GALLERIES
MUJER DEL TATUAJE (Tattooed Woman)
© 1998 Keith Halonen    oil on panel    30×48 in /
76×122 cm    $ 32,000 US
THIS PAINTING IS A
GOLDEN RECTANGLE

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 MUJER DEL TATUAJE  DIOSA NICARAGUANSA  SEX

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     The concept of the body as a canvas for artistic expression takes different forms. The permanence of tattoo lends impact to any image on skin and it suggests decisiveness. It really is a serious decision, so considerable forethought should go into choosing body art.

     A tiger on a martial arts master seems appropriate, but on an attractive woman? Yet things are not always as they seem. This model really is a high-ranking black belt in a very traditional karate school. Though she teaches it, she also continues to study it as she has for nearly three decades!



Detail from MUJER DEL TATUAJE (Tattooed Woman)

     The fabric under the model is a single pillowcase with two distinct print patterns, giving the illusion of separate pillows. The intricate work invested in authentically duplicating the brightly colored fabric patterns sustains the peripheral construct of this image. The viewer's eye is not distracted by the detail, which actually serves to frame the model's body and accentuate the tiger tattoo.

     This tiger is not an original image. It's the work of an unknown Asian artist. About thirty years ago I found a crumpled swatch of silk buried beneath the cushions of an old couch. When I stretched it flat, I discovered that it was a painting of a tiger. I sandwiched it between a couple handkerchiefs and ironed it smooth. I then mounted and displayed it in my residence.

     Eventually I included it as a very tiny image on a major work of art featuring many small images. Sometime later it found its way into a diploma I designed for a modern American martial arts school. It has since been employed in a glass fusing design and here again in this painting. I do not find it inconsistent to so admire the work of another artist that I feel impelled to actually sample the imagery I favor for inclusion in my own work. It is homage. The model is everything I said she was but the truth is that she wears no tattoo. Now it is certain that some things really aren't as they seem.

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