Category: Art

Linnéa Sjöberg and her homemade tattoo project

The Swedish artist, Linnéa Sjöberg has been turning DIY tattoos into performance art after a year of travelling around Europe taking photographs of herself and her friends tattooing themselves.  The year long project has now culminated in a book called Salong Flyttkartong with the message ‘Act Before Thinking’ where she wants to cultivate irrational chaotic thinking, “that’s the energy in the project, kind of counter-productive. It’s two opposites: act before thinking but it’s going to stay with you for the rest of your life. People need to take a stand point: some people are like, “Yeah, go ahead,” and some back off and don’t want to hear about it, they are so frightened of this idea.”

  

  

  

  

A somewhat controversial subject and now what some may seem as ‘trendy’ are homemade tattoos but Linnéa delves into the psychology of tattooing yourself and why taking control of your own body is the most powerful tool we have. One of her most powerful tattoos was of the markings a plastic surgeon made on her breasts before having a boob job, “I booked a time at a plastic surgery clinic in Manhattan and asked the doctor to draw the lines that he would follow during a breast enlargement. With those lines I went home and tattooed them in front of the mirror, by myself.”

   

 Linnéa’s book Salong Flyttkartong can be purchased here and she is also exhibiting at the Gallery Steinsland Berliner in Stockholm. More information about her work can be found on her website 

Tattoos: 150 years of body art

Susanna Kumschick, a Swiss anthropologist, has curated an exhibition in Hamburg charting 150 years of body art. “I started with skin, because I really think if you are studying tattooing, you need to look at human skin closely too,” Susanna explains. She believes that the tattoo industry has not been represented enough when discussing anthropology in relation to art and design and after much research she “was surprised that it wasn’t actually a subject in art and design museums until recently.”

Thea Duskin, Untitled 2011

Kumschick discusses how tattoos have been represented throughout history in artists’ work, “They were always inspired by the aesthetics, from early on – the human body has been a subject in art for a long time, and so is painting on the body.”

The artist Fumie Sasabuchi adds tattoos to photographs taken from fashion magazines using traditional motifs taken from the Japanese Yakuza mafia. “Tattooing is more fashionable because we show our skin much more than in the past, so it’s more of a communication medium. We should look at them closely, because it depends where you have them on your body – you’re saying different things by the location you choose. It’s normal to have one today but it’s still a statement if you put one on your face, unlike one on your chest or ankle.” The image below was created from a photograph taken from children’s magazine Vogue Angels.

She also looks at how tattoos can stigmatise certain people.  The photographer and filmmaker Christian Poveda spent a year with members of the Mara 18 gang in El Salvador, who cover themselves in tattoos marking the numbers of people they’ve killed or commemorating the death of a fellow gang member.

The exhibition is at MK&G in Hamburg until 6 September 2015.

Is it mine? Who owns my tattoo?

Tattoo artist Lain Freefall, 31, asks who owns the tattoos on your body… first published in The Identity Issue of Things&Ink.

Words by Lain Freefall / Photo of Lain by Marco Ferrari

“I was 15 when I got my first tattoo. Of course I’m not actually supposed to admit that, but it’s the truth. I walked into the small tattoo studio and picked the first one I liked from the flash sheet on the wall and off I went. I loved it. My first tattoo. At that time I’d known nothing about tattooing, where it came from or how it all came about. Never in my life did I think I was going to be in a studio 15 years later working with such amazing and talented friends and colleagues and never imagined I’d look the way I do today either.”

“We are now in a day and age where tattoos are incredibly accepted and highly fashionable. The age of “fuck you! I do what I want! I’m going to be a rock star.” We are so highly knowledgeable of “the rules” of tattooing yet fail to abide by them. Everyone “wants what he’s got” or “she has her hand tattooed! Why can’t I?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really complaining (why on earth would I complain about work?) just merely stating, in brief, where we stand amongst the vast amount of tattoo TV shows, books and magazines. We all, as artists, want to offer something unique, fresh and new, whether it’s through our work or our own aesthetic. It’s a tough world out there and it’s dog-eat-dog, but where do we draw the line?

“We are so lucky that we have evolved to the days where we now stand. Every tattooist and artist can draw from everything around us, past and present. The internet never ceases to amaze me with so much information to offer – even the things you don’t want the world to see, the internet will find a way to show it.

