Sunday, 17 May 2015

The making of a machine!

So much has happened since my last post about my project The Tattooed Lady, so let me fill you in briefly on just some of it!

The Tattooed Lady is my most recent art project and is a vintage style penny arcade machine which dispences tattoo tranfers. In this post I'll talk about the machine itself and I'll do posts about the transfers and the painting of the Lady to follow.

I wanted a 1900's feel to the work landing somewhere around Boardwalk Empire era, not quite art noveau but heading towards art deco. Some of my inspiration came from original end of the pier machines like this:

You can see further inspiration and my rough drawings for the machine HERE

Being made up from an old wardrobe I found at a secondhand furniture warehouse, the Lady was then constructed to my specific design and dimensions by Tom, fantastic carpenter to the arts, who did a brilliant job of making my vision a reality:

 (See the sign written panel being created HERE)

These parts from the wardrobe (one of the reasons I chose it) were put to good use in the final construction on the machine to add period detail and interest.


Ta-daa! The machine exists! You can compare and contrast with my drawing above to see how spot on it is!

Next was the job of fitting lights and a bell which will 'DING!' everytime a transfer is dispenced. Enter Steve, from Manchester's Owl Project, an expert in electrics.

I wanted the sort of bulbs where the filiment would show when lit and a bell that made me think of a 'test your strength' machine from a fairground.

After much consultation on what would actually work Steve made was able to fit lights that have made the machine come alive! I was so thrilled when I entered his studio last week to see the Lady beaming and lit up, it was so exciting!


I have painted a panel to be fitted onto the upper body of the machine of a rather lovely vintage tattooed lady and will share more details in my future posts. In the meantime, if you'd like to get a sneak preview of what she looks like head over to the project's facebook page: The Tattooed Lady: Tales of Love and Regret 

The Tattooed Lady will be shown as part of The heart Is Deceitful Above All Things at HOME 22nd May - 26th July

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