Tony Simmons| email@example.com
Zachary Ian Garden described himself as a lifelong creative, but he first became serious about art when he got his first job at a tattoo shop in 2007.
Garden, 32, is one of the local tattoo artists featured in The Art of Tattooists, the new exhibition opening Friday, Aug. 7, at the Panama City Center for the Arts.
Born in Panama City, Gardens youth was nomadic.
RELATED: Virtual art classes, at-home projects offered by Panama City Center for the Arts
When I was 2 months old, my family and I started our adventures. We moved/traveled abroad and around the states most of my childhood, he said in an authors statement provided by the Center for the Arts. We moved back to Panama City in 2002. As an adult, I have carried on the family tradition of traveling, but I always come back home.
RELATED: Center reopens with three new exhibits
A young father, Garden said his art style derives from an unexpected source.
I have always had the desire to create. ... Most of my art is inspired by my spirituality, he said. As a child, I was forced to go to church with my mom. I hated it. It caused a lot of resentment and negativity for years.
But then he experienced a spiritual awakening on his first trip to Cambodia.
You cannot deny the energy you feel there. That set me on the path to enlightenment Im on now, he said. Im not sure where the path will lead me, but Im excited for the journey.
Garden learned his art on the job, not taking any classes.
Thankfully, I did a three-year tattoo apprentice, he said. My friends at the shop taught me everything I know about painting. From there, I just made up what works best for me. I use a mixture of liquid acrylic, watercolor and India ink on watercolor paper.
A desire to make things that appeal to him is the basis of Gardens current work.
I spent too many years trying to make things I thought other people would like, he said. I am having more fun and enjoying the outcome better now. Mix that in with my spiritual journey plus my anxiety, and you get the art I create.
Though he has participated in local art shows at other venues, The Art of Tattooists is the first time Gardens work has been exhibited at the Center for the Arts.
I painted two of the pieces during quarantine. It was my way of showing how the isolation made me feel. See if yall can guess which two, he said. The other three were just ones I enjoyed making.
Garden said he had never thought about what it meant to be featured in a exhibit of this kind before the question was raised: I would have never thought twice about it, but if youre wanting to know what I hope to get out of it some exposure would be nice. Get my name out to people that dont know me yet.
Gardens portfolio can be viewed at his Instagram account, @zacharyiangarden.
The Art of Tattooists will be on display at the Panama City Center for the Arts, 19 E. Fourth St.,until Aug.29. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.Saturdays. Visit PCCenterForTheArts.com for more details, including COVID-19 safety information.
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