[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”rounded” src=”https://www.creativenorthshore.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Helheim-Crew.jpg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]By Chris Ricci

For over eight seasons, contestants on Spike TV’s “Ink Master” have vied for the prestigious and titular accolade that the show’s title promises, and despite the sheer volume of contestants, it took all eight of those seasons for a woman to be crowned “Ink Master.” After the wild success of last season, “Ink Master” has begun the groundwork for a new series titled “Ink Master: Angels” which will focus strictly on female tattoo artists. But, for the ladies at Helheim Gallery in Salem, this is just another day at the shop.

[x_pullquote type=”left”]“We get to meet people from all around the world here in Salem,” said Kristin. “But bumping elbows with your neighbors is the best part of this place.” [/x_pullquote]

To say that Helheim Gallery, the brainchild of Kristin Welch, Britt Whitman, and Ink Master Alum Kelly Dotty is just a tattoo gallery does it a great disservice as the Gallery serves as so much more. Collectively, all of them have lived in and around the New England area, but decided mutually that Salem was the place to build their shop. “You know we all we all grew up in the general New England area but not in Salem, how are people going to be with newcomers” said Kelly. “And it’s been absurd, it’s been amazing. Between everyone over at Salem Ink, Black Veil, Naumkeag, Opus. It’s just been awesome.”The gallery, though completed a while back, didn’t have a full opening until last July, due to the rather typical and classic New England weather we’re all accustomed to.

“You just you know all the places we lived and travelled to and we figured doing it in summer would you know be much nicer for everyone to travel and visit Salem rather than the winter” said artist Jess Brown. “I lived in Florida for about seven years and they’re genuinely scared of the cold.” Despite all their best estimates, the opening itself blew all of them away. “We partnered up with Naumkeag and that was awesome, and they asked how many people might show up and we thought ‘maybe 30’” said Kristen. “A half hour in, and we couldn’t even walk around!” Well over two hundred people descended to Helheim and their opening at Naumkeag, and ever since, they’ve been busy keeping up with the community, particularly during their first October. “since we’re new in the neighborhood we have been doing some just little fun things along the way. We done Friday the 13th events, and in October we had flash-month full of fun seasonal designs” said Jess. “not only did we  get to meet so many people who travel to the town from all of the country, we got to meet a great number of local people we knew only in passing.” Kelly summed it up best by saying that as soon as the door opened it was like “the ‘Cheers” theme started playing.”
The choice to open up in Salem was only logical to the members of the gallery, not just because of the art, but because of geography. “When

we thought about opening a place, we really wanted a place close to an airport,” said Kelly. “We all know people who fly in to get tattoos done, but we also wanted to open somewhere where people come and go quite a bit.” This, combined with the local folklore and art-scene made Salem a win-win location for all of them. “It was really kind of just a perfect storm,” said Kelly. “You have a big art scene, a lot of local stores, some chain stores, and a lot of traffic both during and off-season.”

Kelly has been an amazing artist since I met her when I was twelve, and has always pushed me”

The idea of working together was a long process that eventually came together for all three of the main founding members of Helheim, as Kelly and Kristin have been friends for years. “Kelly has been an amazing artist since I met her when I was twelve, and has always pushed me to keep going with my work,” said Kristin. “Kristin and I went to middle school together, and she came down to Atlanta with me to help me with my first steps into the tattoo business,” said Kelly. Down in Atlanta, Kelly was working with iconic tattoo artist Russ Abbott (described by Kelly as a “tattoo Elvis”) and during that time she met Britt, too. “Britt first came in as a client for one session,” said Kelly. “But, after that, we were close and, eventually, I proposed to her with a chicken foot and she became my apprentice.”

Britt was very familiar with Kelly’s work beforehand. “When I used to work at Macy’s as a makeup girl, I would take my breaks and go to Barnes & Noble to read through the tattoo magazines,” said Britt. “I would write down the artists I liked, and every piece I liked was Kelly’s because her work was what goes through my head.” Jess, who was attending school in Florida, became fast friends with all of them, and they all collectively decided to do some work together. “Since I’m the queen of bad decision making, I decided that we should all move to Indiana,” said Kelly. “So, three of us move to Indiana, and the shop was amazing, but Indiana is not my favorite and we were all really homesick.”

Though the whole creation of Helheim Gallery was still a few years away, the four of them stayed very close with one another. “All three of us didn’t live together, but we would talk to each other all the time” said Kristin. “We made sure we stayed in touch, and we made sure we were very familiar with all of each other’s’ cats.” So familiar, in fact, that Britt made it very clear that her cat had a personal Instagram page @nakedandawesome which, above all else, the four of them agreed was one of the more important examples of their love for one-another’s cats (a point one is hard-pressed to disagree with).

