Meet Tim Steiner, The Guy Who Is Living Tattoo Art

In the dynamic world of art, every canvas tells a story. For Tim Steiner, however, the canvas is his own skin, and the story is one of an extraordinary art deal that has thrust him into the limelight as a living embodiment of tattoo art.

Tim Steiner, a former tattoo parlor manager from Zurich, has become a unique symbol of the convergence between traditional tattooing and the avant-garde art world. His back is the canvas for a masterful tattoo created by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, a well-known figure in the contemporary art scene.

The art piece, titled "TIM," is not just etched on Steiner's skin but has been sold as a work of art.

Key Takeaways

- Tim Steiner's body serves as the canvas for an intricate tattoo designed by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye.

- In an unusual deal, the tattoo, titled "TIM," was sold to a German art collector, making Steiner a living piece of art.

- Steiner is committed to displaying the artwork at various exhibitions each year, pushing the boundaries of body art and conventional art ownership.

- The agreement stipulates that upon Steiner's death, his skin will be preserved, allowing the artwork to exist beyond his lifetime.

- Steiner's unique journey opens up conversations around the temporal nature of tattooing and its potential parallels with emerging digital art trends, such as NFTs (as explored in our previous article).

So, what's the deal?

In 2008, Steiner made an unconventional deal with Delvoye and a German art collector. The collector bought the artwork inked on Steiner's back for 150,000 euros, effectively turning Steiner into a living, breathing piece of art.

Under the terms of this deal, Steiner commits to displaying the artwork at various exhibitions for a certain number of days each year.

Tim Steiner

He sits shirtless, often in a gallery, allowing visitors to admire the intricate tattoo. The artwork itself is a beautiful blend of colorful images, including a Mexican Day of the Dead-style skull, a Japanese-style koi fish, and roses, set against a background of intricate line work.

The agreement extends even beyond Steiner's life. According to the deal, when Steiner passes away, his skin will be skinned and preserved, with the artwork being passed on to the owner. The concept, albeit macabre, challenges traditional perceptions of art and ownership, pushing the boundaries of body art into new realms of the extraordinary.

Steiner's journey not only represents a significant evolution in how we understand the relationship between the body and art, but it also encourages dialogue around the temporal nature of tattooing and the potential of the body as a space for creating and displaying art.

In many ways, Tim Steiner exemplifies the incredible lengths to which the world of tattoo art can stretch. His back tells a story of commitment to art and artistic expression that transcends conventional norms, marking him as an unforgettable figure in the tattoo art landscape.

But...

In conclusion, while the story of Tim Steiner is intriguing and undoubtedly pushes the boundaries of art, it also raises some ethical concerns. The idea of selling one's skin as a canvas to be preserved after death verges on the exploitative. It points to the need for better, more humane alternatives in the world of art, especially when it comes to forms of expression that involve the human body.

One possible direction could be the integration of technology to support such innovative expressions of art. The advent of digital art forms and platforms such as NFTs, as discussed in our previous article, opens up a realm of possibilities for artists to create, display, and sell their art in a way that respects the dignity of all involved.

Art, in its various forms, should not only push boundaries but also uphold the values of respect, consent, and dignity. The technological solutions of today and tomorrow offer hope for a world where art can continue to innovate and amaze, while also ensuring the well-being and rights of those who partake in its creation and enjoyment.

 

We Make Ink Do More

Paul Park, The Xtreme Team

For the most recent tattoo art made with Xtreme Inks by tattoo artists who are pushing the boundaries of self-expression, check out our Instagram.

For more information on our sets, please take a look at our piece on Xtreme Inks: Artist Collections.

 

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Check out BBC's article on what Tim had to say.

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