“Opening Doors” at Young Blood

Young Blood Gallery presents Southern Star Tattoo‘s group show “Opening Doors.” Southern Star, one of Atlanta’s premier tattoo shops, is celebrating its one year anniversary. With over fifty years of tattooing experience between them, artists Demian Bouchon, Bill Conner, Dr. Dax, Keet D’Arms, Biran Gattis, Chris Howell, and Eric Thrice have helped put Ponce de Leon Avenue on the Atlanta map for expert tattooing.

Keet D’Arms said, “The thing I like best about working in a tattoo shop is that everyone is equal. You can have doctors and lawyers rubbing elbows with gangsters and criminals, and nobody’s above anybody else.”

About the Artists

Born in New Orleans, Demian Bouchon developed an appreciation for fine art at a young age due to his upbringing by a secretary and visual artist. As a child, crayons were never enough, so Demian turned the needle on his closest friends and entered the world of professional scratchers. This not being truly fulfilling, he gave up the couch tattoo scene for a formal apprenticeship under Annette LaRue at Electric Ladyland Tattoo Studio. After working years in his home town and some time on the road, Atlanta became Demian’s home in 2002, where he can still be found tattooing on Ponce de Leon Ave. at Southern Star Tattoo.

Bill Conner started his tattoo career 17 years ago in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has worked in New Orleans and Miami with some of the best tattooers in the business. He moved to Atlanta in 2002. His desire to offer his customers his best led him to co-found Southern Star Tattoo. He is known for his direct approach to tattooing, and his pin-striping and artwork graces several local bars. His art combines classic tattoo imagery with a sense of humor and is executed like only he can do it.

Dr. Dax is an Atlanta institution. He made his name as a prolific graffiti artist but made the transition to fine art and photography at the millennium. He has been a guest editor for Frank magazine, and his monumental installation walls have been one of the high points of Miami’s “Art Basel.” He was recently featured in the Los Angeles MOCA show “Art in the Streets.” His art incorporates photography and his trademark color sensibility in “intricate layers.” He also founded the legendary SNORTTHIS blog, which covers the rapidly disappearing “real” Atlanta. He works at Southern Star as his schedule permits, filling in as shop manager and conscience of the shop.

Keet D’Arms moved from Albuquerque, NM to Atlanta in 1995 to open Timeless Tattoo as the apprentice of Cap Szumski. He moved to Salt Lake City at the millennium and worked with close friend Nate Drew for several years, helping to create and establish the SLC International Tattoo convention as one of the best shows in the US. He moved back to Atlanta in 2005 and soon was working on Ponce De Leon with the crew he would go into business with. Keet is a third generation fine artist and has done solo shows in Seattle and New Mexico, as well as participating in many group shows. His art combines calligraphy, abstraction, and tattoo imagery to address the mysterious.

Brian Gattis was born at Piedmont hospital in 1975. He traveled to San Francisco in the ’90s to skateboard and get tattooed by some of the best tattooers in the country. He got the opportunity to learn tattooing, but it required moving to New Hampshire. Unafraid to sacrifice in order to learn, he went. When the time was right, he returned to Atlanta with a skill set of solid traditional tattooing. It wasn’t long before he found himself on Ponce De Leon with others that care about good tattoos. He is a no nonsense artist, preferring to paint bold watercolor flash sheets to artsy bullshit.

Chris Howell is an Atlanta native. He started tattooing in the ’90s and had the vision to establish tattooing on Ponce De Leon in the early 2000s. He is the third generation of men in his family to work on Ponce. He does any kind of tattooing anyone could think to ask for. He has shown in many group shows, and his personal art is always striking in its clarity. He is a father and a businessman and is the originator of the famous “atl” logo for which he owns the copyright.

Eric Thrice hails from Buffalo, NY, where he played in hardcore bands, including H2O, Orange 9MM, Burn, Zero Tolerance, as well as others. “Growing up in that lifestyle, I saw a lot of tattoos, and it was kinda mystifying. I remember my mom telling me, ‘Never get a real tattoo. You’ll regret it, it’s forever.’ I instantly knew I had to get a tattoo,” said Thrice.

Through Sept. 3.

Young Blood Gallery & Boutique
636 N. Highland Ave.
Atlanta, GA. 30306


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