New First Friday Artwalk venue Body Graffix fuses tattoo, fine art

Nicole Inglis
Denver tattoo artist Ian Rumley will be showing his work at local tattoo shop Body Graffix starting Friday at a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. during First Friday Artwalk.
Nicole Inglis

— Ian Rumley got his first tattoo at age 14. He stole ink from his high school art classroom, went home and tattooed a small heart on his inner ankle in honor of his girlfriend.

Now a tattoo artist of 14 years and a high school art teacher himself, Rumley never would allow his students to do what he did.

“It’s a good ice breaker; they relate to that and what I do,” Rumley said about his tatted arms, hands and neck. But he still thinks a foundation in basic art is the key to tattoo art. As a teacher, fine artist and tattoo artist, Rumley is no stranger to the fine line between skin ink and gallery-worthy fine art.

Rumley, a Denver native, has been showing his tattoo-inspired surrealist paintings as fine art for about seven years, and he has an art show at local tattoo shop Body Graffix opening Friday during First Friday Artwalk.

Body Graffix owner Sean Blake said as tattoo art has progressed, it’s turned into a fine art.

With his store’s first show on Artwalk, he wants to bring that concept to the rest of the art community.

“I want people that don’t know about tattooing to realize it is its own art form,” he said. “There’s no boundaries.”

Rumley’s work fuses his influences, from pen-and-ink tattoo drawing and science-fiction books to his interest in cultural dissent and counterculture.

He said his interest isn’t in shock value — “that’s too easy,” he said. But whether it’s on someone’s skin or on canvas, he hopes his work spurs a conversation.

“I feel like for the last 20 years, those lines have been blurred, that question of what is ‘fine art,’” he said. “But there’s something kind of lowbrow about tattooing that I like, that it’s not always accepted. I don’t really pay too much attention to where those lines blur.”

First Friday Artwalk listings for Feb. 3

❱❱ Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat, 1009 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-4744

Artists’ Gallery of Steamboat presents Jim Gmeiner, with new mixed media on canvas and photo images; Sandy Graves showing new bronzes of wildlife and horses; and new work from pastel artist and painter Janice Lawrence.

❱❱ Mangelsen-Images of Nature, 730 Lincoln Ave., 970-871-1822

Thomas D. Mangelsen has long been recognized as one of the world’s premier nature photographers. He recently was named 2011 Conservation Photographer of the Year to add to his portfolio as one of the most awarded photographers of our time.

❱❱ K. Saari Gallery, 837 Lincoln Ave., 970-870-0188

“Draw Me” is the recent work of local artist Nancy Jeffrey and Los Angeles-based artist Renee Fox. The show features more than 15 works on paper by the artists.

❱❱ Sleeping Giant Gallery, 601 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-7143

Local and regional landscape, wildlife and Western photography by resident photographer Don Tudor, as well as Raku stoneware and porcelain by part-time resident Brown Cannon. 

❱❱ Steamboat Art Museum, 807 Lincoln Ave., 970-870-1755

Steamboat Art Museum features its winter exhibit, “Quang Ho: A Retrospective.” Books, catalogs and DVDs are available in the gift shop. More information is at

❱❱ Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts, 906 Lincoln Ave., 970-846-5970

Introducing new Boulder artist member Leah Bradley and her colorful impressionistic oil paintings celebrating the abundance of everyday life. The gallery’s 33 local artists round out a stunning collection of new photography, paintings, sculpture and fun mixed media. Complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres.

❱❱ Tread of Pioneers Museum, 800 Oak St., 970-879-2214

The Tread of Pioneers Museum proudly presents: “Rex Gill: The Man, The Mountains, The Desert,” a photographic exhibition of the work of local poet, photographer and mountaineer Rex Gill. Gill came to Steamboat Springs in 1918 to experience the uninhabited wilderness of Routt County, and while mountaineering and climbing here, he photographed the sacred and remote places that fueled his passions.

❱❱ Wild Horse Gallery, 802 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-5515

Wild Horse Gallery will feature new bronze sculptures by wildlife artist Jim Gilmore. For more information, visit

❱❱ artWorks, The Victoria Building, 941 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-7596

Stop at 941 Lincoln Ave. to see the creativity and skill of Steamboats’ artisans, from concrete countertops to hardware, ironwork, cabinetry, quilting, ceramics, fabrics, murals, fine furniture and lighting, rugs, towel bars, tile and flooring, signage and framing.

❱❱ Body Graffix, 837 Lincoln Ave., 970-879-6807

Ian Rumley is a fine artist, professional tattoo artist, high school art teacher and muralist from Denver. His work has evolved into a hybrid of his experience in the tattoo industry and his formal training in the fine arts.

❱❱ Colorado Group Realty, 509 Lincoln Ave., 970-875-2917

Elizabeth Provo Hanlen exhibits selective works from her portfolio, including fine art photography inspired by nature. For additional artwork and information, visit

❱❱ Comb Goddess, 1104 S. Lincoln Ave., Suite 102, 970-871-0606

Comb Goddess features a body of work by artist and photographer Julia Ortiz, who embraces the idea of journey and discovery. Ortiz flirts with imperfections in minute detail only to showcase them boldly with colors and textures. Open until 7 p.m.

❱❱ Creekside Cafe & Grill, 131 11th St., 970-879-4925

Johanna SparrowHeart Starr presents a Swedish artist’s renditions and hymns to the Colorado mountains and scenes and goddesses from the Celtic and Norse legends expressed in oil and acrylics.

❱❱ Off the Beaten Path Bookstore, 68 Ninth St., 970-879-6830

Off the Beaten Path Bookstore presents multimedia work by various artists bringing awareness to issues surrounding violence against women, our local Advocates Building Peaceful Communities nonprofit organization and the national V-Day organization.

❱❱ Steaming Bean Coffee Co., 635 S. Lincoln Ave., 970-879-3393

Featuring artist Stephanie Grey with a collection of figures and portraits in charcoal, acrylic, graphite and pastel. With live music from Paul Hamburger.

❱❱ Urbane, 703 Lincoln Ave., Suite B101, 970-879-9169

Urbane presents playful and surrealist paintings from Denver native André Lippard. With live music.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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