I had the privilidge of meeting Guy Aitchison in Chicago at the Worldwide Tattoo Conference a few months ago and was immediately struck by his straightforward commonsense attitude about art and tattooing. He is about as far removed from the “diva – self important artist” as you can get and was not only willing to share his knowledge but eager to do so.
What makes this especially interesting is the fact that his works are world-class amazing. You may or may not appreciate his style and subject matter – but there is no question he is a master and his skills are incredibly impressive.
I am a relative newcomer as it relates to knowing anything about tattooing. But what I have learned over the past several months has amazed and inspired me in ways that I never expected. I had no idea of the mind blowing level of artistry that was possible to embed into the skin. The possibilities extend so far beyond what I imagined that it is almost impossible to describe. There is a new emergence of artistic achievement in our midst that equals the achievements of the Renaissance masters and manifests as a rebirth of ancient traditions in the same way. There are so many matching paradigms it is astonishing. The transition to the modern age. The artist/patron relationship. The development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. The incorporation of contemporary scientific knowledge. And on and on…
That there are great works residing just under the clothing of people walking around on the street is hard to wrap your head around. And in an age of technology, an amazing tattoo exists in its own space and must be seen in person to be fully appreciated. All photography falls short of the experience of seeing an amazing tattoo in person. But I can say with certainty that imagery that depicts space goes a long way towards simulating the experience in a compelling way. It is the sense of sharing the space with the collector of the tattoo and the intricacy and detail and struggle of the artist along with the tattoo collector that makes this artform uniquely special. Pain and sacrifice for beauty – that’s pretty amazing.
To answer the question posed in the title of this post, Guy Aitchison is a leader bringing the artform of tattooing out into the mainstream and helping to further the art in very important ways. He is sharing his understanding and passion. And the art is breaking out in ways that inspire and move people in ways that haven’t been in evidence for a long time.
Whether you have a tattoo or you don’t. You have to appreciate that the art of tattooing is something that is important and speaks to the soul. I saw a facebook post by local tattoo artist “Canman” a few days ago that linked to the following words: Earth without art is “eh”. I don’t know where that originated from, but it is so true. Guy Aitchison is one among many that is putting art back into Earth.