As tattoos become more and more mainstream and trendy, you will have seen numerous visual encounters of this former underground art, especially with the hijacked photography of Cheyenne Randall and the fine art of Ramon Maiden and Marco Battaglini. But the originality of 34 year old Danish artist Rune Christensen’s work comes from his blank backgrounds and the intricately covered bodies of his figures. This painter, illustrator and street artist doesn’t use tattoos for humor, they are part of his experimentation with pattern.

Born in the East Jutland, the self-taught graffiti artist has traveled the world, and became fascinated with the patterns and colours of traditional handcraft, costumes and the temple decorations of Asia, South America, North Africa and Native America. Shooting all those artistic memories with his camera, he uses them as references for his work, both with acrylic paint and Posca pens. The result is a collection of faceless portraits. The female characters, with their horned balaclavas, remind us of the Russian political rock band Pussy Riot, but they are too busy contemplating their twins or doing mysterious pagan dances to make punk protests. The men and children are also cryptic, half religious icons half extras in a music video from the band Fever Ray. The backgrounds are as simple as the characters are intricate, focusing on the tattoos and clothes’ prints. The peaceful poise of Rune Christensen’s heroines and heroes create a very touching mood, somewhere between childhood’s innocence and trendy Scandinavian design…


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