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Sunday Spotlight: Living Canvas – Zonly Looman

Oklahoma Artist and owner of Studio Z, Zonly Looman, holds the unique honor of being the first person to give a tattoo at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.  

In preparation for one of its most unique exhibitions, Tattooing: Religion, Reality and Regret, the Cowboy, the Museum became a certified tattoo studio, and Zonly completed the “Museum Studio’s” first tattoo.

Tattooing was a passion that took Zonly by surprise. He was studying on a baseball scholarship when his cousin invited him to go on a cross-country road trip to watch him get his new tattoo. It was Zonly’s first time in a tattoo studio, and he was hooked. He called his college baseball coach, gave up his scholarship and began tattooing. Zonly had previously done painting demonstrations as a part of his charity work, but when he was invited to The Cowboy to give a live tattooing demonstration, he knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

For Zonly, the art and practice of tattooing is much deeper than what is seen by most mainstream consumers – it’s a practice of our ancestors that spans cultures, gender, religion and generation. The exhibition is a way for people to see how diverse the practice of tattooing is, and that tattoos are a lot deeper than surface level and even have a spiritual aspect for many.

As an artist, he advises people to remember that tattoos are specific to each person. He encourages people to be influenced by their own heart when deciding on a tattoo and to respect what others choose to put on their bodies as well. Zonly will be returning to The Cowboy Sunday, December 12 for an artist discussion. Museum visitors are invited to attend the Sunday artist spotlight and discuss the art of tattooing with Zonly first-hand.

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