Wanted: People with tattoos and stories to tell about them.
The East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation in Greenport will launch an exhibit of tattoo art Memorial Day weekend, in conjunction with the village’s sponsorship of the Tall Ships of America tour.
Sculptor and artist Arden Scott, whose husband Keith McCamy, is a member of the museum and foundation board, is spearheading the project designed to focus attention on the history of tattooing, much of which, in the United States relates to sailors. But Ms. Scott isn’t limiting her search to just sailors, she said. Anyone with a tattoo and a story to tell about it is welcome to participate.
Tattooing dates back well before there was a United States, Ms. Scott said. There was tattoo art during prehistoric times and in ancient historical periods. But in the United States, the practice took hold among sailors, she said.
“If you have a tattoo, thank a sailor,” Ms. Scott said, noting that phrase is likely to be printed on tee-shirts the museum will sell this spring and summer.
She’s hoping the exhibit will tap into the sensitivities of young people, so many of whom, in the rock music era, have embraced tattoos.
She and a small cadre of local artists will be painting recreations of tattoos on mannequins to be displayed at the museum this year, She’ll also be using photographs of tattoos with brief stories about how each came to be, she said.
“Tattoos are basically a story,” Ms. Scott said, explaining that those who have them chose the art to express specific memories and feelings.
The week before the Greenport exhibit opens, there’s a tattoo festival in New York City that will feature tattoos from all over the world, Ms. Scott said. She’s hoping she can entice some participants from that event to come out to Greenport the following weekend. And she’s hoping that what she is able to gather for the Greenport exhibit might eventually find its way into the National Archives in Washington, D.C., where it can be included with holdings on tattoo art that are maintained there.
So if you have a tattoo and would like to share your story about it for the Greenport exhibit, Ms. Scott would like to hear from you at 477-0272.