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T. GAMBLE: Drawing on a new body of art

OPINION: Art tours of the future may include preserved tattoos

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

News has just been released that a Dutch entrepreneur, and I use the word entrepreneur very loosely here, has decided to preserve tattoos of the deceased. Reuters news service was the first to break this important information that I am sure has rocked the art world.

It will probably shock you to learn that the man who intends to do this owns a tattoo shop in Amsterdam. Well, that should help get to the bottom of the story — not the fact he owns a tattoo shop, but the fact he lives in Amsterdam. I think they still allow round-the-clock smoking of marijuana there and it appears this guy doesn’t miss many opportunities to fire one up.

The shop owner, Peter van der Helm, says he plans to have a pathologist remove the tattoo within 48 hours of death, it will then be sent to a lab where it will be injected with silicone and, in about 12 weeks, will be suitable for wall hanging. I’m sure you are just like me, always wishing for some good real people tattoo art but never knowing where to find it. Well, now you can contact good ol’ Peter.

If you liked crazy Uncle Joey’s tattoo of the skeleton man riding a Harley now, you can arrange to have it stuffed and hung it on the wall right beside the 12-point buck Uncle Joey killed before he died. Better yet, it would make a great gift to Aunt Joey at Christmas time. She could literally say, “With this artwork reminding me of Joey, I feel like I have a piece of him right next to me.”

I don’t know about everyone else, but most of the tattoo stuff I see I was hoping would at some point have an end. Now Peter gets in on the act and the next thing you know we’ll have a preserved barbwire bicep tattoo hanging next to the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. If Dennis Rodman finds out about this guy, they’ll have to completely skin Dennis before he can be buried. Maybe he can send the final work to his buddy lunatic Kim What’s-his-name, the leader of North Korea.

Maybe touring art shows will soon specialize in deceased tattoo art. There could be a section dedicated to mama and all those heartwarming tattoos. Another section dedicated to girlfriend tattoos that never should have been created because the lowdown gold-digging slutty winch left me for my best friend. A Disney section for all the cartoon characters would be nice, and a sports team section mandatory with an extra-large section for the Alabama tattoos. One section could simply be labeled the No. 3 section for all the Dale Earnhart tattoos.

The grand finale would be a section dedicated to the tramp stamp tattoo commonly found on the female lower back, but sometimes on the backside. This display could be digitalized so that one could follow the evolution of the tattoo over the lifetime of the female.

“We begin with this beautiful 6-inch dragon tattoo, which depicts a flame being blown downward; at age 40 we notice this now lovely 12-inch tattoo is quite vivid in its colors; at age 60, one must be inspired by the graphic illustration of the dragons features on this tattoo which is now approximately the size of, well, a real dragon, and explains why we now have it in our display as a wall tapestry.”

Peter claims about 30 clients have donated their tattoos in their wills to him. Looks like next year I won’t have any problem doing my Christmas gift buying. Just let me know what tattoo you want.

Email T.Gamble at wtg@colliergamble.com.