Thursday, January 24, 2008

tattooed lady

Before it became popular for everyone, when only sailors and bikers wore tattooes, a friend suggested I send away for the equipment to set up as a tattoo artist. My answer was, 'Do you have any idea how much erasing I have to do before I'm satisfied with a drawing?' Anyway, I gave some thought to what would be a pretty tattoo design and this is the result.

Meanwhile, Groucho did the best summary of tattooed ladies with this song from 'At the Circus':

No, I never did get one although I've seen some very nice work and I'd have gone for a full Yakuza had I not been old enough to start considering wrinkle treatment by the time I first saw those.

la, la, laah
la, la, laah


lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan
I am sure your talent as an artist is much more than merely skin deep, so it’s quite appropriate that you never became a tattoo artist!!

Previous postings

Your paintings from 1984 show a vivid imagination and presumably a predisposition to link kindly with our animal friends; any drawing perceived imperfections are not of importance.

Power to think
I like the reference to electricity; it seems to me, many arguments of mass appeal lack any credible persuasive power.

I was particularly interested in your thoughts of spirituality since I have a good friend who currently is co authoring a book on aspects of spirituality arising in the writings of a number of atheistic 20th century philosophers, who encountered in later life thinking what they described as an impenetrable barrier to their previous lifetimes thinking, what was thought to be an encounter with their spiritual self.

My friend belongs to the faculty at la Trobe University in Melbourne which teaches Spirituality (if you can say you can teach it) with Professor David Tacey, who is also a world authority on Jungian psychology. David is horrified at the arguments of those you mention; whose atheistic belief is argued excessively on the basis of the only alternative is fundamentalism. Yet fundamentalism and an atheistic belief that denies any form of spiritualism are both beliefs grounded in indistinguishable absolutism.

I quote from David “Fundamentalism seeks certainty, fixed answers, and absolutism, as a fearful response to the complexity of the world and to our vulnerability as creatures in a mysterious universe. Spirituality arises from love of and intimacy with the sacred, and fundamentalism arises from fear of and possession by the sacred. The choice between spirituality and fundamentalism is a choice between conscious intimacy and unconscious possession.

Best wishes

susan said...

Hello again, Lindsay,
I'm no expert in Jungian thought but from what I have read I understand he was deeply concerned about society's repression of the unconscious and the danger humanity would face by our continued refusal to incorporate the shadow. While we continue to erect psychic walls against the other in order to protect our ever more fragmented egos, reality becomes more terrifying. A serious issue I feel needs to be addressed is the hubris behind the assumption that one day science will know everything.
Feel free to e-mail me if you want to discuss this further. It's interesting and I enjoy your coments.

Gary said...

Okay, I'm loving seeing your art up. All of it. You're so talented.

As for tattoos, I have a little one on my left shoulder. But nothing like Lydia!

I was interested in your post on spirituality too (hi Lindsay!)

I like Dawkins and Hitchens and particuarly Sam Harris, but I do understand (and agree with) the criticism of their 'fundamentalist atheism'. What I like is their strong challenge to much that is religion, because I agree that much of it is useless and harmful. And just not true.

Sam Harris acknowledges the difference between Buddhism and most organized religions, mainly because it's about personal consciousness. I meditate every day in front of a carved Buddha, but I would be willing to do the same meditation in front of Woody Allen, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut or maybe even Groucho!

Yes, the life energy itself is the mystery. Much of the rest is the wonderful stuff of evolution, history, art, literature and social organizing (in my humble view).

Ben said...

That is a very enticing image. Because of the tattoos. And, um, other things as well. I really do love her face.

I've thought in the past about getting a Salvador Dali melting clock. Came to the conclusion that it would be a lot of time, money and pain, followed by me meekly explaining what it was.

Isn't that Groucho bit wonderful. "I met her at the wor;d's fair of 1900, marked down from 19.40." It's amazing that song made it in at a time when movies were so heavily censored.

fairlane said...

You can make serious cheese doing tattoos.

Americans may not be able to pay their phone bills, but dammit, they have enough to get that Drunken Daffy Duck on their ass.

Anonymous said...

lovely artistic work...this is really a far as tattoos go, its not so popular in our part of the world...perhaps one of the reason being its difficulty of erasing it....but he replacement here have been is the Mehendi, which is prepared form plant herbs & is natural.....the image is very nice!

Zee said...

Your work is solid and appeals to me - what a joy!
Atheism is an oxymoron. It is just not possible to believe in nothing and back it up with belief!
It is like that stupid Decartes joke where he enters a bar and the bartender asks him: Would you like to have pint of beer? And Descartes replied: I think not - and thereafter was never seen again, evaporated into thin air!
Atheism is a religion like any other old religion, just with the difference that there is permanent denial of the existence of hierarchy. That of course is flaud. because no matter from which angle you look at it, it does exist.
Atheists "believe" that they believe in nothing - I only chuckle when I hear that, turn away, and think: What a poor and lost soul!

susan said...

Hi Gary - If it's the Amnesty one on your shoulder it's a beauty but if it's a smiley face, I'm not so sure. I guess it's the fact of having a tattoo that expresses a lifetime commitment to a larger ideal which I know you do. Victims of the Nazi detention camps had no choice about the numbers but I remember reading a comment in a tattoo mag - 'If the body is the temple of the soul, we're just decorating the walls'- which seems silly in a shopping culture.

Sam Harris has made some good points about Buddhism but if that philosophy is to thrive in the west it will take many generations as well as cultural redefinition. Meanwhile, people need something to hold on to when they wake up afraid in the middle of the night. That's where prayer is strong and true but daytime conviction about the righteous armies of God is sheer fantasy.

At least that's my humble opinion.

Ben - I have to admit that I can never watch Groucho without thinking of you. He was the coolest guy around back then and got away with tons of pointed allusions.

fairlane - Pan's Labyrinth was our favorite movie last year :-)
did you know tattoo artists practice on citrus fruit?

Kalyan - I've a few Indian friends over the years and also a few western ones who got into Mehendi. It really is a lovely art form and very meaningful.

Zee - I agree with you as well as with Gary. The old bible thumping religious beliefs of God being on our side and not theirs is ludicrous but absolutely not a solid foundation for tossing out everything spiritual. I know there's something there but can't quite put my finger on it and that's the whole point. Certainty about anything so ephemeral results in false pride. How can the object hope to understand the Subject?

It's been very interesting to read all your reactions to this post and the previous one. I was a bit scared of bringing up the whole belief thing because for most of us it's a deeply private issue as is only right. Still, it's difficult to post an on-line diary of any kind without having one's personal values and learning curve make an appearance.

fairlane said...

The "Pale Man" ranks up there as one of the most disturbing characters ever.

susan said...

fairlane - You are so right. I'm going 'please, please don't eat the grape' but she always does.

Seraphine said...

LOL, I *love* the comment about erasing. But but but... thats why the good artist makes a stencil first, before they take up the tattoo tool.

susan said...

Sera - So that's how they do it! I always wondered...

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...


Your tattooed lady painting is gorgeous. I wanted tattoos when I was a teenager. There was a particular Black Panther, with blood dripping from his claws, that I envisioned crawling up my forearm.

Fortunately I couldn't afford that big kitty, and by the time I could, I was no longer interested in tattoos.

But that was many years ago, and now I could actually imagine my old body covered with beautiful renderings of endangered and extinct species.

But I think I will pass through this life tattoo free.

I really love your work Susan.

susan said...

Jim - Thanks for the visit and the nice compliment as well as for visiting 'baby days'. I've added your blog to my list and will visit again.