Art gallery gets inked up

Students with a passion for the arts were recently supplied with a unique display of creativity, which showcased tattoo artwork. On Thursday, Oct. 13, the “Ink and Needles” opening reception was held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Contemporary Art Gallery.

“Ink and Needles” is a tattoo exhibit comprised of actual tattoos and tattoo-inspired art.  Large scale photographs of full body tattoos, paintings, sketches lined the walls while students and faculty alike leaned in for a closer look.

“I started thinking about this show about three years ago,” said Dale Newkirk, gallery director and professor of art. “It’s just a personal interest that I have, and it’s not something that’s been in galleries very much. It has a very different popular language, so that’s why I wanted to bring that into the gallery.”

From American traditional to Asian inspired, this show encompassed a range of the many different styles of tattoos.  More than 20 artists from various states, such as Louisiana, Florida and Washington, were showcased.

Donn Davis, New Orleans tattoo artist of Tattooagogo, acted as the technical advisor for the exhibition. Some of his work was displayed in the show, along with art by Annette La Rue of Electric Ladyland, also in New Orleans.

“The show is very interesting; it’s very diverse,” said Andrew Pullman, an art education senior with a concentration in ceramics. “I like that they have actual tattoo work on people, and then those same artists are making artwork with different materials, such as a painting. It’s nice to see that it’s not just a tattoo show, but it’s in different mediums with the same elements.”

With tattoos growing in popularity at a rapid pace, their stance as a form of art has also become a popular topic of conversation.

“I would consider [tattooing] a form of art,” said Jonathan Kendall, a new media and animation senior. “The age-old question is ‘What is art?’ Anything is art if we set it up into a situation where people like it or don’t like it, and it evokes an emotion. With tattoos, I think it takes skill to actually use the human body as a canvas.”

The “Ink and Needles” tattoo exhibition will be open in the Contemporary Art Gallery in East Strawberry Stadium until November 11. For more information about upcoming exhibits, contact the gallery at 985-549-5080 or email Dale Newkirk at [email protected].