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Visionary Artist/Creator Paul Kirchner Celebrates The Weird and Psychedelic In His Work

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To first make a mark professionally within the world of graphic novels and comic book art, I landed an editorial gig at Heavy Metal — the fantastic magazine built around a vast library of French and European graphic art stories. But it broadened itself beyond the foreign stuff by also drawing on art out of the National Lampoon camp and other hipster publications. One of those artists I got introduced to was Paul Kirchner who had created the Dope Rider for High Times and the strip “The Bus” for Heavy Metal. He penciled stories for DC’s horror line and wrote and illustrated occasional short features for Marvel’s Epic Illustrated. He illustrated the graphic novel “Murder By Remote Control.”

Starting out in comics during the 1970s as an assistant to the late, legendary innovator Wally Wood, the young Kirchner could not have had a better mentor. Wood was noted for his seminal work in EC Comics and then at Marvel. Though he developed his own unique body of work, eventually, the Connecticut native left comics to work in editorial illustration, advertising, and toy design, But, in recent years, he resumed his Dope Rider strip, a collection of which has been published as “A Fistful of Delirium.” He also has created a second volume of “The Bus” and a new series, ‘Hieronymus & Bosch,’ which has appeared at the Adult Swim website and in book form.

Born January 29, 1952, Kirchner has worked in everything from comic strips and toy design to advertising and editorial art. Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut., he attended Cooper Union School of Art but left in his third year, when, with the help of Larry Hama and Neal Adams, he began getting work in the comic book industry. At one point, he had left comics behind but, in 2002, Kirchner returned to freelance illustration, working primarily in advertising. Kirchner still lives in Connecticut with his wife, Sandy Rabinowitz, an illustrator specializing in equine art. Plus, they have three adult children.

On December 16th, Kirchner is a featured artist spotlighted at The Big Apple Comic Con’s Christmas Con at the New Yorker Hotel. For info go to: www.bigapplecc.com

T2C: When and how did you decide the life of an artist was the right thing for you– talk about any or all moments of revelation?

PK: The decision to pursue a career as an artist was gradual, solidifying after a series of validations made me feel that I might have what it takes. As a child I was praised for my artistic ability and since I loved praise—and still do—I stuck with it. In high school I was the class artist and did posters for dances and cartoons for the school newspaper. I was also a comic fan, a card-carrying member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society, and hoped to work in comics some day. The parents of my girlfriend (now wife) Sandy Rabinowitz were artists and her mother was a graduate of the Cooper Union School of Art. In those days Cooper Union was tuition-free and acceptance was highly competitive. She encouraged me to apply there and when I got in it gave me additional confidence. While in art school I worked on my comics, and when I finished one that I thought was good enough to use as a sample I showed it to Neal Adams, who called Joe Orlando at DC and recommended it to me. Orlando gave me a script to pencil and that was when I decided, “I can do this.”

T2C: Psychedelia has a big part to play in your work — can you describe when this style came to when, how and why?

PK: I’ve never been able to get excited about the kind of art that sells in galleries—what people term “fine art.” I may admire the technique, but generally it doesn’t move me. I’ve always been more attracted to “people’s art,” the art you see on record album covers, concert posters, pinball machines, tattoos, graffiti, pulp book covers, and of course, comic books—art that packs a punch. I am particularly attracted to surrealistic art, which juxtaposes the images of dreams, visions, and hallucinations with the world of concrete reality. It adds a layer of meaning and visual interest to a scene that might otherwise be mundane. This is what I like to do in my Dope Rider comics and what I did in my graphic novel, Murder by Remote Control.

T2C: Your drawing style is clearly influenced by artists who had their roots in EC comics such as the late Wally Wood…

PK: I was certainly inspired by the work of EC artists like Jack Davis, Frank Frazetta, and Al Williamson, but the one who had the most influence on me would be Wally Wood, since I assisted him for several years. It was not only his approach to penciling and inking that I picked up, but his whole way of breaking down a story and laying out pages. For a time my work looked like an imitation of Wood’s, so much so that Fantagraphics, in its anthology of his erotic art, attributed to him some illustrations I had done for National Screw. Fortunately, I got them to correct that before publication. Outside of Wood, I took some storytelling influence from Steranko, particularly from his “At the Stroke of Midnight” story from Tower of Shadows #1. I was more attracted to European and underground comics than to the superhero fare of Marvel and DC, so other influences included Philippe Druillet and Rick Griffin.

