Recap: Skin Graff– Masters of Graffiti Tattoo Book Signing
The new book Skin Graf: Masters of Graffiti Tattoo (Prestel 2013) by Michael “KAVES” McLeer and Billy Burke, documents the transition of early graffiti writers such as Seen and Med into tattooers who moved away form illegal graffiti towards getting paid to create their art without repercussions such as beef and arrest. Each chapter contains an in-depth profile, a personal statement, and photos of the artist’s studios and clients. Skin Graff is packed full of old school train flicks, fresh tattoo work, tattoo shops, and some great portraiture by Estevan Oriol and Angela Boatwright.
In the Margaret Liebman Berger Forum of the New York Public Library, Kaves sat between Sacha Jenkins and tattoo documentarian Billy Burke, and as slides from the book played behind them, they discussed the history of graffiti starting with cave painting and ending with the current state of tattooing crossed with graffiti. Once the realm of prisoners, members of the military, and Samoan kings, tattoos and tattoo art have come into the mainstream with a certain level of acceptance by the “legitimate” art world, as has graffiti.
If you didn’t already know, you can learn about the “skin graffiti” process, view flash drawings (design sketches for patrons to choose from), and come away with a new understanding of an art form that transforms the human body into the ultimate canvas for self-expression.