A Kelowna-born tattoo artist has brought his talents back home to help open up the city’s latest shop, Pitch Black Tattoo, located in the heart of Rutland.
Matt Tyefisher’s journey to becoming a full-time artist started as a child living in Rutland, drawing roses and daggers on his friends and family for fun. His family would later move to Edmonton where he got his first tattoo, a Misfits skull, inked by a friend in his high school cafeteria.
But while the love for the art was always there, Tyefisher said he never saw it as a possibility to make tattooing a full-time job. After graduation he took on many roles, including a welder as well as entering into the world of aviation, following in the footsteps of his father who flew helicopters for the RCMP.
It would later be Edmonton’s punk rock community that would lead him back to his artistic roots.
“Getting tattooed, I never really realized you could do this for a living,” said Tyefisher.
“It was like you went down to the local wizard, got your tattoo, and then you left. It just didn’t seem like a possibility until it sort of fell into place being a part of the punk rock community (in Edmonton). It just sort of evolved into this. I’m super lucky to be doing this.”
Tyefisher put his craft into practice for seven years while in Edmonton before he had enough of the cold and set his sights on Kelowna. He and fellow tattoo artist Romance Wilson chose Rutland as the two saw a need for a shop outside the downtown Kelowna area.
In July, the two opened up Pitch Black Tattoo, but not without challenges. As for opening the shop, it was a mad dash. With neither Tyefisher nor Wilson making any money the shop had to open as fast as possible. The two quickly dressed the shop with their own artwork, set up their gear and began working.
They got the keys to the building on June 1, and by June 18 they were already taking appointments. July 1 was the official grand opening of the shop.
“And, here we are, in the hood, doing our thing,” he said. “I grew up in Rutland so this is a homecoming for me.”
In terms of the shop’s feel, Tyefisher said he likes to keep things light and welcome.
“Man, it’s just two homies hanging out, doing our thing — just doing tats. We’ve got rad clients; a rad atmosphere. It’s been tight,” he said.
“We were just like, ‘we need a box that people feel comfortable in.’ People can come and pretty much just chill. You’re hanging out with us, so we just wanted a good vibe at the shop.”
Opening up during a pandemic was another challenge the two faced. With strict protocols implemented by the federal government, the two made sure they were prepared, keeping six feet between tables and consistently cleaning. Although Tyefisheer said Pitch Black Prides itself on being clean and sanitary regardless of if there was a pandemic or not.
“It’s the same normal stuff. Tattooing as a whole these days is a really sanitary practice as it is. Everything is sanitized. So, it’s just the regular precautions. If you’re sick, don’t come in. Wash your hands more often. It’s keeping everything clean and people safe.”
Pitch Black Tattoo is located at 213 Rutland Road North in Kelowna.