T2C: What comes first script then drawing or the opposite?

PK: I start out with just an outline of a story in my mind. The first thing I do is break down the story, laying it out into rough frames on a standard-sized sheet of paper (or papers if it’s going to run more than one page). During this process I get an idea of what can be communicated visually and where I will need captions or dialogue. By the time I am penciling the frames I have a rough idea of the dialogue and leave space for it. I only write the script when the art is completely done, as I keep rewriting it in my mind as I work. In indie comics it’s expected that artists hand-letter their pages, as it’s integral to the art, but I do the text and balloons on a separate layer in Photoshop because I continue to rewrite and edit until the moment I have to turn in the work. I understand that this is considered less authentic, but so be it.

T2C: How do you split your creative efforts now between your various series and developing new series?

PK: I have two ongoing projects, Dope Rider and “the bus.” I spend most of my time on Dope Rider, because it appears every month in High Times magazine and I have to meet a deadline. Also, they pay me for it, and the two most motivating things for a cartoonist are a deadline and a paycheck, and for an alternative cartoonist to actually get paid nowadays is almost unheard of. Dope Rider is only one page a month, which doesn’t seem like much, but I try to do something different and interesting each time and though I don’t always meet my highest expectations I put a lot of thought into it. The process of laying out the page, penciling the frames, inking them, then scanning them to add color and lettering in Photoshop takes a whole week. I don’t mean a week of 12-hour days like some cartoonists put in, but a week of normal work days. As far as “the bus,” I have trouble buckling down to work on it due to the absence of 1) a deadline, and 2) a paycheck. That is, I won’t see any money from new strips of “the bus”  after I have completed enough strips for a book and that book is published. Also, with Dope Rider, I have free rein to draw almost anything I want. With “the bus,” I have a constrained format and a lot of repetitive elements, so it feels more like work and less like fun. I have 40 pages of new bus strips and have inked only 14 so far. I need to complete at least 48 for a book. Another challenge is that I have to keep up the quality. I would rather just end the strip than do a book that I felt was not quite as good as the first two.

T2C: Do you dream of seeing your concepts and creations become films or animation?

PK: Yes I do, whether or not it will ever actually happen. If you are a creative person, your creativity does not only apply to the work, it imagines ideas of how much success and reward the work might bring you. For example, if for some reason I was asked to be a guest on Joe Rogan’s show, he might ask, “Did you ever imagine this could happen?” To be honest, I would have to answer, “Yes, I’ve imagined it many times—what you ask me about, how I would answer, whether you would want me to smoke weed on the show with you, etc.” I dream of many fanciful things that are unlikely to happen, but I can’t help daydreaming. On the plus side, the dream helps motivate me to produce. BTW, I have been approached by guys in Hollywood to partner up with them to develop a Dope Rider movie. Then I check them out on IMDb and see they have no credits besides assistant producer on a short-running cable show or something like that. In other words, they are people who don’t have much of a foothold in the industry and are hoping to attach themselves to some intellectual property that they might sell, but they have nothing to contribute to it. These are not people whose phone calls are returned. That sounds arrogant of me, I know, but I have to be careful. My characters, my intellectual property, are all I have and I must try to avoid being exploited.

T2C: How autobiographical is your work?

PK: I’m in the world of indie comics, where creators are often their own main characters, but I’ve avoided the autobiographical  approach. The characters I’m known for are Dope Rider and a commuter who rides the bus, but I’m not a chronic weed smoker and I rarely have occasion to use mass transit. Rather than focus on myself and my own opinions, experiences, and relationships, I do comics as a way to get out of myself, to escape from my day-to-day life and let my imagination roam. Of course, my work reflects some aspects of myself such my absurdist sense of humor and my interest in mysticism and alternate realities.

T2C: What did your parents think of your work — talk about their reaction or reactions?

