Detail: Frightful imp and ghostface doctor

MOCK-UP OF TYLER SHANDRO’S BACK TATTOO

The following is work of fiction, which makes it all the more unbelievable.

 

I’ve spent much of the pandemic honing my skills as an underground tattoo artist. I’ve had dreams of opening a boutique studio in my mom’s basement (so I can expense Canadian taxpayers) that would specialize in the kind of tattoos mainstream artists aren’t edgy enough to do. This includes such pieces as “No Ragrets” written in kanji, truly disrespectful portraits of deceased loved ones, and that little Lacoste Alligator on the left pectoral so even in the nude like a wee babe people will know you’re a douchebag.

 

Imagine my surprise when Tyler Shandro blustered into my studio. “Shan-shan!” I protested (in reality nobody calls him Shan-shan, only his friends call him that) “this is exactly the kind close quarters workplace that shouldn’t be allowed to operate in these times!“ Tyler Shandro winked at me in rebut and we chuckled ironically for a minute, then stood in heavy silence for ten.

 

Anyhow, Shandro was interested in getting a full back tattoo to commemorate all the hard work he’s done. He clutched my shoulders and dictated his vision directly into my mouth.

 

“I see an expanse of unpredictable colouration fractured like the top of a crème brulee tapped with a lacquered pinky nail. Rural outskirts are poorly drawn and confused, beholden to the chaotic whims of ineptitude. And doctors’ faces grimacing with vicarious humiliation must be pushing through so I can spiral myself backwards like a snake eating its own poo and shout at them. And most of all, I want bleakness to hang heavily over the piece. Like asbestos. Like hot mayonnaise on a wedding cake. Like a prairie mist in blue pre-morning. Desolate. Empty. Sad. Like me.”

 

Tyler Shandro sits down in my egg chair.

 

“Doctors hate me, Ableggiftshop. I found out one weird trick, and now doctors hate me.”

 

“What was the weird trick, Shan-shan?”

 

“I terminated the province’s contract with doctors before it was set to expire. Then I stripped 141 rural communities of their rural status, but I walked back on that by blaming my shitty incompetent staff. Oh also I implemented the Physician Funding Framework, which doesn’t take into account the wide range of work done by rural doctors and amounts to cuts of such severity doctors are fleeing the province. I even tried to replace them with a foreign app that collects medical information for third parties that will tell you you have lupus no matter what symptoms because it was designed by the writing staff of NBC’s smash hit House MD. Wait hold on I also personally screamed at a doctor from his driveway because of a very mean meme I saw. I brought my wife too, so she could watch my big swinging dick totally pwn that egghead. He probably definitely hates me. And then after that I”

 

“Hold on, that sounds like more than one weird trick, Tyler. But I am a simple basement dwelling tattoo artist, I cannot help you. I hear the Alberta health minister is in town, perhaps he can help with your problems!”

 

“But Ableggiftshop!” Tyler Shandro cries, “I am the Alberta health minister!”

 

“Haha oh fuck, nasty, sick, ew.”

 

Anyway, he didn’t stay for the tattoo, but I still have the mock-up. It’s a neat slice of provincial history. If your back happens to be 4ftx5ft, you might be able to get the tattoo yourself. Otherwise, in six months when your wise-beyond-their-years children ask why there aren’t any doctors left in Alberta, you can simply gesture to towards this deeply affecting work of acrylic and pastel on canvas and howl with sadness.

 

I’m hoping to get $1 billion for this piece because despite using OIL pastels, I’m yet to receive my industry bailout. Prints available.

Detail: Pained howl

All images and artist's statements are copyrighted by Tim Mikula. The use of any image or text from this site is prohibited unless prior written permission from the artist is obtained.