- Tracy Lang
- Ryderville INK
- 330 Madison Avenue S.
- Bainbridge Island, WA
- Call 206-855-9458 for appointment
Bainbridge Island is coming up to the ninth anniversary of a bold experiment: the opening of its first tattoo parlor, Ryderville Ink. The founder, artist Tracy Lang, is a well-known figure in the island’s artistic community. What she has brought to the wider community is a deep set of art media experiences.
Based in Seattle, Lang came to the island around the turn of the millennium, partly by accident. She and her husband, Mark Taylor, had “built a boat from a bare hull in Port Townsend” and lived on board for eight years in Eagle Harbor. They were splitting their time between Port Townsend and Seattle before moving to Bainbridge Island. In Seattle she was founder of the Trapeze Artist Studio Collective and then ran the Trapeze gallery. But being “out on the hook” in Eagle Harbor, she found an interesting place…to stay.
Lang was still involved with her Seattle Art Collective when she also was awarded an Amy Award from Bainbridge Arts and Crafts in 2005. She was flourishing as an artist. She also began to realize two needs that could be met simultaneously. She could finally fulfill a dream she had had since she was about eight years old, creating tattoos, and, she felt that Bainbridge really could use a tattoo parlor. When it came time to name her new artistic venture as a business, she chose “Ryderville” after the southeast side of Blakely Harbor, which was “the first business when the mill went in, a bar and hotel” around 1870.
Her uncle had introduced her to the practice of tattooing, and she knew she wanted to do the same someday. After moving here, she decided she had finally experimented enough with the tattoo method and was ready to offer her skills to the community she felt needed the option of self-enhancement, and with an artistic quality difficult to find anywhere.
Tattoos have deep roots in many cultures. Here, the Turtle Island inhabitants used tattoos for spiritual and protective reasons. And in North America, they have long been a part of the Military world. They have certainly gain currency beyond the military life, reflecting individual and very personal choices and expressions of self. And, just as those early tattoos were made in male-centered parlors, more parlors are run by women these days. Lang is proud to be a proprietor, and to have been able to mentor and fully train several people since establishing her studio, one of them, Ana Duenes, still works at Ryderville Ink.
A visit to the Ryderville Ink’s intimate studio is also a visit to a gallery. Instead of wall paper, you’ll find the walls, low to high, filled with documentary images of tattoos now living out in the world, as well as examples of the artwork she was well known for before and during her time as a “tattoo” artist. As a tattoo artist, Lang feels she is able to provide a highly personal experience for her clients. She has a fundamental interest in the natural and spiritual worlds. From this base, she believes she can visualize for clients their “dreams, hopes and affirmations” realizing them into highly personal images. Through her extensive artistic research and activities, especially her woodcut style that touches on Japanese Sumi-e style ink artwork (with the “force of the German Expressionists”), she has range of skill and style at her fingertips.
The reason she can do this is because she has worked in many artforms and formats over the years from large structure and sound installations to woodcuts, photographs and digital processes — all done with a personal barometer for uniqueness and personal expression on the edges of the demands of each media she was working in. The most local example was her greatly oversized woodcut prints from her “Tsunami Papers” series. (Up to 3 feet wide and 5 feet long) These were made and shown at various galleries culminating in her solo exhibition of the same name at The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in 2014.
Since calling Bainbridge Island her home, Lang and her husband, Mark Taylor, also decided to start a hydroponic vegetable farm. They founded Vireo Farm at the Johnson Farm site on Island Center Road. The farm, like her tattoo practice, is on a cutting edge of change, helping to provide fresh produce, organic, local, and sustainable year-round for the community. Splitting her time in different creative endeavors has been a constant for Lang: attention to artwork and business (art gallery then tattoo parlor ownership) and raising both a family and eco-industrial vegetables! A rich mix for sure.
CLICK HERE TO READ OTHER FIRST FRIDAY FOCUS & EBB and FLOW ARTICLES BY BILL
ABOUT BILL BARAN-MICKLE: 2020 Island Treasure Awardee. Recently, Bill has enjoyed exhibiting in several international art biennial exhibitions. Of the three in which he has participated, he won Third Place for Sculpture from the European Confederation of Art Critics in the Chianciamo Biennale, at the Chianciano Art Museum in Italy in 2011, and First Place in Applied Arts in the London Biennale of 2013. In 2013 alone, he will have participated in eight exhibitions: from London to a two-person exhibition near home. In addition, Bill was asked to be a representative for CCAC’s exhibition celebrating 100 years of the Metals Department, and a mix of group shows in New York City, Miami, Seattle and Las Vegas. Bill is the designer of the 10 foot Equitorial Bowstring Sundial located at the Richie Observatory in Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island, WA and completed in 2015.