Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The art that cannot be hidden

I've always been interested in tattoos.

I started to notice of late that tattoo artists are becoming ever more deserving of the title 'artist', as the work being produced these days is likely to be unique, expressive, and far more aesthetically pleasing than a simple stencil chosen from the wall. And the ever-increasing incidence of sleeves, often grown from one small piece on the arm into a vast wraparound tale, drawing the viewer in with questions.

And that's when I noticed the lines.

Sometimes visible, sometimes implied, almost everyone who gets inked keeps it in places that can be covered - which is understandable, considering the continued discrimination against people with tattoos and piercings. These absences are often conspicuous, challenging the world while silently bowing to perceived standards.

So what of the people who defy these rules? The ones who hear the cries of, "Oh no, you don't want to get a tattoo there" and do it nonetheless? There must be stories in these indelible traces on hands and faces, reasons for choosing to wear a statement so boldly. Or, taking this further, there are some parts of the body that are know to be more sensitive than others; why subject yourself to bonus pain? More stories lie therein...

Rebeca's new tattoo

The only way I know of to investigate is through photographs. As a starting point I think I need a handful of people with visible art on their hands or face who would be willing to have a chat about their tattoos and let me point a camera at them.

Any volunteers? Hit me up on youandyourink@gmail.com!