For more than forty years, Smith Andersen Editions has served as a creative hub for artists and printmakers. The press, operated under the vision and direction of Paula Kirkeby, is known for its supportive environment, where experimentation is encouraged and the boundaries of creativity are limitless.
The experience of working at Smith Andersen Editions is one characterized by a sense of adventure and freedom. Artists are invited to spend dedicated time—several days to two weeks—working at the press to create rich and luminous prints. In the press' most recent project, Kirkeby invited ten artists to make work influenced or inspired by tattoos. Five of the participants are known for tattoo and five for printmaking. For Ross K. Jones, Mary Joy, Jen Lee, Jeff Rassier, and Kahlil Rintye, who generally work with skin and ink, the project afforded the opportunity to collaborate with a master printer, to experiment with new materials, and to embrace the spontaneity atypical of tattooing. For the printmakers—Enrique Chagoya, George Herms, Kathryn Kain, Kara Maria, and Richard Shaw—the tattoo project encouraged the investigation of new symbols, styles, and ideas.
The project itself explores the interconnectedness of the two art forms. As Don Ed Hardy notes in his essay for the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, there is a kinship between the process of marking on skin and the practice of drawing on a printing plate. Indeed, the relationship between the two mediums yields a suite of colorful, stimulating, and subtly stunning images. And, in some instances it is difficult to distinguish the work of the tattooers from that of the printmakers.
Indelibly Yours: Smith Andersen Editions and the Tattoo Project features a selection of prints from this collaborative experiment. The exhibition premieres at the de Saisset Museum before traveling to additional venues. The show is accompanied by a catalogue with essays by Don Ed Hardy and Dr. Hilarie Faberman.