My work is a combination of experimental photographic techniques and hand-applied color. To make the photographic base image, I collage negatives of photographed tattoos with negatives of flora and fauna. For the tattoos, I photograph people’s tattoos with a 4X5″ camera and enlarge the negatives onto larger film in the darkroom. The negatives I use for my imagery of flora and fauna are camera-free. In the darkroom, I project a small object — a flower or a piece of seaweed, for example — onto negative film with my enlarger. I try to allow the shapes to take form in an organic process of discovery, working with various degrees of focus in the final image.
I then combine multiple negatives of tattoos with negatives of flora and fauna. Next, I paint palladium emulsion on handmade translucent Japanese gampi paper. Once the emulsion has dried, I place the negatives on it and top with glass and expose the image outdoors in the sun. It can take mere minutes in the summer or even hours in the winter for the image to form.
Depending on my ideas for each work, I may expose the work again with other negatives or paint it with water colors. Each unique work is process driven. At each stage I decide how the work is communicating.
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.
In the spring of 2017, my work was part of the exhibition “Tattooed New-York” at The New-York Historical Society. This exhibition traced the history of tattooing in New York starting with the native peoples to our times. It was curated by Cristian Petru Panaite.
My piece, “Hands Fly”, was exhibited with work that expands tattooing from the personal into art.
Tattooing was and is a part of human cultures globally.
In my work I take small fragments of nature and make camera-free negatives. I combine these with photographs I have taken of people’s tattoos. The fragments of flora and fauna loom larger than the tattoos of my models in my works. I do this to compare our human scale to the expanse of the Earth. I hope that people viewing my work may comprehend the magnificent life around us.
To recall six foot waves, meadows, tidal surges, eight inch oysters that this was the land that the Gowanus canal replaced. Fortunately, we now have human creativity surging through this area of Brooklyn.
For my part in the Gowanus Open Studios 2019, one of my works is of a man reaching with his hand to feel the softness of a meadow plant. I will display this palladium print on Japanese gampi paper and a few other works as part of GOS2019 on the weekend of October 19th and 20th, from noon to 6 PM.
The location is King Killer Studio, 69 Second Ave. near 9th Street in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn.
The link to all the artists exhibiting is https://www.artsgowanus.org.
The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, BWAC, is exhibiting “More Art of Coney Island”, a curated exhibition for the month of August, 2022. This is a juried show selected by Alicia Degener, co-president of BWAC.
Coney Island is considered to be the poor man’s Riviera. The artists in this exhibition have works depicting the multitudes of people who enjoy Coney Island. The artists represent people of all ages. One can almost hear the sounds of people laughing, talking, listening to music, shouting and even screaming when they go on the rides offered on Coney Island. The drawings, paintings, prints, textiles, and photographs show people on the boardwalk, on the beach, in the water, playing games and particularly participating in the annual Mermaid Parade. I think the Mermaid Parade honors the feminine archetype or Venus, who in mythology rose from the sea.
I am pleased to have my palladium prints of people with tattoos exhibited in this immense wooden building, once a warehouse, and now is a place for art and people to mingle.
My artwork in the form of palladium prints is on exhibit. This exhibition has been curated by Azure Arts and the dates are February 23, 2023 to March 13, 2023. The venue is located at 5 Rivington Street in Manhattan. My work is in correspondence with two other artists who address the theme of “Vital Impetus”.
“Vital impetus” derives from the concept of “elan vital” , a term coined by the French philosopher Henri Bergson. Rather than simply adhering to a set of mechanistic laws, Bergson contended that life has an inherent drive or impulse towards creativity, growth and innovation. While his philosophy emphasizes the role of individual experience, consciousness and creativity, he also saw the ‘self’ as fundamentally connected to others. The ‘self’ for Bergson, stands in dynamic relation to others. The ‘self’ is evolving constantly through its interactions with others.
In my artworks on exhibit, the human body is explored as a site for construction and communication of identity. Tattoos are vehicles for merging our human experiences with the larger world. By culling images from mythology, artifacts, and flora and fauna, my work explores the vital connections between self and other.
My handmade artworks, about the metamorphosis that tattooing gives people, are exhibited with the work of two other artists at a boutique hotel on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Untitled at 3 Freeman Alley, from November 2023 through February 15, 2024. The exhibit titled “Vital Impetus: Life Signs”, curated by Elizabeth Chatham of Azure Arts NYC is situated in the expansive modern lobby. The hotel aims to provide guests, the “tattoo generation”, with the flavor of New York City with our artworks, murals and even graffiti.
My handmade artistic approach fits with the murals hand painted in the hotel. My works on exhibit are about tattoos. I use film when I photograph people’s tattoos. I enlarge my 4X5 inch film in a wet darkroom and brush palladium on handmade Japanese gampi paper to print my negatives. I use the sun to develop the images.
The handmade Japanese gampi paper, situates the palladium images of tattoos like tattoo ink penetrates skin. Gampi paper is made from a bush found in the mountains and warm areas of Japan. Gampi cannot be cultivated and therefore is rare and the most expensive of the handmade Japanese papers. Its translucency and shiny texture make it ideal for my work incorporating tattoos with fragments of nature. It is the perfect ground for the metamorphosis I seek in my artwork where human tattoos meet fragments of nature. This metamorphosis, I hope, will transform the experience of people sitting in the comfortable lobby as they talk, enjoy coffee and work.