The Cason McDermott Art Gallery in Goodwyn Hall is pleased to present “Skin Deep,” a BFA Painting and Drawing thesis exhibition by graduating senior Brennen Parmer. Completed under the supervision of Professor Andrew Hairstans, the exhibition is open from April 26 through April 30, 2021.
In this series of 24 original works, Parmer references traditional American tattoo imagery and popular culture. Drawing upon the histories of flash art in historical and contemporary tattoo culture, Parmer’s works engage the technical parameters of tattooing and its material conditions, as he thinks about the physical application of pigment on human skin and the design implications of this process in relation to the desired outcome.
As Parmer explains: “Skin Deep is an installation of 24 flash art designs that have been culled from a portfolio of over 50 works that support my interest, and apprenticeship as a tattoo artist. Flash art are preliminary tattoo designs that have been hand drawn, or painted by the tattoo artist on stencil paper. These designs act as a cartoon prior to the application of ink (pigment) into the dermis layer of the skin. This body of work has been developed by researching, and appropriating American traditional tattoo art.
Throughout the early 20th century American traditional tattoo design imagery consisted of, but was not limited to, swallows, flowers, roses, pinup girls, daggers, hearts, ships, panthers, horses, flags, and patriotic designs. Towards the middle of the 20th century American traditional tattoo artists began adding designs that were uncommon in the early years of production such as cartoon characters, portraits, celebrity, and popular (pop) culture inspired imagery.
American traditional tattoo designs have a particular aesthetic that relates to the technical application of rendering the skin with ink. Firstly, these tattoo designs are created with a thick black contour line. The tattoo artist then applies a value, and/or the use of a limited color palette within the line. This aesthetic is thought to prevent the disintegration, and aid the preservation of the tattoo ink over time from ultraviolet light.”