Tattoo Artists Are Now Working Their Magic on Boots and Wallets

Rather than applying ink to skin, these artists are tasked with etching art into leather.

guidi boots
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"Once is a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a trend," as the famous saying goes. It crossed my mind as I scrolled Instagram the other day, when I noticed posts from two separate brands (in different countries, to boot) promoting "flash days" — when tattoo artists offer a single sheet of ideas, which cannot be edited or altered — at their stores.

What was different, though, about these flash days is that the blank canvas isn't someone's body, but rather their boots or wallet. Fine leather works just as well, and heals better. Plus, on darker pairs, the marks are barely visible — instead, they're really only seen up close, a perk for those who'd rather not wear boots that have graphic designs like high-end sneakers.

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Guidi, a storied Italian boot brand, plans to host the Guidi Tattoo Parlour at Tokyo's International Gallery BEAMS from December 9th through 12th. Italian artist Federico Ceruso will run the show, offering select tattoos on any boots or shoes bought in store that day.

In the US, Portland based shop Ship John is doing a one-day event (12/10) with tattoo artist Kyler Martz, who does American traditional tattoos. His flashes can be stamped on Ship John wallets, but they must be new, meaning bought in-store on the same day. But they'll be done while you shop, which means you can go home with your custom wallet shortly after picking out your preferred tattoo.

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Surely the tattoos have different intents — it's like getting one on your upper thigh versus your face. Your boot tattoos will surely be more visible, but you could hide ones that cover the collar with a longer pant. As for your wallet, well, it's rarely out in plain view, unless you're paying the check or you've emptied your pockets into a valet tray. The accessory is a safer bet if you're indecisive, especially about your tattoos.

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