Saturday, December 3, 2011

the steamiest tattoo parlor this side of the atlantic

As far as art installation pieces go, I am certainly no expert.  I've tried my share of trying to understand and appreciate a good many--ranging from one that consisted of a room filled from floor to ceiling in layers of fiberglass to four duct-tape and cardboard constructed dead trees with rape stories written on them.  I get the rape one, but fail to understand the fiberglass.  My favorite was always the "Cloud" one at theWarhol museum- a room empty except for two fans and several silver pillow-shaped balloons half-filled with helium that could be batted about the room without ever falling inert to the ground.  But I'm sure art experts have a much different interpretation of the piece than I do-- batting around shiny floating objects is probably not the actual purpose of the piece. 

Nevertheless, an art installation piece I can appreciate for its aesthetic value has caught my eye in a recent article featured on Wired- a tattoo parlor in the steampunk style.  Many thanks to Lydia of the Steel City Steam Society for sharing this link on that group's Facebook page and thus bringing the project to my attention:

Anyone want a mechanical mosquito to service their inking needs?
Dermobot (Skin Crawler) by Chris Conte
image source: Wired

Nervous yet?
Electric Chair #3 by Sam Ostroff
image source: Wired

This project, entitled Mobilis in Mobili: An Exhibition of Steampunk Art and Appliance opened on November 12 in at the Wooster Street Social Club (site of TLC's NY Ink) in New York City and runs through January 12.  Curated by Bruce Rosenbaum of ModVic, the exhibit features the works of 26 artist-designers that span a range of items from guitars and desks to workable inking devices and accessories (a webcam installed on the nozzle of a 1918 gas pump to see the progression of a customer's back tattoo, for example).  These purchasable pieces of art give an industrial flair to a tattoo parlor which probably does one of several things to customers:
  • Make an already nerve-wracking decision seem more menacing to a newbie hoping to get their first tattoo
  • Make it seem more hardcore to the inking pro
  • Inspire steam and clockwork-driven tattoos
  • Inspire the steampunk enthusiast
Steampunk Speed Governor Lamp by Cory Barkman
image source: Wired

Steampunk "Back" Tattoo to the Future by Bruce Rosenbaum and Ken Taylor
image source: Wired

"Full Head of Steampunk" Opthalmometer Computer Workstation by Bruce Rosenbaum
image source: Wired
Steampunk Lamp by Chris Osborne
image source: Wired


  1. This is super cool. Personally, I would trust the artistic sensibilities of a tattoo artist at a shop like this far more than those working in the usual dives. Plus, I think it NEEDS to be a bit more menacing for the average person thinking of getting their first tattoo. ;) Too many cheerleaders out there getting them these days to be cool like their friends! (Seriously - I knew some high school cheerleaders recently, through a friend of the family. They all were pierced/tattooed [yes, underage even]. It's totally trendy now.)

  2. @ VictorianKitty- I agree- obtaining one's first tattoo should be more menacing. I don't think enough people understand what tattooing is all about- an ink-filled needle jabbed repeatedly into one's skin that is permanent. I doubt most high school kids understand the PERMANENT aspect of it, as well as the pain ratio. Not that I understand either as I don't have any tattoos, but part of that reason is because the process scares me. :)

  3. I really like this tattoo parlour!