Trendspotting at the 2009 NYC Tattoo Convention
Hi folks. I’ve selected a tune to accompany today’s Open House. Just click play on the YouTube box located in the sidebar.
If you read last week’s Friday Roundup, you already know I’ve been contemplating getting a tattoo, so I was both surprised and tickled (p)ink when my longtime friend (and past Open House star Matt*) invited me to the 2009 NYC Tattoo Convention. “But why did you have to cover it?” you might be whining. I’ll tell you why; effectively immediately, I’m making Strange Closets a design blog about people . . . with tattoos. If I can’t in some way bring either tattoos or superheros into a post, I will not write said post. ‘Nuff said (as Marvel Comics CEO Stan Lee used to say in his monthly Bullpen Bulletin).
Get back here; I’m kidding!! ‘
OK, OK, ’nuff B.S.* Actually, I hadn’t intended to cover a tattoo convention, so I was surprised that the un-inked Matt had planned a day at the tatt-show with his gal Jaime (pronounced Jamie, not Hymie). Jaime has several tatts including a gorgeous, Nightmare Before Christmas tattoo that covers her entire left arm (I’m pretty sure they call that a sleeve tattoo, but I don’t think New York has Google yet), and she wanted to enter it into the Best Color Tattoo contest.
But what’s this have to do with design?
Continued . . .
Most obviously, there’s no shortage of Decoratus Absurdum at these kind of shows, but more importantly this is the kind of place designers, marketers and fashionistas go to get ideas and generate new trends. While the Jeffrey Dahmer aprons I spotted probably won’t show up on the Crate and Barrel registry, skulls, snakes and circus-imagery, which are commonly used in tattoo art, have already cycled through interiors. And in fashion, the Ed Hardy phenomenon offers a more literal interpretation.
My guess (and hope) is that home design will continue to follow fashion, and we’ll see tattoo-style imagery (preferably the vintage stuff, which I just adore) used in less subtle ways – on pillows, as art or perhaps even upholstery. Tattoo art has a visceral, almost primitive energy that will work well with many styles. Imagine the interesting tension created by a flaming heart print hanging above the bed in a slick DWR-style bedroom with clean lines and neutral colors. But the same image would look sexy, sultry and even a little dangerous hanging in an opulent, bedroom with rich colors, damask bedding and velvet floor-to-ceiling window drapes.
Tattoos force us to actively contemplate our personal aesthetic in ways that even purchasing a sofa cannot. After all, you can sell the sofa on Craig’s List or drop it off at the Brown Elephant, but no matter how bad that inked thorn armband looks, only the most desperate will lop off the whole limb to be rid of it (although from what I hear that might be less painful than the standard tattoo removal process). Ultimately, choosing a symbol will sharpen your personal aesthetic and in the long run, make you a better designer or design-o-phile.
So just do it . . . but I probably won’t (I can’t even commit to wallpaper).
* Don’t worry past Open House stars, Matt and I have been friends since second grade, so I will not be knocking on your door, knapsack in hand, (unless I need a place to stay).
* I love Marvel Comics. I read Stan Lee. I actually met Stan Lee once. And you Mr. Tate, are no Stan Lee.