Grand Rapids Art Museum mounts exhibit showcasing Ann Arbor tattoo artist – The Good Life


Again-piece tattoo designs by Leo Zulueta star on this 1999 picture featured within the Grand Rapids Artwork Museum’s present exhibit about tattoos. (picture credit score: Dianne Mansfield, courtesy of GRAM).


Ann Arbor tattoo artist Leo Zulueta inks a tattoo on a volunteer at his exhibit on the Grand Rapids Artwork Museum. (picture credit score: GRAM)

It’s not daily a museum turns into a brief tattoo parlor.

However that’s what occurred lately when the Grand Rapids Artwork Museum (GRAM) launched “Black Waves: The Tattoo Artwork of Leo Zulueta,” the newest exhibit in its Michigan Artist Collection.

As he inked an authentic, “Leo Z.- fashion” tattoo across the wrist of a volunteer on opening night time, the Ann Arbor tattoo artist answered viewers questions in regards to the daring, all-black designs that earned him a world fame as “the Godfather of Tribal Tattoo.”

Zulueta, who owns Spiral Tattoo in Kerrytown, grew up in Hawaii of Filipino heritage and studied in California; he has been tattooing purchasers since 1981. Impressed by the tattoo designs of Borneo, Samoa, Fiji, the Marquesa Islands, he’s fascinated by the stylistic geometric patterning of the Pacific Rim cultures that at instances coated the wearer’s complete physique. Tribal tattoos, thought of rather more than physique adornment, had been usually symbolic; they signified a ceremony of passage or a private accomplishment, or distinguished somebody’s social standing.

As he developed his personal trademark fashion derived from historical designs, Zulueta got here to be thought to be a pioneer of tribal tattooing, a dominant up to date tattooing pattern that took root in america within the late 1970’s.

Ron Platt, the Grand Rapids Artwork Museum’s chief curator, explains Zulueta’s contribution to the “New Tribal” look this fashion: In contrast to Western tattooing that historically targeted on particular person tattoos and their placement on the physique, Zulueta’s design fashion enhances the form and contours of the wearer’s physique. For him, the connection between tattooed and non-inked pores and skin is vital: he freehand attracts the design on his topic’s physique earlier than he tattoos.

“A few of Leo Zulueta’s most stunning tattoos are for the again,” based on Platt, who describes it as a perfect location for tattoo artists who wish to work massive. Past Pacific Rim tattoo traditions, Zulueta’s influences embrace Artwork Nouveau graphics and imagery from surf, punk rock and heavy steel cultures.  “New Tribalism,” Platt says, launched an vital choice to trendy tattooing — that of readability, visibility and an appreciation of summary kind for its personal sake.

“Black Waves,” which runs by Aug. 27, showcases Zulueta’s vary of images and tasks and options private pictures, texts, hand-drawn tattoo flash (design) and tattoo-inspired drawings. Close to the doorway to the exhibit, within the GRAM’s foyer, is “Wave,” a large-scale mural Zulueta custom-created for the museum.

For extra on the exhibit, verify

@grartmuseum  #PureMichigan #visitgrandrapids

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