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As a medium, tattoo offered a great deal of freedom and creative exploration, and a

course in graphic design and printing expanded Gupta’s design knowledge. His work

encompasses a wide range of styles and subject matters, but his undisputed specialty

is full-color, miniaturized paintings. The images in this exhibition [Picasso’s

Blind Man’s

Breakfast

(FIGURE 4)

, van Gogh’s

Self-Portrait

(FIGURE 5)

, and Dalí’s

Persistence of

Memory

(FIGURE 6)

], each no more than four inches wide, were engraved into clients’

forearms using a single-needle machine, which allows for greater precision in the detailed

work. Something of a philosopher and artist, Gupta states the act of forcing the ink under-

neath the skin—literally wounding the individual lying patiently in a padded chair at his

studio—satisfies his desire for bravery, and the development of each new, tiny tattoo

created using the original painter’s full palette fulfills his goal of being an artist.

4

Paris-born Filip Leu first learned the art of tattooing from his parents Felix and Loretta

as a child in Goa, India, and began tattooing full-time in the family’s shop in Lausanne,

Switzerland, at the age of fifteen. His late teenage years were spent exploring tattoo

history and technique from masters in India, Thailand, the United States, and most

notably Japan. There he was introduced to the power of full-color body suits, a highly

advanced art form in Japan for the last five hundred years. After studying with recognized

masters in Japan, as well as tattoo king Don Ed Hardy (1945–), in the United States, Leu

developed his signature style of vibrantly colored “suits” covering the wearer from neck

to ankle, with Eastern themes such as dragons, koi, and human figures.

5

The ink, pushed

into the skin with a large needle configuration (which nevertheless allows for a precise

degree of shading and color work), works within the anatomical framework, following

curves of muscles and limbs to present a unified, riotous canvas. Leu’s work presented

FIGURE 4

Anil Gupta

Digital image of

Blind Man’s Breakfast

21st century

FIGURE 5

Anil Gupta

Digital image of

Vincent’s Self-Portrait

21st century

FIGURE 6

Anil Gupta

Digital image of

Persistence of Memory

21st century