Tattoo art to hang on the wall

There's Willie Nelson looking pensive, the Oriole Bird looking maniacal and two naked women lying on the beach, looking like they're enjoying themselves just fine.

"I've wanted to curate an art show for a long time," says Baltimore Tattoo Museum co-owner Bill Stevenson, who put together the " Maryland, My Maryland" show at the Windup Space. It features paintings and other artwork by 70 tattoo artists from Maryland, Delaware and Washington.

"Tattooing is a really interesting little world, with so much talent, so much work in so many directions and experiences," Stevenson says.

That might be understating the case. Certainly, the work on display goes well beyond the stereotypical skull-and-crossbones usually associated with tattoos. Some pieces fit right in with that spirit, including Steve Labofish's golden demon head and Jim Judeikis' skull pierced by a knife complete with a Maryland crest on the handle.

But there's also Chris Lowe's extraordinarily realistic portrait of Nelson, a detailed etching of photographic quality, plus Carl Caracia's Aztec Mr. Boh, Chris Keaton's majestic Wye Oak and Wes Pastorfield's puckish portrait of chicken magnate Frank Perdue. And there's the serene beauty of Jeff Pitt's rendition of a woman washing her marble steps, sunlight streaming down from the transom atop her doorway.

"This show is emblematic of what a lot of tattooers are doing when they're not tattooing," says Stevenson. "Even if you don't like tattooing or any kind of tattoo art, you see something like that Willie Nelson, and you are going to be struck by it."

"Maryland My Maryland" is on display at The Windup Space, 12 W. North Ave., through Nov. 1. Information: 410-244-8855 or

Chris Kaltenbach

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