There all forms of art around us, some is obvious while other forms of art aren’t. But you would see from the artist point of view, they start with a blank canvass in what ever form, even if its just in the mind.
Tattoos are for many, a form of art. The origins go back hundreds of years and seen as part of tribal and ritual signs put on the skin to show their place within the community, which their part of.
In the modern world, for some tribal images on ones skin is having a unique look to them, its a talking point, a belong to, or fashion statement as well as mark of remembrance of something or someone.
Meeting Chelsea, gave me a new view to tattoos, because for her, they tell a story of her Bristol heritage, to me this is unique. Each tattoo on her arms and legs are about Bristol and its navel era, which has been lost within the centres docks of Bristol, but still alive on the outskirts of the city within Avonmouth, which is a huge hub for imports and exports by ships, just as it was over hundred years ago.
Th ideas come from Chelsea for each tattoo, which is then past onto the tattoo artist. For the tattoo artist, its a unique canvass, that's not flat and has corners, sloping up and down, it stretches like elastic. They have to positioned in a way that makes the story viewable and make sense to the viewer.
I have no tattoos, but have been fascinate by there clear colourful image they have. The technique today is less problematic of infection unlike centuries ago, but still has the connection of pain in the use of a pointed tool to pierce the top layer of skin. This connection of pain and tattoo is a mark of endurance, the ability to over come pain for the respect of the outcome.
They for the most part cannot be removed. People have tattoos as part of showing their love for another, but when that relationship breaks down, the tattoos becomes a reminder that then is seen as a scar, a blob in life that one wishes to leave behind. Today, the use of lasers can remove the tattoo, but then left with the scar, it shows that it’s something that can’t be totally removed and is always a reminder. For others they have another tattoo to blot out old with the new.
Chelsea has made a huge decision in how her canvass of skin is to look, it shows the world a unique yet living piece of art that she can walk around with, she can tell a story of time, in passed and present that many can see and read like a book, as each one is in unison.
I’ve approached this from a photographic way, which is how I see the images from a distance, they bring the colourfulness, vibrant contour of the skin along her arms and legs that make Chelsea who she is. She is not a tribal warrior or part of a clan, she is someone that just wants to tell a story, her story in her way, which makes her unique like we all are.
MUA - Alistair Barclay