Tattooed local Leda Balch traced a dragon flash-tattoo design and painted it a vibrant red and yellow Wednesday evening at the Alachua County Public Library's Headquarters Branch.
"Balch, a 27-year-old UF creative photography alumna, was one of about 50 who attended a lecture on tattoo history and free flash painting workshop hosted by Death or Glory Tattoo Parlour artist Kristyn Lopez. Despite being a tattooist, Lopez said her painting business typically does not crossover with the tattoo-industry, but for this one lesson, she chose to teach some of its history and use flash-designs as art templates.
“I love that the library has given the community this opportunity to take these classes outside of the university,” Balch said. “It’s the kind of opportunity that’s hard to find anywhere else.”
The talk, which brought out tattoo lovers and the curious alike, demonstrated the history of tattooing not as part of a counter-culture but a human culture, Lopez said.
At the end of the lecture, participants were encouraged to trace tattoo designs and transfer them to paper for watercoloring.
Lopez began her career in Hollywood, Florida, in 2009 but didn’t fully realize her potential until moving to Gainesville four years later.
She has worked for Death or Glory Tattoo Parlor since 2013. Under the name of her start-up company, Wayfaring Painter, she has given four free courses on different topics at the library so far and intends to do more in the future.
“I know that the community is hungry for more experience and engaging, quality instruction in the fine arts,” the 33-year-old said. “Gainesville is a city of learning and culture, and I'm glad to be part of the growing arts community here.”
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Lopez's business name is Wayfaring Painter and not Wayfarer Painter as previously reported. This story has also been updated to reflect that previous library workshops taught by Lopez have been on a variety of topics, not strictly tattooing. It has also been updated to reflect Lopez does not use "Bat" as a nickname.
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify that Lopez’s tattooing business and art business are separate, and she does not teach students how to physically tattoo. It also has been updated to clarify that the students outline flash tattoo designs did not mimic an actual tattoo job.