The art of the tattoo: A Thousand Fibres at Arch 402 Hoxton

By Sarah Jackson Published: 15 October 2013

Preview: A Thousand Fibres, Arch 402 Gallery, Hoxton, 24-29 October 2013.

Design of woman's face drawn on an old door by Expanded Eye.
© Courtesy of Expanded Eye
Multi-disciplinary duo Expanded Eye use their own unique form of visual storytelling to reveal their fascination with life, the universe and everything.

Jade Tomlinson and Kevin James went to school and university together before deciding to combine their talents and ideas across a range of disciplines, from installations to illustrations. Storytelling in particular captured their imagination.

The duo spend six months of the year working with inimitable tattooist Xoil and his studio Needle Side in Thonon- les-Bains, France. There they work side by side with the tattooists, designing and transforming stories into visual art to be tattooed onto people’s skin. The rest of the year sees them back in London creating anything from street art to installations, posters to CD covers, and much more.

The tattoos they create with Needle Side are far removed from the ‘off-the-wall’ designs that so many people have inscribed on their skin.

Designs are considered and experimented with for several days, merging a variety of elements such as natural motifs, typography and geometrical shapes to create stunning, colourful and unique tattoos.

While seeing works of art tattooed on people's skin is not too unusual now, A Thousand Fibres reverses this. Designs previously tattooed on people's skins are given new life by being recreated in different mediums, including vintage books, salvaged materials as well as more traditional techniques such as illustration and paint.

Curated by Alexandra Fernandez Diaz of Conquering Rooftops, who create pop-up art events in unexpected places, the exhibition promises to showcase unique pieces of art that fuse different disciplines, techniques and traditions, creating a new and exciting form of storytelling.

The private view will also include a performance from Perhaps Contraption, a self-proclaimed ‘twisted brass, avant pop marching band’ (whom Expanded Eye have previously designed album covers and posters for). Live tattooing will also take place at points throughout the exhibition.

  • Open Monday-Friday 11am-6pm (Saturday-Sunday 11am-3pm). Follow the gallery on Twitter @expandedeye.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

More pictures:

Words and images by Expanded Eye drawn and painted on an old door.
© Courtesy of Expanded Eye
Design by Expanded Eye drawn on vintage books.
© Courtesy of Expanded Eye
A tattoo previously designed and tattooed by Expanded Eye.
A tattoo previously created by Expanded Eye.© Courtesy of Expanded Eye

You might also like:

Glasgow International announces programme for Festival of Visual Arts 2014

Selfies and South American rail: Liverpool's Abandon Normal Devices festival 2013

Sex, cigarettes, skulls and toilets: Sarah Lucas has a Situation at London's Whitechapel

Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.