Best Art Tattoo Coming To Birmingham

/ Programs

Photo courtesy of Carter Foster (from
Photo courtesy of Carter Foster from vulturecom

Not only is Carter E. Foster the Curator of Drawings at the Whitney Museum of American Art, one of the four curators to create the exhibition America Is Hard To See, and our speaker at the upcoming Chenoweth Lecture, but he is also known as having one of the best art tattoos ever.

In an article by Vulture — “The Best Art Tattoos of All Time” — Foster’s tattoo is highlighted and described as “legendary.” At first glance, it may seem like just a cool tattoo; however, this tattoo is also a work of art by artist Ellsworth Kelly. Foster describes the process of getting this art tattoo below:

“I had the idea to ask Ellsworth to design a tattoo a few years ago and did one day, not really expecting him to say yes. But he was happy to do it so I photocopied my right forearm, which is where I wanted it, so he’d have an actual size ‘image’ of my arm. Then a few months later I was up there visiting him and asked him about it again and he said ‘let’s just do it right now’ so he pulled out scissors and colored paper and worked out the design on my arm, and then made a collage of that on the photocopy of my arm. I took that collage to the brilliant and wonderful Scott Campbell and he executed it using the collage as a reference and matching the colors, etc. Ellsworth was so pleased when he finally saw it that he gave it an inventory number and considers it one of his works of art. The whole experience was delightful and I adore Ellsworth, one of the nicest, kindest friends anyone could hope to have. So that’s the story.”

See Carter E. Foster (and his tattoo) during his lecture at the BMA, happening on Thursday, November 5 at 7PM for free.