Tattoos. To some they are an expression of individuality while to others they are symbol of affection or love, while still others regard them as little more than a foolish desire to mark one’s body through a painful process. In some circles they are a social statement against the “norm”; in others their meaning can go a lot deeper, mirroring tribal markings of old. When opposing views on their merit meet, the discussion can be heated.
But there is something that’s undeniable about tattoos: they can be quite exquisite works of art, a living, if you will, expression of creativity, both on the part of the artist responsible for the inking, and the person desiring their body to be so marked and coloured.
And through virtual environments such as Second Life, the opportunity to express this joint creative desire is perfectly framed. Not only do the tattoos here remain as fresh and bright as they day they were first inked, so do the bodies on which they appear tend to stay untouched by the passing years. Thus both art and “canvas” remain as fresh an expression of creativity as the day the artist first inked them, or the day we first wore them. And of course, within the virtual, tattoos can be worn painlessly, offering each of us a means of self expression we might otherwise baulk it in the physical world (and I speak as one very much in this category!).
All of these aspects of tattoos in Second Life are wonderfully brought together by Elizabeth (ElizabethNantes) in Inked, the latest exhibition to grace the walls of Dathúil Gallery operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd). The 23 pieces on display are extraordinary studies which work on a number of levels.
First, and given tattoos are the focus, most are nude studies, many of which are sensual or erotic in their expression. Second, there is a wonderful balance between colour and black-and-white images which both compliment and contrast with one another, drawing the visitor deeper into the exhibit, encouraging repeated study of each image both on its own and alongside of its companions.
And then there are the tattoos themselves, created by 7Prodigy, Aitui, Bolson, Cureless, SpeakEasy and WhiteWidow. Some are full body, others covering just a specific limb or body part, all reflecting the vision and talent behind their creation. Some of the featured tattoos may well invoke the kind of mixed responses I hinted towards at the top of this article, but the entrancing beauty of all of the pieces cannot be denied.
Which brings me, finally, to the framing of the images. In each and every piece, this is quite simply perfect. Sensual and / or erotic some may be, nude they undoubtedly are, and rich is the contrast between black-and-white and colour studies; but there is also something more here. An elegance in both the framing of each image and the pose (either by Elizabeth herself or DelMay) used. Through them, the tattoos worn by Elizabeth’s models, and the models themselves – Joslyn Benson, Daze(DaisyDaze), EllaSparkss, Jammie Hill, Kazu Koray, Hillany Scofield and Brandon Taselian – become a unified statement of art and natural beauty.
This is another outstanding exhibition hosted at Dathúil, where it will remain open through until the end of July. And it is one that should not be missed by any patron of the arts in Second Life.
- Dathúil Gallery (Rated: Adult)