Art, Architecture, and Individuality

Art, Architecture, and Individuality

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Sean Garman
Contributed by:
Sean Garman
AIA
Anna Procter
Contributed by:
Anna Procter

Talk About It

About 1 year ago: Sean G.

This was a really fun article to be a part of. One question I have is: I know there are other architects out there with tattoos and/or architectural tattoos. Will they be able to upload their images and stories as well? I'd like to see this blog post really expand...
Cheers and thanks to all who participated.

About 1 year ago: alan h.

I'd love to upload pics of mine...I have three tats, all of which are architectural. Would there be a forum or area for this? I know some wouldn't care...but those of us who have them, love to tell the stories of where they came from.

Art, Architecture, and Individuality

While considering the profession of architecture and where it is leading us next, we incorporate lessons from past generations, the knowledge of our own generations, and generations to come. Through these images we explore the idea of permanence in design and flesh through tattoos of architecture and architects with tattoos.

Blake Beall, Sales Representative at Texas Coin and Commercial Laundry 



Jessica Salcedo Ralat, visual merchandising 

What background or insights can you share about your tattoos?

Each of my 10 tattoos tells a story about my life at the time when I got them. I was lucky enough to study abroad in college at Glasgow University in Scotland and I fell in love with the art and architecture of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I knew I wanted to eventually have a tattoo with a piece of his work. When I happened upon a book covered with the stained glass doors to the Willow Tea Room, including his iconic rose, I knew that was the tattoo. 

Did the location (on your body) of the tattoos have special significance?

This tattoo was my first large arm piece. I wanted it to be large enough to be impactful, but I also kept all of the "clear glass" as negative space so it was still delicate.

Expand upon the connection of you or your tattoos with architecture.

My mom went back to college to study architecture when I was in grade school. She taught me to love line and color, and appreciate the mathematics of art and nature. I decided to combine my love of fashion and interior design and go into the visual merchandising field. As an adult, I enjoy my tattoos telling the tales of my life. From my spiritual beliefs to my Texas roots to my love for architecture and fashion to the fact that I made stupid artistic choices when I was 16, it's all there for people to see. 

Rickey Crum, Assoc. AIA, Senior Designer at CallisonRTKL 

What background or insights can you share about your tattoo?

I’ve always been passionate about machines and how things work, and airplanes were of special interest to me growing up. To me, the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, and more specifically, the WWII-era represents a point in time where machines weren’t just meant to function, but were built to ‘perform.’ There is a certain elegance and aesthetic that comes with the aerodynamic lines of the cars and planes of this era that is beautiful to me. To me, WWII-era aviation represents the perfect culmination of functional aesthetics.

Did the location (on your body) of the tattoo have special significance?

I had gotten a small black and gray tattoo on my arm when I first went to college. I guess this was a gesture of freedom and rebellion…or whatever society wants to call it. In retrospect it wasn’t the best idea, but I don’t regret it.  It was just a moment in time. I decided that with my aviation tattoos, I could blend the black and gray tattoo into the sky, making what was a boring and aging tattoo part of something bigger and cooler. I guess it was a way of breathing new life into an old tattoo.

Expand upon the connection of you or your tattoo with architecture. 

As I mentioned, I’ve always been interested in how things work, and finding the beauty in function. It’s kind of like a Swiss watch.  There is an inherent beauty to the organization of all the highly crafted pieces and mechanisms. This is how I view architecture. Designing something based on aesthetic is subjective, but designing something that is beautiful because of its purpose/function is timeless and undeniably successful. This is the art of architecture in my eyes.

Michael Smoldt, Intern Architect at Booziotis & Company 

What background or insights can you share about your tattoo?  

It is simply a circle, a pure geometrical shape.

Expand upon the connection of you or your tattoo with architecture.  

Architecture is geometry.

Thor Erickson, AICP, Managing Director at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP 

What background or insights can you share about your tattoos?

I have collected tattoos from 17 artists over the last 18 years. I have been tattooed in the USA, the Philippines, Thailand, and Cambodia. I have been hand-tapped (Batek and Kakau), hand-poked (sak yant) and by rotary and magnetic machines. I was also a tattooer for a few years in Manila.

Did the location (on your body) of the tattoos have special significance?

Composition should be part of the application. For me, my sak yant have the most meaning in terms of location as they were discussed and set by the monks. The rest of my tattoos were placed by body shape, image, and my desire to get a place tattooed.

Expand upon the connection of you or your tattoos with architecture.

My undergrad is in environmental design. I thought I wanted to be an architect at one point in my life. 

Sean Garman, AIA, Principal at Mitchell Garman Architects 

What background or insights can you share about your tattoo(s)?  

Admittedly, I am terrible at math, but I have always been fascinated by its seemingly mystical powers. The Golden Section was discovered by Euclid in 300 BC, and ever since, it has been seen as a “divine proportion” - 1:1.618.  It is known as “phi,” and is an irrational number, meaning it is not a true fraction. Similar to pi, the decimal goes on forever and is non-repeating.

Did the location (on your body) of the tattoo(s) have special significance?

Not really, I just wanted it where I could see it, yet remain personal.

Expand upon the connection of you or your tattoo(s) with architecture.

Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer both used this proportion when designing some, but not all of their projects. The great pyramids were also built on this proportion. It appears in random places in nature, like sunflowers, the Milky Way, hurricanes and even the human genome.  Interestingly, phi is related to the Fibonacci sequence, but yet an entirely different string of numbers. However, if you take any number in the Fibonacci sequence and divide it by the preceding number the result is 1.618… I find that fascinating!

John Allender, AIA, Principal at Architexas 

 

Contributed by Sean Garman, AIA and Anna Procter.

 

All photography by Craig Blackmon, FAIA