OHIO VALLEY — Gallipolis and Point Pleasant recently welcomed a Canadian film crew to uncover some mysterious facts about tattoo culture and the paranormal.
“Engaged In Ink” is a television show based in Canada which focuses on tattoo culture. The episode that “Engaged In Ink” is filming included stops in Gallipolis at the Ohio Tattoo Museum and the Mothman Museum in Point Pleasant, with these episodes covering three different topics in a few different episodes. One episode, which initially brought the film crew down to the Ohio Valley area, will be about the history of tattooing; the second is about the various tools of tattooing; and the third is about the correlation of the paranormal and tattoos.
Rogers Cable Company approached Will Graham, who is a tattoo artist and who owns a tattoo and piercing shop, to do a show about tattoo art. During this first season of “Engaged In Ink,” Rogers, wanted to keep the settings and the show to local culture in Canada but as the second season approached, Graham posed the idea of expanding outside of their local area in Canada. Graham wanted the show to be more focused on the sociology and culture associated with tattooing.
“If we are going to do this show,” Graham said, “I think it should be educational. Let’s teach with what we are doing. There’s so many aspects about tattoo culture all around the world and we want to showcase this.”
Each episode looks at a different aspect of tattooing. For example, one episode might correlate rock & roll with tattooing and how there is a history of tattooing.
Graham said, “One of my favorite topics with tattooing is the medical application of tattooing. We went into a cancer clinic to see how radiologists tattoo their patients. Many people do think about the medical field and what they do in regards to tattooing.”
“Engaged In Ink” also did an episode on how horror films influence tattoo art, Elvira was a special guest on that episode. On an episode, which was about modeling and tattooing, Super model Anitia Norris was on the show, according to Graham, talking about the culture of tattooing in the modeling industry.
“Typically, modeling agencies frown upon tattoos, but there is an alternative modeling scene that is popping up where people are looking for a tattoo model,” he said.
“Engaged In Ink” traveled to several difference places before traveling to the Ohio Valley to piece together information regarding the history of tattooing.
“One interesting thing we got to learn about was Otzi the Iceman,” said Graham.
Otzi is an mummified “Iceman” that is over 5,300 years old that has 61 tattoos. Recently, scientists have mapped the body art of this Otzi to better understand the roles tattoos played in early civilizations.
According to Graham, Ohio had the first tattoo club in the United States, located in Sandusky.
“You guys are an important part of tattoo history,” Graham said. “So we came down to understand and get a little piece of that history.”
The Tribune interviewed Graham and crew during their stop at the Ohio Tattoo Museum in Gallia County. Bicknee Tattoo Supply Co., located in the same building as the museum, has 72 needle variations.
Graham said, “Many people don’t understand the various tools used in tattooing. Because this supply company is here and they are actual tattoo machine builders, they were able to show us the different variations of tools and the specifics behind the machines. Any museum or any anthropologist has an obligation to show the ethnology of culture, not just historically but contemporary culture and that is what we, at ‘Engaged In Ink,’ want to showcase on our show. We are here, in this area, because there is important content for three different episodes. This area has very important aspects about tattoo culture and history.”
On Friday, Graham added: “After leaving The Ohio Tattoo Museum, we are spending the night in the Lowe Hotel in which we will do our own little paranormal experiments there and then head over to the Mothman Museum the next day for more information about paranormal tattoos and information about the Mothman.”
Last week, a cameraman for “Engaged in Ink,” received his first tattoo at the Ohio Tattoo Museum by the tattoo artist Curtis Layne. The tattoo of his choice was a tattoo of the Mothman on his upper left arm.