(TMU) – A tattoo parlor in the South is doing its part to unify its community by offering to cover up racist and gang-related ink, free of charge.
Gallery X Art Collective, located in Murray, Kentucky, is hoping to combat racism and help locals “change your future in becoming a better person” by opening up its schedule to free sessions where people can have any hate or gang related tattoos covered up, “no questions asked.”
Tattoo artists Ryun King and Jeremiah Swift began offering the deal on Facebook as their own way of showing support of a growing movement against racial injustice, police brutality and bigotry against Black people in the U.S.
“Let’s get that sh*t off your body,” the post stated.
“We have plenty of predawn designs and flash books, so if you feel it’s time to change your hate, or have been reformed but been too broke to cover your mistake of a tattoo, come see me you’ll get a class tattoo for free that can start your path to being the person you were meant to be,” the Gallery X Art Collective added.
Like many people across the U.S., King has been inspired by the recent weeks of protests since the May 25 killing of unarmed 46-year-old Black man George Floyd by Minneapolis police. King also hopes that that tattoo artists can help contribute to the cause of racial equality in the United States, which he described to CNN as the start of “a long overdue change.”
“Having anything hate related is completely unacceptable. A lot of people when they were younger just didn’t know any better and were left with mistakes on their bodies. We just want to make sure everybody has a chance to change,” he told CNN on Sunday.
After posting the offer on Facebook, the shop has faced an overwhelming response, with hundreds of requests and calls coming in from not only the community, but beyond state lines.
One of the people who requested the shop’s help had his arms entirely covered in sleeves of neo-Nazi and white supremacist imagery, King explained.
“One of the people we got was a man with both of his forearms completely covered in hate symbols, absolutely everywhere. How is this man going to interact with society with the mistakes he made 10, 15, 20 years ago?” King said.
“We also got a guy with a giant swastika who said he has never taken his shirt off in front of his kids. I like seeing that. I like seeing people want to change themselves for the better. That swells me full of emotions,” the tattoo artist added.
His first client was 36-year-old mother of two Jennifer Tucker, who had a small Confederate battle flag tattooed on her ankle when she was only 18.
“I went to a school where there wasn’t a single black person,” Tucker said. “Our community had no Black families, they would literally run them out every time one moved in. Everyone in my school flew rebel flags and had rebel flag tattoos and I bandwagoned and got the tattoo. It was a horrible thing to do.”
Tucker has since recognized that the banner is a symbol of slavery and white supremacy. She has also also enthusiastically joined protests in Paducah, Kentucky, to help unite the community in the face of racism. When she heard about Gallery X offer, she immediately signed up.
“I just needed to get that symbol of hatred off of my body. Every time I attend a group meeting or protest, I make a new friend. And I don’t want to be standing next to them with a confederate flag on my leg,” she said, adding that she’s now covered the flag up with “Rick and Morty” character Pickle Rick.
“It feels so amazing, it’s life changing. I knew I had to do it, to be an example for other people who were in the same position. There’s not a whole lot I can do, but this is something I can do to spread love, not hate.”
For King, the ability to help people open up new vistas and leave behind dark periods in their life has been deeply “humbling,” he told a local Fox affiliate.
“I’m surprised on how many people are willing to change for the better,” King said. “It’s very humbling feeling to see that there’s so many people taking that stance to want to better themselves. And not just for them, but for their children, for their family, and just for random onlookers that see that that they might just be embarrassed that they have that on them.”
Despite a packed schedule, the Gallery X Art Collective is continuing to schedule new appointments. Anyone who wants their tattoos covered up can choose from a selection of designs to choose from.
Here at Gallery X Art Collective we pride ourselves on being the cleanest, studio in the area offering top quality jewelry, gentle piercings and fine tattooing. Hope you enjoy this short video of the Gallery.Thanks for watching.-BACK OPEN-
Posted by Gallery X Art Collective on Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]