Art Review by Jenn Kidd
1 : not scientifically explainable by what is known about nature and the world.
2 : not understandable in terms of known scientific laws or phenomena.
In the current exhibition taking place at The Box Gallery in Summit Art Space, sister / brother team, Roza Maille and Ezra Haidet, invited over 30 tattoo artists from all over the country to contribute their interpretations of the paranormal to paper rather than skin. I’ve always had a fascination with otherworldly happenings ever since convincing myself I saw a bonafide ufo above my home at the all-knowing age of eight. It carried on with the X-Files and eventually led to my own tattoo of a b-movie style she-alien with a ray-gun and flying saucer. Needless to say, I have been excited for this exhibition.
All of the pieces complimented each-other under the umbrella of outlandish, otherworldly paranormal themes featuring the likes of ape-men, aliens, she-creatures, cryptozoology, metaphysical apparitions, demons and various interpretations of unidentified flying objects. Some of the artists created what could be described as dark children’s book illustrations, featuring softer lines and more subtle hints of paranormal paranoia. Other works stayed within the more traditional style associated with tattoo flash while still evoking mysterious happenings that hadn’t even crossed your mind yet.
One of the pieces that immediately caught my eye was a painting by Joe Radnik. At first glance, it appears to be a vintage looking black and white group photo. Upon closer viewing, Stanley Kubrick fans might recognize the dolled up crowd as attendees of the Overlook Hotel’s 4th of July Ball. Each individual in this painting drew me in closer with detail work including tiny floral headpieces and vintage eyeglasses, as well as the impeccable shading leading to the vintage photograph feel.
Other pieces that stood out were a family of Yetis carefully traipsing through a forest by Casey Cokrlic (Texas), the haunting creature in Black Puka by Erik Jacobsen (San Francisco), the entire man ape series by Ezra Haidet (Austin, Tx) as well as pieces by Marie Senda (Texas), Cyrill Neff (Switzerland) and Boxcar (Pa). Rounding out the exhibition is a sci-fi short film called The Exchange, filmed by The Campbell Brothers (Compound Pictures) using super 8mm. This hazy little number shows what happens when a young man convinces his two friends to join him on a camping trip to confirm alien life amongst other things.
Knowing the level of artistic talent the tattoo industry has to offer, this was a perfect outlet to showcase talented hands and creative minds in other adaptations than traditional displays of tattoo craftsmanship. Here is hoping that this exhibition has enhanced viewers’ perceptions of not only the cleverness and skill set these artists have to offer, but has also opened some minds to be on the lookout for those happenings that are not scientifically explainable by what is known about nature and the world.
Paranormal Paranoia; the other side of tattoo art(ists) will be closing on Saturday, October 4th, the same night as the Akron Art Prize finale. The Box Gallery will be open from 12-9pm for the Akron Artwalk and it is located on the 3rd Floor of Summit Artspace at 140 E Market St, Akron OH 44308. The Box Gallery is free and open to the public.
Jenn Kidd is a full time hairstylist who is preparing to launch a blog on all things related to the history of hair and beauty. She has done work for editorials and film. Recently, she has committed her time to writing editorials by stepping down as Director of Education. You can contact Jenn at email@example.com