You are the Canvas
But you've probably never seen ink like this before
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
11:11AM, Fri. Jan. 13, 2012
"Skin" as Rod Steiger drawled
in that Ray Bradbury movie, "illustrations."
Thousands of them, these skin illustrations,
either already inked & healed, or still in-process,
or just now going under the gun for the first time –
all those colors & curves, those shapes & shades,
blossoming like arcane foliage along the outside
of arms, legs, backs, bellies, sometimes entire bodies.
You want to see many of the best in the Lone Star State?
Then you want to get your ass, illustrated or otherwise,
down to the Palmer Events Center this weekend for
the 10th Annual Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival.
There'll be tattoos of all kinds, of course,
from oldschool Sailor Jerry flash needled in electrically
to even older Japanese-style artwork done with bamboo darts.
There'll be body-graphics displaying
a love for Norwegian death metal bands
or proclaiming allegiance to Darwinism
or presenting Hello Kitty in bondage gear.
There will be images to rival the best works
found on tony gallery walls or the wildest graffiti
brightening any urban grayspace.
There'll be a lot of ink on flesh, citizen, is what there will be.
And much of it will be stunning.
"The trend toward color photo-realism in the last few years
has been amazing to watch," says Star of Texas founder Marcy Molkenthen.
When asked to name names,
to spotlight photo-realism at the Revival,
Molkenthen offers Austin resident Nick Baxter.
"Nick is one of the best in the genre," she says.
"Twenty years ago we would have scoffed and said
'That stuff will never hold up – it will look terrible in 10 years.'
But there are young artists now who are pulling it off."
They pull it off well enough this weekend,
they could win one of the event's daily awards.
But, awards or not, they – all the artists there,
and the colorful crowds of aficionados with skin illustrations –
will be winning the admiration of all who can see.