Sacred Knot (2018)
Oil on Linen
24 x 18"
My brother Sean Parry is a tattoo artist (@Sacred_Knot_Tattoo), and visited me recently in Lake Tahoe, California. He lives in Manchester, UK right now. I painted him while he worked on his client in my studio. Sean specializes in ancient Norse and Celtic designs, inspired by our Welsh motherland. He reads history with the same fervor as I do - inspired by Viking traditions, the Druids, the Celts, mythology and religion. He designs each tattoo freehand directly on the skin, using the body's contours and his extensive knowledge of interlace patterning to create regal, awe-inspiring dot and line work. Each piece is utterly unique and breathtaking.
I wanted to capture the intimacy between artist and 'canvas', which is in this case a human being. Clustering their heads together intensified this relationship. The faces in profile reveal Sean's focus, and his client Matt's stoic endurance of pain. Layered upon that context is my own relationship to them - observer, sister, fellow artist.
The tools of the tattooist's trade are in the foreground - various bottles, sharpies, a power pack, paper towels, coffee mug, and a razor. Both the tattoo and the painting took 4 days - some sessions lasting up to 9 hours. Much coffee, tea and coconut water were imbibed. Sean often sings while he works, and his deep Welsh baritone filled my studio like the light flooding through the window they sat in front of. Matt read mythological tales aloud.
This painting records a special moment in our creative journey, and it was an honor to be given the opportunity to capture the moment. Thankyou Matt, and thankyou brother.