Local man’s artwork to be featured in London exhibit


With his tattoo shop closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kyle McIntosh began researching different mediums of art and dove into color theory.

The 34-year-old Seymour man found art contests, exhibitions and galleries that all were canceled in 2020 but were going to happen in 2021.

One of them was the London Art Biennale in England. According to londonbiennale.co.uk, London is the global art capital, and the exhibition is where the art of the world is given a platform. Artists from all traditions and lines of thought, emerging and established, are presented in the celebration of contemporary art.

“The art in this is amazing,” McIntosh said while browsing the website. “The art is phenomenal, and the whole setup, like the pictures and videos of it, it’s just amazing, mind-blowing, and I was like, ‘This is cool.’”

After he decided to enter a drawing using the methods he researched, he needed something to draw. He found inspiration in his backyard.

“I couldn’t tattoo, I couldn’t go anywhere, so I was walking around in my backyard like, ‘What can I draw?’” said McIntosh, owner of Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor in Crothersville.

“I saw this weed just lying there where someone pulled it out and it was just lying on the concrete, and I was like, ‘Huh,’” he said. “I took a picture of it, and just the way the light hit it and everything, I was like, ‘I want to draw that. That would be challenge to get it exactly.’”

He grabbed his colored pencils and sketchpad, and a drawing he thought would take an hour was finished 11 hours later. He then paid his $40 application fee to enter the London exhibit.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t have that much money. I was broke not working on quarantine and the shop shut down,” McIntosh said. “I was like, ‘Forty dollars is a lot of money for something I’m not going to get in.’ It was literally a sketch sheet of paper, so I was like, ‘They are not going to care about this at all.’”

He, however, went forward with it and submitted the application in October 2020.

“This part of me was like, ‘Do it. If they say no, they say no. You don’t know until you try,’” he said.

A few weeks ago, he received an email letting him know his work, titled “Suncast Leaves,” had been selected.

The website states 455 artists from 60 countries will be a part of the exhibit, which opens Wednesday and runs through July 4.

“It’s crazy because they only pick so many people from each country,” McIntosh said. “You look on their catalog if you go on their website, literally every corner of the world you can think of and every type of medium. I’m talking sculptures, paintings, even digital photography. It was just cool.”

He recently had his drawing framed at Artistic Impressions in downtown Seymour so he could mail it to be displayed.

McIntosh said works of art can earn prize money or be purchased, and some will be selected for other exhibits in Europe.

He said it’s great to be a part of the exhibit because he already has other artwork in the Bahamas and Canada. While tattooing in the Bahamas one year, he sold some of his original drawings to locals. Also, a canvas he painted for a Canadian musician is now in that man’s home.

“I’ve been super blessed to get my art out all over the world,” McIntosh said. “As an artist, I just feel good to be able to do art. To me, I love what I do, and the fact that I get to do that every day and make a living off of it, that’s golden for me. I don’t need any recognition. This is it.”

Along with having a full year of tattoo work planned, McIntosh will squeeze in time to teach art classes and paint murals.

The art classes will be for The Happy Tree Art Studio in Crothersville, which was housed upstairs in his tattoo shop for a while until recently moving to Crothersville Junior-Senior High School.

One of the murals will be on the west-facing wall of Eagle Chiropractic in Austin and feature landmarks of that Scott County city.

Another one will be on the other side of a bridge in the Mars Hill neighborhood on the southwest side of Indianapolis, where he grew up.

“I did the first side last summer,” McIntosh said. “The city commissioned me to come in and paint the bridge over.”

The irony is he was arrested for doing graffiti on that bridge in his younger years.

“As a kid growing up, I would cross that bridge every single day to go to school because I would walk to school, and every time I came up to that bridge, I would think to myself, ‘One day, I’m going to paint this bridge. I’m going to paint a mural,’” he said. “That was my goal my whole life was to do a mural in my neighborhood legally.”

The city agreed to pay for the supplies and permits, and McIntosh agreed to paint for free.

“There were people I grew up with who still live there that I hadn’t seen in 20 years, and the last time they saw me was getting arrested on that bridge for doing graffiti,” he said of painting last summer.

“While I was there painting, the cops actually stopped,” he said. “ I was out there painting at 3 o’clock in the morning because I was doing it between working, and these cops stopped and were like, ‘Uh, what are you doing?’ I was like, ‘Painting,’ and he was like, ‘Oh, so you’ve got a permit?’ I was like, ‘I do.’”

McIntosh said it was like a redemption story.

“That was my goal. I wanted to paint that, so I did,” he said.

He hopes to paint the other side before wintertime this year.

“I might bring security with me this time,” he said, laughing.

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For information, visit londonbiennale.co.uk.


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