The Last Performance

Henry Goldfield used to say to me “we’re in showbiz”. Maybe that’s where I got the idea for my piece. Because I don’t do performance art very often I’m extremely conscious of what I am doing, why am I doing it and what does it mean? Although the performance is really an extension of what I do every day for work, I’ve taken it out of context and presented it in a way that is my own vision of tattooing and beauty.

When getting ready for the “stage” I took a lot of care in how I wanted to present myself. This is no different than any other day except the choice of items. A special occasion, merits something out of the ordinary, something extra. I choose the role, become the character, using what I can cull from the outside to create the illusion.

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Self Dissatisfaction, Change and Transformation

Self image: If we are born into a body or a face that does not correspond to our ideal we have to adjust our ideal or change what is in our power to change (kustomise the chassis). Tattoos and makeup are a personal choice and how we see ourselves or would like to see ourselves. I’m an artist. “I” can be the medium I use to create my art. Living for a while in Europe I can see that it is an American idea to create your identity or create a new identity. It comes from the days of Ellis Island. The chance start a new life in the new world. Shorten your name (maybe not even by your choice) start a new story. Life is a course where we metamorphose into our true individual identity. Our personal development unfolds in layers. A chameleon changes color with it’s mood or to blend in with it’s environment. As an artist I create the image in the mirror. I decorate until I feel in harmony with what I see before me just as I change and add to a painting until I feel it’s done. This image can change as I develop or considering my surroundings.

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Artifice and Mystery: Tools for Identity

Some things that I’m aware of while doing this performance; which I have my doubts about. The question occurs to me often because it’s a stereotype that I detest, that women use makeup and feminine decoration to offer themselves up as an object of desire. Think of the Peacock’s colorful display. It serves to catch the eye/grab the attention of the opposite sex. Are we really that conditioned to please? That all of our efforts at decoration are to attract a mate? I ask myself, is that why I got tattooed? The answer is no. To feel attractive gives confidence and is more of a personal desire not necessarily for others. Out of personal pride for my appearance I present the best me. Did you know that learning and magic are listed in the definition of glamour in Webster’s dictionary? For me as an artist glamour is one the best ways to express my ideas, my personality.

 

 

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How can you be a feminist in high heels?

Fate brought me while I was contemplating this article a friend of one my clients with a book about “Nomads” by the feminist Rosi Braidotti. Apparently new feminists who are nomads are “in process or becoming” using some of the past to figure out our position today. Braidotti speaks of woman being considered monstrous, both fascinating and abnormal at the same time. Deviant. She is greatly influence by the work of french philosopher Deleuze also Chris Weedon. The latter spoke about the female being considered “different”. Male equals logical, female equals irrational (intuitive). Difference is seen as negative. How curious that tattoos are also seen as negative! I got tattooed to be different. Maybe it’s because I already feel different by being a woman. I want to mark and accentuate this difference with make-up, long hair and skirts. Maybe even high heels if I don’t have to walk too far! People say that being tattooed is a masculine trait. I don’t agree. The tattooed woman is on a quest to “be” different. Look, 90% of all tattoo magazines have a woman on the cover. The exotic image sells the magazine but is the ideal client today a woman? Maybe!

My peformance was delivered to teach, to demonstrate; to make me and the audience fascinated and curious. I guess what I’m saying is be different, stand out from the rest. If this is showbiz, the show must go on!

Rosi Braidotti. Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994

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Inside my Little Trailer

Some notes about the visuals of my performance:

Fringed shawls, scarves, a chinese lantern, beads and chains that curtained the entry, all the charms of the gypsy enchantress.

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I was really pleased with the first photos. The caravan created a frame around me and my client. The images remind me of comic episodes of live action inside a hollowed out tv cabinet.

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Strong symbols of blood and roses, needles and daggers. Classic tattoo imagery.

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Photos from our stay in a real gypsy wagon, photos of my grandmother, a really great bakelite and rhinestone crucifix, some of my sugar skulls, all the little personal touches I added to make the space really mine.

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A page out of Glenn Barr’s book; “Savage Women Captured!” It’s message is in harmony with my vision of my performance art piece.

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A pillow made by a client who follows this blog and appreciates my “Higher the Hair the Closer to God” posts. A girl after my own heart. Thanks so much for this thoughtful gift, Kris Munroe!

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A couple of photos of me that serve as an introduction to novices of my little world.

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I lit vanilla candles and for me they seemed to invoke the smell of cotton candy on the midway. Exactly the kind of ambiance I wanted to create.

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Some Photos Posted by Others

These are all photos that were posted and tagged on Facebook. Most of the photos are watermarked by the photographer.

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Some Clients- Guests in my Caravan

I told some of my cherished clients; “Come and get your tattoo finshed in a fairy tale setting”.

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Without my clients, their ideas, their conversation, their support, I am nothing. I am so grateful that someone would want to wear a piece of my art on them for life. I am so sensitive to the trust they place in me. Accordingly, I was so pleased to offer this special souvenir for some of my favorite clients, a tattoo session in this theatrical setting.

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We had so much fun!

Now it is finished and I’m moving on to new things. I have a couple more posts of photos of the last performance and then I will show you some photos from my trip to Japan!

