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Calling All Londoners: The Kewpies Are Coming

What do you get when you combine three of my favourite things: the history of women in comics, tattooed ladies, and animal rescue? Things & Ink's second Miniature Ink exhibition featuring kewpie dolls with all sales proceeds going to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home!

Miniature Ink II

I've been a subscriber to Things & Ink for a while, an independent tattoo magazine packed with gorgeous artwork and great articles, all with a supremely women-friendly approach. The Miniature Ink II exhibition at the Atomica Gallery in London begins on the 23rd of September, showcasing work from over 100 international tattoo artists who were given a kewpie doll as their canvas.

Painted this Kewpie doll for an upcoming charity exhibition at @atomicagallery @thingsandink

A photo posted by Wen (@wenramen) on

Kewpies, perhaps most well known now for their stylish place in traditional tattoo work, are rejuvenated from their initial popularity as flash tattoos in the early 1900s. These cute little characters were the creation of Rose O'Neill back in 1909 in the Ladies' Home Journal (US), tumbling down the side of her story pages and advertising multiple products. 

The Kewpies marched for suffrage, an important milestone on the road to improving women's rights given the national love for these little cherubs. O'Neill would parade through the streets, holding her Kewpie dolls high with banners running between them: "Votes for Women!" and "Give Mother the Vote!"

Done for @atomicagallery @thingsandink #MiniatureInk #charityevent

A photo posted by Heinz (@heinztattooer) on

Unusually for the time, O'Neill maintained all her rights to her creations, achieving great financial success and popularity, allowing her to bring attention to the cause without fear of bad press or harassment.

Demand was so high that the Kewpie doll was soon created in 1912, with many a soldier carrying them to war for luck, and it took at least twenty factories in Germany, as well as manufacturers in France and Belgium, to fulfil the orders.

Later, in the '30s, the Kewpies were given their own comics but that isn't what O'Neill is most renowned for in comics. That honour goes to 'The Old Subscriber Calls', a four panel comic rendered in O'Neill's favoured cascaded style published in 1896 in Truth magazine - the first recorded American comic created by a woman.

🔪🔪🔪 #miniatureinkII #occulttattoo A photo posted by Liz Clements Illustration (@lsbeth) on

You can see many more of the Kewpies before the exhibition on Instagram using tags #miniatureinkII and #miniatureink, get all details at the event page on Facebook here, and sales are on a first come, first serve basis.

You can also read more about Rose O'Neill on my site here, with more soon to come!

Hit the jump for the full list of artists: Aaron Anthony / Adam Downing / Adam McDermott / Adam Ruff / Adam J Machin / Aimee Cornwell / Alex Bage/ Alex Binnie / Alex Edwards / Allan Graves / Alexandra Wilkey / Alix Ge / Amanda Toy / Amy Savage / Andrea Furci /Andrew Hulbert / Annie Frenzel / Anrijs Straume / Araceli 4ever / Ashley Luka / Antony Flemming / Anthony Civarelli / Big Sleeps /Bradley Tompkins / Brian Wilson / Cesar Mesquita / Charissa Gregson / Chiara Pina / Chris Crooks / Christos Serafeim / Christina Hock / Claudia Ottaviani / Clare Hampshire / Clare Lambert / Dan Frye / Dave Condon / Deno / Deryn Twelve / Dexter Kay / Diana Jay / Dominique Holmes / Drew Linden / EJ Miles / Elliot Guy / Elliott Wells / Ellis Arch / Elmo Teale / Emily Alice Johnston / Eszter / Flo Nuttall / Friday Jones / Grant Macdonald / Guy Le Tatooer / Hannah Pixie Sykes / Hannah Selina Maude Oliver / Hannah Westcott / Hanan Qattan / Harriet Heath / Harry Harvey / Hen Bo Henning / Henry Big / Heinz / Hollie West / Holly Ashby/ Holly Astral/ Holly Ellis / Iris Lys / James Lovegrove / Jason Corbett / Jesse Singleton / Jessi James / Jessica Mach / Jo Harrison / Joanne Baker / Jody Dawber / Jondix / Jon Peeler / John Fowler / Just Jen / Keely Rutherford / Kelly Violet / Lal Hardy / Lauren Hanson / Lauren Winzer / Lianne Moule / Liz Clements / Lou Hopper / Luci Lou / Lucy Blue / Lucy Pryor / Marcos Fam / Marie Folklore / Mark Jelliman / Matty D'Arienzo / Max Rathbone / Megan Fell / Michelle Maddison / Michelle Myles / Miles Monaghan / Miss Juliet / Mister Paterson / Mymorg / Natalie Petal Gardiner / Nikole Lowe / Olive Smith / Paul Davies / Paula Castle / Paul Haines / Paul Hill / Peter Aurisch / Peter John Reynolds / Rachel Baldwin / Rafa Decraneo / Rich Evans / Ricky Williams / Rhianna Jones / Robert Ashby / Rose Hardy / Rose Whittaker / Ruby Wolfe / Sadee Glover / Sam Rulz / Sam Whitehead / Sarah Carter / Simon Erl / Stefano C / Stephen Doan / Steve Morante / Snappy Gomez / Susanna Widmann / Tanya De Souza-Meally / Tomas Tomas / Tracy D / Virginia Elwood / Wendy Pham / Zoe Binnie

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