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Artist Sabbatical



"Sabbatical" is a word I like to use a lot because it seems like such a nice set up for artists that tattooers don't really exploit. We have been offering the shop for some time as a place like this, taking a set of tattooers during the summer who can work as much or as little as they like for a minimal, cost-covering daily rent. This summer was the first attempt, I feel like it was a big success.

I tried pretty hard to find a nice location for my shop and actually got my dream spot: Harbord street is a quiet street surrounded by suburbs -- the catch is that only a block north is Bloor, a busy/hip/main street in the downtown, and a block north of College, which has tons of good restaurants and sushi places, all the bank branches, a theatre, and a grocery store. It was nice to have vegan options to suggest or be able to show Nikki where to go to work out. And having one of the city's best espresso cafes next door makes that base easily covered. The community is just very self-contained.

I do find myself sometimes disappointed in Toronto for the hustle bustle and the cold winters, but honestly if that's all we can moan about, big whoop. Snow is pretty and it's pretty comfortable to draw in a heated room with huge windows and 3 foot snow bails at the window.

Being that this is a "blog" I thought I'd just ramble about how much I love the little nook of a shop that every visiting artist and my staff has helped to personalize in our first year of business.

If anyone wants to comment... I'm wondering if there's shops that other members feel so fondly of, even if it is their own. Haha.


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I'm pretty attached to my husband's shop (Blackheart Tattoo, Oakland), he was building it when we were still dating. I'll never forget the romance of the date that involved hanging the bathroom door at 2 am! I'm also super fond of Freddy Corbin's Temple Tattoo in Oakland, I've had some good times there, while being tattooed or just visiting, and I love everyone who works there.

I love hearing about the little things that make each shop special. I know that at 4:00 everyday, everyone at Horitaka's State of Grace in San Jose stops what they're doing and has tea together, how awesome is that?

Thanks for telling us about your shop, keep the blogs coming!


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The state of grace tidbit is amazing. Holy cow, what a tight crew it would make for.

I just saw some pictures Shawn Barber posted of Memoir Tattoo and I just about shat myself. It's fucking GORGEOUS

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I just saw some pictures Shawn Barber posted of Memoir Tattoo and I just about shat myself. It's fucking GORGEOUS

wow... high curved ceilings, wood floors, tons of art- that's a classy shop!!!

I'm no tattoo artist but I know a change of scenery/a change of pace/a sabbatical will do wonders for my art. When you hit a wall sometimes you just need to take a week off and let new ideas take hold and old ideas recirculate and come out stronger. For instance, I went on vacation guitarless for a week and came back and was amazed at the melodies that came pouring out after all the work my subconscious did while I was gone. It's the same for writing and photography for me too.

Not to say that regular practice isn't equally if not more important... but there's a definite time and a place for a sabbatical that's artistically and mentally/emotionally beneficial.

And Dari- I love the entryway to Temple Tattoo. Such a great vibe when you walk in.

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I just thought of a super classy little gem in Santa Cruz, Klem's shop, Samuel O'Reilly's Tattoo Parlour. We went down for the opening party, and it was just like a really well-built cute little house. They must've employed every finish carpenter in Santa Cruz to pull that one off! Definitely worth a visit, and Klem's a great guy.


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