Marcus Kuhn: The Gypsy Gentleman (VIDEO)
A few months ago I decided to start a film project called, The Gypsy Gentleman. My name is Marcus Kuhn and I have been tattooing for 23 years, minus the time I spent in the pokey… –heh. I had the realization that my whole life has led up to this idea…
When I was in my early 20s (before I was tattooing all day, every day) I worked in the film business in Los Angeles for a few years art directing and painting sets. Then I spent many years traveling any chance I had.
I have lived in London, Paris, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Japan and South America…
I have had many wonderful experiences traveling and tattooing alongside some of the most original and interesting people in the world. I realized I could share this with others through a film magazine –travel documentary format.
I had felt in the past few years that tattooing had lost itself. And something needed to arrive, like punk rock did in the 70s… –something that was real, and powerful and that could respond to all the cheese out there. Tattooing can be a narcissistic pastime but it also has the potential for such grace and power and beauty.
I have met many tattooers who are an exception to the rule-of-thumb, instead of being pedantic self-propulsion machines they are smart and insightful and full of wisdom and power. I have decided to take this time when the whole world is in suffering and in such a violent and confused transition to use my name as a tattooer and my experiences as an artist to create something new, and hopefully something honest and from the heart. I decided to find the most interesting places I could and to take you there along with two other tattooers in each episode.
The idea is to visit a place that is awe-inspiring and take the viewer there with the two tattooers and myself. As we film each place, we will discuss the art and the feeling of being there and we will also try to show the viewer by sharing the thoughts and creative explosions in the minds of the tattooers when we are there. In addition, we will also film each tattooer and myself drawing three pieces using one another’s input.
This is all done to make art, to make something original and powerful, to lead by example… –no money passes hands.
The film then segues into an interview discussing philosophy, art, life and of course tattooing as it is interspersed with the work of those artists. Each episode will represent the city that it was shot in. We will go to the streets and give you the city as it feels to us.
I’ll profile one cool spot per city, a record store that sells coffee and antiques, or an Italian shoe maker in Buenos Aires that has been there for a 100 years, or a sumi shop in Kyoto that has been there 500 years…
Each episode will conclude with a feast involving all the great people who have come together for that city’s filming. The message being- human interaction is the most important point; it is that moment together that is most important. Too often we miss the real highlights of being here. I am using this vehicle to share what small philosophical insights and humor I possess, in the hope this media project can present more than narcissism and a vehicle for monetary gain. I have shot the first episode in New York City with two friends, Thomas Hooper and Virginia Elwood.
The filming was great. It far exceeded my hopes. We also captured the spirit of New York City thanks to the brilliant young filmmakers who are bound in this crazy voyage with me. I have encountered nothing but support from everyone who I presented this idea to.
My friends in the band Lucero have written amazing music for the magazine show’s travel documentary (whatever this new hybrid is) and I’m very excited to present it to the tattoo world through Tattoo Artist Magazine and soon to the world through the web and over the airwaves.
I have faith that as this is a sincere desire to lift up minds and inspire creativity and the human heart in the difficult times and that I will find a way to keep filming and traveling along with my young filmmakers and my great tattoo family all over the world. We are planning to shoot London with Ian Flower and Valerie Vargas in September, then Paris, Rome and Stockholm.
My dream is to film on the Trans-Siberian Railway and tattoo in a Russian jail with jailhouse equipment… –to tattoo in the slums of Cape Town, South Africa, at the pyramids in Egypt, at Mount Fuji and in the crazy streets of Shibuya, and where ever this adventure takes me…
I have made this film by “hook or by crook…” I have little or no money, but I have a strong will, a desired dream, and with the help from many of my friends this dream has finally begun to manifest itself…
I am writing this to start a buzz, to get the groundswell support from all of you and the other souls who have taken the path that favors the tattooed heart. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone wants to help?
I hope to receive support to continue. Please help keep the travels of The Gypsy Gentleman moving down the road and maybe we will cross paths?
See you on the road, and on the open sea…
(Marcus was previously featured in Tattoo Artist Magazine #22)