New Wellsburg business offers art in various forms | News, Sports, Jobs



ART ON DISPLAY — Dan Ferrara, owner of the Blind Tiger Studio and Gallery, stands before some of the many pieces of art to be displayed at his new art studio and tattoo parlor on the Wellsburg Town Square beginning Friday. — Warren Scott

WELLSBURG — Visitors to The Blind Tiger Studio and Gallery on the Wellsburg Town Square will find posted beneath the counter assorted images that are among the many designs owner Dan Ferrara may apply to his clients’ skin.

But while Ferrara makes clear he enjoys doing tattoos, having practiced the art for about 25 years, his first interest was establishing a place where he could sell his other creations and host art shows.

When he’s not tattooing, he enjoys using old cigar boxes to create playable guitars and incorporating old candle holders into new pieces of art as well as producing watercolor paintings and sketches, usually of a surreal or macabre nature, and prints and T-shirts replicating his work.

He also plans to present shows featuring paintings, sculpture and other artwork by various creative talents.

Ferrara said he’s invited about 25 artists from various parts of the county he has come to know to participate in the gallery’s first exhibit, dubbed “Falling Forward,” from 6 p.m. to midnight Friday.

Alcoholic beverages will be among refreshments served, and the event is aimed at adults.

Ferrara said some of the work will be available for purchase.

The event also will include a Halloween costume contest, with $200 awarded to the top winner and $100 going to the one named second place.

Ferrara plans to hold other art shows and welcomes local artists interested in showcasing their work in such a way. He said he’s also willing to sell art on consignment for a low fee.

The Blind Tiger Studio and Gallery is not the only Wellsburg establishment offering art shows periodically, and its addition could lead to more activity in the city’s downtown business district.

Located at nearby 736 Charles St., Martha’s Gallery was opened in recent years by Chatman Neely and Dr. Harry Sanford, while the Brooke County Museum and Culture Center, at 704 Charles St., hosts an annual art show featuring the works of past and present Brooke High School students.

Ferrara said the name for his studio comes from his interest in the Roaring ’20s. He said owners of speakeasies, clubs or saloons that illegally sold liquor in defiance of America’s Prohibition laws in those days, often secretly identified their establishments by placing a stuffed tiger in their windows.

Ferrara said a lifelong love of art and a desire to run his own business led him to tattoos. A native of Staton Island, N.Y., he learned of the Ohio Valley through a convention of tattoo artists and appreciated its laid-back lifestyle and close proximity to Pittsburgh.

He divided his time between this region and New York for a while and has grown children in Wheeling but last fall decided to make the valley his full-time home.

“It’s time to stay still,” said Ferrara.

He noted the clientele for tattoos long ago changed from catering primarily to young men.

“Women are 90 percent of my customers,” said Ferrara.

While tattoos are popular among teens, he said, “The absolute youngest I will do is 16.”

He said while tattoos for anyone under 18 require the consent of a parent or guardian, he encourages his younger patrons to consider carefully their decision and to choose an area of the body that can be covered easily.

“I don’t do gag tattoos much. If I have a group of guys come in and want the same tattoo on their butts, I’m not going to do that,” said Ferrara.

He said more common requests include trees, lion’s heads and various timepieces, and much of his work can be found on The Blind Tiger Facebook page.

Ferrara said depending on the complexity of the design, a sitting runs from 30 minutes to 90 minutes.

He said it’s common for people to honor spouses or other significant others with tattoos, but things can change.

Ferrara said when selecting a tattoo, a good rule of thumb is picking an image that is appealing on its own.

“There’s nothing wrong with doing something you just like to look at,” he said, adding, “At the end of the day, you have to look at it for the rest of your life, so you may as well enjoy it.”

The studio is open from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday and from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday.



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