Tuesday 14 October 2014

Tales of Love and Regret

Imagine it's 1929, and that the travelling fair has just reached your town. You've heard so many things about it that you can't wait to visit and experience it all for yourself.

You've never travelled anywhere, not been far from home or ever seen much of the world, but suddenly a whole train of new people with exotic lifestyles sets up temporary camp on your doorstep.

That first night the sky is lit up with coloured lights and the air is filled with the squeals and delighted screams of your friends riding the big wheel and the ghost train. Every one of your senses is assaulted; you smell the tang of sweat from the boxing ring and you can still taste the syrupy toffee apple stuck to your teeth.

As you search for the next entertainment you eyes are caught by a bright billboard outside a tent, it reads, 'The Living Art Gallery - To be seen ALIVE!' 

Your interest is completely piqued, you pay your admittance fee and join the back of a small crowd waiting for the red velvet curtains in front of them to part. 

'Ladies and gentlemen prepare yourselves for a sight that goes against every notion of civilized culture. It should never have been allowed, but let her tell you herself about how an innocent young woman has been transformed into the extaordinary exhibit you shall witness this very night. I present to you, The Tattooed Lady!'

The curtains part, the small crowd gasps and you own eyes widen in shock. There on the low stage striking the most confident of poses stands a woman in a barely there costume. But she looks fully clothed, for every inch of skin below her neckline is covered in colouful pictures. You glimpse sailing ships on her chest, eagles swooping across her collar bones and flags and flowers playing down her arms.

It repulses you yet fascinates you at the same time. How could this have happened? Why would a woman let this outrageous thing be done to herself? But your curiosity doesn't have long to wait, for as you crane your neck to get a better view, the Lady bids you all welcome and asks you to step closer to hear her adventures, her travails and her tales of love and regret...

Welcome to my new project, The Tattooed Lady; Tales of Love and Regret. This work is inspired by heart break, break ups and the dark side of the fun fair and is to be shown as part of a group show in Manchester's new arts venue HOME next spring.

Join the facebook page HERE

I am fascinated by tattoos and those images of tattooed women from the early 20th Century are especially exciting to me as they would have been so shocking and disturbing to the public of their day. I find the aesethic is so uncontrived and beautiful that I couldn't help but be drawn to them as a starting point for my work.

This project aims to create a contemporary tattooed lady based on modern tales of love gone wrong. 

There are many reasons to be tattooed for love; teenage impulse, obsession with a celebrity or even a brand or character, and of course, getting inked in honour of your true love. But not all these reasons stick, even if the marks they leave are lasting. 

To create this work, I want to hear YOUR stories of love tattoos you now regret. Please share them either on the FACEBOOK page or anonymously through the form on my WEBSITE.

These stories will go on to inspire the finished work and your input will go on to create something beautiful and exciting for others to experience much in the same way as the audience of the travelling fair of the past.

More to come...