Tattoo Paintings

These tattoo paintings have been developed to increase the range of narrative in my art work and to expand the choices possible for the viewer.The tattoo paintings involve a three-dimensional canvas figure derived from a life-cast and small flat panels on wood that are suspended in front of the figure. The flat panels are painted with the colors of skin upon which are added tattoo images, with grisaille images on the inside of the panel.

The tattoos provide one layer of narrative; the grisaille images on the inside provide expansion to the narrative of the tattoos or, as in "Oh Grandmother what big teeth you have" a totally different narrative is introduced. These paintings give the viewer a large number of choices on the imagery and narrative of the paintings:

1) no tattoos visible and just the three-dimensional figure,
2) the complete range of tattoo panels or some combination of them,
3) the grisaille images allowed to "float" in front of the painting,
4) some combination of tattoo and grisaille images.

 

Womyn

Womyn

Oil on wood and canvas

48" x 36.5" x 7.5"

2010

 

YouTube video interview

by Efren Quiroz for www.exhibit-v.ca


Oh Grandmother what big teeth you have

Oil on wood and canvas

48.5" x 37" x 10"

2005

Private collection

 

This was the first “Tattoo Painting” created. I sought a model with an interesting and defined back, which Jillian has.  As this was the first, I used the familiar story of “Red Riding Hood” for the tattoos, and on the reverse another Grimm’s fairy tale, the “Seven Ravens”. Viewers have lots of choices before them: use Grimm’s narratives or combine imagery to create their own narrative cycle.


Baby Jesus with Isenhiem Tattoos

Oil on wood and canvas

22.5" x 28" x 8"

2005

To make the cast for this painting was naturally not done off a real baby but an anatomically correct newborn doll was used. This is Jesus just after his birth and viewers have a choice to make. Does the viewer move the tattoos out of view so there is just a baby or have the tattoos there as a burned in images of the ordained events to come. On the reverse of the tattoos, which are from the Isenheim altarpiece by Grunewald (1470-1528), are images of the events that came before using images from other artists.

 


 



Sgt. Rock

Oil on wood and canvas

40" x 32.5" x 8"

2005

 


View video of interaction with painting

 

 

Sgt. Rock is a painting that completes the narrative cycle hinted at in propaganda  and explores the militarizing of the young. The tattoos on the figure are all of recruiting posters from the Second World War, from Japan, Canada, Germany, Great Britain and the USA. The reverse side of each tattoo uses a newspaper photo to complete the narrative cycle started by the propaganda imagery. The wallpaper pattern is taken from a contemporary Sears Wishbook catalogue for sheets, duvet covers and curtains. The title comes from the comic book series I happily read as a child.