Saturday, July 2, 2011

Front Street Road Tattoo

Gossips got word on Friday that the City of Hudson had approved the creation of a "road tattoo" on Front Street between Allen and Warren streets--a public art project by Steed Taylor, an artist-in-residence at Art Omi. 

Here's how the project was described in the proposal:
If roads are considered the skin of a community, then a road has a similar relationship to the public body as skin does to the private body. [If p]eople mark their skin as a means of commemoration, communication or ritual, then a road can be marked for the same reasons. Road tattoos are placed at locations of community significance and are composed of cultural designs previously appropriated to mark skin. Names, or other information, are painted in the design, a nondenominational prayer commissioned for the piece is said and the design is painted in, covering over this information. Road tattoos are subtle. Close in color to the roadway, they are made with black high-gloss latex causing them to appear and disappear with passing light. Eventually traffic and weather conditions dissolve them into the road.
An inland maritime community settled by whalers and coastal merchants, Hudson grew rapidly with the new country. By the 1820's, it was one of the largest cities in New York state and home to many notable Americans. The discovery of local oil quickened the decline of the whaling industry and Hudson along with it. In the last few decades Hudson has experienced a revival. With an abundance of historic building[s], an erstwhile beauty and bucolic location, Hudson is a destination for weekend visitors and a great place to call home.
Located on Front Street in the block between Warren and Ferry Streets, Rosa Rugosa honors Hudson['s] unique origin and revitalized present. The design is a stylized version of a beach rose plant, the celebrated wild rose found on Nantucket and other coastal locations. Approximately 20' wide, the design meandering 330 feet and is reminiscent of tattoo designs popular with young women. It is believed early settlers brought the beach rose to Hudson as a landscape ornamental. Eventually, it crossbred with inland species becoming a naturalized hybrid. Beach roses are still popular in Nantucket and used in the names of many island businesses.

Sponsored by Art Omi, Rosa Rugosa is a true community project. Made with the help of local volunteers, it includes family names of some of Hudson's first citizens as well as family names of some of its most recent. The public is invited to the dedication when the family names are written in the design.
Without fanfare or ceremony, the work started this morning. This picture shows the progress on the tattoo at about 2 p.m. today.


  1. Meanwhile, Taghkanic got a very different sort of road tattoo over the holiday weekend:

    Very ugly stuff. Hope they catch the perp(s) soon.

    --Sam P.