PK: I had a good relationship with my parents but it had to be managed. They were fine people but rather straitlaced and judgmental and it was best not to tell them things about which you knew they would disapprove. In my 20s, I was mostly working for High Times, Screw, and Heavy Metal and I didn’t want to tell my parents that, mentioning only my work as an assistant to other artists like Ralph Reese and Wally Wood. Naturally, this caused them concern, as they wondered if I was doing much of anything at all. One time my father, who was a doctor, asked me how much this Wally Wood fellow made in a year. I guessed about $18,000. “My god, the orderlies at the hospital make that much!” responded my father. Okay, but it was not my ambition to be a hospital orderly. After the art director at Screw moved on to the New York Times, he gave me regular illustration assignments for that prestigious publication, which made my parents happy. In the 1980s I began applying my comics to more commercial work, such as doing comics for various toy lines, so I became completely respectable. Sandy’s parents, who were rather bohemian in their outlook, were enthusiastic about my comics all along, so my relationship with them was always closer and more open than my relationship with my own parents.

Art

The Moxie of Miguel Paredes – World-Renowned Artist Set for Latest Exhibit in New York at Park West Gallery

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The sensational oeuvre of world-renowned artist Miguel Paredes is set for a sensational new exhibit at Park West Gallery on July 18.
Celebrating a famed career filled with hundreds of pieces of noteworthy artwork, the highly anticipated show will premiere in New York City this summer at the globally recognized gallery. A full spectrum of his body of work will bring together his intricate and trailblazing talents that have for decades made him an integral part of the magic of the modern artworld. The New York native turned innovator of the grand Wynwood art scene in Miami is the true master of the Urban Realism movement. He brilliantly merges cutting-edge techniques of street art, pop art and Japanese animation to create his own explosive style evident in every series of trend-forward collected art pieces he creates.

Urban Koi” 30”x40” oil on gold leaded canvas 2024

Embarking on a journey that will bring a bright spotlight to his everlasting and vibrant career, Paredes will be honored with the unique show that is an ode to his transformative energy that since his humble beginnings as a young painter who came originally from the hospitality industry to turn into an entrepreneurial genius of the business of art.

Drawing much of his inspiration from pop icons such as his own mentor Ronnie Cutrone from The Factory and even Warhol himself along with the notorious Keith Haring, his sequences of street graffiti, landscape and pop art have propelled his crossover from street walls in the 1980s to becoming a highly regarded creator of fine decorative art that is perpetually prized by collectors around the globe. Prosperous and influential on an international scale, his name is known by celebrity collectors including icons such as Lance Bass, Kenan Thompson, Elton John, and Justin Bieber to name a few.
Sharing his inner workings and passions Paredes states about his enthusiasm for the Park West Gallery debut, “To be able to have this retrospective of my work in Soho and come full circle to be where I began is incredibly exciting.”
The accolade is a beautiful testament as to what makes him a vibrant part of the art community as much as a beloved figure to fans around the world. Through the lens of unique techniques and visionary visuals, the audience can traverse his phenomenal pieces that are reinforced with the undeniable expression of bold colors and vibrant strokes. You can tell any story worth telling through what we see and how we see when we glimpse at the captivating work of Paredes.
A painting is never just a painting with him; it is a window into our lives, our history, and our world thanks to the way Paredes expresses himself as an accomplished artist. His massive list of accomplishments and honors is outstanding and impressive.
As the official Godfather of the triumphant independent Miami art scene, he launched the Miguel Paredes Fine Art Gallery from 2011-2018 in the heart of Wynwood Arts District inviting guests to experience complex immersive pieces and literally be a part of the work. Notable other highlights in his life include being named the official artist of the 12th Annual Latin GRAMMY® Awards to signing with ACME Archives to create custom artwork for Disney Underground, which celebrates the interpretations of a new generation of visual artists stemming from the urban underground pop art movement. Corporations and cherished charitable foundations have eagerly collaborated with the trailblazer over the years to create successful campaigns and benchmark moments in modern culture.
Most recently Paredes has produced works in the emerging NFT space launching a 30 year in the making concept called “The Wheelies” an animated sitcom parodying American pop culture, politics, and the human condition with 7,777 collectible NFT characters. Along with other collections “Pulgha Genesis”, “Life in Color Daisy Series” and a collaboration with Artist Eddie Gangland “You’re in My Brain.”
All the inner workings of this magical artistic genius will be found in expressions with the selected pieces on display July 18. Some pieces in the show include: “Love Story,” “Don’t Play Coi with Me,” Sundae Fundae,” “Fist of Speed,” “Papayas to Mangos,” “Love in Shanghai,” “Love Yourself,” and “Miss Liberty.”
To inquire about collecting the artwork of Miguel Paredes, attend one of Park West’s online auction weekends or contact a sales associate at either sales@parkwestgallery.com or (866) 995-0904 ext. 4.
For more information on the July 18 exhibit, please visit https://www.parkwestgallery.com/
For more information on the artist, please visit https://miguelparedes.com/
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Midnight Moment Approximations of Utopia

