Inks and drinks art show
by Vanessa Conley
Calgary artists celebrated local tattoo culture with Inks and Drinks at the Amsterdam Rhino Jan.20,2011.
Five shops from around the city displayed their talents in the form of painted shoes, skateboards, skulls, custom paintings, as well as their collections of tattoos.
“It’s just a different medium,” said Scott Ford, who has worked at Smilin’ Buddha Tattoo for the past seven years.
Body art and modification has been around for centuries. Many cultures view body art as a critical part of their society, but western society has largely viewed it as lowbrow and unsophisticated.
That is up until about 15 years ago, when tattooing started to become more common, and in the last eight years it has become culturally acceptable. Tattooing is now a very popular art form and for many tattoo artists, it simply another medium to work in.
Along with Smilin’ Buddha, Bushido Tattoo Studio, Strange World Tattoo, The Arthouse Inc. and Big Johnson Ink had their artists in attendance.
“It’s a good excuse to go out. See people from other shops. We’re one big happy family,” said George Chapman, who runs the body piercing at Strange World Tattoo.
Some of the mainstream recognition that the tattoo industry has received could be in part to television networks that are able to reach a wider audience. But this isn’t an accurate representation of the people who dedicate their lives to the art form.
“There’s not as much drama. T.V. shows aren’t about tattoos; they’re about the story,” said Mike Peace from Strange World Tattoo.
The show Jan. 20 was the perfect display of what the tattoo industry is all about; hanging out, sharing art and interacting with everyone who showed up.
“We’re approachable,” said Sam Smith of Bushido Tattoo. “It’s always good to get into the Calgary scene, meet people and network.