Monday, February 6, 2017

Tattooed New York - An Appreciation

This past Thursday night, I had the good fortune to attend the opening party for Tattooed New York at The New York Historical Society in  Manhattan.

A museum exhibit about tattooing, in itself, is wonderful by itself. But, the opening event, in Tattoosday's tenth year, was for me as much as about meeting people who I have written about over the years, and seeing old friends, as it was about the exhibit.

It was great hanging out with Marisa, from Needles and Sins:

and Ginger, who has been a fan of Tattoosday going back to our earlier days

Plus, I met numerous artists that I have written about before, including the wonderful Stephanie, Tamez, Virginia Elwood, Michelle Myles, Brad Fink, and Jen Carmean.

I also ran into Ina Saltz, whose books on typographic tattoos are wonderful reads. Check out my review of her book Body Type 2 here.

Artist Stephanie Tamez and writer Ina Saltz, photo courtesy of Ina Saltz
I also interviewed and took pictures of some tattoos on Charlie Wagner's great-nephew, which will be the subject of a future post.

Once you enter the exhibit, you are transported back through tattooing history, even before the first electric machines were introduced.

But once you get to the roots of tattooing in New York City, the collection of memorabilia and old flash is truly remarkable.

Designs by Frank Harrington, 1944

Flash by Samuel O'Reilly 
And check out these old tattoo machines;

#1 was one of Charlie Wagner's creations
And then there is this classic piece of Americana from Norman Rockwell:

I can't possibly include everything in the exhibit here, this is just a taste, but there's some stunning work on display from artists currently working as well, like this amazing back piece by Michelle Myles:

And once you leave the exhibit hall, the gift shop has some fantastic items for sale (I could have easily spent several hundred dollars on items related to this exhbition alone). I grabbed this cool shirt commemorating the exhibit:

and, so as not to return home empty-handed, a neat pair of socks for my lovely wife:

For a different perspective, check out the story at the New York Times here.

Needless to say, the exhibition, which runs through April 30, 2017, is well worth the visit to the New York Historical Society! The history of tattooing is a long and storied one, but our metropolitan area was (and continues to be) instrumental in the rise and evolution of the art form.

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