Friday, March 19, 2010

I'M FAT. FUCK OFF: The Kansas City Tattoo Convention

Except for the sentiment being splayed across the front of the I'M FAT: FUCK OFF t-shirt, the KC tattoo convention was surprisingly conventional. Like motorcycle bars, punk clubs, and art openings, the room suffered from a multiplicity of sameness packaged as rebellious attitude. Rage against the man morphed into a rancid Diesel ad populated by overweight white males fawned over by legions of slim, cute, American Apparel chicks cloaked in subservience and thrift store accessories. The strong man and the tamed woman with a back story of too many taxes, stifled personal freedoms, and a deep, patriotic abiding love of guns. It could just have been easily been a Tea Party gathering

Most of the tattoo work on display suffered from the notion that if you call it art, then it must be art. When viewed repeatedly, endless derivations of Sailor Jack inspired ink begins to resemble this century's version of a Normal Rockwell poster.

Granted the medium seems inherently limited but Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi-American artist, has recently been stretching the bounds with noted effort. For a recent piece, Mr. Bilal had the names of ten Iraqi cities tatooed in Arabic on his back. The 5,000 black dots used to inscribe these names represent the visible American casulities from the now, 7-year long conflict. To represent the more than 100,000 largely invisible Iraqis who have perished in this war, Billal had the outline of Iraqi tatooed, using 100,000 dots of ultraviolet, black-light ink.

The work benefits a not-for-profit designed to bring children displaced by the Iraqi war to the US for education.

1 comment:

tbv said...

"a multiplicity of sameness packaged as rebellious attitude."

Ouch! I mean, awesome dude, you nailed 'em.

TBV