Saturday, May 3, 2008
Matt's Aubrey Beardsley Tattoo (Salome for the 21st Century)
I spotted this tattoo on the inner forearm of Matt, on April 26, 2008.
I was just about to leave St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, a church that is a landmark edifice, both architecturally and culturally, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There had been a poetry reading earlier in the day, a tribute reading to Barbara Guest, who died in 2006. I was packing up my bag to leave the wine and cheese reception when I spotted the ink out of the corner of my eye.
"It's based on an Aubrey Beardsley woodcut," Matt explained, "it's Salome".
Oh, the Dance of the Seven Veils. Matt nodded, but went on to explain that the tattoo was modified a little.
For example, in the original woodcut, Salome is holding the severed head of John the Baptist. I believe this is the Beardsley woodcut to which he was referring:
Matt's friend Kazumi Kikuchi helped revise the sketch to alter the head to a broken heart. He also added the Japanese characters at the top of the piece.
Matt gave credit to the band Daddy for the broken heart image which replaced the severed head. He said that the image was on an album cover of theirs. I was unable to find any art from the album but did find this promo shot, which has the heart image in the lower corner:
This piece was inked at Atomic Ink in Hudson, New York. Matt, who has "4 or 5" tattoos, did not recall the name of the artist.
I thanked Matt for talking with me, but decided to ask one more question. "What's with the heart at the bottom of the piece?"
"Oh," he smiled, "My wife, Laura, did that, with a needle and some India ink". Laura, sitting nearby, piped in, "I have a matching one here," pointing to her right thigh, "but you can't see it." Her jeans prevented an easy peek.
Thanks to Matt for sharing his woodcut tattoo with us!