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Canyon Castator and the Brooklyn Night Bazaar

A featured artist talks music, food, fashion and skateboarding

by CH Contributor
on 13 December 2011

by Frank Galland


Founded by Aaron Broudo, Brooklyn Night Bazaar brings the inspirational energy and madness of Southeast Asian night markets to a 40,000 square foot former carpet warehouse on the Williamsburg waterfront 15-17 December 2011. Broudo partnered with Ken Farmer, creative director of Nuit Blanche New York, to bring their Brooklyn audience a few evenings of beer, music, artists' wares and skateboarding with the holiday season in full swing.

We caught up with one of the bazaar's featured artists, Brooklyn-based Canyon Castator, whose work spans oil on canvas to human tattoos. At the bazaar he will be showcasing his selection of DIY tattoos in his new zine "Ink on Skin."

Can you tell us a little more about "Ink on Skin?"

It's a 64-page book, conceived and designed in a collaborative effort, documenting my un-surveyed works. The images presented come from four years of tattoos by my group of friends and me. The book at once exposes a clandestine culture of DIY tattooing, and the evolution of technique and subject matter.

Can you elaborate on what'll be in the zine?

I bought the original tattoo machine back in Boulder, Colorado. I lived with five dudes at the time in the quintessential skate house. I think we all threw in like $12 or something. No one knew what to do with the thing. We just kinda went for it. The first couple were really rough. The machine would break down and you would be left with a half way done Bart Simpson or a banner reading "skate and des". Really good stuff. The brief stories in the zine touch on that original uncertainty. I've always drawn, and these silly tattoos were just another medium to experiment in.

When I was invited to participate as a vendor in the Bazaar, I wanted to display the recently completed zine, but I also wanted to set the tone for the person passing by. I'm not a tattoo artist, I've never worked in a shop or gone through the proper channels to apprentice or study tattoo arts. The environment I was most accustomed to during this time was the essential dingy basement, full of trash, half eaten pizzas, beer cans etc. I'm using my vendor space as an installation that pays homage to that original aesthetic. Come in, have a drink, watch me give Stick and Pokes to willing friends and pick up a zine.

Were you involved in last year's bazaar?

There was a Bazaar in October earlier this year at the DeKalb Market . I wasn't involved, but it was crazy. Amazing turnout. I've never seen that many people in downtown Brooklyn.

How has it evolved since then?

Essentially, it is extending the forum for growth and marks a confluence of Brooklyn's cultural vitality. The use of Williamsburg's fleeting waterfront warehouse space is the perfect setting for this cultural collaboration.

How will you be involved this year, what is your connection?

I recently participated in the Carsten Höller installation at the New Museum, an unbelievable and ambitious project which came together due to the hard work of some incredibly talented people. Afterwards I was put in touch with Ken Farmer, the creative director of Nuit Blanche New York. He was interested in getting some of Brooklyn's finest to skate the half pipe each night before it was transformed into the performance space. I'm more or less organizing who will be skating.

Who are some of the vendors joining you at the Bazaar?

There's a wide array of participating artist and vendors, anyone can apply for a space, but the majority of the participants were pulled from the organizing teams creative network. You've got design from Windowfarms, curated classics from Kill Devil Hill and original works from local artists like Anton Zolotov and Colin Snapp.

Skateboarders can be a rowdy bunch. Are you prepared for the debauchery?

I've always recognized skating as a form of artistic expression. It's rad that the Bazaar is utilizing an art piece, as a shared space for skateboarding and music. Its always been unclear to me where the line is drawn between the three genres anyway.

Why at night?

Part of the motivation for the night market is the desire to make room in the city's nighttime cultural landscape for a little innovation. The Bazaar runs from 5 p.m. to midnight, giving you time to head to the bar afterwards.

Each night of the Brooklyn Night Bazaar will feature a different live act including James Murphy, Fucked Up and The Hold Steady. For tickets visit the event page.

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