Artist Spotlight: Tyler Pawelzik

Paint it black: Local tattooer Tyler Pawelzik’s artwork to be featured at this month’s First Friday


Many area residents take tattooer Tyler Pawelzik’s artwork home with them. On Friday, crowds at downtown Scranton’s monthly art walk will have the chance to own a piece by Mr. Pawelzik without going anywhere near a needle.

The owner of Black Casket Tattoo in Dickson City will showcase pieces at Loyalty Barbershop and Shave Parlor of Scranton during July’s First Friday.

From 6 to 9 p.m., guests at the art walk can peruse Mr. Pawelzik’s work or buy the artist’s prints and originals. Guests can expect a heavy amount of black in his renderings, with stippling, geometric and tattoo influence.

Though he can tattoo any style, fans of Mr. Pawelzik’s work know him mostly for his black and grey tattoos, which happen to be the artist’s favorite.

Pieces will be similar to his tattoos, Mr. Pawelzik said, but, for him, there are inherent differences between skin and paper.

“All of my renderings are tattoo designs, but they’re executed in a completely different way than I would come close to if I were doing it on skin,” he said. “There are things you might execute on paper that don’t translate into tattooing easy at all.”

While Mr. Pawelzik’s tattoo styles differ from other types of art he creates, fans of his work remain the same. This is true of Loyalty Scranton, as co-owner James Simon said hosting Mr. Pawelzik’s exhibit was an obvious choice.

“Tyler is a tattooer, he designed our logo. Everyone at the shop gets tattooed by him,” Mr. Simon said. “It’s a pretty common thing for us to do with tattooers in the community.”

July art

Mr. Simon noted that First Friday exhibits stay up for the entire month and Loyalty Scranton customers face the works during their visits, which usually peaks their interest.

“(The art) gets a lot of exposure,” Mr. Simon said, adding Loyalty Scranton books their First Friday exhibits four to six months in advance. “We’re into art and music and created our own little environment for ourselves. People come in and are submerged in it — whatever music is playing, whatever art is on the walls.”

Mr. Pawelzik submerged himself in art as a kid. The artist is in his ninth year of tattooing, and said he put more effort into drawing than other kids his age growing up. It wasn’t until he was a junior in high school that he considered making a living as an artist.

From there, he got a portfolio together and would seek out tattooers he respected for advice and critiques of his work. His interest in many types of art informs his ability, and desire to be as diverse as possible.

“I like to take my skills and put it into other crafts,” Mr. Pawelzik said. “If I paint something, it’s not anything like my tattoos. I want to do more with them and see what I’m capable of.

“I like to constantly be crafting and doing something new and better and more exciting, rather than just spin my wheels just to pay bills.”

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