Ravens, rainbows and unicorns – for eight hours on Monday, tattoo artists Chad Good and Trevor Pelletier inked almost 20 people with a number of designs to raise money for the Rainbow Coalition of Yellowknife.
With a charity barbecue outside, residents lined up at Cryosphere Tattoos to receive special pride flash tattoos, paying $100 per design.
For Pelletier, it was an opportunity to use his skills to assist an under-supported community.
When the Rainbow Coalition approached him, the event was a natural opportunity to promote his business and accomplish good deeds, he said.
He had the experience, having previously participated in similar fundraisers in Edmonton and Vancouver.
“If you have a way to help out and help a community of people that need some support, you can make an impact by using your skills,” he said.
“I don’t have thousands of dollars to give, I don’t have money to throw at every charity that comes around,” he continued. “But I do have time and a business to donate.”
Pulling pride designs off the internet and developing new drawings, the artists gathered a collection of tattoos for clients to choose from.
All the resulting proceeds went to the Rainbow Coalition, which organizes the Yellowknife Pride Festival and advocates for the territory’s LGBT community.
The organization also runs the Rainbow Youth Centre, which acts as a hangout space for queer and trans people and their friends and family.
As pride week kicks off, the tattoos supporting the organization will be a permanent memento of this year’s celebration for residents.
For Pelletier, it was simply another day for a good cause.
“Just put your head down and go,” he said.
Next year, he plans to have the event return and do “some bigger and better things.”
Beyond that, it was an opportunity to honour the connections he’s made in the city over the years, supporting old friends and community members as they celebrate pride.
“I have people in the community that I care about that I have known for years, and have been friends of mine for years. And their friends’ parents are friends of mine, and family members,” he said. “You’ve got to take care of the people you care about.”
“They come in all shapes and sizes and you can’t turn your back on one community of people,” he added.