By Lizzy Hill
Artist Jason W. F. Fitzpatrick lends his back and blood to his MSVU Gallery performance and exhibition, Bite and Burn Encore. Lizzy Hill gets the ink.
JASON W.F. FITZPATRICK HOPES TO “STIR things up a bit
and challenge the way people think” at
Gallery-goers can expect to be immersed in the sounds and smells of a tattoo parlour. “We’re going to mic the tattooing,” says Fitzpatrick. “We’ll have a gun and we’ll make it louder…the sound is completely irritating,” he adds gleefully.
Part of the excitement for Fitzpatrick, 38, arises from the fact that prints may not turn out as planned. “There’s this tension in the performance that it may not work,” he says.
“Plenty of things could go wrong,” says Morrison. “with this kind of printing, it’s kind of up in the air. What happens if there’s not enough blood?”
In the Bite and
Burn series which Fitzpatrick performed across
Fitzpatrick hopes to create a tension-filled atmosphere by forbidding dialogue between himself, Thorpe and Morrison while on stage. Though he’s the event’s creative mastermind, Fitzpatrick jokingly calls himself “just the meat,” as he leaves control of the final product to other artists. A local alternative band, Realiser, will also play before and the tattooing and printmaking, adding yet another level of tension in that the audience can’t easily talk to the artists before or after the show.
“It’s kind of become this freak-show act,” Fitzpatrick jokes.
But Fitzpatrick didn’t always throw himself into
uncomfortable situations. “I had a
really hardcore advisor…she was disappointed with a lot the things I was doing
because she thought I was a Mr. Comfy,” he says about his work during his MFA
His recent work focuses on tattoo performance art, because tattoos have been an important part of Fitzpatrick’s life since the age of 12, when he gave himself his first with a needle and India ink. Bit and Burn Encore is partly inspired by the three previous Bite and Burn performances, which paid homage to the tattoo culture of his youth, revolving around the theme of acceptance though ritualism.
“In North American culture, there are no rituals for manhood,” he says. “We created our own whether we knew it or not. Tattooing is one of them. If you get a tattoo, you’re one of the boys.”
The exhibition, which continues until February 8, will include a video installation playing clips from the past Bite and Burn performances. Tour shirts, modelled off death metal shirts from the ‘90s, will also be on display.
But Fitzpatrick thinks of all his work in sculptural terms. He drew conceptual inspiration for this piece from German artist Joseph Beuys’ sculptures from the ‘60s. Like Fitzpatrick, Beuys; sculptures were made from non –conventional materials such as cloth, fat and dead animals.
Fitzpatrick hopes his new prints will also honour the
work of artists such as Vito Acconci (who taught in
Jason Fitzpatrick’s Bite and Burn
Encore performance, Saturday, January 10 at MSVU Gallery, ,