“In the very recent months, to the last few years, there has been more and more media coverage involving tattoos, including posters and commercials of celebrities, athletes or “alternative” models. I was pleasantly surprised the first time I saw a tattooed model in advertising on the underground or in a magazine – and modelling for huge brands. I had often looked at these models and wondered how much of their bodies were really covered and who tattooed them (especially if they were bloody awful!) Do they get tattooed to become models? Or are they models who made enough money to not care about being tattooed? What were their plans after tattoos if they really did  go out of style? More importantly I’d like to know how they felt about their bodies from time to time. It seems empowering to be tattooed. Even making the decision (it’s yours to make) so surely once you’ve sat down with your tattooist, discussed and agreed on the design (whether it be your idea as a customer, or you completely trust your tattoo artist) the process begins, and in time you’ll be leaving with a tattoo on your body.  A beautiful piece of art that’s been marked on you for life.

“So we get to the nitty-gritty. Who owns this tattoo? You, the customer and wearer of the tattoo? Or the artist, the person who put the idea onto the skin? This is what has recently been playing on a lot of people’s minds. In no less than a few months, I’ve heard, on several separate occasions, about law suits concerning compensation, ownership and royalties. With the uprising of tattoos and rock star lifestyles, comes money, fame and greed. What I found more deeply heartbreaking was the act of such selfishness towards our own tradesmen. Now as an artist, I’ve always seen the business/money part of my job as straightforward (even though I hate talking money). Once I’ve tattooed you, this tattoo belongs to you. This is what you have sought me out for, to basically buy an art piece from me. With all the media involved I can understand if there are general legalities that need to be signed, but as far as I’m concerned, if you’re the wearer of my tattoos, kindly mention that I was the artist of said tattoo – a credit is all I need. After all, you’re helping me along the way.

“With today’s social media, we are constantly being photographed, by photographers, people in the street and friends. It is spread across the world through Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr etc. We sign away agreements on iTunes and YouTube without even a thought as to what the fine print says, so long as we get to share what we want to – show the world as soon as possible.

“So what happens when you get a letter through the post one day telling you you’re being sued on the grounds of copyright ownership? (Yep this is happening to me right now). “What ownership? How does that work? It’s my body right?” I’m here to tell you in UK law, this might not be entirely true.

“A copyright gives the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time. Copyright may apply to a wide range of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms, or “works.” Copyright does not cover ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed. Does copyright law extend to tattoo artwork? It would appear to (1) contravene privacy and image rights; (2) prevent freedom of expression under article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 – receiving and wearing a tattoo is akin to a choice of wearing a particular hat or having a particular hair colour; and (3) be inconsistent with the trade practice and customs of the UK tattoo industry. All UK legislation must be read to give effect to the rights established under the HRA.

“I have seen the latter first hand on paper from a lovely legal team. Things have now been settled out of court and all in the name of greed, unfortunately. This will now be a case that can arise again and, if it does, I’m here to spread the word of Human Rights. No one owns your tattoo, but you do own your body. We as artists have a right to be proud of what we have created and will want to share this with the world – same as you! However the art piece we have personally drawn up is owned by the artist, but when we bring into question the ownership of an actual tattoo, custom made or otherwise, that is when the lines are blurred and the law has no solid legislation.

“Unfortunately I don’t have a real conclusion in this article. All I can say is we are very lucky to be in an era of tattooing where we can request custom work. There will always be amazing artists with something unique to offer, a personal touch of style along with amazing all rounder tattooers (I’m still blown away by these people), but we are also now in a time where there is nothing new. We are inspired by the forefathers of tattooing and everything around us.” ❦

Beauty is not only ink deep – a tattooed photographic portrait series

Have you seen the latest project focusing on tattoos? Photographer Niall Patterson has created a personal project to show the beauty in tattoos and those who wear them. He wants to move away from the stereotypes and negative social prejudices attached to tattoos and instead show the world how truly beautiful they can be. The project is called Beauty Is Not Only Ink Deep.

Each photograph in the collection displays a quote from the person in the picture, describing how they feel about their tattoos and what they mean to them.

Images from Beauty is not only ink deep.

Valentine Tattoos – feeling the love

We’re really feeling the love, as Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. And whether it’s shape, colour or subject matter, we all have a tattoo related to love in some way… Here’s our pick of love-inspired tattoos for Valentine’s Day… can we get an “Awwwww“?

