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Body art fans ink outside the box

A growing subculture of under-wraps rebels are camouflaging their second-skin personas with suit jackets and suburbia, evolving the status quo and inking tolerance in a society growing colourblind.

A growing subculture of under-wraps rebels are camouflaging their second-skin personas with suit jackets and suburbia, evolving the status quo and inking tolerance in a society growing colourblind.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a person walking down the street these days that doesn’t have a tattoo,” said Lynk Killby, a tattoo artist who’s seen the art of acceptance evolve in his 20-plus years on the job.

The Edmonton Tattoo and Arts Ink Festival took residence at the AgriCom over the weekend, drawing a diverse crowd of hipsters, professionals, family members of all generations, and stereotypical body art aficionados.

Decked out in casual Sunday wear, untrained eyes are fooled by Barb Potdeba’s put-together appearance.

The 42-year-old ventured out to the tradeshow for her eighth piece, practically one step away from gripping the wheel of a soccer-mom minivan with tattooed knuckles.

“People don’t look at me differently — I’m viewed for my personality,” the mother of three said. “I like the way (reality TV?star and tattoo artist) Kat Von D thinks — your body is your canvas, so do with it what you will.”

The working professional covers up her tats by day, but said customers at her jewelry store are often intrigued, rather than horrified, when a hint of body art peeks out from her clothing.

Potdeba is the poster-child for the new demographic of human canvases, said Killby, whose clientele is made up by about 70 per cent working women and others shattering stereotypes.

“Things are changing so much, and will continue to change,” echoed Seraph Tattoo artist Scott Wile.

“I have a chaplain that comes in about once a month for pieces very orientated to what he does.”

 
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