A lot of Vancouver businesses have some skin in the game when it comes to the Olympics. The latest to put his hide on the line, quite literally, is self-described “world renowned tattoo artist” Thomas Lockhart. The much-inked owner of West Coast Tattoo, the city’s oldest tattoo emporium, has just released the first of his “Vancouver 2010 Olympic Tattoo” designs.. They are a collection of fluttering flags, Olympic rings and the Vancouver Organizing Committee’s cartoon mascots. Taken together they are beautiful examples of, well, copyright infringement.
Lockhart, however, is spoiling for a fight, or at least some publicity. “Patriotic, memorial and commemorative tattoos have been around long before the Olympics were even dreamed up,” he says. Lockhart is also dabbling in municipal politics, hoping to win a seat on the Vancouver Parks Board in this Saturday’s vote. Asked if a copyright fight with VANOC might hurt his changes, he bravely announced in a news release: “That’s a sacrifice I’m prepared to make. If I have to give up my political dreams and aspirations to be an enthusiastic supporter of Olympic athletes so be it.” Such courage brings a tear to the eye.
As an added bonus, he’s offering every Canadian medal winner a free tat.