We are in the midst of an exploding art renaissance. It has all of the traditional things – apprenticeships, skills and tools of the trade, patrons, collectors, teachers, critics, genius and idiocy… Experimentation with pigments, inks and exploring canvas in a new way- a living canvas with its time-lapse degradation and fading – restoration and cover up. Welcome to the world of tattoos.
The similarities to the art renaissance of Da Vinci’s time are striking. But there is something troubling and that is what I call the oriental rug effect (ORE). When I look at the way tattoos are depicted on the internet and in magazines I am struck by all that is missing in those depictions. Like furniture on an oriental rug, so much is covered up and hidden from view. Indeed, in many cases the tattoo is treated like a design element, again like an oriental rug. To change the feel of the image, but not something that stands alone to be studied and enjoyed. Pleasing visual noise, like jewelry, a nice hair style and well applied makeup.
Is a tattoo just visual noise? Is it worthy of the moniker true art?
Well, I have seen mind blowing tattoo works of art. Stunning detail, color, use of human body topography in ways that are incredibly creative, inventive, thought provoking… Works that deserve detailed study and appreciation like an impressive music performance, work of poetry, painting or sculpture.
The standard for the way we look at tattoo imagery needs to change. A well crafted tattoo deserves a viewing audience, but just like the world famous violinist Joshua Bell who was relatively unnoticed when he played in a New York Subway station (http://www.hoax-slayer.com/joshua-bell-subway.shtml ) people must become educated to appreciate works by skilled artisans. This can be fostered through the way the art is depicted.
This is one of the reasons why I’ve been working so hard to perfect AMPED 3D and AMPED 360 imagery.