My trip to the Yes Gallery in Williamsburg on Saturday for the launch party of the Matty No Times benefit was complicated by the weekend suspension of the G train.
Rather than a 1-transfer commute from South Brooklyn, the trip involved a lengthy trip on the R train which took me through Manhattan and into Queens, where a shuttle bus skirted me back to Brooklyn. Are you kidding me?
But I didn't want to miss this event, not only because it was for a good cause as the NY tattoo community rallied to help one of their own, but because it would give me the chance to see some amazing art and possibly meet some of the artists behind the work.
I shed my backpack and just brought my notebook, stuffed with fliers, although I didn't necessarily expect to do the Tattoosday thing at the event. But you never know, and it was a long (1 hour, 28 minutes, according to HopStop) trek. Who knows who I might meet along the way?
I arrived relatively early, just in time to catch Thomas Hooper exiting the gallery. I have long admired Mr. Hooper's work (even his web site is art) and was hoping to meet him.
I introduced myself and he was soft-spoken and polite. I would have loved to chat with him further, but he was headed elsewhere and seemed to be in a hurry to go.
Inside, the Yes gallery's air conditioning was a welcome relief, as I started looking at the hundred-plus works of art that had been donated by artists from all over to help Three Kings' artist Matty No Times recover from staggering bills that resulted from an emergency liver transplant last Fall.
I introduced myself to Matty (Mr. No Times sounds weirdly formal) and chatted briefly as he ran the table where people paid for the art, left donations, and entered the raffle. He is a very nice guy and seemed genuinely appreciative of the turnout.
The list of artists who contributed their work was staggering. Check it out:
One of the bonuses in going to the event, for me at least, was seeing the work donated by Peter Caruso, who is the artist who created my third tattoo.
And whereas, I had discussed with Matty and several other guests the etiquette of taking close-up photos of the art hanging on the walls, I did have Pete's permission to post his painting, which we were all excited to see sold early on.
I was pleasantly surprised to run into one former Tattoosday contributor, Elizabeth, along with her husband. We chatted awhile as they made their way around the gallery.
I also talked with Magie Serpica, who I ran into last year at a Needles & Sins event, and who made her own Tattoosday contribution here. An artist at Bound for Glory Tattoo on Staten Island, she had contributed a painting, as well:
As the crowd swelled, I began to become overstimulated. Do I look at the art on the walls? Or do I look at the amazing art on the bodies? Most folks would have assumed I would have gone hog-wild taking photos of peoples' tattoos, but remember, I tend to embrace the random encounter aspect of the Tattoosday mission, and just like one doesn't see a lot of photos from conventions and tattoo shops, I avoided interviewing people about their tattoos. It just didn't seem sporting to do so. I did however, take a couple of shots of Peter's tattoos, to be unveiled at a later date here on the site.
I didn't receive a call from Matty on Sunday, so I will assume I didn't win the raffle. No worries. I wasn't in a position to invest in any art, so I did my part to help raise funds for this worthy cause.
You can support Matty through Three Kings Tattoo, where he works, and you still have time to visit the Yes Gallery, at 147 India Street in Brooklyn, and check out the art through Friday, July 23.
Thanks to all the artists who participated and made for such a wonderful visual experience, and to all the extended friends of Tattoosday who made the event more enjoyable for me, especially Pete and his wife Maria, who let me tag along with them at the gallery and spared me the subway after the show with a much-quicker ride home!
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