Learned of another artist gone too soon today: tattoo artist Stan Wong, who died this past summer.
The last tattoo artist I worked with is not around anymore and that shop moved, I think, and I remembered that my brother Sean had mentioned that Stan was working at Way Cool Tattoos in Oakville. I looked up that shop on-line about a year ago to see if he was still there – and he was. But when I looked again today, there was a note from the shop, saying they’d lost their friend and co-worker.
I first met Stan back when I frequented Abstract Arts tattoo shop on Queen St. West in Toronto – and the previous artist I’d worked with there had moved on from that shop, so I started working with him. I didn’t really know Stan – my only experience of him was during the time we spent when he inked a few of my tattoos, but he was a good guy and an amazing artist. The first piece he did for me was on New Year’s Eve Day 1999 – the Circle of Brigit on the right side of my lower back. Later, he did a single wing for me on my left shoulder blade – and I was chuffed that he liked my hand-drawn design. Even later, he did a gorgeous Sacred Heart, in full colour, on my left bicep – and customized it so the flame rising from the top of the heart cupped the green Celtic cross I had above it.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, even though I didn’t really know Stan, having someone ink you is a pretty intimate thing (unlike getting your photograph taken or a painting or drawing done of you). They’re etching colour into your skin – and there are health and safety issues involved here – and that’s art getting very personal. And, to varying degrees, it involves pain and blood – actual and emotional. A lot like an intense acting gig, I guess, but without the autoclave.
So, to artists gone too soon like Stan and Lindsay: Those of us who knew you and worked with you, even just a little bit, will miss you – and we thank you for sharing your artistry.