When one door closes, another opens. The expression is poignantly true for tattoo artist Johnny Flowers, who is getting set to unveil his new gallery called The Collective 716. Flowers is opening his gallery at 119 Elmwood Avenue, a couple of doors down from a space that he is intimately familiar with – the former home of 125 Art Collective, owned and operated by Ted Hawkins and his wife Psyko Kupkake. Flowers was one of the first artists to show at 125.
Now, as more and more people are venturing out to gallery hop, Flowers is throwing his hat in the ring, by pursuing his dream of being a gallerist.
“The story behind the studio and gallery and its grand re-opening is something I cannot put into words to paint a picture,” said Flowers. “In 2018 I had my first solo art exhibition at 125 Art Collective and had a packed house. Since then, Ted Hawkins (my mentor) and I teamed up and opened our own private studio. [Thus] began a 2 year studio project focusing on black and grey realism tattooing. During this process, I was in my 12th/13th year of tattooing, all while balancing another full time career – since high school I was always hesitant to make the leap as a full time artist. In July 2021, Ted finally convinced me that being a full time artist is what I was meant to do. I made the leap, walking out of my law enforcement job, and began the next chapter of my life.”
So many people dream of leaving their day jobs, to start up their own enterprises. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. There’s always an uncertainty, with no guarantees whatsoever. That said, the rewards should outweigh the risks, for those who are determined to make it work.
“[After quitting my job] I dove in for 10 months, engulfing myself in the studio with Ted. All while this massive transition in my life is happening, I never stopped painting. Since my first exhibition, the learning never stopped. Now Ted (retired and back in California) and I have transitioned the studio to The Collective 716 – Allentown’s Tattoo Lounge and Art Gallery. The Allentown Art Festival is going to be my grand opening weekend, and opening day of my next solo exhibition titled ‘Ascension’ – a series. In the future I went to host other artists, both musicians and media artists.”
Get connected: www.TheCollective716.com | 119 Elmwood Avenue