Pointillism and sacred geometry may seem, to those in the know, diametrically opposed. The former – the use of many small, distinct dots to create an image – can be said to move from the abstract to the more concrete; a single dot has very little meaning, but string enough of them together, and a picture begins to emerge. The latter – applying sacred and universal meanings to geometric symbols – can be said to move from the concrete to the more abstract, using objective mathematics to seek a deeper understanding of the universe as a whole.
When I-Kandy’s newest family member, Crystal, told me a bit about her art, however, I was not struck by the differences between the two, but the similarities. In telling me about her style, she had this to say:
“The style is pointillism, mixed with sacred geometry and heavy blackwork. I love the symmetry and order of geometry – it feels like a dichotomy mixing it with creativity, and I like the challenge of putting them together.”
Both the order of geometry and the tedious nature of pointillism seem to contribute to that dichotomy – taking something structured and distinct and using it in a manifestation of the creative and symbolic. Indeed, it is that dichotomy and precarious balance that inspired these styles and movements in the first place. Pointillism was born from the post-impressionist movement – the combination of a strict, tedious technique and an abstract, divisionist philosophy was understandably appealing to impressionists – it was a new way to create a realistic image while obscuring the details. Sacred geometry, on the other hand, has ancient origins. Plutarch, a 1st century Greek essayist, made several references in his writings to God constantly “geometrizing” – a belief he attributed to Plato. And as we get a firmer grasp on science, we do indeed see mathematical and geometrical constants emerge, adding a curious dimension to our cosmic understanding.
Applying these artistic, geometric, and cosmic concepts to tattooing seems the logical, and yet rarely taken, next step. The style Crystal has created is truly unique in its combining of two artistically opposite, yet philosophically similar, concepts. The pointillism, she says “really calms me down – something about the presumed tediousness of it really resonates with me”, while the sacred geometry “is found in everything – in nature, architecture, our dna…I feel putting it on our bodies is a way of connecting with something deeper and older than ourselves”.
With so much history behind these styles and symbols, one has to wonder what the artist is hoping to pass on to clients. “I hope that people feel empowered”, Crystal explains, “Getting a tattoo is one of the few times in our lives that we have complete control over our pain and our body. We make a conscious choice to endure and rise above. We make a conscious surrender to the fact that all of this is temporary. That this skin is just a vessel that will diminish and eventually turn to ash. Tattooing allows us to remember, to heal. To surrender and forget. It allows us to feel a part of something, to fit in, to be original. To express ourselves in the way that feels most comfortable to ourselves.”
To this end, the blending of discipline, art, geometry, and spirituality seems more than apt.