Published on May 9, 2013 | by Henry Fry0
Tate Modern fan gets the iconic building inked
21-year-old UAL employee Niamh Coghlan took fan frenzy to another level, when she decided to get a memento of her favourite gallery, Tate Modern, etched onto her skin. Spanning over a foot in grey and black ink, the distinctive Brutalist building covers the entire left-hand side of her ribcage.
The Dublin native, who moved to London three years ago, explained her unusual architectural addition: “I had a bit of a rough time when I first moved to London – I’m sure everybody does – and I really found comfort in the Tate. It was a special place for me, I found refuge there. Then my love for tattoos started to grow so it just seemed logical.”
While not an obvious choice to pluck from the London skyline, Niamh says its unattractiveness is part of what appealed to her: “I think it’s probably one of the ugliest buildings in London, which drew me to it. It’s so easy to get pretty things tattooed isn’t it?”
“I think it’s probably one of the ugliest buildings in London, which drew me to it.” Niamh Coghlan.
The epic design took over eight hours and three sessions to complete, penned by Math Blackmail, a resident tattoo artist at The Circle, Soho. Coghlan loved the style of his work and entrusted him to render her beloved landmark on her skin.
She described the experience: “It was excruciating and brutal. Every tattoo since then has been heaven. I was reading my book last week when I was getting another one!”
Despite having over 13 tattoos, with plans for more, Coghlan has made the decision that the Tate will be the highest one on her body. She doesn’t want to walk down the aisle one day as the illustrated bride.
She is certain, however, that she’ll be happy with her life-long illuminated torso, being a massive fan of the original: “There’s a vibe in the Tate,” she said. “The atmosphere just changes when you go in. Every time I enter I get lost not just in the art, but in the building.
“I would spend entire days in the Tate, and you can do that again and again and there’s always something new to discover. It’s the brash ugliness and the history that make it so different from normal museums.”
Coghlan plans to contact the Tate to see if there is the possibility of recognition for her commitment to the arts. Who knows, maybe life membership would be an appropriate prize for an indelible dedication?