THIS WEEK SEES THE LAUNCH OF A GROUND-BREAKING EXHIBITION, TATTOO: BRITISH TATTOO ART REVEALED, AT TORQUAY'S TORRE ABBEY MUSEUM. WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? ARE TATTOO'S ART? IS THIS EXHIBITION FOR THE LIKES OF YOU AND ME? WE SPOKE TO CO-CURATOR, DERRYTH RIDGE TO FIND OUT MORE.
With the promise of over 400 artifacts, films and hyper-real sculptures across an 800 year old museum by the sea; we entered the new Tattoo exhibition with curiosity and a little trepidation (as a non-tattooed visitor!).
Inside Torre Abbey we discovered the largest of exhibition of its kind in the UK, with a rich hidden history and beautiful - wondrous objects and displays. This is an intelligently put together exhibition that reveals the real truths of tattoo art.
Rarely seen designs, photography and other artefacts reveal that from ruffians to royalty, sailors to socialites, pilgrims to punks – tattoos cross age, gender and class.
I would describe it as a celebration of British tattoo history and British tattoo art. We are changing people’s perceptions, I hope, about what tattooing is and how important it is to our social history and really championing the breadth of the artwork that goes on within the tattoo community
— Derryth Ridge
Featuring cutting edge designers, leading academics and major private collectors - the exhibition charts the British history of tattoos from Captain Cook and King George V to revolutionary tattoo artists including Jessie Knight (Britain's first female tattoo artist 1920s-1960s), Alan Oversby (the first art-school trained tattoo artist), Les Skuse (who fought to improve public perception of tattooing), Alex Binnie (and his neo tribal designs), Lal Hardy (of New Wave fame), and Aimee Cornwall (a second generation tattoo artist).
The most visually stunning display is the '100 Hands' which has been guest curated by Alice Snape, Editor of Things and Ink magazine. The UK's top 100 tattooists have each tattooed a silicone arm to create a sculptural wall representing the breadth of talent and styles that form a thriving industry.
If you think these have been drawn with needles and pins, it’s quite amazing. I challenge anyone not to find something they really love on that wall.
— Co-curator, Derryth Ridge
The story doesn't end there - #TorbayTattooTales - aims to create the biggest online archive of tattoo art. Your Tattoo Tale can be documented and saved on the project blog site and displayed at the exhibition; there are a couple of ways to submit your ink - first at the exhibition (have a photo, tell your tale and get £1 off the exhibition entry!) and second on instagram using the hashtag #TorbayTattooTales.
Visit Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed at Torre Abbey until Sunday 3 June 2018. Entry is included in the standard admission price to the museum - adults £8, kids and teens free, concessions and special group ticket prices available! Find out more: https://www.torre-abbey.org.uk/