From easel to skin: These Colorado Springs tattoo artists are also prolific visual artists | Art & Entertainment

Drawing a canvas is one thing. Draw a human canvas in a completely different way.

From the easel to the skin, there are many things to admire for an artist who can look at beauty, color and image. Many tattoo artists created art from the moment they picked up a pencil or paintbrush. But something happens when they put in their first tattoo. Fascinated by the process, they embrace artistic talent and take it into new areas of creativity.

That doesn’t mean they leave their love for visual arts behind. Instead, they often fill the walls of tattoo shops and homes with work, sketch tattoos for clients the next day, and then head to the canvas first thing in the morning or stay there at night. Art is fixed and never stops.

Maria Fetterhoff, owner and founder of Glory Badges Tattoo

In the world of Maria Fetterhoff, the hand becomes a bird’s feather and the braid turns into a snake.

Sculptors and painters are fascinated by the alchemy of transforming one object into another. And what if someone called her work “creepy”? That oxymoron of her compliment will make her shine.

“I like to combine things that juxtapose each other in nature. What is considered beautiful like a braid, what is considered dangerous like a snake,” said the owner and founder of Glory Badges Tattoo. I am saying. “How can I make it flow together in a beautiful way?”

Her preference is clear, standing in the midst of her exhibition “Molten” at the new Garfield Art Gallery at the bottom of the old Garfield School, which is now a community prep school. She loves her bold colors and bold lines, as well as her fascination with Byzantine iconography, which was born out of attending the Eastern Orthodox Church in Los Angeles, growing up as a Catholic.

The show’s biggest work, Cursed My Name, is an image of a female and human vulture with holes in the uterus and heart, exemplifying Fetterhoff’s obsession. The origin of the painting began with what we take for granted: our name, and the idea of ​​the role it plays in our identity. After her divorce, she thought about her social expectations as a woman and mother, often her name, Mary’s importance, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, the prototype of unreachable perfection. I thought of a way to remind you.

“Vultures have human hands, because they are usually humans trying to take advantage of you,” Fetterhoff said. “You are a perfect mother, a perfect wife, and you are working hard to be perfect, so I am happy to live from those parts of you who are willing to die.”

From an early age, Fetterhoff thought he would grow up to be a great artist, but at the age of 17, she thought about tattooing with a friend. I said, “How much would you charge to teach me how to use the tool?”

It was in the late 90’s before tattoos were praised on reality TV shows and became attractive in pop culture. This was the era of suspicious tattoo shops, and most men got them and did it. However, Fetterhoff was not blocked. She talked to an older biker guy across the biker bar about her path to apprenticeship.

“I grew up in a sandy place, so it was like being thrown into a wolf,” she said. “Tattoos were like a magical show. They thought they were creating competition, so I didn’t want to tell a lot of people behind the scenes. It’s this boys club and secret club. did.”

After moving to Colorado Springs in 1999, she soon realized she was disillusioned with her business. No one hired a woman because she couldn’t work alone until 2am, but she got the opportunity to work for a female owner of a tattoo shop and she was on the way I found a mentor.

In 2003, she opened her shop on East Pratt Avenue. She acknowledges her success to her supportive parents who never told her to remain diligent in her artistic practice and to make a backup plan.

“My dad told me that everything you see was drawn by someone,” Fetterhoff said. “Someone painted the lamps. They must be painted before they are manufactured. Don’t let anyone tell you that painting is not worth it.”

Westside tattoo artist Aaron Moore

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Aaron Moore is an artist in Colorado Springs Westside Tattoos.

You can get a lot of inspiration by walking in the western alleys.

There, Aaron Moore regularly finds scraps that send images that run through his creative minds. As before, he found a small glass ball with a hole in it, reminding him of a retro disco object reminiscent of the old anime TV sitcom The Jetsons. He hung them on old skateboards, painted the image of a woman like “The Jetsons” on the top of the board, added wall-mounted sconces and plates for car keys, and pressed them! Skateboard art. The unnamed piece, along with other skateboard pieces, hangs on the wall near his tattoo station on the West Side Tattoo.

Coronado High School graduates have been tattooing for 23 years since being hit head-on by a drunk driver in 1999. He couldn’t have done that, but “one door closes and the other opens,” he said.

“Very negative things have become one of the most beautiful parts of my life.”

Tattoos were always appealing to him, and during his recovery from the accident he found an apprentice in a town store. There were about half a dozen at that time. Today he estimates that number is hovering about 200.

“At that time you almost had to be born into it,” Moore said. “Most of the time, it was passed down from generation to generation. It was a very different world.”

