Results tagged “portrait”

May201411
08:59 PM
the tattoo project .jpgDan Kozma The Tattoo Project.jpgCover photo of The Tattoo Project by Vince Hemingson. Portrait above by Dan Kozma.

Four years ago this month, 100 hundred heavily tattooed people and 11 of Vancouver's best photographers came together for The Tattoo Project:  Body. Art. Image:  a three-day event at the Vancouver Photo Workshops described as "a synthesis of portraiture and tattoo art that poses the eternal question, Who am I?"  The body of work born from the project explores tattooed bodies via diverse photographic philosophies. Vince Hemingson, creator of The Tattoo Project (as well as many other wonderful projects), has said that the images not only reflect who the subjects are but also the photographers, from their differing approaches to lighting, mood, and color to different methods for engaging the subjects. The subjects were quite diverse themselves and not just today's standard "tattoo model" fare. 

Vince explains his inspiration behind The Tattoo Project: body. art. image.:
This project was an idea that I had simmering on the back burner for nearly fifteen years.  I have always wanted to to see how fine art photographers would interpret individuals who were tattooed. When I first saw Albert Watson's seminal work from the Louisiana Prisons in his book CYCLOPS it was an idea that wouldn't go away.   In my writing and filmmaking, I have always thought that the purpose of training your pen or your camera on a subject was illumination.  Literally to shine a light on something. 

In fifteen years of researching the history and social significance of tattooing - in dozens of different cultures around the world - I was struck by the extraordinary power that tattoos can have to reveal a person's inner self.  Rarely is the choice of a tattoo or a tattoo symbol an accident.  People choose tattoos that resonate with their sense of perceived identity of a deep level.  I was quoted in an interview nearly ten years ago, saying that, "Beauty is skin deep, but a tattoo goes all the way to the bone". And by that I meant that a tattoo can have profound meaning, far beyond mere decoration for many people.  A tattoo reveals character.  I wanted my photographs to be portraits, but I also wanted them to be about illuminating identity.  I can focus my camera on an individual and capture some aspect of the external self.  But I think their tattoo illuminates an aspect of their internal self, often times far more than they realize.  The idea that you could capture parts of both the external self and the inner self fascinates me. 

I wanted to exhibit my images as transparencies on light-boxes because I wanted the tattoos I photographed to be illuminated from within.  If the body is a temple, then the tattoos are stain-glass windows. Tattoos tell stories.  I want my images to record those stories.
From that long weekend, almost 200 images were selected for The Tattoo Project exhibition in November 2010, curated by Pennylane Shen, and shown at Performance Works on Granville Island. More than 750 people attended the opening night. With such incredible success, naturally, the next step was a book.

The 240-page hardcover The Tattoo Project: body. art. image., published by Schiffer Books, takes the very best works from the project and highlights them in a large-format, beautifully designed coffee table book. This book isn't just about pretty tattoos -- although there are a number of exceptional ones. What makes it engaging is the storytelling of these portraits, the way the personalities of these tattooed people shine through. And also, as Vince mentioned, it's interesting to see how these stories are told in so many ways, whether it be through the black & white long exposure photos by Marc Koegel or the "housewife cheescake" images by Melanie Jane. The other photographers include Wayne A. Hoecherl , Dan Kozma , Spencer Kovats, Syx Langemann, Aura McKayRosamond Norbury, Johnathon Vaughn, Jeff Weddell as well as Vince.   

Spencer_Kovats_The_Tattoo_Project.jpgImages above by Spencer Kovats.

The next step for Tattoo Project: body. art. image. is a documentary film. Throughout the project, two film crews captured the process -- as Vince says, they "prowled the crowded hallways, eves-dropped on photographers  as they shot in the studios, and interviewed dozens of models and all of the photographers."  This summer, Vince and his team will be launching a Kickstarter.com crowd funding campaign to help finish the post-production on the film.

Check The Vanishing Tattoo blog for updates on the film (and the perks for contributing) and other tattoo goodness.
  
Syx_Langemann_The_Tattoo_Project.jpgPortrait above by Syx Langemann.
Feb201322
11:01 AM
mattkemp_papa_juncha51.jpg
Athletes bodies are generally not known for great works of art, despite the money available to them. One tattooist explained to me that he felt the reason why the tattoos of celebrities were so bad was because they are used to getting what they want, when they want it. And if you have someone who lacks impulse control and foresight, well, that can be a recipe for a tattoo disaster.

So, when I come across a story about a sports star who really put thought and research behind his tattoo, it stood out.

The Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Matt Kemp was in the news last month for his chest piece honoring his grandparents (his grandfather had passed away just a month before he was tattooed). The work was done by black & grey rising star, Jun Cha, who works out of a private studio in LA.

A couple of days ago, a behind-the-scenes video look of the tattoo, and Kemp talking about his thoughts on getting this tribute, was posted on Jun's site (and embedded below).  In it, you'll also see Jun's process in creating the work and his interesting stylization of the portrait. Worth a look.

Dec201119
10:19 AM


Reading the news of Kim Jong Il's passing this morning, I wondered if The Supreme Leader had already been immortalized on skin. And that wonder lasted less than a minute when Google pulled up this stop motion video of a Jong portrait being created by Cody Brigan of Ghost Dog Tattoo in Cloquet, Minnesota.

