Cotati’s Premier Tattoo Studio Expands with Art Gallery Addition

Evan Wilson left, and Isabel Solomon opened Redtail Tattoo Gallery and Studio in July. The Gravenstein Highway spot is Cotati’s only tattoo studio and art gallery. Photo taken Friday, July 28, 2023. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

An aesthetically pleasing business dedicated to art — on walls and skin — is prepping to have its space filled with lovers of both art forms.

Redtail Tattoo Gallery and Studio will have an inaugural art show on Saturday, Aug. 12, from 3-8 p.m., with the theme “Birds of Prey.” The show will feature over 30 Bay Area artists showing off their paintings, sculptures, and jewelry.

“The theme of ‘Birds of Prey,’ I think, is really about … a view from above and a little bit separated from just the normal, grounded creatures,” studio owner Evan Wilson said. “You’re getting a bird’s-eye view with a predator lens, where you’re able to see a lot more, and it resonates to this area and where the shop is — all of the birds of prey that exist in these hills, getting a view from above.”

Evan Wilson, right, and his wife, Isabel Solomon, recently opened Redtail Tattoo Gallery and Studio in Cotati. Photo taken Friday, July 28, 2023. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Wilson and his wife, Isabel Solomon, officially opened the tattoo part of the studio on July 19 and have been steadily seeing clients. The studio part of the space has been in the works since the two took over the spot in April. Wilson said the two have been “putting all the pieces together over the last couple of months.”

He added that he’s always wanted to create a multifaceted creative space.

“I realized that was something that started 15 years ago, in college, when me and one of my best friends and my now-wife and all of our people started putting art and music events together,” said Wilson, who is originally from Davis and now lives near the Cotati studio.

Wilson is a painter, a calligrapher, a muralist, and, of course, a tattoo artist. Other local artists from Sebastopol’s Hidden Coast Tattoo and Petaluma Tattoo will also be at the event, where community members can stop by and hang out.

“We’re keeping it pretty relaxed. And we’re also keeping it super family-friendly. So we want to make sure that people feel comfortable bringing kids through and all that,” Wilson said.

The “Birds of Prey” show aims to allow people to learn about the space while connecting creative people.

“It goes beyond just hanging some art on the wall,” Wilson said of the event. “Sonoma County has redtails kind of everywhere, and the idea of connecting the show to the space, and having this first show be all about everybody’s interpretation of this idea — you know, because to me, it’s (that) birds of prey are free and powerful and have a magic to them. So we want to celebrate that with our first show.”

The first show partners with Redbud Resource Group, a local nonprofit women-run Indigenous organization. It was important to Wilson and Solomon to honor the Indigenous history of the space.

Redtail Tattoo Gallery and Studio in Cotati, Friday, July 28, 2023. (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

“They do a lot of education and outreach to talk about Indigenous rights and social justice work,” Wilson said. “A portion of every show’s proceeds for the gallery is going to be towards the nonprofit we’re paired with for that show.”

The space is both the only tattoo studio and the only art gallery in Cotati. The owners are hoping to produce four to six shows a year.

“It’s essential to feel part of the community for both of us and to build something together has been exciting,” Solomon said. “I think we’re both just looking forward to seeing how it turns out.”

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