His project, photography called “Tattooed Moms,” is now on display at Neumann University’s McNichol Gallery through Oct. 24. Russo’s mission was to shatter the stereotype that even he admittedly believed as a youngster.
“It developed from my own, learned prejudice about tattooed women,” Russo said. “Growing up in the 1970s in South Philadelphia, there weren’t too many women who had tattoos, and if they did, they were thought of as biker chicks.”
Russo, who now lives in Devon, will show a collection of his Tattooed Moms photographs in this new exhibition, which shows the loving nature of subjects often not associated with body ink.
“There is still a stigma and prejudice attached to being a tattooed woman,” says Russo. “This project is an attempt to alleviate that stigma by showing tattooed moms with their children in an artistic fashion that portrays the love and bonding of mother and child.”
Russo had a realization when he watched his children play sports with teammates whose moms had tattoos.
“I started to question my own prejudice,” he said. “I started speaking with them and realized that many of them were accomplished professionals and, more importantly, good mothers who cared for their children.”
Tattooed Moms is a collection of 80 black and white digital photographs and 30 of them will be on display at Neumann.
“I chose to photograph them in black and white so that you first see the mother-child bond before you notice the tattoos, some of which are colorful pieces of artwork themselves,” Russo said.
The artist reception for Tattooed Moms is scheduled for Sept. 16, from 2-4 p.m. in McNichol Gallery. The gallery is in the Bruder Life Center on Neumann’s campus in Aston, Delaware County. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and by appointment by calling 610-558-5626.