I then pondered that oft-asked question when viewing a tribute to a dictator of divine birthWhy? I found the answer on Deviant Art, of course. There, Cody explains that he wanted to attempt a portrait (he's only been tattooing since last year), so he offered a free tattoo to the client, but on the condition that he could tattoo whatever he wanted. And there ya go.

But this isn't the only Il ode. Google served up another portrait as well. Sadly, it didn't yield the same results for Vaclav Havel.
Jun201016
02:55 PM
zombie tim kern.jpgIn working on my upcoming Black & Grey Tattoo book, I came across rockin realism in the form of tattoo artist portraits, including Paul Booth, Bob Tyrrell, Jack Rudy, Tim Kern (above), and other greats. And so I had to learn more about the man who pays tribute to these artists with his own skin. Here's the story of Broken from the UK:   

Please tell me about your tattoos and who did them.

I have some horror-inspired tattoos from different artists in the 80s/early 90s. But, about 10 years ago, thanks to the internet and increased number of tattoo magazines, my passion for tattoos was re-awakened. Paul Booth and Bob Tyrrell were top of the list, although I never thought for one moment I would ever be tattooed by them. Then in 2005, London started with a new tattoo convention and the following year, I decided to take a chance and email Bob Tyrrell. I knew I wanted a portrait tattoo and horror movie stars were the obvious choice for me, but having seen so many, I wanted something more unique. Then it hit me. Tattoo artists! These guys were creating masterpieces and yet tattooing was still seen as something only criminals, bikers and the lower end of society would get.

paul booth tattoo.jpgSo, as Paul Booth was top of my list, I asked Bob to do a portrait of him [shown right]. Ten minutes later, I got a reply and it was all set for the London Convention. It was also very important to me to have Bob tattoo the Paul Booth portrait because they are close friends. With all my portrait tattoos, I have the same philosophy. I think that a close bond with the subject they are tattooing makes for a more personal and unique tattoo. [Also at that convention I met Tim Kern and got a severed wrist tattoo.]

The following month I had decided on getting a tattoo sleeve of tattoo artist portraits. I met Bob in New York and he was more than happy with the artists I had in mind. So, over the next few years, I got portraits of Filip Leu, Jack Rudy and Robert Hernandez, from Bob. Before the Hernandez portrait, I needed to find a suitable artist to tattoo a portrait of Bob. The obvious choice was Robert Hernandez. He was very happy to do it and he ended up doing it at the London Convention 2008, with Bob watching.

Very interesting experience.
He told me he was honored to be part of my project. The following year at the convention, Bob tattooed the portrait of Robert on, with Robert watching. Again, it was a surreal experience, but that made it even more special.

[In between the portraits, another artist who I was desperate to get a tattoo from, was Milosch. His black and grey is amongst the best in the world. In 2008, I planned to set up an appointment with him in the Czech Republic. After emailing him, he told me was doing a convention in the UK and a guest spot at a studio beforehand. When I found out the studio was 20 minutes from my house, I knew it was fate. He created an amazing demon on my calf and we have become good friends.]
 

ben moss zombie.jpgTim Kern and Benjamin Moss [shown left] were next on my list, but I felt that these artists would be better suited to doing a self portrait. I had already met them both and they are extremely friendly and gracious people. When I asked them, they were more than happy to do it. I wanted them to do a more horror inspired portrait and they both came up with something amazing.


What has been the reaction by the tattooists to your requests?


When I asked Bob Tyrrell to do the Paul Booth portrait, he told me that he would get Paul to pose for the photo reference. I've met Paul a couple of times since and he is genuinely honored by it. In fact, all the portraits I've had done, have been specifically photographed for each one. I haven't met Jack Rudy yet, but Filip thought his was really cool when I showed him and all the others say it's an honor to be a part of it too.


Why tributes to tattooists?

I chose tattooists because, since getting back into tattoos about 10 years ago (after 10 years when I didn't get anything), I realized just how far tattooers had come as artists. Nowadays, so many tattooers also work in fine art. People like Paul Booth, Robert Hernandez, Jeff Gogue and Carlos Torres etc...could easily have a career as fine artists. Yet, many people still don't see tattooing as an art. So this is just my small way of showing my appreciation for such an under appreciated art form.


Your portraits are largely in black & grey--what do you love about this style?
 
Black and grey, to me, is a timeless medium. Just like b&g photographs, they have an aura about them that just says class. I also think there is more focus on the subject with b&g. With color, there is the option of moving with each color. Black and grey needs more self awareness.


See more of Broken's tattooist portraits here.
Dec200914
12:25 PM
portrait of me 2(small).jpg
I was going to entitle this "Me in Oil" but that would make me a tease on the RSS feed. With the naked bod and come-hither stare, I already look like a Suicide Girl den mother, but the beauty of portraiture is that the painter transforms the tattooed lady from minx to muse. I'll take it.

Juango Martinez Canovas of Spain is the artist behind my portrait, who has placed me in the beautiful company of tattooist Jo Harrison and painter Titine Leu. Also check his Memento Mori series, which showed at the Laboratorio d Arte Joven this past summer.

Beyond canvas, Juango has been creating art on skin for over 12 years. He's currently working at Other Side Tattoo in Murcia, Spain.
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