Japanese Tattoo Art Display at L.A. Museum Tattoos have become commonplace in America with one in four people under 40 now having one. However, the art form dates back centuries in Japan and ancient designs influence modern tattoos as shown in a photographic exhibition at the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in Los Angeles.
Entitled Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World , the show looks at how Japanese artwork and traditional designs have become body designs. The exhibit features over 200 intensely vivid full-body images of men and women whose skin is functioning as an art canvas. Many of the Japanese-influenced designs popular today use formidable dragons, big koi, fierce-looking warriors and other images derived from Japanese printmaking. This JANM exhibit looks at the traditional images and how top tattoo practitioners depict them on humans today.
Perseverance in the exhibit’s title sums up the process of getting a full-body tattoo. The Japanese word for “perseverance” is gaman, which is usually translated as “patient suffering” or enduring for a purpose with dignity. It is probably no coincidence that it is also the work for tattoo in some parts of Japan. Japanese Tattoo Art Display at L.A. Museum The Japanese American National Museum exhibit depicts some art images side by side with tattoos recreating them.
Japanese tattoos have a long history, going back to the Edo period from 1600-1861. As shown in the museum, tattoos are not merely designs on skin or contemporary pop art. The detailed traditional work displayed is akin to hand painted art on woodprints, on kites, in printmaking and in calligraphy. However, some practitioners in the West have tried to copy Japanese tattoos without understanding or honoring the symbols and traditions displayed. The exhibit tries to address this with some side by side examples of old art displaying warriors and dragons alongside the tattooed representations created by the artists whose work is included in the show.
The JANM exhibition in L.A. has on display […]