A local tattoo parlor in Airdrie is flipping the script on Friday the 13th – a day that brings to mind ‘80s slasher flicks and bad luck – with its annual fundraiser that gives back to the community.
Brandi Lee, tattoo artist and founder of Human Kanvas, said the notorious date is a hallmark holiday for tattoo parlours, adding that some shops will offer up $13 tattoos and Friday-the-13th-inspired ink to their patrons.
However, Human Kanvas has taken a charitable spin on the superstition of Friday the 13th since it opened its doors in Airdrie on Friday, Feb 13, 2009.
“We were young and new and we decided to do a fundraiser for the food bank and it was super small,” Lee said. “Through the years, we just kept going with it and it totally picked up momentum.”
In 2013, the shop raised funds for Creative Airdrie’s ARTember festival in September, while its artists completed a marathon of Friday-the-13th-inspired tattoos for patrons. And while the charity the shop supports has changed over the years, the tradition has remained the same, at least up until last year.
Lee said the shop was rearing to host its annual fundraiser for March 13 of last year, but due to the arrival of COVID-19 in Alberta, they went ahead with a modified version of the event instead. Since then, the fundraiser has looked a little bit different for the shop.
“Before, it was just a marathon of tattoos all day and it was exhausting and it was crazy,” she said. “Now, we just want to do good tattoos and piercings. We wanted to do something good and that’s what the day is about for us now.
“We want to keep the day fun for artists and they want to be able to get out with their artwork that maybe they don’t get the opportunity to do every day, and of course they’re giving a little bit of a deal to the customers.”
Lee said she hasn’t yet chosen a charity for this month’s iteration of the event, but she promised all funds raised will be put into the shop’s charitable account, to be used toward local initiatives in the future. She added the shop’s staff may choose to support a number of Indigenous causes or B.C. wildfire relief efforts.
“We get a lot of requests from local fundraisers and so we pull out of that account to support those fundraisers whenever we can,” she said. “I think we’re very successful and very appreciative of all of our customers and so one day of the year, we can afford to do that and help others that need a little bit of help.”
Human Kanvas is almost fully booked for Aug 13 appointments, according to Lee, with only a few slots remaining for tattoos and piercings.
She said the shop is also hosting a bingo game for those who aren’t able to get an appointment. Patrons can purchase a bingo number for $20 and be entered into a random draw to win a $500 gift card to Human Kanvas.
“All of that money will be donated and it was kind of a way that people could still support without having to have an appointment,” she said. “It’s one-in-a-hundred chance of winning.”
According to an article about the phenomenon of Friday the 13th on History.com, Fridays that fall on the 13th day of any particular month are considered to bring bad luck, similar to walking under a ladder or seeing a black cat cross your path. The superstitious date has inspired a late-19th-century secret society, a popular early-20th-century novel and a well-known horror film franchise.
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