Whistler INKorporated displays tattoo talent 

New show at The Gallery featuring Sea to Sky tattoo artists up until July

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALYSSA NOEL - Inked up A new exhibit at The Gallery showcases the work of tattoo artists from across the Sea to Sky corridor.
  • Photo by Alyssa Noel
  • Inked up A new exhibit at The Gallery showcases the work of tattoo artists from across the Sea to Sky corridor.

If you're in the market for some new ink, there couldn't be a better time to visit The Gallery at the Maury Young Arts Centre.

Twelve tattoo artists from across the Sea to Sky corridor have 100 pieces of wildly diverse work on display through June as part of an exhibit called Whistler INKorporated.

"The idea has been floating around Arts Whistler for a while," says Charmaine Carpenter, programs and events coordinator with Arts Whistler, who organized the show. "There are obviously a number of talented artists in Whistler (and there's) a lot of crossover."

Carpenter started by reaching out to long-time tattooist Dave "Pepe" Petko, who owns Black Ohm Tattoos, for a little advice. "I had only lived in Whistler for a year, so I reached out to Dave and said, 'Who do I reach out to?'"

He offered an array of studios—from Method Tattoo in Pemberton to TNT Whistler, Whistler Tattoo Company, and Electric Uprising in Squamish. "I got some really positive feedback," Carpenter says of connecting with the artists. "I had some people pop in to see what the space is like. It (made it) easier to explain the vision. We had the idea, but we didn't know how to display it."

In the end, she settled on the concept of a dark room. The tattoo artists sent in their images of clients' inked arms and she printed them all out on paper and hung it on the wall to mimic photos drying in a dark room.

"When you see (tattoos) on people, it's so different," she says. "Some of them gave sketches and it gives you a chance to see the process."

Petko, for example, included a photo depicting three sides of brightly coloured mountain landscape tattoo, as well as a sketch planning out how to colour each piece.

Another artist, Barbara Rebel, included sketches next to the finished product, like one particularly captivating one of a girl with her arms wrapped sweetly around a cat in a windowsill.

"It's cool because some artists have just started. They've been artists for a long time, but developed into tattoo artists, which is a totally different realm," Carpenter says.

The styles vary from true-to-life portraits to traditional-style tattoos, and bright, dreamy creations.

"I think the thing that surprised all the staff is the things people want tattooed on their body," Carpenter adds. "Most people have at least one, even if they're tiny."

Meanwhile, as spring rolls on to summer and locals shed layers, more tattoos are on display, making it the perfect time to host the show, she explains.

"It's such a personal thing, a reflection of who you think you want to be," she says. "Sometimes, it's a momentous thing you're trying to commemorate."

Catch Whistler INKorporated at The Gallery until July 8.

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