Not all tattooists trace pictures off a wall. When you know where to look, tattoo artists with extraordinary abilities are creating works that transcend the medium of skin. One group in Las Vegas aims to dispel the stereotype that tattoo artists aren’t real artists, while helping the less fortunate in the process.
“Every artist has a wall that they’ve built up over the years of why they don’t like another shop or artist,” said Aaron Neiman of Pussykat Tattoo Parlor and co-founder of The Las Vegas Tattoo Art Collective. “The main goal is breaking down the barriers in this town and better the view on tattooing. A lot of places right now think that Vegas is a joke about art and just the art community. Getting tattooing art out there is what I’m trying to push for and a unity of artists coming together.”
Along with more than 20 artists from seven shops, Neiman and the rest of the Art Collective meet monthly. Their projects range from creating artwork on anything from skateboards to shoes and now, a full deck of playing cards. “Each deck has 27 local tattoo artists from all over Vegas,” Neiman said, and each individual card has a unique piece of artwork.
They hope to bring recognition to the Vegas art scene plus raise money for charity via shows at the Red Giant gallery downtown. Through the sales of select works and the Stack the Deck playing cards, their nonprofit organization, Group Therapy, is currently raising money for local children’s charity Dalton Avenue.
“I’m really trying to get the art group out there as much as possible,” said Neiman. A new instillation goes up every First Friday from the Collective. “The Girl Show” with art by Vegas’ female tattoo artist show is currently on display. Next month will focus on works inspired by traditional tattoo art.
Now that Stack the Deck is taking off and there’s monthly art shows, what’s next for the Collective? “We’re going to do more charity work and keep trying to put Vegas on the map of tattooers,” Neiman said. Group Therapy is planning on creating a second deck of cards. He expressed he would like to see the proceeds from Stack the Deck II go to help people battling cancer.
“We’re not exactly the blind leading the blind, but it’s a new path that we’re taking and we don’t fully know everything about it,” Neiman said in regards to contacting charities and fundraising. “Everything’s new to us,” he said. “It’s a learning experience every month and it’s a new path that we’re taking. None of these artists have ever really done anything like this.”
To purchase Stack the Deck playing cards from the Art Collective or Group Therapy LV, stop by 107 E. Charleston Ste. 125 at the Arts Factory, or visit grouptherapylv.com. Call RaShelle Roberts or Justin McCroy at (702) 287-0044 or e-mail [email protected] for more information.