Skin Deep 263

Skin Deep 263 26 April 2016 263

serious observation this month: A couple of weeks ago I was out in Warsaw to check out a show that had just launched. I was also invited to do a spot of judging along the way which is always welcome—you should never say no to an opportunity to see fresh tattoos paraded in front of your face by the dozen… it’s totally different to ‘screen-work’ that’s for sure.

At the end of the weekend, with all judging done and dusted, there was a ‘development’. One of the artists who had submitted his piece to be judged had missed his number being called out and was struck out as a ‘no-show’. As we had wrapped everything up, handed awards out and drained the dregs of the coffee, there wasn’t a whole lot that could be done about it, but the artist was insistent that something should be done about it.

Being as we (that would be co-judge Alex Rattray and myself, everybody else had been fired from a cannon to the bar) were doing nothing other than hanging around and shooting the breeze, we figured the least we could do was take a look—particularly as the guy was giving the organisational staff such a hard time over it.

So we looked.

Nice tattoo. So now what?

Further demands surfaced. He had spent all day on the piece, had worked hard on it, had travelled many miles to be there (from Estonia perhaps, I forget now) and finally, that we should reconvene the judging panel and do it all over again—this time with him included.

While we explained that we could tell him as much as we told any other artist about his entry (ie: nothing at all), it was also impossible to do what he was demanding because the show was actually done, dusted and many people (including Elvis) had left the building.

Still. Not. Enough.

Anyway, outside of this little soap opera was the guy who had been tattooed. Standing back from the drama, with his tattooed leg sticking out in front of him so his artist could point at different 'amazing parts of it', I watched his face change like all the seasons of the year happening at once. Already busted from a full day on the couch, you could see the pride in his own tattoo start to disappear very, very quickly.

I took the artist to one side and explained what was happening—he may have spent all day working and it was unfortunate not to get judged with the others but the only thing that was happening now was his client was beginning to hate his tattoo.

Eventually, the artist would get over it, but the other guy? He was going to have to carry the drama around with him for a long time.

End result? A perfectly good tattoo spoiled by ego.

Great work is always welcome in all of our worlds, of course it is, but if we ever forget who actually owns that piece of work when the shouting’s over and the fat lady is on the bus, we’ll have lost the only thing that was ever worth shouting about. 


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