DOMINIQUE HOLMES ~ ARTIST AND ACTIVIST
London-based artist and activist Dominique Holmes draws upon their studies in Classics, Art History, and Fine Art, alongside their practise as a tattooer and artist to create artworks which explore concepts of urban spirituality in today’s society, and the intrigue and obsession in the modern age with mythology, superstition and symbology. Dominique works solely by hand, using traditional techniques of pen and ink drawing and oil paints, with a focus on creating shape and texture with line, shunning technology in favour of craft in order to connect with her art in a physical sense. Having exhibited in galleries including Stolen Space, The Brick Lane Gallery and Atomica Gallery in London, and with work featured in group exhibitions in the US, Paris and Australia, Dominique is currently working on “Geometry in Nature” - a series of paintings exploring symmetry and pattern as an organic phenomenon, which will be ready to exhibit in 2020, and is also collaborating on a series of sculptures with artist K-Tee.
Dominique began tattooing in 2002 whilst studying Art and Design, before going on to build her experience at studios in Manchester, Brighton and Kent, and then joining The Family Business Tattoo in London in 2007. In early 2015, Dominique opened The Black Lotus Studio; an exclusive, private tattoo and art space in East London. The combination of theoretical and practical expertise in tattooing has seen them regularly contributing to, and consulting on articles, and speaking regularly on the topic, notably at The London Tattoo Convention, Tortoise Media, and at The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard where they gave a talk entitled “Tattoos as an Expression of Gender Identity”.
Dominique’s first book “The Painted Lady”, an exploration and insight into tattooing and tattoos for women, based on their own experiences throughout their time in the tattoo industry, was published in 2013 by Ryland, Peters and Small. As of 2019, Dominique is working on a second book with photographer Leonora Saunders, which continues with in depth research into the role of tattoos and gender politics in society.
Dominique has built up a diverse portfolio of design commissions and collaborations, working with a range of companies including Bulleit, Levi’s, Benson and Hedges, Snog, Bill Amberg and Penguin Books, and collaborates regularly with brands including Diesel, Black Pearl and Sauvelle Vodka.
Dominique is a prominent activist for the LGBTQ+ community, and is co-Director of Forest Gayte Pride, a grassroots community organisation in East London. Their important personal experiences with her LGBTQ+ and feminist activism is a prominent, often very obvious inspiration in their work.