Sunday, 30 March 2014

Too Many Words!–The Tattoo Dreams of a Sleep Starved Curator

I don't know about you but I wake up in the middle of the night with words or images racing through my mind and then I have trouble falling back to sleep.  Thankfully, it doesn't happen every night.  But suffice it to say that sleep deprivation is used as torture because it works.  When I get exhausted, I run languages together.  I'll start a sentence in French and end up speaking German.  I have always been pretty good at Fron-glaize or Eng-deutsch but my subconscious seems to be cooking up a new hybrid, let's call this one Fron-deutsch.  Anyhow, the point is my brain needs more sleep to function properly.

The words and images of the dreams are usually thematic examples of whatever is preoccupying me.  It can be something as simple as how to say "Happy New Year" in Mandarin, some odd factoid of astrophysics, or a tattoo I've been thinking about.  I know I am in trouble when I have tattoo dreams because they aren't going to go away anytime soon.  And they can be of anything
This photo was one of the first cover images to grab my attention.
 Zombie Boy was featured in Rebel Ink.

Quotes, song lyrics, Marvel comic heroes and (let's not forget) serpents animate the tattoos.  My recent favourite is vigorous scroll-work by John Pinsent that I saw "growing" up someone's arm.  It reminds me of the Book of Kells illustrated manuscript and sure enough when I asked the owner, he showed me the other arm with a modest-sized Celtic knot and his daughter's name.  In my mind, I classify this as Celtic tribal.  For some reason, most of the really good tribal work that I see here in St. John's seems to come from either Montreal or Singapore, with two notable exceptions.

I also dream exhibitions.  There is a dream version of my More Than Skin Deep exhibition.  In St. John's, it is at The Rooms and I have persuaded all my newfound biker friends to circle the building with their Harley's and custom built beasts.  This I recognize is a reworking of the funeral scene in Until I Find You.

In Ontario, it the show is at The Burlington Art Centre and we have skateboarder dudes and dudettes performing amazing stunts.  But at Montreal, it is at a swanky photography gallery and we have nude models tastefully strutting their ink.  Zombie boy is our celebrity guest and the DJ, David-A, does our music.  I am seriously going bananas.
This is in New York State, not my photograph, not my lawn.

There are days that I have joked that I should have a sign on my door saying, "no tattooed men need apply" because of the odd things that happen on my front lawn and at the convenience store.  The other joke is that I have become TattoosRUs because I have become a magnet it seems for tattooed related images and artifacts.  Friends offer to photograph tattoos on their vacation to Bora Bora; a friendly curator from Maine (whom I meet in New Brunswick) tells me about her historical collection of flash art.  Don't get me started on the delightfully odd things that complete strangers say to me …and, they even know my name.  

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