Cupcakes and tattoo art

By Matthew Cattin

The words fate and luck are tattooed darkly on the knuckles of Isis Kustom, but it was passion and skill that helped her organise House of Hedone's art exhibition Hold Fast.

For one week, the underground gallery on High Street has been taken over by tattoo-enthusiastic artists - and their love for ink is etched into every display.

Miss Kustom, also known by her trade alias Miss Tiki, met the fellow Auckland artists at craft markets in the city. She organised hiring the gallery to display the creations of her unique network.

"We all just split the cost amongst ourselves. We all share a love of tattoos. We aren't all tattoo artists but we are tattoo fans."

She wasn't a fan of having her photo taken however so we'll describe her - jet black hair, heavy make-up and covered in tattoos.

The artwork in her show ranges from large canvas paintings to A4 prints but a dark, contemporary theme is ever present.

Like Miss Kustom, the other artists each have aliases such as Trust Me, Fly By Night, Amy Trouble, Xander Thurteen, and there's a quirky, tattooed cupcake baker known as Miss Melicious.

Miss Melicious is selling her creative cupcakes at the gallery and says her alias helps to "separate her home life from business life", much like musicians.

"You have to use a name that's sellable. Who would want to use my name? It's boring!"

The artwork itself is as abstract as the names - pop culture cartoon prints, laughing skulls dripping down canvas and vibrant tattoo-style visuals cram the walls.

Also on display is a range of designer and vintage clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and of course Miss Melicious' delicious cupcakes - the brightest things there.

WHAT Hold Fast Exhibition

WHEN June 23-30, midday til late

WHERE House of Hedone Gallery, 5B High Street


- The Aucklander

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