ImageSKIN:INKS is a celebration of the work of Hong Kong’s most prolific and respected tattoo artists. The first exhibition of its kind in the territory for the tattoo industry, the aim of this creative initiative is to challenge the often negative perception of tattoo art and expose the art form to a wider audience. Some people do not understand the creativity and craftsmanship behind this ancient and culturally significant artform, so by bringing it into a more accessible and open context, the art will be viewed for it’s true value, without preconceived notions.

SKIN:INKS features the work of 14 respected studios based in the region – ranging from the first generation original Hong Kong tattoo artists (now in their 60s) to young, up and coming contemporary artists. There is a mix of both local born and locally-based overseas artists, both male and female, who have learned their trade all over the world. Established celebrity Hong Kong artists like Gabe from Ace Dragon (famed for inking David Beckham, NBA star Lebron James and wakeboard legend Scott Byerly) will also be showing the skills that leave them very much in demand.

Jay FC, founder of ChinaStylus and co-curator of SKIN:INKS, “Like many of our previous creative projects, we felt that the local tattoo artist community was creatively overlooked and needed a voice to express their creativity, inspiration and personal journeys as artists. Having spent over a year researching and planning this exhibition, we feel privileged to have got to know these artists better and understand what they do. Without exception, all of those artists involved in the exhibition have been incredibly positive, supportive and genuinely excited that this is happening. They’re the most down to earth, friendly and unpretentious group of seriously talented artists that you’re ever likely to meet.”

The format of the exhibition includes 28 life-size tattoo artworks created on canvas photo portraits by: Ace Dragon, Star Crossed, Temple, Magic, Sze C, Dicky, Jimmy Ho, Ricky, Ink, Sammy, Blue Tongue, Kin Tat To O, Primal and Fung. Studio guest artists from the USA, Beijing and Turkey have also contributed.

Each artist was given a large (1m x 2m) canvas photo-print depicting a semi-nude 'customer'. This was the "SKIN" onto which they could freely express their art using any "INK" medium or style they chose. Each artist was given just over a month to complete their canvases. The “customers” were all Hong Kong people – ranging from car mechanics to chefs to students – shot by Isabell Chan of famed Hong Kong photography studio Red Dog.

Timon Wehrli, founder of Red Dog Studio and co-curator of the exhibition, “SKIN:INKS brings together the Hong Kong tattoo community for the first time and will highlight the exotic and colourful history behind tattooing in Hong Kong. As with all our creative projects, what we really want is for the public to realise that Hong Kong is a creatively vibrant city on a par with any other in the world. We’re trying to reinstate some pride in the idea of being Made in Hong Kong.”

All completed canvases will be exhibited at Racks Hong Kong and Racks Shanghai for one month in each country. The more traditional gallery spaces were intentionally avoided for this exhibition in order to create a more encompassing and stimulating experience for the viewer. Racks not only provides the perfect viewing space, but also provides an atmosphere that puts the artwork back in to a relevant and comfortable context.

At an end of exhibition closing event, all canvases will be auctioned off with ALL proceeds being donated to youth outreach charity Kely Support Group.

The closing event will also feature:
* LIVE tattooing from Ace Dragon, Star Crossed, Temple and Magi
* Auction of all artists' canvas artwork
* Auction of Element Skateboards limited edition deck set with artwork by tattoo superstar Kat Von D
* Music from celebrity DJs Uptown Rockers
* Giveaways of a limited edition SKIN:INKS T shirt by ChinaStylus

SKIN:INKS was conceived and produced by Jay FC (ChinaStylus) and Timon Wehrli (Red Dog Studio) – the team also behind Hong Kong’s highly acclaimed quarterly free arts magazine GALLERI.

Date: JUNE 13, 2008 – JULY 09, 2008
Venue: RACKS, 7F, M88, 2-8 Wellington St, Central, HONG KONG
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 12pm to 12am, Sun: 2pm to 12am
Entrance Fee: Free – but donations for the outreach youth group Kely Support Group will be encouraged.

Date: JULY 10, 2008
Venue: CLIQ, 2/F On Hing Bdg, 1 On Hing Ter, Central, HONG KONG
Time: 8pm-2am.

ChinaStylus is an integrated creative studio providing services to a diverse range of clients in Hong Kong and overseas. Their creatively minded, commercially aware approach has manifest itself successfully in both traditional and digital media, from the boardroom to the street. The studio now has a solid reputation as one of the region’s most influential and innovative design houses.

ChinaStylus is also founder of the ST/ART Urban Art Collective and co-founder of Galleri Magazine alongside creative partners Red Dog Studio.

Red Dog Studio was established by Timon Wehrli after moving to Hong Kong to work as a reportage photographer in 1993.  His work quickly evolved to include portraits, food, interiors and predominantly, fashion photography, which led him to set up Red Dog Studio in 1995.


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