Feminist Artist Statement
Since 1996, I have been searching for the perfect tattooed female model and as a result have found some of the most enchanting tattooed women to be inspired by. The women who have modeled are professional women working in multi-faceted positions such as tattoo artist, massage therapist, and communication specialist. Within this body of work, we see a series of unique paintings that reveal beautiful and complex designs that tell personal stories. For example, Sarah, one of her models has the image of St. Teresa tattooed on her leg in tribute to her Mother whose name is Teresa. In another painting, the model Jennifer, tells us that her tattoos are a reflection of her inner power. They are a projection of where she wants to be in the future. Jennifer considers her body a well-adorned temple. As an artist in the feminist world, I am more aware that the art of tattooing a woman’s body has become a personal statement to her body adornment. Much like wearing jewelry or designer clothes, tattooing has become a personal message about a woman’s identity.
Historically, tattooing was socially acceptable for men, although some experienced negative reactions. Men with tattoos have certainly received greater social acceptance more so than women have. However, in today’s society, women have made a strong female statement by creating heavily designed tattoos on their bodies. I have been fascinated to watch the story unfold on the skin of my female models. It is important to note that the images displayed in their tattoos could have a peculiar impetus such as a secular or religious motivation. I am the re-teller of their stories. The pain and the exhilaration of their statement compound the freedom of expression that my female models endure. This process has led me down many paths of exploration and thought on the significance of why these women decorate themselves with beautiful designs and stories that unfold their life as an illustrated woman.