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Tattooing renaissance a boon to local artists

Body art no longer the domain of just bad boys and bikers
Reality TV has really helped to usher tattooing into the mainstream, explained Incendiary’s owner Jim Carter. (Pixabay photo)

David Holmes/Contributor

Once the exclusive domain of bikers, sailors and counter-culture icons, body art has transitioned from a symbol of rebellion into a respected mainstream artform, embraced by everyone from professionals to housewives. Riding this new hot wave of activity (pun intended) is Victoria’s Incendiary Tattoos.

“Tattoos are appealing to every segment, all ages, all sexes, all walks of life. The success of reality TV has really helped to usher tattooing into the mainstream,” explained Incendiary’s owner Jim Carter.

“It was once all about ‘bad boys’ and bikers and that sort of thing, but today it can be pretty much anyone. If you don’t have a tattoo today you’ve become part of the visible minority.”

Incendiary Tattoos is housed in a 3,200-square-foot facility located at Suite D, 880 Esquimalt Rd. With a team of five artists including himself, the firm opened in 2010 and provides a full range of tattooing and body-piercing services. “We have a private room for piercing, and an office and storage space. The rest is a huge open concept space with six stations which provides us with lots of room. It’s a really cool environment,” he said.

In recent years the world of body modification has expanded exponentially for many reasons, across every segment of society. For Carter, many of his clients are seeking his services as a means, in part, to self-express, to set themselves apart from those around them.

“The art is everywhere. Tattooing is influencing everything. It’s like we’re in a huge Renaissance period when it comes to tattoos. It’s full force, in your face, everywhere all the time. It’s on the TV, it’s on the radio, it’s in the magazines, it’s in the music and I just love it,” Carter said.

He also suggested that there’s a growing, virtually bottomless need for future practitioners of this distinctive artform - but stressed the world of the tattoo artist isn’t for everyone.

“For those who get into it, tattooing is a lifestyle, not a living. It really is a way of life for many of us. It’s in your blood, you don’t fit into the norm, we’re just different,” he explained.

“We have the freedom to work anywhere we want in the world with an artform that is so high in demand that sometimes it just baffles me. Essentially, I’m an illusionist, I draw images on skin, an artist working on a living canvas. I’ve been doing this for 33 years now and can’t imagine doing anything else.”

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