Where the tattoos aren’t just skin deep

Spend 10 minutes on South Street, and you can tell the place has a story. Lots of stories, overflowing from the bars, nuzzled above in apartments, and lining up outside the venues. So when Marianne Bernstein began asking those she encountered along the strip to tell her about their tattoos, she had quite the project in front of her.

“I started noticing a lot of objects as tattoos, and I started thinking about if I put an object on my body, what might that be, and why?” recalls the local artist, curator and filmmaker of beginning the work that would lead to her new book, “Tatted.” “To me, it’s little clues about people.”

“Tatted” includes portraits of the people she met along South between Third and Sixth streets, as well as her subjects’ handwritten notes about their tattoos.

“There’s something about Philly. There’s a certain honesty, a certain grittiness, a certain vulnerability that I really love,” she says of doing the project here. “I don’t think I could have done it anywhere but here, especially on South Street.”

‘Tatted’ reception
Dec. 22, 6 p.m.
Pure Gold Gallery
The Piazza at Schmidt’s

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