Jack W. Grove’s Drawings of Samoan Tattoos

Jack W. Groves was born in 1925 of British descent. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, Groves visited Apia, Samoa, creating an extensive collection of drawings depicting tattoos he had seen on the Samoan population

Now part of the British Museum’s collection, Groves’s drawings offer a unique insight mid 20th century tattoo practices in Samoa. The British Museum’s online collection holds 56 examples of Groves’s drawings, primarily illustrations of tribal tattooing on Samoan men (of the 56 drawings, only 2 are of women’s tattoos). One interesting feature worth noting is the appearance of distinctly Western motifs, which are in one instance applied alongside traditional tribal tattoos.

For more images and information see the British Museum’s online collection here.

“Drawing; image of a Samoan tattoo. 1940s-1950s.Pigment ink.”

“Drawing; three views of a section of Tafao’s leg, from the front, back and side, showing tattoos. May 1949. Pigment ink and watercolour.”

“Drawing; image of a section of the top half of a female leg and female genitals, showing tattoos. May 1951.Graphite.”

“Drawing; image of a male torso and legs; from the front, and from the back showing tattoos. January 1952. Pigment ink and watercolour.”

“Drawing; image of eighteen Samoan tattoos. 1940s-1950s. Pigment ink.”

An interview with Philip Yarnell

Philip Yarnell is the 24 year old tattooer working from the seaside town Southend in Essex at Skynard. His impressive work with its strong and consistent use of imagery, muted colour pallet and his strong following is all the more special considering the fact that he has only been tattooing for two years. There is a depth and quality to his work which is far beyond his length of practice and can be seen clearly in how much interest his work amasses. Here at Sang Bleu we’ve tried to get to know Philip at little bit better by finding out more about him.


How long have you been tattooing for and how did you get into it? Your are still pretty young considering how developed your work is.

I’ve been tattooing for about 2 years now but I have been at the shop I work at for almost 3 years. I got into tattooing whilst I was still at University, I was getting tattooed at Skynyard which is now where I work. Luckily Albert Thomas the owner saw potential in my drawings (which at the time I was taking in to get tattooed). He then waited for me to finish university, and thats when I started. I think my work is still developing a lot although I’m still unsure of the direction its taking.

Where did you study fine art? Did your tutors or other students have a problems with you wanting to go into tattooing?

I studied fine art at Hertfordshire University. They didn’t have a problem with it at all, it only really came to be a possibility when I was in the last year. It also never really effected my work there as I was working on various personal art projects that have nothing [...]

Barbara Kruger at Skarstedt Gallery

The beginning stages of iconic artist and Barbara Kruger’s career are surveyed in Skarstedt Gallery’s current exhibition Barbara Kruger: Early Works and features her large scale work from the 80s.

Barbara Kruger is the American artist and social activist that creates politically motivated work that demonstrates critique on mass culture and its power over individuals. Through the play of commercial graphic and advertising techniques, Kruger challenges the mentality that is fed to us through mass media’s indoctrination and seeks to challenge its gender/power relations.

Early Works presents Kruger’s large scale black and white images that are overlaid with her bold provocative statements within red, enamel frames. The large photographs taken from media sources are cropped, enlarged and juxtaposed with her strident verbal statements that are born from political agitation and address power, identity, gender and sexuality, her works are ones of semiotic conflict.

The images she chooses to stand behind her statements are stark, powerful and familiar to any eye that has sub-consciously absorbed mass media, Kruger said herself her work seeks to ‘question the seemingly natural appearances of images’.  For Kruger, imagery is an instrument to entice and beguile with the statements then used to accost; her use of the pronoun is a distinctive draw, and then a direct assault.

Kruger’s works on display at Skarstedt feature phrases such as ‘your life is a perpetual insomnia’, ‘you kill time’, ‘you make history when you do business’ and ‘business as usual’ overlaid on heads held in hands, wolves baring teeth and businessmen’s feet. They’re evocative of the ‘decade of greed’ of the 80s in which they were produced. Nothing is more symbolic of Kruger’s attack on the moral permission of this obsession with business and power over anything else than the work with a house blowing up, a [...]

Deliquium: An exhibition of the dark movements


Deliquium is an exhibition of the Dark Movements scene that’s hosted by Milk and Lead gallery and happening at London venue, Electrowerkz this weekend.

The unique three day event sees a cross pollination of music producers and contemporary artists creating a spectrum of multidisciplinary and multisensory events including live music, visual art performances and the Dark Room’s space for erotic poetry. Industrial, Dark Ambient, Noise, Power Electronics, EBM, Goth, Dark Wave, Post Punk, Opera and Experimental Music are the underlying current that lends to the exhibitions theme and narrative.

Deliquium will submerge its spectators and participants in a cultural stream of darkness by bringing artists together whose expression and influences are deeply connected to subversive aesthetics.

More information can be found here. 

