Embodying Ritual: The Art of the Tattoo - Atlas Obscura
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Seattle, Washington

Embodying Ritual: The Art of the Tattoo

Go beyond the surface and stereotype of tattoos to explore the history and artistry behind this contemporary practice.

Once regarded as a subversive form of expression associated with infamy, criminality, and circus attraction, over the past 50 years, tattoo has evolved into a popular art form that has gained mainstream acceptance from curators and museums around the world. Exhibitions at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Musee du Quai Branley have helped to popularize the history and artistry of tattoo, elevating an often-misunderstood art form into a contemporary aesthetic practice.

In this 1.5-hour program, we’ll visit with tattoo artist Bryan Kachel of  Rabid Hands studio in Ballard. Bryan will talk about his experience as an artist and illustrator and how his interests in the visual arts led him to an apprenticeship with Ego from Emerald City Tattoo. With a career that has endured nearly 20 years, Bryan will shine a light on the intersection between body-modification and the sacred to explore the role of the tattoo artist in creating ceremony through inscribing the bodies of his patrons with markers of significance deeply invested with personal story and meaning.

We’ll get an understanding of the equipment, tools, and mechanics involved in making tattoos to better evaluate tattoo quality through quality of line, color, and how a design lays on the body. Through this process, we’ll demystify our understanding of this popular practice to arrive at a deeper understanding of its beauty and artistry.

Bryan Kachel is a Seattle-based tattoo artist specializing in Japanese, nature-influenced, traditional, and portrait tattoos.


Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing for this 1.5-hour program.


Email Shin Yu Pai at shinyu.pai@atlasobscura.com.

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Advance ticket sales only. All ticket sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.