Beacon gallery combines exhibits with tattoos

Which comes first, the tattoos or the art?

Bradley and Michelle SilverPhotos provided
Bradley and Michelle Silver (Photos provided)

“Curiosity about the gallery leads to curiosity about the tattooing,” explains painter Michelle Silver, who, with her husband, Bradley, owns Distortion Society, a tattoo studio and art gallery on Main Street in Beacon. Gallery visitors will “sit down and flip through Bradley’s portfolio for 20 minutes and ask all these questions. They digest the practice of tattooing in a similar way that they digest the art on the walls.”

The Silvers, who opened Distortion Society in May, recently moved the gallery from 172 Main St., where they had a short-term lease, across the street to 155 Main. “We wanted to get our business up and running before moving to a permanent location,” Michelle Silver says.

The gallery opened with an exhibit of work by Bradley and Michelle in May and June, followed by a solo show by painter and tattoo artist Evan Paul English in July, a group exhibition by Super Secret Projects in August and, most recently, photographs by Rosie Cohe and Daniel Shapiro.

A solo show of paintings by Laura Bochet, Somesthesia, opens with a reception from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 14. Bochet, along with Choon Lee, is a tattoo artist based at Distortion Society; visiting artists include English, Jerrra Blues and Chelsea Dom.

“I Think We’re Almost There (A Reminder),” by Michelle Silver
“I Think We’re Almost There (A Reminder),” by Michelle Silver

Michelle and Bradley Silver met in college in Boston before reconnecting through friends when both lived in Brooklyn. They moved to Philipstown four years ago and have two children: Julian, 5, a kindergartener at Haldane, and Nico, 18 months.

Michelle says that Bradley, who was head artist at White Rabbit Tattoo Studio in Manhattan for seven years, dreamed of having his own place. “It’s awesome to be able to control my environment and to be close to home,” Bradley says. “It’s all just an upgrade on life.”

Tattoos by Bradley Silver
Tattoos by Bradley Silver

For Michelle, the gallery has been an opportunity to expand her own practice as a painter and as a gallery owner. “Taking on a curatorial role is new for me,” she says. “It’s something that I’m exploring as I go along, but it’s been rewarding.”

She says Distortion Society seems to fit well in Beacon. “There is such a vibrant arts community here,” she says. “And residents are open-minded. There are a lot of tattooed people here and it has more counterculture-like, diverse fields.” Bradley notes the importance of being on the Metro-North line from New York City, which makes it easy for guest artists and clients to reach them.

He says opening the shop with his wife “has been quite a journey itself,” from working on mood boards together to envisioning their new space. “It’s cool that we did that, and we did it together,” he says. “Now we have this under our belt, and we know what to expect and can build out the store a little bit better.”

Because of its move, Distortion Society is closed until Oct. 13. When it reopens at 155 Main St., its hours will be 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, or by appointment. See distortionsociety.com or call 845-202-0680.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Hoffman is a senior at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. A 2020 graduate of Geneseo Central School, near Rochester, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in journalism and minors in music and political science.

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