One really wonderful development in the tattoo community lately has been a greater prominence of women's voices. There's the third edition of Margot Mifflin's Bodies of Subversion being released (review to come); tattooed woman-centered Things & Ink magazine, the Ladies & Ink blog, and more features on female tattooers in general industry mags.
Now a new project is set to be released that is getting tons of buzz: "From Voodoo to Vogue," described as "A look into the breakthrough of female artists in the tattoo industry through one of its leading pioneers, Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand."
Filmmaker Eric Cannon has been capturing Kate's stories and her adventures as she travels the world, but there are also the stories of fellow tattoo legends, and even an interview with Louise Collins, Sailor Jerry's widow, among much of the footage. The potential for this film is immense, but it needs funding to get off the ground.
The Kickstarter campaign for From Voodoo To Vogue launched yesterday and is seeking a hefty sum to move forward. It's a gamble, but as Eric says on the Kickstarter page, a smaller fundraiser won't cover the goals of the full scale production planned. There's a listing of expenses from production to publicity, and donations can be made as low at $1 ($10 and over gets you perks).
Here's more on the film from:
Through Kate's colorful stories and anecdotes, we will be highlighting the female role in the art of tattooing from the beginning of time. Key Messages: A brief historical overview of how the modern tattoo industry evolved globally from prehistory Ice Age through the industrial age mechanization of electric tattooing to the "Old School" days of military paydays to the current trendy embracement of modern tattooing.And here's a taste of the footage here:
In the past decade, we've seen an explosion of fine art by tattooists in galleries and museums, and it's been quite an exciting movement in the industry; however, there seems to be a lack of progress when it comes to representing the work of women tattooists in many of these shows.
Giving a platform for these women from around the world is the Ladies, Ladies Art show at Tattoo Culture in Brooklyn, NY opening next Thursday, May 17th from 7-11PM.
This exhibit, curated by Elvia Iannaccone Gezlev (Miss Elvia), Emma Griffiths and Magie Serpica, is in its second year and promises to be just as phenomenal as the first, with the work of nearly 100 female tattoo artists featured. The first show was primarily a salute to the modern godmothers of tattoo including Madame Vyvyn Lazonga, Pat Sinatra, Debbie Lenz and Juli Moon, who were all in attendance. For this show, the focus is largely on the next generation of women artists, largely from NYC but hailing from all over the country and around the world. Check their site for the list of talent. Here's more from the curators:
We can't help but notice the growing number of amazing women who choose to pursue the art of tattooing in its finest forms, as a job and as a lifestyle -- a craft that was only reserved to men until a few decades ago. A real revolution of the arts is happening! This is a chance to celebrate the female presence and spirit in tattooing, from the masters who paved the way to the established professionals who set the trends and to the talents of tomorrow. Enjoy, support and buy a piece of original art!For a preview of the art on display, see the Ladies, Ladies Facebook photo gallery.
Next Thursday's opening is sure to bring tons of people, especially as it's the night before the NYC Tattoo Convention and many tattooists are in town, so it's probably best to get there early. If you can't make it Thursday, the exhibit will be up for two months at Tattoo Culture.
Hope to see y'all there!
UPDATE: Just learned that Shanghai Kate Hellenbrand will be at the opening, showing a special historic tribute to the women tattooers of the past and onward. Another reason to head over there!
Art by Claudia DeSabe
Art by Miss Elvia
Art by Karin Schwaiger
The April issue of Inked Mag is just out and it features my Icon profile of one of the godmothers of our tattoo generation: Madame Vyvyn Lazonga.
I was a bit star struck during our phone interview because she's not only one of the first female tattooers of the modern tattoo movement--being a part of pushing tattoos as a fine art--but she's also one of the first women of our times to be heavily (and beautifully) tattooed. Vyvyn has had sleeves by Ed Hardy before many of y'all were born. She's been an inspiration to me and it was wonderful chatting with her. Here's a taste of our talk:
How would you describe your own tattoo style?For more, pick up the April issue on newsstands or read it online at Zinio.