@tracydtattoos

@juliaseizure

@aimeeloutattoo

@joeellistattoo

@lizzie_bvtattoo

@domwileyart

@suflanda

@helfire

Healing tattoos – double mastectomy tattoo

This tattoo is simply stunning. Healing, restorative, beautiful… and we loved spotting it being shared on Facebook, with lots of positive comments.

The artist is David Allen, who is based in Chicago. Read more about him and view his work at allentattoo.com

The response to this piece is incredible. Tattooing is a beautiful and absolutely viable option for concealing or altering scars. When coupled with an artist you’ve researched and feel connected to… taking the reigns and regaining some sort of control can be empowering. There is healing in this!

Said Allen on his Facebook page.

Surreal tattoos based on stories

Jade Tomlinson and Kev James are the creators of Expanded Eye – an artistic movement that encompasses and explores all aspects of life and the universe, from tattoos to street art. They create unique surreal tattoos inspired by the lives and stories of their clients. They want their clients to focus on what they want the tattoo to represent and leave the visual aesthetics to Jade and Kev.

 Each and every unique tattoo we create is our visual interpretation of concepts and stories provided by the client, which hold significant meaning to the individual. We encompass as much personal detail as possible whileallowing each design to evolve organically into a contemporary piece of art, which we then transfer from paper to skin.

 

The pair are currently tattooing in  Hackney, London and have spaces available, if you want to get tattooed by them email your idea and body placement to info@expandedeye.co.uk

Read more about their story at expanded-eye.

 

Tattoo Me: Illma Gore

Illma Gore’s Tattoo Me project invites people to submit words that she will get tattooed onto her body.

 

Artist Illma Gore is raising money to launch her first art exhibition with a crowd-funding page, but this is no ordinary art show.

Illma is the canvas…

You can pay to have your name – or a few words of your choosing – tattooed onto Illma’s body. She will have anything tattooed on her as long as it isn’t hateful or discriminative. Her original goal was to raise 6K, but as it stands she has raised over $11,000 and she estimates that she will have room for 1700 names.

 

On her crowd-funding page she explains the inspiration behind her idea:

I want to be a singular tattoo for my latest art exhibition, and I want it to be your names. This is going to be an art exhibition in LA featuring my body and your names as well as painting and videography – by donating you are helping me pay the costs of putting on an exhibtion not for the tattoos. I think the tattoo on my forehead says it best ‘Life is art’. There is something absurd & beautiful about having an accumulation of absolute strangers names draped over my pale goth skin, even if half of them are ‘Penis Butt’. Why? you might ask, simply because I can, I know what I’m about son, and I am my own ultimate canvas. Like my art exhibitions and murals this is a social and artistic experiment! Each person’s name to me represents YOU the main protagonist in your own story. I will be covered in a hundred tiny stories and an exhibtion will be held featuring you and my body as the canvas.

Giving myself to the whim of the world and for my art.

Photographs: PR, Guardian, GoFundMe

Illma Gore Before

Illma Gore after

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Freelance illustrator and project manager Ruth Bridges, 30 from West Yorkshire is the creator of fashion illustration blog x+y=. She has exclusively drawn three unique illustrations for Things&Ink influenced by tattoos and fashion. 

Ruth was an artistic child!

 

What inspires your illustrations? I love slightly off-beat street fashion. Style has always been much more influential to me than trend. I find drawing people with striking faces really satisfying, especially edgy women. I’m not into overtly pretty things, much preferring a grungy feel – minimalism with a twist.  I do also have a soft-spot for slightly bonkers high end fashion – I’m a fan of Pam Hogg, Louise Gray and KTZ.

What medium do you use? Nearly always pencil, with paint, colour and photography occasionally collaged in digitally.

Do you have a background in art? Yes – I studied Fashion at BTEC level, then went on to complete an Art Foundation and, after taking a gap year to travel, a Degree in Fine Art for Design. I’ve always known I wanted to work in the visual arts but until now the time hasn’t been right. I’ve been freelance for about 3 months now, and so far it’s going well.

Where can people see and buy your work? I have a website - www.xplusyequals.co.uk and I also occasionally contribute to Amelia’s Magazine and Guys and Girls Directory. Since going freelance, I’ve mainly been working on commissions so I don’t have prints on sale at the minute but I’m looking for opportunities to exhibit. I’m currently working on a collection of drawings that complement each other that I can sell as limited edition prints.

Have you been published? I’ve been featured in digital magazines for a while now but have just been included in a published collection of illustrations and articles, published by Amelia’s Magazine called ‘That Which We Do Not Understand’ – it’s out any day now.