Matt Lodder – the art doctor.

Dr Matthew LodderKnow More hand tattooArt Historian

Matt Lodder, the art doctor
Matt Lodder, the art doctor

On the 21st June 2011 I had the pleasure of hearing Doctor Matthew Lodder give a talk on his thesis – Tattooing as Artistic Practice. I have raved, in an adolescent fashion, about Matt Lodder in previous blog posts

Back Business card
The back of Matt Lodder's beautiful business card.

Matt Lodder’s talk was extremely insightful, he posed a significant question: if tattoos are art, then why have they never been analysed as art objects? Discussions about tattoos tend to centre around the psychology of the tattoo wearer and motivations behind getting tattooed. So Matt’s thesis begins where many other discussions end – the tattooed body as art.

The talk raised important questions about the inherent problems with analysing the modified body as art. There are issues with authorship: who is the artist – the wearer or the tattooist? Problems with ownership and copyright.

Lee Wagstaff
Lee Wagstaff

Matt coloured his talk with examples to illustrate these issues. Lee Wagstaff, an MA printmaking student, transformed his body into a living piece of art. Lee designed all the graphics that would be inked onto his body, as the recipient he set out his objective clearly. The tattooer reproduced Lee’s ideas, he was the functionary. However the stylistic quirks of the tattooer will inevitably effect the way the final tattoo looks.

Tim, Wim Delvoye
Tim, Wim Delvoye

This example, plus others such as Wim Delvoye’s Tim, illustrate that tattoos can be art. Tim was sold for €150,000, for this price the piece has to be exhibited three times a year, of course meaning that Tim himself has to travel to wherever the artwork is to be exhibited.

Well, Doctor Lodder talked about his ideas far more eloquently than I, so if you get a chance to hear him speak I highly recommend it…

After all this academia we needed wine and discussion in the pub…

Alice Th'ink and Matt Lodder - in the pub for an apres-talk vino
Alice Th'ink and Matt Lodder - in the pub for an apres-talk vino
No paparazzi please
No paparazzi please

Wine leads to chat about our own inkings and below is Matt’s beautiful padlock tattoo.

Matt Lodder padlock tattoo
Matt Lodder's padlock tattoo - I am hoping to get a padlock tattoo very soon too and I love this one.

Matt also has the words: Curiouser and Curiouser on his wrists, of course I love the Alice in Wonderland reference, being named Alice and having an Alice in Wonderland tattoo myself.

Curiouser and Curiouser
Curiouser and Curiouser - written on the wrists

Top photo: Bottom photo: Ink it up

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