Or your arm, or your cheek…Caron Prins is making an impression with her artwork
By Meredith Morrison
Just looking at a Caron Prins creation, you know you’re looking at something special. Except you have no idea what it’s supposed to be. Beautiful? Yes. Unique? Absolutely. But what is it?
“A lot of people, when they see my art, they’re not sure it’s a body they’re looking at,” explains Prins. “But once I point it out, it’s unmistakable.”
Impression artist Caron Prins
Prins is an impression artist; she uses people and their body parts as the paintbrush and her signature texture style to create one-of-a-kind works of art. That’s right – the messier her clients get in the paint, the better. It’s this no-holds-barred approach to art that attracts a broad range of clients to Prins – mothers-to-be, families, couples, brides-to-be, even pets are welcome to leave their impression. In addition to having ridiculous amounts of fun, her clients walk away with a truly unique piece of art they helped create themselves.
It’s no wonder Prins’ uninhibited style is quickly catching on as a hot stagette party trend. Rather than give the bride the gift of a raging hangover, bridal parties are now opting for something she can hang on her wall that her closest friends had a hand (or foot, or arm) in creating. “It’s a piece of you and your girlfriends,” says Prins. “You love it not only because it’s a beautiful piece of art, but you had this amazing emotional attachment to it. And I love being able to do that for people.”
Throwing a party with Prins means you’ve got to be willing to get messy, and it’s been her experience that clients are more than willing to leave their mark. “I set up a private room in the home with a drop cloth and set up the prepared canvas with the paint. One by one I invite them into the art room and they choose which colour they want and they can choose any body part they would like – they can use their forearm, face, back , buttocks, the side of their body – everything is fantastic. The more they get into it, it’s just so much fun!”
Like pole dancing classes or boudoir photos, impression art is an intimate form of expression. It’s sexy, fun and even a little naughty. But that’s what makes it such a great experience; especially one you can share with your closest girlfriends. And no one has to know it’s even you, that is, unless you want them to.
Or your arm, or your cheek…Caron Prins is making an impression with her artwork By Meredith Morrison Just looking at a Caron Prins creation, you know you’re looking at something special. Except you have no idea what it’s supposed to be. Beautiful? Yes. Unique? Absolutely. But what is it? “A lot of people, when they [...]
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By Stephen Harris, Introduction by Meredith Morrison
In true Island fashion, photographer Stephen Harris was introduced to us ‘through a friend of a friend.’ We first saw his work via a friend’s Facebook profile; needless to say, we were impressed by what we saw. After agreeing to take on the task of shooting the cover for the July issue of G! after only communicating through a few short emails and a phone call , we were excited and a little nervous to see what he had come up with. Harris did not disappoint – we were blown away by the images he produced.
Photographer Stephen Harris
In his own words, Harris takes us through the photo shoot held in Borden-Carleton, PE. His models – Josh Dobbs and Griffen Dunsmore – were not only visually inspiring, but each had an interesting story that needed to be told. Here are their stories.
Josh Dobbs and Griffen Dunsmore were on the cover of the July 2010 issue of G!
An unforgiving drone persisted as the phone rang for the sixth time. Lifting the earpiece to an uncomfortable fit, I gave the usual spiel of inquiry. I had every intention of dismissing the call, predicting another sex operator turned telemarketer who had somehow lost their way. But before I could squander up a half decent uneducated approach, the voice of an angel appeared before my very ears. It was Cassandra Cotton, an Islander, agent and friend currently living in Ottawa. Our conversation lasted ten minutes, full of detail and instruction, a noted list of things to do, calls to make and locations to find. The assignment was a beauty, and in no time at all, a crew had emerged to produce an image for the upcoming cover of G! magazine.
After finalizing a few details, the task seemed somewhat daunting. The job required a male and female covered in tattoos. A quick self-examination from head to toe confirmed that I was indeed a tattoo virgin, and my knowledge of those sporting the art was limited. Starting out as any Islander would, I picked up the phone and called my neighbor who called her neighbor who called his neighbor until the entire road had thoughts of tattoos permanently engrained on the mind. The exercise proved to be successful, as two candidates had been found. Not only are Josh Dobbs and Griffen Dunsmore walking masterpieces, they are both accomplished tattoo artists – and good ones, to boot.
Modest in demeanor and a rock star by default, Josh Dobbs is a leading tattoo artist in Canada. Unlike most professions, his trade developed with a more non-traditional way of learning. “I started tattooing my friends with homemade equipment. I took a VCR motor and a couple of random household objects and wired it up to a cell phone charger. After a while, a lot of people were asking for tattoos and I eventually got some professional gear and did some horrible tattoos.”
A year of success and permanent error had Dobbs looking for an apprenticeship. Finding one proved difficult until a shop in Sauble Beach, Ontario hired him over the Internet. But he wasn’t given the apprentice treatment he had hoped for. “I was thrown into it not really knowing what I was doing. I’ve always had a natural art ability, but tattooing is a different medium. Once my work became better, I left that company and started on my own.”
I couldn’t help but wonder – how did Dobbs, originally from Calgary, Alberta, end up at a shop in Summerside? His explanation was simple: “tattoo artists are naturally nomadic.” Dobbs spends his time guest spotting in several provinces, moving from shop to shop.
Griffen Dunsmore is one of few female tattoo artists on PEI. As charming as she is talented, Dunsmore recalls an interest in tattoos when she was eight years old. Growing up in Toronto, ON, she remembers what she describes as an ‘old Harley club man,’ living in an apartment behind her parent’s place. It was in an alley where he parked his bike that Dunsmore developed a liking for tattoos, which the man had prominently displayed on his arms.
