September 18th to November 11th, 2016
Of Pirates, Mermaids and True Love:
100 Years of Tattoo Art
Guild Hall Gallery
The exhibit Of Pirates, Mermaids and Love: 100 years of Tattoo Art in association with Lift Trucks Project is a compilation of antique “flash”. Flash referred to the artwork created by the tattoo artist and displayed on sheets of paper for the customer to choose a design from.
Tattooing became popular during World War II. Some of the more popular tattoo artists such as Sailor Jerry, British tattoo artists Tom Berg and George Burchett and husband and wife teams Joe and Mabel Darpel, Dainty Dotty and Owen Jensen have pieces exhibited at the Hammond.
Some pieces in the exhibit with numbers crossed out or taped over represent the fact that the piece was used for years and shows that the cost increased. Tattoos were particularly popular at carnivals and at ports where sailors landed. Pieces such as the larger than life size cut out tattooed figures of girls in the exhibit would be used at the entrance in a carnival to draw in people.
Some of the more popular themes were love, travel and superstition with sailors getting tattoos to remember their loved ones at home or to provide them with a safe journey. Homeward Bound with a ship in full sail by tattoo artist Chris Nelson is one of the pieces representing a safe journey.