Denmark based artist Rune Christensen tells stories in the tattoos and printed clothing of his decorated figures. As a self taught painter with a graffiti background, Christensen is well traveled and has collected his visual inspiration from all over the world. He sources his motifs from the iconography and textiles of cultures including Asian, South American, North African and Native American. Christensen’s portraits of women, men and children are simple in composition and palette, yet complex is the depiction of their symbolism which has layered meaning. The symbolism of tattoos varies in different places and cultures. Over the centuries, tattoos have served as a rite of passage, marks of social status, religious devotion, pledges of love, and sadly, also forcibly applied on slaves and prisoners, such as during the Holocaust. Christensen uses them to express the feeling of experiencing a new culture and place for the first time, so there is a certain innocence and whimsy in his patterns of bleeding hearts, tigers, and all-seeing eyes. Symbols and patterns are such a major component of his narrative, that he usually obscures the face and mouth of his subjects. Unable to use words, their decorations are the only language they can use to convey their emotion and communicate with the viewer. Rune Christensen’s latest pieces are on view in the Summer Group Show at Joseph Gross Gallery in New York through August 1st.