Sharing tattoos with Adam
“Are you for real? Oh god, this is freaking me out! Are you absolutely sure about this?” Adam J. Kurtz asks me in a panic.
I just told the New York-based artist he could draw anything he wanted on my arm and I would have it immediately tattooed in the afternoon.
And yes, I was sure about it. I’ve nursed this crazy plan as soon as National Book Store and Graphika Manila announced Adam would be at their events on the first weekend of February.
It made all the sense to me. His stickers are all over my phone, notebooks, greeting cards and gifts. His “Unsolicited Advice” planners and undated agenda help keep my life on track each year. The artist’s pins and patches are also the number one accessories to my couldn’t-get-anymore-basic clothes. I’ve even replicated his “Week In Scraps” project.
What draws me (and countless of others) to Adam’s works is his cynical and sarcastic humor. But more often than not, his voice as an artist resonate with so much of what we already know and relate to. His books and other works validate whatever it is people try to put in the closet or silence.
“Anything?” he says. “Yes! But maybe not a dick—even if it’s a joke,” I tell him.
“Do you want a friend tattoo? Like we could have matching ones! Pick one that you like,” Adam tells me as he takes off his jacket, revealing his arms that have easily turned into a tattoo catalogue of his works for our reference.
Inked on his skin are a life-sized pencil, the “Then and Now” rainbow, a bobby pin, among many others. The first one that caught my eye was a post stamp.
It was completely shaded in black, except on the corner where you can find the number 32. I gulped at the thought of having to go under the needle for a long time in the inking studio later on.
But Adam drew a much simpler version on my arm, and it was a familiar one—his illustration of the “Forever” post stamp. I quickly let out a sigh of relief as I knew this would hurt so much less than I expected. On my right arm he wrote the words “Live Super.”
Others will get by with an autograph and a selfie when they meet the contemporary artist, but I figured I wanted another tattoo that held a memory and a story in each streak. And Adam gave me one I would never tire of telling.
I think I just made it to his book of crazy fan stories. —VINZ LAMORENA
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