Tattoos — an art form, an expression and a statement piece of its own kind. The Street Art Ink Runway Show presents a chance to watch a fashion show with a twist as each model that walks the runway wears one common accessory, a tattoo.

Shanna Shelby the curator of exhibits for McNichols Building and Mary Valdez, the co-curator of the Street Art Ink: from the Body to the Wall exhibition and program administrator for Urban Arts Fund wanted to create an interactive installation to dive deeper into arts that are not considered “fine art.”  The two came up with the idea of a runway show to showcase tattoos, murals and of course, fashion.

Tattoo by Sandi Calistro. Photo courtesy of McNichols Building.

But the event also had another inspiration — it’s based on an exhibit already going on at the McNichols building. Called Street Art Ink: from the Body to the Wall the exhibition features photography from LA photographer Richard Todd and is filled with photographs of people’s tattoos from some of the world’s best tattoo artists.

Shelby gave deeper insight into the exhibition stating, “We [have] 30 of [Todd’s] photographs and those are grouped together in the three different styles, American, Japanese and Polynesian Style and then we [have] two murals that are installed by Sandi Calistro and Casey Kawaguchi, [who are] both urban urban arts fund participants as well.”

Shelby and Valdez wanted to showcase Richard Todd’s mission in a more interactive setting, leading them to reach out to Todd. After some collaboration, the team found models that had unusual tattoos and unusual styles that had obtained sleeves or full body tattoos. Valdez then reached out to Seymon, a fashion designer and muralist to create a more cohesive look for the models with hair, makeup and styling as they walked in the runway show.

The show will present models with full and partial tattoos in a variety of styles from different artists around Denver that will strut their stuff in designs from Seymon Grule (also known as UcSepia) down the runway. Shelby adds “We have invited another 10 to 15 [people in the community] who also have incredible tattoos that aren’t going to go through hair and makeup but that we just really want to include on the runway.”

After the runway show, you can jam out at an after party with beats from Flobots’ Stephen Brackett and DJ Stevie and speak with local tattoo artists about their work. You can also take part in a meet and greet with Denver artists Sandi Calistro and Casey Kawaguchi, whose work is also on display, to get more insight into their processes of creating their art.

So if you’re a tattoo enthusiast, or love a good show — Street Art Ink Runway Show is bound to provide both.

The event takes place at the McNichols Civic Center Building, located at 144 W Colfax Ave., Denver on October 25 at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $10 and can be purchased here

McNichols event center. Photo by Brittany Werges

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