Presented by Snapped
It was just about a month ago when Barbie Wagner and Cyndi Bruketta’s new neighbor stopped by to introduce himself.
“I’m your competition,” the preacher told them.
The sisters, who run an art gallery in the heart of Wasilla, were taken aback. But since the gallery and accompanying photography studio are housed in Cyndi’s tattoo shop, Cynful Ink & Metals, they weren’t surprised.
“The perception of tattoo 'parlors' is of dirt and drugs and booze and infection,” Barbie said. “This is just not the case.”
The two sisters were raised in a family of artists – painters, sculptors and woodcarvers – and call art a constant part of their lives. For Cyndi, it takes the form of ink on skin. For Barbie, it’s photography. And in the little studio off of Lazy Eight Court, it’s both.
Cyndi wanted a place to showcase the art of tattoo. Barbie, who displayed her work at the Firefly and Arctic Rose galleries in downtown Anchorage, wanted a professional atmosphere to exhibit her photographs. Then, through her work with the Valley-based Alaska Artisans & Crafters, they found the missing piece to the puzzle.
“I realized that this group of artists had no place to show and sell their product,” Barbie said. “So we thought, ‘Perfect place, perfect timing, let's go for it!’”
The shop is now home to an eclectic assortment of art – framed and matted photographs featuring the natural beauty of the Mat-Su Valley, locally crafted textile arts and crafts, hand-beaded jewelry by Alaskan designers and, of course, custom tattoos.
“There has been a huge positive reaction to this,” Barbie said. “Customers are going ‘Wow, this makes sense.’”
From ink to film, art is art.