Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quick and Painful

Last Saturday, September 24th, Hope Gallery Tattoo held a gallery opening and special event called Quick and Painful at their New Haven, Connecticut space. The event was a show of tattoo "flash," a set of tattoo artwork drawn in an 11 by 14 inch format, created by some of today's premiere low-brow artists. Nichole East, of Hope, curated the show. The artists featured include Alex Pardee, Amanda Visell, Brandt Peters, Camilla Derrico, David Horvath, Devilrobots, Frank Kozik, Greg 'Craola' Simkins, Joe Ledbetter, Junko Mizuno, Kathie Olivas, Pete Fowler, Ron English, Sam Flores, TADO, Tara McPherson, and Tokidoki Founder and Creative Director Simone Legno. These sets of flash were offered up to the public for sale, and as the icing on an already delicious cake, guests to the event could get a tattoo from this flash from one of Hope's amazing artists for the unheard of, rock-bottom price of $40! Hope Gallery Tattoo, established in 2002, boasts six talented full-time artists including Joe Capobianco, Eric Merrill, Julio Rodriguez, Tim Harris, Phil Young, and Christian Perez. Guest artist Adrian Dominic was also tattooing in New Haven.

As long time supporters of Hope, my sister, This Odd Duck, and I are always itching for some new ink. When we found out about Quick and Painful, the event was going to take place in August, but had to be postponed due to complications from Hurricane Irene. They had dates in Los Angeles, New Haven, and upcoming dates in Chicago - October 8th at Rotofugi Gallery, and in Miami - December 1 - 4 at Art Basel. For the tattoo portion of the event, there are several rules: you must be 18 years of age, with a valid ID, sign a waiver, "not be wasted" (their exact words! Gotta love these guys.), and have $40 cash. Anyway, as a lover of Low-brow, tattoos, and the talent at Hope, I knew we were going; our mother decided to go, too! I, being the procrastinator that I am, had a driver's license that had expired almost a year ago, and my sister's had expired in August, so it was off to the DMV for us. A lot of waiting and two awkward, unflattering photos later, we were ready to go. And so began the waiting game!

Finally, the night of Quick and Painful was upon us, and we hopped in the car for the 45 minute drive from Morris to New Haven. We arrived early, knowing that everyone and their dog would likely be there taking advantage of such a rare opportunity to get tattooed by such industry elites for a scant $40! Having snuck a peak online at the L.A. opening of the show, This Odd Duck already knew what she wanted tattooed and quickly filled out the necessary paperwork. She had decided on a heart with a noose around it by Alex Pardee. Mom and I were unsure of what we wanted, so we perused the book of flash. There were over 200 designs to choose from, but we decided to get matching Junko Mizuno owls.

This Odd Duck was up first. Her artist was Christian Perez. Christian's room is filled with his artwork, trophies and skulls in glass cases and under bell jars. Totally my sister's aesthetic. The whole tattoo only took about 20 minutes start to finish, and before we knew it she was wrapped up and ready to go. The birds on her back are by Eric Merrill. She also has a tattoo on her foot by Eric.

Next up was yours truly! Mom and I had the same artist, Julio Rodriguez. Julio's room is filled with his artwork, action figures, and toys. Julio has a rotary tattoo machine, which is very nearly silent. It was strange being tattooed without the buzz of the machine! This was my first time with Julio, my other 4 tattoos are by Eric. I got my first tattoo from Eric almost 12 years ago (WOW, do I feel old? It was that long ago that I was 19!).

Finally, it was Mom's turn. As I said previously, she got the same design that I did. She also got it in the same place as me, on her left ankle. This is her second tattoo; she has a hummingbird on her back by an artist in Saugerties, NY whose name escapes me.

All in all, Quick and Painful was a great night. There was great music, Yo Gabba Gabba projected on the wall(!), amazing art to enjoy, fun people, food, talented artists, not to mention great bargains to be had. The guys tattooed into the wee hours of the morning (3:30am!) and completed almost 80 tattoos! Hey, you've got to give the people what they want, right? If you're in the Chicago or Miami areas, I would definitely recommend you check out Quick and Painful. Regardless of whether you want a tattoo, it's a great opportunity to see some original art by some of today's best Low-brow artists.

To see photos from Hope Gallery Tattoo see their Flickr.
Photos from New Haven
Photos from Los Angeles

And see my Flickr for photos of my mother, This Odd Duck, and I at the New Haven event. Come back in a week or two for healed photos of our new tattoos!

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