Whitney Carpentier, 22, a Camden resident all of her life is a writer, a baker, and a candlestick maker. (Okay, sorry about that, it just seemed to flow). You can usually find her working at French and Brawn when she's not dreaming up escapades to get out of town or organizing zombie walks. Her hair changes color like most of us change socks and one thing this girl loves is a good tattoo. Her latest, an old-fashioned burlesque queen, was inked by a friend, who goes by the pseudonym, Gordon Alexzander. Alexzander, a young surrealist artist also from Camden, has shown exhibitions at CMCA and is known for exploring fantastic creatures and cyberpunk landscapes in his work. Carpentier already has a sepia-toned three-masted ship on her shoulder and explains why she chose this tattoo. "I've always had a fascination with pin-up girls. I love the ridiculous sexuality of pin-up girls mixed with the innocent surprise." Her inspiration for this particular artwork came from a well-known tattoo legend, Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, who integrated his lifelong love of sailing with intricate naval tattoo designs. As such, the schooner on her shoulder is also inspired by Sailor Jerry and this new tattoo is a companion piece. "Without Collins," Carpentier says, "tattooing wouldn't be where it is today. He died in the 1970s, but was was an innovator of his time." She felt Alexzander would be the best artist to emulate Sailor Jerry's style. "[Alexzander is] a truly gifted artist, and someone I trust more than most, so I felt it only right for him to do this work. He's working on his tattoo skills, and what better way to do that than to get back to basics and work on something traditional. I felt comfortable with him doing my tattoo because he knows me so well and is easy to bounce ideas off. Together we worked on a color scheme, line width and placement." As Alexzander has recently taken off to do some traveling, he was unable to finish the piece, so Carpentier says she is "between tattoo artists" and is looking for someone with as much traditional and artistic insight as Alexzander to finish it up.
Who is Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins?
(reprinted from his website www.sailorjerry.com)
Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins enlisted in the Great Lakes Naval Academy in his late teens and spent the better part of the next ten years sailing all over the globe on schooner ships. As tattooing and the sailing man go hand in hand, it was no great coincidence that this time at sea fostered a deep love of naval culture and the art and tradition of tattooing for young Jerry. Traveling deep within the China Seas, Collins would occasionally tattoo while in various ports of call, studying not only the work of some of the tattoo masters he encountered there but Asian philosophy and storytelling as well. Heck, he even learned a bit of Chinese! These encounters definitely influenced Jerry, as he brought their style and traditions back to Honolulu where he worked in the arcades of Chinatown pre-WW2.
image courtesy of www.sailorjerry.com
The Killer Convo