Arte Libre offers art and tattoos for everyone
Arte Libre Gallery (211 Franklin St.) is an unexpected combination of an art gallery and tattoo parlor. Charismatic owner Angelo Bertakis has so much in store for his small storefront. “We are an art gallery that focuses on building the skills of young tattoo artists and offering the incredible work of our resident artists,” said Bertakis. The marriage of body art and traditional wall art and sculpture is central to Bertakis’ vision for Arte Libre. It’s a unique concept that works well.
The combination of a tattoo parlor and an art gallery makes perfect sense for Bertakis, who sees tattoo work as an art that people can show off every day while walking around. He called the body a “moving canvas” and said tattoos allow people to “display artwork on the body and at any time.”
Arte Libre Gallery opened quietly last month in Greenpoint. This is the first time that Bertakis has owned a place like this. He has been in the tattoo business for over ten years, but decided it was time to go it alone.
Currently, the walls of Arte Libre contain several framed photos of tattoos made by resident artists. Bertakis is considering replacing traditional frames with digital frames to display virtual portfolios. In the frames, visitors will see beautiful detailed works, showcasing Arte Libre specialties in realism, fine linework and neo-traditional tattoos. There is a large projection screen in the gallery displaying the first tattoo Bertakis created in the Franklin Street location.
Arte Libre is open to everyone, not just clients getting a tattoo. Residents and visitors to Greenpoint can enjoy art displays throughout the store at any time. Bertakis was constantly looking for other works of art to add to the store’s collection. He said he had ideas in mind for what he wanted to add, but hadn’t found the right pieces yet. “Sometimes you have to create the art yourself,” Bertakis reflected.
Bertakis is planning a grand opening in the New Year when more works of art have been added to the Arte Libre collection. In the meantime, be on the lookout for a special event for the Greenpointers. Bertakis is visualizing an event where residents of Greenpoint in zip code 11222 will receive a free tattoo as a special thank you for welcoming Arte Libre to the neighborhood.
Arte Libre will soon offer piercings and host other events. A website is also in preparation. At the moment, appointments are available on Instagram. The Galerie Arte Libre is open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day.