June 21, 2010

Chris Conn Askew

 Chris Conn has long been one of my favourite artists. A celebrated tattooist for 15 or so years, he has now retired from tattooing to focus on his personal art, and I for one am glad he did. Chris clearly possesses a strong and unique vision, apparently drawing inspiration from numerous and far-reaching sources, and it seems that as a tattooist he felt this vision was being compromised, as it always will be when working for a client. I personally feel that as a tattooist your job is to create a piece of art that first and foremost serves the interests of your client, and secondly serves your own; so if you don't want to make art that bends to someone else's will, quitting your job in order to paint seems an honourable thing to do.  And in Chris's case, this decision has resulted in some truly exquisite paintings.

Littering his work with references to music, literature,  history, folklore and cinema, and channelling the authoritative visual command of propaganda posters from Germany and Soviet Russia, Chris creates art enriched with a personal mythology that expresses something greater than the sum of its parts.  The first time I visited his Myspace page I remember being thoroughly charmed by his unbridled enthusiasm for the various sources of his inspiration, which included photos of his cats, covers of albums he loves, a picture of puss in boots by Gustave Dore and film stills of Theda Bara. Unfortunately many of these pictures have been taken down now but the images of his own art remain, as do the details of how to order prints, so do go there and have a look.  My wonderful boss Jane gave me my first Chris Conn print for my birthday last week, pictured above, and I love it so much that I now find myself wondering why the hell I've never bought any of them before. Anyway, here are some more of my favourites.


Amy Duncan said...

I just wanted to add that since posting this I have read in interview with Chris where he explains his reasons for quitting tattooing, which are more to do with a general disillusionment with the industry, and a desire to remove himself from the overbearing social atmosphere of tattoo shops. It's a nice little interview, which you can find in High Fructose magazine issue 16 if you want to read it.

Lost Siren of Melpomene said...

Your work is amazing. I am an ink loving lady from the the tundra. I absolutely love La Sirena I was wondering if I could get permission to get it tattooed on myself. If so thats awesome if not I totally under.



Lost Siren of Melpomene said...

Pardon me Chris I see is the tattoo artist still amazing too!

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