Alex Chesbro's Blog

Scratch My Name On Your Arm… | April 7, 2009

…with a fountain pen (this means you really love me).

Scratch My Name On Your Arm is the photo exhibition currently at the NRW-Forum here in Dusseldorf.  For $3.50, it’s a great way to spend an hour. 

I’d seen the poster around the city a few times.  I felt dirty looking at it.  Well, glancing at it.  And I couldn’t stand there and stare at it, people might think I were a pedophile.  So I sucked it up, walked up the Rhineufer (and Joseph Beuys Ufer!!!!!!) and went to the NRW-Forum.


I walked in, paid my fee, and skipped up the stairs.  I did my research, though, I knew what I was expecting.  So Cal girls all gussied up, with writing on them.  Not too rough.  

At first, I thought it would be weird.  A bunch of pictures of So Cal girls (of age? debatable.)  But Deanna Templeton shoots some amazing photos that serve a purpose-to inform.  This show takes the idea of branding one step further.  Instead of having the people wear their clothing-hoodies, bikinis, etc- the brands are applied directly to them.  Spraypaint, body paint, whatever.  It seems to almost be a competition.  More on that later though.  This portrays a willingness to be accepted into the circle that they’re in.  

The pictures were taken at various skateboarding and surf competitions in Southern California, and revolve around the girls who go to them.  Now, the girls aren’t going there to watch most of the time.  They’re going to have fun, be with friends, and do this apparently.


So most of these pictures are like the one above.  One really stood out to me, and I’m kinda upset that I can’t find a good resolution copy online.  It is of a singular girl, with a single, simple Sharpie marker stencil on her stomach, near her waist.  Her face is confident, with only the slightest assuring smile.  Above her belly butting is a medium-sized surgical scar.  The look she’s giving to the camera doesn’t say one way or the other that she’s proud to have been “marked” by a brand, or is ashamed of her scar.  Rather, she exudes confidence.  Not false confidence, either, which seems to run amok in the other examples.


This is one of my favorite examples from the exhibition.  The boy on the left, looking into the camera seems to just want to get it over with.  The one on the right seems to be momentarily distracted by something.  But what?



Jacob Owns This.  I ❤ dick in my ass!  Does she know what’s written on her?  Does she care one way or the other?  I’m going to go with no.  She’s fitting in.

So, all in all, wonderful exhibition.  If you (obviously) can’t make it to the show, check out Deanna’s blog here, although it’s not updated much, the work is great.  Also her RVCA page.


Grade: A-  Just not enough pictures in the exhibition to truly envelop you.


1 Comment »

  1. One comment. “lol.” Not caps, nothing after. Deleted.

    Comment by alexchesbro — April 7, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

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