Love You Forever

Photo of Tobias Wong tattoo by Dean Kaufman

On Saturday, one of Vancouver most respected and in-demand tattoo artists will be showcasing his talents to a unique audience – attendees of the Museum of Vancouver. In what is being considered to be a first for this city, the MOV and Chad Woodley of Electric Sanitary Tattoo Company (and my tattoo artist) are staging a pop-up tattoo parlour. The event was inspired by the spirit of the late Vancouver designer and artist Tobias Wong, who was famous for appropriating other people’s work.

Wong once staged his own tattoo parlour at Art Basel in Miami, and asked consumers “If you value design this much, are you willing to wear it forever?”

The idea inspired the MOV, whose current exhibit is a retrospective of Wong’s life and work. Charles Montgomery, curatorial associate for engagement and dialogue explains: “We wanted to steal his ideas as he’s appropriated, borrowed in the past, and with the blessing of his family, we stole his tattoo parlour idea and we even stole some of his designs.”

Some of the designs people will be getting inked on Friday.

Between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., visitors for the museum will be able grab a drink and watch on giant screens as people get inked. The people who will be getting tattooed have selected from several designs by Wong, which Woodley has approved of. (As one of Woodley’s clients, I can verify that he takes his job seriously and won’t ink anything that doesn’t inspire him. When I approached him about a cover-up once, I had to convince him to take the job after we agreed he’d have full creative freedom. The end result is one that continues to make me happy and will do so, forever.) People who are getting designs chosen by Woodley, will get the work done for free, while those getting inked with Tobias’ designs, will get a discounted price.

While the idea of setting up a tattoo parlour in a museum might seem outlandish, it’s proven to be wildly popular leading up to the big day.

“We thought we’d have to beg people to get inked but it’s just the opposite,” says Montgomery. “There’s a lot of people getting inked.”

In fact, all the spots are full. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take part. Every person who comes through the MOV on Friday will be encouraged to have a drink and snack and watch the action. Admission is $12. It’s bound to be a buzz.

Love you forever: A (popup) tattoo spectacle
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver
12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
$12 general admission to Museum, includes tattoo spectacle.  MOV members are free.


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