 

Le Cabaret Organique Les Photos du 26 Mai

Fascination for the forbidden.

Exposed skin,

Exotic,

The deviant in lipstick, and lace,

High heels and mascara.

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The viewer will see my client as some kind of strange female fakir. The tattoo as a spiritual act. First the discomfort instills compassion for those who suffer involuntarily. A beatific act of beauty; by the pain entering a state of bliss (because of the endorphins) to receive grace and feel blessed.

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Why does she do it? The reasons to get tattooed are as numerous as the choice of motifs. But it looks painful! Yes however, pain is a part of many beauty rituals. The tattoo machine is a torture device much like those old fashioned hood hair dryers you find at the beauty parlor. Think of all suffering we endure in the name of beauty:

Piercing

Permanents

High heels

Clip on earrings

Corsets

Hair pulled too tight

Epilation

Chemical hair dyes

Dieting

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Le Cabaret Organique Les Photos du 19 Mai

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Is it a Man Trap or like viewing caged animals in a zoo?

 

Voyeurism seems to be a very natural human curiousity, especially when it comes to watching someone getting a tattoo. People are fascinated even if they’re not interested in tattoos.  In a tattoo street shop ogling can be very annoying for both the artist and the client. But why not present the act of tattooing especially for the voyeur inside everyone? Of course I had to find clients who were willing.This “peak through the keyhole” while two girls are involved in mysterious beauty rituals is a magnetic attraction. It appeals to people’s fantasies. Even though I could care less about appealing to anyone’s fantasies with my tattoos, I’m aware of this gravitational pull. It’s the allure of sex appeal. A woman can use her body to charm. But it’s also her body which she lives in and can do with as she likes, decorate as she wishes, not necessarily to please or enchant.

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My strange beauty parlor is here as a service for ladies who want their bodies adorned and embellished with a permanent “warpaint”. The ambiance of an old time circus sideshow, a string of carnival lights. The buzz of the machine lures the audience. Curvaceous long legs hypnotize like the enchantment of the serpent under a spell. Glamour and the promise of romance enamour, bewitch, and captivate. It’s a dazzling dream this eyefull of freakish beauty.

 

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Cabaret Organique 19 Mai- Ce Samedi Soir!

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Samedi soir, je serai à nouveau au Cabaret Organique pour une performance. Je vais tatouer une star de l’Underground parisien, Poupée.

Saturday night, I will be holding another performance at the Cabaret Organique. I’ll be tattooing a star of the Parisienne underground, Poupée.

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16 passage Choiseul

Paris 2ème

29 euro; 46 euro 2 nights; 65 euro 3 nights

catalogue: 39 euro

 

Le Cabaret Organique

I’ve been dropping hints for a few weeks now about my performance art piece. The inauguration was monday night and it was a huge success. I can finally share a few photos with you of what I’ve been working on for the last few months.

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The expo is a group show with many different art forms, all based on the theme of the female body. Almost a year ago I was contacted by a mysterious organisation called “Nyctalopes” about the show and asked if I would like to do a “live painting” performance. I laughed and said “it was out of the question”. Painting is so personal to me, it horrifies me to think of people watching me do it, plus my technique is so fussy and detailed that things don’t advance very fast and you wouldn’t see any evolution in just one night. However, I said, I have no problem having people watch me tattoo.

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I thought it would be funny to play with typical male fantasises about tattooed women and try to make a tableau out of the act of tattooing. I always try to be glamorous at tattoo conventions, but can never make it as theatrical as I imagine. We discussed just me tattooing japanese style, on the floor, with cushions and bohemian fabrics. I also mentioned that it was a dream to have a little retro trailer to decorate and tattoo in.

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A few months later I was asked me to stop by the Nyctalopes headquarters and see what Dm RK had made for me. Much to my amazement I saw this fabulous little jewel sitting in the living room. A fully dismantle-able gypsy wagon!

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One day someone came by my shop with an American style mailbox. It was thier idea that I paint it like a wagon. I also already had my lucky tattoo stool in the works and decided it was a good accessory for the show. I painted the two banners that are attached to the outside of the trailer and my convention banner is also hanging in the room. There are candles and framed pictures on the inside of the trailor that I will show you later.

My room is in the basement of the gallery in what we call in France the “cave”. Vaulted ceilings and stone walls. The gallery itself is in a “Passage” a french term for a covered shopping area. There are over a dozen of these small passages in Paris and I’m crazy about them. Imagine the first mall, over 100 years old filled with quirky shops and many with artist’s ateliers.

They laid down astroturf in my room and printed a large photo of a field of cherry trees in blossom. It really makes my trailer look like it’s parked somewhere idyllic.

I hardly did anything! All I have to do is tattoo girls in it for four nights. (The next 3 consecutive saturdays) I’m also going to bring a few clients in for the next three week to use it as my tattoo studio.

To find girls to do this performance with me I held a casting at my facebook page and had over 30 responses in just 24 hours. I chose a dozen girls who’s ideas I liked and I will tattoo about three of them each night. The rules are that they have to dress very glamorous and “sexy” without being vulgar.

These photos were taken by Delphine Duverger.

I will post more photos as the month passes by and explain some of my artistic mumbo jumbo of my intentions about the performance (a small manifesto).