Dunsmore and her family moved to the Island when she was twelve. She credits Victoria-by-the-Sea as the perfect place to develop as an artist. “It’s a whole different world in the middle of a farming community.” After completing her first year of courses at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Dunsmore returned to PEI where she started an apprenticeship as a tattoo artist. Both of her parents, artists themselves, encouraged her throughout the transition period.
After docking the last flash, angling the left light and adjusting the window with a slight slant to the right, it was time to take pictures. They played the role perfectly, both storytellers with a sincere passion for the art of tattooing. And just before shooting what would be the last and winning frame, I recognized the strength of imagination and importance of self-expression. Josh summed it up perfectly: “I have an intense way of thinking that never stops. It’s been a blessing and a curse. It’s really easy for me to imagine things vividly. It’s great for art, it’s horrible for everyday life.”
By Stephen Harris, Introduction by Meredith Morrison In true Island fashion, photographer Stephen Harris was introduced to us ‘through a friend of a friend.’ We first saw his work via a friend’s Facebook profile; needless to say, we were impressed by what we saw. After agreeing to take on the task of shooting the cover [...]
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G! chats with the guys at Infinite Expressions to find out what’s hot now and what you should know before getting inked
By Meredith Morrison
You can’t turn on a TV or flip through a magazine without catching a glimpse of Megan Fox and any one of her seven tattoos. At 24, the Transformers star has got more artwork on her slight 5’4” frame then most Hollywood ‘bad boys.’ One of her most notable tats appears on her left ribcage – a poem Fox wrote herself that reads:
While Fox isn’t the only celebrity to get inked with script (Lady Gaga, Victoria Beckham and Angelina Jolie just to name a few), the fact that it looks so damn good on her makes it appealing to those looking for ideas for their first, or maybe their next tattoo. Jeff Wilson, owner of Infinite Expressions Tattoos & Piercing in Charlottetown definitely picks up on this trend.
“This year we’re seeing a lot of lettering, phrases, script, passages from the Bible; and we’re not talking short phrases either. Some people come in with whole poems or quotes.” And where is the ‘hot spot’ for these tattoos? “The biggest spot right now is on the ribs.” Surprise, surprise.
In addition to celebrity tattoo trends, Wilson notes that clients are looking for styles with more of a vintage feel. “You’ll always have your classics like flowers or animals. In the past few years, there’s been more of a trend going back to western traditional styles, or ‘old school’ tattoos with a heart and scroll with ‘Mom’ in the centre. It’s very much the sailor style.”
Jeff Wilson, owner of Infinite Expressions covers up Michelle Rayner's previous tat.
Celebrities and television shows such as LA Ink and Miami Ink have helped to make tattoos become more mainstream and acceptable. Wilson and his team have noticed that more and more people coming in to get tattoos that maybe wouldn’t have before. “It really helps that people have been able to see the inside of a tattoo shop. It’s no longer this dark dirty place. They now know that a tattoo shop is clean and safe, and that makes them feel better.”
But no matter how mainstream the industry gets, tattoo enthusiasts still encounter their share of discrimination. “People see you with tattoos all over your body and they think you must be some sort of criminal, or in a gang,” states Wilson. “No matter how popular tattooing gets, there will always be a stigma attached to it.”
Jeremy Clow, Infinite Expressions’ piercer, who has tattoos covering his arms and visible piercings, experienced this stigma first hand while he was just trying to be chivalrous. “ I held open the door for an older lady and she put her head down and went through as fast as she could. What did she think I was going to do to her?”
Having a tattoo is no different than expressing yourself through what you wear. You’re making a statement, except a tattoo is permanent. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Wilson and his team put together a few helpful tips to consider before getting inked.
Research the artist: Meet the artist firsthand, look at their portfolio and ask them questions. “Really study their photos,” suggests Wilson. “Look at the colours, the lines and make sure everything is smooth.” And make sure that the photos in their portfolio are actually theirs. Wilson recounts how one client went into another shop and while looking through the artist’s portfolio, he found a photo out of a magazine that wasn’t the artist’s work; he was trying to pass it off as his own. If you see someone on the street and you like what they’ve got, chances are they’ll tell you “good or bad where they got it done and who did it. Word of mouth is the best way to start your research,” says Wilson.
Don’t do names: Children, parents and family members are doable, but don’t do your partner’s or your spouse’s name. “I don’t care if you’ve been together ten years – don’t do it,” warns Wilson.
Come back when you’re 18: Infinite Expressions is the only tattoo shop on the Island who will not do your tattoo unless you are over the age of 18. There’s a big sign on the counter to let you know as soon as you walk in. “When you’re young, you don’t know if that’s what you want. At 18, you’re an adult – you can make that decision yourself. I wish all shops were like that.”
No, they won’t tell you what to get: Some people come into Wilson’s shop and don’t know what they want. “There are literally millions of tattoo images on Google,” says Wilson. “If you can pick a subject, we can help you design something but we can’t tell you what to get.”
A tattoo IS forever: You may think that if you don’t like your tattoo later on, you can get it removed, but it’s not that simple. In his portfolio, Wilson has examples of clients who have attempted to have tattoos removed, only to be left with discolouration and scarring. “Laser removal only really works on homemade tattoos. The ink we use now is so penetrating and vibrant – it’s much harder to get out, if you can at all.”
If you are thinking of getting a tattoo removed, keep this in mind: it’s going to take many expensive sessions (up to $500 a session), and it will require you to go off Island. PEI does not have a laser removal facility strictly for tattoos.
G! chats with the guys at Infinite Expressions to find out what’s hot now and what you should know before getting inked By Meredith Morrison You can’t turn on a TV or flip through a magazine without catching a glimpse of Megan Fox and any one of her seven tattoos. At 24, the Transformers star [...]
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