The New York Times featured a Christie’s event in its story on the temporary tattoo company that’s brought the kids party favor into the adult world of marketing. But there’s a lurking issue here about how to market the out-of-favor collecting categories. For all of fun these temporary tattoos created at Christie’s party, it did little to move the needle on their sale, the growth of the department or returning the category to something that could be called vibrancy.
At a Friday night cocktail party early this year at the auction house Christie’s, some 400 prospective buyers in their 30s and 40s were checking out the old masterworks up for auction, including Caravaggio, a pair of Canalettos and a sketch by Rubens. But the art that drew the most fuss from the collectors was free: temporary tattoos that echoed the paintings for sale, including demons by a follower of Hieronymus Bosch and the monogram-like signature of Albrecht Dürer.
The tattoos — which the Phillip Lim- and Thom Browne-clad attendees applied two, three and four at a time (and Instagrammed in equal number) — were so popular that party organizers eventually had to ask representatives from Tattly, the company that created them, to stop handing them out. It was after closing time, the bar had stopped serving, and the guests, still debating between Delft-like seashells and flowers from Balthasar van der Ast, showed no signs of leaving.
“That’s not typical for an old master painting party,” Emma Kronman of Christie’s said dryly. She added, “I can’t tell you how many people wrote to us afterward saying, ‘Do you have any extra tattoos?’ ”
Temporary Tattoos, Now for Grown-Ups, Too (The New York Times)