Gold Heart gives us the opportunity to show whatever we want, and do whatever we want, in the space. Huge walls, gallery lighting, (artists can) do whatever they want and nobody is telling them not to.
La Crosse’s Northside business district along Caledonia Street went through a revitalization a few years ago, changing its name from Old Towne North to Uptowne, and seeing an influx of new businesses filling the storefronts. The businesses are thriving and the community has embraced the Northside’s “downtown”.
Among the shops you’ll find antiques and candy, wine and aquariums, all in small local businesses that you can feel good supporting. One of the newest businesses to join Uptowne is Gold Heart Tattoo. Owned and operated by Missy Hoch. Raised across the river in the bluffs of La Crescent on an organic farm, Missy is now an in demand local artist, whose canvas could be you. There is currently a six to nine month waiting list to get a tattoo from Missy.
It was growing up on the farm, Hoch Orchards, that Missy first saw a farm hand with the type of tattoos she would someday create. “This guy was the only person I had seen that didn’t have an anchor or a pinup and he had these really interesting tattoos… I saw that you literally can put anything on your body. To me, the way art is, is that it can go in any format, so I have always seen tattooing as an art form,” said Missy.
As the world of tattooing has moved into a fine art form, people travel distances to get a tattoo from a favorite artist. “New techniques are developing every day, I mean there is such a saturated market that the amount of things that people are doing with tattoos are wild… It’s just going to inch its way harder and harder into the art world,” said Missy.
Gold Heart Tattoo is unique in the area as it is also an alternative art gallery where artists are welcome to paint or draw directly on the walls, it’s not just a hanging space. Hoch explained, “Gold Heart gives us the opportunity to show whatever we want, and do whatever we want, in the space. Huge walls, gallery lighting, (artists can) do whatever they want and nobody is telling them not to. So I feel like it’s a unique opportunity for artists to just kinda propose anything and not have to worry about marketing to a specific gallery.”
With a degree in Fine Art, combining tattooing and the gallery seemed natural to Missy, “When I was in school, my favorite part was the creative energy that people had and then the deadline of doing the show. You have all these ideas, you’re making all these things, but for what? And so, I liked the idea of marrying tattooing and the gallery.”
Gold Heart has new contemporary art exhibits every two to three months with opening receptions. The public is welcome to visit most days. For more information and a list of current and upcoming shows, visit www.goldhearttattoo.com.
Featured Image(s) by © Dylan Overhouse Productions