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Pen & Ink : Tattoos & the Stories Behind Them
by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy Macnaughton


Overview -

Every tattoo tells a story, whether the ink is meaningful or the result of a misguided decision made at the age of fourteen, representative of the wearer's true self or the accidental consequence of a bender. These most permanent and intimate of body adornments are hidden by pants legs and shirttails, emblazoned on knuckles, or tucked inside mouths.  Read more...


 
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More About Pen & Ink by Isaac Fitzgerald; Wendy Macnaughton
 
 
 
Overview

Every tattoo tells a story, whether the ink is meaningful or the result of a misguided decision made at the age of fourteen, representative of the wearer's true self or the accidental consequence of a bender. These most permanent and intimate of body adornments are hidden by pants legs and shirttails, emblazoned on knuckles, or tucked inside mouths. They are battle scars and beauty marks, totems and mementos.

"Pen & Ink" grants us access to the tattoos-and the stories behind them-of writers Cheryl Strayed and Roxane Gay; rockers in the bands Korn, Otep, and Five Finger Death Punch; and even a porn star. But it also illuminates the tattoos of the ordinary people living in our midst-from professors to thrift store salespeople, cafe owners to librarians, union organizers to administrators-and their extraordinary lives.

Curated and edited by Isaac Fitzgerald, who sports twelve tattoos himself, each story is like being let in on . . . secrets by . . . strangers who passed you on the street or sat across from you on the train (Strayed) and features Wendy MacNaughton's gorgeously rendered full-color illustrations of the tattoos on black-and-white drawings of the bearer's body. At its heart, beneath its colorful skin, "Pen & Ink" is an exploration of the decision to scar one's self with a symbol and a story."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781620404904
  • ISBN-10: 1620404907
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 133


Related Categories

Books > Art > Body Art & Tattooing
Books > Social Science > Popular Culture - General
Books > Health & Fitness > Beauty & Grooming - General

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-05-19
  • Reviewer: Staff

Based on the popular Tumblr pen & ink, Fitzgerald (books editor at BuzzFeed) and illustrator MacNaughton (Lost Cat) bring their inspired collaboration to the page. The premise is simple: Fitzgerald and MacNaughton asked online readers to submit an image of their tattoo and its story. The book features 63 tattoos, with text that answers questions including: the reason for the tattoo, the individual’s name and profession. Drawn in a whimsical, tender style, MacNaughton’s portraits are captivating in their intimacy: the lower half of a hirsute man with his pants down, a skateboarding bear on his right thigh; a student peeling down her lower lip to expose the words “I forget” in black ink. The accompanying explanations, some of which are entertainingly straightforward (a fondness for pizza) and others that tell a darker story (a celebration of survival after a sexual assault), demonstrate resilience and imagination. Without judgment or regret, this emotionally raw collection, featuring an introduction by Cheryl Strayed, explores how we find permanence in an impermanent world. As MacNaughton says of her very first tattoo, “What the tattoo does prove is that Wendy, like most 19-year olds, used to take things very seriously, and that things change.” 4-color illus. throughout. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Oct.)

 
BookPage Reviews

The strange and the wonderful

Bibliophiles know books are the perfect gifts, rendering “they’re so hard to buy for” an empty lament. To wit, this trio of titles truly has something for everyone. All hail the curious mind!

TATTED UP
Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them takes a daring approach: There are no photos here. Instead, Wendy MacNaughton illustrates more than 60 tattoos, along with their hand-lettered origin stories curated by Isaac Fitzgerald. MacNaughton’s artfully rendered black-and-white line drawings of her subjects provide a neutral canvas for her full-color interpretations of their vibrant tattoos. Of course, the stories make these body-art vignettes whole: From sad to silly, emotional to eccentric, it’s fascinating to learn what can inspire such an everlasting form of self-expression. Chiming in are artists, professors, a naval officer, pizza aficionados and many more. This is a great gift for the tattooed, the tattoo considerers, art lovers and anyone curious about tattoo whys and wherefores but too shy to ask.

TANTALIZING TRIVIA
The explosive cover art for 1,339 Quite Interesting Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop is a reasonable facsimile of readers’ brains after they’ve experienced this compendium of wildly interesting, weirdly true facts. The authors are the masterminds of popular BBC quiz show “QI”: John Lloyd is creator, John Mitchinson is director of research, and James Harkin is senior researcher. They’re also the authors of 2013’s best-selling 1,227 Quite Interesting Facts to Blow Your Socks Off, the creation of which led them right to this follow-up book. “Once you are in the Fact Zone, everywhere you look, astonishing new facts seem to wave and demand inclusion,” they explain. There are loads of facts here, on topics as varied as music, milk, Darwin, straitjackets and earlobes. For example: “There are only two sets of escalators in Wyoming,” and “A slug’s anus is on its head.” Now get out there and win on “Jeopardy!”

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES
Step aside, yarn-bombers and artisanal cheese-makers—the rogue taxidermists are here, and Robert Marbury leads the charge with Taxidermy Art: A Rogue’s Guide to the Work, the Culture, and How to Do It Yourself. The book shares taxidermy’s origins, as well as illustrated how-tos for the aspiring taxidermist. It’s also an illuminating look at those who practice the craft today, via page after page of disturbingly beautiful (or beautifully disturbing) works by artists worldwide. Chicago’s Jessica Joslin combines animal bones and intricate metalwork in pieces that are at once robotic and fluid; Julia deVille embellishes her taxidermy with jewels, thus “dazzling us with death”; and Marbury practices “vegan taxidermy” by using toy stuffed animals instead of formerly living creatures. Taxidermy Art is a truly interesting read, rife with intriguing history, talented artists, memorable images—and skull-bleaching instructions, too.

 

This article was originally published in the December 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews