Skin Scribe for the Tattoo Tribe
PAUL ANDREW gets up (a little too close) and personal with the eX.
Interview- eX de Medici, April 2004
They say a picture tells a thousand words. A tattoo tells ten thousand more.
Not only does a tattoo hurt, it dances, breathes and screams out to people like no other image can. Behind every pulsating tattoo are tall tales and true. Behind every tattoo is a tattooist who creates the intricate fascinating skin-pics that breath life and vibrancy into these private stories, proverbs, tributes and anecdotes.
eX de Medici is a Canberra-based visual artist and one of Australia’s most respected tattoo auteurs. She defies categorisation from both the tattoo establishment and the contemporary art scene. Her mercurial approach to storytelling and deft image making is transgressive. She resists the conventional boundaries of narrative, painting, performance art, tattoo art and installation art.
eX de Medici is a passionate artist who understands it is the collision of conventions that creates the original and the hybrid. Her reputation in both these fields attracts clients and commissions from around the country. eX has a cult following who love her unique graphic and conceptual repertoire that is at once dark, macabre, tribal, erotic, mystical and spectacular.
This survey exhibition comprises drawings, paintings, photographs, colour laser prints, photocopies, blood swabs and frottage. It provides an extraordinary insight into the mind of a visionary and a rare look behind the scenes - the spookily morbid and gory aspects- of tattooing. The exhibtion showcases what the artist terms, “the detritus of tattooing, like blood swabs, these are things which fascinate me.”
Hundreds of her tattoo clients leave her studio satisfied with terrific, terrifying and telling tattoos. They love her kinky inky insignias, the encrypted skin she conjures. As a tattooist, eX has the rare privilege not afforded to many artists working with traditional image making genres. Her works are fleshy and demanding, they beckon and beguile on the streets, for inquisitive audiences who want to hear what the tattoo has to say, what story it has to tell or what symbolism it evokes.
The stories this artist narrates with needles and permanent inks are not mundane tales, this is the art of a magical biographer. Her role and her constant challenge is to conjure a creative spin that people wish to tell on their own biceps, calves, torso, butt, cock, breasts or anywhere that tens of thousands of needle pricks can permeate (ouch) and where a reader can delve or inquire.
Her success can be attributed to her unapologetic and repellent approach to the fashion trends and fashionistas within the art and tattoo establishments. eX is equally passionate about painting with unusual media as she is with traditional media; inks derived from mangrove resin or calfskin instead of canvas are examples and have been used in the formidable portrait of Midnight Oil currently on exhibition at the National portrait Gallery.
Also included in the exhibition are the ethereal prints made from the blood on clients flesh from the thousands of needle punctures, as is a magnificent series of highly detailed watercolours of insects and their microscopic world that she produced during a seven month residency at The Australian National Insect Collection. She says proudly, “in art, this form is not considered art, which is always an attractive reason to get curious”.
This quotable quote sums up her artistic ethos and the survey will appeal and inspire anyone intrigued by the extraordinary and the extreme.
eX de Medici @MPRG
MORNINGTON PENINSULA REGIONAL GALLERY
Saturday 10 April – Sunday 23 May 2004
Dunns Road, Civic Reserve, Mornington (03) 59 75 43 95
Adm: Adults $3.75 Children $1.65 Members Free
Open Tuesday – Sunday 9.00am – 5.00pm