Recently, Moore has drawn a series of quirky animals on a plate-sized piece of wood purchased from Hobby Lobby. There are raccoon pirates, zombie pirates, mysterious jack ropes, and cows flying UFOs. He gives them to his friends and family, but he will probably sell them someday.

“My stuff is a little fun, creepy but cute,” Moore said. “You see Tim Burton’s, or even darker like HR Giger. He’s a great artist, but his’s is dark. Many people see its beauty. I I always had a little of it. “

And now that his daughter has grown up, he feels the urge to move away from tattoos to pursue other adventures such as art and winding road trips without destinations. The tattoo also had a fairly rough neck and back after decades of hunting for his body.

“When you’re an artist, everything is inspiration,” Moore said. “You may fantasize about me, and I’m catching how the light hits trees and streetlight pillars, or the shadow of a child hits something. You’re always collecting ideas. . “

Karen Knight, owner and founder of HeebeeJeebeeTattoos

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Karen Knight is the owner and founder of HeebeeJeebeeTattoos in Colorado Springs.

Making art is the ritual of Karen Knight, a lifelong artist from Liverpool, England.

After returning home from her store, Heebee Jeebee Tattoos, and taking a walk with her beloved rescue dog every night, she settles down in paint, engrossed in work, and sometimes looks up at 4am. Filling her paintings, paintings and sculptures Her house has spilled onto the walls of her store, which can easily be mistaken for a gallery. She held a solo exhibition at Springs at 503W a few years ago and participated in several performances at the now obsolete Modbo.

Knight landed and stayed in the town by the courtesy of his ex-husband. It was here that she took a walk in the tattoo shop and she thought: Yes, why? That seemingly small decision changed everything.

“I was fascinated by what he was doing,” Knight recalled being inked. “How on earth can he do it with his skin?”

She had a beautician license and was doing permanent makeup, so she was familiar with marking her body. The mentor helped her learn the art form of tattoos, and she finally opened her own shop in 1993.

That was the entrance to her business, but that’s no longer what she’s doing. Bringing her current fulfillment is medical tattoos, including scar cover, skin color changes to match vitiligo discoloration, and her main focus, depigmentation of breast cancer survivors.

After being a breast cancer survivor for 25 years, it’s especially close to her heart.

“After surviving with breast cancer, there are no areas and nipples,” she said. “It’s just a lump — Barbie’s boobs. After tattooing it, when you get out of the shower and look at her breasts, it’s great. It’s spiritual.”

Plastic surgeons in Springs, Denver, and surrounding states refer patients to Knight.

“I got someone to give me the best compliment,” she said. She said, “She was rebuilt without a bra, so she was intimate with her husband for the first time. She felt comfortable enough.”

Fred Regarda, owner and founder of self-made tattoos

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Fred Legarda is the owner and founder of SelfMade Tattoo in Colorado Springs.

A portrait of Marilyn Monroe’s Cerulean Blue pops out of the landscape of Fred Regarda’s tattoo shop SelfMade Tattoo on the eastern side of the city.

He is known for his large and boldly colored tattoos and his works in black and gray. This is clearly translated into the self-proclaimed “roin attack pop art” that he likes to make sideways. He wants to do more of that abstract art with human canvas, but it can take some time for his style to catch up.

Monroe’s work, which he painted over 10 years ago, is one of his only unsold works. But his other works disappear almost as quickly as he can make. They find their way in the hands of collectors who regularly drop in at the store. Others use images such as Frankenstein and his “Star Wars” work to hear him in word of mouth and put gravity on his monster art.

In addition to tattooing, making art is a daily requirement for Legarda, who is painting from a high school in New Mexico.

“It’s an escape route,” he said. “I don’t have to think about current events, everyday problems or adults. I’m just pushing paint.”

After moving to Springs in 2000, in addition to his paintings, he pinstriped and painted the car. Buddy, who ran a tattoo shop, tried to get him into the business, but he wiped it out until he finally made a concession around 2007. Seven years later, he opened his shop.

“It was very good for me. Tattoos gave me everything I wanted from my life.” It gave me all sorts of freedom. Recognition as an artist. , Self-esteem, self-confidence. “

Tattoos aren’t just about creative exits. Legarda can also see how it enhances the self-esteem of his clients.

“Some people are calm and almost afraid, and they come and get their favorite anime character as short sleeves,” he said.

“The next time they come in, they stick out a little more, stand upright, look in your eyes, and speak loudly. That’s my favorite.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270


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