Wichita Falls played host to the first ‘Ink in the Falls’ art event thanks to local tattoo business 9th Street Studios. The local business thought of Ink in the Falls as a way to showcase the talents of various tattoo artists in the area. This is something of a surprise to many people, as Wichita Falls has always had a more traditional and mainstream vibe to it, something that might be at odds with tattoo culture.
9th Street Studios manages to blend old traditions with new art. The venue is even located in a historically preserved building dating back to the early twentieth century. Becky Raeke co-owns the business with her friend Linda Deason, and they brought on Stephen Taylor as a manager. The three of them celebrated the one year anniversary of the studio in October and are proud of how the event came to life.
There was no way to showcase any live tattooing at the event due to ordinances laid out by the city of Wichita Falls, but patrons were able to get some great-looking temporary henna tattoos courtesy of Lofo Designs. The entire area was set up with small tables to stand around for a chat or to have some delicious snack food items the hosts provided.
Special lounge areas were complete with candles to add a certain ambiance to the affair. Wichita Falls’ first craft beer company, Sidecar brewery, supplied drinks for the venue, and live music added positive notes to the already high-level energy. Even without any live tattooing going on, the studio and other area businesses were able to put up artwork that showcased various designs and gave onlookers a good idea of the talents of each artist.
Several other local shops including Rusty’s Needles and Cowabunga Ink were in attendance, so guests had plenty of designs from which they could choose. A certificate for a tattoo worth an estimated $600 became the top prize in a raffle contest at the end of the night. Mr. Taylor says that the number of people there surprised him, and it was about double what he was expecting.
It Hurts to be Dead provided some music for the event, and vocalist Sean Snyder appreciated that the organizers were able to get so many talents under one roof in one location for the night. He noted the level of camaraderie in particular and felt that the studio’s even was the first of many.
Attendees were impressed by what they saw and experienced at Ink in the Falls and hoped to see more. Many residents see the restoration of old buildings as a sign of change for Wichita Falls. Events like Ink the Falls are injecting a note of culture into the downtown area.