How do you get inked by one of the world’s most sought-after tattooist? The same one whose gun has graced the flesh of Courtney Love, Heath Ledger, Marc Jacobs, Jennifer Aniston… to name a few. And someone who typically charges into the thousands of dollars. Someone who isn’t even taking bookings right now. It’s seemingly impossible. However, if you’re in Covent Garden during Frieze next week then you could be in luck. Luck being the key word here.
The artist in question is Scott Campbell and the answer is “Whole Glory”, his art/tattoo/performance piece that was originally staged at New York’s Milk Studios in 2014. For two days, Campbell will randomly select six names, lottery-style, who will then stick their arm through a hole in the wall and hope that what he inks on them will be up to their liking.
“The recipient has no insight as to what it is until it is completed and they pull their arm out of the hole. There is no communication and no contact other than the tattoo” – Scott Campbell
In the “Whole Glory” press release, he explained, “Anyone who wants can stick their arm through a hole and I will tattoo it. I apply whatever design I feel the appendage needs, and the recipient has no insight as to what it is until it is completed and they pull their arm out of the hole. There is no communication and no contact other than the tattoo. It's a chance for people to not take their physical selves so seriously, and take part in an exchange of faith that will literally change who they are for the rest of their life.”
Alongside “Whole Glory”, Campbell, also an artist, will debut new art works. Self-described as "tattooed skin quilts” which are encased in formaldehyde-filled frames, the works are admittedly the closest Campbell has come to mixing the art and tattoo worlds so far in his career.
In a recent interview with Dazed Digital, he said, "I'm excited because my hands can tattoo better than they can do anything else. I'm more comfortable tattooing than drawing on paper, and it's the first time that I've been able to capture the skills of that craft in a way that I can hang on a wall."
Lazarides presents Scott Campbell’s Whole Glory will take place at 26 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8NA from 7 – 9 October