Artist Mary Ploegsma stands with one of the portraits from her chef/tattoo series, this one featuring local chef Sophie Fenlon. Pieces from the series can be viewed to the end of this month at Bean Around the World cafe on Fisgard Street. Don Denton/Black Press

Esquimalt artist captures culinary personalities with body art

Mary Ploegsma’s unique chef/tattoo portrait series on display this month in Chinatown café

Greater Victoria has many talented artists, whose works are on display at various galleries around the region.

But one of those artists, Mary Ploegsma, has pieces from her latest series of works hanging in a coffee shop in Chinatown through the end of June. The multi-themed group at Bean Around the World (533 Fisgard St.) features as subjects not just local chefs and other food artisans, but those whose bodies are decorated with a different kind of art.

Ploegsma, an Esquimalt resident who splits her time between Texas and here, eats out a lot in town with her husband, Wob. They have come to know a number of restaurant owners and Mary began to notice many of them – and their chefs – have tattoos, a discovery that inspired her to undertake the 10-piece portrait series.

“Tattoos are artwork on skin, so to paint skin with muscle tone and then to paint all the tattoos on top, well I thought it would be a real challenge,” she told Boulevard Magazine earlier this year.

You can view the paintings at Bean Around the World during their opening hours, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

– with files from Chelsea Forman



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