Sackville’s first tattoo parlour opens on York Street

Artist and owner Darin Bavis shares his space with fellow tattoo and fine artist Matt Ursa, handcrafted skateboards and a cycle of local art

Following Earth Fine Craft’s closure last October, the small York Street storefront has been reopened as Kraken Ink, a tattoo parlour and flexible artistic space.

Owner Darin Bavis has been part of the artistic scene in Sackville for five years, painting commissioned murals, doing distinctive ink designs on mushrooms and, more recently, tattooing out of his home. Kraken Ink’s other artist, Matt Ursa, has been doing tattoos for just over a decade. “[Ursa] is very experienced,” said Bavis. “I have a little less experience, but my tattoos reflect that: I’m more simple linework with black ink whereas he’s full colour and does everything.” Black ink tattoos at Kraken are $100 per hour, with colour at $125 per hour.

Darin Bavis/Submitted

Although Ursa and Bavis are both artists with their own distinct styles, they are open to any tattoos that may be asked of them. “In a small town like this we feel we have to be flexible,” Bavis said. “We’ve got to be able to do whatever people want, and since I’m just learning a lot of techniques too, I want to branch out and try new styles anyway.” However, most of their work is custom tattoos they design in-house. “I’m working on a piece right now and [the client] has been in and out three times now – we’ve been working on it together.… Almost every [tattoo] we’ve done so far has been a custom job,” said Bavis.

Prior to Kraken Ink’s opening, the closest tattoo parlour to Sackville was Flesh Impressions in Amherst, NS. Darin Bavis/Submitted

In addition to offering tattoo services, Kraken is currently selling art from local artist and Moncton High art teacher Janet Mlodecki. “We’re planning on switching out artists every month or two,” said Bavis. “They’ll always be someone who is local and somehow connected and kind of fits in here. It’s not going to be your average artwork … and usually ink-oriented.”

The parlour is also a ticket depot for Shepody House, a live music venue in Dorchester, N.B., and displays handcrafted skateboards made by Bucky Buckler right here in Sackville.

For Bavis, tattooing was just what he needed: “It’s one of those art forms that you’re always learning.… You wake up in the morning and you’ll have someone walk through the door and say ‘I want an elephant’ or ‘I want a penguin’ and it’s just like, I’ve never drawn a penguin before in my life, so it really takes you to a spot where [as an artist] you want to be, you want to be outside your comfort zone.… I was ready to try something a little more challenging and instead it proved to be much more challenging,” he laughed, “which is good.”

Maia Herriot
Maia Herriot is a third-year English major and a second-year news editor. Originally from Regina SK, she came to Sackville to escape landlocked small towns with vaguely suggestive names.