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The folks behind Wyld Chyld Tattoo in Gerritsen Beach think they can turn the sleepy creek-side town into the borough’s newest hub for artists.
Owners Bill DeLuso, Michael Coppola and manager Seven O’Brian had been working on converting the vacant space next door to the two-month old Gerritsen Avenue shop into a lounge for live music but now they say that the room will also host an art gallery. They have already started tearing down the walls separating the space from the tattoo parlor and will soon redo the floors, according to O’Brian.
“We want to have regular art showings like any gallery in Manhattan,” O’Brian said. “Many of the tattoo artists paint, including myself, and we also want to show the work of local artists who never had a place to display their work before.”
O’Brian described his painting style as “speedy and splattering,” specializing in wide brushstrokes and bright colors. He added that the Wyld Chyld art gallery will also include drawings, paintings and sculptures from the tatooists who work in Wyld Chyld’s Long Island location.
“Some artists may even be able to sell their paintings at the gallery showings,” O’Brian added.
Opened in September, the tattoo shop has brought new life to the Gerritsen Beach block, thanks to its colorful paintings of angels and skeletons out front. Its interior is akin to the set of “Legends of the Hidden Temple” meets a Brooklyn rooftop. Tribal masks, Buddha statues and voodoo dolls — some of which were collected from the tattoo artists’ various travels — hang from the brick walls.
For years, artists have moved into less expensive — and sometimes down and out — neighborhoods of the city, planted their flag, and turned those neighborhoods into real estate hot spots.
Gerritsen doesn’t necessarily fit that mode, but that doesn’t mean these particular artists aren’t being accepted.
Local residents who were originally wary that the quirky store would become a neighborhood menace were quickly won over by the owners’ charisma.
“I’ve become really friendly with them,” said Maryanne McLinden, a member of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association.
But, it remains to be seen if the neighborhood will embrace water colors and sculptures with the same enthusiasm that they’ve embraced tattoo ink.
“I’ll probably pass the word around to my friends about the gallery but art isn’t really my thing,” said Brian Cuthilo, a city transit worker who was one of Wyld Chyld Tattoo’s first customers.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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