The two images draw on a variety of graphic traditions: American tattoo art, Otto Dix’s Schadel (1924), Durer’s skeleton accessorized by Ensor, and the celestial clouds from Claude Nicolas Ledoux’s Vision Inspired by the Cemetery at Chaux (1773-79).
The references to vintage tattoo art–the eagle is from tattoo flash from the forties and fifties–speak directly to my interest in American craft and folk art traditions as social history, the momento mori as a representation of mortality and human folly, and the use of language as the “tyranny of the message” (Annetta Kapon on Miyoshi Barosh, from BOMB, September 2013).
The historical images of sailors and tattoo flash from Ralph Johnson (below) are from The Tattoo Archive, founded by C.W. Eldridge:
“The mission of the Tattoo Archive is to promote the history of tattooing through research and education. A wealth of information is available just for the asking . . .”