These days, a person can do almost anything to raise money for charity, including getting some new ink. Walnut Hills' White Whale Tattoo will be at the 21c Museum Hotel downtown from noon-10 p.m. on June 2 for their annual "flash day," offering a selection of predesigned and discounted tattoos, with all proceeds benefiting charities in Guatemala City.
Tattoos during flash day are priced on average around $104, which is lower than the normal hourly rate for any of the White Whale artists at this event. Last year’s event raised over $12,000 for Guatemala. This year could potentially raise much more as the event space at 21c Museum Hotel will allow for nine tattoo artists to provide some ink instead of the 4 to 5 artists from last year.
"Almost 80 percent of Guatemala lives in poverty, with 40 percent living in extreme poverty, meaning that 40 percent of the citizens live on just $1.50 or less each day," says a release.
The featured tattoo artists will be creating around 20 custom flash sheets including some inspired by the 21c’s building and culture. Guests will be tattooed on a first-come, first-served basis; they will leave their phone number at check-in and be given an approximate wait time. After their wait, guests can receive up to two tattoos.
“21c is proud to host an event that will not only enhance the arts community of Cincinnati and bring those individuals together, but that will work to enhance many in need as well," said 21c in a release. “21c believes that art can be a vital part of daily life, and by hosting White Whale Tattoo’s special 'flash day,' 21c hopes to bring light into the lives of many once again."
While living in Guatemala in 2007, White Whale Tattoo founder Jeremiah Griswold fell in love with the country and began volunteering in schools and gang prisons in La Limonada, one of Central America’s largest slums, helping design cover-up tattoos for former gang members who were starting over. After realizing this simple artistic endeavor was literally saving lives, Griswold returned to Cincinnati and devoted his life to tattooing, vowing to go back to Guatemala with a team of artists to provide free cover-up services to those in need.
Ten years later, Griswold spent 10 days in Guatemala with part of his White Whale Tattoo team, exploring the country and also working with aid organizations and grassroots community leaders to do cover-up tattoos for around 30 former gang members who had re-entered society. This is a mission they aim to repeat every year and also 10 percent of the proceeds of White Whale work every day goes to "support organizations that are advocating for and empowering the economically disadvantaged."
*The start time for this event has been updated from 10 a.m. to noon