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Posted on Sep 9, 2012 |

Sept: Alexis Covato

Sept: Alexis Covato

Jesus Loves Ink, by Alexis Covato. Click to enlarge.

September’s Art of the Month contemporary piece is by Pittsburgh artist Alexis Covato, who describes herself as fascinated by tribal art and religious iconography. Part of what eventually became a series of religious and other celebrated figures, including George Washington and Edgar Allen Poe, covered with tattoos, Jesus Loves Ink is an acrylic painting now in a private collection.

In art school, she says, Covato learned to love the layered symbolism in what seemed like the rigid tradition of religious icons. She was just as fascinated by the multi-cultural and symbolic nature of tattoos. “The combination of icons and tattoos was natural for me,” she says. “I am of the belief that faith is always current and it changes with culture’s march through time. I wanted to make these icons contemporary and accessible to modern audiences. I wanted to tell a story on their bodies with the ink.”

Jesus has a Sacred Heart tattoo over his heart — the natural place to put it, Covato says. “I wanted it to be literally a part of his skin. I have designed Sacred Heart tattoos for people and I tout Jesus of all people should have one!”

Covato says she sells many prints of the image, which she had blown up and printed on canvas to take to air shows and fairs. “I have gotten the occasional gasp and been asked if I thought I was going to Hell. I always laugh and say I highly doubt that — I think Jesus would have been down with ink and I certainly believe he would accept people’s creativity.”

To buy prints of this or her other work, click here.

To see our previous Art of the Month features, and our Heart of the Month area statues and artwork, click on “Sacred Heart” in the menu above this story.