Gastown is full of artists. Creativity is drawn to the neighbourhood. It thrives within the fertile soil that is found here and for a relatively small place, Gastown is big on beautiful art.
We have three tattoo parlours that are all a little different and each offer some of the best tattooing services in the city.
This weekend brings The Vancouver Tattoo & Design Show. Open at the Vancouver Convention Centre EAST from Friday – Sunday (April 28th-30th) the show will bring together industry vendors and suppliers along with artists from all over North America and Europe. Prominent artists from The Gastown Tattoo Parlour and Liquid Amber Tattoo & Art Collective will be participating.
Participating Tattoo Show Artists – Baily Howatt, Logan Howard, and Noah Michael Davis.
Located down on West Cordova, Gastown Tattoo Parlour is a hive of creativity. Led by King Bee Mitch Kirilo, the shop is roomy with lots of space for artists to grow in their expression:
“Most of our staff are young and everyone’s passionate and really going for it. We are all a little bit of a younger crowd and we have a variety of artists who are all doing something a little bit different. Given the amount of space we have in the shop, everyone’s able to do just that; to express their individual style and creative expression”. (From Interview with Mitch Krilo).
The parlour is adorned with wild taxidermy and an array of dark vintage collectibles. Descending down below into Mitch’s lair, the walls are covered in tattoo art and there’s a sense of ingenious apothecary to the daily goings on. Every artist is allowed to discover their own unique style, which creates a very special experience for customers.
Each artist consults closely with their client, where the best placing, design and aesthetic is determined. Gastown Tattoo Parlour has been doing business for over 5 years now and they are always hosting guest artists and holding events in the shop. On May 12th they will be hosting a photo party for clients with healed tattoos. They will be having professional photos taken of healed tattoos done in the shop, big and small. Open to all with recent work from current artists. Look out for guest artists coming from all over the world this summer. Recently, the shop has expanded and they have added more space for additional artists.
Participating Tattoo Show Artists – Adrian Ciercoles, Milo Marcello, Miranda Boire, Crystal Alexandria, Shannon O’Shea and Ashley Horncastle.
Over on Powell Street resides the Art Collective that is Liquid Amber.
This (mostly) female studio is a safe, supportive space for artists, guests and people of all walks of life. Owners Justina Kervel & Luvia Petersen, visioned the space back in 2000 after an inspiration trip to Paris.
Remembers Luvia: “Justina had been sketching some tattoos while on holiday and eventually, I asked a local where a good place would be to get tattoos. She told us of the Kaplan Art Studio. Later that day, we went there and discovered this amazing artists studio with sculptures and paintings. In the middle of it all was a single tattoo bed. What we both loved about this studio was that it was made up of multiple art mediums. That blew our minds as we both had a conceptual understanding of what a tattoo parlour was: men, bikers, beards and flesh art. This studio in Paris had none of that and we thought: “What can we draw from this and bring back to Vancouver?” (From Interview with Liquid Amber).
Rarely will one walk by the open studio without seeing a willing customer settled onto the bed by the window, as one of Liquid Ambers’ skilled artists focuses intently on their creation in ink.
The space is immediately welcoming and the shop is unlike most other tattoo parlours. Here is where creativity rules supreme, where art and free expression is everywhere. And it was this deep need to be in a true artist’s community that inspired the gals to locate their shop here and put down roots.
Luvia remarks: “Gastown has that feeling in droves. This is an artist’s community. You can walk down the street and see art galleries, independent designers, crafters and entrepreneurs. We were deeply attracted to this welcoming community and truly feel at home here”.
Liquid Amber has just expanded their location to include 2 more levels of the building. They are showcasing artwork from 1 local artist every 4 months and starting May 3 they have a new series of original paintings from Justina Kervel.
While not at the show this year, owner and artist Devin Stacey of Archetype Custom Tattoos on East Cordova Street will be open Tues to Saturday. Devin, along with a number of other independent artists, will be creating stunning and original custom art for their clients.