Local tattoo artist’s compassion is a work of art

Fundraiser May 1

By Laura Bennett


The best way to help earthquake victims in Japan is through art, says a Kincardine man.  


Dave Allen, along with fellow tattoo artists from around the globe, will be tattooing and raising money for victims in the disaster stricken country through a fundraising website he started-Tattooers for Japan.



Dave Allen, a tatto artist at Sugar Shack, hopes to raise $50,000 with his worldwide charity event, Tattooers for Japan. (Laura Bennett photo)


“It’s an international affair,” says Allen, a tattoo artist at Sugar Shack in down town Kincardine. “We have shops taking part in South Africa, Sweden, Spain, United Kingdom, Guatemala, Brazil, the U.S and all across Canada.”


Allen says it all started by tattooists spreading the word to other tattooists - and Facebook.


Japanese culture is reflected through tattoo art and Allen says any tattoo artist would be affected by the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan.


“Every tattoo shop is picking one day in April or May,” says Allen, adding that Sugar Shack will be holding its first come, first serve open-house on May 1.  


“It begins at 9 a.m. and goes until we are done everyone,” he says. “We are not doing any custom work. We are doing designs that we have picked out that are Japanese inspired.”


The Tattooers for Japan website has a few drawings that anyone who’s interested can look at beforehand.  Allen will also have several symbols and drawings that people can chose from on the day of the event.


He hopes to do a lot of cherry blossoms because of their rich Japanese symbolism. “(Cherry blossoms) mean brevity of life,” he says. “They bloom in spring and then within a few weeks they fall off. It symbolizes how short life is.”


Allen says there are hundreds of symbols that tattoo artists use which are Japanese inspired, but some of the most popular are Koi fish and the lotus flower. 


On April 3, Allen travelled to Archive Tattoo Studio in Toronto, where owner David Glantz held his Tattooers for Japan open house. Allen, who met Glantz at a tattoo convention, helped him during the day.   


In total, Allen hopes to raise $50,000 worldwide from his Tattooers for Japan charity group.


“I am excited, he says. “It just started with me talking to a few friends in Canada to raise a couple thousand dollars. Now it has exploded.”


All the money raised is going to an organization called, International Rescue Committee, which is partnering with Japanese organizations to help with relief efforts.


Allen thinks that anyone can go to the bank and send money, but by raising awareness through body art, the people participating will always remember their donation.


“Japanese culture is full of rich symbolism, says Allen. “Get something that symbolizes your contribution, so every time you look at your tattoo you remember the good thing you did.”


For links to Dave Allen’s personal website, Third Son Tattoo, or to donate go to www.tattooersforjapan.com