George Herms, an LA artist who emerged from the Beat Generation, is known for his found object assemblages and collages, produced and exhibited over the decades. Finding him in the lineup for a tattoo-inspired art exhibit, along with contemporary ceramicist Richard Shaw and Enrique Chagoya, a fine art painter and print maker, seems a little out of context. Add to that a connection with Don Ed Hardy (recently of Ed Hardy clothing-line fame) and the world seems to have spun off its axis.
But in Indelibly Yours, a traveling exhibit at Donna Beam Fine Art Gallery, most everyone is out of his or her element, working in a cross-cultural, cross-discipline-driven project in which sculptors are making prints, tattoo artists are tapping into their fine art backgrounds and fine artists are referencing body ink motifs.
Arranged by Palo Alto’s Smith Andersen Editions, Indelibly is a result of the collaboration named the “Tattoo Project,” which had the artists working with master printers to make colorful and bold monotypes and monoprints, many of which are “edition variées” shown together. Herms’ minimalist, Zen-like monoprints (with a pop-art flavor) include images formed from the number seven. Shaw’s vintage-style (almost Rockwellian) illustrated narrative of a humorous incident at a tattoo parlor shares the floor with Kara Maria’s printed montage of animal silhouettes across an arm. Jeff Rassier’s long-tongued devil pierces a heart in three different settings.
Other works include those by Ross K. Jones, Mary Joy, Kathryn Kain, Jen Lee and Kahlil Rintye. Rounding out the exhibit is a Kenjilo Nanao 1962 triptych lithograph, “The Great Tattoo,” that originally planted the seed for the project.