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​What in Hel’s Fury is going on at Brewhalla?

Arts | April 18th, 2024

Something exciting is brewing between Amarok Tattoo Studio and Drekker Brewing Company

By Sabrina Hornung

sabrina@hpr1.com

It’s no secret that Drekker Brewing Company and Athena Funk, proprietor of Amarok Tattoo Studio, have collaborated on events before such as Fooler’s Ball and DrekkerFest. But they’ve had an even bigger idea brewing for some time. Though it was put on hold due to COVID, and paused with the opening of Brewhalla — good things — we dare say wicked good things come to those who wait by way of Hel’s Fury Tattoo Fest.

“We first connected with Athena through our friend and label artist, Punchgut,” said Drekker co-founder Jesse Feigum. “He recommended her to do the artwork for a Women’s Day beer we made, and then not too long after that we invited Athena and Amarok to come and do flash tattoos at DrekkerFest in 2019. It was a huge success and they’ve been a staple of our big events ever since.”

“We’re always amazed at the number of people who get tattooed at these events, and the Amarok crew are total pros,” he said. “They obviously do an amazing job on the tattoos, but they’re super organized and handle the overwhelming number of people looking to get tattoos really well. They work really hard and get to everyone they can, but the waiting list is always longer than there’s time for at the event.”

Hel’s Fury Tattoo Fest is a collaboration between Amarok Tattoo Studio and Drekker Brewing Company, bringing 70-80 artists from across the country to Brewhalla in Fargo. For an event of this scale with this many artists, one couldn’t help but ask, how did they manage to get the word out? Where does one even start?

“We started with a base of, you know, Amarok’s guest artists, closest friends and each artist had a dream artist that they wanted on the list, like someone well known,” said Amarok proprietor Athena Funk.

Athena has been in the tattoo industry since 2000, working in studios, doing conventions and opening Amarok Tattoo in downtown Fargo in 2016. Needless to say she’s well connected to the community. And so are her artists and guest artists.

Once the guest list was put together, 100 invitations were sent out in mysterious black boxes. Inside the box was a black stout bottle, complete with a custom Drekker label and instructions to break said bottle to access the message inside. The message inside was an invitation to the festival and a handwritten note from Athena — but the catch was, recipients were to film it to generate a buzz on social media.

Folks got creative (and genuinely overjoyed) with their mystery package and found new and interesting ways to smash it. One video involves one of the recipients dressing up like a cat and knocking the bottle off their table. A number of these videos are posted on the Hel’s Fury Instagram account, @helsfury.

The theme and namesake of the festival coincide with Brewhalla’s nod to Norse mythology and was inspired by Hel, the Nordic goddess of the underworld.

In addition to a plethora of tattoo artists, vendors will be onsite celebrating the magical, mystical and macabre. There will be tarot card readings, contortionists and other performance artists adding to the festival atmosphere.

“There'll be a handful of vendors set up on our second floor mezzanine offering a variety of interesting oddities and goods for sale throughout this weekend-long event,” said Drekker event director Carly Montplaisir. “We're also very excited to be hosting this tattoo fest at Brewhalla, our food and entertainment wonderland. Brewhalla's first floor, connected to Drekker Brewing Company's taproom, includes an all local market and food hall which is the perfect area to explore during the event.”

Each tattoo artist will have an area that is curtained off and inspected by the Health Department, so there are specific standards of cleanliness in that little space. Each artist has to prove that they have their medical certifications in order to tattoo and be licensed in the state of North Dakota.

Along with the festival vibe there will be judges and prizes for the participating artists.

“One of the judges is from Ink Master,” explained Athena Funk. “His name is Robbie Ripoll. Then our other judges: Garrett Rautio from Black Coffin in St. Paul. He owns one of the biggest shops I've ever seen. He's got, like, 18 artists who work there. Then our third judge is Million McGough from 46 and 2 (Tattoo) here in town. He's very well traveled and he's very, very talented.”

Judges will be looking at the artist’s technical ability, i.e. how well they tattoo. What are some of the other key things that judges consider?

“It’s just like you would look at a piece of artwork,” Athena said. “You look at the composition, the color palette, the lighting, how compelling the image is with all of that stuff combined.”

In addition to being a killer 2D artist, Athena also has a bachelor's degree in sculpture from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The trophies for first, second, and third place, best of day, and artist of the show will be sculpted and casted by her.

A Eugene, Oregon-based software company that specializes in tattoo-judging software called Contestify will aid in the judging process. Ditto (the stage manager in charge of the tattoo competitions) and two MC’s called “The Beards” will host the event.

“Each of the judges will get an iPad uploaded with all of the people that are competing in their different categories,” Athena continued. “Basically, the program automatically computes who's the winner based off of all of the different subcategories that each tattoo gets judged on. Artists can enter any tattoos that they have. It doesn't have to be done there.”

Single-day passes and weekend tickets are available.

IF YOU GO:

Hel’s Fury Tattoo Fest

Friday, May 31, 2 p.m. -12 a.m.

Saturday, June 1: 10 a.m. - 12 a.m.

Sunday, June 2: 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.

Brewhalla

1702 1st Ave. N. in Fargo

https://helsfury.com/

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