March 18, 2009
A tattoo artist from the ‘burbs turns female casual conjecture into promiscuously provocative portraits
By Jason P. Freeman
As a former dominatrix, the Champange, IL-based tattoo artist says, "I whipped my way through college." Studying graphic design and advertising, Tastrophe used her income, from giving clients what for, to fund her art-school expenses, where she studied graphic design and advertising. Yet shortly after graduation, she turned to the steady job of tattooing, finding herself, as she says, "too weird, too out there, for commercial work."
"It's post-fem, portrait art, self analysis," Tastrophe explains before laughing at herself, "I don't even know what [post-fem] means, but [the paintings] say it's ok to be topless, and it's ok to bake a pie ... to have that duality or ambiguity ... and to express the fetish cultural ideal."
Currently running at the Leather Archives & Museum (6418 N. Greenview Ave; www.leatherarchives.org), Tastrophe's exhibit Beauties Service features less of the fetish and more of the implication-—women who have, as the exhibit's tagline announces, "taken hold of beauty and made it their servant:" the horny housewife, the naughty nurse, the evil head mistress.
"As far as my technique goes," Tastrophe says, "I work with ink washes, which is basically a watercolor technique with India ink, on watercolor paper. I'll add color to some occasionally, for that I use regular watercolor paints, and sometimes I'll have to go in with pen and ink for super-fine details."
Beauties Service runs at the LA&M until April 10, 2009.