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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tattoo Community Rallies for Christian Lyze's Defense Fund

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Original Christian Lyze painting for sale at the benefit - CHRISTIAN LYZE
  • Christian Lyze
  • Original Christian Lyze painting for sale at the benefit
Friday, the Bay Area's tattoo community will converge on The Metro Operahouse in downtown Oakland to show support for fellow artist Christian Lyze. Lyze's alleged involvement in a deadly road rage incident has landed him in an out-of-state jail on charges of first-degree murder; he has pleaded not guilty, and plans to argue self-defense in his upcoming trial.

Nearly twenty shops from around the Bay Area are contributing original art, prints, apparel, and gift certificates for tattoo time to the benefit. Local bands Crypt Keeper, Cycloptopus, and Skin & Bonez are also lending a hand, and Decent Criminal from San Rafael will make an appearance as well. Proceeds from the evening of art and music will help fund Lyze's legal defense.

  • Oey at Sacred Tattoo
Lyze started his tattoo career in Oakland, where he was one of the original members of Sacred Tattoo. He went on to tattoo extensively throughout the Bay Area, working for various Sacred members as they opened their own shops. Always intrigued by the tattoo community, he did guest spots at many shops around the Bay Area and launched collaborative projects such as his Key Project, in which he drew a simple outline of a key and sent it to artists he admired to be painted. The result is a multitude of approaches to the same image that showcase the many styles of tattooing. Lyze also traveled up and down the coast, forming relationships with artists in Portland, Seattle, and Santa Barbara.

These relationships have been invaluable in the creation of the benefit. The level of local involvement in his cause may seem surprising, considering that Lyze left the Bay Area nine years ago. However, his knack for bringing artists together has not been forgotten. One of the benefit's organizers, Salem of Ocean Avenue Tattoo, explained, "As soon as [the community] caught wind of his legal troubles, something needed to be done ... I decide to try to put together a benefit for him." (Other shops organizing the benefit are Sacred Tattoo and Let It Bleed.) Many artists jumped at the chance to help out an old friend, and even now, Salem is still receiving submissions. He aims to raise $25,000 to support Lyze's defense throughout the trial, which is scheduled to begin this fall.

detail of a Christian Lyze print for sale at the benefit - CHRISTIAN LYZE
  • Christian Lyze
  • detail of a Christian Lyze print for sale at the benefit
No matter the verdict, it's clear that the tattoo community supports Christian Lyze. Friday's benefit promises to be one of the biggest, cheapest, loudest events in local tattooing. Well-known artists such as Matt Howse and Ms. Mikki and new artists who are just beginning their careers have all been eager to jump behind this cause and ensure that Lyze goes free.

The benefit kicks off this Friday, July 15, at 8 p.m. The $10 entry fee comes with a raffle ticket to win prints, T-shirts, and gift certificates for tattoo time. If you want the chance to win a free tattoo from one of the eminent artists in the Bay Area, this is the place to be on Friday. But if you're too worried about BART police to take the train, you can purchase original art and prints on the Facebook support page for Lyze.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, follow Kate Conger at @kateconger, and like us on Facebook.

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About The Author

Kate Conger

Kate Conger has written for SF Weekly since 2011.


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