But, cats aside, the four of them also agreed that working together was a bit more than just straight-up work. “I think that there’s a sort-of informality here that makes things great,” said Jess. “I mean, we’re all working here, but we’re also joking and having fun, and really enjoying one-another’s company, and that makes the atmosphere here so much better. We want people to be cozy here.” Of course, the cozy-nature of the gallery is intensified by the presence of Gryla, the incredibly affectionate service dog that some regulars come in just to check in on. “We have some amazing clients that always come by to get work done, but also come in to make sure that Gryla is still being cute,” said Kristin. “It doesn’t hurt our feelings one bit. Nope. Not at all.”

[the_grid name=”helheim gallery”]

The world of tattooing has been, in the past, subject to sexism, and very recently, things have seemed to take a complete 180. “It really is amazing how many more girls and women are getting into the trade,” said Jess. “Seeing the playing field getting leveled a bit is great.” Regarding, Helheim, though, all four of them agree that their shop doesn’t directly face degrees of sexism that several members have experienced in separate places. Quite the contrary, really. “I think the greatest thing that as an all-female tattoo shop is that we haven’t faced any adversity since opening because things are getting better, because people are trying to make it better and be supportive,” said Kelly.

“When I first started, though, it was not that welcoming. You were a gimmick, you were a novelty, and you weren’t trusted. I can’t count the amount of times a male artist would have to vouch for me back when I started.” However, just over the course of Kelly’s ten years of tattooing, the world of tattooing is completely different. “It doesn’t mean there aren’t massive hurdles anymore, but we’ve had nobody come in here and scoff,” she said. “When people come in here and find out it’s all girls they get excited,” said Kristin. “It’s another thing that Salem brings to the table, too.” “There’s way more women getting tattooed now, and I think that more women are being tattooed nowadays anyways,” said Jess. “Particularly here.”



These things were particularly highlighted in the previous season of Ink Master, where Kelly Dotty made it to the final three. The impact of Ink Master, though it may not seem so, is huge when it comes to perceptions on the tattoo industry. “Sure, there’s a lot of misinformation when it comes to how long a piece can take, or what can be done reasonably,” said Britt. “But if it weren’t for shows like that, Jess and I wouldn’t have known that females could be tattooers.”

“As long as you know you just have to work hard to be in this industry, that’s what really matters” said Jess. Television subtext aside, Kelly’s appearance on the show proved to be a huge success in the area. There were viewing parties at Naumkeag for the beginning of the season featuring some of the finalists, weekly viewings at Helheim itself (with Gryla to keep everyone company, of course), and the gallery serving as an open space for some of the contestants to show up and do work themselves.

In the end, though, despite television appearances, the ladies at Helheim gallery are working tirelessly to make an impact on the seaside community that welcomed them with open arms, and hope that the work that they do will get people involved. Whether it be swinging by Helheim to participate in one of their art-nights, or to even get a special piece done by one of the excellent artists that call the gallery home, Kelly, Britt, Kristin, and Jess want to make it clear that they’re here to stay. “We get to meet people from all around the world here in Salem,” said Kristin. “But bumping elbows with your neighbors is the best part of this place.”

Instagram Pages:

Jess Brown: https://www.instagram.com/jessbrowntattoos/

Kristin Welch: https://www.instagram.com/frissies/

Kelly Dotty: https://www.instagram.com/kellydotylovessoup/

Britt Whitman: https://www.instagram.com/brittxwhitman/

Upcoming Events:

Guest Artist Carl Sebastian: 8/10-8/12

Helheim does regular events all the time, and for more information, be sure to check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/helheimgallery/ or their instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/helheimgallery/[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_video_player type=”16:9″ src=”https://youtu.be/aJJVVEVlK5M” hide_controls=”false” autoplay=”false” no_container=”true” preload=”auto” advanced_controls=”false” muted=”false” loop=”false” poster=””][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”https://www.creativenorthshore.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/download-1.jpeg” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_callout title=”SUPPORT A MORE "CREATIVE" SALEM” message=”Creative Salem is one of the only organizations dedicated to supporting the amazing creative community in and around Salem and we are supported by partner businesses and community members. Please consider supporting our mission and save on many creative friendly businesses in and around Salem, on tickets, get exclusive giveaways, attend member events and more. ” type=”center” button_text=”Learn More” circle=”false” button_icon=”smile-o” href=”http://www.creativesalem.com/store” href_title=”” target=”blank”][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 10px 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”true” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/1″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_eacs_post_carousel post_type=”post” max_post_count=”6″ show_excerpt=”true” hide_featured_image=”false” offset=”1″ max_visible_items=”3″ max_visible_items_tablet=”2″ max_visible_items_mobile=”1″ slide_to_scroll=”1″ auto_play=”true” loop=”true” pause_hover=”false” draggable=”true” slide_spacing=”10px” slide_nav_color=”#fff” slide_nav_bg_color=”#333″ add_border=”true” post_border_width=”1″ post_border_color=”rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.1)” pagination_type=”none” pagination_position=”normal”][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

Comments

comments