Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Christopher Conn Askew, Beyond Tattoo

Conn's works are dynamic vivid compositions, beautifully executed and graphic show stoppers. There are definite influences of Japanese art in his composition, solid and elegant line work, evident historically in Japanese watercolors and tattoo art. Also evident is an ode to classic, old time story book illustrations, rendered in decorative realism with a modern twist. There is also an element of European art deco poster design, his use of typography is masterful and clean, creating overall images of graceful yet bold design. Chris incorporates the traditional line work of tattoo with subtle hues and deft rendering, shading, shadows and modeling; to create some of the most beautifully luscious works out there today. One can see the painstaking time, thought and effort in each one of his pieces without any of the cliches of today's pop artists. No sexy adolescents or big eyed girls here, just consummate artworks that will last thru the ages.

I first came across Chris's art in a Haight Street tattoo shop while crusing for local artists for the (then up-coming) Tattoon Show. My eyes were riveted by an incredible watercolor on the wall of a parlor and I instantly recognized his style from an old issue of Juxtapoz. Always in the market for local artists, I was very excited to stumble upon such professional work, right here at home. (It is much "greener" to use local artists rather than artists who have to ship here using jet fuel.) After googling Chris it seemed he lived in SF, so finding his art felt like a score. Sometimes it can be a challenge to find enough quality local art for a solid exhibit. After several attempts to contact him, he finally responded. Sadly, he declined to exhibit any works in the show, oddly stating "I am not doing anything even remotely tattoo related, anymore". Too bad, his art was sorely missed and would have been a welcome and fitting addition to this great show.

For more of his beautiful works, go to his website: Christopher Conn Askew