My work is often inspired by the close relationship between tattoos and the honoring of plants and animals by other cultures, both past and present.
At the Brooklyn Museum is a small exhibition of jewelry, pottery, hunting tools and other objects of the indigenous peoples of the Americas in the Pre-Columbian time. One of the objects is a gold Chiriqui pendant of a spider whose legs end in human hands. This pendant served as an active extension of its owner, like tattoos, and a communicator of awe for a creature of nature.
An artist whose work includes spiders is Louise Bourgeois who saw spiders as elegant, fearsome and protective.
A phoenix is tattooed on her torso. Her hand rests on her hip. This is a window into hope. She is surrounded by burning, smoke and golden haze. Fires set to disrupt a rain forest habitat. Home for myriad insects, animals and hospitable for humans without destruction. No need for a monoculture of beef or the illegal logging of trees.
As if in flight, the insect and bird wings embrace her phoenix. If only this forest could rise from the ashes.
Artists in a current exhibition at The Brooklyn Museum communicate the problems of strife and political upheaval. Goya and Kathe Kollwitz made powerful works about the effects of war. Contemporary artist Titus Kaphar observed, in commenting on this exhibit, that we need to highlight these artists who resisted and communicated the troubles that they saw.