"A few years ago I wrote a poem in the style of Mallarme that was intended as an instructional guide for a tattoo artist and described a tattoo I wished to be realize on my back: an image of the comic book figure Popeye, in a deep sea diving suit fighting a giant squid.
Tattooed Man on Balcony follows this work and represents me in a contemporary setting as a tattoo aficionado. He is covered with old school style tattoos of characters from the Thimble Theater—the comic strip by Segar that produced the Popeye character: Olive Oyl, Wimpy, the Sea Hag, Bluto, King Blozo etc...
The guy is old school—a rockabilly fan perhaps by his clothing.
Driving around Vancouver I have seen many characters like this idling on balconies. The building is of a type quite specific to Vancouver – it is what is called a ‘Vancouver Special’ – a sturdy and cheap modernist house of between one to three bedrooms, built in Vancouver and the suburbs from the Sixties to the Eighties. I modeled my set on a pristine example.”
– Rodney Graham, 2018