Amanda Wachob is a fine arts graduate and a tattoo artist, a formidable pairing that explains why her inked designs are so unique. At first glance, the skin masterpieces look like watercolor images, dripping off of limbs in a wild array of colors. But, no, they are indeed permanent tattoos.
Permanent tattoos that have attracted the attention of a venerable arts institution -- New York's New Museum.
Wachob will be moving from parlor to gallery this winter, working with the New Museum Store on a project called "Skin Data." She'll be inking 12 lucky fans inside the shop on a first-come, first-served basis (reservations can be made simply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org). All of the lucky tat recipients get to choose from 23 designs, listed in full on the New Museum's website. The exclusive sessions, a hefty $500 each, will take place from December 20 to January 17.
Not only will brave participants receive their very own Wachob skin original, they will take part in a collaborative investigation launched by the tattoo artist and a neuroscientist named Maxwell Bertolero. The two collaborators have been gathering information related to voltage and time, using Wachob's own tattoo equipment, and translating that data into visual representations. The video below gives a bit of a preview:
"Although technology plays a significant role in the making of a tattoo, it is often hidden or overlooked. Skin Data ventures into this invisible realm in order to give expression to tattoo technology's attendant processes and information," the project site explains. Using more technical jargon, the visual representations are a bit more complex:
The design's color, which is based on a spectral scale, is determined by the tattoo machine's voltage and plotted by 1:1 mapping, while the duration of the machine's pulse determines the length of the color band.
In essence, each of Wachob's 12 sessions will produce a "visual representation" -- or, a print -- which will be available at the New Museum Store, as a special edition of 20. This is merely one way Wachob blurs the line between fine art and tattooing, pushing innovation beyond the canvas.
"The most challenging thing has been to change the way people think of tattooing," Wachob explained in a previous interview with The Huffington Post. "There's so much that can be done on and off skin."