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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Neko Case's New Tattoos: What They Mean

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 7:30 AM

See how you can see Neko Case's new tattoos, but you also can't see them? - FLICKR/BIGOTEETOE
  • flickr/bigoteetoe
  • See how you can see Neko Case's new tattoos, but you also can't see them?

We saw Neko Case at Stern Grove on July 3 -- so did you, judging by the number of people up in the trees. Go, tree people! But we got there at 10 insane a.m., and were gettin' a sunburn way down on the lawn alll day. From our flat vantage point, we noticed something new about Case: She had huge, what almost looked like gangsta-style tattoo writing on her forearms. But we couldn't see what the tattoos said, even with our space-invading binoculars.

Foxy? Really? Hadn't noticed. - HANNA QUEVEDO
  • Hanna Quevedo
  • Foxy? Really? Hadn't noticed.
Meric Long of the Dodos, who also performed that fine day and was called "foxy" by Neko, confirms that we were not imagining things: "She came to town when we were recording in Portland and she was going to get a tattoo, her first tattoo, and then she did. She totally got these huge tattoos on her arms. And then also stopped in and sang on some tracks."

We search-engined when we got home to find that the lady's arms say "Scorned as Timber" on the right and "Beloved of the Sky" on the left and do not look very gangsta after all. Maybe a little. But what do they mean?

They mean a painting.

It won a Grammy. The whole thing, not just the sword.
  • It won a Grammy. The whole thing, not just the sword.

Relevant fact pulled from the memory of a thorough fan: Case graduated from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, Canada. Thusly she does a lot of her own liner art and photography and stuff, and of course as everyone knows she has the world's best cover art on her last record, above. She's an art liker and maker. And lo and behold, the search engine tells us her two tat phrases combine to form the title of a 1935 painting by Emily Carr, which is just as lovely and light-hallucinatory as a lot of Carr's other work.
Wow. Check out the Vancouver Art Gallery to see lots more Carr art. - EMILY CARR

Neko Case is not the only awesome person to be inspired by this particular canvas, either!

Solo marimba piece performed by Amie Watson at the University of Toronto, 2008. Composed by American Ellen Lindquist, the "Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky" is named after an Emily Carr painting.

So we still don't know exactly what Neko Case's new tattoos mean, besides "I like Emily Carr and I feel like a tree." But what we're taking away is that you can do anything you want, but it's way better if you think really hard about it for a long time first, and if you are a sword-wielding, literary, animal-loving 40-year-old singer and songwriter when you do it.

  • flickr/dannebrog

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Hiya Swanhuyser


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