This exquisitely designed tattoo magazine is a heady mix of fetishism, art, philosophy and popular culture
Drawing, said John Ruskin, was nothing but ‘dirtying the paper delicately’. Tattoos can be pretty delicate, too, but, as our parents warn us when we’re nearing that impressionable age, there is something – if not dirty – then dangerous and transgressive about them none the less.
Yet the latest edition of Sang Bleu, is a beautifully art-directed curiosity, a magazine that celebrates tattoos, alongside fetishism, fashion, philosophy and culture. Editor-in-chief and creative director Maxime Buechi regards it as a pure essay in the form, a self-financed labour of love and a statement about things he likes.
The magazine’s many photo stories range between a slick, fetishy eroticism, with leather-bra’d Sapphists tussling in nightclub lavatories, to a more detached, documentary or even anthropological approach. Where clothes are worn, which is by no means everywhere, their maker is cited at the bottom of the page in a nod to the conventions of the fashion press. In between pics, the luminaries of the tattoo scene are questioned about their professional development and life philosophy. The list of suppliers at the back includes clothes shops and tattoo parlours.
Elsewhere, the writing is more essayistic, varying widely in tone, scope and quality: a piece on Kylie Minogue’s mouth and Damien Hirst’s diamond skull; one on the Faust legend; and several on ‘tattoo theory’, a mixture of existentialism and mild S&M. Layouts are studiedly, exquisitely punky...
First published in Eye no. 72 vol. 18.
Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. You can also browse visual samples of recent issues at Eye before You Buy.