I have always been intrigued by the tattoo culture. Drawn in by the art, meaning, and people who adorn themselves permanently. From June 2014 to January 2015 myself and photographer PixByLorne worked on putting together an exhibit that delved deeper into the tattoo culture.
We had many photo-shoots/interview sessions with 29 individuals who graciously donated their time and stories to our endeavor. The time spent visiting with our contributors aided in creating my canvas images. All of these people were open and honest with their experiences and what meaning, if any, their work represented. Emily, “the blue-haired girl”, was the first person I was compelled to paint. As she was being posed I envisioned her on canvas in Andy Warhol Pop Art colours. Creating can require lots of thought or in some cases it just jumps out at you. Each of the paintings defined themselves as I sat down to start. Some are more whimsical, and some more subdued. When I saw Dan, who has a full sleeve dedicated to the Batman franchise, I had to put him in a cape with some old school cartoon flare. Drea’s photo reminded us of the Mona Lisa, thus inspiring her colour pallet. Jordan’s tartan background was inspired by his cultural pride. Nyk’s deep love of music had me wrap him in sheet music. A woman named Griffin required wings that stood out. Ryan’s pose reminded me of a comic book action hero, so I gave him comic book style mixed-media. Jerry is a character all on his own. I had envisioned him in front of a giant peace sign, but decided that would distract from him. Aron is a big guy, who looks quite intimidating to some, yet he is the sweetest man. His tattoos are bright and colourful, so I chose to surround him with bright colour. Karine is very pregnant and simply glowing, I painted her as I saw her: a mother to be. Originally I had envisioned Sheila in a fairy garden, but with all of her ink, I felt the piece would be too busy, so I decided to stay pretty true to her natural self.
With each piece taking between 30 – 50 hours to complete it was impossible to include all of our models. Yet, I had some great ideas for our other subjects. It has been my great pleasure to spend seven months working toward the fulfillment of the creative journey that is INK Beyond Skin Deep. I hope all who have seen the month-long exhibit (@ The Guild Gallery), enjoyed it and found inspiration.
My personal tattoo story: When I was fifteen years-old I wanted a tattoo. I was told a very definite, “NO!” The year was 1983 and tattoos were only for bikers, thugs and sailors. Because, in those days, tattoos were permanent, I agreed to wait until I was thirty before getting inked. Just after my thirtieth I got my first, and then my second and on and on. I have twelve so far and have many more in mind.
Some of my tattoos represent the elements of life: Earth. Air. Water. Fire. Spirit. There is a memorial for a dear little cat named Riley SweetPea, that I rescued from the streets of Toronto; in turn he rescued me in ways unexpected. My left arm is also adorn with some childhood role models: Pipi Longstocking, who could do anything. Wonder Woman, who was strong and fearless, and Deborah Harry, a woman who rocked in a male dominated music community. The “Blondie” tattoo is a replica of the famous Andy Warhol painting for two reasons: I love Warhol’s work and the tattoo was the only way I could afford to own a Warhol.
For me, tattoos are flags in the sand. Reminders of who I’ve been, what’s important, and things that bring joy.
Our show received wonderful media support!
Special Thanks To:
Alanna Jankov @ The Guild Gallery for giving us a space for the show!
Karen Mair ~ CBC Mainstreet Click for Interview
Jessica Doria-Brown ~ CBC Charlottetown Click for: CBC Piece
Sally Cole ~ The Guardian News Paper Click for: Article
Paintings: Pamela Detlor
Tags: 2015, Alanna Jankov, Andy Warhol Pop Art, art, artist, Batman, canvas, CBC, CBC Charlottetown, CBC Mainstreet, Charlottetown, Compass, Deeper than Skin, entertainment, Exhibit, Gallery, images, Ink, inspiring, Jessica Doria-Brown, Karen Mair, media, Music, Painting, Pamela Detlor, Photography, PixByLorne, Sally Cole, Sleeve, stories, tartan, Tattoos, The Guardian News Paper, The Guild