ST. GEORGE — For Taylor Doose, growing up in Salt Lake City as an only child in a family who were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meant constantly questioning where he fit in. Without the built-in belonging that comes from having siblings and not having the ties that come from membership in the dominant religious group, Doose found himself growing up without a tribe.
Now Doose is telling his story through his documentary film, “Finding My Tribe,” which will screen Wednesday and Friday at the Electric Theater as part of the Docutah International Documentary Film Festival. There will also be a living art tattoo reception held Tuesday at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for the Arts.
Doose’s story is personal. Yet it is familiar at the same time to many who have felt they don’t fit in, especially in Utah. It is a story about finding both belonging and individuality, all told through the subculture of tattoos and the people who get them.
A synopsis of “Finding My Tribe” states:
Salt Lake City is a beautiful, clean, friendly place to grow up and raise a family, unless you happen to be different in any way. … In ‘Finding My Tribe’ the filmmakers take a microscope to society’s views and how they have evolved with the growing acceptance of tattoo culture and the people that wear them.
The synopsis goes on further to question whether tattoos make one part of a group or more of an individual.
Born for this
Though Doose struggled to know where he fit in growing up, he was always certain of what he wanted to be, he said.
“Pretty much from birth I have always wanted to be a filmmaker,” Doose said. “I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t obsessed with movies and storytelling.”
At the age of 16, Doose had the opportunity to work on a film set. He described himself as the annoying kid who wouldn’t stop asking people questions about filmmaking.
When he was 18, Doose said, he came to Southern Utah to attend Dixie State University’s film program.
“At the time it was the best film program in the state,” Doose said.
But shortly after entering school, the film program dissolved, Doose said, so he returned to Salt Lake City to find work.
Doose said his heart always knew he wanted to make movies, so after working for many years, he decided to return to school.
“Something inside of me said, ‘You are never going to be happy unless you are making films, so maybe you should go back to school and pursue your dream,'” Doose said.
Tattoo culture and tribalism
Doose’s father, the executive director of the Roene B. DiFiore Center for the Arts, described his son as a large man with no available space left on his body for another tattoo.
But it wasn’t always that way for Doose, who said he used to hate tattoos.
Then tragedy struck. Doose was in a horrific accident. Among other things, he had ruptured his spleen, he said, and was only an hour from bleeding to death.
Doose said it was a life-defining moment for him, one that he didn’t ever want to lose its power. So he marked his experience and his new outlook on life with two tattoos: a red star on his right calf and a blue star on his left calf; one for the person he was before the accident and one for everything that would come after.
“I was becoming a different person,” Doose said. “Like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon from a bad situation.”
And like a butterfly’s colorful wings, Doose continued to color his body canvas with the art and stories of life.
“It was through tattoos and the subculture of life that I could really find people I could relate to,” Doose said, “and the idea of tribalism that I had been missing for so much of my life.”
“Finding My Tribe” will screen at the Docutah International Documentary Film Festival Wednesday at 8 p.m. and Friday at noon in the Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle in St. George.
Living Art Tattoo Reception
A special living art tattoo reception will be held Tuesday at the Roene B. DiFiore Center for the Arts, 307 N. Main St. in St. George from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The reception will feature tattoo artists from several area tattoo studios showcasing their work and talking about their art.
The reception is free to attend.
- Special living art tattoo reception
- ‘Finding My Tribe’ screenings
- Reception: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
- Screenings: Wednesday, 8 p.m., and Friday, noon
- Reception: Roene B. DiFiore Center, 307 N. Main St., St. George
- Screenings: The Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle, St. George
- Reception: Free
- Screenings: $10 single movie pass
- Additional information: All-event passes, all-day passes and single movie tickets to Docutah are available online or at the Cox Auditorium Box Office located on the Dixie State University campus at 375 S. 700 East, St. George. Single movie tickets will also be available during the festival at the Eccles Box Office, 225 S. 700 East, St. George. All-event passes are advance purchase and will only be available until Tuesday.
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