Well-known local tattoo artist and illustrator Allie Charbonneau is opening up her own shop later this month on Carden Street, directly across the street from Guelph City Hall.
Spring Fever Tattoo will open later this month as a one-person shop, but Charbonneau says there will be room to add other artists in the future.
For now, she is just excited to be opening her own shop, which will be located upstairs in unit 217 at 33 Carden St.
“It was nice to have a really raw space to start with and turn it into exactly what I wanted to come to work to every day. That was a dream and the nicest thing I could do for myself,” said Charbonneau.
Still about two weeks from opening day, Charbonneau is dealing with the ‘organized chaos’ of putting her shop together.
“This whole opening process has really been a test of how much I can fit into my hatchback. It shocks me every time,” she said. “But it’s also nice to be able to do whatever you want with this space and create the environment you can thrive in.”
Charbonneau was most recently working out of Modern Addiction Tattoos on Woolwich Street.
“I have loved every shop I have worked at — I have been lucky and Modern Addiction was such a great spot for me,” she said.
Charbonneau said it is important for her to continue to support local charities with her tattoo work, something she has been doing for years with local not-for-profits like Habitat for Humanity and Women in Crisis.
On June 9, Charbonneau plans to offer a walk-in flash sale in support of Joyful Heart Foundation’s ‘Still Not Asking For It’ event.
“I have three other artists joining me that day, so it’s going to be a full house,” she said.
Charbonneau said she is bringing on someone to assist her with her booking, which she calls ‘a challenge’ because she only opens up her books for appointments every couple of months before they fill up.
“I wish I could just book myself for the next three years, but I also don’t know what I am going to do next month,” she quipped.
Spring Fever Tattoo will offer a number of drawing tables, which Charbonneau hopes will be used by local artists and illustrators as a sort of co-working space.
“Any other artist or illustrator can come in during the day and draw and hang out, which is great for me because I am on my own in here,” she said. “It will be nice to have people to bounce ideas off of in terms of drawings and colour palettes.”
Charbonneau studied illustration and design at Montreal’s Dawson College. She calls her style ‘illustrative and botanical.’
“When I am looking for reference material I look at a lot of old botanical illustrations, because that’s what inspires me and is most similar to my style,” said Charbonneau.
She most often works in black and grey, but enjoys doing colour work equally.
“I don’t get to do colour as much as I do black and grey, so it’s extra exciting when I get a colour piece in,” said Charbonneau.
“I love both. I try to take on anything I feel I can do a good job on, so I try not to be too particular to what I say yes and what I say no to, because if people like my style, that is great and if I can do a good job at it, then great,” said Charbonneau. “If someone sends me an idea that I feel someone else can do a better job on, then I always refer them. Everybody wants the best tattoo they can get.”
Charbonneau has a number of tattoos herself and said it was important for her to get them from as many artists as she could.
“I don’t have one specific person I go to. I also think it’s important to learn from the people who tattoo you, so it’s good to get tattooed by a lot of different people,” she said.