Richmond Tattoo Artists’ Art Auction Supports Kids in Need


In an effort to raise money for the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, local business employees, tattoo artists and VCU students will gather tonight at the Mott Gallery to auction video game and super hero-themed art.

Jillian Ryan and Bob Broomfield of Bits and Pixels, a video game store in Carytown, got the idea for the auction when they couldn’t figure out what to do with all the old broken Guitar Hero instruments that had accumulated in the store’s back room over the years.

“We had all these busted Guitar Hero guitars they looked great, but the buttons didn’t work, and we didn’t want to throw them out,” Ryan said. “We were talking about just making artwork, but then Bob was like, ‘why don’t we paint them and then auction them off?’”

So, that’s what they did. Acclaimed Richmond tattoo artists Amy Black, Kimberly Wall, and Charles Berger all contributed their inking skills on popular video games and super heroes.

Black has been a tattoo artist for 15 years and known for her work for ‘post-mastectomy nipple and areola repigmentation,” or nipple tattoos for breast cancer survivors.

Wall has been picking up clientele with her anime, pokemon and other character work recently over at Classic Tattoo.

Charles Berger has been a tattoo artist at Heroes and Ghosts the last few years, but most recently moved over to Lakside Tattoo Co.

Students from the VCU Brand Center, as well as members of the Cosplay and Science Fiction and Fantasy Clubs at VCU also contributed. Even employees from World of Mirth, across the street in Carytown, contributed artwork for the cause.

“We basically handed people blank canvases [Guitar Hero guitars, primed grey] and told them to make a thing, as long as it was video game or super hero-inspired…they’ve done amazing things,” Ryan said. “Someone built a 3D…little Gotham, like a Batman city, and it lights up. We have a Mass Effect, Super Mario Brothers, Dr. Mario, Kingdom Hearts, Kirby, Fall Out, and two Zelda guitars…They’re just beautiful, beautiful pieces of work, produced by artists of all walks of life, all genders, all races.”

Also as part of the event, Ryan will be representing the non-profit Extra Life, which helps organize a once-a-year 24-hour game-athon in the vein of Relay for Life to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, like the one in Richmond. She hopes, beyond the money raised from selling toy guitars tonight, that the event will provide an opportunity for people to learn more about Extra Life and potentially register new participants.

“[The event tonight] is a good way to inspire people to get behind the idea of this…we have video game day at the hospital where the game truck shows up with us, we all get to hang out, meet the kids, have a good time,” Ryan said. “So, them seeing people pledge money and things like that to help them while also doing something that they enjoy is really inspiring! It’s just a lot of fun!”

Ryan said that the pieces will be sold at the silent auction over the course of the night, but each piece will also have a buy-out price between $150 and $200, for those who don’t want to wait around in suspense. In all, 16 works should be on display.

Otherwise, there will be video game-themed music, along with a backdrop of monographs produced by New York artist Linda Plotkin.

“By doing things like this, we’re able to try to make sure that kids get to be kids, that they don’t have their lives cut short,” Ryan said. “If we have enough support, that’s really what we’re looking for…just to help kids, there’s no personal gain in any of this. We just want to make sure that they get to grow up and experience fun things, they get to go to prom, they get learn how to drive a car…we just want to do amazing things for these kids.”

The Gutiar Heroes for Kids Silent Charity Auction takes place tonight, Oct. 22 at the Mott Gallery in Carytown at 6 pm.

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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