RADICAL PEOPLE – A newspaper dedicated to the apathetic and bored created by Reba Maybury



Launching on Election Day, the expanded version of Sang Bleu Editor-in-Cheif Reba Maybury’s newspaper is launching. Radical People is a newspaper celebrating the radical behaviour which has moved our society forward into a more compassionate place by subcultural icons now over the age of 50.

Featuring a cross section of the well known to the unknown, the newspaper features some of the most pioneering politicians, musicians, artists, writers, activists, performers and muses of the last fifty years.

Including the likes of politician Peter Tatchell, activist , artist and muse Caroline CoonDavid Thomas of Pere Ubu, performance artist Franko B,  ROY INCSteve Ignorant of Crass, Christine Binnie of the Neo-Naturists, Lesley Woods of The Au Pairs and now immigration lawyer, tattooer Alex Binnie, the sex positive feminist comic book artist Melinda GebbiePrincess Julia, anarcho-punk band Rubella Ballet, dj and archivist Jeffrey Hinton, sexologist Tuppy Owens, punk icon Honey Bane, performer Lana PellayJanis Hetherington the first lesbian to have artificial insemination and notorious madam of 60s London, Bruno Wizard of the Homosexuals, trailblazing stylist Judy Blame , Colin Abrahall of GBH and more.

By asking each person to re-count their own interpretation of the word radical or a radical memory, the stories range from the AIDS crisis, memories of the first days of punk, the Poll Tax Riots, capitalisms manipulation of authentic rebellion, important performance art events, gigs and night clubs, wetting the bed and much more.

The newspaper has specially commissioned portraits by Iain McKell and graphics by Jamie Reid.

The newspaper launch will take place at Donlon books from 6-30 -9pm.

An after party will take place at Vogue Fabrics from 12-3 with all proceeds going to Shelter in regards to homelessness rising by 80% since the Conservative government came into power in 2010. Disco Smack and Jeffrey Hinton will be djing and the night will be hosted by Max Allen and James Davison as [...]

Interview with Glue Sniffer

Arek  Barankiewicz better known as Glue Sniffer is the 28 year old Polish tattooer working from Warsaw. His use of intense reds, super bold lines and slightly unsettling appropriations of classic flash have been causing more and more interest over the last couple of months through the posting of his work on different internet platforms. Here we speak about the tattoo scene in Poland, what inspires him and what the ‘polish sadness’ in his work means.

How long have you been tattooing for and how did you get into it?

I started tattooing about four years ago but my first contact with a tattoo machine took place a few years before that. I used to mess around on the skin of some of my friends,  but I had decided to set aside all the “tattoo plans” and got rid of all tattooing equipment. After some time had passed I  got persuaded into coming back and started everything over from the beginning, tattooing volunteers in a room, which I was renting.

I got interested in tattoo art, when I was in high school, I liked browsing tattoo magazines.  It was about 13 years ago, so most of those Polish magazines were dominated by tribal tattoos or poorly done realistic portraits.

It’s hard to get interested in the tattoo art  when there are only horrible examples, right? Even the decision about getting my first tattoo had come after many years. I clearly remember my first visit to a tattoo shop, when my friend was getting his first piece. It’s hard to forget a visit to the tattoo studio, which was just a space separated in the beauty parlour and tattoo “artist” himself looked truly dissatisfied with the fact, that someone came in asking for [...]

‘we could be heroes’ at the photographers gallery



‘It’s not the history of art, it’s the art of history’- Bruce Davidson

A century of youth culture is traced through the group show ‘We Could be Heroes’ at the Photographers Gallery. It exhibits work by Bruce Davidson, Ed van der Elsken, Bert Hardy, Karen Knorr and Olivier Richon, Jacques Henri Lartigue, Roger Mayne, Chris Steele-Perkins, Anders Petersen, Al Vandenberg, Weegee and Tom Wood.

The title of the exhibition sets the tone for the works within; a cry of questionable optimism and the uncertainty of greatness that is so intrinsic to the pysche of youth. It’s reference to the lyrics of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ is bittersweet of these uncertain desires, ‘though nothing will keep us together, we can beat them, forever and ever, we can be heroes, just for one day’; the sense of a battle against an order and the expiry of youthful abandon filters through to the photographs themselves.

To be young is to be a virgin to humanity. It is to experience the love, sex, art, music and culture that will abolish a class of liminal, transitional identities and create an individual. No one captures the dark romance of this human drama (and education) like Ed van der Elsken, the Dutch photographer whose work captures the agenda of the young across most of the world for the entire latter half of the twentieth Century.

Van der Elsken’s beeldroman (photonovel) of excesstiantialist post-war Paris, ‘Love on the Left Bank’ is a poem of true young love, that of heartbreak, and a selection of photographs are featured in We Could Be Heroes. It follows the story of Manuel- a Mexican immigrant – and his love for Ann, an Australian dancer and artist paving her way in Paris’ bohemian quarters.

The photographs within are timeless, raw portraits of youths [...]