More than a 1,000 paintings created by tattoo artists from around the world are set to hit the auction block in New York. The collection was amassed by Peter Mui over the course of 15 years, with some paintings being commissioned by Mui himself. The New York-based auction house Guernsey's is hosting the sale.
"Today you can travel the world and see examples of tattoo art in museums and occasionally galleries. But this is by far the largest and finest collection of its type in the world, no one has contested that," said Guernsey's president Arlan Ettinger.
The collection features tattoo art created with watercolour, pencil, marker and other techniques. The practice of tattoo art allows fans to enjoy various types of tattoos without permanently adorning one's body.
"What do we have here? Patches of skin? Not so. What these are, are original paintings and in some cases drawings on illustration board, art board, canvas, occasional paper by the artist using the same style and look as they would apply it to one's body if they were working on a body."
Several pieces from well-known Japanese tattoo artist Horiyoshi will be sold. "Now in his eighties, I believe, [he is] considered a great tattoo master who through the early parts of his life worked on the Yakuza. The Yakuza being a Japanese version, I guess of the Mafia, who were famous for having full body tattoos. And he built a reputation as a Yakuza tattoo artist."
As there is no precedent for tattoo art sold at auction, Ettinger said the range for each work is anywhere from $500 to $30,000 (£329 to £19,709).
"In a way, your guess is sort of as good as ours in trying to figure out what will a work like this sell for. All we can do is look at the reputation of the artist. Was the artist, is the artist extremely well-known or very good, but lesser known. And then within the scope of any one artist, was it a full-blown big work of art, or was it something smaller."
The auction will take place on 13-14 November in Manhattan's meatpacking district and online.