as you may remember from my previous posting on February’s Baltimore tattoo convention there was a slight problem with the weather. Namely that there was far too much of it. In response the conventions organizer decided to have a make-up convention of sorts in September and we attended, I was immediately struck by the total lack of a blizzard. So far so good.
In past conventions I would endeavor to book myself up s full as possible with appointments in order to assure that I would make money all weekend. This usually resulted in being stuck in the booth and not having a whole lot of time to hang out with our friends who we only get to hang with at conventions. This time I decided to take the few appointments that people contacted me about in advance and not do much drumming up of business beforehand. It worked out really well. I turned down work that wasnt really my forte and got to work on some folks who didn’t seem to have planned to get tattooed, but after talking to us seemed to see something in Cara or I that they felt comfortable with.
I ended up doing one guys tattoo of a cross-section of a camera lens after we talked for a while about our mutual love for old Leicas and he decided to pull the trigger on his first piece. This can be daunting at a convention, its noisy, distracting, and being from out-of-town I don’t have a local reputation attached to my name, in short all he knew about me was my portfolio and the short bit that we talked. He was also the 3rd person in as many days who told us that he had been thinking about getting tattooed all weekend but that most of the other artists seemed unfriendly or simply refused to talk to him when he tried to start a conversation about his piece. Business aspects aside, this just seems like a really shitty way to treat people.
I also tattooed a really cool guy who had one tattoo, an old parrot from his navy days acquired , if i remember correctly, in the early 70’s in San Diego. I was happy to refresh this piece and he was great to talk to. I don’t meet many people who took up surfing in their 40’s but if they are all as laid back and friendly as this guy then Id be honored to meet more. Here is his piece
I also got to meet and tattoo a fellow tattooer named Mike Tserin (sp?) who was getting a Daruma doll on his forearm under the elbow. Mike was a really nice guy and someone I have talked to on various tattooer forums so it was nice to finally put a face on the name. As a new dad he preferred to have his daruma with the kanji for ‘family’. Heres how it looked right after we got finished, apologies for the blood on the kanji.
The other Japanese inspired piece I got to do was a chrysanthemum on a woman’s forearm. She is a personal trainer and was really open to suggestions as to how i could make it better. I haven’t gotten to do many of this style of chrysanthemum but when i do it’s always at conventions! This was really a blast to do and we were yakking and joking the whole time, it really makes the time fly and hopefully mitigates the pain a little as well when you can have a good BS session with your clients. Here is how her flower looked when we finished;
Cara ended up doing a few as well including a giant viking shield with a Celtic boar design on a British bikers arm. Conventions are not the easiest place to work but she busted it out like it was old news. I was proud of her!
Lots more happened, I got my chest tattooed the next day by Landon Lewis at his shop Black Thorn Gallery in Mechnicsburg. Once it heals I’ll put it up. It was my first torso tattoo and Landon is one of the nicest tattooers I’ve met so it was a no brainer to have him do it for me. As we talked about over dinner the last night of the convention I am done getting tattooed by people who aren’t nice. I don’t care how talented the artist, if they are a dick I don’t need their work on me. Fortunately there are guys like Landon, and a lot more like him who are good people and seriously talented.
Also we split the booth with Jason Angst and Mel of Tattoo Noir who were not just ideal booth-mates, but fun as hell to hang out with. Ive known Mel a long time but never really socially so it was a pleasure to get to know them both as well as to watch Jason turn out amazing tattoos.
I think we are onto something here and Cara and I are super excited to do more conventions with fun, instead of money, as the main motivation!