Boston Pier Undergoes Tattooed Transformation with Artist’s Designs

Liz LaManche creates tattoo art depicting Boston’s seafaring roots

Boston Pier is teeming with history, long bridging the gap between nations, states, land and water. Artist Liz LaManche is showcasing the seafaring city’s colorful cultural melting pot with her latest project, a series of tattoo designs at Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina. The tattooed masterpieces are in the works at Boston’s HarborArts, the city’s largest public arts space.

LaManche, of Earthsign Studios, has at least 14 tattoo designs planned, each of which represents a different culture that has contributed to Boston’s seafaring roots. The tattoo art pieces will feature connecting motifs, illustrating how intwined the different cultures and influences are in The Hub of the Universe. So far six tattoos have been created. Once the project is complete, the design could span 1,000 feet, and it could qualify as the World’s Largest Tattoo, according to the Dock Tattoo Project.

For the project, LaManche, who has a background in graphic design and large-scale murals, is using dyes and stains on the weathered cement surface of the harbor. She will be using art motifs from different cultures that contributed to Boston’s seafaring past in the last 400 years. The tattoos feature art, phrases, compasses and other representations of the people who brought ideas and items to trade through Boston’s harbor.

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LaMache’s harbor tattoo masterpiece features people and cultures from all over the world, including Basque fishermen, New England sailors, native Americans (including the Wampanoag, Mohegan and Pequot), Taino (native people from the Caribbean), Maori/Pacific Islands, West Africa, Ireland, Haiti/Afro Caribbean, Japan and India.

LaManche’s work will be a part of the fourth annual HarborArts Festival in Boston, which will take place on Saturday, September 20, 2014. The focus of this year’s festival is increasing the awareness of climate change and sea level rise. In keeping with the theme of the festival, LaManche is using eco-friendly stains that seep into the concrete of the harbor over time, eventually becoming a part of the landscape.

The 2014 HarborArts Festival will feature local and international artists, musicians, artisans and prominent thinkers and experts on climate change. The festival will also serve up locally grown food and beverages.

Images courtesy of Nick DeLuca 

[h/t}: Dock Tattoo Project, Boston Curbed

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