As marriages go—even a temporary one—it can admittedly seem somewhat strange. Which, rightly so, doesn't bother the folks at Vancouver's Palace Tattoo or the Okanagan's winery Vintage Ink.
Because old preconceptions and stereotypes die hard, old-school tattooing brings to mind cheap bourbon, draft beer, and roadhouse taverns with names like the Bucket of Sailor’s Blood. As for wine, unless you’re talking Shane MacGowan, Mickey Rourke in Barfly, or Murder City Devil Spencer Moody back in the Empty Bottles, Broken Hearts days, there’s something decidedly upscale about a nice Cabernet Sauvignon or a crisp rosé.
But if rules weren’t made to be broken, we would never have had early rock ’n’ roll, modern art, or Grimes hopping in the sack with Elon Musk. And that brings us to Palace Tattoo hooking up with Vintage Ink at the Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show on May 25.
Depending on your preference, and luck, there will be freebies on offer at the high-profile showcase, which will see over 300 artists, and thousands of art aficionados, converge on the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Between the hours of 5:30-8:30pm, Palace Tattoo will ink 10 attendees for free on site, the tattoos offered on a first-come first-served basis. Each freshly inked person will also receive a free bottle of Vintage Ink wine. (For full details, go here).
Those who aren’t one of the lucky 10 will be able to sample Vintage Ink Wine offerings like Whisky Barrel Red, Pink Ink, Wicked White, and Pink Ink. Complimentary tats will come from pre-selected designs, all of which pay tribute to Doc Forbes, one of the most iconic tattoo artists in Canadian history.
Forbes’ work mostly fell under the umbrella of traditional flash tattoos—designs printed on paper and cardboard, and displayed in binders or mounted on walls to give walk-in customers ideas. The BC legend often worked on sailors near the port in Victoria, later moving to Vancouver where he operated for years.
Palace Tattoo was started by two massive fans of Forbes—co-owners Chris Hold and Nick Wasko—just steps from one of the West Coast pioneer's former locations on Hastings.
In addition to Forbes’ art, Palace Tattoo will also be decorating its space at the Vancouver Tattoo Show with throwback memorabilia from a time when only sailors, bikers, convicts, and neighbourhood greasers tended to get tattoos.
With a base in the Okanagan, Vintage Ink has built a reputation for wines celebrated not only for their boldness, but also for their innovativeness (Whiskey Barrel Red, for example, is aged and finished in former whisky barrels). If something bonds the two partners here, it's a passion for making one's own rules.
Vintage Ink has always celebrated lifestyles that inspire," Vintage Ink's Emmanuelle Voirin told the Straight. "We advocate for unconstrained self-expression, and that’s exactly what you find at Palace Tattoo. They are true artists who are passionate about their craft and take pride in celebrating the originals. Our partnership came very naturally, and we’re excited to come together for this event to celebrate the vintage ink of Doc Forbes—an artist who inspired.”
The Vancouver Tattoo and Culture Show runs May 26-28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.