Collecting vintage goods and incorporating them into art has become one of my favorite creative endeavors. Assemblage Art, Mixed Media Assemblage, Altered Art, Junk art… so many names I can hardly decide which fits them best, so for now I’ll just refer to them as assemblage art boxes.
I have been completing about one a week since 2016 began. I feel like I am finally putting every single bit of my studio to use. I’ve been experimenting with new products such as adhesives and modeling paste, and I’m using power tools I’d been neglecting to try in my craft projects. I really enjoy the resourcing of pieces in shops and digs, the planning of multiple layers within each, and how the overall composition of a piece comes together magically, and with much patience.
Below are my most current pieces, (previous ones can be found here.) I plan to have them all for sale soon. I’d love to know what you think!
Tattoos have long been an interest of mine, tattoo art to be specific. Even my favorite part of group camping is setting up a picnic-bench-parlor to Sharpie tattoo custom designs on friends and family. Innocent enough since the ink is quite temporary. And though I don’t have any tattoos myself, as an artist and designer I am allured by the mystique of tattoo illustrations and typography, and that which people choose to wear permanently. Recently I requested a few tattoo-related books to read, (color), and review from Laurence King Publishing on the topic.
I became very interested in the history of tattoos upon researching My Father’s Tattoos, inked by legendary Tatts Thomas of Chicago in 1948. I could hardly wait to dive into this incredible book on the history of body art. I read the entire 288 fascinating pages (with 300 illustrations!) in one winter day while curled up by the fire. Upon finish, I can’t ever imagine stepping foot into a tattoo shop for custom work without the benefit of this in-depth history of the art, the artists, the culture, and the meanings behind most styles of tattoo art, past and current. As a graphic designer, I found even the artists’ business cards featured in the book to be fascinating. This book offers “a friendly read of the society, community, and history of the artists and the inked.”
1914-1945: War and Ink, The Golden Age, Roll Up! Roll Up!
1946-1969: Ink from the Clink, Rebel Tattoos, Tattoo Revolution
1970-1990: The tattoo Renaissance, Woman and Ink, Defying Convention
1991- Now: Styles with Substance, Mainstream Obsession
From the affluent of the late 1800s in European society who traveled far for their own prestigious inking, to side-show exhibits of the turn of the 20th century, 100 Years of Tattoos will teach you all you could want to know about how, where and why people chose to be inked and of the many artists who have chosen the human body as their primary canvas.
Wartime tattooing were very popular, for many reasons I was surprised to learn, with cryptic messages that you will find quite interesting.Did you know:
“Although Western society turned its back on tattoo art in the years following World War II, ink continued to flourish in prisons, where potent designs were worn as a mark of gang membership. Unwittingly, the primitive techniques and makeshift inks used by jailbird artists helped to set the scene for modern black-and-grey work, which has become the most popular form of body art in the West.” David McComb, 100 Years of Tattoos
Women are very well represented in this significant history book. You’ll find stories like that of Irene Woodward (below left) who’s dramatic story of becoming tattooed was fabricated to bring more mystique to her sideshow attraction. I have many books in my library of tattoo topics, but this one has the best reference to tattoo art through the ages, including many examples of legendary flash designed by plenty of famous names in the industry. I am certain if tattoos in any way interest you, whether to wear or admire, this century of tattoo culture and visual history will be of significant value.
This pocket-size mini edition book of 128 pages and 200 color illustrations features thirty international artists who use a variety of mediums and pays tribute to non-tattoo related artwork.Within the pages of Art by Tattooists you will discover the artwork of working tattooists who move beyond flash and flesh with their talents. Creating on surfaces from canvas to skateboards, their artwork is kept fresh and exhibited well in this little book of talent.
Just when you thought you’d seen just about all the adult coloring book styles there were to see… just wait until you get a load of this one- WOW!With 112 pages and 120 illustrations, The Tattoo Coloring Book, by designer Ollie Munden, (aka Megamunden), features tattoos of all the spectacular illustrations you could hope for. Artwork includes everything from gorgeous Japanese koi fish, birds, and flowers to many other intricate designs from nature. There are also pages of skulls, roses, hearts, and more. The line art throughout the book is primarily black with just the right touch of metallic gold. There are even a few pages that prompt you to design your own custom tattoos.I was delighted to find this gorgeous, surprise centerfold in full, vibrant color.Craving even more inspiration? Check out the incredibly talented Megamunden in action:
So tell me- do you have, want or, like me, simply appreciate tattoos? I’d be very interested to know.
Disclosure: Cathe Holden (aka Just Something I Made blog) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking toamazon.com.
Lately my creative endeavors have revolved around assemblage art, three dimensional collage ensembles. I’ve enjoyed searching out random, funky wood and metal scrap and old wooden boxes of all sizes and dimension. I am beginning to build a collection of assemblage art for future showings and sales, beginning with box designs. I use my custom typographic stencils, and pieces from my vintage ephemera and wallpaper collection, (or scans & copies of), vintage hardware, and wood & metal scrap. Each finished piece has one main focal point, so far those have been animals. Below are a few photos I’ve taken along the way. I have been sharing the images on Instagram, so please follow me there, and on Periscope, where I will soon be showing much more of the process.I’d love to know what you think!
Hi, I’m Cathe (pronounced the same as Cathy). I’m a graphic designer, crafter, creative blogger, & flea market enthusiast. I live just north of San Francisco in lovely Petaluma, California with my husband and our three college kids.
JustSomethingIMade.com is where I share creative ideas, crafty projects, original designs, artistic inspiration, product reviews and loads of free stuff! Thanks for visiting!