Three Anderson Artists Guild members have seven pieces in the “Beyond Skin” exhibit currently on display at the Belton Center for the Arts. The show features work by traditional artists inspired by tattoos, as well as traditional art created by tattoo artists.
Sue West’s pieces are Workshop Model (watercolor on rice paper), Solitude (mixed media), and Mama’s Boys (mixed media). All are based on models from life drawing classes. The tattoos were added to two of the pieces, but Workshop Model was a bit of divine providence. The model had not shown up for one life drawing class, so West went over to the Farmers Market to recruit someone. “I found this big burly guy who was nice enough to come with me and sit for two hours,” she said. “When he sat down, he said, ‘I have some tats if you would like me to show you!’ How great was that?”
Mary Anne Porter’s pieces are ; My story isn’t over (watercolor), Lizard Leg (colored pencil), and Head Tattoo (mixed media sculpture). Lizard Leg was inspired by Porter’s love of lizards. Head Tattoo was a last-minute effort for which she gathered found items like a Styrofoam head and fake fur. ; My story isn’t over is a plea to those who are suicidal not to act on that impulse. “When you add a semicolon to a sentence, you’re not really through with the sentence,” said Porter. “The semicolon represents that for those who are depressed or suicidal, their story isn’t over.”
The final piece is Sisterhood (fiber) by Evelyn Beck. It was inspired by a friend’s participation in a national movement in which moms of children with Down syndrome got tattoos of three arrows that represent the third copy of chromosome 21 that causes Down syndrome. “The act of getting the tattoos was an expression of the fierce love they feel for their children and of their deep friendships,” said Beck.
These seven works are among 33 in the “Beyond Skin” exhibit, which opened on April 7 and continues through May 18 at the Belton Center for the Arts.