Lal Hardy and Cally Jo’s Living Exhibit

Whenever a TV channel puts something new out, they’ll always try their best to market it in a ‘different’ way. Most of the time, they’re far from original, and mostly really dull and stupid. Sometimes you can be really surprised though, as I was when I saw the way that truTV have launched their new series of Ink Masters. Instead of the usual cheesy posters or online quizzes that people seem to love when launching a new TV show, truTV asked Lal Hardy and Cally Jo to show us an art exhibit with a difference.

Instead of showing photos or artwork by tattooers to show the usual Daily Mail crowd that tattooing is an art form, Lal and Cally decided to really show what it’s all about, by using real live models as the exhibits. For anyone who read last week’s post about preserving your skin and thought it would be interesting to be in a gallery, this could be a little further up your street! The exhibit, all curated by Lal and Cally, displayed some absolutely fantastic work by tattooers all over the world. The Daily Mail covered this quite well (shock!), though they did enjoy focusing a little too much on the tattoo Cally Jo gave Rihanna instead of focusing on the rest of her work. From the article:


Lal Hardy said: ‘Many of the practitioners involved in the project are the Rembrandts, Van Gogh’s and Titians of the skin embellishment world.

‘There’s no better way to celebrate the ink masters of the modern era than at the opening of the art gallery of skin.’


This looks like a really cool exhibit. One of the cool things about tattoos is that they are living moving pieces of art. They’re not a boring stationary image to stick on your wall and sell when you think they’ll be worth money. To produce an image that looks great on something that moves around constantly is really hard, and that’s what makes tattooers such fantastic artists. If your tattoo looks terrible the second you move an inch, it’s not a real tattoo. This shows tattoos on the volunteers’ skin, moving around and healing properly in the way it should do. This is something that you could never do in any other way. Photos of tattoos are great, but they’re not a true reflection on how great a tattoo really is.

On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that this puts tattoos into some kind of a freak show in some people’s eyes. I think you really have to have the right frame of mind to be able to take this kind of exhibit seriously. There will be people out there who came to see this for the novelty of it, or who like to poke fun at the ‘freaks’ who get tattoos. In all honesty, I was quite surprised to see that the Daily Mail had bothered to write such a positive review of the exhibition, as it’s very easy to take this project the wrong way. The whole thing reminds me of family gatherings where people stare at my tattoos and prod my skin as if I’m an animal in a zoo, and there’s an element of that which makes me feel a little uncomfortable.

Overall though, I think that this exhibit is really interesting, and if you can look at it with an open mind it’s really fun too! Lal, Cally, and all of the ‘exhibits’ did a really fantastic job, and it would be cool to see tattooing showcased to the public in more exciting ways like this in the future.


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