Kent tattoo gallery displays art of ink until July 30


The current exhibit in Kent’s Downtown Gallery—“Ink Work: An International Look at the Art of the Tattoo”—will close on July 30.

Jenna Kuczkowski

Wedged in the space between Empire and Black Squirrel Gifts is Kent’s Downtown Gallery. The current exhibit—“Ink Work: An International Look at the Art of the Tattoo”—will close on July 30, after being open since the end of June.

The gallery features works from both local and international artists. Works on display come from all around Ohio, Florida, California, Australia and Russia.

Curator Allison Smith said her intentions with the exhibit was to show works on paper by tattoo artists.

“Tattoo artists often have fine art backgrounds and create their own art in addition to their profession of tattooing,” Smith said. “I wanted to show original works by tattoo artists that may or may not end up on someone’s skin in tattoo form.”

Smith is a crafts graduate student at Kent State and graduate assistant to Anderson Turner, director of the Center for the Visual Arts Collection and Galleries in the School of Art.

In the past, Smith also co-curated the “Women in Craft” show at the main CVA Gallery with Lindsey James, a fellow graduate assistant at the galleries.

“I find tattoo art fascinating because it is multifaceted,” Smith said. “It has the potential to be on someone’s skin for forever, but it also stands alone as fine art works on paper.”

Liz Marie, one of the artist whose work is featured in the gallery, is a Kent State alumni. Marie currently works at Kollective Studio in Tremont, and said she began tattooing three years ago.


“I was always fascinated by the permanence of tattoos,” Marie said. “It’s an interesting way to collect little pieces and artwork and tell a story that you can carry around with you always.”

Marie said she mainly tattoos in neo-traditional styles—designs similar to the bold lines and saturated colors of traditional tattoos but with a larger color palette and more details within the tattoo.

Marie said her piece in the gallery titled “Grey Mystique Flash” features all of her favorite traditional subject matters: plants, animals and curiosities. Normally, Marie said she uses more color in her art but changed things for this and worked solely in grayscale.

“It’s always awesome to get your art out there but I’m always happy to see a show based around tattoo art,” Marie said. “It’s really an honor to have my piece in a show with a lot of hard working tattooers that create amazing tattoos and paintings.”

Contact Jenna Kuzckowski at [email protected].

“Ink Work” is open and free to the public.