1. Kip Fulbeck on the exhibition design

1. Kip Fulbeck Credit Troy Small 500

My name is Kip Fulbeck. I am the exhibition artist, designer, and photographer. What I wanted to do visually with this exhibition was to create a show that was visually dynamic, but at the same time I wanted it to be elegant. And I needed to have a “wow” factor, because I’m not a tattooer, and so I felt I had to do the tattoos and this work justice in the exhibition itself. At the same time, I wanted it to feel organic in the way that you, as a viewer, move through it – that you never feel coerced, that you feel naturally moving from one piece to the next. Like, I never wanted you guys to feel like you were in an IKEA, which is the best example I can think of, the way you’re sort of herded from showroom to showroom. I wanted you to move naturally through it. If you think about that’s how I’m designing the space, if you look at these tattooers, their tattoos never feel overworked.

The tattoos always feel like they have space to them, they always feel like they have a peacefulness to them, they feel like they exist and they move, and they live and they die, and they never feel like they’re trying too hard. That’s what I wanted to stick with in terms of the design of the show. I think when you say the word “museum” you typically think the word “boring”. I mean, I do. I think “museum” I think “sterile” and I think, stuff on walls with a bunch of academic jargon text below it, and that just drives me crazy. I’m a faculty, I know what academic jargon is, and that’s exactly what I wanted to avoid with this show. I wanted it to be visually dynamic and use all the space – to use the walls, and the floor, and the air, and the sightline, and the light – to use the space as well as these tattooers are using their client’s bodies to make art. That was my challenge. And that was a really hard challenge, because these tattooers in the show are really, really good.

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