what's this? A Gallery Stroll event in 2011 that didn't come with
snow, sleet, rain or hail? It's an April non-Christian holiday
miracle. Seriously, it's about damn time we were given the chance
to head out and actually enjoy the event without having four layers
of clothing to keep in the heat while walking from spot to spot. And
just in time too as Stroll itself is now building back up with new
venues and artists are starting to come back out with new material.
So sticking with that theme of new material we'll be visiting a new
addition to the lineup.
For this month's Stroll I made my way down 4th South to a little shop called Cathedral Tattoo. Holding shop in the space Positively 4th Street Music used to call home under Stoneground, the artists inside have been pushing out some quality work over the past few months and are now starting to assert themselves as a gallery for those employed. This month they have the work of Tyler James Densley on display, who we got a chance to chat with about his career and the work currently on the walls, plus a few thoughts on local art. All with photos for you to check out here.
Tyler James Densley
Gavin: Hey Tyler, first off, tell us a bit about yourselves.
Tyler: I'm the only dyslexic child of my seven siblings. I grew up in Midway, but have spent the last ten years in California. I've returned to conquer Utah. I also enjoy raisin bran.
Gavin: What first got you interested in art, and what were some early inspirations?
Tyler: My older brother and his friends would encourage me to draw. I think mainly because they liked seeing a six-year-old draw monsters killing one another. The crazier the drawing was, the more they liked it.
Gavin: Did you attend any kind of college or education in art prior to tattooing?
Tyler: Fuck no.
Gavin: What initially drew your interest toward tattooing, and how did you break into it?
Tyler: When I was seventeen, I stared dating some old bag that was a tattooer. She taught me some tricks in the kitchen. I've been hurting people since.
Gavin: What was your first real experience like creating a tattoo, and how did it turn out?
Tyler: It went surprisingly well. After thinking about tattooing for so many damn years, I was ready and on point. Of course, it was a Jerry bear, so there's that.
Gavin: How was it for you learning the craft and honing in your skills to create work on people?
Tyler: Hard. Tattooing takes a long time to master. And sometimes people move or smell bad.
Gavin: What's the process like for you when creating an original piece of work not on the wall?
Tyler: Try not to make too many scabs.
Gavin: How did you become involved with Cathedral Tattoo, and how has it been working here?
Tyler: They got lucky. I fit like a puzzle piece.
Gavin: On the side you've been creating different pieces of artwork. What influenced you to keep creating outside of the shop?
Tyler: Progression. As a tattooer, if you're never creating for yourself, you lose the passion that got you into the business.
Gavin: Between the two, do you prefer professional tattooing or personal art, and why?
Tyler: I wouldn't be any sort of artist if it wasn't for tattooing. I learned all I know about creating through tattoos. I can't say I prefer either because I often have a lot of freedom in tattooing that is satisfying to my urge to make things with my hands. Really, be it on paper, wood, or skin, a good finished product ultimately soothes the soul.
Gavin: Going local, what are your thoughts on Utah tattoo shops, both good and bad?
Tyler: There are some folks doing good tattoos and some doing bad. That's the way it goes.
Gavin: Is there anything you wish would change or think could be done better?
Tyler: It's all on the customer. Don't go get bad tattoos and those places won't exist. Do your homework. It's going to be on your for a while.
Gavin: Branching a bit from that, what are your thoughts on our art scene?
Tyler: It's wonderful. I just moved back from San Diego, where art and passion go to retire. I have a studio at the Captain Captain building with some of the best mystics in town. I work at a fantastic shop that threw me a stellar art show. I'm having a show next Gallery Stroll with my buddy Trevor J. Dopp at Copper Palate Press. I'd say Salt Lake finally has something to show for years of brainwashed-youth-rebellion.
Gavin: What's your take on Gallery Stroll and being a part of that experience?
Tyler: I think it's a great idea. Keeps people interested and active. The only downside is you have to talk about your own art, which is about as fun as... insert terrible action here.
Gavin: What can we expect from you over the rest of the year?
Tyler: The domination of a valley.
Gavin: Aside the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Tyler: All my artful events coming up here are going to be benefits for my mom who has recently been the victim of hospital bills and a tumor. She owns and runs a small bakery/deli called Fresh in Heber City, and though she'll never admit she needs help, doctors ain't cheap. I should know. Anywho, all those who read this should give me all your money so I can help that sweet old lady. Thanks and bye.
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