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From June 1–30, nightly 11:57pm – 12am Midnight Moment will present Marco Brambilla’s Approximations of Utopia. This is a presentation, a vision of a future world fair constructed from the archival images and AI technology, philosophically considering the nature of human hope  and notions of utopia by mining the ambitions of the past. Using AI-generated and archival imagery to conjure the architectural environments of six historic World Expositions—New York (1964), Brussels (1958), Montreal (1967), Osaka (1970), Seville (1992), and Shanghai (2010)—Approximations of Utopia assembles a new configuration of human wonderment through non-human technologies. Each architectural-algorithmic resurrection represents not only the spirit of that nation and society, but also the aspirational dreams and desires from that moment in time. The journey through these dynamic collages of the past leads the viewer to a yet unrealized Expo in the works, unbound from geography or time. This idealized speculation, like any utopia, is an imagined community and society of a future filled with the possibility of a meaningful, peaceful life and civilization.

Approximations of Utopia coincides with the Queens Museum’s celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1964–1965 New York World’s Fair, titled Peace Through Understanding, that took place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The Unisphere, designed by Gilmore D. Clarke and donated by U.S. Steel, was the icon of the Fair and remains the world’s largest sphere. It featured three rings representing the space age achievements of Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn, and Telstar 1, and stood as a monument to America’s success in the space race before Neill Armstrong’s moon landing. Corporate pavilions dominated the Fair, presenting innovations through educational demonstrations, theater, and exhibitionary displays. Ford’s “Magic Skyway,” for example, was a journey through Earth’s history, including animatronic dinosaurs and dioramas, and human evolution, viewed from inside a brand-new Ford Mustang on a moving track. Visions of cities, travel, and technology of the future were foundational for many pavilions, including those sponsored by General Electric, NASA, New York City, and Bell Systems, among many others.

Artnet’s co-presentation of Brambilla’s Midnight Moment in June marks the second iteration of an ongoing partnership that celebrates digital art in the heart of New York City.

AI services were provided by PHI Studio.

Marco Brambilla is a London-based artist known for his elaborate recontextualization of popular and found imagery, as well as his pioneering use of digital imaging technologies in video installation and art. Brambilla’s work has been internationally exhibited and is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum (New York); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; ARCO Foundation (Madrid); and the Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington D.C). Notable shows include New Museum, New York; Santa Monica Museum of Art (Retrospective); Seoul Biennial, Korea; Broad Art Museum; and Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul; Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, Le Centquatre-Paris in France. Brambilla has worked with Creative Time and Art Production Fund in New York to present public art installations, including his Nude Descending Staircase No.3 presented at the Oculus world trade center during Frieze New York. Notable collaborations include 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, an opera by Marina Abramović first presented at the Opéra National de Paris, France, Pélleas et Mélisande, presented by the Opera Vlaanderen in Antwerp, Belgium; and King Size, a 16k on 16k video collage first presented at the Sphere in Las Vegas. Brambilla is a recipient of the Tiffany Comfort Foundation and Tiffany Colbert Foundation awards.

Dreaming in Public brings magical thinking to our civic life. They curate, advise and strategize on making art an integral part of daily life.

The Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park presents contemporary art, events of hyperlocal and international impact, and educational programs reflecting the diversity of Queens and New York City. Changing exhibitions present the work of emerging and established artists, both local and global, that often explore contemporary social issues, as well as the rich history of its site. The Museum works outside its walls through engagement initiatives ranging from multilingual outreach and educational opportunities for adult immigrants, to a plethora of community led art and activism projects. The Museum’s educational programming connects with school children, teens, families, seniors as well as those individuals with physical and mental disabilities. The Queens Museum is located on property owned in full by the City of New York, and its operation is made possible in part by public funds provided through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Artnet is the leading platform for the global art market, with journalism, insights and tools trusted to broaden the knowledge of professionals, private collectors and art enthusiasts alike. Artnet users and clients are able to navigate the art market with ease and, through its marketplace, buy and sell with confidence. Artnet provides users with the clearest picture of an ever-changing art world and is the leading global destination for art, with more than 60 million users annually.

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Come To The Light Brings Artist Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider Art To The Sheen Center

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“The world is in turmoil and I hope to offer people a respite by providing some calm” Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider. “I am motivated to paint and share my passion. I strive to create a place of serenity that nature offers us. Landscape, skyscape and seascape are my means of communication. Ours is a beautiful planet and I encourage all to take good care of it.”

T2C’s Magda Katz talked to the artist about her work

“If we wish to have the light, we must keep the sun; if we wish to keep our forests we must keep our trees; if we wish to keep our perfumes, we must keep our flowers- and if we wish to keep our rights, then we must keep our God.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

The Gallery at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, 18 Bleecker Street, presents “Come To The Light,” an exhibition of paintings by the artist Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider May 16 – June 14. The exhibition, exclusively at The Sheen Center, is free and open to the public daily from 11AM – 5PM. All artwork on exhibition is available for purchase. The Gallery at The Sheen Center is open daily from 9AM to 11PM. For further details, visit www.SheenCenter.org/events/detail/Come-To-The-Light.

“Come To The Light,” returns to The Gallery at The Sheen Center, having previously exhibited there in 2021 and 2022. Ms. Dilenschneider has had five solo exhibitions in Paris and Avignon, plus she participated in two invitational art fairs, one in Paris at the Grande Palais and another in Monaco at the Grimaldi Palace.

His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, says “Jan Dilenschneider is a wonderful friend and I am grateful she shares her talents and treasures with us. We are fortunate that Jan’s beautiful works of art will once again be on display at The Sheen Center, and encourage everyone to pay a visit and share in her vision of bringing people into the Light!”

Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider created her first oil on canvas painting at the age of 12. At 16, her entry at the Ohio State Fair was rejected because it had no hanging wire affixed to the canvas. A kind, older gentleman came to the rescue and quickly fashioned a wire to the back. That kind man was Roy Lichtenstein, one of the world’s most acclaimed artists. The watercolor won 1st Prize in the competition and Dilenschneider has been painting ever since.

Based in Connecticut, she finds much of her inspiration in the wondrous variegation of nature. Dilenschneider is an expressionist painter who has been influenced by many styles of art including impressionism. She is known for her rich palette, loose brush strokes, and luminous misty vistas. Her affinity for landscapes and the atmospheric effects of light and color create a mystery in her artwork that draws you into the unique painting. Jan has plans for several exhibitions for later in the year. She wants you to fall in love with nature all over again.

For more information, visit www.JanDilendchneider.com.

Sheen Center for Thought & Culture (www.sheencenter.org) is a haven for the arts and provides a platform for provocative conversations about diverse and inclusive aspects of humanity as seen through the creative lens of faith and respect. Located on historic Bleecker Street, the Sheen Center is a venue where art and spirituality meet. The Sheen features a 273-seat neoclassical proscenium theater and a newly renovated, 80-seat, flexible Black Box – The Frank Shiner Theater. The Sheen Center also features an art gallery, rehearsal studios and meeting | reception spaces. Since opening in 2015, the Sheen has hosted several movie premieres as well as innovative productions by companies including Houses on the Moon, Red Bull Theater, TheaterWorksUSA, and Bedlam. Included among the hundreds of artists who have performed at The Sheen are Board Members, Vanessa Williams, and Frank Shiner as well Kristin Chenoweth, Nora Jones, James Taylor, Bernie Williams, Kirk Whalum, and Eileen Ivers. The Sheen is a preferred venue for WFUV Radio’s Membership Marquee Concerts and hosts SOHO Forum monthly debate series, and in 2022, was chosen for the filming of the series, “Inside the Black-Box” hosted by Emmy Award-winning actor Joe Morton and producer Tracey Moore, and featuring prominent creatives of color, ranging from actors to producers to directors, writers, and musicians.

