I'll be travelling to Blackburn this Thursday to take part in BBC Radio Lancashire's night time phone in show as a guest talking about tattoos and tattoo regrets. This is part of the work I'm doing for the opening exhibition at the new multi disciplinary arts venue HOME, next Spring.
Up until recently I wasn't able to say exactly where the theme for this group show came from as the programme hadn't been announced, but now I can reveal that the idea for the show is based around the play Kasimir and Karoline which will be showing at HOME in a new version called The Funfair.
Taking the themes of the play into the galleries, the opening exhibition explores heart break and the dark side of the funfair and this is where I decided to concentrate on the concept of the freakshow and specifically The Tattooed Lady.
People love an oddity, but as one sideshow manager put it, 'it was not the show, it was the tale you told' which brought in the crowds. The tattooed exhibits of the travelling fairs, circuses and side shows were no different; as well as giving the public a chance to see naked flesh (always a draw!) they also treated them to a story or two about the pictures adorning their skin.
I have always been drawn to the vintage aesthetic of tattoos and this mixed with the fact that currently one fifth of the British public is tattooed seemed a great subject to explore. With the idea in mind that many people get tattooed for love; be it true love or a personal passion like a sport, film star or band, it isn't unusual for the passion to subside, the relationship to move on, but the bearer be left with an outdated declaration of love on their skin for the rest of their life.
Not to mention that emotional scars can run as deep as phyiscal ones; a tattoo is a scar that can act as a lasting reminder of love, impetuousness, naivety, and also sadness.
I want to collect people's stories about their ex love tattoos as part of this project with the aim to create a tattood lady based on modern tales of love gone wrong and this Thursday you can share your own tales on the Alison Butterworth show 10pm-1am on BBC Radio Lancashire.
It promises to be an interesting night with tattooed guests and tattoo artists included. I look forward to hearing your stories and opinions!