Tags and tattoos: Local artist featured in gallery exhibit

Jackson County artist Kyle McIntosh brings a refreshing new look of paintings to Southern Indiana Center for the Arts now through June 10.

He has created new pieces for his first gallery exhibit. A free reception open to the public will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. today at the arts center, 2001 N. Ewing St., Seymour. If weather permits, he will be offering a graffiti demonstration.

A professional tattoo artist by trade, McIntosh said he thought this was the only way he could make money from his art. The Crothersville resident is finding that murals and other artwork requests have not only made him money but have given him an outlet to be creative on other surfaces besides skin.

McIntosh finds purpose in a burst of neon-colored paint from a spray can. The colors that spread out before him as his paintbrush scratches against a canvas bring him comfort. His art has brought him a way of understanding the world, led him to Christ and ultimately saved his life, he said.

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McIntosh specialized in commercial and residential mural art, graffiti and street art, airbrush and mixed media canvas paintings.

“We asked Kyle to do a youth graffiti class in 2015,” SICA executive director Darnell Dukes said. “Shortly after we had scheduled the class, we were contacted by Seymour Middle School asking if they could bring some students for a tour of our center. Kyle was to be here at the same time, so he gained a very captive audience of middle school youth and their chaperones. Kyle’s presentation was outstanding. He shared his story of growing up in Indianapolis and his fascination of graffiti.”

By 10, he was practicing over and over, and his work resulted in a few brushes with the law.

“It was an art form most people frowned upon because usually it was done illegally,” he said. “When I was 8 years old, I told myself I was going to do that someday.”

When he was 17, he decided to pursue legal street art. His first mural project was in a clothing store at FairOaks Mall in Columbus.

Through the years, McIntosh has continued to hone his skills and continues to try new techniques.

For information about the arts center and its summer events, visit soinart.com or follow its Facebook page.