Sunday, April 01, 2007

Getting Under Your Skin

My earliest memories of tattoos were of those etched onto large motorcycle riders who would growl into Palmerston every year before they headed into Central Otago for a spring festival or carnival of some sort. I can't quite recall exactly what the occasion was, though it elusively slides around in the back of my skull avoiding being pinned down. (It will pop out once I have posted this note!) Tattoos went with beards, Harleys and leather. Nothing original in that. A universal image in fact. Thereafter images of tawdry tattoo shops in Melbourne complete the picture, as do the very rough tattoos military colleagues turned up with after a drunken night on the town. Some were funny, though not with the humour you would wish on yourself, but because the wearer had no idea why he was now sporting a full blown Indian chief in feather headdress across his back. (That guy slept on his front for weeks!) I must have seen on at least three occasions the classic tattoo scenario of one girlfriend's name thoroughly embedded only to have the wearer hook up with another "name" a short time later. And one NCO I once worked for had the indignity of enduring an artist who had imposed his inability to spell all over his body.

So all of this tends to put tattoos in the redneck basket for me. Humorous in part but not something I could ever buy into. Though I have long given up the notion that it is somehow evil (childish association with bikers sowed that seed) or undignified. Indeed I will confess that tattoo art over the last few years has grown into something more restrained, creative, objective and carefully designed. And in many cases has become quite attractive, and is even erotic on the right canvas.

But the New York artist who did this piece of clever work has lifted the genre to another level altogether. Anil is his name and this link takes you away from here to his website where you can see more of this wonderful stuff. Well, its art, so some of it is wonderful and rest is clearly framed for beauty in the eye of the beholder only!

1 comment:

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