Featured photo is “Light on the Water,” 30 x 30, oil on canvas (left); and “Sunrise,” 36 x 48, oil on canvas (right), by Janet Hennessey Dilenschneider

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The New Banksy Museum Opens Today on Canal And Broadway

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The Banksy Museum opens today at 227 Canal Street and Broadway. T2c was given a special preview of the over 160 works and talked with William Mead the Executive Director Of The Museum.

This is the largest collection of Banksy’s life-sized murals and artwork in the world.

This show has already debuted in Barcelona, Brussels, Kraków and Paris, all of them projects by Hazis Vardar, also the brainchild behind the famous Palace Nightclub in France.

“Street art belongs in the raw setting of the streets, but if people can’t see it, is it even art?”

Banksy is undoubtedly the most famous and controversial street artist. The Banksy Museum has set out to introduce Banksy and his unusual approach through the creativity he has shown in the streets all over the world. There was no question in the mind of the curating team of simply putting Banksy in frames. Visitors will be immersive in his way of looking at the world. The Banksy Museum give a new lease of life to Banksy’s street creations – as many of them have disappeared.

To do the work justice, the creators of the museum created a space that “reflects the street experience” and employed a number of anonymous street artists to recreate Banksy’s work. What you see on the walls isn’t Banksy’s own work but celebratory recreations of both iconic and lesser known pieces that have faded from view no longer.

Tickets for the museum, which will be open daily from 10am to 8pm, are available here. The exhibit spans the second and third floors of the building.

All photo’s and video are by Magda Katz

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Tatpocalypse

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What Tatpocalypse? From May 10th to 12th, 2024, NYC Midtown Manhattan will play host to the Empire State Tattoo Convention. This vibrant event brings together world-famous tattoo artists, Inkmaster stars, and enthusiasts for a weekend filled with creativity, artistry, and community.

Friday Jones

Yet as thousands of unlicensed YouTube-trained “scratchers” face an overly saturated market and drop their stick-and-poke passion for a regular salary, Empire State Tattoo Convention organizer Stefano Alcantara isn’t bothered. “Its a healthy thing for the industry.” said the artist, now in his tenth year in one of the world’s most exciting gathering of tattooers and collectors. “It’s a good cleanse.”

Attendees choose from top of the line tattoo equipment at Unimax.

One week a month, in typical New Yorker fashion, Alcantara makes the trip from his shop in Florida to his Williamsburg shop, Stefano Tattoo Studio. ‘I like the Brooklyn vibe, its more artistic,” says the Peruvian-born entrepreneur. “What happens in NYC has repercussions throughout the world.” 

The sleek new look of tattoo “pens” are said to have multiple functions.

Tattoo fever began to echo off the American landscape twenty years ago with the launch of TLC’s Miami Ink. “Tatsurance” entrepreneur Kim Zem was clever enough to capitalize on the industry’s need to level up professionalism as workplace acceptance grew. “I’ve been selling insurance for 25 years. I had to be very professional in manner and dress…but I loved tattoos!” 

“My tattoo artist friends asked me to help them develop insurance that made sense for them and their clients.” Zem continues, “I started on a laptop as a single mom to an eight-figure annual enterprise. Pigment and Skin is absolutely developed by artists for artists.”

Traveling to the Big Apple was another industry perk for the bubbly Seattle native. “I love the people!”

The Empire State Tattoo convention will be open from noon to Midnight Friday and Saturday and until 8pm Sunday. Tickets are $40 at the door. For more information see https://www.empirestatetattooexpo.com/

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