By Bradley Turcotte –
To mark their third anniversary, Railbender Tattoo Studio and Art Gallery is collecting art supplies for children’s programs at the Hintonburg Community Centre (HCC).
Dropping off a donation at the studio – located at 3 Hamilton Ave. N. – enters the donor in a raffle for one of two $100 gift certificates for tattoo sessions with Railbender artists, Stephane Courchaine and Julien Detillieux.
Clay, paintbrushes, Sharpie markers, charcoal pencils – anything that can spark or facilitate innovation is a welcome donation says HCC’s program coordinator, Jennifer Ladouceur.
Every Saturday morning, the Kids Create Program acts as a canvas for children to explore their creativity. Formerly titled Artsy Kids, the program is run as a partnership between HCC and the Hintonburg Community Association.
“Supplies are pretty costly, especially for free programs that we offer,” says Jennifer. “It’s nice to get some extra supplies that will get the kids trying new things, build their skills and explore new mediums.”
Railbender has received countless inquiries about taking part in art classes for juveniles, says founder Alex Neron. “We’ve always thought of doing something like this to help out,” he adds.
“It’s important to encourage kids to explore their creativity from a young age. It inspires them, empowers them and to be honest, this inspires us too,” Railbender co-owner and Alex’s partner, Marta, explains adding Railbender artists have seen an increase in clients sourcing their children’s art work as inspiration for tattoos.
Celebrating their anniversary with community outreach is an annual affair for Railbender. Previous fundraiser recipients include the Hintonburg Happening and the Parkdale Food Centre.
“We do this because we owe so much of our success to our community who has embraced us, supported us and helped us reach each milestone,” Marta continues.
Alex sums up the three-year milestone for the studio and gallery with one word: “success.”
“We’ve come a long way and worked our butts off, [we’ve] always kept our high standards in practice and it has paid off. We’ve been constantly making changes to our space, trial and error, upgrades. [We’re] always looking to better our services for our clientele and community support has now become a huge part of our business commitment.”
Alex’s bright outlook for Railbender carries over to his personal health. Diagnosed with colon cancer in 2015, Alex has endured 17 rounds of chemotherapy and undergone four surgeries.
“I feel great with the exception of side effects due to the treatments,” says Alex, who is currently taking medication as part of his second clinical trial. “I am in great health and striving for optimal health.”
Railbender will accept donations until March 31.
For more information, check out the Railbender Facebook page at facebook.com/railbenderstudio.