By Sam Adams
The walls ooze with sex, bleeding hearts, birds of prey, snakes and skulls. This is the patchwork visual assemblage—comprised of more than 150 pieces by 20-plus artists—that's transformed Downtown's Boro Gallery into a mind-bending hall of tattoo culture.
Dave Briggs of Black Diamond Tattoo, who coordinated the show and has been in the game for 16 years, says he's never seen a display of tattoo art of this magnitude in the Duke City. "Everybody's real hungry," he says. "These guys don't sit on Facebook all day when they're not tattooing. They're creating something. They have that in their blood. So I just wanted to expose that to everybody."
Among the broad pool of talent and varied styles on display, there are a few artists in the show who stick out. Head above shoulders in this lot is Leo Gonzales of Stay Gold Tattoo. Coming from a background in Dungeons & Dragons art, Gonzales' fantasy- and mysticism-inspired oil paintings are crisply detailed—an attribute that gives their grotesque subject matter all the more visceral punch.
One such piece, "Shub–Niggurath, The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young," depicts a violent ritual. Scarlet-robed druids offer a human heart to a fire pit while a tentacled, cloven-hoofed behemoth with breasts, massive eyeballs and fetuses protruding from its awful body hovers above the grim sacrifice.
"He's a legend in town," says Briggs of Gonzales, "but he deserves more attention, definitely."
Briggs has some standout pieces of his own. A buzzard clenching a skull perches atop whiskey bottles and a banner that reads "Fucker," which just so happens to be the title of Briggs' large-scale acrylic-on-canvas piece. Briggs also imbues wry humor and Burque flavor into his paintings—which include a sexy ode to chicharrones.
Boro’s Tattoo Art Show is a testament to the massive pool of laser-sharp talent that make up the city's flesh-etching scene. It's also the most ambitious and comprehensive exhibition I've seen this year.
Tattoo Art Show
Runs through Aug. 1
Friday, July 27, 7 p.m. to midnight
Special event with live music and DJing
317 Gold SW
(corner of Gold and Fourth Street)
Open Monday through Friday, 5 to 10 p.m.
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