pin-ups, burlesque shows, vendors, and about 300 tattoo machines buzzing. If you go, send me the gossip and any pics.
Ok, I'm out. Have a fabulous weekend!
It is a poor man's game to lament the gentrification of the Manhattan's Lower East Side.
The L.E.S. was a gloriously, criminally negligent community tying its universal tattooed arm off into one future oblivion of creative destruction, punk-guilty contamination and reckless, wreckful abandon -- an indulgent heaven, a beautiful hell.
But, more than anything, it was reality. It was a home. It was a community forced together by isolation or rejection of the outside that found a common connection.
Like the one found between object and camera. Like the one Clayton Patterson found.
Clayton has lived on the L.E.S. since its hellday and spent his days documenting the degradation and self-imposed incarceration around him. His pictures are a photo album of the most delicious and deliriously dysfunctional family of quite some time and you are forced to look, knowing that in their crazy lies a taste of your own sanity.
Today, Clayton has no illegal tattoo parlors to snap. There exist very few active gang members, even fewer drag queens, prostitutes and hard-core racist Doc Martin wearing skinheads. Today is the day that being there, being there then, pays off. Today is the day that a major art gallery writes a check and puts Clayton Patterson right next to Earsnot (shown below): two proud hold-outs of a bygone time of dizzying depths who know enough to earn what they earned.
The A Life Gallery is presenting Clayton Patterson: L.E.S. Captured until November 8.
Read more about the exhibit in this recent NY Times article.