I got the opportunity to ask the tattoo artist a few questions when he came to the gallery to drop off a couple more of his vivid paintings. There amongst all his paintings, I ventured into my line of questions. The first being simply: what are your interests, to which quite calmly replied “art over all.” Mossiah said that his interest in tattooing was sparked by painting and drawing. He said that the more he drew, painted and practiced in both mediums, he was drawn into the world of tattoos.
Steve Mossiah is more often affiliated with the world of tattoos, than the world of art; I asked him which he preferred. Mossiah said that he has a big preference to tattooing, because “the subject or medium disallows room for error. There is no way to erase and start over.”
Then he followed with such an awesome tidbit that I almost had nothing else to ask. He said “I’m pretty sure the art (tattoo) dies when the person dies.” This idea is quite unlike the generally perceived and accepted view, that an artist is immortalized through his art. He could see I was hooked then, so he continued by saying: “people display artwork in their homes or offices and it stays there, but the tattoos go where you go.
Steve Mossiah has several young admirers and so I asked him, what advice would he give to any of them who are interested in tattoo art. He said “before you get into it, I’d recommend that you first get into drawing and painting that they should build on these skills first. And when they get into tattooing, they should not give up painting and drawing.” Mossiah said that he never gave up painting and drawing. And truthfully, one look at any of the tattoos that he has done, and you can appreciate the artistic sensibility, which in nurtured by experimenting with color, scale, composition, size or any of the other elements of drawing and painting.
At the close of the impromptu interview, I could barely resist the temptation to ask the question that pricked me the entire time, what does he think of the association of tattoos with delinquency? Mossiah smiled and answered: “the difference shows in the art, the quality of the art and the design. The design is what tells that it’s art. In my personal view, there is nothing wrong with tattoos. It is each person’s individual choice.
Whether you like tattoos or not, ‘Body+Art’ promises to be an interesting display of the art within tattoos. You will be able to see his sketches, his painting and drawings and where he probably gathers his inspiration to do his tattoo art.
The exhibit will be launched at the Image Factory Art Gallery, located on 91 North Front Street, at 7:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.