The Not So Secret Art Historian

Posted: September 25, 2011 in metrosexuality, Tattoos
Tags: , ,

This photo of Matt Lodder, a ‘heavily tattooed art historian’ struck me for a few reasons.

Firstly, it’s just a beautiful photo of a beautiful man, in a setting he looks very comfortable in.

Secondly, it gives us a glimpse of some of the accoutrements that go with being ‘heavily tattooed’. The bottles of ink, the holding your arm out as if you were about to be injected, the way people who get tattoos are often amongst other people with tattoos, as if it is in some ways, though I hate the word, a ‘community’.

Thirdly, maybe partly because it is a black and white photo, this picture reminded me of a book Matt recommended to me, that I haven’t read yet, about Samuel Steward, who lived through most of the 20th century, and who was a tatooist, a tatooed person, and a historian. And a ‘sexual outlaw’. It made me think about the history of tattoos, which Matt happens to be writing a book about! The photo made me wonder if being ‘heavily tattooed’ makes you an outlaw in any way, either sexual or otherwise, even, or especially in the heavily metrosexual culture of 2011.

This is an extract from an article about Samuel Steward:

‘When the author Justin Spring finally tracked down the executor of Samuel Steward’s estate, he had no idea what this sexual outlaw and little-known literary figure had left behind after his death in 1993…

Ultimately Steward abandoned university life and entered the tattoo artist’s demimonde full time, but his determination to indulge his sexual identity fully came with enormous physical, professional and psychological costs. In Mr. Spring’s telling, the frustrations of living in this closeted era combined with his obsession drove Steward to alcoholism and prevented him from living up to the early promise he showed as a novelist. He suffered through long periods of dark depression, loneliness and self-destructive behavior. Dangerously violent characters and sex fascinated Steward, and his overtures and adventures frequently landed him in the hospital.

“He paid the price for being himself,” Mr. Spring said, “but at least he got to be himself.”’

  1. I love my tats, and although I think it has lessened over the years, I think there’s still a stigma to tattoos, especially in countries that are a bit more reserved.

  2. Steph D says:

    Tattoos mean different things in different places. For example when I was in Japan last year people with noticeable tattoos were not allowed in the public baths as it is a sign of yakusa. Ultimately I think tattoos are just another form of social dressing to identify oneself with a peticular group.

    I myself am squeamish about tattoos so would probably never have one.

  3. […] London Photography here again. His photos of the London Tattoo Convention grabbed my attention last year when he snapped our favourite heavily tattooed art historian, Matt Lodder, at the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s