ORLANDO – Pointing to the many paintings hanging on the wall of his shop in downtown Orlando, Ken Deft noted it was his initial entry into the use of his space as an art gallery.
“This is actually our first time doing this,” Deft said. “We did this just for fun.”
But while Deft does not offically operate an art gallery, he noted that using his shop to display art really wasn’t much of a stretch to begin with. After all, Deft’s shop at 693 N. Orange Ave. doesn’t make sandwiches, clothing or Web sites – they create art. Only, unlike the paintings put on canvas, Deft’s artists create body art.
“Usually clients come in and tell us what they want, and we try to give them just that,” Deft said. “Every artist here has to know how to draw.”
Deft operates Black Chapel Tattoo, the studio at the intersection of Orange Avenue and Colonial Drive which on Dec. 21 opened its first art exhibit, called “Artageddon – The End of The World Art Show.” The title came from the prediction on the Mayan calendar that the world would come to a swift end on Dec. 21, 2012.
Deft said he and his fellow tattoo artists couldn’t resist having some fun with that.
“There’s really no theme at all to the art, except it was December 21 – the end of the world,” he said. “It was the end of the world, so all art must go.”
Deft said he decided to host an exhibit at his shop in part to show that this city has a lot of talented artists – “All the artists here are local,” he said – and also to demonstrate that creating tattoos is a sophisticated art form as well. The artists who created the paintings, he noted, also create art on their customers’ bodies.
“That’s what we do,” he said. “We are an all-custom shop. We bought all these canvases, and every one of the artists showed off their own individual style. You can almost get a sense of the individual artists and their styles.”
One of the artists who created works for Artageddon – which are available to be purchased by customers — was Taylor P., who also works at Black Chapel Tattoo. He said the focus of his paintings was a reflection of what he likes to create at the tattoo shop as well.
“It’s just the things I like tattooing,” he said. “I’ll do commission paintings if need be, but I like painting the things I do for tattoos, like roses and daggers.”
Deft said he hopes to show that tattoo artists are just that – highly skilled and imaginative artists – and that there’s plenty of talent behind the ink.
“Especially in a custom shop, we’re taking people’s ideas and bringing them to life,” he said. “You name it, we’ve done it. You definitely see your share of odds and ends.”
Taylor P. agreed, noting “We’ve done everything from vulgar stuff to company logos.”
Deft said the Artageddon exhibit will be on display for the rest of this week, before moving to The Grotto, the new nightclub opening on New Year’s Eve at the corner of State Street and Robinson Avenue in downtown Orlando.
“Whatever didn’t get sold here, we’ll move it over there,” Deft said.
To learn more, call 407-420-9636 or visit Black Chapel Tattoo.
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