Local skate shop art show displays art on Dickies jackets

Even with local art covering the downtown Tucson streets and buildings, venues open to hosting public events like art shows or exhibits can be hard to come by. But for Sammy Barkan, stumbling across the BLX Skateshop was the perfect opportunity to enjoy art from around the community. 

The BLX Skateshop is in true fashion a skate shop, with wheels in glass cases, skate clothing on racks and various boards lining the walls. Founded by brothers Kenzo & Zen Butler, the shop opened in 2013 as a way to bring local artists and skaters together. 

Recently, BLX Skateshop hosted, “This Too Shall Pass”, an art exhibit featuring decorated Dickies jackets. Barkan, a friend of the Butler brothers, was closely involved with the exhibit and spoke about its origins.   

“These are all just friends or family or customers at this business, and they’re all talented artists so I told them we should all do this and everybody was down,” Barkan said. 

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Jackets pictured at BLX Skateshop

The jackets hung neatly against the wall, a showcase of local talent, and were designed by creators such as tattoo artist Ant Reyes.

Reyes designed two jackets for the skate shop, one of a wolf holding a cherry and another of a skull with blood drips and a tarantula. 

“It turned out okay. It was definitely a first time doing a jacket in this style. You know, I don’t really ever use an acrylic medium for painting. I mostly use watercolor, but I definitely enjoyed it. I could see there’s room for improvement,” Reyes said.

Reyes wasn’t the only artist in attendance. His own tattoo apprentice, Michael Lizotte, had two jackets in the show as well. One jacket had a medieval-style demon and another had a globe and city on top of it. Lizotte spoke about what got him into art. 

“My mom was an artist and basically when I was born, she just had me do art with her and I found a love for it, a passion for it and it ended up working out,” Lizotte said.

The Dickies jackets seemed specifically picked for the BLX Skateshop, as Dickies is a brand primarily sold for skaters. Dickies is historically a work-type of clothing but skaters are often seen wearing the gear and making it their own. 

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Outside of art and jackets, local groups and restaurants also attended the event. Car club Perfect Imperfections made an appearance as well as Bad Jimmy’s, a pop-up burger shop. Airbrush Shack also set up outside and airbrushed art on t-shirts. 

“It was just a thing to get all the artists and friends together. There hasn’t been an art show in almost 10 years, and it was just a cool way to get everyone together,” Barkan said.

Although “This Too Shall Pass” was a one-time event , the turnout of friends, family and regular customers was exciting. The show had its own personality, with guests and artists lingering near the exhibits and hanging outside to eat and converse. 

art show.jpg

Jackets pictured at BLX Skateshop

Barkan, Reyes and Lizotte all spoke fondly of the event and hope to showcase their art in future exhibits. 

When asked about the possibility of future shows similar to “This Too Shall Pass,” Barkan explained wishing to take local artwork outside of Tucson.

“I want to take it to Los Angeles, New York and Japan,” Barkan said.  

BLX Skateshop is located on 197 E. Toole Ave., in the downtown area. It is currently open seven days a week from 12-7 p.m.


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