Skulls, Tattoo’s & Body Paint

Rick Genest vs Ed Hardy

Genest’s tattoo’s are quite different compared to Ed Hardy’s bold and vibrant designs, which may feature a closer connection with commercialism. Genest’s tattoo’s may add personal aspects to his work and Genest’s main website clarifies that the performer is primarily interested in expressing in his own creativity. Both representations do provide different interpretations of death, which may glamorise the image of the skull.

Genest and Hardy may juxtapose the image of death with living subjects through tattoo’s and body art. Genest for example features a representation of a skull on top of an actual skull, which has the skin to separate the interior from the exterior.

Perhaps the tattoo’s become a reminder to the performer of his very close encounters with death and the designs may question one to query the nature of humanity among capitalism and mass production.

In regards to this particular photograph it was difficult to specify whether the skull on the model’s chest is body paint.The brush strokes and the colour may suggest that the skull is created from different paints or applications.One could argue that this photograph that is advertising Ed Hardy is very glamourous, which definitely fits into the category of high fashion.

The skull is juxtaposed next to flowers and leaves, which may connect life with death through fashion or photography. The model’s body does appear very stiff and rigid, which may correspond with representations of death. On the other hand the advertisement could be just a fashion advertisement, which uses popular imagery such as the skull for instance to promote their products.

What does it really mean to have a skull tattooed or painted upon the body? Perhaps the skull as a tattoo reminds one of their own existence or presence. In relation to Genest, the performer may feature two layers, one is his actual skeletal form and the other may become Genest’s own interpretation of death within the exterior world.

Boy, Zombie. “Rico the Zombie Offical Website.” Rick Genest,  (Accessed 5/4/12)

Levy, Janey. Tattoo’s in Modern Society.  New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc 2009.

Hardy, Ed. “About Ed Hardy.” Ed Hardy, (Accessed 5/4/12)

Image Citations


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