TM: “How did you come up with the idea of the award?”
Stéphane Chaudesaigues: “I was reflecting on the state of today’s tattoo profession and wondered how artists get a chance to leave their mark or make a lasting impression. At conventions, collectors tend to be the only ones walking away with a trophy. And sometimes, the prize goes to the sexiest girl in the competition, regardless of her ink’s quality. I got inspiration from what they do at the National Tattoo Association in America; their judging approach is more disciplined. This way, artists get recognized for the value of their work.
Then I remembered that back in the 19th Century, my ancestor, Eusèbe Chaudesaigues, had set up an award and scholarship for architecture at the School of Fine Arts in Paris: the Prix Chaudesaigues. That gave me the impulse I needed to set things in motion with the new Chaudesaigues Award. This event will be an intercultural gathering and will welcome all tattoo professionals.
TM.: “How will you select a winner?”
S.C.: “Artists are asked to submit a resume and ten photos that showcase their work. The file will be anonymously forwarded to the members of our international jury. Our jury is comprised of Shane O’Neill, Andréa Afferni, Boris, and Nikko Hurtado. The judges will designate a winner according to the artist’s sensibility, creativity and technique.
The winner will be revealed each year in a different convention. The first Chaudesaigues Award winner will be announced at Shane O’Neill’s Best of the Midwest convention in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Feb 10,11,12 2012. So far, artists from France, the United States, Italy, Mexico and the eastern block have sent their entries.
TM: “What can you tell us about the trophy?”
S.C.: “The recipient will be notified ahead of the convention so they can make plans to attend, and will receive a beautiful bronze trophy: the Heart of Daisies, by artist Jean-Baptiste Martin. It symbolizes the relationship that we all have with our craft, and evokes the good and the bad times that we all go through in our lives. But it’s also designed to conjure up recurrent images of tattooing such as the sacred heart, the passion, and the love we all have for our work, for our family and our community.
Finally, it’s also the heart of the Chaudesaigues family…
Along with the trophy, comes a feature in all of the world’s best tattoo publications, a free booth at the convention where the award will be presented, an all-expenses-paid trip for two to Paris, plus a pass to all of the city’s museums and a private seminar with a renowned tattoo artist.