B/L/J has developed her own technique of using tattoo equipment and practices in an unconventional context—not on skin, but on paper. Her current focus blurs the boundaries of the art of tattooing and fine art, as she alters a process of body modification through an atypical medium.
B/L/J uses a tattoo machine and needles to create pieces that aren’t formed with ink, but rather solely through the impact of the needle on paper. Meticulously creating patterns through the ripping of fiber with a fine steel instrument. Taking a meditative approach to each piece, she builds on details and creates lines as close together as possible on paper—a contrast to the restriction of avoiding tattooing lines close together on skin, as over time such lines blend into one another.
Although the processes of tattooing skin and paper are very different, the idea of permanence and the inability to erase still apply. When skin is tattooed, trauma is brought to the organ through needle penetration to inject ink. Tattooing on paper mimics this process in a way that essentially tears up the fiber, and often no other material is added to the paper. The paper is reconfigured in an alternative way that allows a reverse embossment to appear.
Working solely in monochrome, this work separates itself from the often stark contrast of ink on skin. This encourages the viewer to get intimate with the artwork without having to ask permission as you would to observe a person’s tattoo on their skin.