The Ink Spot Gallery celebrates the opening of its new location with an art show tonight at 7 p.m.
Photo by Kenya Hudson
Thrash metal is the perfect musical setting for the new residence of the Ink Spot. Hidden in the Foundry Lofts (formerly the Ironworks building) at 300 W. South St., the tattoo shop/art gallery is an oasis of free expression and courageous art. Demons, tigers, dolphins, beautiful women and skulls line the colorful brick walls. The art of Shannon Valentine is currently hanging in the gallery.
Ink Spot owner Jason Thomas and artist Erica Flannes took time out from the big move to talk with us.
Why did you decide to move?
Thomas: We were on Capitol Street for about two-and-a-half years, but this is a better building for parking and for what we need. We all love it, too. It has more of an urban feel. It's like something you would expect to see in Brooklyn. I think it's really going to trip people out when they walk in.
Tell us about the new building.
Flannes: It's definitely a change. Our layout is a bit different, but promotes more internal camaraderies and allows for more feedback on the tattoos we're working on and a more open environment. It's more fun, and it feels more energetic.
Flannes: So two of us are working, and the other two tattoo artists will kind of walk around and make suggestions. It helps you grow as an artist.
The Ink Spot was one of the first establishments to display "low brow" art locally. Do you guys receive a lot of criticism?
Thomas: Not at all. We have a lot of support and have always gotten a lot of positive feedback since day one.
How did you get into tattooing?
Thomas: I started when I was 19, and I'm 31 now. I was really attracted to the whole subculture of tattooing, the whole f***-the-world thing. I figured I would fit in.
How did you guys end up together?
Thomas: I spent my time finding people with good hearts, and I attracted this strange group of people.
Flannes: We're all from Jackson, and Jason found all of us individually. I went to art school, Mike and J.J. are both from Jackson and always enjoyed drawing, so we're just kind of a little family.
Have you ever inked anyone famous?
Thomas: We tattooed the guys from Modern Life is War
twice! The last time was in April.